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Sakaguchi-san

December 30, 2013

It was the 15th of May. I remembered. Why did I remember ? Because it was the day I celebrated my manager’s birthday at the office, also the day I’ve seen something I should never have. No, it is not I should never have. It is something ANY HUMAN should never seen.

I’ve been living in Tokyo for 2 years. I work at a Japanese company which requires me to work overseas here. No worries, since I really want to leave my country, I don’t like it, at least for now. Tokyo is a very big city, so many districts here, but it is easy to reach into one another, by riding the train, you can always reach any part of the city. It is the city’s and my main mode of transportation.

I ride train everyday from and to work. My apartment is 10 minutes walk from the apartment, and my office is located in front of the train station. It is really easy to get by. That’s how my life is everyday. Waking up, getting ready, walk up to the train station, work, get the train back, walk up to the apartment. It happened everyday. Is it boring ? no. It is what I want. I don’t really like socializing. So I guess, my daily routines are perfectly fine with me.

But in May the 15th, it was different. A very different day. We got this new manager in the office. His name is Jiro, he was transferred from the Osaka bench of our office 6 months ago. A very humble and friendly man, although sometimes he’s outloud, typical Kansai-jin (people from Kansai). It is his birthday on the May 15th. He decided to take everyone to this small restaurant near the office, around Ginza. I know that it is a Japanese tradition to drink beer or sake when celebrating someone’s birthday, especially, for salaryman like us, it is a very normal thing to drunk it out after hour. But then again, this Jiro-san is special. He said to me that I don’t have to drink beer or sake, because he knows that I have problem with my liver, just drink juice or milk he said, but remember to join in the food fiesta. Well, that’s an offer I can’t turn down.

Everybody was drinking and staying up late. The restaurant close at 1 am. It is 12 now, time to go back home. Riding train is impossible, it is past the time, so taxis are the only viable option. Since I am the only one that doesn’t get drunk, I have the responsibility to take care of my co-workers, telling the taxi drivers to take them home safe. Okay, no problem, it is fine being nice right ?

Time for me to go home. My taxi driver tonight is Sakaguchi-san. He’s like in his 50s, around the same age with my dad. According to my calculation, he was born at the 60s, so maybe his childhood is pretty awesome, since it was around the time when the Japanese Post-war Economic Miracle happened, I decided to talk to him about his childhood. I was wrong. It was a fatal mistake for me. Turned out, Sakaguchi-san grown up in a small village, where he saw something that he will never forget as a child. I was going to have a casual talk with him, insteaaaddddd, he told me a story about an Onryo, a vengeful spirit that haunts his village. Oh, and it is Thursday, and according to the believe back in my place, Thursday night is when the spiritual things is at peak. It is no wonder if you see something astral in Thursday night. Why did I have to remember that now ? Not cool.

Sakaguchi-san told me that there was a murdered young, beautiful widow in his village. It was never known who did the murder, but it was said the crazy ex-husband did it to her. She was beaten up to death, nobody can even recognize her face anymore. The only thing that makes people know it was her is a long scar around her arm. Scar made by the same crazy man. After the incident, the village lost its peace. It is a small village near the Kawaguchi lake. For almost every night, people heard a cry for help. But everyone know that it is the ghost of the widow, so nobody dare to take a peak.

One day, Sakaguchi-san who was 13 years old that time, heard the cry for help. It was different. He was sure that it was a different voice, accompanied with a sound of clattering stones. He wants to peek outside, but his parents didn’t let him. You don’t simply see the eyes of the dead said the parents.  So then he went to sleep. Next day, everyone was surprised, as there were a dead body found in front of Sakaguchi-san’s house. It was not the widow that cried for help. It was another victim, bludgeoned to death. Sakaguchi-san and other villagers was surprised. It was yet another victim. The crazy ex-husband, who was detained and chained in the village lock up is still there. No sign of him ran away or something. When the people questioned him, he only laughed and pointed at Sakaguchi-san.

Sakaguchi-san was so stressed. He blamed his parents for not letting him open the window, so the women bludgeoned to death might still be saved. Sakaguchi-san said he was still haunted with the sound of the bludgeoned stone, the cry for help, and the blood in the next day. I try to calm him down, since he seems to get very tensed, and it still needs like 20 minutes by car to reach my apartment. It would be stupid for me to stop in the way and try to find another taxi, it is god damned 12.40.

I tried to lighten up the situation by telling Sakaguchi-san the story back at my hometown, about how awesome my hometown was, but he didn’t listen.  It seems that he has been consumed by his own fear. Damn, this is the first time I’ve ever seen something like this. It was a cold silence after I stop telling the story. I use my phone to tweet ‘well, this is so goddamn awkward, help me guys, tell me a funny story, I’m stucked in awkward silent with my cab driver’.  No one replies. Of course, it is almost 3 am back at home. No one awakes. Well, I guess have to cope with this silent, it is only 15 minutes to go anyway. Suddenly, BAM ! A very loud voice like a stone hit the front of the car. Oh crap. What now ? Yakuza ? Bousozoku ? But it is all silent and dark, nobody around.

Sakaguchi-san stopped his taxi. Get out to check what happened outside. Again, another fucked up moment for me, ‘trapped’ alone inside the taxi at night, in a foreign country. Fuck this shit. Suddenly, with a shaking hand, Sakaguchi-san open the driver door and show me something, something that I will never forget in my entire life. A round, big stone, full of fresh blood. I was like, yoooo what the fuuucckkkkk ?? and Sakaguchi-san with a trembling voice said: “it’s here, it’s her, she’s here, it’s her, it’s her”. WHAATT ?? Is this the speak of the devil kind of situation ? Insted it is speak of the Onryo, ah no, that kind of joke is not funny anymore, the blood was real.

