They won’t tell you the truth. But I will.
There was an incident about 25 years ago involving a teacher and a grade three student. The teacher was a guy from Japan named Jodan Yakitori, who was the strictest teacher they’d ever seen. He’d been a member of his school’s kendo club, and whenever he misbehaved, his sensei would smack him over the head with a shinai. To a kendo sensei–who believed in the strictest of warrior ethics–even a simple transgression as having a single hair out of place was grounds for a good beating. He took that sense of discipline with him to his new post in Prince Rupert.
One of Mr. Yakitori’s policies was that his students were absolutely forbidden from having any sweets of any kind in their lunches. He’d been raised on Japanese school lunches, which were nothing more than a bowl of rice with some dried fish flakes, if they were lucky.
Well, one boy’s mother had slipped him a single Hershey’s Kiss into his lunchbox for his birthday. Mr. Yakitori–who had eyes sharper than a military-grade radar–saw it and took it away from him. He then proceeded to tear into him in front of the class, screaming “who the hell do you think you are, you spoiled little gaijin? You soft, selfish son of a meat-eater who has never committed ritual suicide in your life! How DARE you!” He then took his trusty shinai out–which he had named “kusottare”, which means “god of thunder”–and smacked the boy over the backside with it ten times. The poor kid couldn’t sit for a month.
But when he come back, he had a plan for good Mr. Yakitori.
The boy’s father was a fisherman, and by chance one day he had caught a fugu–a Japanese pufferfish. His father was bragging about how this fish was so poisonous that even looking at it the wrong way would bring a swift, yet excruciating death. He went on to tell the story of how Bando Mitsugoro VIII–a famous kabuki actor and “national living treasure”–had gone to a restaurant in Kyoto in 1975 and ordered four fugu livers, which is one of the most toxic parts of the fish, claiming he could survive the toxin. Needless to say, he could not, and his death rattle was so long and loud that it later inspired the sound of Godzilla’s roar. Well, of course the boy decided that this would be the perfect revenge.
Every day for lunch, the teacher always had the same thing: a bowl of cold rice (in keeping with the warrior ethic he’d learned in the kendo club), and some shiokara, which is salted squid guts. The boy asked two of his friends to stage a fight in the corner of the classroom so that Mr. Yakitori would be distracted; just long enough for the boy to slip a chunk of fugu liver into the squid guts.
After Mr. Yakitori came back, he took one bite of his lunch, and said “Hmmm… this is strange. Why are my lips turning numb?” Within seconds, he was caught in the throes of death, and he let out a howl that could be heard clear across to the other side of town.
And a further unfortunate thing for the soul of poor Mr. Yakitori is that, in order for his soul to rest, his body needed to be purified in a special Shinto ceremony within 24 hours of his death. And with no Shinto priests within a thousand miles, his soul was doomed to wander the halls of the place of his death for eternity.
So every August, around the time when the souls of the Japanese try to return to their ancestral homes, the spirit of Mr. Yakitori wanders the halls of old King Edward Elementary School in a vain and desperate attempt to find his way back to the place of his birth.