Halloween is less than a week, and I thought it would be fun to look back to October 31, 2018, when I spent Halloween in Tokyo during the year I was studying abroad at Waseda University.
Leading up to Halloween, I was hearing from others how crazy Halloween in Tokyo can get crazy but I really wasn’t expecting much. Halloween that year was on a Wednesday, a school night, and I even had a school club meeting after my classes. Even at the end of classes, some professors told us to be careful when going outside since Halloween is known to be quite dangerous, with people doing things that they usually wouldn’t do. Some things we heard were people flipping cars and trucks for fun.
When we ended our club meeting and finished eating dinner, it was already past 10pm and Tokyo isn’t too cold in October so a couple of us decided that it was the perfect time to head to Shibuya to experience Halloween at its fullest.
Once we got to Shibuya station, it was almost impossible to walk out. The station, streets, and road were filled with people and there was a lot of police monitoring the area and blocking certain areas of the road. It somehow felt like a big outdoor club in a way, and it was so hard to navigate and walk around but it was so crazy to see how lively Shibuya had become. No one really had a destination to go to and were just wandering and loitering, while taking in this unique Shibuya atmosphere. There were many police guarding Shibuya crossing with ropes to make sure no one runs out during a red light. Once the lights turned green, the police moved out of the way for all of us to cross the road.
After a lot of struggle to stay together as a group, and getting into the main intersections and shopping area of Shibuya, we eventually made our way to McDonalds and magically found seats at the upstairs seating area by the windows, where we were able to see all the action from above. We saw so many different kinds of costume and it was so fun looking at all the different kinds of people. In a way, it felt somewhat like an aquarium. It was chaotic and people travel in groups like schools of fish, but we were safe from the chaos just watching from above.
Japan doesn’t have a 24/7 train system and we had to make sure that we caught the train ride back to our dorm, and thankfully, we did. Otherwise, we would have had to spend the night in Shibuya with all the drunk Halloween go-ers.
It was cool to see how different Halloween is compared to America since we know it mostly as a day to give out candy for kids, but in Japan, it isn’t more than just a day to be a little rowdy in Shibuya with a costume on. Every year, it seems as if rebellious acts happen around Halloween so if you plan to go outside to enjoy the holiday, make sure to be aware of your surroundings.
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