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Folk Beliefs
Rituals, festivals, holidays

The Kitchen God and Chuang Mu

This story was told during the daytime at a friend’s home. Sitting in front of the shrine her family keeps to honor the ancestors and the deities of Buddhism, it was told in order to explain the reasoning behind some of the rituals done on specific Buddhist holidays. She learned about these beliefs from her parents, who are strong Buddhists, and they are part of her self-identification. To her, they are fully real and are the reasons why luck and fortune come and go out of people’s lives. They are also why she believes that honoring the dead and the deities are so important and can never be neglected without severe consequences. Having lived this way her entire life, it also means her way of living to her as well.

The Kitchen God and Chuang Mu are said to keep you safe from evil spirits and misfortune. As deities of the house and home, they take care of the inhabitants if they are respected. As his name implies, the Kitchen God’s domain is the kitchen, but kitchen is very important in meaning to a house. Chuang Mu means the Mother of Beds, and she is the spirit that sits on beds and watches over you to make sure bad dreams and misfortune stays away. Their protection, however, is only bestowed if they are pleased with you and your family. If you anger them through disrespect or neglect, then they will withdraw their protection from your household. As a result, in order to show that you are respecting them and that you have not forgotten about them, you have to burn incense and give offering to the Kitchen God and Chuang Mu every few months.

This piece of folklore shows how much religion is a part of daily life, which is remarkable. It emphasizes respect for the dead and for the gods which is definitively part of Asian culture. It also shows how real religion can be to individuals and how deeply it can be associated with someone’s identity.


Earth cycle
Folk Dance
Rituals, festivals, holidays

Korean Holidays

This story was told to me by my friend who had come from Korea recently. It was the day right before Seollal and I wanted to know more about how it was celebrated in Korea. He had experienced this tradition every year for all of his life, and he had learned most of what he did from his parents and grandparents. In telling me how they celebrated the New Years and “Thanksgiving,” he also informed me of what it meant to him personally. He said that he believed these properly reflect how you should be thankful to nature and to your parents. Both of these holidays involve filial piety in that you honor your parents and the ones who came before you. You thank them for providing for you, and you thank nature for being bountiful as well, providing for your own needs. He believed that these holidays were also a very unifying time. Families come together during this time period to talk about anything and everything, catching up on the latest family gossip or simply asking how other people were doing. Family is an essential part of his life, and so anything that helped strengthen the bonds that family made were exceedingly important to him.

추석 (Chuseok)

Chuseok is a traditional Korean holiday. It is celebrated on August 15th according to the lunar calendar. As a result, its date moves around from year to year according to the calendar that we use. It can be considered as the Korean equivalent to Thanksgiving, but it is also very different. Chuseok is a holiday that is meant to celebrate the newly harvested grain. It celebrates that the earth had been fertile and provided so much grain that everybody could have food for the following wintertime.

It is a very important time when it comes to family. There is a three day holiday from work, and everybody is not expected to do anything work related. Everybody goes back to their hometown from wherever they are. So what happens is that in order to celebrate, people leave on their first day off to drive back to wherever it is that they came from. It is such a big holiday, that there are even special buses that are meant for taking people back home. However, because everybody is going back to their hometown to visit their family, the traffic is really bad. It is well known that the traffic jams are impossible to the point that it takes up to 20 hours just to move from city to city. It doesn’t matter to the people though. Regardless of how many people or there, or how long it takes, people will work their way just to get back to their families.

When you get back home, you must reunite with your family. Traditionally, you will eat dinner together and talk about your lives while you have been apart. Or if you have been living together the whole time, then you talk about what it is that you appreciate most and be cheerful. It is usually a very lively party. Everyone will make a Korean dish called songpyeon. It is a dessert, and is essentially a sweet rice cake filled with different fillings. Some are made with eggs, others are made with sesame seed paste, and some are just made with sweet filling. It is a family event, and usually everybody will learn it from their grandmothers. After they make it, everybody will come together to happily eat it. It is a very enjoyable time, and will also end up being a way to wish for revitalization for the land so that it may be “fertile” once again, and that good fortune will come for the following year.

Earlier in the day, the family will go the grave mounds where their ancestors are buried. They will clean the mound by trimming the plants around it and making it look presentable. Then they will hold a ceremony that will honor the dead, hoping to placate the spirits that guard the family and have them continue to bestow their blessings. They will usually offer food up to their ancestors, and some of them will provide pleasures that their ancestors enjoyed during life. However, the placement of the food is ultimately very important. Rice and soup are placed on the north side while fruits and vegetables are placed on the south side. On the west are the meat dishes, and on the east are the drinks. They do vary from region to region, but otherwise it is pretty consistent. Some people light cigarettes and leave them in a dish nearby. Others buy liquor and pour it all over the burial mound. All of this is done in order to respect the dead.

Around dinnertime, before or after the eating, there are usually games that are played. One notable one is Ssireum, which is essentially Korean wrestling. It happens between two people, and the winner is determined based on who can push the other one out of the ring. People also have archery competitions. However, this tradition is only for the men. The girls traditionally play much more childish games, and do not really do more active things. The most noticeable thing for girls in this holiday is a dance called the Ganggangsullae. The name has no meaning; it is just the phrase that follows the verse from the song that this is danced to. Essentially, the girls of the village will hold hands and dance around in a circle. They will wear their traditional Korean clothes called hanboks, and they will just circle around singing Ganggangsullae. With all of these festivities though, the people will simply enjoy their time together and get to know their families even better.

설날 (Seollal)

Seollal is the Korean New Years. It is also placed according to the lunar calendar. It changes dates quite often, but it is usually around January to February, in line with the Chinese New Years. This is the other big holiday in Korea where people will go back to visit their families from wherever it is that they may be staying. Another three day holiday is provided to the people so that they are able to do so.

The customs of Seollal are very similar to those of Chuseok. The family will again go back to the burial mounds of their ancestors and take care of them. They will snip away the weeds and make the grass growing on top of the mounds look presentable. They will talk to the dead ancestors and make their wishes for a good afterlife for them. They will also provide food set in the traditional manner for the dead as well.

The food of Seollal is very traditional. People will eat rice cake soup, which is usually prepared with meat, rice cake, egg, and seaweed. This recipe will vary regionally, but at the very least, the rice cake part will be included. According to Korean tradition, people turn gain a year at the new lunar calendar year. They are one when they are born, and become two when Seollal occurs. However, they only gain a year if they eat the rice cake soup. That is why every year, people at it so that they can gain a year of age.

Children will be very traditional and wear traditional clothes that are called hanboks. They will bow to their parents, grandparents, and elders. They will wish them blessing and a long life with the phrase “새해 복 많이 받으세요,” which means “I hope you receive many new blessings for the new year.” The bowing is very traditionalized, as the children will first get on their knees and then bow, putting their head to the floor. Then they will get back up on their knees, and then stand one again. As a reward for the children’s filial piety, they usually receive money in beautiful money pouches. Inside the money pouches are also contained sayings and phrases that are meant to instruct the children to live moral lives, but that has become less popular in the recent days.

Then everybody plays games. The girls will play on a seesaw. Rather than sitting on it, two girls will stand on the ends of it. One will jump, and then the other girl will be launched into the air. In falling back down, the first girl will be launched into the air. It is a very amusing game, and that is how they spend their time. The boys would play jegichagi, which is very much like hacky sack in America. Once that is done, everybody will play Yutnori together. Yutnori is a board game that involves throwing sticks. You move your pieces around the board in a circle to try and make it to the finish line. However, there are two teams. Each team takes turns throwing sticks, and depending on the way they land, you must move a certain distance. If the other team throws a number and lands on the exact same spot, then the first team’s piece is taken off the board and they must start over again. It is a race to finish, as each team usually has 4 pieces. If it is not racing to finish, then it is a race to catch the other team to make them start all over again. It is a friendly competition between family members, and usually the winning team will get a monetary reward.

These holidays are celebrated very differently in America than they are in Korea. In America it’s much more relaxed and less focused on the family. Knowing that this still exists in Korea is actually very meaningful. I had wanted to celebrate the holidays with my own family, and we do—but it is not as important to us as it is to them. In addition, this also seems to reflect the religious nature of Korean people. The idea of honoring the dead ancestors is a very Confucian ideal. Personally, my family does not celebrate that part of the holidays because we are Christian and we believe otherwise. I definitely respect these holidays for being such a unifying factor between families and even between Korean people as a whole.

