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Monday, 7 October 2013

Reverse-S Ward

Please do NOT copy/distribute my works without permission. Thank you for your cooperation. 

13 Oct 2013 - I made a little alteration to the translation.

Hello, ladies and gentlemen!

As you know I usually write messages on the text widget on the side bar, but the widget hasn't been working. Blogger sucks sometimes.
Anyway, I'm looking forward to get some feedback on this story, partly because it took me quite a while to translate it (it is a long story, after all.) Also I personally think it's an interesting story and I hope you guys will enjoy reading it as much as I did!
So please don't be shy and leave a comment! I love getting comments from you and they are the only things that keep me going sometimes.

Well, my friends, take care!

Love,
Saya

_________________________________________________________________________

This is going to be long.

The story involves a certain area in Kyushu*1.
Let's call it "S ward." There was another place over a mountain from S ward, which was known by the name of "Reverse-S ward."*2
Nowadays people rarely use the word reverse but instead call it "New-S ward" but my grandparents still call it Reverse-S ward.

The reason it has "Reverse" in front of the name shows it hasn't got very good connotations to it.
The "Reverse" in this case implies that it is a Buraku-related area*3.
When I was a high schooler, the schools in such areas still gave lessons on discrimination against the Buraku.
(I'm only trying to tell my story and not trying to promote discrimination against the Buraku)

A few years ago, a boy (I'll call him A) went missing (although he was found to have committed suicide later).
I am originally from S ward. A was from Reverse-S ward but he went to a school in S ward.
He was my friend; we were good friends until he started bullying a particular student.
And that student was no other than me. No one around me stopped him. Not only did they not stop, but they also pretended nothing was happening, as if we were invisible to them.
Even when I begged him to stop he wouldn't stop hitting and kicking me. It all started suddenly, out of the blue, and I initially thought he was just looking for a fight and I hit him back, but unfortunately there was a big difference in our physical builds and strength.
The next day he again suddenly started beating me. Without any reasons. I asked him why he was doing it but he never answered me.
He always had a faint smile on his face as he hit me and that made it even scarier.

Then suddenly A stopped coming to school. I was so relieved.
But after such an incident, no one at school really wanted to come near me anymore. It was my first real taste of isolation.
I was surrounded by so many people yet I felt so utterly alone. One day, after three weeks of A's absence, our class tutor told me he wanted to have a talk with me.
This is the conversation we had:

Tutor "You were good friends with A, am I right?"
Me "Not really...."
Tutor "Hmmm.... You weren't bullying him?"
Me "Huh?What?? Me?? Or  you mean A was bullying me???"
Tutor "No, you. I won't say anything to anyone so tell me truthfully. I promise you won't get into trouble."
Me "No way, me???"

That time I honestly didn't understand what he was on about. In the tutor's mind somehow I was the one who was bullying him.
So I decided to set the record straight.

Me "I didn't really want to tell you this, but I was the one who was bullied... I was hit and kicked in front of other students..."
Tutor "You sure?? You?? Other students were watching??"
Me "Of course. But why did you think I was bullying him? Who told you that?"
Tutor "Well... Nothing. Forget it."

There was something obviously strange in his manner. He looked perplexed. For the next few moments we were both silent.
Then the tutor suddenly spoke.

Tutor "A's been, as you know, absent from school, right? I don't know what he's been doing but he seems to be refusing to come to school. I've called his home but his parents would always answer me and tell me he is not at home."
Me "......."
Tutor "And then, yesterday I could finally get through to him and I asked him what's been happening with him. What A told me then was that he was afraid of you."
Me "Eh?? Me???"
Tutor "Hmmm...Yes, he says he's scared of you and won't listen to me."
Me "Wait a minute, me? It's the opposite. I'm the one who is afraid of A."
Tutor "Right. OK. I understand. I'll just ask you one more time but you really aren't bullying him?"
Me "No, I'm not."

That was our conversation and after that he let me go and I went straight home.

I thought bullying only happened when there were a lot of people against one person. I once saw bullying when I was at junior high school and that image stuck in my mind as a typical example of bullying. You would also sometimes hear a group of students bullying one student by taking money by force or stripping him naked in the toilet. Those were the kind of things I imagined bullying to be. I never imagined only one single person could bully another person. Not only that, he even tried to set the tutor against me!
For the first time in my life I felt a real rage towards someone. I felt it wasn't enough to just hit him. I wanted to murder him. That was how I really felt.

From the following day I started to skip classes. I didn't feel like going there and anyway even if I went I would just be all alone, I thought.
However, during this period I witnessed something terrible which nearly caused me to lose my mind.





What happened was a "suicide."
Someone jumped off the apartment I was living in. At the time it happened I was waiting for the elevator to arrive in the elevator hall.
Then a strange sound like "Gyeeeeeeeeeeee," reached my ears, and soon after that the sound "Boooooom!" followed.
That Boom sound seemed to be the result of something falling hard onto the roof of the bicycle parking lot. When I went to take a look at it I became really sick and couldn't hold back my tears.
The whole experience was made worse by the fact that I'd been already feeling unstable from the bullying.
I was completely traumatised, and to this day I still can't use elevators.
I can use the one like in my company building but I can't get into the one that's see-through and built in apartments.
The reason is that I saw something that's really unimaginable.

I'd been staring down at the bicycle parking lot, but the moment I looked up a spiral staircase came into my view.
And on that staircase I noticed a person standing there, whose clothes and hair-style were exactly the same as that of the person on the roof below (although the hair might have been slightly different).
That was probably something I shouldn't have seen.
He slowly started walking down the spiral staircase. He walked very slowly, his face downcast. They were like twins, the person on the stairs and the person on the roof.

Just then the sound "dingg!" rang out from the elevator hall, announcing the arrival of the elevator. I was startled and turned around.
And he was there too. I think. He was probably there but I don't remember very clearly.
When I think about it now I question myself, was he really there? But at the time I thought he was there.
Even as that "dingg!" sound rang and I turned around, I heard Booom again.
But this time the sound was coming from inside of the elevator.
Boom. Boooom. Booooom. Boooooooom.
It seemed I temporarily lost control of myself and I collapsed.

I was taken to the hospital soon after. The doctor told me to forget everything I saw or heard, and he prescribed me some medicine. For the next week or so all I could do was groan.
After a week my condition appeared much better but I was putting a false front before my parents and the doctor.
I wasn't getting any better at all. Not only that I could still hear that Boom sound and it followed me everywhere I went.

Afterwards when I thought I could try going to school again, I remembered about A. It was his fault I was experiencing these things.
If he hadn't bullied me I wouldn't have had to go through any of this.
He was making me suffer and he deserved to die. Yes, I could even ask the one who was making this Boom sound to help me.
I was serious. I was most likely slowly sinking into madness. I was actually praying to the one who was making "the noise."

The next day I went to school but during the lunch break I asked my tutor whether I could go home. The tutor knew the state I was in and gave me a permission immediately. A was still not at school.
On the way home I bumped into the old guy who had given us a lecture about the Buraku discrimination some days ago.
The old guy was an uncle of A and I'd seen him and spoken to him several times before.
But this guy's behaviour was all wrong from the start.
At first he just greeted me like normal, but then he glanced at me again and suddenly uttered, "Ohhh...."
I thought, "A had been telling him tales too?" like a paranoid person, and tried to ignore it and walk past the weird guy.
But then my ears caught him saying mantra under his breath.
I stopped dead in my tracks and spun around to face him. As if looking at me and doing something weird like uttering "Ohhh" wasn't bad enough, he started saying mantra!

It was the first time I struck someone without provocation. It sounds like an excuse but in my unstable mental state I felt no qualms about hitting someone like that. I just immersed myself in the anger I felt. My move was so sudden that it must have taken the old guy by surprise. He crouched down on the spot and groaned in pain but I ignored it and kicked him. The fact that he was A's relative fuelled my anger even further.

"Bastard! Your family's full of psychos or what? You just enjoy ruining people's lives don't you?? You talk about discrimination but you don't mind doing it yourself, right? Say something, you freak! Your family should all be killed. Your minds are all fucked up!"
So I kept kicking him. But then something unexpected happened.
Below is our conversation.

Old Guy "HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"
Me "!? You sicko. Why are you laughing like that!"
Old Guy "HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. I see, so it's you, it's really you. HAHAHAHA."
Me "?? What's this? What's so funny?" (I was still kicking him but my strength was weakening.)
Old Guy "HAHAHA, so I'm finally able to meet you. HAHAHA no wonder A was ____.   HAHAHA" (I didn't understand what he was saying.)
Me "What??? Your whole family's trying to attack me or what?" (By then I'd become so freaked out that I'd stopped kicking.)
Old Guy "Oi, what you do is your business, but you're hurting ____ (my name). My big brother might forgive you but I won't let it pass."
Me "What??? You guys are crazy for real? Hey?"
Old Guy "____(my name)kun*4, don't say a word. Don't open your mouth until I say it's OK."
Me "Hey, I really don't understa-..." Boooooom.

Suddenly the sound rang in my ears. I spasmed and turned around and saw right in front of me a thin, flat-looking, bloody face, which kept twitching and laughing at the same time. I again lost it.
The appearance of it was so abnormal. Normally you wouldn't see only the half of someone's face if that someone was standing in front of you. But the face I was looking at was like a face on TV which was cut in half because the camera work didn't let me see the other half.
The moment I noticed the face A's uncle struck me hard and I lost consciousness.

When next I opened my eyes I was lying down not in my room but in my parents' room next to the sitting room.
I checked the clock. It was 8 in the evening. A slit of light was coming from under the door and I heard my parents talking to someone.
I got up and opened the door; and the moment I saw who they were I jumped on them.
A's uncle and A's aunt were both sitting there and talking to my parents. I couldn't control myself.

Immediately I was restrained by my dad but I kept screaming.
A's uncle kept saying, "I'm really sorry. I mean it," but I couldn't forgive the guy no matter what. I was struggling in my dad's arms to free myself. Then my mum slapped me saying, "You sit down and listen to their story too!"
I could not believe my ears. I felt like I was betrayed even by my own flesh and blood. I wanted to just run away so I slipped out of my dad's arms and went into my room to fetch my coat and purse.

But just as I tried to put my arms through the coat I felt someone else's hand inside the coat and I screamed again.
My parents, A's uncle and aunt all came rushing into my room and A's aunt started uttering some mantra under her breath while the uncle grabbed my coat and started stomping on it.
My dad's face had turned dead pale and my mum was pressing her palms together in prayer and kept looking at me.
That time I was positive that I was going mad.

After a few minutes I began to calm down and followed my parents, and A's uncle and aunt, back to the sitting room.
During that short while A's uncle kept apologising to me.
Even to this day I still can't forget the conversation we had then and the things that happened in the sitting room.
Below is our conversation (A's uncle is called B, and A's aunt is called C.)


B "I'm really sorry I hit you."
Me "No, it's fine. I was feeling edgy and overreacted. I'm sorry too."
Dad "What? Did you do something?"
Me "Well, I punched B-san.*5"
B "Oh, uhh, I understand you did it because I suddenly started chanting matra as soon as I saw you, no wonder you got angry.
Dad "I apologise. I didn't hear that part."
Me "Eh? What're you talking about? I hit B-san and B-san suddenly..."

As I said it I remembered what happened just before I lost consciousness.

Me "Hey.. I saw something just before I passed out..."
B "Yeah, I'm not surprised. I noticed it the moment I saw _____kun. I knew something was there and that's why I started chanting mantra."
Mum "Will he be alright? What is this something you're talking about?"
C "Umm, do you know why the area where we live is called 'Riverse-S ward'?"
Dad "Err.. I don't want to be rude but, it has a discriminatory meaning, right?"
B "That's only your understanding of it. Didn't your grandma tell you when you were little to stay away from Reverse-S ward?"
Dad "Yes, she did. But I thought it was something to do with the discrimination against the Buraku, am I wrong?"
B "No, you're right. You're right but the discrimination is still there because the history of the Reverse S ward is a bit abnormal."  
Dad "Well, my wife and I were both born in S ward so I understand that kind of thing, but the discrimination against the Buraku is the same everywhere, isn't it? So I know how you mean by abnormal."
B "Hehehe. I knew it. That's how you see the whole matter. Reverse-S ward is not an area made up of people of the Buraku, nor of people from other countries, but it is a community of people who have lived there from the time ancient."
Dad "Yes. But I don't understand the difference...."
Mum "Are you talking about the thing about the Kimon*6?"

B "Hmm? Oh, that thing about the Kimon! Yeah, that sort of thing, but you know there are a lot of people in Reverse-S ward who have the same surname as me?"
Mum "Yes, I know there are loads of them. A-kun and B-san are related so that's not surprising, but there are so many others still. We have no one by that surname in S ward, but it's common to find someone with that surname in Reverse-S ward."
B "That area is known, from the ancient time, as a pathway of spirits . Haven't you heard of Nah-meh____ (I couldn't quite catch what he said)?"
Dad "No, I haven't heard of that name, but I've heard some stories like that before."
B "Well, ours being that sort of area, almost everyone in our family line is born with a strong spiritual power. Because of that some of us end up losing their mind, and gradually people began to ostracise us, because they were never sure what we were going to do; and that's how our community or buraku, came into existence."
Mum "But if what you're telling us is true, Reverse-S ward surely is too large, isn't it? Can the whole of Reverse-S ward be ostracised when only B-san and this family line are the cause of it?"
B "Yes, that's how it is. You can have three or four people going mad to begin with, but then the madness  spreads to the whole village, eventually amounting to 400 odd cases - if that kind of thing happens, other people would think the whole area is cursed, although I know that in this time and age, such a story is hard to believe."
Dad "I wonder if that sort of thing can really create a buraku..?"
C "Well, this is at least what we have been taught, in our family line. So when a child is born into our family, we assume from the start that the child is born with a gift to see spirits. Sometimes we have children who can't see spirits, but nevertheless we teach them that in this world we have entities like them."
Me "Wait. How does B-san's story and what I'm experiencing now connect with each other?"  

B "____kun, did you notice A behaving strangely recently? Apart from the thing about him not going to school, did you notice something odd?"
Me "Well, I don't know. He suddenly started attacking me."
B "Suddenly, you say? And he told you nothing?"
Me "Yes, suddenly. I just don't get it. Oh! I know. So are you saying that A has gone mad? He started seeing ghosts and went crazy?"
B "No, he hasn't lost his mind. But he just didn't know what to do."
Me "What? How can you say he hasn't lost his mind? He suddenly started attacking me, and what's more he was laughing while he did it. Everyone around us was afraid and didn't even try to rescue me."
B "____kun, but despite that you never received any injuries, right? Of course hitting someone like that is inexcusable so I'm not trying to defend him; but in our family, we are taught that when we see a ghost, the best way to deal with it is to laugh. Some people who don't know about this would look at us and think we're insane,  so we normally just try to ignore ghosts though."
Mum "So you mean, _____ was possessed by a ghost?"
C "Yes, and he still is possessed. And ____kun, can you see someone on the balcony?"
Me "Huh?? What? Balcony?"

Then I saw a thing that was different from what I saw before I lost consciousness, and I nearly went out of my mind.
C "Don't worry. There's no way it can get inside."
Dad "What? What are you talking about?"

Dad couldn't see it; and Mum too naturally couldn't see it.

B "Uhh, never mind. ____kun is possessed by something."
Me "Is it the one...the one who committed suicide?"
B "No, that's not it. That was probably a coincidence. Just an unfortunate coincidence. The one you got by the coincidence is the one on the balcony right now, but you also have something else that shouldn't be with you."
Me "Eh?"
B "Yeah, I can't believe you have that with you. Strictly speaking, that's not a ghost but in our family we call that ****. But please don't say the name aloud. It can go over to you (and he looked at my parents)"
Mum "****"  (It sounded like bara-something... but I'm not sure)
Me "Hey, mum!"
Mum "Has it come over to me? Is my son alright now?"
B "No, that's not how it works. Please, I beg you, don't say the name aloud ever again." 
Mum "I don't want my son to get into trouble."
B "He'd get into more troubles if you act that way."
Me "Hey, cut it out. Anyway what's this all about? So I'm cursed by a ghost and A noticed that and started beating me? But that doesn't make sense. Who would do such a thing? That's not normal. You're saying that the best thing in such a case is to hit someone while laughing at the same time? Can that really make the ghost go away?" (I was a bit flustered and words tumbled out in unstoppable torrents)
C "I'm sorry about that. That was probably the only way he was taught to do so he couldn't help it."
B "When you perform exorcism, you must do it while laughing. You need to show it who's boss, and show you are not affected by it at all. If you then start beating it, it will run away, just like that. Of course you need to chant mantra or cast spells but that boy must've tried to do what he could do best, based on the poor knowledge he had."
Me "But he kicked me too."
B "Yeah, that was too much. But A's saying that the reason he doesn't go to school anymore is because he's scared of you. Well, to be more precise, he's scared of the thing that is haunting you."

After we talked about the same kind of things for a few more minutes, C went off to get some tools for purification ritual from the car, while B kept close watch over me.
Then when the preparation was over, the purification ritual started, but it was done in a stranger way than any such rituals I'd ever known.  It wasn't like a purification ritual done in Shinto shrines, nor was it done in the Buddhist style where a monk would chant mantra while hitting on mokugyo.*7
They just kept on laughing and chanting mantra at the same time.
The mantra too didn't sound like proper mantra, but it sounded like he just kept on saying something in low whisper.
They hit my hands and head several times.
After it was all done, B said to me "you're alright now." C said, "you can't see it anymore, can you?"
Fearfully I looked at the balcony and saw there was nothing there anymore.


From the following day I started going to school like normal. (But I still couldn't get into the elevator so either one of my parents always had to accompany me...)
However, on the same day, I got news that something strange happened to A.
A's father called me at night asking me, "A's disappeared. Hasn't he gone over to your house?" 
On the following day, they apparently filed a missing persons report, but because A had left a letter at home saying that he'd be leaving or that sort of thing, the police didn't try to seriously search for him.
The reason A's parent called me was that because they saw my name being mentioned several times in the letter.
Even though I now knew A had a reason for doing what he'd done to me, I still hadn't forgiven him, so I couldn't care less.

On the third day after A had gone missing, I woke up to the sound Boooooom!
I'd never imagined it would happen again, so I ran to my parents' room, drenched in sweat. It was only afterwards that I realised that it had only happened in a dream (or that was what I was telling myself.)
But then I heard that A committed suicide on that very day and moreover it was around dawn when he died; from that day onward I became scared to sleep on my own.
They found his last will which left them in no doubt about his death being suicide. In the letter he wrote some words which were addressed to me: "I'm sorry, I really am. My family is buraku and a lot of us are probably not quite right in our mind.  Of course I don't want to blame it only on my blood. I'm trully sorry I beat you like that. I'm sorry."

That was what were inside the letter, but I really didn't feel like reading it at the time.
There was another letter which he'd left behind before he left home, and it said: "The thing was haunting ______(my name) but it is biding its time to kill me. Uncle (that is B) told me that he had performed purification ritual on him so there was nothing to worry about anymore, but it seems the thing has come over to me this time. But I doubt dad can do anything effective against it, so I'll now go visit mum's house. If I find the thing still following me on the way, I'll go somewhere else."
A's parents were living separately at the time, and A was trying to go to his mother's hometown, but he disappeared on the way.
But for some reason the police thought that A disappeared on his own accord, so didn't bother to search for him.

I really wished I hadn't read the letter. His mentioning of "the thing" and the nonsensical narration reminded me so much of the otherworldly incidents that had been happening to me, that I started trembling with fear. The fact that A committed suicide in the early morning doubled my fear and I honestly didn't want to attend his funeral.
I thought it wasn't me who was crazy, but they were the ones who were screwed up in their minds.
At the funeral, there was no chanting of mantra, and inside a weird looking one-storied house lay the coffin. The coffin was covered all over with paper-talismans*8 which had A's name on every single one of them, and moreover, some of the congregation were laughing.
I heard there is a country where they hire professional actors to cry at funeral and I'd thought that was a creepy custom, but the custom of this community seemed more than just creepy - it was downright abnormal.
Even my parents couldn't take it this time and they said "Shall we go home now?" after giving cursory condolences to the family.

A few days later B told my parents that the one who was haunting me was A's grandmother (i.e. B's mother), who had turned into **** (probably a ghost, but he didn't say it clearly).
To be honest I no longer cared about such stories and didn't want to hear them, but I was asked to listen, so I listened.
The guy who committed suicide by jumping off our apartment block was also born in Reverse-S ward and he was being chased by ****.  It wasn't clear why the thing ended up haunting me but perhaps it began haunting me when I visited A's house before, etc etc.
Then I asked him two things that had been bugging me.
The first question was about the face I saw before B hit me.
The second question was why the guy who jumped off the apartment was on the stairs trying to rush to the dead body beneath.
 
