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Before I begin, I must say that this is all a real experience. This website really exists, and I was not expecting what I found.
Last Friday night, I had finally caught up with all my university classes. I was planning to unwind by staying up late and translating songs by Yasuyuki Okamura. I was searching left and right for a copy of the lyrics to his 2004 song “Achi-Chi-Chi”, since most Japanese lyric websites have their lyrics in a flash application so one can’t copy the text, due to copyright conditions in Japan. But I’d gotten around this before.
About seven pages into a search for "ア・チ・チ・チ 岡村靖幸 歌詞", I found a website that had the first line to the song in its Google description. Relieved, I clicked on it, finding a short list of dates and a picture of some girls in class. The Japanese on the page was all very formal.
2012 / 1 / 11: Site is opened. 2012 / 1 / 12: Coding is complete. Now, I will continue working on music. 2013 / 1 / 1: It's a new year. Reminds me of "It's a new morning." from that Yasuyuki Okamura song "Achi-Chi-Chi". I hate that song. Ha ha ha.
My first thought was, "Well, this guy seems like a douchebag." Regardless, I went on deciphering the rest of the page.
2013 / 1 / 2 I uploaded two songs. 2013 / 1 / 3 Hanako-chan Hanako-chan Hanako-chan Hanako-chan Hanako-chan Hanako-chan Hanako-chan Hanako-chan Hanako-chan
That was all the March update said. The text under the photo of the girls only said, "Hanako-chan is on the left, third row." I admit I was a little unnerved at this point, but since there were only five pages on the site, I figured I should look around and see what kind of site this was.
I went to the homepage, seeing the site name was "Nobuo's Workshop". On the right was a cartoony picture of a bespectacled, happy-looking guy, and on the left was large text in English and Japanese. The English read:
this is the personal website of nobuo kiriyama. i like to draw, create music, and study genetics. i update this site on the first of every month. please be careful.
Wait, "be careful"? At first I thought it was a mistranslation, but no, it was the same in the Japanese side of the text. I looked on the page "Guestbook", but it was just a guestbook form with the text, "I am eager to hear from you." My only other choices were "Memory" or "Music", both written in katakana with the English-adapted word. I headed to "Memory."
This time, there was a picture of a young Japanese girl leaning against a wall, with the text, "My girlfriend, Inoue Hanako-chan." This page contained a lot of text, so I sat up and started to decode it.
In my last year of high school, Inoue Hanako-chan was in my homeroom class. She was adorable. Very well-mannered, very cute, very gentle. I quickly made her my girlfriend. I was fond of taking pictures of her. I had a large collection of them... Hanako-chan at school, Hanako-chan at the shopping centre, Hanako-chan sleeping...she always smiled. It was great. One day, Hanako-chan stopped smiling. I'd heard Hanako-chan's parents had divorced. A lot of rumours were going around. Hanako-chan was my girlfriend, so I had to support her. I loved to draw monsters. Monsters with deformed limbs...monsters with bloody, toothy mouths...I designed my best monsters for Hanako-chan. Every day, I left a drawing in her locker. She really liked them! Hanako-chan screamed with joy when she opened the drawings! I was very happy...Hanako-chan loved mutant monsters as much as I did. Every day I drew more and more gruesome monsters. Every day, Hanako-chan screamed so loud in excitement. Sometimes, she cried with joy. Suddenly, Hanako-chan gave up going to school. I was so worried. The semester was almost finished. Were Hanako-chan's parents divorcing that badly? I decided to make her a present. It was based on the monster she cried tears of joy over. The monster was a giant, bloated yellow rat. It was skinned, with rotting yellow fat hanging from it. Its eyes were black marbles. I was really proud of that drawing. I was excited to bring it to life. I bought a rat from a local pet shop. It took a full weekend, but I sculpted the rat in the garden shed. When I was done, I wrapped it in tissue paper and put it in a gift box. I left it on her porch. After that, I had to go to school, so I didn't get to see her reaction. However, I think she really liked it. Then, Hanako-chan moved to another town. I heard a rumour that she was trying to avoid a stalker. I still do not know who he is. I'll kill him! I gave up searching for Hanako-chan. I still love her, so I created this website. Hanako-chan, do you see this? Do you like my music? It's the only way I can show how I feel inside. Hanako-chan, come back to me. I'll keep Hanako-chan safe from a stalker.
By the time I finished translating this page, my stomach was absolutely churning. Was Hanako even really his girlfriend? Why did he post this out in the open? Where is he now? I took a second to think about all that I'd seen on the site so far, and every bit of good sense in my body was telling me to get off the site right away. But I still had so many questions.
I went to the last available page, "Music ". There were three available embedded tracks, and the text above them read, "I do not like any kind of music anymore. Music does not match how I feel. I decided to make remixes of happy songs. I think they match my thoughts.
Listen at your own risk. I did not make them for you." On the side was a clearer picture of a Japanese girl smiling at the camera, and underneath it was "Hanako-chan" written repeatedly.
I really should have stopped there. But I pressed play on the first song, "Hug". I jolted back in shock from what I was hearing. It was loud and wasn't quite noise electronica, but there was the sound of something swiping over an assortment of buzzes, grinding, churning, and what could have been radio signals. I listened to the entire thing, trying to figure out what it was, and as the noise slowed down, I heard instances of slowed down music passing through the background.
The second track translated to "Born to Lose". There were loud scratches and whistling over a reversed orchestra. I couldn't listen to it past the first few seconds.
The last one was just titled "Go Away", also the shortest one. The only noises I could identify amidst the noise were the sounds of something being sucked down a drain while coins rattled. Before I could get very far in analyzing it, the music became quieter, then came back louder at full force, the sounds of scratching and metal rattling burning my ears. I yelped and ripped off my headphones, trying not to make enough noise to wake anybody in the house. The track ended shortly after that.
I felt the oncoming of a sharp headache, and I felt sick. I wasn't sure what my body was trying to do. I left the site and talked to some friends online before going to bed, but out of curiosity, I checked back to Nobuo's Workshop this morning to see if I hadn't just imagined the entire thing. But it was there, and at this time of writing, is still there. I considered writing something in the guestbook but didn't want Nobuo to know I exist.
I'm not sure what to think. I have no idea who Nobuo Kiriyama and Hanako Inoue are, but for Hanako's sake, I really, really hope she's far away from him. But the only thing I know about this site for sure is one thing... Nobuo updates on the first of every month. Only time will tell what he's got planned for next month.