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Sunday, 15 November 2020

Uncle Pringles

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(Translated and arranged by Saya)

This happened while I was still at elementary school.

On the way to the school, I used to see a chubby moon-faced man known to us by the nickname of "Uncle Pringles" standing by the side of a road.

Uncle always had a boy with him, called Shinta, who was about 15 years old and appeared to be mentally handicapped.

Uncle would always call out to children walking to school, saying,
"Wouldn't you shake your hands with this boy?"

Most children would get creeped out and simply run away, but I -- small as I was -- took pity on Shinta, and shook hands with him.

"What a good boy!"
Uncle smiled broadly as though it made him really happy, so I felt I did something good to them.

The next day, Uncle and Shinta were waiting at the same place as usual.
"Wouldn't you shake hands with him?"
Just like the day before, I went up to the boy and shook hands with him. But as soon as my hand entwined with his, I felt a sharp pain piercing mine.

Shinta was hiding a drawing pin in his hand.

"He says he can't forgive you no matter what."
Uncle's flat voice reached my ears.

Why? Did they notice in me a sense of superiority hidden behind sympathy?
A lot of thoughts rushed through my mind.
But whatever the reason, they didn't have to do this to me...

I looked at Uncle as if seeking for help, and his face all of a sudden crumbled with remorse.   
"I said to Shinta that I wished you were my son instead of him. Shinta, I am soorryy. I am sooo sooo soorryyy."

I ran to school right after that, and told the teachers everything that had happened.
The incident was soon made known to all students by the school announcement. The whole school was on alert for a while, and the teachers even went patrolling in the neighbourhood.

Uncle Pringles never showed up again after that day.
But instead, a rumour began circulating in the school:
"Shinta was trying to shake hands with kids because he wanted to spread his disease to them."

This rumour caused me considerable anxiety for a long time.

(For other stories under the same category, Click Here)


  1. Saya_In_Underworld15 November 2020 at 14:45

    I always enjoy being nice to people tooπŸ˜†πŸ’–✨

  2. I liked the story, I thought that was a scary one, but at the end made my heart feel heavy. A similar situation happened to me, but it was a situation where my mother pushed me to be friends with a boy who had no friends. He was difficult to handle, rumors started as how bad influence was and how kids should be avoiding him. Years later, I found that he suffered, from what we nowadays know, as autism. I never saw him again.

    1. Saya_In_Underworld16 November 2020 at 01:10

      Oh my! It must have been a difficult experience for you too! That is rather sad...

  3. WAIT how did the Uncle know what Shinta was meaning to say? Does the Uncle read Shinta's mind? Why did the Uncle translate for Shinta?! So many questions!

    1. Saya_In_Underworld16 November 2020 at 07:49

      Yes it's weird 🀣✨ Maybe the Uncle just imagined what Shinta was thinking, and put the drawing pin in his hand himself πŸ˜†πŸŒˆ✨

  4. I don't know but the relationship between Uncle Pringles and Shinta made me think about a ventriloquist (Uncle) and his puppet (Shinta), like how he "translates" Shinta's thoughts and how he's the one asking the kids to shake hands with him; but at the same time seems that Shinta is the one manipulating Uncle, making Uncle to look for kids to shake hands with him and making Uncle feel bad to the point he had to apologize to Shinta when he took revenge to the narrator.
    I hope my reasoning didn't come up as weird haha, but that's what came to my mind when reading the story, this one leaves you with some questions that really makes you think!

  5. Saya_In_Underworld16 November 2020 at 11:26

    Wow thank you for your insightful thoughts! 😊🎡✨What scares me the most is Uncle knew Shinta was holding a drawing pin in his hand, but didn't do anything about it, or or perhaps it was Uncle himself who put it there πŸ˜†✨

    It does really make you think!

  6. The complication of bad parenting, inadequate access to a therapist, some sort of evil, and a needle.

    I remember the rumors of HIV-infected needles hidden in foods which were just (fortunately) an urban legend from the internet. Needles are usually associated to poison/venom.