Then regarding the second question B said,
"A dead person often doesn't realise he's already dead. Perhaps he saw his own body lying beneath and was trying to retrieve himself."
But if someone gets in the way the ghost will try to put a curse on that person, he said.
When I told him that I never interfered with the ghost, he said,
"You called the elevator, didn't you? That "dingg" sound was interfering, you bastard."
B's way of saying suddenly became way more harsh, and I nearly freaked out. My parents were dumbfounded too.
B continued using that tone of voice and said,
"You punk, don't you know you're not supposed to look? I can look, but you can't, got it? Don't look, bastard. Don't look at me. Got it? Hey, you listening? Hey?"
My dad lost his patience and yelled angrily,
"What are you saying? What's the point of making him even more scared?"
Hearing that, B instantly came to his senses, and said, "Oh, I'm sorry. I sincerely apologise. He's here and I wanted to ask him some things. I'm sorry."
Then he again went back to using the previous kind of tone:
"Even if you say he can't look, he didn't look because he wanted to, so let it go, will you?" He kept talking to himself.
After that he said to me, "It's all good now. I'm truly sorry. This dead person too was being chased by **** and he got angry with the thing that was possessing you, so he came over to you."

About the first question, he said,
"That was ****'s doing." (I thought the name may be a dialect or may not even be Japanese.)
A's grandmother became that ****. But A's father didn't want to banish his own mother, so had avoided performing a purifying ritual.  
However, after A died he realised that he had no more excuses to postpone the ritual; so finally, it was done yesterday.
B then said he would go home now, so we all went to the front door to see him out.

As soon as B was out of our house, we heard him laughing:
"HAHAHAHAHAHA. HAHAHAHA"
I spasmed, and my knees gave out, making me fall to the floor.
"I knew it. Those crazy bastards," Dad almost bellowed either from fear or from rage.
 
Mum, now teary-eyed, said, "we should stop associating with the likes of them."
Even after hearing that it is normal for them to laugh as they do the purification ritual, it was unimaginable for us to accept such a person like him -  who had started laughing the moment he stepped out of the house - as belonging to the same human race as us.
 
He continued to laugh out loud, going "HAHAHAHAHAHAHA," and it was only after his voice faded off in the distance that we three were able to move again and go back to the sitting room.

I said, "Those guys are really messed up. Totally insane.  I mean, did he use that elevator to go down?"
"Don't call them "guys" that's not proper, son. They're all your elders after all. Phew... anyway, don't go near those people anymore," said Dad, and he went back to lock the front door.

One second later we heard him yell, "Just go home already!!"
Our hearts nearly stopped and Mum went, "oh god!"

Apparently Dad saw some letters in the post and tried to pull them out from inside but some of them got stuck, so he went outside to pull them out.
But there he saw B still standing in the elevator hall, grinning like a Cheshire cat. At that point Dad totally lost it and yelled, "if you don't go away now I'll call the police!" (I think he freaked out) The neighbours came out too, and B was like, "What? Oh, no, no. I was about to go now. Huh? What is it?" Right after he said it, he burst out laughing and he got in the elevator and left.
(Dad said "sprinkle some salt, come on, do it!" and started sprinkling salt around the house like there was no tomorrow, so to the neighbours he probably looked as crazy as B)

Later I went to a famous shrine with my parents to receive a purification ritual, and we then moved house.
We're still living in S ward but I changed school and since then I have never been near Reverse-S ward.
Now the name has changed to New-S ward but apparently the place itself hasn't changed one bit. My cousin goes to a school in S ward and he says the school still runs an anti-discrimination programme but in reality the discrimination is still abound although no one does it openly.
The nature of discrimination is still thought to be about the Buraku discrimination and no one seems to know what the real cause of the discrimination is.
I don't know what B is currently doing because we totally lost contact with him.

My parents didn't have any discriminatory feelings towards Reverse-S ward before the incident, but now they avoid the place like plague and try not to get involved with the people from there if they can help it.
After the incident I never once had a supernatural experience again, but even now I can't get into elevators on my own, and what's more I can never sleep on my own, so my wife thinks I'm an useless idiot.
Right after the incident I even had to make my parents accompany me every time I went to toilet (even though I was a high-schooler). That was how much fear I was feeling inside. When I meet someone from Reverse-S ward it's pure fear, and not a discriminatory feeling, that courses through my entire body that I can't even open my mouth to speak to that person.

Sorry about my disorganised writing*9 and the lengthy story.
Thanks for reading.


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*1 Kyushu (九州 Kyūshū, lit. "Nine Provinces") is the third largest island of Japan and most southwesterly of its four main islands. See the pic on the left. The darker part is Kyushu. ( from Wiki)
*2 Reverse-S ward (裏S区 ura-S-ku): 裏(ura) means back, reverse or hidden.  
*3 The Buraku discrimination: A buraku (部落) is the term used to describe an area where some, but not all, of the residents have ancestral ties to the people placed at the bottom of feudal society in the Edo Period. These people were assigned tasks considered “tainted” according to Buddhist and Shinto beliefs, such as butchery and leather work, where the killing of and use of animal corpses was involved. Today, official statistics put the number of burakumin at around 1.2 million, with unofficial estimates as high as 3 million. (Ian Priestley, The Japan Times)
  (Talking about the nature of the discrimination) Private investigators are still employed to research prospective marriage partners’ and employees’ private backgrounds, although this practice has long been illegal. Marriages between buraku and non-buraku partners often break up under social pressure. A buraku background is still a stigma in this society, bringing about hardship and disadvantage.  (Florian Coulmas, The Japan Times)
*4 Kun (君): a suffix which you put usually after a boy's name or after the name of someone younger than you.
*5 San (さん): an honorific suffix, equivalent to Mr/Mrs/Miss.
*6 Kimon (鬼門): literary, "demon-gate." In Onmyo-do, Kimon signifies North-East, the direction from which Oni (鬼, demon) enters.  In the past people in Japan placed things like a peach tree or a statue of monkey in the direction of north-east to seal off Kimon. Some people today still avoid having an entrance, a storehose, and places that use water such as a bathroom and kitchen, at Kimon. Nowadays Kimon signify not only the direction but any places, times or things that might bring bad luck. (the building pictured on the left: Saruga-tsuji (猿ヶ辻, the monkey lane) of Kyoto Imperial Palace. The north-east corner of the building is warped for the purpose of warding off Kimon (鬼門除け Kimon-yoke).
*7 Mokugyo (木魚 wooden fish):  is a wooden percussion instrument. The wooden fish is used by monks and laity in the Mahayana Buddhist tradition. It is often used during rituals usually involving the recitation of sutras, mantras, or other Buddhist texts (from Wiki). See the picture on the right (bottom).
*8 Paper-talismans or ofuda (お札): a type of talisman usually issued by a Shito shrine (Wiki) . See the last picture at the bottom.
*9 Disorganised: He is damn right about his writing. Many people besides me have commented on his confusing writing style. The story gave me a hell of a time while I was translating it. It almost killed me.






51 comments:

Anonymous said...

Saya-san, i want to ask few question.

Are there still discrimination against those buraku people outside kyuushuu in japan? Is Kyuushuu the place where discrimination is the worst?

Are Buraku Japanese people themselves, or something else? I mean, they have their own culture, dialect, or custom? I still don't get the thing about buraku people, but I understand about Ainu people in Japan.

Are there any other traditional social caste in japan? (Saya-san's opinion is highly appreciated)

Thanks Saya-san for the story! You are the best blogger I know!

Kira Collins said...

Well, where did you get that story from? That was pretty good! But the middle was a bit disturbing... Now I don't think I want to go to school.

Mokom said...

What a read! You weren't kidding about it being interesting. I really enjoyed it thank you for this translation Saya.