I stay there, frozen on my seat. Oh no. There’s a woman in front of the car. She’s beautiful. Wearing a stylish kimono. But no, I’m pretty sure she’s not human. It is too weird. And I was right. She isn’t. There’s bloods dripping from her forehead, which she pointed. She looks at Sakaguchi-san, pointing her left hand at her forehead, and pointing the right hand at…. me. WHAT ? She wants me to be bludgeoned to death ? HEYYYY I JUST CAME HERE 2 YEARS AGO. I DON’T EVEN KNOW YOU. But I guess I know you for like 20 minutes ago from Sakaguchi-san’s story. In a soft, but not warming, voice she whispered, so loud that I can hear her “Kill him, and you’ll be free”. So, now I’m gonna bludgeoned to death by a cab driver ? no shit, Sherlock. I plead to Sakaguchi-san, “hey Sakaguchi-san, stop ! what are you thinking ? she’s not even real !” but he wouldn’t listen, he walked up to his door panel, opened the key to the back rear door, and come up to me. I don’t know where to go, his left hand started to grab me, and his right hand, is holding the stone wallowed with fresh bloods, with all my strengths , I kicked him, and he fell on the asphalt. I don’t know how I did that, I never have any lesson in martial arts. But heck, I can run now, so I ran.

Run fast, run far. Run past the woman in kimono. I finally bumped into a patrolling police. I don’t know what they did this late. I told them the story and they’re just smiling, and willing to take me to my apartment with their patrol car. I’m saved. In the road, they said “ah, so you meet Sakaguchi-san ? you’re one unlucky person. Sakaguchi-san is a delusional taxi driver who always told this haunted story, and tries to beat people to die. He’s somewhat like an urban legend here”. I was so surprised that they told me in a normal tone, just like something that used to happen, but I guess that is. “Why didn’t you all catch him ?” I said.  They laughed, “how can we catch a ghost ?”. I replied in fury “HOW THE HELL DID I GET HERE FROM GINZA ? FUCKING RUNNING ?”. The police suddenly stop talking and smiling. “sir, you’ve just had one hell of a day, just get it off your head, take a warm bath, and go to sleep, and maybe, call in for sick tomorrow, I don’t think you can go to the office tomorrow with that state  of mind”. Ck, easy for you to say. But I guess I’ll do that.

I thanked the police officer half heartedly, and then I went straight to my room. In the way, the security look at me with a weird look. I don’t know, maybe I looked like someone who just finished a marathon run at night. In the bathroom, I turned out the light, take off my shirt, and I realized there were blood all over my shirt. No kidding. It was real. Sakaguchi-san was real. I almost killed by him. Why, what ? I throw my shirt into the washing basket, wishing it is just a nightmare. I ran to my futon, I slept, and hoping I can wake up early so I can call in for sick.

I did wake up early, and call in for sick. In the end of the phone, this conversation happened:

Me: Hello, this is employee number 1293 reporting in for sick. I think I got flu, I need some more rest, but I’ll be back at Monday if it’s fine with you, oh yeah, and I am under Jiro-san.

Re:  Okay, we received your report to call in sick, get well soon, 1293.

Okay that was fast. I decided to take another sleep. I woke up at 11 am. It was a great sleep, I’m fine, but then I remember the bloody shirt. I checked my bathroom, it’s still there. I decided to burn the shirt. It might be, oh, no, it must be cursed. I think I’ll go to my friend’s house to burn it at his yard. On the way out of my apartment, I met the security who’s seems to just get off from his shift. He asked me about the bloody shirt, and I told him the Sakaguchi-san story, I don’t care if he thinks I am nuts, I am a foreigner anyway. Instead of seeing me as a crazy person, he grab my shoulder and told me something. Something that makes me want to go home to my country. Turned out, Sakaguchi-san is real. He’s a delusional serial killer who disguised as many things, sometimes a taxi driver, another times a police in a patrol car, and anything. He was famous like 3-4 years ago, long before I came to Japan. He is very smart, the police can’t catch him until now. I guess that is why the police office didn’t want to talk about him. Legends said he was haunted by the ghost of a young woman he didn’t save back there in his village. Nobody believe at the story, it is just an excuse for a lunatic serial killer. Nobody believe at the story, but me. I. Saw. The. Woman. In. The. Kimono.

Glossaries 

Bousozoku: Typical Japanese Motorcycle gang.

Kansai-jin: People from Kansai, the Western Region of Japan.

Kimono: Japanese traditional wear.

Onryo: Unrest spirit longing for vengeance after a bad deeds happened to them on their previous life.

Salaryman: Typical Japanese white-collar worker.

Yakuza: Japanese mafia like crime organization

Endnote

I think it would be interesting if I spice up my blog a little bit. A ghost story perhaps ?. I wrote my first ghost story in English, because I rarely read a ghost story in Indonesian. In Indonesian, I always think that a ghost story sounds a little bit peculiar. So I wrote it in English. It is a short story with many grammatical errors in the writing. But, as long as the story can be communicated, It is not any problem right ? Enjoy 😀

Anyway this is pure fictional. There’s no real Sakaguchi-san back there in Japan. There is no story about it also. I think it is cool (and surprisingly fun) to make my own version of urban legend.

 

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