Browsed by
Tag: Japan

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.

Episode 31: Story Time – Of a Mirror and a Bell (Lafcadio Hearn)

Episode 31: Story Time – Of a Mirror and a Bell (Lafcadio Hearn)


Story Time is a little bit different than the usual Uncanny Japan podcast. Instead of me telling you about some interesting, odd, or spooky tidbit, I’ll be reading you a story. This is something I do over on Patreon once a month. There I call them Bedtime Stories and they’re more varied, from obscure pieces of folklore I find, translate, and slightly reimagine (for the story’s sake), to pieces I discover in the public domain and sometimes even my own work. But that’s that.

Here on Uncanny Japan, I’ve decided to also occasionally visit story telling. The folktales will be different than the ones on Patreon and I’m going to start with some of Lafcadio Hearn’s wonderful pieces that are up on Gutenberg.

Another thing, on the regular Uncanny Japan podcasts I use my binaural mics to record ambient sounds from my little part of Japan. However, with the Story Time episodes I’ll be using a music bed provide by my musician son, who also does the intro/outro music. Julyan Ray Matsuura. Here and here. And here.

Episode 29: The Devils are Coming! (Setsubun)

Episode 29: The Devils are Coming! (Setsubun)


The devils are coming! Or the ogres or demons, depending on how you translate the Japanese word oni (鬼). February 3rd is Setsubun in Japan and it’s not just the day before spring according to the lunar calendar, it’s also the day that oni prowl the streets and children must pelt them roasted soybeans to insure good luck for the coming year. In this episode of Uncanny Japan, I talk about Setsubun and the various ways it’s celebrated.


Eho-maki Sushi for Good Luck!

This years good luck direction to face when eating your eho-maki is east northeast.

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

Episode 26: Ojizo. The Little Guy Saving You and Yours From the Torments of Hell

Episode 26: Ojizo. The Little Guy Saving You and Yours From the Torments of Hell


An ojizo-sama is here to put aside his own enlightenment in order to save us all from the torments of hell. True story. He is especially partial to children, expectant mothers, firemen, travelers, pilgrims, stillborn, miscarried, and aborted babies. Do you have some kind of pain? He’s here to take that away, too.

The background binaural sounds are a small group of Japanese men and women playing a game of gateball. They’re rooting for each other, taking the piss out of each other, and finally running out of time and losing their games against one another.

Photo by Thersa Matsuura

Notes: Intro/Outro music

by Julyan Ray Matsuura. Here and here. And here.

Episode 25: Okiku and the Nine Plates (Bancho no Sarayashiki)

Episode 25: Okiku and the Nine Plates (Bancho no Sarayashiki)


One, two, three… Okiku kneeling, counts the priceless plates that have been entrusted to her. Four, five, six… her samurai master, Tessan, stands, hands on hips, he watches her trembling hands. Seven, eight, nine… Okiku gasps. She checks the wooden chest, looks around panicked. There were ten. Now there are nine. Where did the other one go? Tessan enraged accuses her of stealing it, or perhaps breaking it and hiding the pieces. Where did she hide them? Maybe in the well. Tessan drags the poor servant girl from the room and to the well where in a fit of rage he throws her in to her death.

The following night Tessan awakes to the sound of Okiku carefully counting the plates. One, two, three… When she reaches nine and discovers there is no tenth plate she lets out an inhuman scream that shakes Tessan to his bones. This happens again and again until driven mad, Tessan takes up his own blade and ends his life.

Episode 25 of Uncanny Japan is me on a local train telling you about Okiku, the poor servant girl who is still believed to haunt the well where she perished so many years ago. If you hear her count to nine, you too will die a horrible death. If you hear her but flee before she gets to seven, you may perhaps live, but you may also lose some of your mind.

Notes: Intro/Outro music

by Julyan Ray Matsuura. Here and here. And here.