Cosmo Fish said...

Ah, ok. I was going to ask you about the style until I saw the last footnote. Though some of the staggering and repetition does make it sound like an eyewitness story, you know? I do like that.

This was a very enjoyable read! I thought it was interesting the way the author uses the issue of Buraku discrimination as a sort of red herring.

Rei said...

It's my first time commenting, and I've read every single story on this blog (and reread some for fun)--but I have to say, one, thanks so much for this lovely story Saya, and two... I have to say this story strikes me differently compared to the other stories in terms of creepiness. This one feels more real, somehow, because of the sense of madness in it even though it's not madness at all. Creepy stories about beings that are there when you look closer into a story or of malicious spirits are more common--but I can't imagine facing a regular person who talks about ghosts and demons and suddenly *laughing* in my face or beating me! The laughing in particular disturbs me,and it makes this story all the more spine-tingling. Thanks again for this!!

DonAbad said...

The most disturbing part for me was not the ghosts or the suicides....It was how B eventually turned out. o_O Looks like for all his expertise in identifying and chasing away evil spirits, something still managed to latch onto him. Which actually gives me a more disturbing question to ask: Maybe he only *thought* he knew how to drive away spirits, when it turns out he didn't know much at all. And that's how they managed to slip into his mind....

I thought it was a pretty interesting story, and to me, it doesn't seem too disorganized. You did a good job explaining some of the cultural references, too. =D

BlueRio said...

the ritual spund so weird....i would get scared if i watch that ritual in front of my eyes... >.> btw i'm glad that now you're active saya-san.. :)

Nophi Lucious said...

Saya-san! Thank you for risking your life translating this interesting story. :3
This is my first comment here. I always like all your stories, I expect more great stories from you.
About this story, it's really really, interesting and yet really weird. I really want to scroll down to the end, to read the explanation about 'buraku' since I am confused about it at first. The way the story told is rather confusing too, right about when he told us about the spiral case and the person, and the lift, I can only understand it when he ask the uncle about it.(Maybe it's just me being slow, though)
As I said, though it's weird, it's also interesting that it makes me keep reading till the end.
Anyway, the way they laugh while doing exorcise, it kinda reminds me of a story in one of the episode of Yamishibai, an animated television series. If I am not wrong, there is a ritual during which the adults must stay indoors and pretend to laugh and be merry all night long so that the evil ghost who feeds on negative emotions would not come near. You should try to watch it, if you haven't yet. :D
So, once again Thanks Saya-san!

regorgitated said...

This story really seems to be disorganised and even mixed up a bit, though, on the other hand, there is even some kind of captivating peculiarity about the lack of organization.

I'm crazy about the stories dealing with ethnical issues, and all the Japanese rites, beliefs and superstitions seem to be extremely gloomy ones.

As for me, the most disturbing part was A's disappearance. It gives me chills to imagine his feelings when he was trying to get to his mother's house, the inevitable eerie death following him till the darkest part of the forest.

Thank you very much for the translation and posting! I'm really afraid to think about how much time you have spent translating this story.

Rosy said...

This is a story that really sticks with you. At first it reads really fast like BOOM BOOM BOOM (ha, bad simile for this story) but then it drags down into a slow, creeping terror that makes you want to stop reading, but you CAN'T stop reading because you want to know what happens next! I loved it!!

Once the ritual happened, I thought that maybe there would be a happy ending. B turned out to be scarier than most of the spirits involved.

Thank you so much for taking the time to translate this, it really sounds like a first-hand account.

Tia said...

Goodness gracious what a riveting story! I got so engrossed reading it i could swear it played like a movie in my head each sentence! First of all, thank you so much for spending time and energy to translate this story and post it up here. I know how meticulous you are while translating because you want to figure out an ideal translation for everyone to enjoy, thus i give you MASSIVE props! ;) This post is definitely one of the most interesting posts of this site and i sincerely hope it makes it to the read of the Week. Although at times the boy's story gets confusing because no real names are used for confidentiality's sake, your translation makes up for the disorganisation of the original writer. That my friend, was an amazing update, keep it going with the awesome posts. You deserve all the best for your efforts and we are here to support you! :) Hope to hear from you soon, take care!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the translation!

Anonymous said...

You've done a great job translating this story. I can only imagine how hard that was, considering the somehwat unclear narrative. Still you managed to create something that is understandable while keeping its authentic feel.

I know the park around the Imperial Place in Kyôto quite well, since I spent a term at Dôshisha-University which is right next to it, but I never knew about the Kimon. Sadly, our education was lacking when it came to the spiritual aspects of Japan. So I'm very happy about your blog that continuously teaches me things I didn't know before - even if it creeps me out sometimes. (My attitude towards these things is basically "I don't believe in it, but I won't put it to the test". So no rituals for me. :) )

-Vail

CY said...

Interesting read. Thanks

Adorably Dead said...

Well you did a hell of a job trying to organize his disorganized thoughts! :p

It was slightly confusing at some parts, but overall I didn't have trouble following it and I found it really interesting. Not as scary as some of the others have been for some reason, but the talk about ways to purify and how their culture deals with discrimination and sees the reverse s ward type people.

Kiera said...

Saya-sama~

Quite an intriguing story Saya-sama! Thank you for translating it, I enjoyed it thoroughly! :D
And don't worry about scaring me, I get scared easily. x.x
~Kiera

Sadae said...

Aside the obvious creepiness of the story, I really want to congratulate you for the feverish tone of insanity you achieved on this story! Translation is a very harsh task, specially because the emotional tones are usually difficult to reflect in a different language. I bow to you, Saya-san!

Lara said...

This story is awesome, so creepy and disturbing. The way it's written makes it sound like something that actually happened. That's a very strange way to drive out ghosts, don't you think.
Aaanyways, thank you for taking the time to post this!
See you later.

nunu said...

Saya-san, this is my first time commenting. I found this blog a few weeks ago, and since then I've read all of your posts.
I love watching horror movies and reading horror stories. Especially asian horrors. So, I really love your blog and I think it's the best.
So, thank you for all the translations. I really appreciate them.
And, I used to think I'm a brave person. I realize after reading your stories that I am a scaredy-cat. 0_o

Anonymous said...

Hello Saya-san! Another great story, and I think this one can easily be adapted into a movie! It really got me; I've read it straight from the beginning to the very end. Frghtening and really interesting! Thank you for translating this!

Doc Sanchez said...

Dear Saya,

thank you very much for the work you put into this story! You did a great job!

I must confess, I maybe didn't get everything right in this story, but it sure gives me something to think about. Like the horror movies I like most, the ones that start off somewhere and lead you to a totally unexpected place in the end.

I probably didn't really get what was happening, but that made everything seem even more real, for in real life, there's no straight solution.

And, by the way: It's good to see you back!

Cheers, Doc

arashi said...

What a great story, thanks for taking the time to translate it and post for us to enjoy too. When I first found your blog I read the whole thing one sitting and had to sleep with the lights on that night!

Christian Hardjono said...

wow, really long story...
sorry, didn't read it yet...
I'm gonna save this one...
this is gonna be awesome...

Anonymous said...

The disorganization made the main character seem even more crazy, and made the story creepier I think. must have been tough to translate though @ A @ i really liked this story ! thanks for translating it for us saya san !

toyboxed said...

