Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Semi-Holiday Season

It's Halloween time again, almost, which means Christmas can't be far behind, almost.
Seriously, I used to explain Halloween to Japanese friends as something like Obon or the Festival of the Hungry Ghosts, in which people show respect for elders and departed relatives by visiting their graves or welcoming the spirits with lanterns and symbolic settings of food from the recent harvest.
Times have changed.
Now, Halloween here is pretty much the same as in the U.S., with costumes and Jack-o-Lanterns, but not quite up to the trick-or-treat practice yet, although I expect that will change too before long.
Of course I remember when the start of the school year was pretty much timed to the World Series, and we pegged Thanksgiving with football season. And hockey was not even recognized south of the Mason-Dixon Line.
Well, times change, of course, and customs change too. So we have the Anaheim Mighty Ducks and a baseball season that pretty much melds into basketball season without even a football season break for spring training.
And Trick-or-Treat, not Thanksgiving, heralds the start of the Christmas shopping season. Yep. Tokyo stores put up the Christmas stuff about the same time they take down the pumpkins. Both are borrowed customs used as merchandising ploys. Maybe global warming has something to do with it?