Japanese urban legends – Part 3 –
“Toshi densetsu” : Japanese urban legends (3)
Mary-san (Ms. Mary)
A girl had an old Western doll and called it “Mary”.
When her family moved to another place, she disposed it because it was old.
One night, a telephone rang at her new home.
The girl got it, then heard the voice saying, “Hello, I’m Mary. I’m at a dump now”.
She hang up the phone immediately, but phone calls comes one after another.
“Mary” seemed to move towards her present house from her previous place.
Again, the phone rang.
“Hello, I’m Mary. I’m in front of your house now.”
The girl dared to open the front door, but nobody was there.
Prank calls after all?
Just when she wondered, there was a phone call.
“Hello, I’m Mary. I’m behind you now.”
There are many variants of this like other urban legends.
- The doll is not “Mary” but “Licca-chan”.
(“Licca-chan” is a dress-up doll like “Barbie” produced by a Japanese company, “Takara”)
- You’ll be killed if you look back after the last phone call.
- “Mary” is lost and can’t reach the girl’s home. “Mary” phones her in tears to ask where it is now.
- “Mary” passes by the girl’s home, and a few years later a phone call comes from Russia.
Legendary spots you can visit
If a couple rides on a boat in Inogashira park in Tokyo, they will end up splitting up.
It is said it’s because of “Benzaiten”, the Goddess who is worshipped in the shrine in Inogashira park.(Official website)
Benzaiten, a.k.a. “Benten”, is believed to be very jealous and she can’t stand a happy couple.
The origin of Benzaiten is an Indian Hinduism goddess “Sarasvati”, meaning “Holy River” but I assume this jealous thing is only in Japan.
This kind of legend (a cursed spot for couples) is not only in Inogashira.
Enoshima in Kanagawa has the same legend and there is also a shrine for Benzaiten.
This is rather a joke legend.
A huge fake “kani” (crab) on the front of each “Kani-douraku”, a “kani” restaurant in Osaka, is running on power generated by part-timers who pedal a bicycle-like machine.
Hourly wage is from 750 to 1200 yen depending on his / her performance.
1. A senior staff was showing a new employee how to do a job in a convenience store.
Senpai (senior staff): “This is a barcode reader. We use this to scan a barcode on a product.”
Shinjin (new staff): “I see.”
Senpai: “This is a barcode.”
Senpai: “You just have to hold the reader over the barcode…”
Senpai: “After the scan, the price is shown on the small screen. OK?”
Shinjin : “Yes.”
5. A customer came to the cashier.
Shinjin : “(Oh, here’s my first customer) Irasshaimase!”
*Note: “Irasshaimase” (some might say “IrasshaimaSHI”) is a greeting to welcome (usually) customers.
It is a combination of “Irassharu” (respectful form of saying “come”, “go” and “there is”) and “mase (or mashi)” (imperative form of “masu”, a formal auxiliary verb).
I guess many Japanese feel “Irasshaimase” is politer than “Irasshai”, so “mase / mashi” is considered as courteous rather than imperative.
6. The customer dropped a coin when he was pulling money out of his pocket.
7. He bent down to pick up the coin…
…The reader scanned his “barcode” head.
His price – 10 yen – was shown on the screen.
A person with a hairdo like the man in this legend is often called as “Barcode hage” or “Sudare hage”.
“Hage” means “bald head” and / or “bald-headed person”.
“Sudare” is a blind which is made of bamboo or other natural material.
Of course “hage” is not a nice word to say to the “hage” person.
Latest posts by kara (see all)
- Basic Japanese : “Sumimasen” – “Thank you” in Japanese - June 24, 2015
- Basic Japanese : “Arigatou” – “Thank you” in Japanese - May 29, 2015
- Basic Japanese : “Go-chisou sama” – Phrase after meal - May 27, 2015
In Japanese, there are many ways to call yourself. Here, I’m trying to explain the differences of each word, but please note they are my own personal impressions and other Japanese may not feel the same way. The word “I” in Japanese Although we have many words for “I”, it is frequently omitted. If you […]
“Toshi densetsu” : Japanese urban legends (2) In this post, there are only two Japanese urban legends. The main topic is a Japanese toilet. Yume (Dream) A high school girl had a nightmare that she was mangled by a psychopath with his knife on the way home from her school. It was so vivid […]
“Iroha-uta” as a poem I’m going to explain the meaning of the poem in two posts. As I wrote in the previous post, it is thought to be composed in the Heian era (794 – 1185). In the major theory, the poem is said to express a doctrine from the Nirvana Sutra. But the poem […]
There are several ways of saying “Thank you” in Japanese. In this post, I am going to explain the most common phrase for “Thank you”. Arigatou (gozai masu / mashita) The phrase was derived from “Arigatashi”, which literally means “difficult to be”. The Kanji in “ari” means “there is” or “be (there)”, and another in […]
What’s your blood type? – For most people, the only reason that they ask this question to others is that when they’ll be needing blood (no, not that vampire-ish type of need) for blood transfusion when something bad happens, that person may be able to help if they are compatible. But in Japan and other […]
Sugawara no Michizane is the person who is worshipped as god of study at the shrine, “Dazaifu Tenman-guu”. “Sugawara” is the family name and “Michizane” is the first name. He is also well-known as one of the Big Three Onryou (vengeful spirit) in Japan, along with Taira no Masakado and Emperor Sutoku. Life of Sugawara […]
In Japan, you can find capsule toy vending machines or gacha-gacha in Japanese (refers both to the toy and the vending machine) mostly everywhere. It’s usually located near the entrance at supermarkets, restaurants, department stores, and other places. Gacha-gacha (Capsule Toy) Specialty Store in Okayama City Recently, I have learned that there is a gacha-gacha specialty store called […]
One to ten in Japanese 2 In this post, I’m going to write minor version of one to ten in Japanese. I doubt if this is introduced in Japanese textbooks for foreign people. This is still used, but rather rare I guess. Also, it’s less favourable in the formal conversations or texts. Minor ways to […]
Old Japanese Alphabets or Historical Japanese Alphabets The two red characters in “gojyuu-on” and “iroha-uta” are out of use now. Both characters had their own sounds consisting of a consonant and a vowel, but each of them changed into the same sound as a vowel which has a similar sound. Although they couldn’t be distinguished […]
The following titles are commonly used casual Japanese honorific titles and very rarely used titles. Never ever use any of these to higher ranking people or your customers unless you are very close to the person. If you are not so sure which title to use to somebody, the person’s family name with “san” is […]