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Sunday, 2 June 2013

The Room Next Door

Note: Please do NOT copy or distribute my work without my permission. Thank you for your cooperation.

This happened when I was still living in an apartment.
The apartment was located on the outskirts of a rural village and the room next to mine had been empty for ages.

One day I was trying to get some sleep when I heard some hushed voices form the next room.
"Yamano kansan, mou oran jaro. Saru do mazesena, tataruzo."*1

They were talking in dialect. The words could be translated as: "The mountain god is probably no longer there. If you don't set a monkey on it or something, a curse would ensue."
I'd never heard that sort of conversation before so didn't dwell too much on their meaning.

But their voices, which at first were mere whispers, gradually grew louder and louder, and eventually turned into a cacophony.  I assumed, without thiking much about it, that they were just rude people, who had moved in during the day when I was out for work. So I knocked loudly twice on the wall as I lay on the bed.

For a brief moment, the voices ceased. But then they started again and I heard them say, we've been caught, we've been caught, we must kill. It became like a meeting of old men as the voices began to increase in number.
But I was a laid back sort of person and even then all I thought was, now I can finally go back to sleep.
However just as I turned over in the bed, one voice rang out in the next door. This boss of the voices*2 screamed out,  "Man? Or Beast? You are man! Aren't you!?" and he bashed himself against the wall making a terrible bang.
My body was suddenly rendered immobile and I passed out. When I came to I was lying next to a well behind a shrine.

The priest who nursed me, after offering me some tea, said, "There's no need for gratuity but you must have yourself purified here today," and starved to death.

*1"yama no kansan...." The original Japanese text is the following: 山のかんさん もうおらんじゃろ 猿どまぜせな、たたるぞう。Althought it's in dialect some bits of it is still translatable: for example, "yama" means "mountain."  But I thought transliteration would be better here, because I feel it fits well with the rest of the story. (This is obviously the part that gave me the most trouble, because I cannot translate a dialect like that.)

*2 "boss" of the voices : a weird expression, but "boss" is the exact word the author used in the original text, so I left it there.


  1. I can hear you all go WTH!?
    That was my reaction too when I first read it. LOL

    You may not like it, but I personally like it including the VERY sudden ending.

    We don't exactly know who it was that starved to death at the end.

  2. Did the priest sacrificed himself to save the author from them or something?

  3. @Anon: That's possible. But as I said I'm not sure if it was the priest who died, dear. The sentence, "starved to death" has no subject in the original Japanese text.

    Did you know in Japan you can write a sentence without a subject? For example, in English you say "it's raining," but in Japan you can say "raining," without it. In the same way I can just say "hungry" to mean "I'm hungry." It's weird but it's something to do with the Japanese culture which highly values self-effacement. Japanese tends to avoid saying things clearly.

    So the story ends without clearly stating who died, and the sentence just gets inserted there out of nowhere.
    I probably failed to convey the weirdness of the story or the suddenness of its ending, but at least I tried!

  4. yeah...same reaction here.."WTF?!" at the end being so sudden. lol

  5. @Ragnarok: isn't it just? LOL I just love it.

  6. ?????

    Okay... That was an odd, abrupt ending.

  7. @spinning totem: yep, I was expecting you to say that!

  8. hmm, very interesting. interrupting youkai's conversation and getting possessed by something, with weird last sentence - if the author's the one who starved to death, then we are hearing the story that's told by the spirit of the author? It's open to many possibilities, and i agree to the categories - inexplicable ^^

  9. The dude is actually replacing the monkey they should sacrifice to the mountain god, because the boss is offended and cornered, he knock out the boy using that amazing power... and then the boy end up in the shrine where the mountain god live while the priest prepare the ritual...

    my thought :)

  10. @arshvein: You have a good point there! If he's the one who died then who's writing this? XD
    But I know about one 2chan thread which was said to be made by a real ghost. I should translate that too and show it to you guys.

    I'm glad there's a person who seems to find the story interesting, apart from me! Perked me up a bit. :D

    And you know about youkai too! :D
    That was the impression I got from the story too, that they must be youkai!

