Since we moved here we’ve been hearing about the wonders of Japan’s tallest Christmas tree—the center point for Miyagase’s annual Christmas festival. This is most likely our last Christmas in Japan, so a month ago I freaked out and signed myself up for every winter tour I could find. Several friends had the same idea. Merry Christmas! Miyagase Dam was lovely at sunset and surreal at night. A long pedestrian bridge floated in a sea of twinkle lights once the sun went down. A technicolor fountain shimmered and shifted. A huge crowd waited at the top of the park’s stairs and simultaneously gasped when the Christmas tree was illuminated. Soon after, music began to play, dance groups performed, and a glowing train wove in and out of the decorations.
Japanese festival food is kind of hit or miss. This festival was a hit, with grilled mochi, yakitori, yakisoba, and hot chocolate (Nicole had two cups)! Hardly any squid booths!
A glowing red heart framed couples posing for romantic Christmas pictures. Japan treats Christmas Eve the way American’s celebrate Valentine’s Day—it’s a romantic couple’s holiday. One of my Japanese friends told me Christmas was fine for girls with boyfriends, but she wasn’t very excited. I copied Mary and posed with a phone picture of Chris, who was still deployed. It’s a little difficult trying to get into the spirit of Christmas in an Asian country with Chris deployed when the lights don’t mean anything. Instead of sacred or joyous or reverent or family-filled, it felt somewhat pointless and trivial. One thing it did have going for it was the cutest tiny Japanese girls you’ve ever seen dressed up in Santa outfits doing a little dance. They were followed by a bunch of 10-year-olds with sequined gloves dancing to Space Cowboy, Lady Gaga’s Disco Stick and the rest of her repertoire. The Americans exchanged looks. Do they know what these songs are about? Ha ha, oh well. Kawaii!! Merry Christmas from Miyagase!