Halloween in Osaka

You’d think that in a country where cosplay (costume role-play) is so popular and there are so many shops dedicated to anime and other similar interests that Halloween would be more popular.

As a matter of fact, Halloween is just now starting to gain a little traction as a holiday folks celebrate here. It’s rare to see any sort of shop or business decorate for it or even acknowledge it with a sale, and outside of a few pockets of town NOBODY dresses up. Since we’re at a multi-cultural guesthouse, though, we had a party with the other tenants and set out later for a club near downtown that was having a costume party.

I was fortunate enough to find a costume from my favorite anime series at the Mandarake comic/anime/video game/action figure store. It’s a military uniform from Fullmetal Alchemist. In a bizarre twist of irony, most Japanese folks I ran into both here and at the mega-crowded party downtown didn’t recognize it; it was usually a foreigner that picked up on it. Indi donned my cowboy hat and went as a cowgirl, representing our home state in fine style.

Everyone at the guesthouse chipped in some funds and when the party started we had two tables full of various foods; sushi, hamburgers, chicken, salads, fried fish, etc. After a little time of talking, taking pictures, and mulling about the ‘festivities’ started. Six of the guys staying had been coerced into dressing as ladies, complete with makeup and wigs, and participated in a variety of contests for the amusement of the partygoers. There was a modeling/runway contest, a dancing contest (where they were supposed to imitate a Shakira music video), a Q&A, and finally doing their best to ‘seduce’ an unlucky male volunteer. It was highly amusing to see the normally rigid conservatism of Japan turned so far on it’s ear, and everyone seemed to have a good time with it.

After that, Indi and I boarded one of the last trains of the night and headed to Balabushka, a club near downtown that was advertising a costume party for locals and ex-pats. We didn’t see anyone in costume for the entire 30 minute journey on train and on foot until just before we reached the club. I got a lot of stares and pointed fingers, but mostly in amazement. I bet if I looked closer, I’d have seen older Japanese men frowning in disappointment, like they do.

This club is on the 4th floor of a building, and if something had caught fire everyone would’ve been toast; it was PACKED. Many fantastic costumes, loud music, cheap drinks, and general merriment abounded. I took pictures of a lot of folks in some rather extravagant costumes and explained my costume to countless people. One girl recognized it, though, and squealed in excitement as she asked to have her picture taken with me. We also randomly ran into two friends from the guesthouse who had also come out, which helped us later as we all shared a taxi back home.

It was a good night, a festive night. Though we were definitely in the minority by celebrating, we made up for it by partying that much harder. It’s raining again today (though not as much as I’ve read it has been in Oklahoma!) and that’s the perfect excuse to lay around, nap, and recover.

(though there’s no Daylight Savings here, so the sun rises at a ridiculous hour. Curse you, DayStar!)

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