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Halloween


Living in Japan, you would think that I did not have to celebrate Halloween. But no, I had to a couple of times. Halloween feels like a holiday the Japanese have invented. A month before the actual holiday, stores are decorated with paper pumpkins and skeletons. They also sell a lot of that stuff. My neighbor had put a pumpkin wreath on her front door. I felt like I was in the US. Strike that, it was never that crazy even in the US. So imagine my surprise when I took a stroll down Motomachi street after I picked up my kids from school. I had heard that the Motomachi Halloween parade is something to see. But ever since we moved back to Japan, I managed to missed it. This year, I decided to go for it. And boy, was I knocked over my socks. The narrow street was packed with people in all kinds of costumes from the scariest to the cutest. Kids would line in front of stores to receive candies and other goods. They also got some balloons. It was a frenzy. I even saw some disguised pets. The crowd was so thick I could barely walk. And after 10 minutes I was done. I just wanted to run home.
Motomachi was the only place I went but I heard that there were parties happening in the neighborhoods where foreigners live. Some houses were elaborately decorated. One was even named the haunted house. Down in Harajuku (the land of the fashionably crazy or crazily fashionable) there was a parade last Sunday with many interesting costumes. Even pop stars came to the Parade.
I do not know what it is about but in Japan they celebrate all these American holidays (except Thanksgiving). Halloween, Christmas, Valentine's day, Mother's day (but not Thanksgiving). I am thinking that it was due to the American occupation after the war. American culture entered Japan and influenced Japanese's people lives. Or maybe it is just another scam by companies to sell more candies, costumes, party goods. Whatever it is, it is pretty fun to celebrate those holidays. I could not care less before I had kids (except for Valentine's day---yeah I am sucker for romance). But with kids, you see life in a different way and you are pushed to celebrate those things specially when everywhere you turn around people are doing it. How can I tell my son that you cannot wear a costume for the Halloween party at school because we do not do that. I am happy to indulge them as long as they are young and as long as it does not cost me a thing. My kids were in costumes but one was my old scarf (he dressed as ghost) and the other one was a frog (a hand me down from a friend).
Anyway, I leave you with pictures of Halloween around Japan I found online. I did not have my hubby's camera that day. I so regretted it for the things I saw, oh my!

 
Cute kiddies disguised as animals and insects
image via soramame.nakiwarai.com

 
 
 

This pic was taken in 2006 but it shows the Halloween spirit of Motomachi: vendors from Pompadour bakery dressed as French bread giving candies to dubious kids.
image via http://www.flickr.com/photos/mawari/294494226/
 


Burger costume -winner of the Halloween contest at Kawasaki
image via twitter
 


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