Z is for Zipping-Around Zashiki-warashi – A to Z Blog Challenge

We are pleased to participate in the A to Z Blog Challenge (http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/). The Story Crossroads theme for this year is Beating the Odds…Lucky Folktales Around the World to Brighten Your Day. Each post highlights that the stars aligned and what would have normally been…bad…turned out after all. Considering what we – as humankind – have experienced the past year, how nice is it to remember that all of us can “beat the odds” to some level in our lives.

And we’ll admit now…some are actually myths, legends, or epics rather than only limited to folktales. So is that a type of “loading the dice”? Ah, but the stories were too wonderful to pass by.

ZASHIKI-WARASHI-

From Japan

Japanese ghosts stories are sometimes known as yūrei while “strange tales” are known as kaidan. Ghosts could have evil or benevolent intentions. Sometimes, by the time you find out which kind hovers near you, it is too late. Many of these stories were collected by Kizen Sasaki, a folklorist. Some people compare Kizen Sasaki as the Japanese version of the Brothers Grimm.

What makes Zashiki-Warashi dangerous?

Zashiki-Warashi are house spirits that could…creep you out. You are minding your own business and–crash, slide, jangle–some random noise and you are on edge. Once you see the Zashiki-Warashi, then perhaps you will relax. Even good spirits can cause the heart to beat faster.

50-words-or-less summary:

Mother of Kizen Sasaki heard noise. Husband not home. Turned to door. Opened it to see if someone was there. No one. Continued with sewing. She remembered people telling her that Zashiki-Warashi resided there. Mother happy…as that was good luck and would bring prosperity.

That mother was lucky that the spirit was a Zashiki-Warashi so that no harm would come to her. Her son did collect a lot of amazing stories. Does that count as being prosperous with stories? What luck indeed!

People speculate that Zashiki-Warashi connects to infanticide but that has never been proven. Yet, the word “Warashi” does connect to child.

Finding the Story/Folklore:

https://www.jstor.org/stable/1178918?seq=1

More about yūrei

https://www.nippon.com/en/guide-to-japan/gu900101/traveling-in-tono-iwate-a-birthplace-of-japanese-legends.html

Please share in the comments…or anything on your mind. While you enjoy this blog, Story Crossroads has year-round offerings with virtual as well as proper-distanced/masked/outdoors.

We are excited for the monthly All Things Story virtual workshop series as well as the hybrid Story Crossroads Festival on May 10-13, 2021 (then viewing beyond the event to June 15, 2021). Interested in deeper articles and e-workbooks plus stories, activities, and recipes? Then pursue Story Crossroads Memberships.

As we are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, you can also support by donating today!

From the Story Crossroads Academy, enjoy the free “Storytelling Basics in 8 Hours” that includes American Sign Language.

O is for Outwitting Ogres – A to Z Blog Challenge

We are pleased to participate in the A to Z Blog Challenge (http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/). The Story Crossroads theme for this year is Beating the Odds…Lucky Folktales Around the World to Brighten Your Day. Each post highlights that the stars aligned and what would have normally been…bad…turned out after all. Considering what we – as humankind – have experienced the past year, how nice is it to remember that all of us can “beat the odds” to some level in our lives.

And we’ll admit now…some are actually myths, legends, or epics rather than only limited to folktales. So is that a type of “loading the dice”? Ah, but the stories were too wonderful to pass by.

OGRES-

From Japan

The story mentions “ogre” though sometimes ogres and oni can be confusing for people. An ogre for Japanese lore if much like a big hairy giant that eats humans and other creatures. An oni is a demon and still something to avoid.

What makes ogres dangerous?

Well, as ogres in Japan like to eat humans…yes, that would be dangerous. The ogre in this story has shape-shifting abilities to then better hunt whoever they are after.

50-words-or-less summary:

Ogres thought to be gone. Then ogre discovered. Watanabe rides to face it. Fights. Cuts ogre’s arm. Watanabe placed in box. Old woman came who knew Watanabe. She wished to see arm. She took it, transformed into same ogre, put arm on. Watanabe fought ogre. Watanabe won! Ogre never returned.

That Watanabe was lucky to fight along five others to protect the people from ogres. Then lucky against this one ogre. And then again in another fight. Watanabe was seen as a hero before and now? That admiration and love will continue for generations now.

Finding the Story or about Ogres:

https://products.kitsapsun.com/archive/1999/09-19/0016_tell_me_a_story__the_ogre_s_arm__.html

https://mythus.fandom.com/wiki/Ogre

https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/59737/10-horrifying-demons-and-spirits-japanese-folklore (mentions a mountain ogress)

Please share in the comments…or anything on your mind. While you enjoy this blog, Story Crossroads has year-round offerings with virtual as well as proper-distanced/masked/outdoors.

