Ominous eye and promise to “develop special abilities” leads to a hunt for clues around the city.

Ghost stories abound in Japan, where sites with ancient history conjure up tales shrouded in myth and mystery. Sometimes, though, the world of the unknown can bleed over into real life, and when that happens, things can get really eerie.

Our reporter Seiji Nakazawa recently stumbled upon one of these real-world mysteries during a late-night walk in Tokyo’s Sendagaya neighbourhood. It was a worn and rusty sign on a wall that caught his eye, with the peculiar message, “You can develop your hidden abilities,” and an image of a large eye. Beneath the eye was script that looked like a spell, which sent a chill down his spine.

The sign had a phone number on it for “Robinson Counselling”, so Seiji photographed it for further investigation later. However, after he returned home, he realised the last numbers were hard to work out, so if he were to get to the bottom of the mystery, he would have to return to the location.

▼ The next day, he retraced his steps, exiting at Sendagaya Station…

▼ …and walking down the road between the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium and Tsuda College.

As he approached Hatonomori Hachiman Shrine, he turned left at the intersection and walked down the road.

▼ About halfway down the road, he came to the sign.

Now, in the light of day, he was able to see the sign more clearly, and he was also able to see what the wall was attached to.

▼ A cemetery.

▼ The cemetery belongs to Zuienji temple.

The sign’s location added to its fearful presence, so he was eager to get away from it as soon as possible, especially after he caught sight of…

▼ …these unintelligible characters.

The words “で紹介された” means “as introduced by”, and is usually used when something has been featured, or introduced, on a television programme. However, the two characters in front of it were indecipherable, and though they looked like they might be stylised Thai or Bengali characters, when Seiji used Google Lens on them, the characters were recognised as Japanese but could not be translated.

The mystery was becoming deeper by the second, so now that he had a clear photo of the number, he hurried back to the office to call it.

Pad and pencil at the ready, Seiji cleared his throat and prepared himself for a ghostly voice on the other end of the line. However, what he heard was no ghostly Robinson-san but an automated voice that told him the phone number was no longer in use.

Determined to get to the bottom of things, he decided to try another approach, visiting the address on the sign instead. Though he was initially worried this journey might lead him to an otherworldly portal, when he got there, he found it was a harmless looking complex called Villa Gloria.

It actually looked like a residential apartment complex with restaurants and bars on the ground level, but peeking at the names on the mailboxes revealed the rooms weren’t occupied by individuals but companies instead.

Robinson Counselling had been listed as apartment 204 on the cemetery sign, but here at the building, the occupant of that room was listed under a different company name entirely.

▼ The building itself remains, but there are no traces of Robinson Counselling.

So what was Robinson Counselling, with its frightening eye and promise to develop our hidden abilities? Well, Seiji is sad to say this is one mystery that remains unsolved, with its history lost to the sands of time. The only sign of its existence is the cemetery sign, which lists some of its services as “relaxation learning course”, “English conversation”, “preventing stress disorders”, and improving memory and confidence.

Seiji has a vague memory of organisations like this advertising seminars on the back of magazines in the past, so he’s inclined to think Robinson Counselling was one such organisation. Either way, it goes to show that mysteries abound in Tokyo, where the past and present coexist in the everyday. If you have any clues to help us solve this mystery, do let us know, because we’re still trying to get to the bottom of who the blonde-haired girl is on the Yamazaki Baking vans!

Photos: ©SoraNews24
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[ Read in Japanese ]