This appears in a children’s book:

Miller, Jennifer A. South Korea. Minneapolis: Lerner, 2010. Print.


The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter

This story was told outside at 10 p.m. when the moon was clearly visible. It was not a special holiday, but it was dark with only the moon as a visible light source. The outside air was very still and peaceful. The speaker wished to illustrate a story that was very important to him because it is part of his culture.  It reflects the importance of filial piety, and how wit is important in making decisions tactfully and meaningfully. It also shows how good actions will bring good karma and good fortune will follow, while evil will be repaid with punishment and other problems. This story was learned from the speaker’s parents as he was growing up, and they would constantly tell this story to both teach him to honor his parents and to fill in his identity as a Japanese-American.

Once upon a time, there was an old bamboo cutter who, while walking home, saw a faint white light in the distance. And as he came closer to it, he saw that it was coming from this shining stalk of bamboo and he decided to cut it open. Inside it, there was a small little baby girl who was only a few inches tall but very beautiful. And the old man was very surprised and did not want to leave her there, so he decided to take her home to his wife. The old couple was glad because they didn’t have any children so they decided to raise her as their own and named her Kaguya-hime. And from that day on, every time the old man went to cut bamboo, he’d find a small piece of gold inside each bamboo stalk. And so the family became very rich. And eventually, as Kaguya-hime grew, she became extremely beautiful and news of her beauty quickly spread talking about how she was more beautiful than any princess ever. Eventually five princes came and thought that whenever they saw Kaguya-hime, she was the most beautiful person ever, and decided to try and get her hand in marriage. Each of the princes wrote to the father of Kaguya-hime asking for her hand in marriage but he didn’t know what to do because all the letters actually came at the same time and he thought that if he chose one of the princes the rest would became angry. He decided to ask Kaguya-hime to decide. But Kaguya-hime was not every interested in marriage and did not want to actually marry any of them and just wanted to stay with her parents. So she carefully planned and had all the princes come to the house. And so on a certain day the five princes would come to the house of the bamboo cutter and each one of them thought that they would be able to marry her. Kaguya-hime decided that if they wanted to be able to marry her they would try to accomplish one of these missions that she would give to them. These five princes were to retrieve these rare artifacts. The first prince was to go to India and find the great stone bowl of Buddha. The second prince was to bring a branch from the jewel trees that grew on the floating mountains of Hourai. The third prince was to bring a robe made from the skins of the fire rats. The fourth was to bring the shell which the swallows keep hidden in their nests. And the 5th prince was to bring a jewel from the neck of the sea dragon The princes hurried off hoping that they would be able to retrieve the item as fast as possible and be able to achieve Kaguya-hime’s hand in marriage. The first prince was supposed to retrieve the great stone bowl which was hidden in India that belonged to the great god Buddha, and the bowl supposedly gleamed and sparked as if set with the most beautiful gems and it was hidden in some great temple. Now the first prince was trying to go to India but he was very lazy and decided that he didn’t actually want to India and so he decided to try to come up with a clever plan to try and trick Kaguya-hime. He asked the sailors how long it would take to go to India, and the sailors said it would take about 3 years. And so he decided that he wasn’t going to go and he decided to go to another city, stay for a few years, and find an old stone bowl and try and dress it up as if it were the great stone bowl that was in India. When Kaguya hime received the bowl, she opened it up and found that it was made of common stone and saw that the prince had tried to trick her. She was very angry and did not want to even see the prince when he came. The second prince who had to find the branch of the jewel tree also thought that he could outsmart Kaguya-hime. He didn’t actually believe that there was a floating mountain called Hourai and didn’t believe that her were actually trees of gold with jewels for leaves. So he decided to actually make it himself. Nobody really saw the second prince for about 3 years and he would just appear out of nowhere with a beautiful branch of gold with blossoms and leaves with all these colored jewels. And so Kaguya-hime decided to ask the prince of his journey, and so the prince talked about how he had seen many different things like these beautiful cities and strange countries, how