One interesting aspect of the Japanese is how superstitious they can be, at least as seen from my contemporary American point of view. Whether it’s getting one’s future told through tarot cards or a palm reading or the famous beliefs about people’s personalities being determined by their blood type, most Japanese have some ways of thinking that might be thought of as unique. There’s a complex system of old wives’ tales that people follow — don’t cut your fingernails at night or you won’t be able to be with your parents when they die, don’t ever write a person’s name in red ink or they’ll die, don’t whistle at night or snakes will come and bite you, don’t sleep with your head pointing to the north — which I’ve learned to respect, or at least work around in my daily life.
Ghosts are another popular area of Japanese supernatural culture, so much that there are TV variety shows made on the subject quite often. Some people are said to be reikan no aru hito, that is, people who have a greater than average sense of ghosts and apparitions, and my Japanese wife and daughter are definitely in this group. Once after my father passed away, my daughter (who was about five at the time) turned to empty air and shouted, “Stop watching me!” My wife thought I’d gotten out of bed and was standing there looking at my daughter eating her breakfast, but I was still asleep, and the general consensus was that she was “sensing” the spirit of my father who had come to visit us. Recently my wife and daughter were having a fight, and they both thought they saw my mother’s face reflected in the window at the same moment (she also passed away recently). That stopped their fight in a hurry, I can tell you.
Ghosts are a popular Japanese superstition, er, belief.