NOTE: This is quite a long story so I divided it into THREE parts. As usual I am not the author of this story; I am only the translator.
THERE IS A LINK TO "Jashi Part 2" AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS ARTICLE.
I was 14 at the time when this story took place.
During the winter holiday it was decided that I would go to a holiday cottage, owned by my uncle, in N_ prefecture (though my "uncle" was still in his thirties).
I heard that my uncle originally wanted to go there with his girlfriend, but because they had recently split up he invited me instead.
Me and my uncle had been buddies since I was small and I jumped at the opportunity. My uncle lived in the same town as me, and he came to pick me up at my home early in the morning, and we started for the journey straight away.
My uncle was quite a stylish guy, and he had always taught me things about music and outdoor activities etc etc that I really looked up to him.
The journey took us eight long hours but we enjoyed ourselves by talking and listening to music.
When we were near the destination we bought some food for supper at supermarket.
And after a long climb up a steep hill, we finally arrived at the cottage.
It was a wooden lodge, not large but looked neat and cosy. Below and not far from us we saw a few other holiday cottages like ours, but these seemed empty.
For supper we had barbecue in the garden. After we had eaten enough meat to last our lifetime we moved back inside and played video games in front of the fireplace.
Later in the night our talks turned to ghost stories. My uncle had a deep knowledge on the subject and he really got me scared. I would like to write about his other stories too, if I ever get a chance....
Then, as if he suddenly remembered it, he said, "don't go to the mountain behind the cottage." He said that no local people would ever go near the mountain if they could help it. Maybe it had nothing to do with it, but there was once a CEO who lived in one of the cottages below and he hanged himself in the mountain.
Well, how could I even imagine going there after listening to these stories?
After this we continued talking and playing, and it was nearly five in the morning when we finally went to bed.
I woke up in the bright daylight. It was just past noon. Feeling thirsty, I went downstairs to get some water. On the way I peeped into my uncle's room and he was still deep in the dream world. It was a cold but fresh morning. The air in the countryside was totally different from the one in the city.
I stepped out on the balcony and sat on a chair. The balcony faced the mountain my uncle had told me about on the previous night. The mountain looked just like any other mountains I had ever seen.
I remembered there was a telescope inside the cottage and brought it outside so I could enjoy the beauty of the nature to full. It was a high-performance telescope and I could see clearly even things that were very far away. When I moved my focus to the mountain I was thrilled to see some birds resting on the branches that looked like they were right in front of me.
For about half an hour I was totally engrossed in looking into the telescope, until I noticed something was moving among the trees on the mountain side.
A man? That was what it looked like. I could see the man's back. His head was totally hairless. He kept swaying back and forth. A local man? A dance? In his hand was a large scythe. It was just unbelievable that someone could be naked outside in this cold weather. Was it a part of a festival? But he was alone.
I was confused and a lot of thoughts entered my mind. Because I was facing his back I couldn't see his face. His movement reminded me of Sankai Juku*1
I must not watch it any further.
I instinctively sensed danger. He was probably someone a bit funny in the head. It was freaky. But my curiosity took the better of me. I set the zoom level to max. The hairless head - it was pure white. It gave me a chill.
Just then the guy, still dancing, turned around slowly towards me. On the first look the guy's face gave an appearance of having an ordinary human face. It had a nose and a mouth; but it had no eyebrows and there was only one eye at the top of the nose - the eye which vertically opened. I trembled. One-eyed. Demented and deformed*2. Our eyes met through the lens. The guy twisted his lips. He was smiling.
The moment our eyes met I let out a scream. I couldn't stop crying. I just wanted to die. I was suddenly overcome by a strong feeling of depression. I wanna die I wanna die.... I was half crazed and kept running around the room when my uncle came rushing in.
"The telescope! The mountain!"
My uncle looked through the telescope.
He let out an indecipherable groan and put his head in his hands. He was crying.
By this time I had become a little calmer and asked,
"What's the hell was that!!"
"__koooh! ___kooooh!!*3," he kept shouting his ex-girlfriend's name, while crying uncontrollably. I've got to do something, I thought, and for the first time in my life I hit someone really hard in his face.
My uncle's body shook. Ten seconds...twenty seconds were gone before he finally looked at me.
"Listen. there are sunglasses in the desk in my room . Bring them over here. One for me and one for you as well"
"Just do it!!!"
