Okinawa Halloween Costume COSPLAY: 50 Shades of Cute


“Clothes make a statement. Costumes tell a story.” ~Mason Cooley

Their Story?  Evil Gingerkids, of course!

Their Story? Evil Gingerkids, of course!

Halloween 2014, Mihama Costume Contest, walking dead women zombies15520835520_408295eeb7_bThe ghosts and ghouls, manga-attired friends and whole families of anime characters all parade down the runway to the excited gasps of the massive crowd assembled for the All Hallows Eve festivities. From Transformers to dead Goth/Emo weddings, the spectators all gawked at the getup gamut on display.  Edward Scissorhands receives approving applause from the audience, a good sign that he would be a finalist.  And so went the pageantry for the next two hours.

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We are often asked if the Japanese and the Okinawans celebrate many of the holidays that we in the United States accept as the underpinnings of life. Halloween is one of the more interesting days where the East can mask themselves in costumed celebration of All Hallows Eve.  And paint me paranormal, boy do they ever!

Halloween 2014, Mihama Costume Contest, female ghoul ghost

American-Village-Halloween

Zombification:  the danger of listening to too much AFN

Zombification: the danger of listening to too much AFN

The local heavily western-influenced “American Village” and “Carnival Park” at Mihama held their annual Halloween costume contest last week, this year actually on Halloween proper. Compared to the rain and cold of last year (see COSPLAY in Japan), the weather was nearly perfect for such merriment.  So good, in fact, that there were about five times as many people out this year, most of which seemed to be little witches, miniature pumpkins, or young ghouls trick-or-treating throughout the huge commercial complex.  For the contest, Okinawa closes the main road in the area for pedestrian-only traffic.  There a large stage is assembled, funneling down the street transformed into a long runway for costumed contestants to strut their stuff.

Beautiful veiled witch.

Beautifully veiled.  But clearly thinking about her next curse to cast.

It seems we Americans give the day a bad name.

It seems we Americans give the day a bad name.

15086308713_ed15f92dc5_bHalloween, or Hallowe’en (a contraction of “All Hallows’ Evening”), is of course celebrated annually on October 31st, itself also the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows’ Day, a liturgical time dedicated to remembering the dead, specifically Saints (“hallows”). A timeless focus of All Hallows’ Eve is the use of humor and ridicule to confront the powerful inevitability of death.  Although origins are debated, and whether your trace them to pagan, Gaelic, or Christian roots, it matters little.  Such connections have long been lost in antiquity.

I'm not sure if this is the typical Ugly American here, or a costume.

I’m not sure if this is the typical Ugly American here, or a costume.

Halloween 2014, Mihama Costume Contest, walking dead women zombiesHalloween 2014, Mihama Costume Contest, masked beautyAnd besides, with the fantasy of spectacular dress and anonymity promised by masks and makeup, such connections are today unimportant in what in Japan is a wholly secular day. But the Okinawan people, and to a lesser extent the Japanese as well, are very superstitious people, well-attuned with death and the afterlife.  Thus, it has been easy for both cultures to integrate Halloween with full force.  Starting in the late afternoon on October 31st, one can spy car loads of Japanese kids in costume being dropped off all along our neighborhood seawall to go trick-or-treating alongside their American counterparts.

Halloween 2014, Mihama Costume Contest, devilish

BUT, it is the vigor and energy the Japanese put into their costumes which truly amazes. There were over 250 costumed-entries for the contest this year, most entries consisting of a group of friends or even whole families.  But what really surprises is the shear variety and number of people just out and about in costume, both to enjoy and participate in the revelries.

Sexy, cute AND shy! A winning combination.

Sexy, cute AND shy! A winning combination.

American Slut:  C'mon, Indians didn't wear heels....

American Sluttiness: C’mon, Indians didn’t wear heels….

American Sluttiness: Barney is a cross-dresser???

American Sluttiness: Barney is a cross-dresser???

