The Kappa – Yokai of Japan
Today’s Inktober is based on a Japanese demon known as The Kappa part of the Yokai demons, he lives in embodiments of water, rivers, lakes and ponds.
Kappas are renowned for their obsession and passion for cucumbers and therefore locals often give offerings of cucumbers at festivals to the kappa’s to keep them from becoming harmful to the villagers.
Kappas have a naturally forming dip at the top of their heads which constantly hold water, if the water was to be accidentally spilled out, the kappa can become extremely weak or die. It is said, if you are by an embodiment of water and you see a large aquatic humanoid which represents a human, frog and tortoise mixed together, sometimes they may seem like half duck and turtle that is a kappa and that if you do not have a cucumber to hand, this creature will either rape you anally and steal a part of your soul or tear your limbs apart as their second favourite form of food; So what do you do to ensure you are safe from this creature if you can’t give it an offering – you bow, these creatures are awfully polite and will bow back at you, spilling the water from their heads and rendering them helpless until they can top the water back up in its head giving you enough time to scarper! Despite how evil all of this sounds, it is also thought that Kappas aren’t always malevolent, in fact often times they can be benevolent and help people who go fishing, particularly if they have been appeased with a cucumber or two.
In old Tokyo many people believed that if you ate cucumbers before going fishing you could prevent an attack, but then this act was banned by law because it was seen to be provoking the kappas to attack all the more!
Yes today is the 5th day of Inktober and as you can see I have chosen a mermaid for my theme of the day!
Everybody knows what a mermaid is, but do you know what they are really like?
They aren’t what you see in Disney movies according certain world folklore and that’s for sure! They don’t go around singing at mortals and wishing they were humans and fall in love you know, well actually they do sing at mortals and when they do it’s a sign you really should block your ears and get out of that ocean and according to some legends, they do sometimes fall in love with mortals too, but it’s not all pearls and coral – oh no!
Mermaids from Ireland were called Merrows and they were supposed to be ugly creatures, with green hair, scales, and claws and were evil critters by all accounts. They had a penchant for falling in love with beautiful human men and would often kidnap them to take them into the sea to drown them so their spirit could live with them in the other realm or they would take on the appearance of a beautiful human woman and breed with him on land and disappear with or without her offspring and the groom.
In Russia they have the Rusalka which can be either benevolent or evil depending upon the individual, you could never tell what a Rusalka would be like if you saw one, so it was best to keep away from them. It is thought they were the spirits of young girls who were horrendously killed or had violent accidents, if their death was caused by a rape and a murder it was said that those would be evil spirits to men, as any man who goes near her in her transformed self would be garrotted to death by her long hair! Sometimes women who are in danger would become protected by the Rusalka from any man nearby who is about to harm her!
The Fin Folk of Norway and the Orkney Islands were often considered using humans as slaves and they only way to escape them were to throw coins of silver into the sea to distract them as they loved silver a lot!
So, the next time you think that mermaids are sweet endearing ladies of the sea, with shrill beautiful voices and you fancy taking your chances to get romantically involved with one – think again!
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold churns most reader’s stomachs whenever they pick up and read the first page, let alone chapter; it is purely because of the subject matter, a young girl barely in her teens is raped and murdered by her neighbour. Although I did find the subject matter very difficult, I saw over all of that and continued to give the book a chance. It is something outside of the genre I would usually read, but as I read on, I realised that actually, this book deserves to be noted as a fantasy novel rather than a crime one which most people assume it to be.
When you overcome the violence and the graphicness of this novel you will come to realise that it is a beautiful story about a young dead girl coming to terms with her own death and trying to let her living family go. Until she lets them go in her heart, they cannot stop grieving, she is the key to how much they grieve or not – the more she clings onto the living the less likely they are to heal quickly from their loss of her.
This is a lesson that Susie Salmon is learning throughout the entire novel, as well as realising that her little experience of heaven is only the beginning of what is beyond that mysterious door she keeps seeing. It is a story about Susie’s observations of the living, including the life of her murderer Mr. Harvey and her adventures in the limbo heaven with other murdered victims. How they are trying to use their imagination to create a world in which they want to be in, whilst dead.
The mysterious door can only be opened to Susie once she decides to move on and try not to think and worry too much about the living, when the door is opened, she can in effect find peace. Perhaps she gets reincarnated? Perhaps she goes to true heaven? Nobody knows, but it would be lovely to think of it in such terms. That is why I find the book is beautiful. Forget the violence; forget the sordidness, just read the book to the end. It is a treasure; it is in my top ten favourites of all time. It is very touching and there is justice in this book, though it is very obscure and indirect.