Friday, October 29, 2010

Halloween Part 1 of 2: Glitterball 2010

Metropolis Magazine is an English magazine published in Japan. A few days before Halloween, they hosted the Glitterball (an annual event, if I'm not mistaken) at two clubs in Tokyo. Our Halloween plans are:

1. Fool our head colds into thinking we are someone else for a few days so we can go out and enjoy ourselves
2. Go to the Glitterball on Thursday night
3. Go to Kawasaki City on Sunday to see the parade, costume contest, and a showing of the Rocky Horror Picture Show

At time of writing, we are between #2 and #3.

For the Glitterball, we had a small group of people, pictures of whom I neglected to get. So I did some Internetting and got some approximation images. Other than me, we were dressed as a Japanese construction worker, complete with exceedingly comfortable pants and footwear;

Baron Samedi, a Voodoo dude in tux and skull face;

Audrey Hepburn from Breakfast at Tiffany's, we made a last-minute cigarette holder with a black chopstick and some rolled paper;

And a survivor of the plane crash that was the premise for LOST. She had labels for her drinks to match the ones used on the show.

The inspiration for my costume, maneki neko:

Step 1: wig cap and clean face.

Step 2: white base (thank you college makeup class), shadow under cheekbones, highlight cheekbones and upper lip, absurdly heavy eye makeup and ridiculously large and sparkly fake eyelashes.

Step 3: cover up most of that work with the bangs from the wig, clip on ears. Add white clothing, ribbon for collar, golf-ball-sized bell, and scarf for bib.

I also traced the characters on the coin the maneki neko is holding and printed them out big enough to cover a handbag. This figures heavily in photos taken later. Not necessarily photos that I took, but photos that were taken of me.

Husband O'Mine, always spreading the Halloween spirit, left the house carrying a bucket almost overflowing with candy to give out to strangers. I had some misgivings, figuring that even if we got to the club without getting dirty looks the whole way, there's no way it would be allowed inside. I was wrong on all counts...we didn't even get to the train station before a group of college-age kids wished us a Happy Halloween and gladly took the candy he offered. Then some moms and small children came by and took some more, although some of the kids didn't really understand why the man with the skull face was holding a bucket of candy at arm's length, but the moms were approving. Some random old woman ran over to grab a handful, too.

Apparently "never take candy from strangers" is completely unknown in these parts. He seriously had a queue of people at the train station waiting for candy! It was a little unreal.

One older woman on the train accepted some candy, then gave him two hard candies from her purse in exchange. Evidently the "little old lady with hard candy in her purse" is more universal than I thought.

He gave away candy to anybody he could make eye contact with at every train station between home and the club, then gave some to the security guys at said club and waltzed right in with a bucket three quarters full. (Security guy doing ID checks said he couldn't completely confirm that I was the girl in the photo of my ID card, but he took my word for it. Apparently cat girls look trustworthy.)

It didn't take long for Japanese girls to start gasping and exclaiming that my costume was kawaii (cute) and sugoi (awesome or superb), and I felt like a little bit like a celebrity. It was pretty cool.

Culture note on The Same But Different: When Americans take pictures of someone's neat costume, they back up a step and take the picture. In Japan, everybody hands the camera to a friend and gets their picture taken with the person. It's like everybody is their own traveling lawn gnome (Amelie reference, anyone?).

Because the host of the event was an English-speaking magazine, almost everyone spoke fluent English. A couple times I was asked questions in Japanese, didn't understand, was asked again in English, and could reply in Japanese. Progress, right?

I wanted to enter the costume contest, but I didn't know how, and it turned out that judges picked ten people out of the crowd ahead of time, so I might not have been able to enter anyway. These guys don't mess around with prizes, though - the winner at one venue got air fare to Paris, the winner at the other venue got air fare to anywhere they wanted in the US.

The costume contest took place on the central dance floor, after a dance performance to Thriller. This is the first part of the performance. I recorded the whole thing, but this is the only video file small enough to upload.

I was a little bummed out that we picked the wrong side of the dance floor, we could only see the contestants' backs and a bright light. Boo. So I crouched down so the people behind me could see and took the photos I could.

Three cowgirls anxiously waiting to hear if they won something cool (two are from England and one is from Australia).

I made it a point to find Gonzo the Great and Captain America after the contest to get their photo.

They are evidently friends with Clark Kent, too.

This creepy little tableau was set up, I think as a raffle for costumes. Cheaper than mannequins, but still a touch bizarre.

Belle and Cinderella were some of the first Japanese girls to exclaim over my costume and ask for a picture.

Random pictures!

Most ambitious costume of the evening, and the winner of the trip to the US (she's going to Vegas), Joan of Arc.

Black cat & white was bound to happen.

I love this girl's costume, too.

I geeked out a little when I saw her.

The cowgirls. The hobby horses were kicked off the dance floor when the costume contest wasn't going on.

Me with an Irish Popeye. I think he was there with the cowgirls.

By the end of the costume contest, two hours into the club, the bucket was mostly empty. By the time we left and headed for home, there was one piece left, which was given to a French guy waiting to cross the street outside.

Overall, this evening was a resounding success. Happy Halloween, everybody!


  1. Sounds like a very Happy Halloween! I'm especially glad that Mew was successful with the candy distribution. Were there pumpkins available for carving? I can't wait to see the next holiday post.

  2. Yes and no...there were pumpkins for sale in local grocery stores for about $35 each. We were going to get cheaper ones on base, but didn't quite get around to it.