Hi Saya long time no see you posting, and finally i could read new story from you again, yipie! Hope you alright out there ^^

What i didn't get is, the grandma, what is she? and how come she attach with everyone in the story? she become demon? kinda hard to digest, hope you could tell me since you know Japanese better than me who know nothing at all lol

Saya Yomino said...

Hello, everyone!
Thank you very much for leaving comments! I'm really happy!

But as there are loads of comments, I will have to reply little by little.

Today, I will reply to about 8 messages. I hope that's OK with you:D


@Anon (1st one): Yes I think there are discrimination against buraku everywhere and not only in Kyushu.
But I read there are more buraku around Western region (eg. Osaka, Kyoto) than Northern and Eastern regions (eg. Tokyo, Tohoku region).

I live near Tokyo, so that's probably why I grew up not being aware about buraku discrimination (I also spent a long time living abroad).

If you are interested in buraku problems, you can look up in Wikipedia, or go to "The Japan Times" and search "buraku." Or you can follow the links I put in the footnote above.

I think discrimination against other Asian people (eg. Chinese, Korean, Philippino) exist, but I believe the younger generation are much less discriminatory against those people.

I myself believe any discrimination based on races and castes are just plain stupid.

I hope that helps!
Thank you for your comment! :D


@Kira Collins: Oh I hope you've been going to school alright!
I got the story from 2chan, as usual. I personally found the elevator incident the most disturbing part! Anyway thanks for your comment!


@Mokom: I'm just glad you found the story interesting! It's my pleasure to entertain you. Thank you :D


@Cosmo Fish: Yeah you're right, I think all those staggering and repetition do make the story more realistic. I like this kind of story more than those stories which you can immediately tell they are fiction.

I'm glad you enjoyed it! :D Thank you for your comment!


@Rei: Oh it's great to hear from you! Welcome!:D
Yes, the sense of madness describes very well the nature of this story. My mother often says the living are far scarier than the dead, and her saying applies here too :D
Anyway thank you for dropping by to leave a message!


@DonAbad: Yeah B creeps me out like hell too! The part when he suddenly started speaking differently from how he speaks normally was freaky.

Adding footnotes at the end of the post is always a lot of work and it slows down the publishing process, but I think it's necessary. It saves you people from having to go and look for extra infomation by yourselves to understand the story. I'm glad the info has been helpful! :D
Thank you for your great feedback!


@BlueRio: Thank you BlueRio, I'm glad to hear from you too!

said...

長い話を翻訳して下さってありがとうございました! 全部読んでも不可解な点が多いと思います。例えば変な音があった理由はまだ不明ですね。もしかして変なことが起こる度にその音があるのかも知れません。そして途切れた顔の名前も知りたかったです。とても面白かったです!

Saya Yomino said...

Hello, again!

I would like to reply to more messages today, perhaps to 7 or 8 messages, if that's OK. When I reply, I want to take my time so that I don't have to rush and I can reply properly!


@Nophi Lucious: Helloooo! It's very nice to meet you! :D How are you?

It's not suprising if you got confused sometimes, I mean I got confused even though it was written in my mother tongue XD

Oh I've heard of Yamishibai, but I've never watched it! Sounds like a good show! Thanks for the info :D Please comment again!


@regorgitated: Awww I saw your profile and you're from Russia? Aww that's so cool! I get annoyed when people judge me according to my nationality, because I want people to see me as I am and not according to some crazy streotype, but I'm doing the same kind of thing to you myself. XD haha

But I'm a big fan of Russian novelists, I've read Leonid Andreev, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Maxim Gorky... and I LOVE the filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky...
I don't know how many times I watched "Nostalghia."

Anyway, enough of that!

Oh it's interesting that different people find different parts of the story scary.
The parts I found the scariest are the elevator scene and B going mad at the end.

I don't know if it's only me who find the elevator scene scary. Maybe it was scarier in the original Japanese text. I just didn't know what to do with the sound effects. Japanese people love using onomatopoeia but often I can't find the equivalent onomatopoeia in English (T_T)

With a long story like this, I can't translate everything at one go. On top of that the original Japanese text was confusing as hell and I had to make sure I understand it first.... Oh it was hard but it was well worth it :D

Thanks a lot for your comment!


@Rosy: Oh it's wonderful you found the story so enjoyable, my dear. And I like the simile XD

Yeah, B was scary. It seems I could successfully convey the creepiness of B's character in English, and I'm very glad!

It's my pleasure, dear. I'm so happy to hear that it really sounded like a first-hand account to you! :D Take care and feel free to comment again!


@Tia: Oh Tia! I'm always looking forward to recieve a comment from you! :D


I think this is one of the stories I enjoyed translating the most. When I translate, I start off thinking "oh it's a great story and everyone will enjoy reading it!" but then halfway through I begin to doubt "Is this..reallly interesting?" and then by the time I've finished I'm like "I don't know if it's interesting/scary anymore because I've gone over it so many times." Maybe I've mentioned this before, but that's how it is with me. So you readers' feedback is very important to me.

I hope to bring to you more interesting stories about scary Japanese customs and rituals! Thank you always for your lovely comment, and take care! :D


@Anonymous (7 Oct 2013 21:34): Awww that's sweet. Even a little message like that brightens up my day. Thank you for that!

Saya Yomino said...


@Vail: Oh thank you very much for your compliment!

And you studied at Doshisha Uni? Wow. That's one of the best universities in Japan. You must be so smart. But were you OK living there, when a lot of people there speak Kyoto dialect? I remember I was about 15 yrs old when I first visited Kyoto, and I was so excited. I was like "OMG I'm gonna go to Kyoto and listen to the real Kyoto accent!" If you live in the eastern area of Japan (Tokyo etc) you only get to hear Kyoto dialect on TV, you see. I find Kyoto accent so exotic.

But Kyoto people are also considered the most sophisticated, pround, and inscrutable race lol. They're polite, but you just don't know what the hell they're thiking. That's what people say. Idk. XD

I'm glad my blog has been helpful to you! The stories that deal with old Japanese customs and rituals are suprisingly popular, so I hope to translate more of them.

Thanks a lot for your comment!

@CY: Thanks a lot, dear! I'm happy to hear from you :D

sunflowerbloom said...

Saya, thanks for updating again~!
What a sweet surprise when I visited your blog.

About that part where the guy who jumped, I have heard from the elders that.. its best to avoid looking at 'death'. Accidents & Suicides etc, because 'they' would/ can see that you are looking.
and you might get into trouble.

As for the laughing while doing rituals/exorcism/funeral rites.. That is plain creepy.

This post should have taken you a long time to translate. Thank you!
Interesting story. And very creepy.

Tika said...

Very scary and creepy. I don't remember which line but close to the end I actually felt goosebumps. This is my first time commenting, I was disappointed when you close the blog to private and I had no means to ask to view it because never had commented before. But now it's up for public again and I'm really grateful for that. Thank you. And once again, creepy and scary!

regorgitated said...

:D
Well, I believe that it is really difficult to avoid thinking a bit stereotypically about someone belonging to other culture, because it is just the way we are. But I hope there is no fault with me for considering Japanese people to be really wonderful and nice. :3

Oh, really? It is always so nice to realise that someone is interested in the culture of your native country!