But having spent now two recent Halloween’s here in Okinawa, Jody and I have reached an interesting conclusion: while America has taken sexy to slutty extremes, the Japanese (and Okinawans) have taken sexy on an opposite trajectory to cute!  Fifty shades of gray here start with White (innocence), as opposed to our Black (decadence).  It’s a refreshing spin to see that Asian women here continue to walk on the more subdued side of the blurry gray line between sluttiness and seductress.  While the Japanese certainly have their perverted fetishes (as we all do), they manage to continue to hang onto a level of innocence and naivety that is…well…cute.  See Absolute Territory for a seductive take on Japanese sexy cuteness.

The Ultimate American Sluttiness:  sexifying Burt and Ernie.

Ultimate American Sluttiness: giving Burt and Ernie moobs.

Those girls got guns.

Those girls got guns.

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They probably would be more successful capturing with their fish-NETs than with their sidearms.

Another obvious theme that bleeds apparent in costumes here is the Japanese fascination with guns and weapons. The uber-violent past of the Japanese people notwithstanding, today it requires permission to even possess a folding knife over 6 cm of blade length (15 cm for fixed blades), and even then they cannot be carried (the penalty is up to two years in prison).  Similarly, almost no one in Japan owns a gun.  Most kinds are point-blank illegal, with onerous restrictions on buying (expensive and administratively hard) and maintaining (they must be stored with government officials) the few that are allowed (mostly for hunting).

Armed...with hot-shorts.

Armed…with hot-shorts.

Now that's a gun!

Now that’s a gun!

Transfixed by this Transformer costume!

Transfixed by this Transformer costume!

Even the country’s infamous, mafia-like Yakuza organized crime “gang” tend to forgo guns, and instead resort to beatings and stabbings. With what result?  In 2006 there were only TWO firearm-related homicides. In ALL of Japan.  And when there were 22 total in 2007, National scandal and embarrassment ensued.  For comparison, in 2008 there were almost 600 Americans killed by guns…that had been accidentally discharged….  Where is our outrage, shame and scandal??  However, with most things made taboo, there is a strong undercurrent in Japan concerning guns.  And nowhere does this show more than in their costumes!  And notice that their guns lack the silly orange-colored barrels and plugs that ruined our toy-guns when we were kids.

I missed these nurses this year!

I missed these nurses this year!

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My choice for 1st Runner-up!

My choice for 1st Runner-up!

Of course the Japanese are already into cosplay (costume play), which primarily centers on hugely popular and well-known (and often mega-violent) anime and manga characters. BUT, they certainly have adopted well our Halloween traditions, where I’m happy to report that really, for a change, nothing much was lost in translation.  Although there was a clear absence of sexy-cute Japanese nurses this year, and while he certainly lacks a more refined sex appeal, Edward Scissorhands easily sheared away the competition to get my vote.

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I’m not sure who won, but he should’ve!

See Halloween OkiStyle for another local blogger’s take on this year’s Okinawan Halloween Scene.

For more of my photos from this year’s contest, see Mihama 2014 Halloween Costume Contest on Flickr.

Cosplay in Okinawa: Halloween Costume Contest!


“Clothes make a statement. Costumes tell a story.” ~Mason Cooley

Okinawa Oct 2013, Mihama Halloween, zoombie suicide girl nurse

Okinawa Oct 2013, Mihama Halloween, an American Beauty (Cuckoo Clock Bird)

Okinawa Oct 2013, Mihama Halloween, bloody bandaged nurse

Okinawa Oct 2013, Mihama Halloween, Star Wars fans (and costumes)The local heavily western-influenced “American Village” and “Carnival Park” at Mihama held their annual Halloween costume contest this past week.  And even though the weather was NOT cooperating, with rain most of the night along with colder temperatures, the place was still packed, and the costumes were still rocked!  The main street was closed for pedestrian-only traffic, and a large, well-lit stage was setup, funneling to a relatively long runway for contestants to strut their stuff.  Jody and I managed to get a good spot up front, and hunkered down as long as we could until finally we (and my poor camera) needed to retreat to Starbucks for some dry cover and a mug of hot chocolate….  Remember, our stuff isn’t here yet (see Castaway), so I don’t even have a jacket!

halloween-pict01

Okinawa Oct 2013, Mihama Halloween, quick dinner for two kitty-cats!Halloween was not like this my first time here in 1999, when the locals in our neighborhood made special trips to see our lit-up pumpkins on display at night.  I still wasn’t aware of much of a tradition when I was back again in 2005, even though I lived in a rather western-influenced part of the island.

