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As I understand that any item can have a price in a market economy, it was no surprise that I recently saw a set of 90 "semi no nukegara" (cicada shells) being sold for 1,100 yen ($10.45) on the popular marketplace app Mercari.

Perhaps these shells come in handy for Japanese schoolkids who have chosen cicadas as the subject of their summer holiday project known as "jiyu kenkyu."

The word "nukegara" sounds pretty ho-hum. But its more poetic synonym, "utsu semi" (literally, "empty cicada"), seems to hint at some remnants of the life of the bug that has shed its exoskeleton.

Strolling in my........

© The Asahi Shimbun