Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Another Halloween in Japan

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This is my fifth successive Halloween in Japan and I’m getting used to expecting on doing much for it anymore. Maybe it has a lot to do with me growing up or maybe it’s more that I’m not in a country that really celebrates the holiday. I still do like Halloween enough that I decorate my own slice of America (my home) with Halloween stuff yearly. This year even my wife got in on the festivities and suggested we throw a little Halloween party with the in-laws.

Last year, I went out on a night on the town for the first time in a long time with a newly made friend who has since moved to another part of Japan for the best. If he were still around I probably would have tried to go out again and strut about as a Ghostbuster but it just wasn’t meant to be. Maybe next year I guess… Anyway, this year, my wife arranged to throw a little Halloween party with the family so we ended up buying a lot of Halloween related stuff. A lot of the decorations we picked up for the party were sold by the two main 100 yen shops in Japan. I think we ended up spending close to 2000 yen between the two shops in the end. A few years ago we wouldn’t have been able to do this with such ease but now the selection and quality of decorations and other Halloween related goods have really increased and improved over the short 5 years I’ve been here. While it’s not on the level I’m familiar with back home, it’s definitely welcome and appreciated. Also Halloween stuff here is just so darn cute. I kind of like it like that too. It doesn’t have to be all blood, zombies, spider webs, and bones. Right?

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The biggest part of this year’s Halloween celebrations was that I picked up my first Halloween pumpkins for carving. I always say I’ll get one but either forget till its too late or never find one at the price and size I’d like. This year was a little different since I needed a pumpkin for the Halloween party. We ended up finding one on the Nagano side of the Yamanashi/Nagano border. The roadside market in Hokuto was selling small-medium sized pumpkins in fair condition for 800 yen a head. It was a bit pricey but I ended up picking up 2 in haste. I wish I had shopped around a bit more as I brought home two stinky duds. One started to rot a couple days later and the other didn’t last much longer after carving. As you can see in the picture below, they were in pretty bad shape already. The biggest shock was that under the sticker on the pumpkin on the right there happened to be a huge white wart on it. Sad smile I had completely forgotten my pumpkin shopping training. A mistake I will learn from and not repeat next year.

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The pumpkins, despite all their flaws, turned out alright. The one that started rotting immediately after purchase lost it’s bottom to watery rot, so it didn’t last too long after carving. The other pumpkin with the white warts lasted a week before liquefying and attracting tons of gnats outside our window. Next year I will make sure I don’t buy duds or maybe I can get my father in law to grow some pumpkins in his field. Of course, I would help as he can’t use them for anything. Well, he did like the baked pumpkin seeds I made him at the party. Smile

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The one on the left was the white wart infested one and the one on the right was the one with the rotted out bottom. All the bad stuff was on the other side of the pumpkins. Smile The smaller decorations surrounding the pumpkins I got from Seria like 3 years back. Still looking good!

Finally,  we got some Halloween themed treats on Halloween day from a local bakery. They were a little expensive looked better than they tasted but I guess it was the thought that counts.

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This was also my son’s first Halloween. Even though he wasn’t old enough to understand what was going on it was still nice to have him wear something small in the Halloween spirit. Maybe next year I can get him to wear an actual costume. I wonder what would work…

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