Me: Could you tell me a ghost story that you heard before?
Z: Sure. I can even create a new story for you.
Me: Really? How is it like?
Z: Listen here. There was a taxi driver who often work during nights. When day, a woman in red took his car, telling him to go to a house in a small village. On the way, the woman was talking with someone through mobile phone. The driver heard from the conversation that the woman’s family was preparing a big meal and was waiting for her. When he finally arrived at the destination, he found that the woman was gone. He then came to knock the door of the house and ask the people inside about the woman. They told him that the woman died last year and they were preparing a meal to commemorate her since it was her anniversary.
context: the story was told in an informal private conversation.
interpretation: Taxi is a kind of common motif in ghost stories. There are also some stories in Japanese culture that are similar to this story, where a ghost, usually a woman, takes the taxi and then disappear when they arrive at the destination, which is usually his/her home. This may be because of the shared tradition of East Asia traditions to commemorate the death at a particular time point when the dead is considered to come back home. These related rituals and motifs are so common in East Asia sense of ghost story telling that they appeared in this improvised story by my friend when trying to create a ‘typical’ ghost story.