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Illustration from "Bocchi and Pocchi's Big Surprise" written and illustrated by Noriko Matsubara

A caterpillar comes to stay – inspiration for “Bocchi and Pocchi’s Big Surprise”

One day when I took a cabbage out of the fridge and I found a caterpillar between cabbage leaves. I told my husband to take the caterpillar outside. He refused and said “If we put him outside with only one leaf, he’ll die.”

I was appalled, but we kept him. I didn’t like the caterpillar first, but as days passed, I got attached to him and ended up naming him, ‘Midori-chan.’

But one day Midori-chan stopped eating. He didn’t move and his green body turned yellow. I thought he got sick. I worried our creepy crawly might die.

On the next day he vanished.

About a couple of weeks later, I got up in the morning and found a white butterfly perched on our flowery patterned curtain. “Midori-chan, where were you hiding?” Then I saw a little straw coming out from the butterfly’s face. 

‘He wants to suck nectar from flowers!’ I thought.

So I put the butterfly in a jar and into my backpack. I rode to the countryside with it on my bike. When I was cycling, I was filled with strange feeling I never felt before.

The weight of the life of the butterfly was no lighter than the one of a human.

As this thought came to me, tears started coming out from my eyes with joy. I felt connected with this little creature and he is so precious. I am in a human form and he is in a butterfly form but we are the same life energy and we are one.

Finding a caterpillar on a cabbage was a trivial incident in my daily life. But what I learnt from this trivial incident was more than I could have learnt from hundreds of philosophy books.

From that experience, Bocchi and Pocchi’s Big Surprise came to be.

This blog originally appeared on on July 6th 2018.

Noriko’s picture books are available here or on Amazon.