Halloween and Thanksgiving in Japan

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     I can’t believe it’s almost time for Christmas already. I’ve been in Japan just a few months, I’ve felt my Japanese improve, I’ve seen sights in Japan I thought I would never see and I’ve become friends with some pretty amazing people. I know it’s said a million times over, but time really does fly. Time as is flying back at my home in the States at well. Two major holidays have passed, Halloween and Thanksgiving. During the holidays back home, days seemed to pass fairly quickly to holidays, day after day collecting until the day of the holiday. And it was the day of the holiday where time allowed friends and family the opportunity to slow down and take a moment to reflect. Well, in Japan, that’s far from reality.

  On Halloween, my friends and are were super excited to wear our costumes and go down to Osaka and have fun. After class we rushed to the bathroom, changed quickly and went on our way. It was only until we got to the station when we realized everyone was looking at us and no one was wearing costumes. We already knew Halloween wasn’t a huge holiday in Japan, but we didn’t consider that would matter so much. We quickly learned that the once fun idea of dressing up  as superheroes or cats even, now seemed childish. Halloween in Japan wasn’t entirely nonexistent, in fact there were specialty Halloween snacks, drinks and foods all around the area.

However, on the actually day, well, it was just another day. No party, no candy and definitely no costumes. Instead of going to Osaka, we changed and settled on sweet parfaits at a local mall we love. When we entered, on Halloween day, we found this:

   Where are the pumpkins? The Turkeys with the pilgrim hats? On Halloween day, proudly stood a gigantic Christmas tree. My friends and I were baffled, but not entirely surprised. If I thought Halloween was hardly celebrated in Japan, then Thanksgiving even less. Thanksgiving in the States is about family, food and I’ll admit, Black Friday shopping the night of. It’s not totally as meaningful as it once was, but it’s still a holiday I enjoy. Mom’s mouthwatering macaroni n cheese, sliced ham and all the turkey one can eat. That’s Thanksgiving. I remember my friend and I sat one day in a cafe, Christmas music playing, when she said, “It doesn’t even feel like Christmas time.” Which I replied, “That’s because it’s November. It’s supposed to be Thanksgiving.”  In Japan, my friends and I celebrated Thanksgiving with a buffet of chicken nuggets at Mcdonalds and going to an infamous Onsen in Osaka. There were decorations and special foods for Halloween, but there absolutely nothing for Thanksgiving. And rightfully so, why would Japan celebrate Thanksgiving in the first place, right? Well, that’s kinda the point, they don’t. Like Halloween it’s just another day, and I think that’s one of the reasons time seems to fly in Japan. There’s no stopping for the holidays that have always halted everything in the States back home. Shops closing, seeing family, no school, it all collects in stopped time to reflect on what happened the year before, where we are now in life and what we want to make the future. I am enjoying so much of my time here. Things may be never ending and some holidays I do miss, but nonetheless, Japan have taught me the importance on how we must stop ourselves and savor the moments.


Temperance Talley