Japanese Holidays

Auspicious Cuisine (Osechi Ryori) (Ep. 45)

Osechi is Japan’s New Year’s cuisine that includes such delicacies as herring wrapped in kelp and tied with gourd strings (nori maki), dried and candied anchovies (tazukuri), and golden sweet potato and chestnut mash (kurikinton).

Read More »

Haunted Artifacts (Tsukumogami) (Ep. 44)

In Japan when an inanimate object reaches its 100th birthday and perhaps it was mistreated, or lost, or thrown away, it gains a soul and might possibly start playing tricks on people. This is called tsukumogami, or haunted artifacts. In this episode of Uncanny Japan, I talk about the tsukumogami and some traditional ones you could run across on a dark spooky night.

Read More »
Story Time

Story Time – Yotsuya Kaidan (The Ghost of Oiwa) (Ep. 42)

In this episode I’m going to tell you a spooky tale called Yotsuya Kaidan, the story of Oiwa and her sad and vengeful ghost. This is one of the big Japanese ghost stories. Remember I told you about Okiku and the Nine Plates back in Episode 25. Today’s ghost, Oiwa, is as well-known as our poor Okiku.

Read More »
Japanese Superstitions

Japanese Superstitions II: Spider Lilies and Ghostly Trees (Ep. 41)

Why is the beautiful Spider lily also called a corpse flower? Why didn’t samurai keep camellias in their gardens? Why do Japanese ghosts like to hang out under weeping willows?

On this episode of Uncanny Japan I’ll take on a few more Japanese superstitions, but this time plant and flower-related stories.

Read More »
Japanese Folklore

Seven Mysterious Things (nanafushigi) (Ep. 35)

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.

Read More »
Saikyo Tengu sarai
Japanese Folklore

Hidden by the Gods (kamikakushi) (Ep. 34)

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.

Read More »