In years past, the “Halloween train” was a carriage taken over by costume-wearing foreigners, who turned it into an impromptu space for merrymaking and boozing. Tokyo’s Halloween train even sparked protests! My, how things have changed. When riding the Midosuji Line in Osaka in late September of last year, I saw an advertisement that, no matter how many times I see it, still surprises me. “Halloween on the subway,” it read. “Looking for participants!” read characters in yellow font. Similar events were held last year website Osaka Subway points out, and according to the poster, there will be two Halloween trains: One of kids and a scary one for adults. These highly organized events, however, are nothing like the Halloween trains of old in which flash mobs of costume-wearing, beer-swirling foreigners descended on train cars in Osaka and Tokyo. Halloween trains were already in full swing by the mid-1990s. They weren’t only about dressing up, drinking and, in Tokyo’s case, shouting the name of the Yamanote Line stations, but as evident in this video from 1994, silly string was also involved. They were a way for ex-pats—even those coming from countries that do not celebrate Halloween—to have any excuse to… Read full this story
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