Happy Halloween

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My first Halloween party is tonight. Did you just double check your calendar to see that it was actually October 22nd, as you expected? Japanese people love to incorporate things from other cultures, particularly parties; however, they often remove them from whatever connections they had. Peculiar things can develop from this, but the most common (and least severe) oddity is dates getting shifted around.

Today a local bar owner will perform his annual giant pumpkin carving activity for an English conversation school’s party. I can understand if they only meet on Thursdays then they can’t hit Halloween exactly, but next Thursday is the 29th. Why they didn’t choose that day, I don’t know.

Last year an American bar owner didn’t feel like working on Friday, so he had his party on the 25th. I had blocked out the 31st on my calendar for his party, so was disappointed (but not surprised) by the shift.

During class this morning a child kept telling me about a party, but spoke in past tense. Naturally I kept asking her about this year because I thought she was talking about last year. Wrong. She went to a Halloween party earlier this month.

Christmas in Japan is considered to be the 24th, so for more than 5 years I have been trying to educate them on the idea of “eve” being the night before something. My students are pretty sharp on the whole Christmas Eve is the 24th, Christmas Day is the 25th concept.

Sometimes we throw Thanksgiving parties as well. Because the fourth Thursday of November is not a holiday in Japan, these events often fall on strange days. There is however a holiday on the 23rd of November each year, so sometimes we get lucky.

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