Monday, November 2, 2009

This is Halloween

Apparently I wasn't the only one up to a whole lot of nothing for Halloween.


The Morholt said...

I've been concerned a lot about gentrification and Americanization of Mexico lately as i watch my neighborhood be taken over by an organic food co-op and suddenly the serious and religious holiday of Day of the Dead seems to be sharing equal time with the kitsch and dreck of American Halloween. The Christmas trees and wreaths have been up in the malls for weeks already. Mexico is being eaten.
Now, I'm not a proponent of the sort of mouth-breathing nationalism that the link describes, but find the question of cultural integrity interesting. Think of how one might feel if his or her home of Destin became Destin beach as a way to sell themselves to tourism, or whose Pigeon River becomes a site for go-cart tracks and hillbilly dinner theater.
So how does one resist the dissolution of culture in the face of corporatism and capitalist exploitation without becoming xenophobic, racist, or reductivist to the extreme? And it becomes a more tangled question when we have met the enemy and he is us- when one is an artist, bohemian, or gay and forms the first wave in gentrification, the unwitting and unwilling shock troops of the bourgeoisie.
I never wanted to be a colonist, but am thinking about whether moving to a new neighborhood to escape the crowds of gringos and the loss of neighborhood here might not just be driving the thin end of the wedge into another place.

wwc said...

As usual David, I hear you on this one. As you well know I am no fan of tourism or tourists and I prefer things to be honest over exciting. However, I am not sure that any of this applies here. There are plenty of Japanese festivals all throughout the year that non-Japanese patronize and participate in. I am trying to think up one instance at a festival of non-Japanese being ridicuous and all that comes to mind are some drunk Navy guys who only stood out from other drunks for being white. There are certainly some rude and intrusive foreign people in Japan. Some of them even live here permanantly. I don't think they connect to this Yamonote Halloween incident. It should be said that Japan has no holiday near Halloween to subvert, unless Culture Day counts. The ex-pat train Halloween has been an ongoing tradition as long as I have been in Japan. I would also add that it isn't due to white people that Japan has to have seperate train cars for women to prevent them from being raped, and it isn't drunk white people I have to endure on the way home on Friday nights. The Halloween thing is pretty limited and most people know it is coming. Most traditional Japanese festivals hope that non-Japanese take an interest as that is one of their larger audiences and base of supporter (especially if you count ethnic Koreans and danjiri or mikoshi related festivals.)
As for tourists, they are annoying. Most of them are Japanese though, and they are annoying too, they just speak Japanese more and stand out less. As for Americanization of the culture, Japan experiences it in different ways. Even if something does get imported it still goes through the Japan crazy filter and rarely impedes on previous tradition (in my opinion.) Most erosion of traditional Japanese culture seems to come from within, while most enthusiastic support of traditional culture is a combination of people with lots of differing backgrounds.

The Morholt said...

I could have guessed that Japan would be resistant to outside influence; been true since they became Japan really. I think that as dunb abd ridiculous as the protesters in the story were, they hit a nerve with me. They will change their minds when i show up in Japan with my unstoppable charm one of these days.

attempting to silence the voices in my head.