Christmas has come early to Tokyo, as it has to most commercial centres in Japan -- as early as October in some places! But the commercial hub of Shinjuku makes sure that no-one misses the message.
At this store you can purchase that last-minute tacky Christmas-party costume or the latest in long-lasting, power-saving, multiple-sequencing LED tree lights.
The atmosphere isn't exactly festive on the narrow streets, where harried pedestrians bustle, marginalised by constant traffic and overshadowed by towering blocks that double as gaudy advertising hoardings.
But there are many cosy cafes in the side streets at which one may take a break and indulge in a seasonal drink such as a shortbread latte or a silver-ball-topped cappuccino. Couples are out in force enjoying the late-autumn sunshine before the real Christmas weather sets in.
In summary, Shinjuku is much less dressed up for Christmas than some of its up-market neighbours such as Omotesando, Aoyama and Roppongi (see my next blog), but it knows how to have a good time -- or at least its many pachinko parlours, 'fashion health' centres and discount stores are one version of a good time. If these are too much for you, simply let the crowds lead you through the skyscrapers to eateries that range from Kansai noodles through Korean barbeque to top-flight European cuisine and Southeast-Asian buffets.
Japan Tokyo Shopping Japan blog
Sunday, November 26, 2006