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Category: superstition

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 18: The God of Smallpox (Housougami)

Episode 18: The God of Smallpox (Housougami)

Welcome to May’s Uncanny Japan. In this episode I talk about the God of Smallpox (housougami/疱瘡神). Come listen to the beliefs in this fearsome god and how dogs and the color red kept him at bay.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     In the above picture you can see a child sick with smallpox and all the talismans

placed around him for protection. Notice all the red and the taisha, too. 

The above photo is of an aka-e (red picture) of a taisha (sea bream car).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Above is the samurai Tametomo scaring away the God of Smallpox.

Notes: The intro/outro music of Uncanny Japan is a song by Christiaan Virant (“Yi Gui” from Ting Shuo).  The whole album is just gorgeous as it everything else by FM3.

Episode 15: Inviting a Friend to Die (Rokuyo)

Episode 15: Inviting a Friend to Die (Rokuyo)

The rokuyo (六曜) or six days is the Japanese calendar that you consult when preparing to engage in various affairs: wedding, funerals, trips, and business dealings to name a few. Some days are good for some things, other days are good for others. Some days are just bad, bad, bad.

If you take a good look at a lot of Japanese calendars and daily planners, they have two small kanji written in the corner of every day. These signify which of the six rokuyo that particular day is. You definitely don’t want to incur bad luck and have your wedding on a butsumetsu (仏滅 ) or invite a group of mourners to join the deceased loved one in the Buddha’s paradise by holding a funeral on a tomobiki (友引).

This month’s podcast is all about the rokuyo. Come listen while you take a ride with me on the local train via binaural mics.

Notes: The intro/outro music of Uncanny Japan is a song by Christiaan Virant (“Yi Gui” from Ting Shuo).  The whole album is just gorgeous as it everything else by FM3.