Last night was an Osaka tradition. Every year around Halloween a huge amount of foreigners gather at Osaka Station and ride the loop line. The goal is to jam as many people on the train as is possible go to a station and then switch cars. It is utter pandemonium. Last year I didn’t go, but I did this year. I dressed from the 100 yen store and was a scientist. I grabbed a whiteish rain coat (lab coat), a black smock, rubber gloves, and a few containers. I found some food coloring and added it to water. We picked up some dry ice from Baskin Robins (they sell it so you can travel with ice cream) and had bubbling brews. Damien dressed as a chef complete with a large bucked of “hot soup” which contained tons of dry ice giving it the appropriate “steam”. Brain was a blood soaked zombie, Chris was a skeleton. He painted his head white, wore all black with white tape in the shape of bones stuck to his clothes. Wrapping up team Daito was Arnel as a Mexican cowboy with a poncho, stogie, two “six” shooters, and a sombrero.
There were easily about a five hundred to a thousand people dressed up. There were many more Japanese people taking part than I would have expected, but the crowd was predominantly geijin. JR knows when we do it and were prepared. They had an area all corded off for us, and extra staff. When our train pulled in they had cleared three cars for the be-costumed. The doors opened and everyone rushed in. A few poor Japanese souls were caught in the wake and road in what must have been the most horrible train experience for them ever. I can say, because I am trained as a scientist and I was dressed as one, that we easily violated the conservation laws of mass and energy during the ride. I know this because three cars were not enough to contain us all, and I most certainly was existing at the same place at the same time with other people. It was horrible. I imagine as the night goes on the riders break the three car rule and commandeer the whole train, but it was agonizing at first. I was next to some poor Japanese guy that wanted off, he managed to work his way to the door only to have the doors on the other side of the train open. By the second or third stop I managed to work my way to a door and got off. I did not scramble to get back on. Like Drag Ball at my fair Oberlin, it was enough for me to say, “Yeah, I was there.” I do not require the event to last long.
I have ridden the train during rush hour, so I know what being squashed is like. This was infinitely worse and infinitely more squashed-ed. I found it not very fun. But I think it probably hurt that I do not drink. As I watched random people pouring random alcohol into still further random people’s mouths, I realized, “this is probably more fun when imbibing copious amounts of alcohol”. But now I can say, “I did the Osaka Halloween Loop Line Party!” It is just another cultural experience on my resume of worldly things.