Tonight I threw together a costume at the last minute, assuming I had a certain Matrix robe only to recall it having been lent out to someone 2 or 3 years ago. On the plus side, I managed to fit my butt into a pair of black jeans for the first time in several years! Here are a few pics of the final result of my haphazard efforts. (I wish I had time for more details, but it's now 4am and I have to get up in 3 hours!)

As you may have ascertained by the post title, I went as John Lennon tonight during his marriage to Yoko Ono, when his sons Sean & Julian were but wee beetles. Btw, before I went home, Rob & I head over to Liga and warbled a few tunes. My first tune, of course, was...Imagine.


Creepy Critters.

It's Hallowe'ene'ene'en and I still have a ton of Yōkai to get through, so I thought I'd intersperse some of the various creepy crawlers, critters and creatures with the latest of my Junior High School kids' creations. The first of the kids' drawings is the eeriest (I gotta show this one to the school's psychiatrist) and I'll end with the cutest.
オゴメ (Ogome) looks like a screaming marble, she is also known as 姑獲鳥 (Ubumedori). It's the spirit of a woman that died giving birth, and she caries around with her the baby as well. She will ask passers-by to hold on to her baby for a sec, and the baby suddenly grows heavier and heavier in the poor victims hands, until it's so heavy the victim dies.
Remember that Tweety cartoon where he accidentally swallows the Jekyll/Hyde potion? That's what the キジムナー (Kijimuna=Okinawan Sprite) look like as portrayed by Mizuki, but they are usually represented as little boys with bright red hair. Some say that only children or the pure of heart can see the kijimunaa. They are known for playing harmless pranks yet can also be helpful though quick to change their minds. They enjoy fishing and eating fish. The only thing they fear is the octopus.
In my best Jamaican Reggae voice, "Oh ya man, it's a  じゃみ (Jya-mi). FF to the end or listen to this guy talk about cicada.

Dragon my ass here, I'll present 龍 or 竜 (Ryu or tatsu), like other creatures referred to as dragons, the Ryū is a large, fantastic, serpent-like being, and is closely related to other Oriental dragons such as the Chinese lóng and the Korean ryong. Japanese dragons share a close connection with water and their association is focused primarily on the sea.
 Another Dragon-esque creature is the 出世螺 (Shusebora), who like Venus lives on a half-shell.
 Wearing a pair of glasses that'd put Dame Edna to shame, にょいじさい (Nyoi-Jizai) is a Yōkai spirit that means "as one wishes, completely free and unconstrained."
 "You like me, you really really like me!" proclaimed Sally Field after winning her Oscar for ノウマ (Nouma).
 黒髪切 (Kuro Kami-kiri) is a big black bear-like thing that cuts your hair without your knowledge.
If crows weren't scary enough in Japan as it is, wait until you meet やた烏 (Yata-Garasu) or Ghost Crows! The creature is a raven called 八咫烏 which is the bird of the sun goddess Amaterasu. The Yatagarasu appears in the Japanese ancient document called the Kojiki (古事記) where it was called upon to choke a beast attempting to devour the sun and as the protector to Emperor Jimmu. The three-legged version of the Yatagarasu is used as the emblem of the Japan Football Association today.
 猿神 (Saru-Gami) is a kind of Ape-god that isn't similar to any simian I know of, it was a wicked monkey spirit which was defeated by a dog.

Dudley Moore lusted after Bo Derek in てん (Ten) but I don't think he'd be so quick to seduce this pile of fiery weasels (いたち).

 Well, that's 10 creatures, I'll try and post a few more tomorrow. I have a busy weekend ahead of me, thank goodness there's a typhoon in town to help everything run smoothly!


Time Of The Season.

You know, there are lots of spooks and spirits, goblins and ghosts and devils and demons but there are very few Zombie-esque Yōkai in this particular book.

Since Osakabe looks a tad undead and I can't find much info on her (in English), I'm going to consider her amongst the unliving.

I'm sure that  Fudakaeshi is more a spirit than a Romero-reject but she sure looks like she belongs in one of his movies.

がしゃどくろ (Gashadokuro) is a giant skeleton made from the collected bones of people who have died from starvation. You have to run quick or they’ll pluck you off the ground and bite your head off. I would assume that the biting off of one's head infers that one's brains would be consumed, so this guy fits the bill. Unfortunately, this awesome looking skeleton is not within this particular book of Shigeru Mizuki's creations, so I had to scam him from this guy who has done a darned good job of anglicizing his characters.