Okinawa Oct 2013, Mihama Halloween, sexy costumed legs

Okinawa Oct 2013, Mihama Halloween, the new and improved armyHowever, this year, I could spy car loads of Japanese kids in costume being dropped off all along the seawall to go trick-or-treating alongside their American counterparts here in the Miyagi neighborhood of Chatan Cho.  AND, the vigor and energy the Japanese put into their costumes!  It wasn’t just those who entered the contest, which must have number at least 200 entries (most with multiple people in costume), but the wide variety and surprising number of people just out and about in costume to enjoy the festivities.  Jody and I are already planning our entry for next year.  And we are known to be Halloween costume contest first-prize winners….

Okinawa Oct 2013, Mihama Halloween, Japanese couple in costume

Okinawa Oct 2013, Mihama Halloween, Japanese snowwhite!

Okinawa Oct 2013, Mihama Halloween, ferris wheel at Carnival Park MihamaOf course the Japanese are already into cosplay (costume play), which primarily centers on anime and manga characters.  BUT, they certainly have adopted well our Halloween traditions, where I’m happy to report that really, for a change, nothing much was lost in translation.  My personal favorites?  Sexy Japanese nurses of any flavor, dead, zombie, or just anime!  Enjoy the photos, and the Japanese version of a Halloween theme favorite.

Okinawa Oct 2013, Mihama Halloween, toy story

Okinawa Oct 2013, Mihama Halloween, ghouls' wedding

This is Halloween…in Japanese!!

Nozoite minai ka

Fushigisugiru sekai wo

Annai suru yo

Bokura no HALLOWEEN!

Okinawa Oct 2013, Mihama Halloween, goldielocks, times three

Okinawa Oct 2013, Mihama Halloween, Sexy nurse with a bunny phone!

Kore ga HALLOWEEN

Tanoshii HALLOWEEN

Kabocha ga himei wo ageru

Okinawa Oct 2013, Mihama Halloween, chain-saw massacre

Okinawa Oct 2013, Mihama Halloween, ghouls melting in the rain

Kore ga HALLOWEEN

Machijyuu sawagu

TRICK OR TREAT

Minna ga shinu hi made

Kyoufu no machi hibiku himei

Sutekina HALLOWEEN

BED ni kakureru ore wo miro

Surudoi kiba ni

Makkana me

Kaidan ni kakureru ore wo miro

Hebi no yubi ni kami no ke kumo

Okinawa Oct 2013, Mihama Halloween, ghostly bride

Okinawa Oct 2013, Mihama Halloween, sexy nurses!

Kore ga HALLOWEEN

Tanoshii HALLOWEEN

HALLOWEEN HALLOWEEN HALLOWEEN HALLOWEEN

Okinawa Oct 2013, Mihama Halloween, Cuckoo bird fantastic costume

Okinawa Oct 2013, Mihama Halloween, sexy costumed legs

HALLOWEEN TOWN kono machi wa

PUMPKIN SONG ni daikassai

HALLOWEEN TOWN kono machi wa

Minna ga kyoufu wo daikangei

Toori no kado wo magatte goran

Wakuwaku shichauze nanikaga

Okinawa Oct 2013, Mihama Halloween, fencenet hose and combat boots are hot!!

Okinawa Oct 2013, Mihama Halloween, quite a random collection

Suki da ze! HALLOWEEN!

Akakuro! Nebaneba! Kowai darou?

