As well as barbecues, rooftop beer gardens, and delicious ice-cream, summer in Japan is time for horror. No, not the fear of opening your August electricity bill after all those nights sleeping with the air-con on, but scary stories. Whether you get your scare fix by going to the movies, visiting a pop-up haunted house, or do it old-school by telling ghost stories around a campfire, in Japan, summer is the season to cool off by giving yourself the chills.
I’ve never quite seen the appeal of actual horror films, personally, and tend to find them mildly distressing, although not in an exciting way like other people do. “Well, that’s kind of gross”, is about the strongest reaction I can muster. I do love Japanese TV though, and there’s no shortage of scary programming here in summer. Honto ni atta kowai hanashi (“scary stories that totally actually happened”) – or Honkowa for short – celebrated 15 years onscreen this year with a summer special that went out on the night of August 16th. During the broadcast, something unexpected happened – and viewers took to Twitter to ask the eternal question into the internet ether: “Did anyone else see that, or was it just me!?”