Yamanote Halloween Train 2009 [ハロウィン山の手線ジャック]
October is here again, which means that certain foreigners in Japan are once again planning to board trains on Tokyo’s Yamanote Line and hold a loud drunken party.
This message recently appeared on Gaijinpot forums:
Its time we got this started. Its a Saturday this time around so almost nothing to discuss, but nonetheless:
Date/Time: Sat. October 31, 2009 from 21-ish
Meetup Place: Shinjuku Station, Yamanote platform #15 (towards Ikebukuro)
Train to board: 21:06 soto-mawari (North-bound)
Gather towards the back of the train, by the stairs that come down from the South exit. Train car 9 sounds like a good one to board.
See you all there. And, of course, BYOB.
In previous years, the Yamanote Halloween party has resulted in halted trains, vandalism, and general harassment of Japanese passengers unlucky enough to find themselves in train cars targeted by the party-goers.
According to one Gaijinpot user who has attended past parties in the 1990’s, many participants see the event as a way to “get back” at Japanese people:
I went on the Yamanote line party way back when and while it was a lot of fun, it did get out of control and stopped being a fun event and started being a “pick on unsuspecting Japanese” event. I remember seeing a poor lady trying to get off at her stop unable to get past the large drunken guys who weren`t letting her through. Seeing her face, it really stopped being a “Happy Halloween” for me.
I got off at the next stop, thankfully missing the Japanese police who were waiting at Ikebukuro station for most party goers to get off.
The Halloween train seemed to die out not long after that – only to be revived some years later by people who had probably never been on any of the original trains.
I have ridden the train in costume many times (including face painting) and will be doing so this year too – on my way to other Halloween events. No problems, and a really fun atmosphere.
The Halloween train itself – no way, not any more. What spoiled it for me was the overtly stated attitude of a lot of people that it was a chance to “get back” at Japanese people.
Maybe the “new Halloween train” is different and only fun and lighthearted and not in any way threatening to those just riding the train. If so I wish you luck and hope you have a lot of fun.
As for the argument that drunk salarymen do it and worse…….do you really want to emulate that shit?
Last year’s Halloween Train was a tiny affair. Costumed participants were outnumbered by Japanese police and angry users of 2-channel who had come out to prevent the party from occurring. 2-channelers have already taken notice of the Gainpot announcement, so it is likely police have been warned and will be ready to prevent things from becoming wild.
Death threats have also been posted:
17 ：名無しさん：2009/10/11(日) 17:54:14 ID:6RV62LbS
Now we ceclare we form assassination squad..to kill unscruplous costumed gaijins
who disdainfully ride on our crowded trains and do some absurdity
If you’d like to warn the police in Tokyo about the party or the death threats, please use one of the following numbers:
General Police Contact Number 警視庁 03-3581-4321（代）
Shinjuku Police Station 新宿警察署 03-3346-0110
Shibuya Police Station 渋谷警察署 03-3498-0110（代表）
Shinjuku Station Railway Police 新宿駅お客様相談室(鉄道警察) 03-3356-7505
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