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23 January 2014


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I love war stories set in New Guinea, especially twisted war techniques that are both horrifying and funny (:

Snails and toads - yummy! No wonder the Japanese could live to like 300 years old, hehe.

Anne, yes I've heard of snails as well as toads. And Phil, yes in Bougainville there are stories of locals being eaten by the Japs. They starved terribly when the Allied forces blocked all sea shores. I even have a story on that !

Marlene, I don’t know about toads, but my mother recalled thousands of giant snails – many as large as a man’s hand – all along the road from Rabaul to Vunapope in 1949. The Japanese had introduced the snails to feed their troops. By 1949, in the absence of predators, the snails had multiplied to pest proportions.

Did the Japanese actually keep children locked up and then eat them when they were fat?

We know that they ate bits of their fallen comrades when forced to by starvation but fattening children seems a bit far-fetched.

The children might have been kept locked up for something equally sinister. Or were they just having fun with the gullible villagers?

Might be a bit of Hansel and Gretel creeping in here.

When I used to help weed the cattle pastures at Manggai High School I used to encourage the weeders to dig the sensitive plant out by its roots and lay it over the logs and stumps to be killed by the hot sun. If you did it carefully, down at the root base, you could get away without being scratched!

Many thanks as on our Plantation at Aitape, West Sepik we had various cover crops ( Centrosema & Pueraria ) to keep the grass & weeds at bay & give nitrogen to the soil.Then Mimosa Pudica started taking over in the 1950s & was a very big problem for the Plantation workers.Once scratched an infection usually followed.
I was told by some Didiman that he believed when it was originally introduced the particular variety had no thorns & a wonderful cover crop.But subsequently the agressive thorny variety took over.
On checking Wikipedia I can not find any thornless variety so your Grandfather's story is appreciated.
You mentioned that the Alkaloid Mimosine was in Mimosa & it is also in the wonderful Cocoa shade tree Leucaena Glauca.The leaves of which are a richer source of Nitrogen than Lucerne/Alfalfa.We found that OK for cattle but when we fed big quantities to our pigs they lost all their hair.This was caused by the Mimosine.Will do the same to Sheep & Horses.

Ouch , so many of these plants in Bougainville too. Thank you, now I know were they came from. Richard, I've also heard stories from my bubus that toads were brought to our country during World war 2, by the Japanese. I always wish somebody would confirm this.

Wow! A very interesting story, Richard. We have plenty of this plant up here in Simbu and I thought it was native but now I know where and why it came to PNG. Thank you.

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