Halloween is fast approaching and we have been having fun here at the JLR preparing for it. Fall has always been my favorite season and Halloween has always been part of the reason why. This year, now that “Baby” is nearly 4 we can participate in more Halloween activities than before.
For example this year we finally decorated the house, which I’ve never had time or room to do before. Here is a haunted house we put together this past weekend:
This kit, made by merimeri.com (purchased at local stationary store) was pretty easy to assemble though the parts were a bit hard to punch out. I really liked the finished product though and our little girl keeps playing with it.
We’ve been doing a lot of reading too. Out little enjoys a story called the Haunted House which we’ve been reading to her for the last couple years, along with a new story in Japanese about a ghost who accidentally becomes tempura.
As for me I cracked open a new Roger Zelazny book I had read before: A Night in the Lonesome October. The book was so fun I managed to finish all 278 pages of it in less than 48 hours.1 It was a fun, creative mix of classic horror (Frankenstein, Dracula, etc) with H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulu mythos, set in Victorian England amid a Sherlock Holmes-ish mystery. Of course it had plenty of Zelazny’s wit too. I bought this a long time ago, and specifically saved it for October and the book did not disappoint.
Speaking of good Halloween themed books I highly recommend some I’ve read in the past:
- Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot. This book is a very frightening look at a vampire outbreak in a remote village in Maine, and quite different then the more modern, effeminate vampires.
- Mary Shelley’s original novel, Frankenstein. It’s somewhat different than the big green monster with bolts in his neck from Hollywood, but it’s actually a really dark and scary novel. The ending is pretty dark and cool.
- H.P. Lovecraft’s stories, of which I like Shadow over Innsmouth especially. Any number of “collections” books will probably have it.
Meanwhile I have kept up my yearly tradition of playing the classic NES game, Final Fantasy, including a fun adventure in the creepy Marsh Cave. I also have been lots of classic Castlevania III as well which is about as Gothic horror as you can get with 8-bit graphics and sound.
Meanwhile, in preparation for the upcoming JLPT I have been watching some of my wife’s dramas including a series called Kaibutsu-kun (怪物くん) or “Mr. Monster” (my bad translation). As mentioned in a previous post, my wife and daughter both love a certain Japanese boy-band group named Arashi, and over time it’s rubbed off on me, so I listen to them now too from time to time. In that same post, I mentioned that Japanese celebrities tend to cross over more into other fields too, so the main “leader” of Arashi, Ōno Satoshi,2 stars in the main role of this little drama. It’s interesting to me to see classic Halloween characters in a Japanese TV drama; surreal even, but it’s good fun. The drama is somewhat geared for younger audiences, which makes it easier for me to follow along, and with the JLPT exam only two months away (DOH!), I need all the practice I can get. I am certainly less confident than I was this time last year for the old JLPT3/N4.
So, that’s Halloween in a nutshell. One question I haven’t answered yet is what my costume will be. In the past, I almost never dress up; it’s just too much of hassle and I get too self-conscious. This year, I may try Mario or Luigi from Super Mario Brothers. It’s nerdy, inexpensive, and being an old-school Nintendo fan, something personal. The little one will be Ariel from Disney’s Little Mermaid. My wife, I have no idea. We’ll see.
1 Reading while walking to and from work is usually a bad idea, but I frequently do it.
2 He is even called リーダー (leader) by the rest of the band. Supposedly the settled who would be leader by rock-paper-scissors, my wife says. My wife likes him a lot because his singing talent is particularly strong, why my little girl likes Matsumoto Jun (a.k.a. “Matsu-jun”) better. Me? I admit I like “Leader”, but also Nino-kun and Aiba-kun. The term “kun” (君) here in Japanese being a title used with boys , and NEVER towards one’s superiors.