Cristy Burne


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There’s a tanuki in the classroom! Japanese language learning and yokai demons

Shingo the tanuki and the money tree

The Hyogo Centre’s Melissa Luyke with professional actor Shingo Usami in disguise as a tanuki.

Creative language teaching ideas

Today I was at the Hyogo Prefectural Cultural Government Centre as part of a series of workshops organised by Ms Yuko Fujimitsu, Japanese Language Advisor for the Department of Education as part of the National Asian Languages and Studies in Schools Program (NALSSP).

We worked with Year 9 students from three schools (including my own school, Leeming Senior High School!) and spent the entire day in a Japanese environment…

…speaking Japanese, eating Japanese, thinking about Japanese geography and culture.

Yokai wall of fame

Yokai wall of fame

And that’s where I was lucky enough to come in, because a big part of Japan’s culture is its mythology, history and folklore, showcased very nicely in some of Japan’s ghost stories and yokai tales.

Language learning through art, literature and drama

There was a big emphasis on new or different teaching techniques and ideas for introducing ordinary grammar into the classroom.

The day’s activities included:

Tanuki Shingo Usami and presenter Cristy Burne compare bellies

Tanukis love to use their large bellies as drums. I’m using mine to grow a baby, but still, Tanuki Shingo’s belly is bigger!

– watching GeGeGe no Kitaro (perhaps the most famous yokai in the world) fight the awesome gyuuki (or ushi-oni).

– folding and pinning origami leaves onto a money tree (for donation to the Pray for Japan cause),

– language learning through drama (led by actor Shingo Usami), art (using the Art Speaks Japanese language resource kit put out by the Japan Foundation Sydney), and literature (me and some of the Takeshita Demons)

– Japanese story-telling and song-singing

– Lots of practise in listening and speaking Japanese, especially when it came to lunchtime (no polite request for a bento box lunch in Japanese = no bento box lunch!)

It was a great day and we have more schools coming tomorrow…

がんばりまーす!


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The Filth Licker on Facebook! Share your akaname and yokai links…

Cover for Takeshita Demons: The Filth LickerHooray! Takeshita Demons: The Filth Licker is published today in the UK!!

Have you got your copy?

 

LIKE ME! LIKE ME!

Any yokai or monster trivia you want to share?

Any cool filth-licker links to pass on?

Check out the Filth Licker on Facebook (http://on.fb.me/filthlicker) and add your questions and cool demon facts to our wall!


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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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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)


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Yokai featured in Takeshita Demons

Cover for Takeshita Demons: The Filth LickerSubarashii! Yabai!
Takeshita Demons
Things are going super-well for Takeshita Demons at the moment.

The Filth Licker is ready for pre-order in the UK and Monster Matsuri is in its 50-millionth-draft-phase, so getting where I want it (YAY!).

If you have read Takeshita Demons you will know that Miku Takeshita and her pal Cait run into lots of mythological creatures from Japan, known as yokai (妖怪).

Below I’ve included a bit of historical info on some of them: is your favourite demon in Book 1? Or will you have till wait till The Filth Licker comes out to see what’s in store for Miku and Cait at school camp?

Happy reading!
And PS: You can pre-order The Filth Licker here and get free worldwide delivery plus 25% off: BARGAIN!

Amazake babaa (literally: Sweet sake woman) 甘酒婆
This yokai takes the shape of an old woman with a gentle voice, but don’t be fooled. If you answer the door when she knocks, chances are you’ll fall ill with chicken pox.

Ittan momen (Animated cotton) 一反木綿
Ittan momen are long bits of cloth that can come to life in the night. They love to tangle around your body and might even try to suffocate you, so keep an eye on your curtains.

 

Click on the noppera-bo to read about sightings of this demon in England!

 

Noppera-bō (Faceless ghost) のっぺら坊
Is the person sitting next to you really who you think they are? Noppera-bō are experts at pretending to be other people, and they love to cause trouble. Just when you least expect it their features can disappear, melting away to leave their face as empty as a blank page.

Nukekubi (Cut-throat) 抜首
During the day you might mistake this yokai for a normal person, but be warned. At night, while its body is sleeping, its head can detach and fly around hunting for delicious things to eat (like children and puppy dogs).

Nure-onna (literally: Woman of the Wet) 濡女
With the torso of a woman and the body of a snake, this fearsome yokai has wicked claws and a long forked tongue. She’s strong enough to crush a tree in the coils of her massive tail.

 

 

O-kubi (literally: Big Throat) 大首
If you’re ever staring up at the sky and spot an enormous head in the clouds, watch out! Spotting an o-kubi usually means something awful is just around the corner…

Sakabashira (literally: Inverted pillar) 逆柱
Did it happen by mistake? Or did someone do it on purpose? Whatever the reason, if some part of your house was built upside-down, your entire house is doomed to be haunted.

Yuki-onna (literally: Snow Woman) 雪女
Tall, pale and icily beautiful, this yokai is a spirit of the snow. She leaves no footprints, preferring to float above the ground, and she can disappear in a puff of cold mist.

Zashiki-warashi (House ghost) 座敷童
This mischievous yokai haunts houses and usually appears in the shape of a child. If your house is haunted by a zashiki-warashi, count yourself lucky, but don’t forget to take good care of it. If your house ghost ever chooses to leave you, your luck will quickly end.