We are excited for the monthly All Things Story virtual workshop series as well as the hybrid Story Crossroads Festival on May 10-13, 2021 (then viewing beyond the event to June 15, 2021). Interested in deeper articles and e-workbooks plus stories, activities, and recipes? Then pursue Story Crossroads Memberships.

As we are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, you can also support by donating today!

See a teaser of our Story Crossroads Academy. While the video has closed captioning, the “Storytelling Basics in 8 Hours” is free and includes American Sign Language.

E is for Elixirs of Exuberance—A to Z Blog Challenge

We are pleased to participate in the A to Z Blog Challenge (http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/). The Story Crossroads theme for this year is Hope & Healing…folktales around the world that beat back viruses. Each post highlights one or more balms to soothe and cure our struggles of today with oral tradition and lore of the past. At times, a post will make a connection to history. You can guess what inspired this theme. Yes, the COVID-19. What better time to delve into tales where things can and do turn out “happily ever after”?

Elixirs of Exuberance

From Japan-

The hermits in this story are from the mountains, which are likely the Yamabushi known for supernatural powers. The sacred mountains Kumano and Omine could be the mountains where Isamu found the hermits.

50-word-or-less summary:

Isamu sought hermits who created Elixir of Life. Hermits said Isamu was too selfish. Sent to land with no death. Everybody ate poison hoping to die. Isamu flown over sea. Fell! Shark! Isamu wished life! Hermits said he had no spiritual strength. Given book of wisdom. Became kind. Died happy.

Version of The Elixir of Life story: https://www.uexpress.com/tell-me-a-story/2017/4/23/the-elixir-of-life-a-japanese

Compare to History:

Modern-day hermits in Japan are known as hikikomori. Over half 1 million prefer are choosing to self isolate. This was before COVID-19. Japanese psychologist Tamaki Saito used “hikikomori” to describe the people and the condition back in 1998. This has increased as people interact without connection with the real world. The face-to-face and video chat are still possible for people to fight depression. Perhaps Isamu needs to return the book of wisdom to these hermits. Let us create the Elixir of Life and reach out in whatever way we are able—whether that be by phone or computer or face-to-face.

More on the History: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yamabushi and https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20190129-the-plight-of-japans-modern-hermits

From China-

Magu became Goddess of Hemp with healing powers. Though, she had many tools and techniques, and this story focuses on peaches.

50-word-or-less summary:

Magu, poor seamstress, was paid with peach. Gave peach to woman poorer than her. Headed home to give same woman porridge. Took too long and locked in her room by father. Next day Magu couldn’t find woman except peach pit. Magu planted pit. Peach tree had healing powers. Magu immortalized.

Finding the Story: https://www.ancient-origins.net/myths-legends-asia/magu-hemp-goddess-who-healed-ancient-asia-008709

Compare to History:

Peaches originated from China over 4000 years ago. In the 1980s, a peach tree was found in Tibet that was 1000 years old with a 30 foot circumference. In China, giving the gift of a peach was blessing that person with long life. Within the saga “Journey to the West,” the Monkey King traveled to the Peach Garden of the Heavenly Queen Mother. These peaches gave the gift of immortality.

More on the History: https://www.whiterabbitinstituteofhealing.com/herbs/peach/ and https://www.clemson.edu/extension/peach/commercial/rootstocks/chinese-peaches-past-and-present.html

Please share in the comments…or anything on your mind.While you enjoy this blog, Story Crossroads has year-round offerings in process of being adapted due to COVID-19. Our postponed Festival is now scheduled for May 12, 2021 with other plans that can be seen here: https://storycrossroads.org/contingency-plans-covid-19/ or http://www.storycrossroads.org/virtual.

We thank our funders such as National Endowment for the Arts, Utah Division of Arts and Museums, Western States Arts Federation, Utah Humanities, Zoo, Arts & the Parks of Salt Lake County (ZAP), City of Murray, Salt Lake City Arts Council, and many other businesses and individuals. Join us in the support by donating today!

Z is for Golden Zen–A to Z Blog Challenge

AtoZ2019ZWe are pleased to participate in the A to Z Blog Challenge (http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/).  The Story Crossroads theme for this year is Golden…And All Things That Glimmer.  Each post highlights golden items from a folktale from around the world. Each time you have to wonder, is something that is golden a blessing, a curse, or both?

