71 episodes

Speculative fiction writer, long-term resident of Japan and Bram Stoker Award finalist Thersa Matsuura explores all that is weird from Japan—strange superstitions, folklore and folktales, cultural oddities, and interesting language quirks. These are little treasures she digs up while doing research for her writing. Also check out her Soothing Stories Podcast!

Show notes and transcripts are available for most episodes at uncannyjapan.com

Uncanny Japan - Japanese Folklore, Folktales, Myths and Languag‪e‬ Thersa Matsuura

    • Places & Travel
    • 5.0 • 2 Ratings

Speculative fiction writer, long-term resident of Japan and Bram Stoker Award finalist Thersa Matsuura explores all that is weird from Japan—strange superstitions, folklore and folktales, cultural oddities, and interesting language quirks. These are little treasures she digs up while doing research for her writing. Also check out her Soothing Stories Podcast!

Show notes and transcripts are available for most episodes at uncannyjapan.com

    Kan no Mushi: Adorable Parasites Living Inside Your Spine

    Kan no Mushi: Adorable Parasites Living Inside Your Spine

    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.

    • 17 min
    Sanzaru: Three Wise Monkeys and How They Can Help Extend Your Life

    Sanzaru: Three Wise Monkeys and How They Can Help Extend Your Life

    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 and a blue face who vows to protect you.

    Visit the Uncanny Japan website for the show notes and transcript.

    • 18 min
    Cursed Swords That Want to Murder You (Youtou)

    Cursed Swords That Want to Murder You (Youtou)

    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.

    Visit the Uncanny Japan website for the show notes and transcript.

    • 16 min
    Enjoying the Luck of the Seven Lucky Gods (Shichifukujin)

    Enjoying the Luck of the Seven Lucky Gods (Shichifukujin)

    In Japan the Shichifukujin or Seven Lucky Gods appear in a boat on the first day of the year to impart various kinds of luck on those they deem worthy.

    Visit the Uncanny Japan website for the show notes and transcript.

    • 14 min
    Year of the Ox: Save Us All

    Year of the Ox: Save Us All

    The year 2021 is the Year of the Ox according to the animal zodiac. But what does that mean? On today's show I'll talk a little about the character of people born in this year, what to expect in 2021, and why the ox -- who should have been the first animal in the zodiac lineup -- got beaten by a rat.

    ...I also have a super special announcement.

    Visit the Uncanny Japan website for the show notes and transcript.

    • 12 min
    Toshikoshi Soba: Breaking Off the Pain of 2020 with Noodles

    Toshikoshi Soba: Breaking Off the Pain of 2020 with Noodles

    Toshikoshi soba is the Japanese tradition of eating soba noodles on New Year's Eve. It's a custom that has continued since the 1700s. There are quite a few reasons why, some have to do with long life, wealth, and breaking off all the hardships from the previous year.

    Visit the Uncanny Japan website for the show notes and transcript.

    • 18 min

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