Watch this and you'll see what I mean...

"Why the sudden interest in Zombies and their ilk today?", you might ask. Tonight I saw the best Kabuki-Zombie-Comedy-Musical ever made (it may be the only KZCM but that's not the point.) Though I couldn't comprehend 90% of the language (they use a lot of classical Japanese and talk really really fast), I found it fascinating.

This is what your typical Kabuki play looks like.

Now picture that filled with slow-moving, slurring Living Dead (slow-moving when they aren't dancing, that is.)

Originally a stage play, they filmed it and I caught the last night of a limited (and overpriced) engagement here in Sendai. 大江戸りびんぐでっど (Oo-Edo Living Dead-that link will take you to the website) takes place in ancient Edo (now called Tokyo) and it follows a love story between our two leads, a fishmonger and his wife and several classical Kabuki artisans that they meet along the way.

The fishmonger has discovered a stinky ointment that he uses to preserve his rotting fish and accidentally covers himself in it. This proves to be quite fortuitous considering the Zombies are repelled by it.

There are some good gags in it, such as: when the protagonist is trying to communicate with the mumbling undead, he splashes it with water and draws the kanji for 水 in its palm (The Miracle Worker); there's a good running gag with an obese zombie who is always chowing down on something, whether it's a cat, a lower human torso or a pig's head; several traditional Kabuki heroes arrive to save the day and are quickly dispatched by the brain-sucking hordes. The makeup varies from dime-store scabs to full on eye-popping, brain dripping, arm-rending effects and the choreography is wonderful. You'll want to dance along with them.

Here is the teaser I saw last summer, watch it and you'll see why I was so intrigued.

I may have been the only one in the theatre to notice this (all 11 of us), but do you think that the theme song bears an uncanny resemblance to the following?

Since I'm linking to old 60's music, how about some Zombies with today's post's title?


Tengu Very Much.

Watch this and get very creeped out and then we'll learn more about 天狗 (Tengu)...

I have lots of linking to do so bear with me. Shigeru Mizuki told tales of
山天狗 (Mountain Tengu) & 天狗つべて (Tengu Tsubute) and here are the pics but then, I'll go speak of more general Tengu.

Tengu is a mythical mountain goblin. Tengu has a red face and extremely long nose, and carries a "hauchiwa (feathered fan)." Part man and part bird, tengu have supernatural powers, though they are mischievous rather than evil.
Tengu are worshipped by "yamabushi (mountain priests)," and they usually wear the costume of "yamabushi" with tall "geta (wooden clogs)." Minamoto Yoshitsune (a great warrior in 12th century) is famous for being taught martial arts and strategy by a tengu on Mt. Kurama, north of Kyoto.

Tengu also have been known to abduct children. In the Kamakura period (1192-1333), there were many sudden disappearance attributed to kidnappings by tengu. There is a saying "tengu ni naru (to become a tengu)," which means to become conceited.

Here is the story of 天狗の隠れ蓑 (The Tengu's magic cape), just follow along the "next" button and you can read the whole story. (I suspect that you'll be tempted to listen to the music but it's very tinny.) Once you've familiarized yourself with the story, you can watch this video of it.

If you want to dig up some more Tengu tales, Google these:

"The Old Man's Lump Removed" (瘤取り爺さん, Kobu-tori Jiisan): An old man has a lump or tumor on his face. In the mountains he encounters a band of tengu making merry and joins their dancing. He pleases them so much that they take the lump off his face, thinking that he will want it back and join them the next night. An unpleasant neighbor, who also has a lump, hears of the old man's good fortune and attempts to repeat it. The tengu, however, simply give him the first lump in addition to his own, either to keep their bargain, or because they are disgusted by his bad dancing.[32]

"The Tengu's Fan" (天狗の羽団扇, Tengu no Hauchiwa) A scoundrel obtains a tengu's magic fan, which can shrink or grow noses. He secretly uses this item to grotesquely extend the nose of a rich man's daughter, and then shrinks it again in exchange for her hand in marriage. Later he accidentally fans himself while he dozes, and his nose grows so long it reaches heaven, resulting in painful misfortune for him.

