It is that time of the year again – Christmas illuminations and decorations are up all over Tokyo Midtown and the crowds are as thick as usual! Midtown is strangely photogenic so I can’t resist taking some pictures every time I pass through the area, and every year something changes slightly in their decorations. The Christmas tree though, is the same year after year and as popular as ever.
The illuminations in the park behind Midtown are always crowded and are scheduled to run until December 25th. Most of the crowds tend to stay at the bottom of the field though, and if you don’t mind walking a little up the field it is usually not crowded at all up there. In Japan Christmas is not a big family event, it is more for young couples enjoying a romantic night out. “Older” couples tend to order fried chicken and cake and have a quiet night in. Me, I will be working all through Christmas!
This year again, the famous Isetan department store in Shinjuku is putting on a christmas decorations campaign illustrated by Klaus Haapaniemi, the Finnish artist. Isetan and Haapaniemi has been collaborating for quite some time and the stories keep getting more and more elaborate, even with some recurring characters. This year the story seems to be more complicated and the interior decorations are as great as always. It is good to see that some department stores are not afraid to be different even during Christmas shopping season! I blogged about it in 2009. There is a site accompanying the decorations, complete with video and rather good song available for download.
Christmas in Japan is like Christmas in many other countries, more about by consumerism than any tradition or even religion. Families usually spend Christmas together (after work of course) with a cake and some grilled chicken, while young adults or those unattached prefer to spend Christmas eve with their sweethearts. To lure this attraction seeking young crowd many shopping centers put on light displays and events, the most popular of which are so crowded that people have to cue up to get in. There was supposed to be a huge light display at Tokyo station but when the managers understood the huge numbers of people who were likely to show up the event was actually cancelled! I happened to walk through Tokyo Midtown in the Roppongi district on Christmas eve and saw these christmas decorations. While the decorations inside the big commercial center was focused on abstract shapes there were some cute hand decorated snowmen!
It’s the day before Christmas eve and I thought this would be a good time to share some photos of Tokyo Christams illuminations I have taken over the last month. These are all from Roppongi, showing the all year non-stop christmassy Tokyo Tower, as well as the Christmas tree in front of Tokyo Mid Town and even, although having nothing to do with our modern Christmas, a rather stylish Roppongi church roof top ornament. Here’s hoping that all of us get peace, some love and a lot of rest this Christmas!