I almost forgot I was in Japan on Saturday. This was the sight that greeted me when I walked through the front door of the department store on a trip to find a Halloween costume. A few more steps and I was in the middle of a wonderland of Christmas trees, plastic flying Santa decorations, wreaths, the whole bit. I guess the commercialism is so viral it's spread half-way across the globe — to a land where most people don't even celebrate Christmas!
Well, maybe that's not quite accurate. Less than 1 percent of the population here is Christian, so no, Christmas Day isn't a holiday. But even though Christmas doesn't have the same meaning here, many Japanese have picked up some of the Christmas traditions of decorating with trees and lights. Also, technically speaking, the Japanese don't exchange Christmas presents. But they give oseibo (year end gifts) to family and friends. Food items like coffee, seafood and fruit (fruit, of course, the fancy fruit!) are pretty common gifts. Christmas Day isn't a holiday here, but the emperor's birthday is. And he was born Dec. 23. Lucky coincidence!
Halloween isn't really celebrated here either. You can find some Halloween decorations around but I'm not really sure why since the Japanese don't plan Halloween parties and there's no trick-or-treat.
I asked my school if I could wear a simple costume to school (cat ears with whiskers drawn on my face) and give the kids candy on Halloween but they said no. Apparently that would make school itself too fun. Grrr! Luckily, at least the English Club (which I lead) is having its own little Halloween party after school on Wednesday. So that is when I will don the cute black cat accessories that I bought on our shopping trip Saturday.
The store had an small selection of the basic Halloween costume supplies you'd expect. The Picachu (Peeeeeeka-chuuuuuuuuuuuu!!!) mask in particular kept calling to me. Alas, it was child sized and too small for my big mug. Darn it!
I tried unsuccessfully to get Joe to buy the Billy Blank mask. I guess he didn't want to be a big buff black guy for Halloween. Too bad, because the Japanese sure do love that Billy Blank and his Boot Camp fitness videos.
He also said no to this costume:
I looked up "jaguchi" in my dictionary. It means "water faucet." Not sure why Joe wouldn't want to wear flesh-colored Water Faucet Pants for Halloween. Looks pretty rad to me.