Monday, October 17

A Japanese Ghost Story

The topic choices this week included something "seasonal", so in honor of Halloween, I'm going to share with you a ghost story I heard while living in Japan.

My family and I lived near the American School in a city called Tama. One of the things Tama was known for was its beautiful cemetery - the Tama Bochi, located just a few blocks from my house. (Bochi means cemetery.) It was such a prominent landmark that it became a point of reference for the HS kids. They called the train from Tokyo to Tama the Bochi Bullet, and the students who lived in the area called themselves the Bochi Crew. (My son and his friends made t-shirts with "Bochi Crew" written in kanji. One day an old lady saw my son wearing his t-shirt and gave him an earful because she felt he was up to something evil, referencing the resting place for the dead. His friends got a good laugh out of his dressing down.) But one strange event that happened at the bochi was no laughing matter.

Late one night, a taxi driver stopped just outside the Tama Bochi when a teenage girl flagged him down. He pressed the button to open the automatic door for her, watching in his rear view mirror as she climbed into the car. In a quiet voice, she gave him an address and then settled back against the seat.

He drove to the address - an apartment building on the other side of town - but when he stopped, she didn't move to get out of the cab. Instead, she simply asked him to wait. For ten minutes, she sat in silence, staring sadly at the window of one of the upper-floor apartments. Finally, she gave the driver another address and asked him to continue on.

The driver stole glances at his young passenger through the mirror as he drove, feeling the weight of her sorrow settling like a rock on his chest. When they reached the address she had given him, the driver stopped and turned to say something comforting to her, but when he looked to the back seat, it was empty. Suddenly, the back passenger-side door opened and then closed on its own. Terrified, the driver scrambled out of his taxi.

Just then, a man walked out of the house and calmly approached him. He handed the driver the exact fare that showed on the meter and turned back toward the house without a word.

The driver called after him and asked him how he knew how much to pay.

The man explained that the year before, his daughter been riding on the back of her boyfriend's scooter when they were hit by a car. His daughter had been killed and was buried in the Tama Bochi. Sometimes she would wake up confused and lonely, the man said. Each time, she would take a taxi to her boyfriend's apartment, but when he never came out to see her, she would ask the driver to take her home.

Do you have a favorite spooky story? Please share!


Julie J. said...

This story gave me chills! I love it! This is one of my favorite times of the year. I don't have a "ghost" story per se but several stories that were rather spooky from my days as a bedside nurse.

Happy Hauntings and Readings!

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