Ara, zenzen yo! Noroi no kotoba tonaeru dake de

Yamiyo no tsuki ni noru wa

Kyoufu no koe hibiku himei

Sutekina HALLOWEEN

Okinawa Oct 2013, Mihama Halloween, nurse lipstick and her crew

Okinawa Oct 2013, Mihama Halloween, legs and midriffs on young Japanese women

Atashi wa PIERO yo okao ga hen

Ikinari araware sugu kieru

Senaka ga tsumetaku kanjiru kai

Boku da yo kurokami yurasu kaze

Oresama tsukiyo ni utsuru kage

Kyoufu no yume nara omakaseda

Okinawa Oct 2013, Mihama Halloween, ghoul women

Okinawa Oct 2013, Mihama Halloween, happy fairy and her escorts

Kore ga HALLOWEEN tanoshii HALLOWEEN

HALLOWEEN HALLOWEEN HALLOWEEN HALLOWEEN

Okinawa Oct 2013, Mihama Halloween, the great pumpkin greets

Okinawa Oct 2013, Mihama Halloween, form of a pizza pie!

Acchi mo kocchi mo kowain da

Sou ja nai to tsumaranai

Kore ga minna no shigoto sa HALLOWEEN

Okinawa Oct 2013, Mihama Halloween, Japanese bat-girl

Okinawa Oct 2013, Mihama Halloween, bad boys always get the hot chicks

HALLOWEEN TOWN kono machi wa

Minna ga kyoufu wo daikangei

Sutekina JACK ni odokasaretara

Tachimachi shinzou tomaru yo

Okinawa Oct 2013, Mihama Halloween, police raid!

Okinawa Oct 2013, Mihama Halloween, Japanese geenie

Suki da ze HALLOWEEN!

Minna de GYAA! Taisetsuna otoko no otoori da

Eiyuu JACK warera no ou

Minna hakushu de tataero

Okinawa Oct 2013, Mihama Halloween, spectators and partiticpants

Okinawa Oct 2013, Mihama Halloween, kitten siblings on stage

Kore ga HALLOWEEN tanoshii HALLOWEEN

HALLOWEEN HALLOWEEN HALLOWEEN HALLOWEEN

Okinawa Oct 2013, Mihama Halloween, Japanese princesses

Okinawa Oct 2013, Mihama Halloween, Japanese females in costume

HALLOWEEN TOWN

Kono machi wa PUMPKIN SONG ni daikassai

La, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, whee!

Okinawa Oct 2013, Mihama Halloween, Halloween warriors fire a salute

Okinawa Oct 2013, Mihama Halloween, Carnival Park on a rainy night

Blood, Nurses & Vampires: Halloween in Okinawa


Blood drops for ears?  Forget about the Logic - they are CUTE!!

Blood drops for ears? Forget about the Logic – these Blood Donation mascots are CUTE!!

The Japanese can take most any idea, animate and anime it, which almost always results in a cuter, friendlier, more happy version of most anything.  This is no less true in terms of donating blood, or, given the season, in regards to Halloween and vampires!

How can you resist this cute-covered Blood-Mobile?!?

How can you resist this cute-covered Blood-Mobile?!?

A few weeks ago we ran across a local blood drive at the Okinawan Mihama Jusco.  What caught my eye, and set the vector for this blog, was just how cute the graphics of the campaign were, in print, poster, but mostly on the bloodmobile!  How could you resist such frivolous happy-go-lucky blood-based critters?

Surely one of these critters is your...wait for it...TYPE.

Surely one of these critters is your…wait for it…TYPE.

Well, I still could resist.  But then again I have a “thing” about needles….

needlenurse

In all seriousness, The Japanese Red Cross says the decreasing birthrate and aging population throughout Japan are causing a drain on blood supplies, since more elderly people are in need of transfusions and fewer young people donate.

Imagine the kids' games you can play with THIS.

Toys to increase blood donation.  Imagine the kids’ games you could play with THIS!

And contrary to what some people here may think, foreigners (to Japan) can donate blood.  However, there are some conditions which do preclude such giving, including “anyone who has sexual relationships with random people in the previous six months….”  Define random.

The Japanese LOVE Mascots

The Japanese LOVE Mascots.  I think the “O” is for OMG!

