Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Halloween in Japan, 2
Oh, frabjous day, the Halloween party is past! Now, don't get me wrong; it's a lot of fun. Kids are kids, candy is candy, and Japanese dentists are discovering the joys of this particular American holiday. But the preparation is tough, with so little available at the corner store; I have to make the majority of my decorations (although little banners and window stickers are getting much easier to find).
But I got slapped hard by the cultural expectations bat at the party. You know, when something is so basic, so obvious, that you'd never think to explain it. It's like breathing in air, holding your breath underwater, peeing into the toilet (Aah, the Nobel Prize for literature awaits my prose...). Something happens, and you realize that no matter how much you may think you know your adopted culture, no matter how much you think they understand about you, some underlying assumptions make an ass out of you and me (well, of course, I'm not talking about you personally! The idiot next to you, yeah, that jackass is the one I mean!).
One of the activities was Jack O'Lantern drawing. I set out 50 pages of colored paper with pumpkins copied on them, all ready for junior Dalis and Picassos to show me their avant garde talents. Well, near the end of their free play period, when the quieter bunch had been working at the picture table rather than drilling bean bags at their favorite monsters
or trying to make point shots in the monster cutouts, I went to check on their progress.
And found 21 perfect pictures of pumpkins, lovingly colored in various shades of orange, with vibrant green vines and stalks. And not one face... Not one crooked, gap-toothed smile... No eyes blazing with happiness, nor malicious joy...
Oh, and my record remains perfect... I scared another little girl to the point of tears...
then I put on my mask (rimshot!).
This mask did it