I write short stories based on Japanese mukashibanashi (folklore). Strange, scary and funny. Not necessarily for kids. I'd love to hear what you think of these stories. What does it mean to you?
The Spirit of Things
Translation of Japanese text: During the Kangbao period (964-968), people abandoned old artifacts on the roadside. These abandoned artifacts came together and said, “We dedicated ourselves to serving the master for many years, and there is no reward. Our Masters throw us out on the street and let us be trampled on by cattle and horses. Why don't we turn into spirits to take revenge?”
Yell at Your TV
Here’s my TV suggestion for what to watch when Grandma and Sonny have to share the remote. Or for people like me. People who like TV programs that inform as well as entertain and surprise. If you love the spectacular BBC’s Planet Earth series (who doesn’t?) but also occasionally enjoy getting the bejesus scared out of you, then you will love Netflix’s Night on Earth.
I’m a little embarrassed to admit I read my horoscope (Taurus) and pay fortune tellers in Japan for my birth year (Rooster). Back in the age of newspapers, the horoscope was one of my required reading. I pay attention to both the Western and Eastern Zodiac. Why be shy to admit this? After all, I’ve got a Ivy League master’s degree in international affairs and my dad was a physics professor.
Before his face was horribly scarred, Kyle had just been a run-of-the-mill juvenile delinquent. As a bored teenage boy in an affluent Colorado town, the son of a prominent minister and a beloved school teacher, Kyle was a terror. Stealing grocery money from his mother’s purse. Drinking his father’s liquor cabinet dry. Sneaking out of his bedroom window at night to break into cars. One night, he crossed the line. On his sixteenth birthday, Kyle managed to steal a car, speed across town, run a red light and crash into a woman driving home from work. Fortunately, the woman wasn’t hurt but Kyle was severely burned and ended up with a face and body resembling that of an old box turtle. At first, the minister and his wife hoped their son had learned his lesson. But even with the pain and his ghoulish face, Kyle just laughed and insulted the people who visited him in the hospital. His physical transformation into a monster seemed to have no effect on the boy’s nasty personality. In fact, he became more bitter, angry and resentful. So after months of putting up with the impossible young man, his parents finally kicked him out of the house. The town librarian noted Kyle reminded her of a picture of the Japanese reptile demon Kappa she saw in a book. From then on, everyone called him Kappa.
Times were very bad. A poor young man, Tatsuo, lived with his mother in a small house on the outskirts of town. Mother tended a small vegetable garden squeezed between them and their neighbors, while Tatsuo found odd jobs in town to bring home extra cash. He sometimes had to be gone for weeks at a time. One day after one of his job stints, Tatsuo brought home an ordinary-looking girl named Hiro.