"The Tengu's Gourd" (天狗の瓢箪, "Tengu no Hyōtan"): A gambler meets a tengu, who asks him what he is most frightened of. The gambler lies, claiming that he is terrified of gold or mochi. The tengu answers truthfully that he is frightened of a kind of plant or some other mundane item. The tengu, thinking he is playing a cruel trick, then causes money or rice cakes to rain down on the gambler. The gambler is of course delighted and proceeds to scare the tengu away with the thing he fears most. The gambler then obtains the tengu's magic gourd (or another treasured item) that was left behind.

A tengu bothers a woodcutter, showing off his supernatural abilities by guessing everything the man is thinking. The woodcutter swings his axe, and a splinter of wood hits the tengu on the nose. The tengu flees in terror, exclaiming that humans are dangerous creatures who can do things without thinking about them. 

Sorry this was full of lazy linking but it's bedtime.
Saving Face.

I only had one lesson today and a ton of free time, so I went through my October entries and through Mizuki's tome and it appears that I have fallen short of my goal of showing off his magnificent works. I have shown 83 pics and only have 96 to go! I undertook too great a task for this year, so it means I can save more for next year!

Today, I'll make up for it and feature several facial features featured in this creature creation. (I will have to cut down on the editorializing; I'll link whenever possible but I won't be able to translate much.)
輪入道 (Wanyūdō or Wheel Monk) is an apparition appearing in the form of a flaming wheel with a bald monk's face in the center, which sucks out the soul of anyone who sees it.

釣瓶おとし (Tsurube-Otoshi) is a creature that lurks in the tops of trees and drops down on unsuspecting humans, and has various descriptions - sometimes it is some sort of oni or tengu, sometimes it is a fireball or a disembodied head.
 舞首 (Maikubi) are the quarreling heads of three dead miscreants. For some reason, when I put it in my Google, I got Shakira!

She's got Bette Davis' eye: 一目連 (Ichi-Moku Ren)appears in a shrine's gateway after a rainstorm that causes a flood and is actually Venus or the Morning Star. (Not to be confused with Ren Ichimoku who is a character in the Hell Girl manga/anime.)

In Mizuki's book, 一つ目小僧 (Hitotsu-me Kozo) is a one-eyed novice monk who peddles quail eggs. Other accounts show him as a relatively benign creature, content to run about frightening human beings or telling loud people to be quiet (they enjoy silence). However, many people consider an encounter with a one-eyed goblin to be a bad omen. For this reason, the superstitious often leave bamboo baskets in front of their houses, as these are reputed to repel the creatures. A reason for this may be that, in seeing the basket's many holes, the Hitotsume-kozō will see the basket as having many eyes, and run away jealous and ashamed at only having one.

手の目 (Te no Me) is the ghost of a blind man with his eyes on his hands. He looks a lot like the Faun from Pan's Labrynth, doesn't he?

目目連 (MokuMoku Rei) are spirits that live in torn 障子 (shōji, Japanese paper sliding walls). If the shōji has many holes, eyes can sometimes be seen on it, which, if looked at long enough, can make people blind. The only way to remove the spirit from the wall is to patch up the holes in it.

海座頭 (Umi Zatou) means blind man of the sea, but I couldn't decypher much more than that.

Here's a pretty cool YouTube though:


Mouthing Off!

The 二口女 (Futakuchi-Onna=two-mouthed woman) is typical of a few other female yōkai (such as rokurokubi, kuchisake-onna and the yama-uba,) women afflicted with a curse or supernatural disease that transforms them into yōkai. The supernatural nature of the women in these stories is usually concealed until the last minute, when the true self is revealed.
(More on them later this week.)

A futakuchi-onna is characterized by her two mouths - a normal one located on her face and second one on the back of the head beneath the hair. There, the woman's skull splits apart forming lips, teeth and a tongue, creating an entirely functional second mouth.

Though there are several stories linking the appearance of a futakuni-onna's second mouth to different causes, it is most often linked to how little a woman eats. The soon-to-be futakuchi-onna is usually a wife of a miser and rarely eats. To counteract this, a second mouth mysteriously appears on the back of the woman's head. The second mouth often mumbles spiteful and threatening things to the woman and demands food. If it is not fed, it can screech obscenely and cause the woman tremendous pain. Eventually the woman's hair begins to move like a pair of serpents, allowing the mouth to help itself to the woman's meals.

