The Little Subway Ghost: A Haibun for Halloween


Two college students I teach here in Nagoya, Japan told me this story. They said one night around 7 pm after they finished preparing for their High School festival they were walking to the subway station to go home. It was a dark and cloudy October evening. They were walking along, talking to each other about the festival, when they suddenly saw a girl standing in front of them. She looked like she was around eight years old, but she was wearing a very old and ragged looking kimono. She asked them in what they said sounded like a very old dialect of Japanese where a certain subway station was. The students said they spoke to her for a few minutes trying to figure out which station she was trying to find. Suddenly, she said, “Oh, here comes my train,” and ran down the street. She went a little ways, turned left and disappeared. My students said when they reached the spot where she had turned there was nothing there but a brick wall.

Later on they told one of their history teachers about it. He asked them to show him where the little girl had disappeared at. When they got there my students said their teacher looked shocked and had turned very pale. He explained to them that before WWII that spot had been the entrance to the old subway that was destroyed by the American bombing raids during the war.

- cold touch of a warm spirit on a wet October evening