See all posts in this series via the '12days' tag.
Christmas in Japan. It's a strange, wonderful, unusual, glitzy, commercialised, anticlimactic thing. As you're going to find out, over this and my next 11 posts on the subject.
I've decided to open with a photo compilation of Christmas trees in Tokyo.
Yep, that's me. Hi.
For coffee shops, restaurants, bars, hotels, department stores, and basically every other building open to the public, Christmas decorations are serious business.
I've seen marble pillars wrapped in tinsel. A giant light-up robin in a Santa costume. Real snow imported just to create one authentic snowman.
And then there are the trees.
Big trees, bigger trees, ice blue trees. Trees covered in so many baubles I thought they WERE the tree. Trees with oddly specific themes, and trees with miles of twinkly lights. Trees that should be decorated entirely with baubles that look like trees. (Treeception.)
What gave me the idea to start taking pictures of them? I couldn't take 5 steps without seeing one. This madness clearly needed to be documented.
(Selfie above: mirrored ceiling above the Snoopy-themed Christmas tree at Marui Yurakucho.)
The Tokyu railway company's Christmas theme this year is Disney. They own a lot of buildings, and all of them have trees in or around them somewhere. Mickey gets a tree, naturally, as do all of the Disney princesses. I got a reasonable shot of the rose-covered Sleeping Beauty version.
As explained with my first photo, the theme of the tree at the Marui department store in Yurakucho is Snoopy. It's massive, taking up a decent chunk of the ground floor lobby. Here's a closer look at the decorations:
This next tree's from Takashimaya, a department store in Shinjuku. It's not cheap in there, so for Christmas they've gone big. Behind it, you can just about make out the large animatronic white reindeer holding a Christmas present. Not creepy at all...
And then we come to the trees I don't even remember taking photos of:
This isn't even close to approaching the number of trees I've spotted over the last month. Not all of them are that easy to snap. Turns out loads of other people also want photos...
And I've left out the decorations that aren't trees. Clothing store ZARA's Shinjuku branch has a shop window full of melted disco balls. Louis Vuitton is balancing handbags on the heads of robotic puffins. Come to think of it, I could get a whole other blog post out of that.
If you've seen a crazy Christmas tree in Japan, tweet me! I might add suggestions to this post.