The other reason why I wanted to come to Tokyo was to see the Christmas illuminations! Unfortunately I couldn’t see all of the ones I wanted due to a lack of time, but there’s always next year. 😉
It was my first time seeing the Shibuya Blue Cave illumination. It’s a bit crowded so it may be hard to get a picture, but it is worth all the madness.
This doesn’t count as an illumination, but I went to Disneyland with my college friend once and they had a beautiful Christmas tree. We went after 3PM on a Saturday when it is cheaper than a full-day pass, but honestly I don’t think it was too worth it because it was really crowded and there is a lot of construction going on. The decorations were pretty at least.
The Caretta Shiodome illumination never fails to impress. This year’s theme was Beauty and the Beast and it was amazing because you could hear the Disney music and it felt like you were actually at Disneyland. I wonder how much they paid Disney for the rights…
The Roppongi Midtown illumination is also gorgeous as usual, but I wish they made it a little more different every year. They might tweak it a bit, but it definitely isn’t as dramatically different like the Shiodome one. I recommend walking around Roppongi as well because there are some pretty trees other than just at this place.
The same night, I also went to the beautiful Yebisu Garden Palace which is known for its amazing chandelier straight out of a fairytale. It is also very crowded so it is hard to get a picture.
My last stop was outside Tokyo Station. I should have also walked around Marunouchi but didn’t think about it at the time.
I just love outside Tokyo Station on the Marunouchi side. They have a lot of benches that you can sit on (not many in wintertime because of the illumination) and I remember sitting here one night after a sad day during my internship. It was a funny night because some random salary man came up to be and tried to invite me for a drink and a dinner (but I politely refused), but I remember just gazing at the pretty night Tokyo skylight and thinking that I really love the city even though it is so lonely at times.
Actually thinking about it, going and visiting Christmas lights alone can be a little bit lonely, so I hope to visit with friends next time. Although Tokyo is such a busy and bustling city on the outside, I think it can also be incredibly lonely, especially if you are not strong enough in your language skills. People are so busy in Tokyo that sometimes I think it is hard for them to stop and smell the roses and have deep relationships. Don’t get me wrong, my Japanese is above average and definitely more than conversational level, but not good enough for me to fully express my raw emotions like that in English. I think I’m realizing more and more than I actually do crave deep relationships and am not satisfied with just superficial ones; I don’t need a deep relationship with everyone, but I would like to be able to connect with someone on a deeper level in my second language someday.
This trip also made me realize that Tokyo is no longer a vacation for me. I would always come to Tokyo for any reason, but it is more a place of familiarity and work than a place of pure relaxation. Walking around the city, I remember the restaurants I ate at when I was stressed after work, or the shops I would go to to forget my worries, etc. I also remember the places where I made new friends and discovered new things. Tokyo is a wonderful place to me and I hope to try living there someday, but it is definitely not a vacation anymore.
Going to Japan for a week was a great way to end 2017. Now onto the next adventure (coming real soon)!