Today was the school festival, when the first and second year students put on a little show for the soon-to-be-departing third year students. First, the band plays sad songs Then there’s a choral competition to see which class can sing the saddest rendition of a sayonara song. Then, finally, they do little skits to lighten the gloom. The teachers stand around clapping their hands and stomping their feet, and the parents sit in the rear shivering in their coats, armed with video cameras aimed at their children, shaking in the freezing un-heated gymnasium. The lights were low, exacerbating the refrigerated glumness of the event. Like a theme park or a Farmer’s Market for Dementors .
I kept myself warm and cheerful by moving about and fooling around with the kids. Ducking the gawking parents, who found me more intriguing than the melancholy melodies sung by their offspring, was an impossibility even in the low light, so I gave them something uplifting to witness: see how comfortable your children are with me, and I with them?
All well and good until I felt a tiny hand grasp a goodly portion of my scrotum, and the familiar screeching of Matsui-kun. I grabbed the hand, removing it from my family jewels, blocked his partner Satou’s half-hearted lurch for them, blocked the full swing of Matsui’s kick at them, and backed away…watching them giggle, as the dirge on the stage dragged on.
This ball-grabbing had started a couple of weeks ago. After 50 minutes of Matsui doing his usual, insulting Takahashi to the brink of tears, I ran into him and his lieutenant fighting in the hallway with the erasers from the classroom. And both had powered the other’s face in white chalk. Matsui’s had more, obviously not quite holding his own in eraser-to-eraser combat against his faithful sidekick. He was laughing uproariously, evidently enjoying every second of the fight, but with his face chalked up, he looked not unlike a character from one of the scariest movies I’ve ever seen: A Japanese horror flick by Takashi Shimizu called: Ju-on.
A Ju-on is a curse that occurs when a person dies with a deep and burning grudge. This curse inhabits a place and kills anyone who dares to enter. I’m not sure what it was about this movie that was able to tap into my fear center (as far as movies are concerned) and unlock feelings I thought were shut away for good. But, it did.
When I was a kid, horror movies were more gothic and scared the shit outta me! Exorcist, The Omen, Rosemary’s Baby (I know I’m dating myself) They just don’t make good goth like that anymore. But, the eighties ended all that. My susceptibility to horror movies was alleviated by the likes of Jason, Micheal Myers and Freddie Krueger. I lost the capacity to suspend disbelief for horror, and gained the ability to laugh my ass off and root for the villain. And, Evil Dead 1 and 2 turned it all into camp. Sixth Sense and Blair Witch tried hard but to no avail. My days of getting the heebie-jeebies at a movie were gone for good. I was invulnerable to horror…
Yeah, not so much.
I saw my first Japanese horror film…Ju-on. And, most of that susceptibility returned quite suddenly, and inconveniently, while I was at the theatre with my girlfriend at the time who’d insisted on going to see it. That creepy fucking boy scared the bejesus outta me. I was jumping in my seat and looking away like I had while watching the Exorcist, when Linda Blair, possessed and vomiting some awful shit on priests and shoving a crucifix up her ass, amid all of this, cried out “help me Mommy, help me!” I loathed his next appearance on-screen and I even had the willies for a couple of days after.
Seeing Matsui and Satou all chalked up brought it all back for a hot second: that dark theatre, that chalky blue-white skin, that screeching sound he made before the kill, the powerlessness of his victims. Even Matsui’s screech was similar to the juon’s. I let go of them, told them to cut it out and wash their faces, and went into the bathroom. While I took a piss I tried to regroup, but not a moment later they came into the bathroom after me.
“Loco-sensei no junya mite ii?” (Let me see your junior?) Matsui screeched through his laughter. I figured he meant my dick. The kids always want to see my dick if I find myself in their bathroom.
“Jama suru na, Ju-on!” (Fuck off, you little demon!)
“Eeeee! ” He yelled. Followed by…nothing. They let me be…surprising the hell out of me, and left. Maybe I scared them, I wondered.
When I came out of the bathroom the two of them jumped me. From either side of the entrance they leapt on my legs like hyena trying to grab my nuts. I picked tiny Matsui up over my shoulder and swung his flailing legs around to keep his partner off of me. My back, which used to get a kick out of this kind of horseplaying, twinged a little and scared me back to reality. Your days of manhandling pre-teens are numbered it whispered sharply in my ear, and I responded by gingerly placing Matsui back on his feet, exposing my nuts and giving his partner the opening he’d been waiting for. He pounced on my crotch and grabbed at it savagely, a vicious little smirk on his face.
Fortunately he’d had more pants in his hand than anything else or I’d probably be looking for a job right now.
I kneed Satou away, a little harder than I would have normally, in an attempt to let him know he’d crossed the line. He understood, it seemed, and backed off. Matsui looked at him as if to say What are you waiting for??? You’re not afraid of this motherfucker, are you???
But, neither of them budged.
Matsui, with that chalk on his face, panting with that bloodlusting expression beneath it, and Satou’s blank morbidity, inspired my Ju-on vision to return. I turned and walked away. I didn’t look back. I didn’t want them to see my apprehension.
Later that day they bumrushed me again.
“Junya- misete!” (show me your dick!) cried Matsui as he launched himself at me, filled with gleeful abandon. Gotta love his perseverance, I thought as I swatted his little ass away. Satou joined in, but not so aggressively. I could see he was a little wary of my knee…every time I raised it defensively he leapt two feet away. But his eyes remained cold and unwavering.
I hope he doesn’t hold a grudge…for long.
PS: BTW, this is my submission for the Japan Blog Matsuri for March. this month it’s being hosted by Mazikeen and the theme is Yokai (Japanese monsters, ghosts, demons, and villains from folk tales, literature, movies, manga, anime, music, and television programs.) Check out Mazikeen site. you won’t be dissappointed! Thanks again for hosting Mazikeen!
PPS: If you read / follow my blog, why don’t you go to my networkedblogs page here and click “follow.” (and rate me…I like 5 stars but I’ll take what you got) It’ll help me build up my readership and whatnot. Also you can catch my tweets at Locohama.