So far my take on Halloween in Japan is:
- Put up posters for Halloween, generate hype
- Move products, sell sell sell!
- Rip posters down at precisely 11PM Oct. 31st and back to BAU; replace with Christmas advertisements.
I’m really lucky; the team I’m on in Osaka is mostly English speaking, and very social, and they like to do morale events pretty regularly. I was thinking it would be a bit more like my former team at Microsoft, using our “Morale” budget for what God intended: drinking and eating, followed by more drinking, but this team also wants to do events, which is quite nice.
When the invites started hitting inboxes for a morale event for Halloween at USJ (Universal Studios Japan) I couldn’t click ‘accept’ fast enough.
On the night of the event, I hang out at the office until everyone that’s going to go is also leaving, since when I looked at Google Maps for my office > USJ, and it was quite a few stops and transfers, hopping on the Osaka loop line, and given my lack of any sort of direction sense, I wisely chose to follow the crowd, in this case. Which, turns out was a good idea, as there were several times just getting to USJ from Hommachi that we’d lose people in our group, and someone would run back and find them. It reminded me of our Whittman Middle School trips here as Lori would split the kids up between subway doors, and tell them ‘get on this train no matter what’, and train comes, we get on and as we pull away from the station, she notices two naval gazers still on the platform. Thankfully, we all stay together, and get over to USJ, and for me, the first time being there was admittedly pretty cool –
You take the train to Universal City, and are greeted by some familiar names, like Red Lobster. TGI Fridays. And Happiness Cafe:
We get our tickets and get inside the park – It’s a covered area at first, and reminds me of Tokyo Disney, but has a Hollywood theme.
There’s an Evangelion ride, I think this one rotates, and was a Final Fantasy one before, it’s a mixed reality ride that I’d like to try next time, though the outlook on this particular one seems grim:
The first sign and worker we encounter is this guy, hmm ok..
The group I’m with has the app to check wait times so we head to Harry Potter World. It’s a really neat re-creation, with fake snow on the buildings, newspapers in boxes with displays in them to make it look like the movie, etc.. it’s was quite good – plus the weather was perfect, the night sky and it being cold, the clouds, made it really immersive. Plus the crappy camera on my phone made them look extra spooky:
While waiting in the line, you see the pictures in the hall bickering with each other, I’ll never grow tired of hearing them do this in Japanese:
The ride was one of those motion rides with screens and real-life models. Really fast paced and fun. I was surprised that for Halloween the lines were as short as they were. there wasn’t a lot of people in the park, or they weren’t interested in rides. As we head out, several crowds of people standing in the street waiting for a performance I guess?
On our way to the next no-wait-time ride, I hear the distinct sound of a 2 cycle chainsaw engine, well this should be interesting!
Turn the corner and oh hello there!
Roving bands of sometimes clowns (I guess the Killer kind from outer space), Wastelanders, and Zombies rove the streets, some with idling chainsaw engines, good ambiance!
After that was the Spiderman ride, who looks a little.. busty?
The ride was fun, but you can tell that’s one of the older ones, you needed 3D goggles, and they were pretty dingy. We also did the Jurassic Park flume ride, which was pretty good, but better on a hot day.
The park starts to close, so we make our way out and back to the train platform, it was slightly crowded:
We make the second train, and start the navigation back to home, thankfully a couple co-workers live in stops adjacent to ours, so I didn’t get too turned around. And in the station, I see a Beard Papas, dutifully pulling down all signage related to Halloween, the day is over and it’s back to normal. Tomorrow probably is when the Christmas signs go up.