Japan from the inside out

Nippon Noel 2008!

Posted by ampontan on Friday, December 26, 2008

JAPAN MAY NOT BE a Christian country, but that doesn’t stop folks from getting festive during Christmas. On the contrary, no one understands festivals better than the Japanese, and they’ve turned their Christmas season into a winter festival of light. They’ve also added some unique touches of their own to the global celebration.

Winter Vista Illumination

Winter Vista Illumination

There is no example more apt than that of the Winter Vista Illumination held at this time every year at the Showa Kinen Park in Tokyo. The entree is several decorative lighting displays throughout the park grounds based on the theme of outer space, including those representing constellations and the Milky Way galaxy.

The park’s symbol is a large fountain, shown in the photo, and this is linked by watercourse to four other fountains. Not only are the fountains illuminated, but the watercourses themselves are festooned with lights. The gingko trees lining the waterways are also hung with lights to create a tunnel effect.

But a Christmas lighting display requires a touch of Christmas, does it not? The park provides considerably more than a touch with a 4.5-meter-high Christmas tree made from 6,545 champagne glasses layered more than 30 rows high, and two nearby 2.8-meter trees created with a combined 6,600 champagne glasses.

And of course it can’t be a Winter Vista Illumination unless the trees are lighted, so all three of the Christmas trees are presented in bright colors. But since the light and glass would be a bit static on their own, and they’ve already got that flowing water and those spraying fountains on the premises to begin with, and those champagne glasses are just begging to be filled with bubbly, they came up with a more dynamic display by assembling the illuminated champagne glass trees so as to have water directed to the top. There it spills over to fill the initial level of glasses, which overflow, sending the water cascading down to the next row, and the next, until it reaches the bottom.

For those who find this a bit overwhelming, there is a smaller, three-level mini-tree made with about 100 champagne glasses nestled among the gingko trees. It sounds positively relaxing in comparison.

For those who find this to be insufficient and prefer a more explosive Noel, there was a Christmas-themed fireworks display with 500 fireworks every night from the 20th to the 24th. The outer space lighting and champagne glass Christmas trees were displayed through Christmas night.

Who wouldn’t love to see in greater detail what those illuminated Christmas trees made of champagne glasses and overflowing water looked like? While there are several videos of this attraction on the web, I thought most were either poorly done or were technically recalcitrant. Here’s the one I consider the best. You have to scroll down the page a bit. The notation says it lasts two minutes, but it ends after about one minute every time I play it.

And while we’re at it, let’s not forget:

The Ghost of Christmas Past!

Last year I offered several posts featuring some extremely imaginative and attractive public Christmas trees in Japan. The posts are still around, and the photographs look even better with the improved WordPress software. So let’s break open the Christmas photo album!

Here you can see an attractive department store tree, a tree trimmed with people instead of ornaments, and an abstract art tree.

Here is a Christmas tree lit by an electric eel.

This post uses polls and surveys to explain how the Japanese view Christmas and how they prefer to enjoy the season. It is adorned with photos of a tree made of fishing boat flags and an abstract tree that is both bold and elegant.

How about a tree trimmed with live chrysalises, or another one with seashells? Try here.

This story about two kinds of Christmas cakes—only one edible—also has a photo of a Christmas tree decorated with uchiwa, or hand fans.

Don’t pass up this post showing how the Japanese turn old PET bottles into Christmas trees. They all look great, including the huge one outside of a Fukuoka City department store.

Here’s a poinsettia tree accompanying a story about a Christmas tree for a Japanese family living in Seoul, showing that the Christmas spirit is present in Northeast Asia.

And you won’t want to miss this post with a stunning Christmas objet, a tree of pearls, Christmas roots, and the Christmas decorations on a bridge built in 1839.

What are you waiting for? Get down and get clicky!

Here’s hoping that Santa sent down your chimney just what you asked for, whether you sat on his knee or not! Merry Christmas!

One Response to “Nippon Noel 2008!”

  1. Go! Japan said

    I am very happy to see your blog that you make great contribution to tell the world what is going in Japan.

    Could you please consider to translate one of Japanese news on Nanjin Mass. on Sankei Shinbun reported that China agreed to take off three photographs which were in question for long time.

    I saw this article on BBC news website before, but it got erased.

    Thank you

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