these great sea dragons and sea serpents and saw these strange birds, and he talked about how he struggled through these fierce storms and sometimes he had neither food nor water, but eventually he was able to reach the great mountain of Hourai and retrieve the branch of the jewel tree. And after the prince told the story, 3 men came in and asked for payment for making the jewel branch. And the prince had tried to drive them away, but Kaguya-hime asked them to stay and asked why they were there. And the three men talked about how they had been working for 3 years to make this beautiful golden branch and that they wanted their pay. And Kaguya-hime found out that the prince had just lied to her, so the second prince went home dejected. And Kaguya-hime gave the three men the jeweled branch to pay for their years of hard work. And they went off happy and praised the princess for her kindness. The third prince had a very difficult task as well and he was to find the fire robe. He was very rich and had friends all around the world, and he had one friend that lived in China and sent him a messenger with a great bag of gold asking him to find the robe made of the skins of fire rats. The friend did not know what to do because he had never heard of this thing before, but he decided to try his best. He sent messengers all around china looking for this robe, but they could never find it.  He went to every temple and asked about it, but he could never find it. And they had never even heard of it before. He even asked all the merchants as well. At last he decided that he would just send the gold back to the prince and say that he was unable to find it. But the next morning he saw a group of beggars passing by and decided to ask them about the fire robe. And they were very surprised about all this. And the friend asked them about the fire robe. Some of them laughed at his face because they didn’t think that it existed. One of them thought that they had heard of it but that it was only a story and that it didn’t actually exist. After all but one beggar left, there was one old man who told them a story about how when he was a child his grandfather talked about this fire robe that was kept in this temple on top of a mountain hundreds of miles away from this place. The friend was very delighted but was wondering why the messengers had never found it. So he went to look for the temple and sent a messenger there but the messenger said that there actually wasn’t a temple on the mountain. The beggar said that there was a temple during his grandfather’s time. So the messenger searched the mountain and tried to look for the temple and couldn’t find it and said they only found a couple of stones. And they searched around a long time and eventually they actually found a large iron box that was buried underneath the stones. They opened the box and within it wrapped in many folds of rich silk, a strange beautiful fur robe. They carried it home joyfully to the friend who was very glad to receive it and sent it to the third prince who was very excited. He took it out of the box, and looked at it, and it was very beautiful, and remarked how Kaguya-hime would look beautiful in it and he remembered that every time the fire robe was put into the fire, it would be more bright and silvery than it was before, and so he put it in, but before he could snatch it from the fire, the fire quickly consumed up the robe and left nothing but silvery smoke. And the 3rd prince was suddenly heartbroken. He decided to write to Kaguya-hime telling her all about what had happened and the truth and decided to leave forever. And once Kaguya-hime received the letter, she knew that he was telling the truth and wanted him to come to her but he had gone away forever and Kaguya-hime never heard or saw of him ever again. The prince who was to find the shell in the swallow’s nest decided that he would ask the servants and everyone he knew about the shells that the swallows kept in their nests. None of the servants knew about it or the gardeners or any of the people that he had known so he decided to ask the children. A little boy thought that he had seen one inside some nests and while he was in the roof of the kitchen looking for swallow’s eggs he thought he saw this supposed shell and thought it was the shell the prince wanted. The prince was delighted and ordered his men to go search the swallow’s nest on the roof of the kitchen to look for the shell but they couldn’t reach it. So the men spent about three days trying to climb up and get it but they failed. So their final solution was to get a rope and a basket to drop a man and look into the nest, but they couldn’t find a shell. At last the prince grew impatient and decided to go up to the kitchen and into the basket and look for a shell himself. But the men told him how dangerous it was but they decided not to refuse and brought him up and the prince decided to look into the nest. But the swallows began to peck at him. They didn’t want to have their eggs broken so they attacked the prince multiple times until he fell off of