Cristy Burne


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8 signs that your snail is an ogre: Sazae-oni revealed

The humble sazae snail, before it turns 30

The humble sazae snail (or turban snail), before it morphs into a killer demon (thanks to &_yo)

Ever squashed a snail in the street?

Ever eaten a snail, albeit with French cheese?

Ever filled an icecream container with snails, painted their shells different colours using your new set of textas, then raced them all afternoon?
(OK, so maybe this last one is just me and my sisters, but still…)

Ever wondered what revenge a snail could take?

The awesome yokai researcher and artist, Toriyama Sekien did. This is what he discovered:

The Sazae-oni: it’s demon time!

Sekien's Sazae-oni or Sazae ogre demon

Sekien’s Sazae-oni

Our universe is a marvellous thing, where all kinds of creatures can evolve and prosper. The Sazae-oni (or Sazaeoni) is one of these miracles. Literally the Sazae Ogre, it’s a demon formed when the Sazae turban snail (very tasty when served with mushrooms or soy sauce) turns 30 (or some say 100) years old.

Of course, when 10,000 tonnes of your buddies are punctured with knifes and BBQed evey year, you’re liable to get mad.

Signs to watch for in your snail:

1) Sudden increase in size
If your snail is turning into a yokai, it will grow larger when you’re not looking. Much larger.

2) Unseasonal weather
A sazae-oni loves to fill its gills with water and then spray a fine mist into the air, creating the impression of a foggy day.

3) Amphibian lungs
Did I say gills? A sazae-oni is also equipped with amphibian gills, allowing it to thrive underwater or on land. There is nowhere you’ll be safe.

4) Human hands
Oh yeah. Human hands is probably going to be easier to spot than amphibian lungs. Especially since each palm is lined with giant suckers that allow the snail body to stick to any surface.

5) Constant licking
And not the snail demon licking itself. I mean the snail demon licking you. Its tongue is super-long and sticky and it finds entertainment in stroking passing humans on the face. Like it or not. (Probably not...Did I guess right?)

6) Death (yours)
And again, I don’t mean the snail. If you’re close enough for the snail to lick, chances are you have already been spat on. With giant, sticky globs of paralysing poison, designed to kill you quick. Sorry, but a snail this big has got to eat.

7) Python-like intestines
Now we’re into the ‘Death’ part, I can tell you that the Sazae-oni doesn’t really have teeth. But that doesn’t matter. You’ll most likely be crushed to pieces in coil after coil of its powerful gut. Sqiushed to bits by a boa-constricting bowel. Nice.

8 ) New friends
But it’s not all bad. Sazae-oni like to hang out in mermaid lairs, so when you (inevitably) are excreted, you’ll be floating around with some of the most beautiful babes in the ocean. Except, oh yeah, I forgot to mention…. Japanese mermaids (ningyo or 人魚) aren’t really all that good to look at. Sorry.

Don’t say I didn’t try to warn you!!!

If you want to know what to look out for, check out some awesome sazae-oni artwork.

And  a big THANK YOU to Shigeru Mizugi, master of yokai, for his expertise on and relentless study of sazae-oni. Our safety is in his hands.

takeshitademons_blog-cover 4


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Fight demons, learn about luck and choose a charm: Japanese demons webquest

Japan’s demons or yōkai are different from any you’ve known. Some yōkai like to shake beans. Others drink oil, or eat cucumbers, or ride your nightmares into the night..

Most of them would like to eat you.

If you want to stay safe, you’ll need to know more about how to attract good luck in Japan.

Step 1:  Choose your lucky symbol.
Are you a…

– Cat lover?
– Dog fanatic?
– Doll collector?
– Bird watcher?
– Lion tamer?
– Ghost buster?

Your mission:
1) Research one of Japan’s lucky charms and report your findings to
the class.
2) Decide which lucky charm your class will adopt. And remember, the
wrong decision could be fatal…

Download the Takeshita Demons webquest here.


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What colour were yōkai demons? Download colouring-in sheets

The Takeshita Demons books feature Japanese monsters and demons, called yōkai (or youkai).

Many yōkai were first drawn by Toriyama Sekien, a Japanese artist who lived in the 1700s. These colouring-in sheets feature his original drawings.

Head to the resources section of my website to download PDFs for these activities.

A kappa is a water-loving creature who keeps a bowl of water on his head. He loves to eat cucumbers, but he also drinks blood, so be careful!

A hannya is a demon who has been driven insane by jealousy and rage. Her face is marked with all the anger of other people’s souls.

Now you know a bit about them, it’s up to you to decide what colour they are!


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Japanese yokai memory game: test your memory, learn some Japanese and spook yourself out!

Want to hunt some yokai?

You’ve come to the right place! I’ve posted a new game:

It’s a ‘match-the-pairs’ challenge that uses the artwork of Toriyama Sekien.

Sekien is famous for his early depictions of Japanese monsters, better known as yokai.

HOW TO PLAY

It’s simple!

Use your mouse to click on any of the closed books: when you click, the book will open to reveal one of the yokai Sekien drew.

– If you find a pair, the books will stay open.

– If you don’t find a pair, the books will close and you must guess again.

Yokai-memory-game-Sekien-kyoukotsu

AND THE BEST BIT?

Not only do you get to exercise your brain and have some fun, you also get to learn some more about Japanese demons, practise your hiragana and kanji, and SPOOK YOURSELF OUT!

Enjoy!

(And huge thanks to my lovely and clever husband for making the game: what a champ!! xxx)