Thursday, October 20, 2005

The Costume - I Admit Defeat

So, I gave up. There might be a hardware store somewhere in this city ... but I can't find it. so instead, I'm going as an evil demonic skeleton monkey.

I did find, so far, the only Japanese store that actually had Hallowe'en costumes: it's selection was comparable to the smaller, crappier department stores ... only worse. They had one shelf - not even a whole aisle, but a shelf - of adult costumes. Which isn't surprising: Hallowe'en isn't, apparently, Big over here the way it increasingly is back home. I've had students make comments to the effect that, well of course, Japan isn't a Christian country so why would they have Christian holidays?

While I expected this, I am nonetheless somewhat saddened. Hallowe'en is, after all, my favorite holiday (okay, so technically it isn't a exactly holiday, but, really, it should be. Actually, the day after should be. To give us all a chance to recover.) I can deal with no Christmas, no New Years (yes, yes, they have New Years over here, but it's an intimate family affair. The city, apparently, shuts down.) But no proper Hallowe'en? Bah.

Of course, they do have their own bizarre festivals:

This was taken in Mejiro, during some kind of festival. Try to imagine about fifty percussionists going nuts on the drums, following along with a whole parade of these weird-looking glowing jellyfish lantern thingies that have essentially shut down an entire avenue (And, no, I have no idea what, if anything, the weird-looking glowing jellyfish lantern thingie is meant to represent. It may have some deep cultural significance; it may just look cool; I truly do not know.) This sort of thing happens in one neighborhood or another of Tokyo every few weeks, it seems: parades of odd-looking shrines or floats or whatever, traditional dancing, drumming, etc. It's always particular to the neighborhood/city, though, not a national thing ... I'm not even sure if Japan has (traditional, originally religion-based) national holidays like the West does.

Supposedly Kawasaki has an annual fertility festival involving floats shaped like, er, well, it's a family blog so I won't be any more explicit. But I will try and get pictures (assuming I haven't already lost it.)

Speaking of Kawasaki, it apparently boasts Japan's largest (only?) Hallowe'en get together of freaks and miscreants, a sort of massive spontaneous parade/street party featuring bizarre costumes and public inebriation. So all may not be lost after all. I will try and attend (and, of course, get pictures.)


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