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Category: Japan

Episode 37: The Ogre App to Discipline Your Child (Oni Kara Denwa)

Episode 37: The Ogre App to Discipline Your Child (Oni Kara Denwa)


Ever since I saw a mother discipline her child by threatening to call an oni/ogre, I’ve been wanting to do talk about this. Then I found out it really is a thing, an app called Oni Kara Denwa (A Call From an Oni, or as it’s translated in Japanese: Ghost Call) to be more precise.

In Episode 37, I talk about what I’ve heard playfully called the Oni App. It has over 10 million downloads and purports to help you raise your child. I’ve got a lot of thoughts and feelings about this one, but I try as much as possible to be objective when giving you an explanation of what it is and what it does.

What do you think? Useful? Traumatizing?

※Notes: Intro/Outro music by Julyan Ray Matsuura. Here and here. And here.

 

Episode 36: The Rock That Cries at Night (Yonaki Ishi)

Episode 36: The Rock That Cries at Night (Yonaki Ishi)


A rock that gets weepy when the sun goes down,  a pregnant woman slain alone in the mountains, a newborn baby visited by a ghostly priest who feds him candy to stay alive. These are all parts of this month’s podcast: The Rock The Cries at Night (Yonaki Ishi). In this episode, I visit a local spot (one of the Enshu Nanafushigi / Seven Mysterious Things of Enshu).

Come listen to me tell the tale while I sit by some rain, thunder, and an ambitious frog.

It’s a wonderful old legend, but can you find the big question (plot hole?) that I discovered when I researched and retold the story?

 

One of the two Yonaki Ishis

 

※Notes: Intro/Outro music by Julyan Ray Matsuura. Here and here. And here.

Episode 35: Seven Mysterious Things (Nanafushigi)

Episode 35: Seven Mysterious Things (Nanafushigi)


A giant hairy foot crashing through the roof of a old house and demanding to be washed. A festive tanuki band that appears in the dead of night and lures you into parts unknown. These are just two of the Honjo Nanafushigi. Nanafushigi can be translated as seven wonders, but they’re more like seven mysteries. All over Japan you can find stories (old and new) of seven strange occurances. As an introduction to my new idea of covering local legends and creepy tales, this month’s podcast is about nanafushigi. I’ll be talking about both the Honjo Nanafushigi and a little about how even all over Japan schools will often have their own nanafushigi that are more like local urban legends to spook and baffle the children.

Okuri Chochin. Beware of following a lantern at night!

※Notes: Intro/Outro music by Julyan Ray Matsuura. Here and here. And here.

Episode 34: Hidden by the Gods (Kamikakushi)

Episode 34: Hidden by the Gods (Kamikakushi)


Today’s show feels like a wacky and wonderful one. You see, I started talking about the tengu in Episode 32 (Heavenly Dogs and Brilliant Swordsmen),  but I wasn’t able to cover one of my favorite things about this red faced, long nosed, mountain warrior. That being the notion of kamikakushi (神隠し) or being spirited away. In this episode I get into that but the more I researched the really wild and fascinating information I ran across.

In this Episode 34: Spirited Away (Kamikakushi), I’ll tell you about the Shinto scholar Atsutane Hirata who back in the 1800s interviewed and wrote a book about a boy (Torakichi) who had claimed to have been abducted by a tengu for many years. There are stories of 100-days fasts, trees that glow from an inner light, and small unlucky men riding horses who are born from the placenta of a new born baby.

All this while I walk through a drizzly evening, recording the first frogs of the season.

※Notes: Intro/Outro music by Julyan Ray Matsuura. Here and here. And here.

Episode 32: Heavenly Dogs and Brilliant Swordsmen (The Tengu)

Episode 32: Heavenly Dogs and Brilliant Swordsmen (The Tengu)


There are two types of tengu: the karasu/crow tengu and the hanadaka/long-nosed tengu. They’re both awesome martial artists and fearsome foes, among other things.  On episode 32, I’ll introduce you to these two super cool Japanese yokai and tell you a little bit about their lore.

 

A Hanadaka (long-nosed) Tengu

 

Notes: Intro/Outro music by Julyan Ray Matsuura. Here and here. And here.