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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 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 23: The Slit-Mouthed Woman (Kuchisake Onna)

Episode 23: The Slit-Mouthed Woman (Kuchisake Onna)

I’ve had quite a few requests via email, DMs, and reviews for a show on Japanese urban legends. Episode #23 is in answer to those requests. Here are two urban myths that have always intrigued me: The Slit-Mouthed Woman (kuchisake onna) and The White Thread That Comes from Your Ear (mimi kara shiroi ito).

Notes: Intro and Outro music is provided by Julyan Matsuura. He also does the music beds for my Bedtime Stories (available on Patreon).


Episode 19: The Heavenly Demon (Amanojaku) + Bedtime Story!

Episode 19: The Heavenly Demon (Amanojaku) + Bedtime Story!

This month’s podcast is a special one. Not only did I do a podcast about a strange little creature called the amanojaku (天邪鬼), but at the end I attached one of my Bedtime Stories that I record monthly for my Patrons. So if you stay tuned after the podcast (a whopping 10 minutes), you’ll be treated to my interpretation (the happy-ending version) of Urikohime (瓜子姫), The Melon Princess and the Amanojaku.

The podcast: The amanojaku is a nasty Japanese beastie that predates Buddhism, might have originated from a Shinto deity, who you can usually find getting trampled on by the Four Heavenly Kings at temples all around Japan.

Amanojaku is also a word used to describe a contrary person.

I want to give super special thanks to my Tech Guy for working so hard on getting the sound so good. I’m not an attention-to-detail kind of person. But he is and works his butt off, not to mention he has mad skills. Thank you, Rich Pav!

Notes: The intro/outro music of Uncanny Japan is a song by Christiaan Virant (fromthe album Ting Shuo).  The music bed on the Bedtime Story is by Julyan Matsuura. I’m looking forward to having more of his songs accompanying my Bedtimes Stories and most likely the intro/outro soon.

Episode 17: Granny Dumping Mountain (Ubasute Yama)

Episode 17: Granny Dumping Mountain (Ubasute Yama)

This month on Uncanny Japan I talk about Ubasuta Yama (姥捨山) or Granny Dumping Mountain. Back in old Japan when times were tough and there were too many mouths for one family to feed, they might do something called kuchi herashi (口減らし) or getting rid of mouths. One way to do this was to send one (or more) of your children to live with a wealthier family. Another way to cut down on the number of mouths that needed to be fed was to haul grandma or grandpa up into the mountains and leave them to fend for themselves. Some say it’s just a folktale, others say why of course this happened! What do you think?

I found a movie in Japanese called Dendera. It’s catch copy is: There is a Continuation to Ubasute Yama. And the is the poster for it. Brilliant!

ETA: The station in Nagano is Ubasute Eki (姨捨駅). I mention in the podcast that the first character for uba is little sister. I was wrong, it’s ‘aunt’. So throwing away aunts. Who I am supposing are older than little sisters.

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.