Leonid Andreev? Really, now my admiration to you knows no limits, lol. He is my favourite Russian author. By the way, he even lived some time in my city during his visit to Gorky (who was born in my city, lol).
Wow, I don't think that there are many Russians who have ever read Tolstoy, so it is also a heroic deed :D
And Tarkovsky is also really great, one of the best Russian directors, yep.


Well, the scene with the elevator is rather creepy too, but it is really hard to drive me into terror, considering the amount of Asian horror movies I have watched.

Yeah, I think that onomatopoeia is one of the most common problems in translation. Perhaps sometimes it is possible to translate it using some kind of descriptive phrase, but the problem is that all the impressions are subjective.

Sometimes, when translating creepy stories, I also have the same problem of first trying to understand what the author is talking about, lol.

Anyway, thank you once more for your translation!

Saya Yomino said...

Hello, ladies a& gents!
Today too, I will reply to about 8 messages, if that's OK. Sorry for the long wait!


@Adorably Dead: Thank you very much! When I translate I try to be as faithful to the original text as I can, but I think translating it into English has helped to unravel some of the most confusing parts the story, because you see, in English you often have to clearly state the subject of a sentence, but in Japanese you can get away without mentioning the subject. That's why Japanese can get confusing.

I just think the whole discrimination against buraku is stupid... it's a discrimination based on the feudal caste system that was in effect 150 yrs ago or so... I mean, c'mon, get real!

I do hope the younger generation is much less discriminatory than the old generation. This is something that should have been stamped out long ago.


@Kiera: Good to hear you enjoyed it! Take care and don't read my stories at night! ;)


@Sadae: Oh thank you very much for your friendly words :D
I did work hard to convey the madness of the story! Little things like writing B's laugh in capital letters "HAHA" instead of small letters "haha" helped to achieve the desired effect, I think :D
I'm very humbled by your compliment. Thank you!


@Lara: Hi! Thank you very much for leaving a comment! I'm congratulating myself for making you scared and disturbed XD
Take care and see you later alligator! lol


@nunu: Hellooo there! It's always great to hear from new readers!!

I'm glad you've been finding my blog entertaining! I too appreciate you readers' comments, because I love communucating with people from different parts of the world, and this blog allows me to do it.
And somehow most of my blog readers are really nice people, such as yourself, which is an added bonus :D

But yeah sorry for scaring you so much! But if you weren't scared I'd be disappointed, because that means I hadn't accomplished my task properly XD

Anyway take care, and please comment again!


@Anonymous (8 Oct): Hello! Thank you for commenting and bringing a ray of sunshine into my life! XD
I'm glad you found the story interesting!


@Doc Sanchez: Oh hello!! What a nice suprise to hear from you! :D

Oh it's natural if you didn't get everything about the story, because I don't either XD

You're right, I think the ambivalence of it is what makes it even scarier and more real than if everything were clear as day.

Thank you very much! I hope I can update more frequently and bring you guys fun things to read!

Take care and see you again! :D


@arashi: Oh really? That's funny you left all the lights on but I can understand why you did that. XD Take care, and thank you very much for stopping by to leave a comment! :D

Christian Hardjono said...

actually, it's not too scary...
it's more like..... when you read mystery novel and you can't stop reading (don't know the good word)...
but I really like it...
keep up the good work, Saya...

Tani M said...

This is a really great story and you've done a wonderful job of translating. I had to read it through twice before I could fix the sequence properly in my mind, but I enjoyed the story very much. :D
The buraku discrimination is very much like the lower caste discrimination we have here. It's an ugly thing and it always seems to be aimed towards the people who do very useful and necessary things that the "upper class" themselves can't- or won't- do. It's not a nice thing at all, and I hope in time it goes away.

Saya Yomino said...

@Anon (9 Oct 2013 09:16): Yeah it was tough translating but it was worth it, because you guys are enjoying it so much. Thanks a lot! :D


@toyboxed: Actually the story is clearer in this English version than it was in the original Japanese version. The story says the grandma turned into "****" and we don't knwo what this "****" is. I can't tell you anymore than what is told in the story.
Anyway, thanks for the comment!


@渚: こちらこそ、読んでくださってありがとうございます!
あの変な音"Boom"は、自殺した人が自転車置き場(the bicycle parking lot)の屋根に落ちた音だと思います。日本語だと、Boomではなくて、「ドーン」という音です。この音をどうやって訳すか、迷いました。^^ あの途切れた顔は、Bさんの母親(or A's grandma)だと思います。Bさんが"****"と呼んでいるものです。
コメントもらえて嬉しいです。ありがとうございました!


@sunflowerbloom: Your welcome~!:D
Oh your elders are wise, my dear. I could not look at dead bodies anyway, it would scare the hell out of me!

I'm glad you like the story! Thank you very much for your sweet comment!


@Tika: Hello dear! Oh I'm sorry for the disappointment I caused you when I closed down the blog, but I'm glad you found me again! It's great that the story gave you goosebumps :D haha I hope I can update more strange creepy stories and continue to entertain you. Thank you for stopping by and dropping a comment! Take care :D

Subaiii said...

Thanks for your hardwork in translating this story Saya! Though its still confusing, but i really enjoy it :D

I never knew such communities exist in Japan. And that's what i like about your blog, i always get to learn something new :)

Hoping you to post more stories!

Saya Yomino said...

@regorgitated: The thing is though, I've spent half of my life abroad, and moreover, my mother is not Japanese (she was born in Taiwan, but she belongs to the race called Hakka). So I'm not your typical Japanese person... I feel my "oddness" most keenly when I'm in Japan, the country where people value "the sameness." So I've had my share of suffering (although nothing too serious), and that's probably why I like reading novels that deal with suffering. :D

Japanese people are generally nice and polite (especially to white people lol) but their politeness makes them inscrutable.

When I said to a Canadian friend that "I never know what Japanese people are really thinking," she said, "oh but that's the same everywhere nowadays. Everyone is superficial in modern capitalist societies. I mean British and American people are pretty superficial and inscrutable too (sorry, British/American people! But that's exactly what she said.)"
I guess she's right, but superficiality makes me feel uncomfortable.

I mean I feel I have to be superficial in certain social situations, but I want to be genuine as much as I can - that's my policy.

Anyway, so Andreev is your favourite authour? I envy you, because you can read Russian! You're so lucky!
OMG and Gorky is from your city!!
o_0 Holy Father in Heaven!

They ought to translate Andreev's stories more. I wonder why he's not more famous. I've read only a few of his short stories, but they are real gems.

Japanese people love using onomatopeia. I think it's because traditionally Japanese people have valued subjectivity more than objectivity; they think "everyone is the same so everyone ought to understand each other even without using precise objective words."

Oh BTW do Russian children study famous Russian novelits' works at school? They must do, don't they?

Thank you for your comment again, and sorry for the long reply lOl.

Saya Yomino said...

@Christian Hardjono: well, at least you found the story interesting! Thank you for your supportive words, my friend! Take care! :D


@Tani: Hi, Tani! How's it going?
Yeah, I agree with you wholeheartedly. It's stupid that those people who dealt with animal skins and animal meats were considered impure, because those upper-class people must have used/eaten the products produced by the buraku.

