In Which I Win A Halloween Costume Contest Two Weeks Before Halloween
October 19, 2009
I don’t know why the English-teacher-approved bar in Nabari threw a Halloween party two weeks before Oct. 31, but the prospect of getting a chance to see how Japan approached the holiday. Plenty of Halloween imagery starts showing up in October – the local supermarket becomes loaded with products plastered in pumpkin stickers and “limited edition Halloween party crispy pizza” Pringles – but I’ve been told nobody actually celebrates Halloween proper. My big assignment for the week is to write up a lesson introducing Halloween to first year junior high students. I don’t think they get any of the Halloween hallmarks – the trick-or-treating, the Jack-O-Lanterns, the dressing up as Balloon Boy to appear relevant. So, they miss all the best parts.
This early party, then, offered a chance to see how the Japanese took the idea of Halloween and made it their own. Unfortunately, this get-together only revealed that the Japanese don’t mix things up to much – they bust out ghost decorations, a creepy spider decoration and put The Nightmare Before Christmas on loop. Some people go all out with their costumes, some people put on cat ears and call it a day. I’ll avoid the low-hanging fruit of hypothesizing that the Japanese don’t get as amped up for Halloween because a lot of people here dress like Corpse Bride on a daily basis (ohhhh, didn’t avoid it!). At the end of the night all I truly learned is that everyone loved Tootsie Pops and Nightmare Before Christmas is a lot shorter than I remember it.
So…instead I’ll use this post to gloat about how I won a costume contest. I decided to go as endearing/offensive (?) McDonald’s advertisement Mr. James because 1. it was timely and 2. the Japanese might get it and 3. my work wardrobe featured all the necessary clothes to look like a total goober.
Gahhhhhh, what a horrible pose. The costume is extremely un-intricate, the glasses probably being the most “adventureous” part. But thankfully the character beat out craftmanship and I was voted the winner (technically, I tied, but the other winner was one of the bar employees’ mother so I think that warrants a big ol’ asterik). Who knew becoming a walking billboard for Tomago Big Macs could pay off?
I won 1000 yen, which I promptly spent at a convenience store. But the glory…the glory remains.
(Japanese Fun Fact #25: A sick kid used the telephone at school today, presumably to phone home. After the student left, the Vice Principal put on gloves and got to work covering the whole phone in hand sanitizer to make it clean again. They take the getting sick thing seriously here.)