the basket and onto a stove and was just badly bruised and burned and eventually he just gave up. He didn’t want to look for the shell and forgot about Kaguya-hime. In the end, he would never climb up and look into the swallow’s nest from that day on. The last prince was to bring the dragon jewel, but while he was very rich, he was only a great boaster and a coward as well. He was going to get the dragon jewel but he didn’t want to get it himself so he called up a great number of servants and soldiers and told them they were to look for the dragon jewel. He would give them a bunch of money and they weren’t to come back until they found it, but they took the money and left because they didn’t believe that it existed. So the last prince decided to go look for it himself. And he took a few men and set off on a boat. It was okay for the first couple of days, but eventually there was a great giant storm. The storm was very dangerous and could potentially destroy the boat and kill them all. So the prince went up to the captain and asked what he should do and the captain responded that the dragon had probably heard he was going to kill it and take the jewel, so he had sent the storm to try and kill him. So the prince, fearing for his life, promised that he would never ever touch the dragon and eventually the storm died down and the prince came to land down elsewhere. And the prince was so scared for his life that once he had touched the ground he vowed that he would never leave the solid piece of ground and he would spend the rest of his life on an island far away. Many years passed and Kaguya-hime took very good care of her old father and mother. The mother and father finally realized why Kaguya-hime had asked the princes to do such impossible things and that Kaguya-hime had just wanted to stay with her parents. And Kaguya-hime knew that if she refused to marry them, they might cause trouble and attack and harm the family. And as each day passed, Kaguya-hime would grow more and more beautiful and kinder and gentler and eventually when she was 20 years old her mother died and she became very sad. And whenever the full moon rose to show, she would go by herself and weep. One evening late in the summer, Kaguya-hime was sitting on a balcony looking at the moon and was crying very much. Her old father would come up to her and ask what the problem was and Kaguya-hime replied that she knew that one day she would eventually leave him and that her home was actually in the moon; she was sent down to earth to take care of them but eventually the time would come where she had to leave. She did not want to leave them but she must. She said that when the next full moon came, the people from the moon would come and get her. The father was very sad to hear this but thought that he would be able to keep her there by asking the emperor for some help. Kaguya-hime replied that it would be no use and that no one could keep her there when the time was to come. The father thought that he could do something about this and went to the emperor and told him the entire story. The emperor was touched by Kaguya-hime’s story and decided to send a whole army to guard the house when the time came. The old bamboo cutter went home cheerful but Kaguya-hime was sadder than ever. Eventually the old moon faded away and the few nights would show only the blue lights of the heaven and the gold of the stars, and a tiny silver thread showed just after sunset which eventually widened and brightened. Kaguya-hime would grow sadder and sadder. On the first night of the full moon the emperor’s men stood guard all around the house and Kaguya-hime waited on the balcony for the moon to rise. Eventually, slowly over the tops of the trees of the mountain rose this great white silver ball and every sound hushed. Kaguya-hime went to her father who had lied down as if he were asleep. When Kaguya-hime came near he opened his eyes and said, “I see now why you must go. It is because I am going too. Thank you my daughter for all the happiness you have brought to us,” and the old man closed his eyes and Kaguya-hime saw that he was dead. The moon rose higher and higher and eventually a line of light like a bridge reached from heaven to earth and down this bridge came many soldiers with shining armor. There was no sound and no wind, but they came. The emperor’s soldiers stood as if they had turned to stone and could not do anything. Kaguya-hime went to the leader of these heavenly visitors and said that she was ready. The leader handed her a cup with the elixir of immortality and she drank from it and she would no longer be mortal. She would become a princess of the moon and live on forever. Kaguya-hime and the others would eventually rise up like the morning mists, passing on to Mount Fuji, the sacred mountain of Japan, and eventually reach the silver gates of the moon city where everything was all happiness and peace. Men say that now a small soft white wreath of smoke that curls up around the crown of Mt. Fuji comes up like a floating bridge to that city in the moon far off in the sky.

