Festive Illuminations

Hope you had a good Christmas!

It was my intention to put these up before Christmas, but you know how it is. We had also intended to see these illuminations before Christmas Eve, in which we yet again failed. The pictures are from lights set up at Tokyo Tower, Roppongi Hills and Gotanda. Christmas lights are a rather drab and depressing affair in England, so we were pleasantly surprised by the quality we were presented with.

Hope you like them.

Our Christmas in Tokyo was fine, if a little odd feeling. We cooked ourselves a Christmas dinner (the turkey seemed to take aeons to oven). Packing in as many Christmas films as possible – with the random addition of Labyrinth also in there – we made it a point to not go outside and sully the Xmas vibe (for many people in Japan it was just another working day). Instead we huddled around the heated floor (in lieu of a rustic fireplace) and sipped eggnog and mulled wine. We even managed – through no little effort – to find a box of mince pies

Although the Japanese do seem to celebrate Christmas, it feels lost in translation. As we passed through Gotanda, we saw hordes of Japanese queueing outside of cake shops for various festive-themed (none of which were Christmas pudding) desserts. I have been told that the Japanese tradition at Christmas is to pre-order a bucket of chicken at KFC – for which there is a large waiting list – and pick it up on the day to eat with the family, in some sort of misunderstood replication of Western tradition. Yeah I died a little inside too. For other traditions that seem to have been invented by the consumer sector, check out White Day – the sequel to St Valentine’s Day. Do we need more excuses to buy chocolate?

Cynicism over. If we stick with the idea long enough, it becomes tradition and part of our culture. I accept the English consumerism because I have grown up with it. I’m just seeing Japan with outside eyes.

My next post will be a report on our brilliant winter trip to Nagano, Yudanaka and Obuse. We wanted snow and they gave us snow.

One final note on extreme laziness/unnecessary technology. When I entered a toilet cubicle in Nagano, the toilet seat automatically lifted. I’m pretty sure I could have managed!

Have a Good New Year!

Chris

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