What has inspired all this gold?–The Golden Spike with the 150th Transcontinental Railroad and the Spike 150 Grant for this year’s Story Crossroads Festival.

Golden Zen-

The name “Ryokan” and the practice of Zen originate from Japan. Yet, this story may also have influences with Kenya so “Kenya and/or Japan” are listed. A young man is taught how to be more responsible. I have interpreted “taking responsibility” to mean giving of his goods (gold) as well as his time. Thus, we have “Golden Zen.”

Kenya and/or Japan – https://www.advance-africa.com/when-truth-dawned.html

50-word-or-less summary:

Sister-in-law requested Ryokan, Zen teacher, to teach son. This nephew was lazy. Instead of rebuke, Ryokan asked nephew to tie sandal as he is not as strong as he used to be. Nephew remembered. Nephew realized he must care for his elders. Nephew vowed to give of goods/gold and time.

Please share in the comments…or anything on your mind.

While you enjoy this blog, Story Crossroads has year-round offerings including the culminating Festival on May 15, 2019 with free performances May 13-16, 2019 (see schedule here: https://storycrossroads.com/2019-schedule/.  

We thank our funders such as the National Endowment for the Arts, the Utah Division of Arts and Museums, the Western States Arts Federation, Utah Humanities, the Utah Department of Heritage and Arts (Spike 150), the City of Murray, the South Jordan Arts Council, Utah Valley University and many other businesses and individuals. Join us in the support by attending or donating or both! (Click here to donate or get tickets.

H is for Golden Hair, Hairpin, & Hand–A to Z Blog Challenge

AtoZ2019HWe are pleased to participate in the A to Z Blog Challenge (http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/).  The Story Crossroads theme for this year is Golden…And All Things That Glimmer.  Each post highlights golden items from a folktale from around the world. Each time you have to wonder, is something that is golden a blessing, a curse, or both?

What has inspired all this gold?–The Golden Spike with the 150th Transcontinental Railroad and the Spike 150 Grant for this year’s Story Crossroads Festival.

Golden Hair & Hairs-

Rapunzel had golden hair though not made of that metal. Find out who truly had golden hair…and the weight that went along with it.

Russia – https://russian-crafts.com/russian-folk-tales/golden-hair-russian-tale.html

50-word-or-less summary:

Ailyp followed fox to lady with Golden Hair. Hair chained her down. Carried lady. Disappeared. Had to wait three years. Tempted to marry girl with black hair.  Remained faithful. Second Attempt. Carried lady, disappeared. Wait three more years. Went to lake, underwater kingdom, beyond power of her father. Married. Happiness.

Czechoslavak – http://oaks.nvg.org/czech2.html#3goha

50-word-or-less summary:

King spends night with charcoal-burner family. Son born to family. King saw three women (Fates) bless child-gift of dangers, safety through dangers, marry daughter of King. King offers to look after baby. King assigns boy to get three golden hairs from Grandfather Knowitall. Success! King shocked. All comes to pass.

Golden Hairpin-

A hairpin is something small yet can carry the weight of an arranged marriage.

Japan – http://www.sacred-texts.com/shi/atfj/atfj03.htm

50-word-or-less summary:

Hasunuma had daughter Ko and Saito had son Konojo born same day, betrothed, sealed with golden hairpin. Seventeen years and no betrothed. Ko dies of grief. Hairpin in coffin. Konojo returns. Welcomed. Ko’s sister Kei approaches Konojo. Ko’s spirit in Kei for a year. Ko asks Konojo to marry Kei.

Golden Hand-

Golden Hand is not to be confused with Golden Arm…though similar and spooky in their own rights. (See blog post on Golden Arm here.)

Oregon, United States – http://www.americanfolklore.net/folklore/2009/10/the_golden_hand.html

50-word-or-less summary:

Widow always wore gloves. Young man saw widow often, until “bump” revealed bit of gold hand underneath gloves. Young man asked about it. Widow said had lost hand. Young man obsessed. Courted and married widow. Poison. Took golden hand. Voices! Young man found in morning strangled by golden hand.

Please share in the comments…or anything on your mind.

While you enjoy this blog, Story Crossroads has year-round offerings including the culminating Festival on May 15, 2019 with free performances May 13-16, 2019 (see schedule here: https://storycrossroads.com/2019-schedule/.  

We thank our funders such as the National Endowment for the Arts, the Utah Division of Arts and Museums, the Western States Arts Federation, Utah Humanities, the Utah Department of Heritage and Arts (Spike 150), the City of Murray, the South Jordan Arts Council, Utah Valley University and many other businesses and individuals. Join us in the support by attending or donating or both! (Click here to donate or get tickets.