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Let’s discuss Halloween in Shibuya

This week’s featured article

DAISUKE KIKUCHI, THE JAPAN TIMES

To avoid turmoil near JR Shibuya Station when it is flooded with partygoers over Halloween, the Metropolitan Police Department is for the first time planning to dedicate two nearby streets to pedestrians only from Friday through Monday, depending on traffic conditions.

According to reports, the two streets subject to vehicle restrictions include one stretching from the Shibuya scramble crossing some 270 meters toward Dogenzaka past the Shibuya 109, and another branching from 109 to the Dogenzaka 2-chome intersection near the Tokyu Department Store.

The Shibuya scramble crossing will not be closed to vehicles due to its high volume of traffic.

“By regulating vehicular traffic, we’d like pedestrians to enjoy Halloween more safely,” said a police official.

The official said peak congestion will come on Saturday and Sunday, and hundreds of riot and other police forces will be positioned around the station area from Friday.

Toshiro Kimura, organizer of the Zombie Party Halloween event, said he was surprised to learn about the traffic curbs in light of recent backlashes against Halloween.

“There are people demanding that Halloween be banned in Tokyo, and many people support that idea,” Kimura said. “There have been cases of groping in Shibuya on Halloween night, and that’s why not everyone is up for celebrating.”

The Shibuya Tourist Association is also planning a parade — though based on fashion, not the living dead. “We planned the parade to suggest a new, cleaner way of celebrating Halloween, without wearing extreme costumes or getting overly excited, but rather by dressing better than usual,” said Kyoko Hori, spokeswoman of the group organizing the parade, titled Off Halloween.

In addition to congestion, another big Halloween headache has been the tons of litter left in the wake of the parades.

“We prepared three garbage areas in the station area last year. There will be four this year,” said Hiroyuki Dozono, public manager of the Shibuya Ward Office, adding that there will be staff keeping their eyes on the revelry.

“People living in other parts of Japan and overseas are really fascinated by how Halloween is celebrated in Shibuya. I hope it will continue to remain as exciting as it is now. We should all be on our best behavior to accomplish that,” said Kimura. “I don’t want to see negative news reports after Halloween.”

First published in The Japan Times on Oct. 28.

Warm up

One-minute chat about “celebrations.”

Game

Collect words related to Halloween, e.g., pumpkin, parade.

New words

1) congestion: the state of there being too much traffic; e.g., “There is severe congestion today on Route 1.”

2) groping: to touch someone inappropriately; e.g. “Groping is a serious problem on trains.”

Guess the headline

S_ _ _ _ _ _ readies for H_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ party throngs

Questions

1) What is the new plan this year for Halloween in Shibuya?

2) Who will be positioned around the area to control the situation?

3) How did Shibuya Ward Office prepare differently this year?

Let’s discuss the article

1) Did you celebrate Halloween this year?

2) How do you like the recent Halloween trend?

3) What changes would you like to see to Halloween in Japan?

Reference

数年前には考えられなかったほどの勢いで日本のハロウィンイベントはその盛り上がりを毎年増していき、その経済効果についてはバレンタインデーを抜いたと言われています。しかし、それとともに街へ繰り出す人々のマナーの悪さが大きな問題になってきてもいます。対策として多くの警察が動員されることは税金を投入することになり、せっかくの経済効果にも疑問がつきかねません。

仮装しいつもと違う自分になることは楽しいものですが、それによって迷惑を被っている人がいる以上このままお祭りの風潮だけが大きくなっていけば反対意見との対立も埋まらないままでしょう。

どのようにすればよいのか、朝の会に参加し皆さんで話し合ってみましょう。

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