'Spooky Beasts Keep Haunting Japan's Art' by John L. Tran. Artwork by Mitsunobu Tosa.
Youkai - also commonly spelled yokai (妖怪/ようかい ) - are much-loved or feared aspects of Japanese culture which often re-emerge during the peak of sticky, hot summers. Similar to Western culture's vampires, werewolves, and ghouls, youkai are creatures which often carry a warning. Among the various types, everyday youkai can be sorted into three categories: moral, comical, and horror.
While the details for the 2016 haunted house attraction are due to be released in July, it will be a challenge to beat the scares created by 2015's Cursed Lullaby haunted house.
Japan has a range of bizarre television shows which focus on shocking a famous victim in psychological pranks (ホラードッキリ or お化けドッキリ）.
Unlike the everyday television pranks of falling into hot water, being blasted from chairs, or stepping into a mislabeled bathroom, these psychological pranks use ghost imagery and horror elements - often lasting for over an hour in order for the victim to question their sanity.
世界の怖い夜 (World's Scary Night) is a Japanese television program dedicated to 'real' ghost videos, visiting haunted house attractions, and courage walks by famous comedians and pop idols. Each episode is 90 - 120 minutes long with a modge-podge of segments.
With Obon creeping up over the next few months, it's time to make a list of horror-themed places to visit! From horror escape venues to restaurants, these places will offer a refreshing chill to the mundane summer attractions.
Ellie - Help me out... please
Part 4: "I just exchanged messages with your head trainer, and he has confirmed there's no way you can pass training after today."
My room mate arrived the next day after I had spent hours upon hours of scrubbing my hands bloody and raw trying to remove the slick layer of grime from the apartment.
Among being Australian, tall and similarly aged, Stephanie had a head of short, bouncy brown curls, and dark-oak eyes which were lit with enthusiasm as she explained her reasons for coming to Japan. Turns out she was a well-travelled expat who had jumped aboard a plane the moment she graduated university, and had experienced teaching English to second-language students in countries I hadn't heard of.
When I pointed out I had spent the day cleaning the bathroom, she had enthusiastically asked, "We have a bathroom? I haven't seen one of those in months!"
I liked her easy-going nature, and a friendly face was what I sorely needed in a time of life transition. Our Australian traits complemented each other, and we were quickly up to mischief once training started; cat-calling each other during presentations, diverting every conversation to characteristics of drop-bears, and - if time permitted - daring each other to eat mysterious food during lunch (or ganging up on our American fellow teachers in training to try snacks we knew to be down-right awful).
Training was every bit draining and torturous as people had described; we were expected to be at a training classroom on the other side of Nagoya city by eight o'clock every morning (though, by day two we were arriving before seven-thirty - a five o'clock wake-up without breakfast), lunch was a combini (convenient store) scramble as we woofed down onigiri and bread in order to rush off to observe afternoon classes, and train transits were spent catching up on sleep instead of doing the pages of reading we were supposed to complete every evening. We easily clocked-in sixteen to eighteen hours a day of training, homework, and teaching.
While the majority of my training sessions and observation classes with veteran teachers in their schools were not too demanding (most of the veteran teachers were laid-back, very kind, and often joked about their cultural mishaps), there was one session which truly pushed me to the edge.
Hiding from Japanese Ghosts' Experience with Kiyotaki Tunnel
I first heard about Kiyotaki Tunnel years ago from a friend, suggesting 'we visit the tunnel everyone says is haunted'. I had read the reports, stories, and articles about Kiyotaki Tunnel. This is by no means an unknown ghost spot - there are articles and sources in a range of languages, and it is a popular reference for media and bloggers to brag about their bravery.
Every newbie teacher had to stay in a training apartment near the head office in order to complete two weeks' worth of education bootcamp. This bootcamp was notoriously strict, and almost every comment and blog post I read while researching the company had designated the bootcamp "...two weeks of unbelievable hell and torture."
"The training apartment will be kept pristine at all times," the manager told me sternly. He was sweating in a business shirt and tie as he heaved my broken suitcase up the three flights of steps. "It is your responsibility to maintain and clean all of the rooms. Any damages will come out of your first paycheck. Don't even think about having a party."
Hiding from Japanese Ghosts
Ghost stories are the least frightening thing about Japan when facing culture clashes, mystery food, language barriers, and - scariest of all - marriage.