Yokai House By: Iris B.J.
Once upon a time, there was a family in Japan. There was a boy, of age 5, named Joji, and a girl of age 10, named Akemi. She and her family were moving into a raggedy, previously famine struck village full of Yokai (magical creatures scattered across Japan), including Bakenekos and Kasa-Obakes, which they both loved.
Akemi was a skinny girl, shorter than most children her age. She loved all Yokai, and studied them with passion. Her brother was chubby and half her size, but had the same fire for learning as Akemi. As a result of their love of Yokai, the cottage they were going to move into delighted them. The floor-boards were torn and missing, the roof had lost most of its shingles, the windows have been shattered in some spots (probably because of the playful Yokai), and the stairs could break at any step. The perfect habitat for Yokai!
Akemi dashed around her family’s skinny donkey that was carrying lettuce, tomatoes, mixed seeds, galangal (a type of ginger), some bowls and cups for food, and little money. Joji was tired and had to be carried by his mother, which was even more exhausted, so she had to pass the tired little boy to his father. Still awake and ready to forage for berries, Akemi asked her mother eagerly if she can forage in the forest.
“No, Akemi. There may be Okuri Inus there,” replied mother.
“I’ve studied about them! They are just dogs, but they like to eat humans. They live in heavily forested roads and sometimes mountains. If you fall over they will eat you! If you do not, they will be like a friend. If you fall and sit up quickly, they will think you are just tired and sat down to rest and they will start licking you if they are quite nice. If you thank them after you go to your destination, saying, “Thank you for being with me, friend,” They will be your buddies! If you feed them, they will be very trustworthy buddies!” Akemi said in a cheerful voice.
“Still, if you don’t sit up quickly they will still know you fell. Just don’t. There could be other Yokai there too. You don’t know what’s in there,” her mother scolded.
While her mother went on about other Yokai, Akemi caught a glimpse of something red and green in the bushes.
“M-mother? There’s a Kitsune (fox) watching us!”
Before her mother could reply, Akemi sneaked closer to the sparkling green eyes. She slowly grabbed a nearly-cooked sparrow from her pocket and handed it out to the Kitsune. The beautiful red fox stepped out from the bushes. Standing up and taking the sparrow in its paws, it puffed a bit of green fire onto it, setting it aflame. Akemi watched eagerly as the tiny bird began to float. The fox blew out the fire and ate the roasted sparrow in one large chomp. The Kitsune grinned, sat down and said, “Thank you human,” and disappeared into the bushes, its glittering ruby tail flowing in the wind.
Akemi ran to her mother and father. Seeing the house down on the hill below them, she bolted down as fast as her legs could carry her. Sliding down, she got up to her feet and dashed down again. Reaching the bottom, she walked through the dew-speckled grass to the house, only to be knocked over by what seemed like a meteorite or a large rock, but it was neither meteor nor rock. It was her little brother, Joji! He tumbled down the hill like a wild rolling meatball on a mission.
“Akemiii!” He shouted, rolling towards the house. Akemi followed, and soon enough, her parents and the donkey caught up, too.
Akemi and her brother Joji were ecstatic at the torn up house, but their parents were not. "I bet there are so many Tsukumogami (ghost objects) in there!" said Akemi.
"Maybe someone left flip flops in there. There could be a pair of Bakezori!" The little one-eyed, stubby legged mischievous flip-flops always got Joji into a playful mood.
The sibling duo rushed into the building, leaving their parents outside.
"I know they will be happy with those Yokai... but... I'm not sure it is safe," Said mother.
"Well..." mumbled father. "It'll be all right if they are just Tsukumogami, ghost tools and furniture, they never hurt anyone on purpose..."
They too entered the deserted house. They stopped dead in their tracks when they saw five Kasa-Obakes, one eyed, tattered umbrellas with two skinny arms and one long leg. One Bakezori (the other was in the basement) and a Mokumokuren, a ripped paper curtain with eyes, interacting with Akemi and Joji. Joji and the Bakezori were dancing unskillfully for the countless eyes of Mokumokuren, the Bakezori singing in a rusty, squeaking voice, "Kararin, kororin, kankororin, two eyes, three eyes and two teeth!" Akemi was standing on one leg, wobbling like an agar cake with the tattered umbrella-shaped Kasa-Obakes, laughing. The Kasa-Obakes' single eyes rolled with squealing laughter as they hopped around on their one purplish legs.
Akemi and Joji were excited about their new life in this village. Even though it may be tricky and tough at times, they will still enjoy every bit of the Yokai House.
I'm Iris. A 10 year old ('turned 11 last March 2018) who got lots of reflections and views on life as I experience it. I love to read topics about the world around us, other people's ideas and opinions, and just about anything that I'm curious about and interested in.