Oga city-- Parents took their children to get frightened by >Namahage (a type of demon), ostensibly for the purpose of building better parent-child bonds. I don't get it either. Namahage are like the opposite of Santa, who show up once a year and scare kids. Who was that demon that used to hang around Santa again? I forget. See older news pic posts for the demons of Setsubun. [article click the pic when you get there to enlarge]
Uwashima-- This frightening character is King Yama/Ema, judge of the afterlife. He gets his own festival around this time, where he and many pictures of hell (50 in all) are put on display. Some people seem to call him "Ema-sama", perhaps wanting to brown-nose. [article]
Shimokita Peninsula, Aomori Prefecture-- Due to a population that has grown too large, monkey capturing has commenced. The plan is to capture 48 monkeys, 20 of which will go to Ueno Zoo. The remainder will unfortunately be put down :-( [article]
Bonus photo that reminded me of the net speaks (ORLY?):
Amagasaki-- An owl is passing the winter in this tree, and yelling at the damn kids to stay off his lawn. [article]. YARLY.
Bonus vocab notes: