Writing Every Day in March: Day 2

All work and Noh plays makes Kat something, something.

So, imagine Dunstana wearing something that looks like this:

A Japanese hannya mask.
Image via Wikimedia Commons, from the collection of the Tokyo National Museum via ColBase: Integrated Collections Database of the National Museums, Japan: online database.

Licensed under Government of Japan Standard Terms of Use (Ver.2.0) & Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0 International.

In brief, Noh is a traditional form of Japanese theatre, which predates kabuki by about a couple centuries and which Wikipedia describes as “dance-drama.” I won’t get into too many of the details, but “dance-drama” should give a pretty good basic idea.

If you’re interested in what it actually looks like in action, I found this video on YouTube.:

Mostly, though, Noh (hey — that rhymes!) is best-known for its use of masks (like how kabuki is know for the facepaint the actors wear) — again, not getting into too many of the details, each mask represents a certain character archetype. There’s a certain degree of commedia dell’arte here, with the various different plays being built around the recurring archetypes.

That mask up there is called a hannya and is used to represent a vengeful female spirit or demon, as is briefly explained in this scene itself.

“Gah!” Kat cries, waking from her between-naps nap to come face to face with a strange, horrible monster.

The thing has sharp teeth, unblinking eyes, a leering expression, and horns jutting from its forehead.

Kat begins desperately feeling around her beloved plaid couch for something to throw at this monstrous interloper. Not only does it have the audacity to haunt Kat in her own house on her own couch, but it interrupted her nap.

And that, as far as Kat is concerned, is unforgivable, monster or no monster.

“Hi, Kat!” the creature exclaims in Dunstana’s face — revealing itself to be a familiar, horrible monster.

“Dunstana,” Kat groans. “What is that thing? Why are you wearing it? And where did you find it?”

“It’s a Noh mask!” Dunstana answers happily.

“No,” Kat protests. “It’s clearly a mask.”

Dunstana rolls her eyes.

“Not no, Noh!” she explains, shifting the mask. “I, uh, I can’t spell it, but it’s not like n-o. It’s a kind of play they have in Yamatai. You know, kinda like Opera, but less lame, I think. Kokoro let me borrow it!”

“Ugh,” Kat groans, rubbing her eyes. “You didn’t have to sneak around the house to scare me.”

Dunstana rolls her eyes gain.

“But that’s why I borrowed it, Kat” she mutters.

“Ugh,” Kat groans again, rolling over on her beloved plaid couch and burying her face in one of the cushions.

She hears the door opening, then footsteps hammering across the door.

“Hello, Kat!”

“It’s us, Tsuru and Tsubame!”

Kat groans into the cushion.

“Kat says hi,” Dunstana explains to the two girls from Yamatai.

Grumpily and sleep-deprivedly, Kat sits up on the couch and stares at the two twins through the cascade of dishevelled hair that has fallen across her face during her vain attempts to nap.

Tsuru and Tsubame quickly sit on either side of her.

“Do you like Dunstana’s mask?” Tsuru asks. “It’s a genuine Yamatai Noh mask. All the way from Matsumori!”

Kat blinks down dumbly at the girl.

“She’s a hannya!” Tsubame explains.

Kat blinks down dumbly at the other girl.

“That’s a kind of angry spirit,” Tsuru continues. “But also sort of sad.”

“The mask means anger and jealousy,” Tsubame adds. “So the hannya is a very dangerous spirit.”

“In the plays, the hannya is always defeated by a samurai or exorcised by a priest,” Tsuru says.

“You know, back in Yamatai, they chase away evil spirits by throwing beans at them,” Tsubame says.

“Beans?” Kat asks.

The twins nod.

“They represent good fortune,” Tsuru says.

“And they taste good!” Tsubame interjects.

“We do it at home every spring. And I’ve never seen any evil spirits in our house, so it must be working,” Tsuru notes.

“I don’t like beans,” Dunstana mutters.

“Tsuru, Tsubame,” Kat declares, tying her hair back into itself ponytail. “Find me some beans. We’ve got us a demon to drive out.”


Kat glowers at her sister.

“Oh!” Tsubame says happily.

“Fun!” Tsuru says, clapping her hands together.

Dunstana goes running into the kitchen.

Moooooooooom!” she calls. “Kat’s trying to exorcism me!”

Incidentally, my favourite and Best Wrestler Asuka has recently started wearing a hannya mask during her entrances as part of her new more aggressive (and somehow even more flamboyant) in-ring personality:

This is not actually the the scariest she’s ever been. She’s done herself up as a zombie clown back in Japan before.

Also, FYI, I did not make up that “throwing beans at demons” thing. That’s a real part of the actual Japanese spring festival.

And that’s March 2. Stayed tuned for… however many more days there are in March of writing.

And catch up on yesterday’s here:

Also, new chapter tomorrow.

And follow me here:

Sign-up for my email newsletter here.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s