Urameshiyā! (うらめしやぁ!)

Oops! Didn't notice you there. Don't mind me. I was just practicing my Japanese ghost-call. "Urameshiyā!" is pretty much the standard opening line for any self-respecting Japanese ghost. It's nonetheless a word that is peculiarly tough to translate, but in a nutshell it means something like "Curse it all!"

You may be wondering why — today of all days — anyone in their right mind would want to conjure up a ghost. Truth be told I'm cheating a little here, because Halloween isn't really spook season in Japan. That distinction would fall to the summer months, particularly the doldrums of late summer, when the festival of Obon (お盆) is upon us. That is when the lid of jigoku (地獄), as the Japanese call the underworld, blows off, and spirits roam the land of the living for a few weeks. One could think of it as a vacation of sorts for the dead.