Journey in Japan Part 48: The Fat Sumo Hallowe’en Special


My day starts with me being completely lost in Shinjuku, searching for an event going by the name of ‘Shinjuku Magic of Hallowe’en’. I was under the impression that the event included a massive street parade of people dressed in spooky costumes, but nothing of the sort appears to be happening. I give up searching and head back to the train station.

Outside Shinjuku Station, there is a television crew and a few people dressed up, standing in front of a big stage. With over two hundred entrances to the station, I have inadvertently stumbled upon the event I was here to see in the first place; and by the looks of it, the show is just about to start. Excellent timing as always. The lights come up, white smoke billows from machines either side of the stage, and the band come out, much to the delight of the ghosts, witches, and Iron Man.

Today I get the pleasure of seeing Anna Tsuchiya singing live. Former Kamikaze Girls actress-turned-model-turned-singer, she is simply amazing. I am about six rows from the front of the stage and have a great view. The music is great. The atmosphere is great. The weather is great. Anna sings two songs about Hallowe’en in English, before contractually mentioning video game Psycho Break; the sponsor for the event.

For the third and final song, we get a little bit more from the smoke machines, and Anna sings her third single, and first top ten hit, ‘Rose’.

After singing, she thanks the crowd and the band leave the stage. One minute later the entire crowd has dispersed and I am the only one standing at the stage. So much for the Hallowe’en parade. I follow the rest of the crowd into the train station and head back to Taito-ku.

The day is still warm, so I decide on a mid-afternoon bicycle ride. I cycle over the Sumida River in a straight line for ninety minutes, stopping off at the odd shrine or temple along the way. Eventually, I arrive at the Arakawa River and cross over into Edogawa. I haven’t been here before today, and I can’t find anything to do. I cycle around for a while until the sun begins to set.

After watching the sun from the bridge, it starts to cool, so I race back to Asakusa.

Tonight, I have been invited to a party celebrating the one year anniversary of a sumo restaurant. I have things to do first though, so I arrive rather late; everyone is already drunk. Blind drunk. A few of my friends from the boat party are here too, and they are struggling to stand. A never-ending supply of glasses filled with a suspicious green liquid seem to be appearing from nowhere, and the familiar drinking chant of, “Yoi yoi yoisho,” makes its rounds. A sumo wrestler consumes a giant bottle of tequila in one go.

My masseur is here too; he tells me that my shoulders were the hardest that he ever had to massage in his entire career. Or at least I think that’s what he said, his slurs somewhat difficult to decipher. I join in with the proceedings, enjoying the all-you-can-drink spread put on by the owner. Karaoke ends just as quickly as it starts, and bottles of spirits are passed around. I stay, drinking until I am dizzy, before deciding it is time to go home. As I leave, I am handed a gift bag filled with lovely souvenirs to go with my memories.


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