In the States our list looks like this:
*Decorate Christmas tree while sipping eggnog spiked with Jack and listening to annual holiday playlist
courtesy of the E.I.C. (Elf in Charge, aka, me)
*Dress up fancy for holiday tea at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills
*Go ice skating and drink hot chocolate spiked with Schnapps
*Go to Roger's Gardens - a gardening shop in Newport Beach which decorates for Christmas
*See a performance of the Nutcracker
*Host annual Duffy boat cruise to see the Christmas lights on Naples Island with friends
*Spend a couple of days at a cabin in Big Bear with Ranger the Wonder Dog in hopes of being
*Spend the day after Christmas snuggling in front of the TV on sleeping bags, stuffing ourselves with
goodies from our stockings, while watching old holiday movies all day long in our pajamas.
Since this would be our first Christmas in Tokyo, heck, our first Christmas away from our families, it would be interesting to see how many, if any, of these traditions we could uphold. Maybe we could adopt some new traditions, traditions only for Tokyo. I started investigating.
The season started with a work party. They don't call it a Christmas party. They don't even call it a holiday party. I can see why. When Russell worked for Chiat Day before, they were notorious for their Christmas parties. No one really showed up till after 9 pm and no one really left till after 1 am. The dress code was always "creative black tie" which meant pretty much anything goes.
In the thirteen years Russell worked there before, I've seen it all: fringed cowboy coats, hippie chicks, scottish kilts and full-on kimonos. One year Russell and I went as a couple from the 1950s. This was pre-Mad Men so we were pretty original for our time.
The shopping mecca, otherwise known as the Ginza, was decorated of course. But it wasn't the Illuminations that impressed me. Although they were nice. It was the store windows.
I wonder if they melt it into a heart for Valentine's day.
Roppongi Hills was all about the shopping.
in the park adjacent to Roppongi hills.
Even the Roppongi Theater got into the spirit. First a Christmas tree made of champagne glasses and then windows filled with Christmas trees.
In Roppongi they have two unbelievably high-end pet stores. "Joker" for dogs and, get this, "Diamond Kitty" for cats. It is aptly named for they had a cat there for sale for....wait for it...$13,920 (or 1,160,000 yen) !!!! OMG!
Not only did they have elegantly clad musicians playing soothing-make-you-spend-more-money holiday tunes, but they had the most amazing "Illumination." It wasn't an Illumination, it was a full blown light show, set to music with lasers, that would put Disneyland to shame. It was dazzling. We went back to Midtown three times just to see it again. Apparently last year was the first time they did it. It was only for one night and it drew 60,000 people. This year it was on every night, every ten minutes, through Christmas.
All the bakeries and candy stores seemed to have their own version of the gingerbread house.