Sunday, November 1, 2015

Halloween letdown

Yesterday was Halloween!! I have been getting excited about this holiday for a long time now. Its always one of my favorites- I love the movies, the costumes, the weather, the candy, the decorations, pumpkin flavored everything! But Halloween, and Autumn in general, is different in Japan.

The most festive part of my Halloween- the bento box I ate at school.

First of all, theres no pumpkin flavored anything. No Pumpkin Spice coffee of any kind, no pumpkin flavored candy or treats, nothing. It seems that Japan's Autumn flavor specialty is hazelnut, which is good for sure, but not what I was craving. Theres also no pumpkin scented candles or anything, which I usually love for home. Our house doesnt smell festive at all.

Well at least the leaves fall like they're supposed to.

There are some decorations, but they're more the child Halloween kind- cute skeletons and pumpkin men, lots of orange and purple, some spiderwebs. But these are only in the major department stores. It seems like people who sell things are trying to encourage the Halloween spirit to get people to buy Halloween themed things, but the general public is just like "Cute, but who cares?" Theres little to no Halloween involvement.

Even last night, Halloween night. We went out to Akihabara thinking for sure we'd see some costumed people there. And while there were a handful of cosplayers, a couple more Maid Cafe girls, and one or two people wearing funny hats, there was almost no indication of Halloween otherwise. It seemed like a couple large places were having Halloween parties, but they sounded like a crowd-drawing ploy centered around their product more than an actual celebration of Halloween.

A Halloween from home a couple years ago, after a party.

Since we weren't home we didn't see any Trick or Treaters, but I highly doubt there were many. At school I asked if anyone went Trick or Treating and one kid said yes. When we got home around 11:00PM Kris ran down to the konbini and he says there was one mom with a couple kids still in costume running around.

In general, I was pretty bummed. Of course it was my fault for imposing my American Halloween expectations on Japan, knowing full well this holiday is not widespread here. But it wasn't just Halloween or pumpkin flavoring that had me blue. I've been homesick since the weather started to turn cold, and this weekend seemed to just amplify those feelings. Kris' mom generously sent us some pumpkin spice coffee and M&Ms (which are a little overly flavored but good in small doses) from home, so that will help a bit. However, I have a feeling that most holidays- especially the next one, Christmas- will be difficult for me. And I suppose that's natural.

Working at the haunt a few years ago- which one is me, which is Kris?

Being so far away from home has been even more difficult this Halloween because we're missing some major family events. I wish we could be home to be a part of them, and its so incredibly frustrating to feel this distant. Greg and Leanne- I love you both and I've been thinking about you guys nonstop.

So for now Halloween has passed. Thanksgiving obviously isn't celebrated in Japan so we'll be skipping right to Christmas. I'm going to keep looking forward and try to enjoy the unique things we get to experience here and make sure our time away from home is not a waste.


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