It’s hot this August. Not so much in degrees of Fahrenheit but the humidity presses down like a wet blanket. It’s not supposed to be like this in Hokkaido, but there you are. Blame it on global weirding. Nobody this year has said to me, “My, what a typical summer we’re having!” Nobody has the willpower to do much of anything except moan, “Hoooooot,” followed up by an occasional “Huuuuumid.” People can’t even bear the thought of an exclamation point.
On the main island of Japan, though, this kind of weather is a normal year – maybe even a little chilly. They beat the heat in various ways down there – pretty little fans, cotton robes, watermelon and shaved ice, but the tradition that concerns me today is the tradition of ghost stories.
That shiver down your spine? Japanese associate it with cooling pleasure, and it’s amazing how a scary story under the stars can give you the goosebumps.
The kind of story that really gets me is the kind where everything is normal . . . until suddenly it’s not. Continue reading