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!
In January I went to see one of Japan’s legendary rock bands, the 5, 6, 7, 8’s who became famous in the west after appearing in the movie Kill Bill back in 2003. The director, Quentin Tarantino found them after hearing their songs being played in a Tokyo fashion store, and you can see him talk about it and the bands performance in the movie here. They performed as guest of one of the best Tokyo rock clubs, the Boogie Shack Rhythm & Soul Club, every first Saturday of the month at the fabulous A971 upstairs lounge in Tokyo’s Roppongi district, Tokyo Midtown. So if you are free tonight you know where to go!
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!
Every summer Tokyo Midtown in Roppongi puts on a lot of special activities, this year it’s a water and lights show at nights and a place to cool your feet at day. Or you can just hang out in the garden with food and drinks. It’s been an extraordinarily hot summer here in Tokyo, not many days below 35 degrees and even the nights are unbearably hot, so these water mist fountains and streams of fresh water really helps! Tokyo Midtown is located between Roppongi station and Nogizaka station.