Thursday, October 29, 2015

Halloween Craze in Japan

I've been dealing with fatigue lately, it's hard to find the strength to write. I went to the doctor and he prescribed some pills for iron deficiency. It must also be seasonal fatigue brought by the autumn climate. Anyway, I'm just explaining why I haven't written lately. Also, this information might help you if you're feeling tired all the time. 

I just finished my classes with a Halloween-themed lesson. My Japanese teachers asked me to do it. They want the students to be more familiar with Western celebrations. However, the students don't really need a lesson on Halloween. They already know the traditional scary characters, the costume parties and the trick or treats. The younger Japanese generation are all too familiar with Halloween.

You see Japan has perhaps the longest Halloween celebration. Since August, stores have been peppered with Halloween decorations. Halloween goods have been displayed in almost every mall I've been to. Even the seasonal pumpkin pudding I like has been available since summer. With only a day to go before Halloween, commercializing this event has come full force. When I visited Tokyo last week, each Ward has an advertised Halloween party particularly in the areas of Roppongi, Shinjuku, Shibuya and Ueno. Even in Hamamatsu, the main station is full of Halloween-related displays. 

So, why is Japan so in love with Halloween? 

In Casey Baseel's article on Rocket News, " Why does Japan love Halloween so much, and is it celebrating the holiday right way?", she explained that Halloween coincides with the Japanese's romance with three things- sweets, seasons and cosplay.

The last factor, cosplay, is probably the major reason why Halloween is a big thing in Japan. Halloween is not only a kids' event. There are more adults celebrating it, probably, as an excuse to dress up.

Check these pictures from the This is Halloween, Japan-style posted on Japan Times, and see what I mean. See more of crazy costumes with Tofugu's How Japan Made Halloween Their Own...Then Ruined it For Everybody. I really recommend clicking the links to the original articles to see the craziest Halloween costumes!


Even the notorious yakuza gang, Yamaguchi-gumi in Kobe, embraced Halloween by giving treats to children last year. (Check, japanCRUSH's Japanese Gangsters Give Out Halloween Candy to Kids. ) Sadly,the gang won't be able to give treats this year due to, purportedly, internal conflicts within the group. (Check Japan's Yakuza Cancels Halloween on the Daily Beast) The group was nice enough to inform the children through a Twitter Announcement.

This year, Pepsi  Japan released a "mystery flavored cola" just for Halloween. I haven't personally tasted any of these but from reviews I read, they're not  bad.

KitKat also has the pumpkin-flavored bars for this season. Burger King is offering it's Black Burgers. Mister Donut and Krispy Kremes are serving the Halloween Donuts.

Baskin Robbins and adorns their scoops of ice cream with spooky toppings. But what takes the cake is a traditional confectionary store in Kawasaki. It offers eyeball dumplings!

Japanese traditional confectioner offers line of eye-grabbing Halloween sweets
credit: Japan Today

Even Nissan, the car company, is joining the celebration by offering free rides to people in costumes from Oct. 29 to Oct. 31. The drivers will also be in monster costumes! (Check:  Taxis with monster drivers to offer free rides to cosplayers in Shibuya this Halloween.) 

With all the things I've shared, you're probably thinking how exciting Halloween in Japan is. If you're still wondering how you'll spend Halloween, check Deep Japan's list of events: How to Spend Halloween in Japan. Universal Studios Japan and Tokyo Disneyland are also go-to places during this season. Or, you can always gather friends and have your very own Halloween Party. Whatever you  plan, I hope you'll have a:




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