Monday, October 30, 2006

Halloween in Japan

I was supposed to be Catwoman for Halloween but my costume ended up making me look like a cross between Nacho Libre and a dominatrix.

This is what happens when you slap a costume together at the last minute. My friend Zoe, who is an English teacher in the next town over, emailed me Saturday morning to ask if I had figured out what I was going to wear to the Halloween party that night.

“I was thinking that you should go as Catwoman,” she wrote. “All you have to do is wear something black and I’ll make you a mask like this one.”

She attached a photo to the email.

“Oh my god!” I wrote back. “Let’s do it!”

A few hours later, Zoe showed up at my apartment with some black felt and white thread.

I combed through my closet, trying to find something black and slinky to wear. The best I could come up with was a sleeveless black turtleneck and a pair of spandex cycling tights. It was more sensible than sexy. It was the sort of thing Catwoman might wear if she was riding a bicycle rather than prowling the rooftops.

Zoe managed to whip up a mask in record time. This is me trying on the (almost) finished product.

Once my costume was done, Zoe got dressed up as Pippi Longstocking (she had made her costume weeks ago).

We jumped in the car and drove to Kochi City as fast as we could. Luckily, we didn’t get stopped for speeding, although seeing the expression on the police officer’s face when he pulled us over would have been worth it.

Once we got to Kochi, we found out we’d have to walk about 10 blocks to get to the bar where the party was being held. Walking through the streets in full costume on Halloween weekend wouldn’t faze me in Canada. But here? There were hundreds of people milling around and not one of them was wearing a costume.

I had a sinking feeling we were going to attract a lot of attention once we stepped out of the car. Not only were we foreigners but we were foreigners dressed like we were heading to an S&M club. Zoe had to drag me out of the car like I was a dog on the way to the vet’s office.

Those were the longest 10 blocks of my life. We couldn’t walk two steps without someone pointing and staring at us. We stopped men dead in their tracks. They stood frozen in place, mouths open, eyes popping out of their heads. Once the initial shock wore off, a few of them pulled out their camera phones and snapped pictures of us. Other guys would elbow their friends until the whole group was hooting and hollering.

Who knew all it took to get a little male attention in Japan was to walk through the streets dressed like this?

The stares didn’t stop once we got to the party. Every five minutes a different Japanese guy would stop me and ask me to take a picture with him.

Yes, I’m aware of the irony. One week I’m writing about how hard it is to meet men in Japan and the next week I’m writing about how hard it is to fight them off. I’ll never figure this place out.

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