And, in a Japanese twist on the American culture of fear, British nationals are not eligible due to scares from Creutzfeldt-Jakob (mad cow) disease if they lived in the United Kingdom anytime from 1980 through 1996.  But not to call out the Brits; anyone who has resided in “certain countries in Europe (yeah France) since 1980″ are also included, but you have to specifically ask about these.  Odd.

Karin - a Pubescent Blood-Producing Far Eastern Vampire

Karin – a Pubescent Blood-Producing Far-Eastern Innocent and Fun-Filled Vampire.  She even rocks the “horns of the devil!”

Now for a refreshing take on vampires, you know, in honor of Halloween.  Karin is an anime show in Japan that not just happens to be about vampires, but is about an interesting spin on the vampire mythos that perhaps is distinctly Japanese.  But it’s more:  Karin is also a romantic comedy about a clumsy and somewhat dull-witted vampire girl and her vampire family trying to survive in modern day Japan.  However, what makes this all so unusual, and unusually Japanese is that Karin is a rare vampire that produces blood.  So, as a result, when she gets the urge to bite, Karin actually gives blood and can heal rather than feed on blood which leads to more dreadful results!

Asian Sun-Goddess Amaterasu

Asian Sun-Goddess Amaterasu

Being this unique type of vampire allows for certain advantages over the more traditional fare; Karin can walk around in sunlight, although sunlight still harms “normal” vampires in the series’ unique reality – which is usually representative of the judgment of an Almighty.  This may be attributable to a Japanese nod to Amaterasu, the Japanese sun goddess who represents growth and fertility, elements that seem present in Karin in her ability to pass along blood.  And, consuming her blood induces fertility in what are normally sterile run-of-the-mill western-flavored vampires….

It seems that Karin has violent nose bleeds when she resists her...urges.

It seems that Karin has violent nose bleeds when she resists her…urges.

There are certainly many other elements of Karin that are rather fascinating to contemplate, including all the more common if not less-known representations in the vampire mythos, including the central theme of a vampire’s bite and feeding as intercourse and orgasm – the vampire’s true sin, which in the anime series makes becoming a vampire nothing more than an analogy for puberty.  And therein lays the real themes of Karin.

The Peace Sign is given by all-things Japanese!

The Peace Sign is given by all-things Japanese.  Or is that simply “V” for Vampires??

But, who would like this more traditional Halloween-horrors Battle Royale??  My vote is for the vampire girl.  How can you lose in a Japanese school-girl-sailor suit with those sultry Flashdance leg-warmers ?  The Franken-kimono is way too limiting in terms of dexterity…and that obi looks terrible!

Vampire Girl versus Frankenstein Girl:  who would YOU want to win?

Vampire Girl versus Frankenstein Girl: who would YOU want to win?

In a “heartfelt” connection to blood (pun intended), it seems we have on-island in Okinawa, the individual who is currently recognized (in 1994) as the Guinness Book of World Records holder who has donated more blood than anybody else.  Yep, 79-year-old retired Air Force Staff Sgt. Dennis Provencher has donated well in excess of 34 recorded gallons of blood.  Provencher has been regularly donating blood since arriving on Okinawa in 1961, and reached!  Born in Milton, N.H., Provencher enlisted in the Air Force in 1951. Ten years later, the radio operator received orders to Okinawa. He said he fell in love with the island and its people and kept extending his assignment until he retired in 1971. He has been donating blood since his arrival.  “It’s for a good cause. It’s like an oil change: They take the old blood out and make way for the new blood.”

This is NOT

This is probably NOT Provencher….

“I challenge anyone to catch me,” Provencher said. (Stars & Stripes, 2010)

AnimeNurse

And to end this Halloween installment of the Far East Fling, I offer a special treat!  A sampling of the fetish Japanese anime has for nurses!  Naughty, sexy, or simply scantily-clad, I’m sure their standard of care…like their virtue…is irreproachable, and probably untouchable.  Enjoy!

Jody, notice the HAT....

Jody, notice the HAT…(and stockings – wink).