Crowd Mind by u/ZenithiaX

So I work at a local restaurant, and last night I experienced possibly the strangest, most unexplainable thing of my entire life. It was a very busy Saturday night, with hundreds of people coming in to eat. Obviously, it gets pretty loud in the restaurant. Customers talking, workers yelling back and forth, the clanging of dishes and appliances, etc. Nothing out of the ordinary right? Well, that’s where the strangeness comes into the picture. As the night went on, there …

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A Literary Predecessor to Bong Joon-Ho’s Parasite

Hordes of critics weighed in on the themes and aesthetic strengths of Bong Joon-Ho’s Parasite when it won a 2020 Oscar for Best Picture, and one also for writing and directing. One interesting aspect of the film though was under-discussed. That was how it continues a long East Asian tradition of literary work that explore frauds, illusions, and things not being as they appear, or feign, to be. Don’t believe us? Check out this hilarious, surreal, and disturbing flash nonfiction …

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A Student Out of Time by Su Yi, Changsha

My classmate shared the following experience with me. It occurred in 2016 when we were in eighth grade, shortly before we took our senior high school entrance examinations. We had just temporarily moved to a room in another building for class because our usual eighth-grade classroom was being used as a test site. Our classrooms served multiple purposes. One of these purposes was as a study area at night. After one such night study session, just as everyone was getting …

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The Stain by u/Rivkariver

“I spilt chocolate ice cream on my leg. I wiped it off and there was still a pale brown stain in the shape of the ice cream splotch. I told my mother who said it was a birthmark. I will swear under oath that never before that moment did I have a birthmark there.” Note: This story is collected from an AskReddit lated at:

A Wounded Boar by Marty Weaver

I had horrible insomnia as a kid. It certainly didn’t help that my house is old and makes weird noises at night. I heard a noise one night that I still have no explanation for. There I was, 11 years old, lying wide awake in my dark bedroom for the third straight hour. Suddenly, I heard something. It wasn’t any of the creaks or groans I had become accustomed to in my years of sleeplessness. It was a heavy, pained …

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Twice Goodbye by Ji Yun, The Emperor’s Librarian (1724-1805)

Lady Zhao, the wife of my second son, Ruchuan, was a sensitive and enchanting young woman—one of those people who make you glad to be near them. My wife, Mistress Ma, continually boasted to others about Lady Zhao’s character and literary talent, as well as her needlework. She said that Lady Zhao talked with such charm that one could happily listen to her for a whole day. This was all true. We could not have hoped for a better daughter-in-law. …

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One Day Off by Jared Swansboro

It seemed as if time had decided to move a day back, alluding to my own possible mistakes. The first birthday that I spent with my significant other, I wrote her a poem. September 26th. For three years straight, I read her that poem. She’d laugh, smile, and say how grateful she was. But this past year, that didn’t happen. I was in my dorm, waking up from a long night of essay writing, when I decided to call her …

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Ghoul’s Geography by Jared Burkhardt

I went to high school in a lonely, relatively normal town. Often, a few of my friends in the grade below my own would tell some interesting, haunting stories at lunchtime. By my sophomore year, I had heard it all; but I wasn’t ready for a haunting story about a ghost girl in school. My friend Carlos’ geography class was very late in the day. The heat was often blistering as school had just started back up, and this was …

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The Ringing of the Western Beast by Ji Yun (1724-1805), The Emperor’s Librarian

About 150 years ago, in the fourteenth year of Emperor Kangxi’s reign, a Western nation gave him a mysterious creature called a “lion.” No one in his circle had ever seen such a creature before, and it immediately featured prominently in the poetry and paintings produced by members of the court. It also featured in many tall tales. For example, one story that made the rounds detailed how the lion escaped the palace one morning by snapping its chains in …

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Franz Kafka’s Passion for Taoism

“The actual reality is always unrealistic,’ said Franz Kafka. ‘Look at the clarity, purity, and veracity of a Chinese coloured woodcut. To speak like that—that would be something.’”—Gustav Janouch, from his memoir Conversations with Kafka *** Franz Kafka (1883–1924) is revered for such short, expressionist pieces as “The Metamorphosis” and “The Penal Colony,” and longer works like The Trial. This is true not just in the West but across East Asia where writers from Haruki Murakami to Can Xue credit …

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