Thursday, November 01, 2012

Happy Halloween

Yes, Halloween is celebrated in Japan... Well, it is a marketing gimmick and loads of decorations have been sold the past month though trick-or-treating is still fairly unheard of.  I didn't have any trick-or-treaters this year though I sort of expected some of the neighbor children who are my students to come by.  Maybe it was too cold for them yesterday.  (And I was out of the house until about 5:00 anyway.... I doubt any mother would let her children go out in the neighborhood after dark.)

My house was decorated for the English children who really enjoy the festive atmosphere.  By looking at our house you'd think I was a real Halloween fan... but I'm not especially.  I remember enjoying Halloween when I was a child.  But sometime AFTER I came to Japan, I got the impression that American Christians no longer thought of Halloween as an acceptable activity and the churches were offering Harvest Festivals that basically did the same thing... Trunk treats (trick-or-treating from the trunks of cars in the church parking lot) less emphasis on ghosts and witches and goblins and more on pumpkins and scarecrows and autumn leaves...

We had some American friends living in Japan who politely declined attending the Japanese kindergarten (a Christian kindergarten) on a trick-or-treating day ... Something I had started!  I felt like I'd made a major spiritual faux pas!  I've consulted with the kindergarten principal about the tradition of Halloween at our kindergarten but I guess we've come to the conclusion that it is an American GAME and no further thought needs to be given.  Thus I went yesterday to the kindergarten dressed as a witch.

By the way... Halloween was started in Japan by Disneyland which successfully introduced the decorations and festivities with their Halloween parades.  (Disneyland is trying to introduce Japan to the Easter Bunny too... That isn't taking so far.)  And of course, as of last week, BEFORE Halloween, Christmas decorations have begun appearing and Disneyland is advertising Christmas with Mickey Mouse.  It seems a bit early for me!!!  

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