I handed him the sunglasses as I was told. With shaking hands he put the sunglasses on and looked through the telescope. He moved the telescope around.
He said, and beckoned to me.
"Put on the sunglasses and look."
Fearfully I put the glasses on and looked through the telescope.
Although it was somewhat harder to see because of the sunglasses, I found the creature among the trees and our eyes met again. An unnameable fear gripped me but the feeling was not as strong as before. Still, my heart kept beating wildly.
But what caught my attention most was that the creature wasn't in the same place as I first saw him... The creature kept performing a weird jelly-fish like dance: despite the wild movement he kept a steady gaze towards our direction.
Was he moving down the mountain - to get here!?
"Do you want to pee?"
"What? Why now, of all the times!?"
"If you do, go and pee it into that empty bottle in the kitchen."
Saying thus, my uncle went downstairs. I couldn't possibly think of doing it at a time like this and I just stood there dumbfounded. Soon my uncle came back with a bottle into which he had poured his urine.
"When you feel like peeing use this," he said, and handed me an empty bottle.
"I mean, what on earth is that creature?"
"Yama-no-mono(a thing of mountain)... Yamako (mountain child).... I don't know. But when I was a kid I used to go camping in mountains with my father...oh, no, not that mountain! In mountains strange things can happen... We once heard people talking outside our tent at night even though there was nobody there. When things like that happened we would spray some urine around and the sounds would stop..."
He peered into the telescope once more.
Despite looking obviously distressed, he seemed he was trying his best to observe the creature.
"That thing... I don't know exactly at what speed but it's moving very slowly. Now I've lost him.. But there is no doubt he's moving towards this cottage."
"Well, we've got to get out of here and run away!"
"That wouldn't make any difference, probably... Unless we can divert his interest to something else he will follow us, to the world's end. This is a kind of curse. You write 'evil eye' and read it 'jashi'..."
"You said that word that before. How come you know so much about it?"
"Once I was travelling in North Europe -. Well, I'll talk about that later if we can come out of this alive."
"What do you mean by 'if we can come out of this alive'? Are we just gonna wait here like idiots until that creature comes for us?"
"No. We're going to counter-attack him."
My opinion was to stay put and hide in the cottage, but my uncle said that we had to do something before the creature reached us. I thought it would be far better to just run away than go and meet the ghastly thing, but I had always trusted my uncle. In the end, out of my respect for him, I decided to follow his decision.
Carrying the sunglasses, bottle, light snacks, binocular, wooden bat, and flashlight for each of us, we went to the mountain. My uncle said he wanted to finish it all before it got dark.
Could we really fight against its baleful eye? Was having sunglasses enough to endure eyeing the creature at close range? A lot of thoughts were running around in my head.
The mountain was a bigger place than I had expected. With binoculars in our hands, we searched around for the creature for a while, but my uncle said because the creature was moving towards us we would run into each other eventually.
It would be dangerous to go too far in the mountain as it was getting dark, so we decided to wait for the creature in an open area about 500 m from our cottage.
"As I said, all we've got to do is divert its interest from us...that's all we have to do.."
"We have to get close to him, that's for sure. But don't look straight into his eyes. You've got to see him sideways. You know what I'm talking about, don't you? Try to locate him without making an eye contact. And then splash urine over him. If that doesn't work - you listening? I'm serious - if that doesn't work, show your penis to him."
"Jashi hates things unclean, like feces and urine, and sex organs... It won't kill him but it could make him go away; it would mean we have some hope of saving ourselves."
"What if it doesn't work?"
"Then we would have to run away. By car."
Wrapped up in an undefinable terror we sat on the rocks and waited. We took turns looking into the binoculars. It was four in the evening.
Go to Jashi #2
*1 Sankai Juku - an avant-garde dance group specializing in a type of dance called "Ankoku Butoh" meaning "dance of darkness."
*2 Demented and deformed - I say this again to avoid misunderstandings: I have nothing against people with any form of disability. I am not the author of this story (I'm only translating it) and I am sorry if this story has offended someone with its use of certain discriminatory words.
*3 _kooh - indicating the uncle is shouting a girl's name ending with "ko," like Yoko Ono. From the end of WW2 until recently (as far as I know), using "ko(meaning "little,""child") to end a girl's name with was a popular practice. But the popularity has been waning somewhat in recent years and it is now rarer to find little girls with "ko" at the end of their names. The use of "ko" has connotations of being old fashioned and formal.