Thursday, December 25, 2008

Electric Christmas in Japan...

(Image borrowed from MSN Travel)

MSN Travel has a nice slideshow of Christmas trees around the world. The photo above shows Japan's contribution. Accompanying caption reads: A Christmas tree befitting Tokyo's nighttime neon display is projected onto the exterior of the Grand Prince Hotel Akasaka.

See other trees (and some very nice photos) at the slideshow.

Link to Christmas Trees 'Round the World

Japan is famous for its Christmas light-up display shows, perhaps the most famous is the Kobe Luminarie which serves as a memorial for the Great Hanshin Earthquake of January 17, 1995. I have been to Luminarie a few times and it is quite spectacular. And crowded.

This year I went to check out the Osaka Hikari-Renaissance in the Nakanoshima area. This display is much smaller and more low key than Luminarie but I was still excited to see it, especially after the new extension of the Keihan Train Line and its ushering in of a "Brand-New Osaka."

I am sure there is a lot of potential for futher development in the Nakanoshima area, but I wasn't greatly impressed with the new Keihan train stations. The two things that struck me about the Nakanoshima station was its abundance of stairs (Was it three stories worth straight up via exit 6? Where were the escalators and elevators? So much for the needs of the aging society and handicapped population...) and the wavy hand rails.

Trees adorned with changing multicolored lights across from West Light Park.

Inside West Light Park. There was an aroma life display (lights and smells), a live stage, various international food booths (I enjoyed the kebab sandwich, tandori chicken and hot wine), and light displays. Perhaps the most spectacular display was the laser show (images shot on to a building which acted as the display screen).

Light-up snowmen and Santas were popular attractions, especially for people with cameras (and kids and/or significant others).

Needless to say, Christmas is a big event in Japan, although its celebration and meanings are somewhat different from western interpretations making it a great example of globalization... If you are in Japan, good luck getting your Kentucky Fried Chicken, Christmas cake and love hotel rooms...

OK, so if that's not enough to get you in the mood for an eclectic, electric Christmas, check out these links (sent to me by my good friend Myra): Click here and here (click on the X to get the match). Happy Holidays from VAOJ.

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