As the one recording this tale, I had the same reaction as the speaker did. By looking at the moon in the darkness and listening to the tale, it seemed much more convincing and meaningful. It was a reminder to treasure loved ones and to act wisely so as to stop harm from following. It teaches good moral lessons such as protecting things that are unable to project themselves and to live honestly. More broadly, the story indicates to me that Japanese culture prioritizes family and morality.

This story is also mentioned in a scientific article:

Folktales Commonly Told American and Japanese Children: Ethical Themes of Omission and Commission
Betty B. Lanham and Masao Shimura
The Journal of American Folklore , Vol. 80, No. 315 (Jan. – Mar., 1967), pp. 33-48
Folk speech

Psychopath Tests

My friend one day decided to ask me these tests that he had heard circulating around the school. Supposedly, they were meant to determine how psychopathic you were. You weren’t supposed to know that they were tests for that, and you were supposed to treat it as a riddle. He was very interested in psychology, but he didn’t believe these tests were at all accurate indicators at all. To him, these were just jokes and pseudo-psychology that he intended to ask me just for fun. They were of no real significance to him other than to just know how I considered these problems and how I solved them. However, these tests started appearing after a presentation from the father of a girl who had died from the Columbine shootings. People were beginning to take them seriously, according to my friend.

These are riddles for you. I will give you a scenario and ask you a question. Do your best to answer it.

One day, you woke up from your sleep at 3 in the morning. You don’t know why you did, except you had a really bad feeling about it. It seems like you were having a nightmare because you were sweating feverishly. You decide that the room is too stuffy, so you decide to go out onto the balcony. You live in a pretty okay apartment. It’s not the best, but it’s affordable and it’s pretty comfortable for what it’s worth. You live on the 7th floor. Upon walking outside though, you find that yourself horrified. In looking down, you find that you are the witness to a murder. You see the assailant attacking an elderly man and stabbing him with a knife. It seemed like the assailant noticed you were there, even though he was on the ground floor. He whirls around and makes eye contact with you. You don’t wait. You stumble back into your room, fearing for your life. You noticed he was shaking his hand at you only by moving his wrists. You don’t know what that means.

What was the killer doing?

One day, there was this girl. She was a relatively pretty girl. She was not outstanding in terms of looks, but she was definitely acceptable. One day, her mother died. At the funeral, she saw a strange man that she had never seen before. He was handsome and was just her type. They made eye contact, and she thought she would swoon. The man of her dream had appeared at her mother’s funeral, and she had truly fallen in love. After the funeral was over, she asked everybody who the mysterious man was. However, nobody could help her. Despite having asked everybody, nobody knew who the mysterious man was. Nobody could provide her with contact information, whether it was a phone number, address, or even email address. A few days later, the girl’s sister died. The girl had killed her.

Why did the girl kill her sister?

Answers are posted below

I thought that these tests were truly foolish as well. It is highly unlikely that riddles alone are enough to determine who is psychopathic or not. Moreover, I do not have much of an interest in psychology. It interested me to know that people were taking the tests so seriously though. Perhaps it reveals the fear that people have of the insane, and just how much they wanted to know they were safe around other people. I don’t see it as anything more than simple riddles that are easily solvable with small bits of imagination. To others, however, these were essential questions to ask.

Continue reading Psychopath Tests


One Person Hide and go Seek

According to my friend, Japanese people are very interested in horror. They believe that spirits exist and may sometimes be harmful to people. They are very mischievous and have no intention of leaving once they have latched onto someone they love to fool around with. This story in particular was not too significant because he does not believe in the occult. However, it was a little past midnight when he told me the rules for playing this game, and the lights were off. It was slightly frightening. He learned this from other students who normally play with the occult, whether it’s through Ouija boards, séances, or Kokkuri-san, another version of an Ouija board.

There are many things that you must prepare for this ritual. You need a stuffed doll, and it must have limbs. You need enough rice that you can fill the doll with it. You need a needle and thread that is red in color. You need a nail clipper and a very sharp object such as a knife or whatnot. You need a cup of salt water, and you need to have a bathroom that has a bathtub. You also need a hiding place, such as a room. It must also have a TV in there.

You are supposed to open the doll and take out all the stuffing. There must be nothing left, so scraping the doll’s insides may be necessary. Once all of its stuffing is removed, it must be filled with rice. This is meant to represent innards, and will attract ghosts to possess the doll and allow it to live inside. You must clip off a few nails and then put them inside the doll. You sew the tear you made to open the doll up with the crimson thread. The stitches should be relatively clumsy. When you are done sewing up the thread, you are to tie the doll up with the rest of it. The red thread is actually supposed to represent blood vessels and will manage to hold the spirit inside the doll. You have to go to the bathroom and fill the bathtub with water, and then return to your hiding place with the cup of salt water.

