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Round and round the Isle of Wight till everyone gets dizzy

Aaaanyway, dream-sequence cockroaches aside, it was a good weekend. I seem to have missed halloween completely... it's not really celebrated over here anyway, but there is one particular Tokyo tradition that deserves mentioning: the Yamanote Line Halloween Party.

The Yamanote Line runs in a circle (more of a rather squished elipsoid, actually, but who's counting?) around the centre of Tokyo. Trains run every two or three minutes and take about an hour to do a complete lap of the city. Not, of course, that you would ever sit on it and ride all the way around - I mean, what would be the point of that? Perhaps you can already see where this is going... I don't know if it happened this year but in years past, a small anonymous ad would appear in Tokyo Classified in the week leading up to Halloween: "Halloween Party; 9:02 pm October 31st northbound from Shinjuku station - BYOB"... the idea being that an entire train would be taken over by costumed foreigners as it wound its way around Tokyo, a mechanized conga of strap-hanging, beer-chugging gaijin ghouls going round and round and round... sounds either brilliantly surreal or absolutely hellish.

I don't think it happened this year... there's very little out there on the web, for instance, and I've seen nothing in the small ads. Possibly the cops cracked down, as they are periodically wont to do. Drinking in public (and indeed on the trains) appears to be legal here, but one thing I've learnt whilst living here is that if the Japanese police decide they want to arrest you for no good reason, there's very little you can do about it. It's hypocritical, really; drunken salarymen's vomiting on fellow passengers is tolerated, but raucous foreigners in fancy dress (no matter how well-behaved) would definitely be fair game. Ah well. I guess I'll be back in the UK in a couple of years or so... Circle Line, 8:56 westbound from King's Cross, anyone?

Posted by chris at November 5, 2001 12:55 AM | Permalink


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