And people are still discriminating other people based on what their ancestors were doing? That's pure absurdity.

I hope too this discrimination goes away in time. I also feel for the discriminated people in your country too, Tani. It is a very sad affair.


@Subaiii: Oh you've got cat's whiskers on your face! LOL That looks cute. :D

I think Buraku issues are not publicized very often, because buraku people would rather keep quiet about it and blend in with the society. Japan is pretty westernized, but its westernized in a bad way. It takes in all the bad things from the West, but it doesn't learn any of the good things that were born in the West - like human rights, and gender equality and so on. Which is a real shame.

Anyway, thank you very much for your comment! Take care ;)

Petzie said...

Uwaghhh, this is one hella long story., thank u so much for taking your time in translating it., i can see how you put your effort here saya san., still, i think the parents of the narrator seems a bit harsh and weird coz despite the fact that B and C was helping their kid, they treat him that rude in the end.. that was nkt veey nice,, and i think the ghost somehow lay attached to the narrator.. coz he made it looked like he is now being paranoid towards everything..

regorgitated said...

OK, so you are not quite Japanese according to your bloodline, but can other Japanese people really perceive it? Or is it just your feeling of being different from the traditional Japanese mindset?
As far as I understood, Hakka people are a sub-ethnic group of Han Chinese? So, you are half-Chinese then, and it is even cuter. :3
And I really hope that your sufferings from that clash-of-cultures issue haven't been that grave and are over now.

By the way, I also can't say that I'm 100% Russian, because some aspects of Russian mindset seem to be rather weird and sometimes even unjust to me. So, as I feel it, I'm only 90% Russian, lol.

I think that one of the main difference between Russian and European (and perhaps Asian) people is that European/Asian people are really friendly, polite and communicable, but extremely inscrutable. I can never tell, for example, what my German friend really thinks or feels, I can't "read" any part of his "soul". On the contrary, most of the Russian people look really unfriendly and gloomy, but the truth is that we, Russians, are really genuine and will always outpour all the feelings that European people usually keep inside. It's just one of the parts of the concept of "a mysterious Russian soul", lol. Sometimes this difference between genuine Russians and inscrutable Europeans is really a depressing one. I've never thought that it all can be down to the influence of capitalism though, so now I have food for thought.

Well, unfortunately, Andreev is not very famous in Russia. I don't know why. Maybe one day I'll be able to translate his works into other languages, who knows, lol.
Btw, which of his works have you read? I suppose you've read his "The Red Laugh", haven't you?

Lol, I really like this way of onomatopoeia development. I googled some examples of it, and there seems to be really a huge list of corresponding Japanese word stock.

Well... Yes, Russian children must study their works, but the problem is that most of them don't want to and don't do it, and very often they make a roughhouse out of the lessons. Their attitude is a shame, really.

Sorry for such a longwinded comment. :D

Anonymous said...

Hey Saya, this is Vail. Yes, I did study at Dôshisha daigaku, but only for one semester. It's the partner university of my university in Germany, and we had the chance to go there for five months, which of course I took.
I didn't have much trouble with the accent because most people we spoke to (our teachers, my host family etc.) were very considerate and only spoke dialect-free Japanese when talking to us. But my host family's grandparents I didn't understand one bit. :)

Kyôto is a wonderful city. I have been all over Japan (except Okinawa) by now, but Kyôto remained my favourite. Maybe that is also because I lived there the longest. I did like Tôkyô, too, though - a lot more than I expected. (And it was easier to understand everyone. :D)

closer2you said...

Whoa that is disturbing.
for me, the sound of crying and laughing is the most supranaturally frightening than any sound...
if I hear some one suddenly laughing out loud like that, I have a sudden urge to throw a vase to his head and run like a crazy...
nice story translation, Saya :D
must be one of a hell to translate his 'disorganized' story >.<

Mimi said...

Hi Saya! How are you? I haven't been here for some time because of school, but tonight I'm very glad to see so many posts. Very glad.

This story is exceptional. I enjoyed it immensely. And I kept imagining that there were noises behind me as I was reading it. Thank you for translating it! You've done an amazing job. :) Cheers and have a great weekend.

Saya Yomino said...

@Petzie: It's my pleasure to have translated it for you to read! :D

You have a point there! I think it would have been nice if the narrator and his parents had treated B more nicely. Perhaps they were too scared to be concerned about politeness at the time.

Oh! I wouldn't like to think the ghost is still attached to the narrator, but perhaps it is! Thank you for sharing your interesting thought!

Saya Yomino said...

@regorgitated: I'm so sorry I've left your comment unanswered for so many days!

About my background:
I think Japanese people are quick to sniff out those who are "different." And I can't pretend to be different from who I am.

I'm glad I'm half-Chinese, because it makes me less discriminatory towards people from different countries.

I wish I knew what real Russian people like! I hardly know about them.
You sound like an artistic person, so I can understand if you feel a bit different from other people.

When I was studyign at music collge, I knew some Russian students, but they often looked pround (in a nice way), aloof and mysterious. I talked about this with my Canadian friend, and she said, "oh that's because they're musicians!" So I suppose not all Russian people are like them. XD

I ought to watch a documentary on Russia on youtube. In fact I might do that today. I'm so interested in you people.

I have read "The Red Laugh." I wondered why it sounded more realistic than an account like the one written by Viktor Frankl.
I think it is because Frankl, while he experienced the horror of war first hand, nevertheless tried to maintain the role of a scientist and observer for the sake of his study. However the protagonists in The Red Laugh are caught up in the midst of the war, and unlike Frankl, do not have the ability to make sense of the situation surrouning them. The Red Laugh describes what ordinary people experience during a war. Pure madness, the chaos, the degradation of humanity. No one can escape from the madness, certainly not the soldiers, and not even the people who are waiting for them at home. The worst thing is if you can steep yourself in madness and not realise you're mad...and that's what happens to many people in the novel.

The apocalyptic image at the end of the novel is frigtening. If we don't put a stop to wars, that is what we would eventually end up with: an empty field (all the cultures destroyed along with buildings) filled with corpses.

This kind of novel should be read in every classroom, instead of learning boring "facts" no one cares about.

Thanks a lot for your comment! :D I hope we can discuss this sort of thing again (sorry again for the long wait!)

Saya Yomino said...

@Vail: I bet you've been to more places in Japan than me! With Tokyo I don't like places like Shibuya where there are too many people, but there are nice places there if you explore. Thanks for your comment, and sorry for my very late reply. I hope you comment again! :D take care!


@Mimi: I'm fine, my dear Mimi. I'm always glad to see you too.
Oh I'm happy those "noises" were able to scare you, because they were difficult to translate in English! I was afraid I wouldn't be able to convey their creepiness! Thanks a lot for your support. Cheers! :D

Saya Yomino said...

@closer2you: I nearly missed your comment!
Is this the first time you comment?
Thanks a lot for that! :D

rupice said...

Thank you for story saya,for the time you took to translate the story(ps glad i am reading again new posts...take care and happy holidays:)

Fahim Promi said...

My first ever comment here, yayy! That was awesome. Creepy all throughout. Great sense of atmosphere and the laughing... ugh... unnerving. Love it!^_^

Tiitos said...

truly was interesting. once started reading, difficult to stop.