    Thanks for your comment!!

    @Toyboxed: Can I come into your toy box too? haha

    Your theory is very interesting! I never thought of it like that! Thank you for that!! :D

  11. Although abrupt, that was a brilliant story! I particularly find it interesting because of all the possible plots you can think about and of the chance to use your imagination more. Thus, this could be a completely different story for each reader, thus making it scarier! Anyways, because of the ritual, this kinda reminded me of the Fatal Frame series (anyone?), with the well, and the priest, the shrine and the rituals and stuff... Great story! ;)

  12. @Tia: If there are one or two people enjoying this story, that's more than enough for me (*^^*) hehe

    Lots of people told me about the Fatal Flame game - but sadly I never played it! I'm not so good with action games (I think it's an action game?), but maybe I can watch a walkthrough on youtube.
    I recently watched a walkthrough of Silent Hill 2 because I'd be too clumsy to play it myself.

    This story certainly has little attractive details. It has a fairy-tale feel to it!

    Thank you for your comment! <3

  13. The Fatal Frame series is definitely a game worth playing, you should totally get it! Its packed with terror creeping around every corner, and its eerie atmosphere in combination with its amazing plot makes it a memorable experience! The best part of course, is your sole weapon to defend yourself: Camera Obscura, a camera blessed with exorcising properties. This is gonna be your ONLY weapon to defeat the hordes of spirits that try to eliminate you and unravel the horrible truths that lie ahead in each of the games! If you do get them (which i strongly recommend), don't give up at the first fail. Although not for the faint hearted, once you get to learn the camera controls, it'll be a piece of cake! ;)

    PS: Sorry for the loooong comment! :P

  14. @Tia: sounds like a great game! The weapon's a camera? That's unique. Maybe I'll get it and play it over the summer! :D

    Don't apologize! I love getting long comments! lol

    Thank you for that!!!

  15. Good guy priest, savving the guy from terrible....voices i guess...

  16. I actually read the original japanese version of this story of this a long time ago, and I'm still confused about it haha
    great job with the translation saya!

  17. @HN3: yeah, but I wonder if he had to starve to death to save him! Or, when you say "voices," it makes me think that maybe this guy is a schizophrenic, and the voices and what happened to him are all in his imagination! :D

    @mogiru: oh? that's unusual! The story isn't well-known, and probably not even many Japanese people heard of it either. Interesting. And your Japanese must be very good!

    Thank you for the kind compliment! :D

  18. Lol. I also had a "wtf" reaction. this story is definitely weird. And I must say that TOYBOXED'S theory was pretty interesting and I agree with him.hahaha.

  19. Maybe the man was starved to death already, and his soul arrived to the shrine

  20. really, 2channel could be written by a ghost? o may... interesting...

    the issues like this always make me excited :D

  21. 一様日本語は読めるんですけど(書くよりは読みのほうが得意なんですがwww)

  22. I guess the person wrote it when he was already in his limit. I think he was already starving like crazy while writing it. he just wrote "starved to death" because he already know that he will die soon. I mean, I don't think a ghost wrote the story lol. and oh, is this story came from 2chan?

  23. @mogiru: Oh wow. すごいですね。I'm very impressed! 日本語は、あいまいな言葉が多いし、文法も英語ほどちゃんと整ってないかんじだし、学ぶのは難しいと思います。そこまで読めたり、書けたりするのは、本当にたいしたものだと思います。いや~感心しました。世界は広いですね~!






  24. @HN3: Awww sorry, I nearly overlooked your comment!
    Yes, you might be right! You can come up with so many interesting possibilities with this story!

    @unicorn: I know this story was on 2chan, but I'm not sure if it came from 2chan. It might have been a copypasta, for all we know.

    And thank you for another interesting theory! :D

  25. はははアメリカ育ちの日本人ですから、これくらい日本語が出来ないと親が泣いてしまいますwwww

  26. @mogiru: なるほど!それでも凄いと思います。ご両親が日本人でも、アメリカにいて日本語を習うのは、日本に普通に住んで習うよりも難しいと思います。環境が違いますからね! So well done!






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