kimon
Japanese Superstitions

Episode 11: The Devil’s Gate (Kimon)

You have one. I have one. We all have one: a Devil’s Gate. It’s the place where oni (Japanese devils) sneak into your home, steal all your good luck and fine health, and scuttle away.

Read More »
gaki
Japanese Buddhism

Episode 10: Hungry Ghosts (Gaki)

Living a life of luxury while being selfish and coveting your neighbors goodies just might lead you to another spin on this Wheel of Life. This means after you die you’ll be reborn not as a human again, not even as a squirrel in someone’s backyard. You might just come back as a hungry ghost, and let me tell you why that’s not a very good thing.

Read More »
eggplant and cucumber horses
Japanese Holidays

Episode 8: Obon Part One: On Cucumber Horses They Ride

Obon is the time of year when all the ancestors’ spirits make the long haul back to the world of the living to pay a visit. Butsudan altars are decorated to the hilt and families wait expectantly for grandma and grandpa, great grandma and great grandpa (not to mention great, great, great grandma and grandpa) to arrive and hang out.

Read More »
Ukioe cutting toenails
Japanese Superstitions

Episode 6: Japanese Superstitions 1

Three Japanese superstitions and why: 1) Don’t cut your nails at night. 2) Don’t whistle at night. 3) Do kill spiders at night…or don’t, actually you might not want to. There’s a good argument why you should let those night spiders live.

Read More »
kishibojin
Japanese Buddhism

Episode 5: Kishibojin: The Mother of All Devils

Kishibojin: an ogress with a penchant for feeding human babies to her own children, but who was able to see the error of her ways and not only repent but reinvent herself as a goddess. That’s what I call chutzpah!

Read More »
hatsuyume
Japanese Superstitions

Episode 2: Hatsu-yume: Your First Dream of the New Year

Hatsu-yume is the first dream you have in the New Year. In Japan there is a saying: ichi fuji, ni taka, san nasubi, which means the luckiest dream you can have is of Mt. Fuji, the second luckiest thing to see in a dream is a hawk, and the third is an eggplant.

Read More »