And here’s ep 8. I PROMISE we’ll get this done. 9 coming soon.
Notes after the jump.
Shogi (将棋) – This game is also known as “Japanese Chess”. Two players, Sente (先手) (Black) and Gote (後手) (White), play on a board composed of rectangles in a grid of 9 ranks (rows) by 9 files (columns). The rectangles are undifferentiated by marking or color. The board is almost always made of rectangles; square boards are very uncommon. Each player has a set of 20 wedge-shaped pieces of slightly different sizes. Except for the kings, opposing pieces are differentiated only by orientation, not by marking or color. From largest to smallest (most to least powerful), the pieces are:
2 gold generals
2 silver generals
Several of these names were chosen to correspond to their rough equivalents in international chess, and not as literal translations of the Japanese names. Each piece has its name written on its surface in the form of two kanji, usually in black ink. On the reverse side of each piece, other than the king and gold general, are one or two other characters; this side is turned face up during play to indicate that the piece has been promoted. The pieces of the two players do not differ in color, but instead each faces forward, toward the opposing side. This shows who controls the piece during play. More information on Shogi can be found courtesy of its Wikipedia entry.
Test of Courage – If you’ve watched a number of anime, you’ve probably come across this one.
Kimodameshi (肝試し) is most often translated into English as Test of Courage, which is not technically accurate, but it works. The word kimo (肝) actually refers to the liver, while dameshi (試し) does in fact mean “test.” In Japan the liver is associated with courage. For example to sit on your liver means to be brave or self-assured. A more literal translation of kimodameshi would be to “prove your guts”, but “Test of Courage” is usually what is used, so this is what we went with.
There are no set rules to kimodameshi, and there are as many variations as there are people who play it. Kimodameshi can be played impromptu, with only a few friends egging each other on to go somewhere scary or haunted, or it can be an organized event with a preset course, often inside a prepared haunted house with actors playing the roles of spooks.
In its most pure version, a group chooses a destination, one guaranteed to inspire fear. Common examples are dark forests, grave yards, Shinto shrines, abandoned buildings, or known haunted and mysterious spaces called shinrei spots. Challengers can go alone or as a duo. They go to the chosen spot at night, and they either bring something back to prove that they actually completed the trip, or leave some sort of token that can be recovered the next day.
Like all Japanese ghost traditions, kimodameshi traditionally takes place in the summer. In Japan, summer is when the land of the living is thought to intersect with the land of the dead, and it is the time when yokai and yurei come out to play. All organized haunted house kimodameshi will take place during the summertime. It isn’t unusual to see TV celebrities during the summer being filmed walking through a haunted house or to some famous location in a game of kimodameshi.
Hanako-san of the toilet – This is a Japanese urban legend about the spirit of a young World War II-era girl who haunts school bathrooms. She allegedly appears when one shouts her name. According to the legend, a person who goes to the third stall in the girls’ bathroom on the third floor and knocks three times before asking “Are you there, Hanako-san”, will hear a voice answer “I’m here”. If the person enters the stall there will be a small girl in a red skirt.