Neighbors make all the difference. We are fortunate enough to have some great neighbors in our building. We live in the Toraoka Mansion; mansion being the word for apartment building. But everyone knows the building as the Gaijin Heights. There are ten apartments in our building. Americans inhabit seven of the ten and two are home to Japanese families. All of our neighbors are incredibly nice people.
Last week was Halloween. One of our Japanese neighbors, Mrs. Fujita, wanted to take her children and some friends trick-or-treating. She invited us to join in the fun. So on Tuesday October thirtieth we gathered in the parking lot of our building to wander the neighborhood in search of candy. There were about fifteen children and five or six parents all of who live in close proximity to our home. Including two kids who are in Logan’s class at school. The group walked to each family’s home and shouted, “trick-or-treat” while standing at the door. They were rewarded for their efforts with candy and snacks. The adults were given the sense of delight that goes with seeing your child receive massive amounts of sugary candy. And the look of amazement in their eyes when they see all of the loot they have accumulated.
It was a lot of fun not only to see Logan go trick-or-treating for the first time but to witness the Japanese kids have fun doing it too. They had a great time strutting through the neighborhood wearing their homemade costumes and shouting, “trick-or-treat” at the top of their lungs. Logan had fun getting a ton of candy and walking with his friend from school named Risa.
The fun did not begin or end on Tuesday. On Wednesday Logan brought small bags of candy to school to share with his classmates. We also shoved bags of candy through the mail slots of our American neighbor’s doors. We also had the opportunity to attend a Halloween party to kick off the holiday fun.
A friend of ours here in Omihachiman is an American who owns his own English school. Every year he holds several Halloween parties. He divides the fun by age, little kids, big kids, and adults. He invited us to join the party for little kids, which was held on Sunday morning. It was a truly beautiful day as we walked over to his school. We could hear the sounds of fun, in this case fun sounds like the sound of screaming three to six year olds, as we approached the school. It was a fantastic party. Logan had a great time playing games like pin the wart on the witch and ring toss. He also had fun playing in a bucket of green slime and making play-dough creatures. After game time all the kids went trick-or-treating in the neighborhood around the school. This time as well Logan had a blast saying, “Trick-or-treat” and collecting candy.
Halloween for us was not a one-day event. It was more of a weeklong collection of fun events that led us to remember how kind and generous the people around us are. Halloween was fun primarily because of the people in our day-to-day life. Sometimes good neighbors make all the difference.