The Aokigahara Forest

A few weeks back, as I sat immobile – day after day, unable to do much else and pretty much OD’d on daytime TV – I spent a good amount of  the time reflecting. Not obsessively so, I would say just the exact, right amount of time for someone like myself who had reached his 70’s. Occasionally fuzzy, sometimes blinding yet always amusing – this reflecting proved beneficial on several fronts.

Not the least of which was that I decided to stop choking baby ducks, why do they have to be so freakin fuzzy…. the smug little bastar….. nevermind those days are over. Whatever the case – it all ended up leaving quite an impression on me and what a long strange trip it’s been.

I can without a word of a lie tell you, it was the darkest time of my life. We fixed that by taking a quick trip to IKEA for a couple of floor lamps, much better. Which was a ridiculously huge relief, because I had convinced myself that I had had a stroke, and a gigantic blood clot was putting pressure on my optic nerve, slowly blinding me – until it broke free and briefly my sight was restored as the clot hot-footed its way up to my brain to kill me instantly. Turns out that wasn’t the case BUT – it could have been. Good lighting is soooo important.

That was more of my patented Tom-Foolery and because of it, I’ve once again taken the long way round in getting to todays topic.

Suicide.

I was being honest when I said it was the darkest time of my life for a few weeks there…. but even during the worst of it, the pain and uncertainty, the fear and helplessness – I never once considered ending things. I was fighting to stay here, not move on to what or wherever the next step may be, ending things has just never made any sense to me….

Of course I have plenty to live for, good looks (imagine Johnny Depp, George Clooney & Brad Pitt had a baby), devastating wit (imagine Oscar Wilde, Dorothy Parker & Monty Python had a baby) & a deeply ingrained sense of Integrity (imagine Jesus, Abraham Lincoln, Nelson Mandela & Gandhi had a baby)… seriously, imagine it… right now…

First off – you would be looking at some of the freakiest-ass babies this planet has ever known, but deeper than that you’d see some pretty horribly twisted & misshapen internal organs, but look still yet deeper, you’d see why I have chosen to live. But not everyone makes that decision, and I was wondering just how bad things had to get before the one single option left open to you – was for you to end your life. My reason for todays post? I often watch small independent documentaries online at a few websites I’ve found and the other day I found one that was mesmerizing. It’s about 15 minutes long, about the Aokigahara Forest in Japan.

Now right away alarm bells should be sounding for you, because we all know how deeply twisted the Japanese can be…. can I get an Amen….. Anyways the Aokigahara Forest is the most popular site for suicides in all of Japan. After the novel Kuroi Jukai [The Black Forest, written in 1960] was published, in which a young lover commits suicide in the forest, people started taking their own lives there at a rate of 75 to 150 deaths a year. The forest holds so many bodies that the Yakuza pays homeless people to sneak into the forest and rob the corpses. The authorities sweep for bodies only on an annual basis, as the forest sits at the base of Mt. Fuji and is too dense to patrol more frequently. The short documentary follows one of the park wardens on his deathwatch tour of the trails.. he holds the record as having found the most bodies of any of the rangers… it seems he has a knack for knowing where people will end it all.

BE WARNED there are some images of the dead people he has found, but it’s not really creepy, it’s just kind of sad, these people drive hundreds of miles, park their car, walk into the forest and never walk out….

Anyways, if you are so inclined, and you should be because it’s pretty interesting & yeah a bit spooky, check out the haunting video here

Have a Great Day and stay out of the forest.

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