Halloween 2015 in Tokyo (Shibuya, Center Gai)

Everyone knows that the Japanese absolutely love events and festivities. They also have a strong taste for disguise the famous "Cosplay". It is therefore easy to guess that any opportunity to join the two will inevitably be greeted with great enthusiasm, even if the origin event is not Japanese. This is obviously the case of Halloween, which is a major event for young Japanese each year. The place to be on that day is definitely Center Gai (センター街), the most popular street in Shibuya for adolescents and young adults in search of shopping articles and sensations.

I have lived in Tokyo for over 5 years, two of which in Udagawa-cho, at the precise location of Center Gai, but I had so far never attended the Halloween celebrations. Too American, too crowded, too crazy, I had in fact taken the utmost care to avoid going out on October 31. This year, however, I finally changed my mind and we dived right in the center of the hurricane with my wife and my son (13 months). Contrary to what I feared, we found there a very friendly atmosphere and ended up having a great time.


Kenshin and a group of fans

My son Kenshin was wearing a Batman disguise and he quickly became the center of attention wherever we went, to the point that I wonder if he does not think now that his name is actually "Kawaii" (literally: cute), because that is all he heard as soon as groups of young girls set eyes on him. It was extremely difficult to move in this human sea, let alone with a baby cart, so we went home by taxi (it is almost impossible to take the train) but the Japanese have so much civic sense that these huge events are rarely sources unrest (the biggest problem faced by the municipality has to do with rubbish left in the streets, and the Tokyo city Hall had printed for the occasion some trash bags fitting the colors of Halloween and distributed them for free to limit the disorder.

Guillaume Erard
Author: Guillaume Erard
A resident of Japan for nearly a decade, Guillaume Erard trains at the Aikikai Hombu Dojo, where he received the 5th Dan from Aikido Doshu Moriteru Ueshiba. He also holds a 3rd Dan in Daito-ryu Aiki-jujutsu, the secretive art that Morihei Ueshiba learned from Sokaku Takeda. Erard is the Information Director of the International Aikido Federation and the Deputy Secretary of International Affairs of the Daito-ryu Aiki-jujutsu Shikoku Headquarters. He is also passionate about science and education and holds a PhD in Molecular Biology.
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