The mikan (みかん) is a kind of orange native to Japan, but also grown in China and other countries. It’s traditionally sold around the end of the year in Japan, and you can buy them in large bags or boxes. Does this sound familiar? In North America, it’s very common to buy Mandarin oranges in boxes for Christmas. Well, the mikan is a type of Mandarin orange. It’s also known as tangerine, satsuma orange, or even Japanese Mandarin orange.
Big bags of mikan.
With this, I close out the 2012 Picture of the Week. It was one extra, since I did two in one week sometime during the year. I just haven’t figured out when. Picture of the Week is not returning next year. However, I am doing another weekly series that’ll focus on Japan’s 47 prefectures plus the 5 largest cities to round out 52 weeks. I hope you enjoyed all 53 pictures!
Japan is home to many well-known companies, and is a commercial giant in the world. Japan is also home to many department stores. Sogo in Yokohama is one of the largest in the country, as is Takashimaya Times Square in Shinjuku. The Yokohama store of Takashimaya has 8 floors above ground and 2 underground floors. It contains many restaurants, a supermarket, and more. This picture was taken across the street from the store.
Just a little note about the numbering of this post. Somehow, I managed to get 52 pictures in 51 weeks. I’m not sure which week I posted 2 pictures. So, I’ll do a bonus picture next week.
Reflection on Takashimaya Yokohama store.
My previous post was about the cold winter we’re about to have here in Japan. Well, this morning, I saw something I’ve never seen in December here, frost. It’s usually not this cold in December. Frost and snow is usually around in January and February, not December. Also, it’s expected to be -3°C in the morning. Many people I’ve talked to in Japan have never felt a temperature colder than -10°C. I’ve experienced -42°C.
Japan has a lot of traditional culture, but it also has a lot of imported culture. One example is Christmas. However, it’s not entirely the same as in western countries. For example, it’s a day for couples to go on a date, or for children to receive gifts, whereas in Canada, it’s a day for family and everyone gets gifts. Also, Japanese people often eat Kentucky Fried Chicken on Christmas. Turkey is difficult to find in Japan, and even if they do, not everyone has an oven to roast it with. And if they do have an oven, it’s often not even big enough for a turkey! So, getting KFC is an alternative. But one thing’s the same, decorations. They’re everywhere! On my way home, I took a picture of this tree made of Christmas lights outside a factory.
Merry Christmas from a factory.
I never get tired of this view. One of the best things about living in Kanagawa is that Mt. Fuji can be seen from almost anywhere, as long as your view isn’t obstructed. If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you may recognise this view. On the left is Mt. Fuji covered with snow and some clouds, while the mountains in the foreground are the Tanzawa Mountains. I’ve climbed two mountains in this photo, Mt. Fuji and Mt. Oyama (it’s the peak on the left in the Tanzawa Mountains). No matter how many times I see this view, I am amazed. It is beautiful.
Mt. Fuji and the Tanzawa Mountains on a very clear day.
Japan is well known for its efficient and convenient train system. Anywhere you are, you’re likely to be able to take a train. In Metropolitan Tokyo, there are 882 train stations, 121 lines, and 40 million passengers per day. Shinjuku Station is the world’s busiest station with 3.64 million passengers per day. It’s amazing how well it works, though it is expected that there can be delays from time to time. This picture is the ticket gates of Futamatagawa Station in Yokohama on the Sotetsu Line. It has around 81,000 passengers per day.
Futamatagawa Station. Many stations are so convenient, they have a convenience store in the station.
If you haven’t noticed by now, this and the previous two Pictures of the Week have been titled using a single adjective. I’m using these to show what you can find in Japan. There’s modern, traditional, and now tall. I took this picture today while out at Minato Mirai in Yokohama. We went to the Okome Matsuri (Rice Festival) at Aka Renga Soko, which I’ll post about in the next few days. This picture is of a tall building, which is the tallest building in Japan, but not for long (one in Osaka will be slightly taller). Landmark Tower has been the tallest building in Japan for 20 years. I have posted about it before, but this was just such a beautiful day and wonderful conditions for this photo. The building’s 69th floor has an observatory which costs 1,000 yen to reach, but it gives some amazing views. I love tall buildings, and I hope to go to Tokyo Sky Tree next year.
The tall Landmark Tower with some autumn foliage.