For the benefit of the lucky legions who don’t know me from Adam, I’m not the most glib and garrulous Jappo guy you’ll ever meet, let alone personable or friendly. Pat Morita I’m not. Not bad when it comes to writing, but not exactly Kennedyesque when verbalizing. As the aforementioned Noriyuki always reminded: “I’ll tell the jokes, you write.”

Piecing together this bit of self-awareness with CR2S’s ongoing tap-tap-tap episodes may be somewhat of a reach, but let’s gambaro and all that hip Japanese stuff and give it a Little Engine That Could effort. To be clear and comprehensive is the challenge for today.

Despite the vast array of advice from so many readers, no one has solved the mystery of the nocturnal knockings. Suggestions galore have been received, thank you very much, but basic questions persist. Like what is the reason for the persistent taps? Who/what is doing it, and how when no one is there? If an attempt to communicate is being made, how do I respond? After seven months of continual befuddlement (but no fear or trepidation), I have tried to establish a line of communication to no avail. I’ve also given it the ole ethnic try, speaking in broken Japanese. After inquiring, “Who is it?” and offering a warm “Come in,” what else can I say? [Maybe “Take your shoes off.”]

But rather than review intriguing past highlights, let’s focus on events of the past several days and see what you can make of them:

In the last “Crossroads to Somewhere,” I reported an unusual onslaught of three “knock knock knock” incidents and a telephone ring just before submitting the column.  For the benefit of detail-minded, they occurred at 3:06 a.m., 3:26 (loudly) and 4:28 (extra loud) with the phone ring at 4:51. Not only did the trio+one set a record for visits in one morning, they happened within an unusually short period of time and a distinct difference in loudness (male versus female?).

What then followed was also very out of the ordinary. Nothing. Nada, nary an awakening intrusion Wednesday, Thursday or Friday. Then on Saturday, Sept. 29, came a tsunami-like wave of an all-time record high of four/4/quartet  knockings! And they arrived at an early hour with very little time lapse in between: 12:38, 12:58, 2:25 and 3:27. And all of the soundings were exceptionally loud, as if in an irritated snit.

A condensation of dozens of reader contributions boil down to a ghost[s] that (a) is trying to escape this world for the next; (b) a previous tenant displeased with his ouster; (c) someone from the past trying to make contact; (d) the source is frustrated in not being understood; (e) a playful presence getting a kick out of being bothersome.

As you can see, no one has ventured anything sinister or threatening. There is a mixture of religious, spiritual and Casper the Friendly Ghost ideas, as well as gender and ethnic reasoning.  (“Have you tried talking in Japanese?” has been suggested, as well as many who wonder why I don’t simply  move.)

It would be great if all interested parties could gather at KRH activity hall to discuss and exchange ideas, but I get the feeling people around here would rather I drop the phantom subject altogether. Better yet it would be everyone crammed into my two rooms to hear the ominous “tap tap tap” first-hand, assuming the tapper would perform in front of an audience. Best idea I can think of would be to hold a lottery and have a couple of representative dudes stay overnight with me until the door knocker shows up. A better idea would be a single dudette guest. I do have a queen bed. [I can’t seem to resist a low-brow opportunity.]

Maybe one night I’ll have my sons stay with me, so they can vouchsafe and declare their father sane, not a crazy ole coot imagining things.]

I keep forgetting to remind all you nice folks I don’t want to get rid of the apparition, nor oust, eliminate, exorcise nor bury. Nutty as it may seem, I don’t mind being sleep-deprived by the visitations. Look at the pleasant *interchange with readers I’ve had as a result of the continuing saga. Hours of lost sleep in exchange for reader enjoyment is a deal I’ll make anytime. [*There has been a lot of unexpected reaction from Japanese-speaking sources, too. They are especially strong believers in the old country unworldly and heard about my Rafu writings on the subject. Unfortunately, upper echelon doesn’t believe a translated CR2S is worth the effort.]

Assuming we have yet to reach that fork in the road to nowhere, my now concern is to give (s)he/it/them a name to reference and identify. In an effort to shorten the description, I discovered the acronym spells out a foul word, making a moniker all the more important. “Ghost” sounds so impersonal and generic. Nor bogeyman, bête noire, lost soul, either. Anyway, it just seems like the right thing to do. A name and we can talk, right? Then I could ask about the touch on the shoulder and all the other strange things that have been going on.

Whatever. See you next week.

W.T. Wimpy Hiroto can be reached at Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.

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