While no food passes through her normal lips, the mouth in the back of her head consumes twice what the other one would. In another story, the extra mouth is formed when a stingy woman is accidentally hit in the head by her husband's axe while he is chopping wood, and the wound never heals. Other stories have the woman as a mother who lets her stepchild die of starvation while keeping her own offspring well fed; presumably, the spirit of the neglected child lodges itself in the stepmother's body to exact revenge.

Maybe she'd enjoy some pancakes...


Ghost Arms And Legs!

てあらい鬼 (Te-arai Oni) is an Oni who is so large it's said he straddles the gaps between mountains.

ほそ手 (Hoso-De=slender arms) are these long slender arms (duh) that hang around your home out of duty.

足まがり (Ashi-Magari=leg turner) is a soft thing, like a kitten or a wad of cotton, which is felt wrapping itself around a person's leg at night, impeding the ability to walk. While it is not generally visible, Ashi-Magari is often believed to be the trick of a tanuki.

Ghost Leg known in Japan as 阿弥陀籤 (Amidakuji) is a method of lottery designed to create random pairings between two sets of any number of things, as long as the number of elements in each set is the same. This is often used to distribute things among people, where the number of things distributed is the same as the number of people. For instance, chores or prizes could be assigned fairly and randomly this way.
Check out Amidakuji for an example or look at these ghostly examples that I picked up. They come with a piece of gum and I really wonder what each of the 18 different ones entails (but at a buck a pop, it wasn't worth finding out.)
This card matches じんたいもけい (dissected human body), おんなのこの・にんきょう (girl doll), キュラーズ (Dracula?) with either 3, 24 or 9999 people (victims?)
This card matches バクロック (Ghost-Rock), オオカミおとこ (Ookami-Otoko or werewolf, ゾンビ (Zonbi) with もくようび (Thursday), かようび (Tuesday) きにょうび (Friday).

Here's a cute song about Ghost-Rock.

For no particular reason other than that it is the coolest video ever I present a THRILLER:

kaiju dance
Uploaded by gariisenab. - More video blogs and vloggers.


Yummy Yōkai .

Wow, only 8 days until All Hallow's Eve and I have several Yōkai to get through so I'll intersperse several with some delicious treats that I've gathered over the last little while. It has been very Slim Pickens indeed but thank goodness Disney sold out long ago and provided us with a few. Such as these chocolate-filled little cookies sporting a vampiric Mickey.

元興寺 (Gagoze) is a demon who attacked young priests at Gangō-ji temple, I can't determine whether or not he ate their cookies. Here's a charming little story about its origin and here is a manga by that name.
For the ladies, a witchy Minnie and a princess Daisy promote a similar cookie only with a strawberry filling. Minnie looks pretty cute here but imagine if she dressed up as くびれ鬼 (Kubire-Oni or Strangler Demon), now that would be awesome.

The latter picture can be found in this awesome picture book for kids featuring the most horrific creatures imaginable. My personal favourite is the  絡新婦 or Jorougumo/Whore-Spider!
This guy likes to talk about its entymological equivalent.
(Arachnophobes such as Frog Queen beware.)

Speaking of the Frog Queen, she'd enjoy meeting the cute little  センポク・カンポク (Senpoku/Kanpoku), a toadish imp with a human face that shows up at the County Morgue after one's been dead for three weeks. On the fourth week, it accompanies you the graveyard with them.

Being such a wuss about spiders though, she certainly won't like this guy. It's 大ぐも (Oo-Gumo) from Shinano in Nagano-Ken, a giant Spider-Yōkai that feasts on the blood of humans. (To be honest, I'm not so keen on the creature either.)
Here, Goofy is serving some up to a Devilish Donald!
Stitch and Roo have bat wings while Pooh-san dons a pumpkin while promoting these おこさませんべい (Okosama Senbei), a tasteless rice cracker.

I threw a few of these in a bonfire and check out who appeared. It's 煙羅煙羅 (Enra-Enra also known as 煙々羅 or Enenra), a yōkai that is comprised of smoke. It resides in bonfires and, when it emerges, it takes the form of a human woman. It is said that an Enenra can only be seen by the pure of heart so I never saw it. As the YouTube shows, it's also an anime character.

More tomorrow with a few more treats to go along with the tricks.


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