Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Jul 26, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #97

I remember our neighbor Fuji; he was a fisherman by trade; he was a bull of a man. His arms were so big that he would give us all a dollar if we could fit our fingers inside his shirt sleeve. Fuji never lost a dollar.
However, when payday came, Fuji would cut up some sashimi heʻd caught and bring it over to our house, where he would share it with my dad and some of the neighbors. Of course, my dad had a connection at the Primo beer distillery, so he was never without his favorite drink.

One night, my father asked Fuji why he spent so much time with us on his payday? Not that he didnʻt appreciate the fish, poi, boiled peanuts, beer, shredded dry fish, and ogo, but where were his family and friends? Did he not want to spend time with them as well? Fuji threw back his beer and continued chewing on his dried fish while his thoughts came to him.

"You see," he smiled. "I only have myself, and before on payday, I loved to gamble with our crew and all the other guys from the different tuna boats. We always play Cho-han, Japanese dice. Iʻm good, you know? I always win, never fail. I always make sure I play without my shirt, so everybody can see Iʻm, not cheating. One time, I win big, so I take my money, go to the noodle shop, and walk home. Funny kine, you know? Iʻm almost home, and then I see Kitsunebi surround me, big round fox fire! They chase me down the road, all the way to the old tree inside the graveyard. Then they surround me; they don't let me go for almost one hour. Finally, they disappear, and I can go home! The next day, I find out that some of the guys from the other tuna boat were mad because I win the Chohan, but I donʻt give them a chance to win back the money. They were hiding in the bushes in front of my house; they were going to rob me and take the money; maybe even stab me. So, after that, I donʻt go to play Chohan. Instead, I spend time with you folks, safer."

Years later, when Fuji passed away, we found out that he belonged to a Shinto religion that believed in the Inari Ōkami, or the Japanese fox spirit. Was it indeed the foxfire that saved Fuji from being robbed by disgruntled gamblers on that fateful night? I want to think yes because we gained a lifelong friend in Fuji.

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