First up is this snake I spotted while cycling along a country road. I'll be completely honest here and say that I have no idea what kind of snake it is, but despite having a camera waved around approximately a forked tongue's length from its beady eyes, I can hereby bear witness that it did not sink its fangs into my arm or inject me with poisonous venom in any way, shape or form. In fact, it didn't move a muscle the whole time I was ogling it, so perhaps it was asleep.
Kabuto were the elaborately decorated helmets samurai used to wear in battle, and the Japanese keep the samurai tradition alive by pitting their kabuto-mushi against each other in insect sumo wrestling contests.
This little fellow was given to Mrs M as a present when one of her colleagues found it in the chemist's shop where they both work, although since it didn't seem to be enjoying life in a small cardboard box, rather than training it to be an insect sumo killing machine, we decided to let it go outside the apartment.
Mrs M tells me that semi live underground for several years, before emerging to sit in a tree and make a lot of noise for about a week, during which time they shed their skin (the Wikipedia entry for the cicada contains quite a neat little video of this), mate, lay some eggs and then promptly pass away. So rather than being a photo of a semi, this is a photo of its discarded shell.
(The reason semis spend such a large proportion of their lives underground is so they can avoid cerain predators, as explained in this item from the BBC News site about prime numbers.)
The cockroaches I encountered in Tokyo were the biggest and baddest of the lot, so this one, which okah-san zapped with a lethal dose of cockroach killer - a spray that cuts off the roach's oxygen supply so that it dies a slow and agonising death - was only a few centimetres long.
Tonbo can be seen flitting back and forth above the rice fields for much of the summer, and are of course much bigger than weedy little British dragonflies.
Well, OK, so it's not really a dog in a microwave, but since we're on the subject of animals, I thought I'd include a couple of photos of the unique institution that is the Japanese pet shop.
Whereas in a typical British pet shop there won't be any dogs or cats on display at all, here there are banks of glass-fronted cubicles and perspex cages, each containing a tired-looking puppy or kitten.
When it comes to keeping pets, the Japanese are very much of the tie-it-up-outside-and-leave-it-be school of thought, so this kind of thing isn't considered cruel at all, and is of course extremely popular with children, who even if they didn't want a puppy when they came into the pet shop, are guaranteed to want one by the time they leave.
Apparently, one of these chihuahua puppies is around half the price of the other - 45,000 yen / 350 GBP as opposed to 88,000 yen / 700 GBP - because it has recently been treated for a hernia.
The other notices on the cage say things like, 'When the puppy is asleep, please do not wake it up / tap on the glass. Puppies and kittens need about twenty hours' sleep a day, so please be quiet,' and, 'The world's smallest dog. Spirited, inquisitive and full of vigour.'
When we saw a dog in mid-cycle, it didn't seem to be unduly terrified, and as a lot of pet owners would testify, using a dog wash is probably a lot easier than using a bath.
The small, grey, out-of-focus blob you can just about see in the middle of this photograph is in fact an inoshishi (猪 / wild boar).
While inoshishi are common in Japan, it's very unusual to see one first-hand, although okah-san tells us they often visit her allotment to try and nose their way into the compost bin.
Mrs M spotted this one standing in a field as we drove past, and when we returned to take a photogaph, it crossed the road directly in front of us. What my mobile phone camera then singularly failed to capture was a very large - at least a couple of times bigger than your average Alsatian - and slightly bedraggled creature with two little trademark tusks either side of its snout.
In the latest edition of our community newspaper, there was a two-page article telling farmers how to safeguard their crops from inoshishi, which as well as weighing in at between 50 and 100kg, can run at speeds of up to 40kmh and overturn objects of up to 60kg in their quest for food.