    1. Saya_In_Underworld16 November 2020 at 12:16

      That's a scary urban legend πŸ˜†⭐

  7. Creepy and sad, but still a good story,

    Currently watching on J-Edge, a four part series called Departures from the same production company that did the Shibuya Series (Amumo). It centers on Mortician's encounters with ghosts.

    1. Saya_In_Underworld17 November 2020 at 09:43

      You are so much more knowledgeable about the genre than I amπŸ˜†✨ It sounds like an exciting series to watch!

    2. πŸ™‚ More lucky I think and very thankful that you share these with us.

    3. Saya_In_Underworld17 November 2020 at 12:31

      You are so kindπŸ˜ŠπŸ™⭐Thank you too!

  8. Does Japan have any teachers or adult authorities standing outside, watching as the students leave the school? Cause it is odd to me that none of the students reported the suspicious activity or there’s no adult staff watching and saying goodbye to all the students. Idk, the schools that I go to in America, there’s at least 1-2 adults standing outside making sure everything is ok. But interesting story!

    1. Saya_In_Underworld17 November 2020 at 09:39

      Yes, we have such adults watching over children, but I imagine they thought a handicapped boy and his father asking children to shake hands didn't pose much threat lol ✨

  9. That gives the phrase "I'm gonna make you cry uncle" a whole new, very literal meaning!

    1. Saya_In_Underworld18 November 2020 at 21:01

      A clever comment! πŸ˜†πŸŒˆπŸŽ΅✨

  10. not gonna lie, I thought the uncle is called Uncle Pringles because he is giving out Pringles potato chips to people lol

    nevertheless, nice story, Saya! I think the moral of the story is stranger danger?

    1. Saya_In_Underworld18 November 2020 at 21:05

      That would have been a nice uncle, but no one on my blog is nice 🀣✨

      Oh! Somehow I haven't heard that stranger danger phrase for a long time! I love phrases that rhymeπŸ˜†⭐

  11. wow i thought the story teller was going to end up kidnapped and switched with shinta, but it's worse because there's no explanation to why he has a pin in his hand. was it because of uncle pringles placing it there or did shinta put it there himself? also that comment of either pringles or shinta being a mannequin type is scary!! 😱

    1. Saya_In_Underworld20 November 2020 at 10:09

      I am glad you liked it!πŸ˜†πŸ’–✨I love stories that have no clear explanation because it makes them creepier!

  12. what a nasty parent! i cant find this very scary, since most mental illnesses I can think of off the top of my head aren't contagious. it reminds me of the abundance of hiv-related urban legends that arose in the 1980s and 90s about people hiding infected needles (since sharing needles for intravenous drugs was one vector; my city has had a clean needle exchange program to prevent it for a long time now) in order to spread disease. It's nonsense of course, but urban legends reflect the anxieties of a culture. I think its interesting that what's hiv in one country is a mental illness in another.

    although, i think the silliest example of disease urban legends was that rumor that you could get hiv or hep C from sitting on public toilets. aren't urban legends interesting?

  13. Saya_In_Underworld17 December 2020 at 19:29

    We have Hiv related stories tooπŸ˜†⭐✨
    But I agree that this one sounds similar to those Hiv urban legends! Thank you so much for your interesting insight πŸ™πŸŽ΅⭐

    1. I'm sure there are! If I remember correctly, hiv is usually associated with foreigners, right? so the anxiety is a little different, since in america it's associated with drug users and gay men (so, lots of homophobic fear as well as stigmatizing addicts). still, there's a lot of overlap.

      you're welcome! i love discussing stuff like this. it's like how people will use more common monsters to explore fear as well, like how vampires or zombies changed a lot depending on what they were meant to evoke. Did you know, 50s movies like the Pod People, where humans are infiltrated by unseen forces, are largely about the Red Scare and fear of communists "hiding in plain sight" at the time.

    2. Saya_In_Underworld17 December 2020 at 21:51

      I am sure there are HIV stories associated with foreigners, but the one I know doesn't involve any foreigners 😊✨I think it might have come from US originally, but I could be wrong.

      I once studied about zombies and what they represent in depth, with an American professor, when I was in Taiwan πŸ˜†✨although I have forgotten most of what I learned. But I do know what you are talking about!✨🌈


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