Tuesday, July 31, 2007

This Freaked Me Out

*There should be some warning up front. This just isn't right.*

Japan is scarier than America. I don't know much about anywhere else in the world. But I would venture to guess that Japan is scarier than all those other countries too. If I started talking now about why I think this is true, I probably wouldn't stop talking of my own accord. You'd have to smack me with something hard and tell me, enough already! That or maybe you'd run in the other direction screaming in terror.

When I was a kid the most frightening thing to me was Bloody Mary...a vague game that I never completely had the courage to do. What was it? Go into the bathroom, turn out the lights, summon 'Bloody Mary' by turning around three times and calling her name, and then when you stop and look in the mirror she'll be there. That whole myth kept me up at night.

I don't know what I was thinking when I moved to Japan. Here's the most recent example, a new fad among kids (teens and young adults I suppose). It's called Hitori Kakurenbo or Playing Hide'n'Seek by Yourself.

What you need:

①A stuffed animal that has feet and arms and has had all its stuffing removed


③a needle with red thread

④a knife or a cutter knife (something with a blade)

⑤a cup of salt water

You fill the stuffed animal with rice and one of your fingernails. Tie it closed with the red thread. When you are done sewing take the remaining string and wrap it around the animal. Give it a name. Anything will do. For ease of explanation let's say you use a Teddy Bear and call it Bobo. Here's a picture I snagged from the net, a brave, brave soul who actually tried it.

At three am you hold the Teddy Bear and tell it, "We're going to play Hide'n'Seek now." You say your name and tell him you're 'it'. Note that 'it' in Japanese is 'oni' the word for devil. You repeat this three times to little Bobo, make sure he understands. Next, take the bear to the bathtub and put him in. Fill it with water.

Go now and make sure all the lights in the house are turned off. Be sure though that one TV stays on. There, nice and dark and quiet. Close your eyes and count to ten. Afterwards, retrieve the knife you've prepared and go back into the bathroom. You don't necessarily have to wander around and pretend to look for him, but you can. Enter the darkened bathroom with the knife. You'll find Bobo floating there. Loudly say, "I found Bobo!" while you take the knife and stab him with it.

Leaving the stuck bear in the bathroom say, "Okay, now it's Bobo's turn to be 'it' (the devil)." Quickly (and yes, it says quickly) run from the room and hide. I've heard a closet is a good place to hide. Hide quietly! That seems to be important too. Here are some points to hiding:

①you can't go outside the house

②make sure again there are no lights on

③(Very Important) make sure you bring the salt water with you when you hide

④the game should last two hours, you have to hide until the sun comes up

⑤don't play if anyone is at home, it is very likely they will be 'found' and something bad will happened to them.

Okay. Now you are crouched down in a closet with a glass of salt water. Take half the glass of salt water into your mouth and wait. Weird things happen, they say. Some 'one' will try to find you. You should actually hear someone walking around, making noises, searching, getting closer. Sometimes the TV will turn off. There seems to be a lot of posts on the Internet that you should NOT go out when you hear all these scary things. You gotta stay in there and wait until the sun comes up. Although I've read some people who quit earlier. Sun or no sun the game doesn't end there.

To finish the game you leave your hiding place and it says that no matter what you see or what you hear you don't spit out the water. First, you have to find your dear Bobo. It says to go back to the bathroom and hope that he is still there. Some people find him moved, evidently. When you find the bear you pour the remaining salt water all over him, then spit the water in your mouth all over him and say three times, "I win! I win! I win!" Again, making sure he understands.

Do not keep the doll, it states. If possible, burn it.

What makes this extra scary is that people all over Japan are using their mobile phones to get online and actually playing alone at home...but online at the same time (three am). While they are closed up in some closet somewhere, a mouthful of salt water, they flip open their phones and check on each other's progress, here. Sorry, that's all in Japanese. But it looks like at the beginning someone is leading several people through the process. One guy doesn't have salt water with him and he hears someone in his house walking around. So the guy who is leading him through it is telling him to hurry and call a friend or something to bring salt water -- he doesn't want him to leave his hiding place...as he hasn't be 'found' yet. The leader guy is obviously very worried about the dude who doesn't have salt water. Non Salt Water Guy is going into detail about all these sounds he's hearing and is slightly freaking out. He's like I'll run to the kitchen. Meanwhile, Leady Guy is No!! Wait!! Whatever you do, don't leave now!

It's all very high suspense and while of course I considered it to be a Blair Witch type hoax, even if it is, it's a good one. And creepy. And freaky. And it is just something else for me to talk about when I'm tryng to convince you how scary this country is!

Oh, and here's another pic someone took. Bwa ha ha!!