Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Lights, The LIGHTS! (Part 1 of 2)

Tokyo's wrapped in lights for the end of the year. I don't know if it's to celebrate Winter, Christmas, the approaching new year, or all of the above. But it sure is pretty. Each area has its own kind of visual flavor, too.

For instance, this area near the Shinjuku station is mostly blue and white.

Along this pathway we met some girls that had cardboard glasses (like the old 3D glasses, but not red and blue) that made every tiny light bulb look like a smiley face. Unfortunately, we didn't have the language skills to ask where we could get some of our own.

Aww, penguins! Who doesn't like penguins? And that little white dome, that's...

Well, that's actually pretty evil looking.
Moving on...

Across a bridge was a whole section of decorations made primarily with empty drink bottles.
This one was blinking different colors.

There is also a wall of art of varying degrees of interest.

This one might have been my favorite. It's a chicken, but it's a skillfully painted chicken (note how I avoided using the phrase "well done"'re welcome) and I like it.

I didn't know Santa was one of the Plagues. Learn something new every day.

More of the drink-bottle decorations.

There were many other paintings, but this is the only other one I photographed. It features what appear to be two fat people in gingerbread snow gear, a fruitcake, an evil cat imprisoned in a snow globe, a dog sled, and in the middle (nearly invisible) is a pants-less person with a white sheet over their head running frantically toward the aforementioned fat people. Take from it what you will.

More bottle sculptures!

This one is's a wall of bottles, acting as a screen. On this screen is the projection of what a nearby camera is recording.

Random storefront display, but I really liked what they did with shadow puppets.

We went to a few different neighborhoods that night, and I have to say: sometimes I just look around and still can't believe I'm here. It's still exotic and exciting to me.

I'd never seen these drippy lights before.

I have no real context for this billboard. But it worked, I went to the website to see if there were answers to be had. (There aren't.)

More lights!

We stopped for a late evening beer and snack at a place called the Beer Cafe. This is takoyaki, sort of like an octopus hush puppy. I've had good takoyaki and bad takoyaki; this is one of the better ones. I'm not a huge fan of the fish flakes on top, but whatever that brown sauce is, mixed with the mayonnaise, is really tasty. You wouldn't think so, but it really is.

In Roppongi, there is this interesting LED decoration.

Inside a mall. It's festive, that's for sure. But you know what we don't miss? The incessant dinging of the Salvation Army bell. Mall decorations are even more delightful without a headache.

Outside the above-pictured mall is a field with an incredible light display. I don't know who designed it or put it together, but it's breathtaking.

Down the block...

On cold nights, it's really wonderful to be able to get a hot drink to hold in your hand.

Or soup, as the case may be. In theory, hot soup could be great on a cold day, but when I'm looking for a cafe au lait or hot cocoa, I can't get excited about corn or bean soup in a can. It just doesn't seem right.

Same Roppongi area, lovely faux lily light display. Couples walking through the lights, lit with a soft glow...
and immediately behind those soft lights is A GIANT SPIDER.
Really, Roppongi? A 30-foot-tall statue of a hell spider? (I'm not exaggerating about the height, I looked it up.) Is that really necessary?

To see if it was, I took a closer look.

Seriously. There's no need for that. It's heebie-jeebie-inducing enough without EGGS.

Safely back inside the mall. The modern, geometric mall of epic architectural proportions.

While Husband went to the loo, I checked out the area map, only to find something distressing.
The "you are here" spot where we are supposed to be has been removed. Oh no! Where are we?!

MasterCard's seasonal campaign: Purchase With Purpose.

Noble enough, until you put it on a column. Then, all you can see is "Purchase Purpose."
When you read it this way, it changes the tone a bit. Now it's like it's saying, "Seriously, guys, you lack purpose. Why don't you go out and buy some? And get a life while you're at it."

Continuing on...

Chandelier in a pond: pretty, but without any apparent function.
It slowly changed colors, but it didn't videotape or photograph very well.

We also stopped at a crepe and coffee stand. I have a hard time resisting Japanese crepes. They are among the most awesome desserty things ever invented.
This one happened to be filled with strawberries, whipped cream, and chocolate syrup.
Unfortunately, we couldn't tell the difference between the coffee he ordered and the latte I ordered. Both were 2/3 full and contained equal amounts of milk and coffee. A little disappointing, but that crepe was fantastic.

More drippy lights!

And an investigation of what they're like up close.

That's all for now...the Other has plans to take me to see more lights in other neighborhoods later, but I feel like this is a respectable first installment.

Link to Part 2


  1. All of the above. Man, I miss Far East. BTW, I came across this place when I was reading the online news,


  2. Looks like a good time...I'm going to bookmark that for later. Thanks!