Introducing the aquatic vampire: iso-onna…
The iso onna (磯女 or ‘beach rock woman’) is a super-scary Japanese yokai found in fishing villages all over Japan. She has many different names, and all of them seem friendly enough:
- iso onago = rock girl
- umi onna = ocean woman
- umi hime = ocean princess
- umi nyoubo = ocean wife
But a warning!
In fact, the iso onna isn’t friendly at all. If you meet her, she will probably scream in your ear, grab you by your hair and drag you to the bottom of the ocean. I hope you can swim!
If you want to avoid this dreadful fate, you need to be able to pick an iso onna in a crowd.
This is what to look for:
1) She wants to suck your blood.
Many of you may think blood-sucking is obvious when it comes to vampires, but some vampires (in Madagascar) prefer to eat toenail clippings, so it’s always good to be sure. The iso-onna is a blood-sucker from way back, so you can all be relieved. Your toenails are safe.
2) Her hair is almost always wet
She lives in an underwater cave, but…that doesn’t mean you are safe if you don’t like swimming. When she’s hungry, she crawls from the waves to lie in wait on beach rocks for something to catch and eat. Let’s hope it’s not you.
3) Her top half is a woman, her bottom half is a dragon.
When your bottom half is a dragon, you can have trouble blending in to normal society. Especially when you’re longer than a reticulated python. Unluckily for you, the iso-onna can make her bottom half go invisible whenever she feels like it. So (now that I think of it) looking for shiny dragon scales isn’t really going to help you. Sorry.
4) She likes to party
The iso onna is most often spotted on New Year’s Eve or during Obon, the Japanese festival of the dead (when the spirits of your ancestors come home for a three-day celebration). Maybe she attends these parties so she can pick the tastiest party guest to devour. Or maybe she just gets lonely living in her cave and likes to share some good food and warm thoughts before sucking your blood. I am certainly not brave enough to ask her.
How to survive an iso onna attack
So, now that you know what you’re looking for, you probably want to know how to beat an iso-onna in a fight. Well, you can’t. You have no chance. Sorry.
OK. So maybe you have one chance:
How to avoid the iso onna
The only way to survive an iso onna is to avoid her altogether. So, before you sleep, take three strands from a sedge mat and place them on the clothes you plan to wear the next day. This should protect you while you sleep. There. Don’t say I never write anything helpful on this blog