It is rapidly approaching Christmas here in Tokyo, and as divorced as the city is from anything verging on religion, it is a time for absolute indulgence that is far closer to the seasonal celebration of Saturnalia than you could possible hope for.  Add into the mix the over-turning of social norms, i.e. the sempai x kohai relationship at the constant stream of  Christmas parties and I have often thought that the spirit of the season is closer pagan origins – but I digress.  The other major difference in Christmas culture between Japan and the West is that gift giving is largely reserved for couples so you don’t quite get the same shopping culture in the run-up to Christmas, even on Christmas Eve there are few crowds, a situation that is reversed in the New Year where the true face of Japanese consumerism rears its heads and people (occasionally literally) shop till they drop.

That doesn’t stop the brand boutiques having fun with the season, and they largely use it as an opportunity to give thanks to their valued customers.  For example we get a stream of little presents sent to us here at our HQ from our favorite brands, largely to say thank you, but also to keep us on side for another year.  After last year when shop windows were a little more restrained due to on-going energy conservation, it was nice to see that this year shops were having a little more fun, and still trying to find creative ways express their own identity.

We took a walk round Harajuku and Omotesando as we were finishing up our Christmas shopping and snapped a couple of windows as we went, hopefully giving you a flavor of Christmas in Tokyo – enjoy:

Most foreign brands go for a traditional mock fashion editorial window display for Christmas but year on year Moncler tends to come up with the most innovative displays in all of Omotesando.

On the other hand most small and local brands are relatively low-key.

Wut Berlin keeping it lo-fi.

Comme Des Garcons has gone for a “holiday explosion” instead of anything connected to Christmas tradition – you can read more about that here.

Tornado Mart was looking distinctly reserved this year to reflect their current output.

Anniversaire always has some of the boldest illuminations – which are continued all the way inside this vast shop.

One of my personal favorite haunts for Christmas gifts – Bloody Mary.

Stay tuned for our Christmas message on Christmas Day (featuring WrittenAfterwards) and let me take this opportunity to wish you a Merry Christmas however you choose to mark the season!

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