Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Jul 25, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #98

This story was told to us one evening in our Karate class. Our sensei felt a bit under the weather, so one of his black belts came to teach the lesson. The black belt had an unusual last name like Choriki or something. He was sporting a black eye and a cut on his lip.
All I remember is a funny story. It goes that neo-Japanese fashion became the rage in the eighties, especially with musical groups like Hiroshima and the slew of Karate Kid movies and ninja films out. One night, the black belt said that he just got off of work and went home to get dressed and head out to the club in Waikiki. To his dismay, he forgot to wash any of his clothes the day before. Rifling through his closet, he came upon something on a thick wooden hangar, covered in a dry cleaner plastic bag. It looked like a thick judo gi of some kind, but when he took it out, he was amazed at the black design with ornate trimmings. Immediately, he put it on, and he was gone. Choriki had connections with all the clubs in Waikiki, so he never had to worry about a dress code. He danced all night, basking in the admiration of the pretty girls and friends from school and work. However, as thick as the coat was, he found that he was continually freezing. One would think that he would have worked up quite the sweat after dancing for so long, but the effect was contrary. For some strange reason, he couldnʻt get warm.
The clubs closed at two in the morning, and afterward, they all headed to the saimin house where the hot broth would sober them up. Not so for the Choriki. At one point, his friends noticed that every time the black belt exhaled, smoke came out of his mouth. He ignored them and continued eating. Choriki said he managed to spill a few splotches of saimin broth and mustard on the coat but not to worry, heʻd take it to the dry cleaners the next day. The sun was coming up when the black belt returned home; he wasnʻt concerned about work because it was his day off. He walked past the kitchen and saw that his parents were awake; he stopped in and bid them a good morning. It was the last thing he remembered, when he came to, he was lying on his bed, the coat was gone, and his face was throbbing on one side. He slowly limped to his bathroom. In the mirror, he saw that he had a black eye, a busted lip, and a bit of bruising near his ears. He found out from his father that it was his mother who did the damage. When he asked why, his father told him that the coat he found in the back of his closet, which he decided to wear for a night out on the town, belonged to his motherʻs grandfather, a fisherman in Japan. The coat was his Hanten or a happi coat. He was wearing it on the night that he drowned. He and a few friends were drinking on his fishing boat that was anchored at a pier. He excused himself to use the bathroom and never came back. In his drunken state, he must have lost his balance and fell overboard—the authorities found his body the following day. The Hanten was all his mother had of her grandfather.

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