In playing it, you have to give a name to your doll. It can be any name, as long as it is not yours. At 3 AM, you are to tell the doll “your name is the first it” to the doll three times. You are to go the bathroom and put the doll into the water-filled bathtub. You turn off all the lights in your house and go back to the hiding place and switch on the TV. After counting to ten, you return to the bathroom with the sharp tool in hand. You are supposed to go to the bathtub and say to the doll “I have found you, <name that you gave to it>.” You are to stab it with the edged tool, symbolizing that you are setting the spirit inside free. Then you’re suppose to say, “You are the next it, <name that you gave to it>.” As you take the doll out of the bathtub, you leave it on the counter. You run back to your hiding place and hide very well.

You are supposed to pour half of the cup of salt water in your mouth and you are not to drink any of it. This is supposed to keep you safe. If you do not, you might encounter a wandering spirit in the house which may harm you if you are not careful. You cannot see it, so the only way to know if something is getting closer to you is to watch what is happening to the TV in your room. You should have turned it on at this point in time. Get out of your hiding place and look for the doll. It may not be in the bathroom where you left it. No matter what happens you must not spit out the salt water because that is what is keeping you safe. When you find the doll, you’re supposd to pour the rest of the salt water from the cup that you had over it. Then you spit the salt water in your mouth onto it as well.  Then you say, “I win” three times and the ritual is done.

After this, you must dry, burn and discard the doll.

Honestly, this game was ultimately very creepy. I do not like dolls to begin with, and knowing that this doll could potentially harm you because it was even worse. I found it hard to understand why people would be so into horror, but I believe it just represents the people group as a whole in terms of their spirituality. It is explainable because they do believe in ghosts and malevolent spirits and whatnot. I would not perform this ritual, but other people might. I suppose it would take a brave person not afraid of ghosts and spirits to actually go through with the ritual. It would also require some belief in the occult as well. Again, it sounds somewhat like a stereotype of the Japanese people.

Folk speech

Doctor Slang

I collected these slang terms from a friend who heard it from his older sibling who works at a hospital. These terms are very indicative of the type of humor that medical practitioners have. According to my friend, they receive inordinate amounts of stress. So as to depersonalize the experience or detach themselves from getting too involved, they have to make light of it in almost an offensive way. They came up because we were just talking about unfortunate accidents that happen to people. As I was describing someone getting burned, he called the person a term that is used in hospitals. In asking where that came from, he proceeded to give quite a few terms and their meanings. My friend finds that they are very offensive and doesn’t enjoy that, and even using it for humor makes him feel slightly less human. However, he does believe that in order to maintain their sanity and ensure that they can stay healthy for themselves without being emotionally overwhelmed by anything, doctors do what they have to.

AGA (Acute Gravity Attack) – This term is used when a person falls over.

Beached Whale – This is used to describe an obese patient unable to do much for him/herself except lie there with flailing arms and legs.

Crispy Critter – This describes a patient with severe burns

LMC (Low Marble Count) – This describes a patient with low IQ.

ALS (Absolute Loss of Sanity) – This is used for an insane patient.

Appy – This is a term for a patient who is suspected to have appendicitis

BUNDY – This is an acronym that stands for “But Unfortunately Not Dead Yet.”

Dermaholiday – This is a nickname that is used for the dermatology department, which is supposedly not as busy as the other departments.

Drooler – This is a term for a catatonic patient.

Gorked – This is used to describe a person who is unresponsive and nonverbal either because the patient is sedated or because of a medical condition.

Certainly there are many more terms that are used in the hospital as part of their hospital language. I personally do not find their terms very funny. However, that is part of their job. As they get used to working there and dealing with cases, it probably becomes a part of their culture. It is something that they learn and become accustomed to in order to deal with the pressures of the environment. It also unifies the people in the field together because they speak the same language. People who aren’t inside of that field are not going to understand the terms being spoken because they aren’t acquainted with the culture of the hospital.