Photos by Lowell Feldhahn, (University of Minnesota) Student Correspondent CET Japan, Fall 2018 October is Japan’s month of festivals, with cultural events and celebrations occurring across the country. Osaka Gakuin University participates in the festivities through Kishibe-Sai, the biggest school festival of the year in which various organizations and clubs within the school put up food, drink, and game booths and put on performances, too. This year, CET students sold nachos, a rarity in Japan due their cheese-centered nature. Once night falls at Kishibe-Sai, booths shut down and OGU’s dance crews take to the stage. My favorite group was an all-girl group that choreographed to Tinashé, Ariana Grande, Marian Hill, and several female other artists I enjoy. Femme power is without a doubt the most inspiring kind! After the festivities, several housemates and I went out for sushi at a conveyor belt sushi restaurant, or kaitenzushi. At this type of restaurant, sushi is prepared by chefs in a hidden kitchen and then placed on a conveyor belt that passes by all of the tables. If you see sushi you like or want to try, simply take it off the belt. Convenient, right? For those with specific favorites, an electronic menu can also be used to place orders (that then come to you with a special tag on the conveyor belt too~). I stayed at my first Air BnB in Nara, Japan for two days in mid-october so that I could be close to the expansive Nara park and have ample opportunities to explore it. The room I stayed in was beautifully traditional, with futōn, or comforters, and soft pads laid on tatami (bamboo) flooring serving as my bed. Nara, Japan is known for its history, its bountiful nature, and most of all, its deer. Deer in Nara coexist with humans due to Japanese settlers taking extra care to treat the deer with respect when building their city, feeding and providing shelter for them. This peaceful relationship has continued to flourish since the city’s establishment in 710 C.E. My friend studying Japanese at a different university in the Kansai region and I animal lovers to the nth degree. Having the chance to pet and be close to many cute deer was gratifying to say the very least. Built in 743 C.E., Tōdaiji temple is among the Seven Great Temples in Japan. It is famous for housing the largest bronze Buddha in the world, a statue of Daibutsu that stands at 15 meters (49 feet). A luscious courtyard tucked away in the forest of Nara Park. The surrounding buildings once provided shelter for the Buddhist monks who lived in the forest and spent their days in prayer and meditation. The keepers of Nara Park’s shrines work tirelessly to maintain the beauty of the shrines. A small Buddhist temple was nestled atop a hill deep in the forest that extends from Nara Park. While the hike to reach this area is about 6 miles, it’s serenity alone makes it worth it. Soaking up the warm October sun I have never known as a Minnesotan who is all too often subjected to snow from early October until mid-May. A group of CET students and I went to Universal Studios Japan (often referred to as USJ or simply yuniba by Japanese people from the Kansai region of Japan) for the first time during the month of October so that we could experience both the year-round attractions and the Halloween horror night attractions, too. If you enter the park after 3pm, the ticket is 1000 yen ($9.20) cheaper. While this isn’t a huge discount, it was certainly enough for us binbou daigakusei (poor college students) to wait to enter until 3:05~ The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is a particularly magical section of Universal Studios Japan, with everything from butterbeer to wand shops to a roller coaster that takes you through a Hogwarts castle look-alike. While many of my friends found the various zombies and monsters scattered around the park terrifying, I must admit that I was particularly scared of The Minion Park. Something about the shape, the actions, and that intrusive shade of yellow that defines minions runs shivers down my spine. People joked that this park was my kojin-tekina jigoku (personal hell), underestimating just how accurately that statement encompassed the fear that I felt around those nightmarishly cute, inescapable creatures. Since Halloween fell on a Wednesday this year, I figured not that many people would partake in festivities. As you can see, I could not have been more wrong! This picture depicts people gathered in Namba, Osaka to show off their costumes, meet new people, and most importantly, take as many pictures as your phone’s storage will allow. Since the age of 10, I have enjoyed the thematically complex, highly gory, and grippingly psychological Saw movie series. Thus, when in a pinch without a costume to wear on Halloween day, spotting some 300 yen ($2.50) red lipstick in a konbini (convenience store) triggered an idea. Years of memories of Billy- Jigsaw’s creepy puppet who enters the room on a tricycle and introduces the rules to “traps” that people are stuck- came flooding back, and within minutes I was made-up and on my way. In Namba, I just so happened to run into a friend and fellow classmate at OGU who’s makeup was simply impeccable. Every year since 2015, the population of people who have celebrated Halloween in Japan has nearly doubled. Considering how crowded it has already gotten in cities like Osaka and Tokyo (especially in the district of Shibuya), I could see the Japanese government getting involved in its planning within the next few years. That being said, due to the economy boost and spike in tourism it provides, it’s certain that Halloween in Japan won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.