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In Japan, there is a rumor concerning toilets. At any elementary, go to the third floor, and then the third stall on the left. A little girl’s ghost lives there. If you knock three times, she might even show herself to you.

The history of this ghost is bizarre, but most sources agree that she is a new phenomenon–a ghost out of the post-World War II era: Hanako in the red skirt. Hanako in the toilet.

Toire no Hanako (by Digital Dolls)
Toire no Hanako (by Digital Dolls)

Hanako is a bizarre little ghost, but her varied origins are sad. The most well-known story of how Hanako came to be in the toilet is that she was bullied by the other girls in her school, and actually died in the stall, haunting it to take revenge on mean girls now. Another claims she died during an air raid. Yet another says that she died following an attack from a pervert in the stall.

However, despite this assorted and horrific history, she is relatively harmless as far as Japanese ghosts go. Unlike most of the other yurei I’ve covered in this series, Hanako actually gives her callers ample opportunities to get away. Now, if they’re foolish enough to keep on pressing…. well, she has a reputation to uphold.

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Hanako is much like the Bloody Mary of U.S. urban legends: she must be called upon to appear. Once a child knocks three times, they must ask a simple question: Hanako, are you there? If she answers you in a soft voice, you can open the door and she will appear for you. If she answers in an angry voice, you can open the door, but it’s probably a better idea not to–she has a tendency to drag people into the toilet with her.

Still, all is not lost. A surefire way to assure Hanako that you aren’t, in fact, a terrible bully is to flash her a perfectly marked exam when you open the door. She will vanish into thin air and leave you alone!

Sorta reminds you a bit of Moaning Myrtle, doesn’t she? I have to wonder if maybe J.K. Rowling found her inspiration for this amusing character in books on Japanese monsters.

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weekendcoffeeshare

If we were having coffee, we’d be perched on the couch, and you’d have to watch out for stray glitter, hot glue spiderwebs, and bits of fluff. There’s a lot going on today, as I put finishing touches on my costume and some of our friends work on theirs, too. I would tell you that this has been one of the most trying weeks that I’ve had in recent memory, but that I’m going to ignore all that tonight, put on this costume, and celebrate.

In large part, I’m just glad I’m feeling better. I had a double-dose of illness last weekend as not just the cold, but then food poisoning hit, and I ended up in the local emergency room for an IV of fluids and anti-nausea meds on Sunday. Luckily the meds I was given worked very well, but I am only now actually feeling well again. I had to power through and get the house clean Monday and Tuesday, though, because we have a Mardi Gras house-guest who came in on Wednesday and is visiting until Sunday.

Thursday was the day of Little Jedi’s school Mardi Gras parade, and I also had a few errands to run that didn’t get done while I was sick. Lots of things to pick up for my costume, which I’d intended to already have begun making but hadn’t had the chance, and I also had to make some donations pick-ups for the nonprofit and edits to our website. And then I finally started making the pieces I need to for my costume. I managed to finish season 4 of Hell on Wheels while I was making my wolf tail, at least.

But then yesterday, my anxiety hit me really hard during the daytime. I began to notice how much I still had to do, and as I mentioned last week, I’ve been really feeling the difficulty of how busy things have been lately. I had a pretty major panic attack early in the day, exacerbated by complications to our weekend plans. Luckily, we were able to spend the night in, despite our previous plans, and Sam and I had some much-needed time to ourselves at home, and the night ended much better than the day began.

Tonight is MOM’s ball (a big costume party/ball thrown by one of the Mardi Gras krewes), and Sam and I will be going with a big group of friends. We’re all working quite feverishly on finishing touches before the big event tonight, which means I need to dive back into the fray of fur and glitter and hot glue guns.

Add your links below, and don’t forget to use the #weekendcoffeeshare tag on Facebook and Twitter!

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Aaaaaand we’re back for another round of “What I’m into Wednesday,” which looked a little doubtful earlier this week, I must say. In addition to having a cold going into the weekend, I contracted food poisoning on Saturday and spent most of the night then Sunday and Monday being pretty sick. I was too sick to even finish up this week’s Monster Monday, and I’m WAY behind on the things that I was supposed to have done already this week. Top that off with a house-guest stopping in a day sooner than expected and a boss who is getting ready to go out of town, and I feel a bit discombobulated.

But today, before I go On the Hunt for Wolf Costume Components, I’ve managed to throw in some of the things that I’m into this week:

Reading:
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  • City of Bones, Cassandra Clare.
    I actually started in December, but I’ve struggled to finish this one for some reason. It didn’t interest me as much as the other things I’ve been reading, and it was LONG. I don’t, as a rule, dislike long books. I think some stories take far more time to tell than others, and some don not naturally break up into small portions. But if I notice how long the book is while reading, if it starts to fell tedious, then it’s too lengthy. The story was engaging enough, but I wasn’t overly fond of the pacing. I’m intrigued by the popularity of the series, though, so I may give the second one a try before deciding on the series.
  • The Snow Queen, Michael Cunningham.
    This is another one that I’m having difficulty finishing, and it’s not terribly lengthy—not much more than 250 pages. I enjoyed the last of Cunningham’s books that I read, but this novel feels a bit overwritten in places, and at 1/3 of the way through, I don’t care very much about the characters. Maybe I’m just a curmudgeon lately!
  • Winter, Marissa Meyer.
    I did make my way through this series, and I’m in the first 1/4 of the last book now. I’ve got mixed feelings about the series; I like the fairy-tale elements and the world that Meyer has crafted, but sometimes the story seems to lag. So far I’ve enjoyed this one most, but I suppose that’s because it feels like all those plots are finally moving together, and we’re finally able to see Luna.

Watching:

Guys, I’m honestly not watching anything right now. What’s new, what’s good?

Loving:

Following:

Making:

  • A wolf tail, ears, and maybe some legs if I have the time. Pulling inspiration from my Pinterest board: