Saturday, February 2, 2013
A GAIJIN VISITS JAPAN PART VII: Halloween
Japan tries to understand Halloween. They want to like it. They seem to dig monsters (albeit mostly of the cute variety) and they like dressing up so it's a natural. I don't think they understand the gender rules because I saw several little boys dressed up as witches and when I asked someone if they do Trick or Treating they seemed aghast by the idea.
Not that I care if a little boy dresses as a witch and the trick or treat part has always been my least favorite part of Halloween anyway. It is odd to have it be Halloween season and it's 85 degrees and humid, could of dressed as Tarzan as a kid with no problem if this is how the weather was at Halloween back home.
Stores are decorated with all manner of great Halloween items.
I laughed at a few of the items-- one proclaiming MERRY HALLOWEEN made me chuckle-- because that seemed to be rushing the oncoming Christmas season, until I searched the net and found this vintage American image:
So apparently Merry Halloween is perfectly fine. Another case of an ignorant American I'm ashamed to say.
Japan is an incredible nation of hard work and pride, and I love the culture. I love the idea that a girl sleeping in a coffee shop is woke by the clerks and told she has to leave-- sleeping in public is considered rude-- and I happen to agree with that.
The mass transit system is shockingly good. The subways are spotless and a clock on the wall counts down to the second the train arrives.
Men seem to treat women less well in Japan--and I don't dig that. Many a time I got up and gave my seat on a train to a woman who came on board while the well dressed salary men all around me pretended to be sleeping (yes, it's rude to sleep in public but apparently not on a train). I know they're pretending because the second their stop is announced they are up and out the door.
I don't like the smoking in public places. I happen to stand firmly with my Anti-Smoking Nazi brothers and sisters who have banned smoking in virtually all public places in the United States (or at least here in the Northeast). I don't like smoking and I don't give a rat's ass if it infringes on your rights-- ruin your lungs in a phone booth for all I care, but keep that toxin away from me.
There is a huge respect for art in Japan-- much bigger than it is here in America-- and the admiration for Manga and Comics is inspiring.
I do admit that its a bit strange to be in a country where 90% of the population has dark hair, dark eyes and essentially the same height and build. I never noticed how much my wife can pass for part Japanese until I tried to catch up to her on a subway one night and realized she also has dark hair and eyes.
Tokyo has now assumed the role of my favorite city in the World. Knocking New York City off it's long held perch, and I can't wait to go back.
Posted by Andy Fish at 12:00 AM