Why the new-found interest in dogs? I became concerned and fascinated with Japanese dog culture a few months ago. During my daily walk around the village I couldn't help but notice that many homes had dogs tied up outside 24/7. Sweltering summer day, tied up. Nostril freezing cold, tied up. When I inquired about the situation I was told, "It might make you sad to see dogs this way, but it is nobody's business." That rasied what Shawn and I have termed the "cultural exchange" flag. I sprang into internet research action!
During Oni costume construction we spotted a Juneau mom's worst nightmare. Shawn and I imagined a rush of concerned mothers in Juneau descending upon this little guy playing inside this plastic bag. Here in Japan his antics and parents (non)-reactions are part of a unique take on early childhood..... let the kids lead, x-treme style. It's different from what we're used to. Shawn still isn't sure what to make of the elementary school girls goosing him up his bum when he's not looking. I'm still not sure what to make of the rampant candy consumption. I guess they figure the kids should have as much fun as possible now before they have to enter the serious world of adulthood. Japan cranks out some pretty delightful young people so they must be doing something right.
This wasn't just some good natured food chucking like we've seen before. No, this was pure eye-putting-out mayhem. I kinda felt bad for the poor Oni dads. Shawn, you'll be in the cross-fire next year.
What better place to invite evil into the room than the preschool? Some of the smaller children were terrified to tears. Machiko said this is an annual occurance. Other children are so scarred from last year's Oni Fest that they stay home from school. But all their fears vanish when the lights come on and they scramble for candy.