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Looking for a podcast on Japan's mysterious culture? Try listening to Thersa Matsuura's Uncanny Japan Podcast and experience all that is weird about Japan—strange superstitions, folktales, cultural oddities, and interesting language quirks—and not found anywhere else! Show notes and transcripts available at uncannyjapan.com
 
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show series
 
A misemono is like a carnival, museum, zoo, and freak show all rolled into one. Here you could see exotic animals, buy cure-all medicines, and check out mermaid mummies among many, many other thrills. Visit the Uncanny Japan website to read the show notes and transcript. Uncanny Japan is author Thersa Matsuura. Her other show is The Soothing Storie…
 
A Japanese mermaid is called a ningyo (人魚) or human fish. Today I'll tell you about their history, the good, the bad, and the delicious! Visit the Uncanny Japan website to read the show notes and transcript. Uncanny Japan is author Thersa Matsuura. Her other show is The Soothing Stories Podcast. Check out her books including The Carp-Faced Boy on A…
 
It's Obon and today I want to read to you an essay by Lafcadio Hearn. He wrote it about the town he would stay at during summers, the town I've lived in for 25 plus years. Here he talks not just about the lantern floating ceremony, but also the ocean and ghost and gods and how we humans fit into it all. Visit the Uncanny Japan website to read the s…
 
How do you build a bridge that stands up to storms and floods? Well, you have to appease the nature gods, of course. But how do you do that? Human sacrifice seemed to have worked in the past. Today I'll talk about hitobashira or human pillars. An ancient tradition of insuring strong river banks, fireproof castles, and tunnels that won't collapse. V…
 
The Tofu Kozo is a seemingly innocent little yokai who appears on rainy days offering a plate of tofu to unsuspecting people. What could possibly go wrong? Visit the Uncanny Japan website to read the show notes and transcript. Uncanny Japan is author Thersa Matsuura. Her other show is The Soothing Stories Podcast. Check out her books including The …
 
Let's say you have a plague of insects, like millions of cicada awakening after a years-long slumber. Or worse, bugs that would rather devour your crops. And let's say this is happening 200 years ago so you don't have your pesticides or DDT to wipe them out. What do you do? Why you have an absolutely delightful festival, with dances, and Buddhist o…
 
We're being visited by UAPs, Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon. Or you might be more familiar with their older name: UFOs. There is a lot of interesting news coming out these days. You've probably seen it. Well, guess what, they've been coming for quite awhile and I have proof. Today let's talk about the utsuro-bune (虚舟) or utsuro-fune, the legend of …
 
Today I'll read to you, "The Bamboo Cutter and the Moon Princess" called Kaguya Hime in Japanese. It's an old tale that some believe talks about otherworldly visitors. Was the Moon Princess an extraterrestrial being? Show Notes and Transcript Available Visit the Uncanny Japan website to read the show notes and transcript. Uncanny Japan is author Th…
 
Who are Fujin and Raijin (the Japanese Wind God and Thunder God), where did they come from, and what do they do? Today I'll tell you about their origins in India and a Japanese Goddesses' decaying body. Visit the Uncanny Japan website to read the show notes and transcript. Uncanny Japan is author Thersa Matsuura. Her other show is The Soothing Stor…
 
Today's Story Time is one I found in an old collection of Japanese folklore. It's about a couple of conniving kappa and an innocent young girl. It's called "The Kappa's Abyss." Visit the Uncanny Japan website to read the show notes and transcript. Uncanny Japan is author Thersa Matsuura. Her other show is The Soothing Stories Podcast. Check out her…
 
The Hell Courtesan (Jigoku Tayuu) is a mysterious figure that appears in art and story in Japan since the 1600s. But who is this beautiful high-ranked oiran who wears a kimono covered in images of hell? In this episode I talk about her legend and relationship with the eccentric monk Ikkyuu. Visit the Uncanny Japan website to read the show notes and…
 
Here is it already April first and the cherry blossoms are blooming and spring is in the air. I think today is a good day to tell you a story I've been wanting to share for awhile now. Remember last episode when I talked about the tanuki? Well, keep all that in mind when you listen to today's episode. Things are going to get weird. This version is …
 
Here is it already April first and the cherry blossoms are blooming and spring is in the air. I think today is a good day to tell you a story I've been wanting to share for awhile now. Remember last episode when I talked about the tanuki? Well, keep all that in mind when you listen to today's episode. Things are going to get weird. Warning: This ep…
 
Tanuki are those adorable, magical animals you find all through Japanese history. They're in folktales, art, legend, and even in modern day manga and anime. In this episode I'll talk about these furry, shape-shifting critters, touching on all the well known facts as well as some more obscure ones. Show Notes and Transcript Available Visit the Uncan…
 
Let me tell you why your toddler might cry at night and throw tantrums and what you can do to remedy. It could be a mythical parasite that lives in their spine. Any you might them, too. Show Notes and Transcript Available Visit the Uncanny Japan website to read the show notes and transcript. Twitter: https://twitter.com/UncannyJapanFacebook: https:…
 
Everyone is familiar with the Three Wise Monkeys or as they're called in Japan Sanzaru (Three Monkeys). But did you know the See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Say No Evil creatures are actually a Japanese play on words? They're also an important part of an old folk belief that has to do with three worms escaping your body and a large deity with six arms a…
 
A Muramasa blade is one of exceptional quality and great bloodlust. It's called a youtou (妖刀) in Japanese. Depending on how you translate that, it could mean cursed sword, mystic sword, or demon sword. In this episode I talk about one of the most well known youtou made by Muramasa Sengo. Show Notes and Transcript Available Visit the Uncanny Japan w…
 
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