Tokyobling's Blog

Christmas Illuminations at Tokyo Midtown

Posted in Places, Shops by tokyobling on December 12, 2013

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!

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17 Responses

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  1. Hangaku Gozen said, on December 12, 2013 at 4:50 am

    I’ve heard of the tradition of ordering fried chicken in for Christmas dinner, but do you know why? It seems so odd, since it doesn’t seemed linked to any European or North American traditions.

    You have to work through Christmas! I’m sorry to hear that. I hope your employer gives you New Year’s Day off, so you can at least party into 2014. 🙂

    Like

    • C said, on December 12, 2013 at 1:07 pm

      I wondered the same when I was in Tokyo two years ago during Christmas. It was trippy, seeing lines out the door and around the block at KFC! If you Google it, you’ll see that it started in the 70s and was a KFC marketing campaign that went rather viral. (Now if I can only do the same influence to switch Japanese from wheat flour to rice flour in all their foods, the gluten-intolerant side of me would be thrilled!)

      What was even weirder was that lots of other places get into fried chicken thing — even the FamilyMart and 7-Elevens of the world, plus Mos Burger (complete with Christmas hats to put on the wings).

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      • Hangaku Gozen said, on December 12, 2013 at 6:17 pm

        My younger daughter, who was a JETT in rural Japan, said even in the little farming town where she lived, younger people (under 65, anyway) ate American-style fried chicken on Christmas. I kidded her and said, “It can’t be tempura-fried chicken?” But it’s funny that an American fast-food conglomerate started one of the more popular Christmas traditions in Japan. I haven’t eaten KFC in years (I’m vegetarian!) and wonder if they changed their recipe to be more appealing to Japanese palates. I mostly remember the batter coating used lots of pepper and salt, and it was greasy, nothing like kara-age (which is dredged in potato starch, by the way!). 🙂

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        • C said, on December 12, 2013 at 11:03 pm

          Being a strict vegetarian here is hard, from what others have told me of their experience — unless you like cooking at home all the time or can be pescetarian. Same with anyone who has food allergies — I’ve been here a couple of weeks and eventually got “glutened”. Googled gluten-free Tokyo/Japan and smacked myself upside the head: McDonald’s fries are about the only thing they don’t put wheat in 😦

          I think the Valentine chocolate thing is also the result of viral marketing. It’s interesting how this culture can be wildly accepting of certain fads!

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    • tokyobling said, on December 16, 2013 at 8:33 am

      Your question nudged me to write a post about it… (^-^;)

      Like

  2. hopebsimple said, on December 12, 2013 at 5:07 am

    Such beautiful pics ❤

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  3. Angela said, on December 12, 2013 at 6:07 am

    Oh how I miss the chicness and elegance of Tokyo!

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  4. Dina Farmer said, on December 12, 2013 at 6:10 am

    What I ‘ve been reading this a year now! I can’t believe this!!

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  5. C said, on December 12, 2013 at 1:08 pm

    I learned that if you go up the stairs or even watch from the terraces inside, you get a much better birds-eye view of the light show and see different things. Plus it’s warmer!

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    • tokyobling said, on December 16, 2013 at 8:35 am

      Thanks for the tip! I usually go up but for some reason I skipped it this time! Lazy Tokyobling! (^-^;)

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