Japanese summers are hot and humid and because (at least where I live) there is no central air conditioning, it can get pretty miserable. Japanese culture has many clever ways to beat the heat during these sweltering months, but one of my favorites is the tradition of telling and listening to scary stories. I've heard many different reasons why this is done, but the one that might work best is that when you hear a truly frightening tale—one that sends goosebumps prickling your skin—you feel suddenly colder.
I don't know about you, but it's still frighteningly sweltering where I am, so let me introduce you to “Very Scary Story Gum” (Chou Kowai Hanashi Gum), by Top Seika. Now these have been around for awhile, but every summer they get a slightly new package and brand new stories. Every package includes a small slab of non-delicious gum, a folded horror story (white print on black paper) and a fuda or talisman card.
The stories range from haunted stuffed animals to haunted intersections and more. I think I like the talisman cards best. They're a nice touch and seem collectable (I only wish they were printed on two sides). One of mine tells me I'll be twice as scared and the other promises that if I carry it around I won't be harassed by ghosts.
I also discovered a nice touch when reading the package. There is a warning on the back stating that if you are the kind of person who doesn’t really like very scary stories then you should open and read this with a friend or under adult supervision.
Photo by Thersa Matsuura
Chou Kowai Hanashi Gum also has a character. Her name is Reiko, and, yes, she has a Twitter account.
She ... Tweets ... in a very ... spooky ... style ... too.
Photos: Thersa Matsuura
Japanese historian Nick Kapur unearthed "Osanaetoki Bankokubanashi" (童絵解万国噺), a wonderfully bizarre illustrated Japanese history of the USA from 1861, filled with fanciful depictions of allegedly great moments in US history, like "George Washington defending his wife 'Carol' from a British official named 'Asura' (same characters as the Buddhist deity)."
Chinese fish farms have successfully bred seven generations of Takifugu rubripes and ten generations of Takifugu obscurus that lack the gene that causes normal specimens of these pufferfish species to produce a deadly toxin that means near-instant death for anyone who eats a fish whose poison has not been completely removed during preparation.
Here’s a guy who went to a monkey park in Takasaki-yama in Japan and donned a monkey park worker uniform for a day to see what it was like. One reason Japan has monkey parks is to get them used to eating food there so they don’t invade nearby farms. The monkeys didn’t really like […]
What do Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google all have in common? Somewhere in their framework, they all use MySQL, that most versatile (and free!) of database management systems. And they’re not alone. If your company or the one you’d like to work for wrangles data (and who doesn’t?), they’re going to need someone with a […]
There’s a reason you’re hearing about the gig economy in every other business story these days. More than ever, people are finding income from more than one source. And if you find the right one, a side hustle can do more than just pad your pockets – it can allow you to finally get paid […]
High-def cameras are available to anyone and for much less than they were just a decade ago. Even the phones in our pockets can be used to shoot and edit short films. It’s never been easier to be a filmmaker, providing you have the technique. Enter the Film & Cinematography Mastery Bundle, an online boot […]