Ghost Stories, Dancing Goblin, Tengumai, Halloween And Sake
At this time of the year, if someone gives me a great Halloween flavored story ready to serve, how could I resist sharing it?
When Halloween and Sake meet:
"Tradition is one thing, but Superstition and Folklore too have their special places ingrained in Japanese culture. What I am speaking of specifically are Ghosts and Goblins. Fitting for October don't you think? Ghosts are called "Obake" or "Yuurei", and Goblins are called "Tengu". Obake and Yuurei are usually spirits of the dead, while the the latter is mostly associated with a winged mountain goblin who is identified by a red face, a long nose, and extra long "Geta"sandles. Much like how we Americans have marketed Beers, Cars and even Eggs with "Devil"or "Diablo", the Japanese too have a sense of humor and market products with such authority.
"TENGUMAI" was born in 1823 inside the walls of Shata Brewery located in Ishikawa Prefecture. "Tengumai"literally means "Dancing Goblin." The name stems from folklore, where the winds in the deep forests surrounding the "Kura" sounded like goblins howling around the brewery after dusk, drinking copious amounts of sake and having a good time."
Excerpted from Tengumai; Trick or Treat Edition, written by George Kao, NY Mutal Trading Sake educator for their newsletter.
(*illustration also from George Kao's piece)