Aug 25, 2018

I ain't afraid of no yurei

Last week, I told you about tips for improving reading skill. So, I take 30 minutes out of my day to read blogs, news or wiki pages in Japanese. Kanji look up is saving me! Some language educators recommend that, when you do extensive reading (tadoku in Japanese) you should disregard the unknown words until you get through the whole passage. They advised this in the days when the only resource was the paper dictionary or word list, and looking up cost time and broke the flow of reading. Now, I just hover over an unknown word and I immediately get the reading and meaning. I still break out the dictionary after to make sure I've got the word in my noggin.

Another key to extensive reading and reading aloud (rodoku in Japanese) is to read about topics you want to know about. What immediately came to mind is local lore, because I like my town, Noda City, and I love a good story. And I found a lot of ghosts.

I ain't afraid of no yurei photo

The Nio statue at Shimizu Park will keep the ghosts at bay with that face.

My reading revealed that Noda City is filled with spooks. Shimizu Park is said to be the site of many unfortunate ends. Many people report that they have had close encounters with the other world. One person said that, at the field athletics course, she lost her footing and ended up in the water. She felt something gripping her ankle and pulling her down. Another person claims that spirits of a man who hanged himself, and a woman who burned herself and her children haunt the park. 

Even seemingly safe places have creepy stories. Sakuragi Shrine has a tale, too.I ain't afraid of no yurei photo

Sakuragi Shrine honors the innocent cherry blossom. 

One afternoon, between errands, a man parked his car near the shrine. There are woods around the shrine, so it's shady. When he woke up, he opened the car door and clearly heard a voice say "Arigato" yet there was nobody to be seen. A while later, some children came across a dead body nearby which was likely lying there the afternoon the driver took his nap. At least, that's what he claims.

But the biggest spookfest is apparently on the Kananoi Ohashi, the bridge that carries Route 16 traffic between Noda City and Kasukabe City across the Edo River. On either end of the bridge are temples with cemeteries and the bridge has had its share of traffic accidents, some fatal. Drivers claim they've seen apparitions. Some say that a ghost of a woman reaches into the windows of vehicles. 

Reading the stories was engrossing and I learned a lot of vocabulary quickly. Of course, similar stories show up on many websites, so I get practice reading the same content again and again.

I'm not scared. But I might find some other topics to read about...



Living between the Tone and Edo Rivers in Higashi Katsushika area of Chiba Prefecture.