My Journey Into Aokigahara Jukai (青木ヶ原 樹海) – The Suicide Forest

aokigahara suicide forestDisclaimer: Firstly, there are a lot of images and videos in this post, so I had to break it up into 10 pages to save loading time – you will see the page numbers on the bottom just before the comments section. Secondly, everything written below actually happened, nothing is fabricated.

Lastly, and most importantly, if you’ve happened upon this post and you live in Japan, keep an eye out for your close friends and talk to them if you think they might be having suicidal thoughts; here is a very helpful pdf which details the warning signs of someone who may be suicidal: Suicide First Aid Guidelines For Japan. Also, if you are having suicidal thoughts yourself, try to stay positive and remember that your pain is only temporary once you realise that others can help you – there is help out there. Please talk to your friends and loved ones, if there is nobody who you can trust, please visit the Tokyo Counselling website or the Japan Counseling directory and find a professional to talk to. Life is worth living, if you give it another chance, you might realise that too.

“Meaninglessness inhibits fullness of life and is therefore the equivalent to illness. Meaning makes a great many things endurable – perhaps everything.” - C.G Jung

aokigahara mt fujiAokigahara Forest, which is located at the foot of Mt Fuji in Japan, is one of those places that few wish to visit. Most people who do enter the 35 km2 forest never return due to its reputation for having the second highest suicide rate in the world (first place goes to San Fransisco’s Golden Gate Bridge). An average of 70-100 bodies are found there every year, and many are left undiscovered. The forest was created when Mt. Fuji – an active volcano – erupted 1,200 years ago and the trees emerged on top of the dried lava. The forest is known by many names: Aokigahara (青木ヶ原), Jukai (樹海) which translates in English as The Sea of Trees), Suicide Forest, the Cursed Forest, the Black Forest, and finally the locals I asked in Japan called it ‘NOOO, don’t go there!’ while they made the shape of an X with their arms. Sadly, the forest has long been associated with death and evil spirits (even before it became a popular place for suicide) as ubasute is believed to have been practiced in its woody depths, which is an old Japanese tradition where the elderly and sick are carried up a mountain or into a forest and left to die – sort of like the story of Hansel and Gretel, except with old people.
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Ted the Caver

Click here to read one of the scariest things you will ever read. It is a long short story (heh) about a caver called Ted and his experiences in a cave that he was exploring with a friend. Technically it’s not a short story, as it’s his first hand experience in the ‘mystery cave’, and is actually a chronological collection of his journal entries complete with photos he took. Ted was looking for a new cave to explore that no man or woman had explored before him, caving was the last frontier for explorers like him. However, what Ted finds in this cave is not what he expected at all, and will change him (and you!) for the rest of his life. It is a fairly long read and will take you about 30 minutes to an hour depending on how fast you read, but this is not a problem as the writing sucks you in and doesn’t let go for a second. It is a very engaging and chilling read!

Travel Journal: Fear and Loathing in Thailand

Thainambodia

JOURNAL ENTRY #1 – Saturday, 1st of January, 2011

I will try to colour code my journal, I think red will suit Thailand, I’ll decide what colours to use for Cambodia and Vietnam when I get to writing those entries. So any text in red is word for word as it is in my diary, while the text in gray is either after thoughts or rewordings of my actual entries to omit some personal details. Also all the names will be omitted in place of letters.

At the end of 2010 I made a trip into South East Asia. I didn’t have a return ticket, and I didn’t know what to expect. Waiting for my plane at the airport newsagent I found a small leather diary, I decided at that moment that I would keep a journal of my travel experiences. What follows are excerpts from that journal; the good times, the bad times, and all the times in between. The experiences I had were often strange and exciting, and yet the best times were always the most simple, such as catching a 12 hour night train and being gently rocked to sleep in a tiny bunk bed next to an open window. I also had some horrible experiences, which will also stay with me. Within the first couple of days I had an accident which eventually put my sanity on the boil, but ultimately led to a complete reconstruction of my outlook on everything, for the better.

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