Looking for Christmas feelz in Japan? Or maybe somewhere to faceplant on ice?
I have a place for you!
It’s a perfect spot for enjoying the Christmas Spirit in Japan, and it’s at the Red Brick Building in Yokohama. Where you can see these kind of displays:
I went with a friend — let’s call her Zanna — who asked to meet and go there together. Not only was the weather perfect and the skies clear, but the company were as great as the illuminations.
Before we started looking around the festival, we stopped at the Art Rink and bought our tickets in advance.
Then we headed to look around the festival and the various vendors. Most had the word, “Lecker” displayed proudly outside or on their stall. Since Zanna is German, she tried to explain to me the meaning and this how that went:
At first, she pointed at the word and said, “delicious”.
I was confused and asked, “What’s Lecker?”
She replied, “It’s delicious.”
“Yes, but what is it?”
We were having two different conversations at this point. I thought Lecker was a type of food and wanted to know what it was made of. She thought she was explaining the meaning.
So I continued, “Yes, but what do you put in Lecker?”
Zanna stared at me in confusion. “You don’t put anything in it. It’s delicious.”
“Is it sweet? Is salty?” I asked.
“No, it’s just delicious.”
Finally, things cleared up when she said, “It means ‘delicious’.”
“Oh!” I said. “Lecker is the word for ‘delcious’ in German.”
“Yes,” Zanna replied with a nod, confused why I was so surprised. After all, that’s what she had kept repeating.
We stopped for german sausages at one of the vendors and headed for the tables to share them. Zanna was impressed, they tasted pretty close to what one would find in Germany. When we finished eating, we went inside for apple pie at Granny Smiths.
Yummy, it was so lecker!
After a brief tour of the shops, we head to the Art Rink and put on our rental skates which are not the cleanest. You get what you pay for.
I got a little bit bigger size than I needed because Japanese shoes are always a struggle for me. (My feet are a tad too big).
After a few rounds on the rink, my body started to remember how to skate and I got more confident out there. I used to roller blade a lot in my youth and ice skating didn’t feel that different to me.
It was a lot of fun with Zanna who had a delightful humor. She kept encouraging me to show off my fantastic “faceplanting” skills and I responded, “After you.”
So many fell on the ice out there. You had to dodge them. The ice was very rough from all the skating. They don’t clean it every hour apparently. Talk about the ultimate dating spot. Tons of couples were out in force, colliding into each other and the walls.
One girl broke down into tears on the rink in front of her boyfriend and kept crying in Japanese, “This is too scary!”
He had to take her off to the side and calm her down.
A lot of the High School girls wore their skirts to show off their legs and when they fell, they got to show off their scrapes knees as well.
There were two guys who looked like professional skaters. One had the lean figure of most figure skaters and you could tell knew how to do figure skating. The other might have been a figure skater or speed skater.
They both were completely at ease on the ice. The one in the white jacket wore a face mask most of the time, but when he left the rink briefly and took it off, a couple guys approached him and asked to take selfies with them.
He obliged, and then quickly put the mask back on. I wonder if he was some kind of local celebrity. He seemed to want to hide his identity and whenever he removed his masks, people would come up and ask for pictures.
Neither Zanna and I had any idea who he was. Maybe a local hero?
It makes me more suspicious that he was indeed a professional skater of some sort. Clearly, he was known.
Not really skating. More like gliding along on the ice while tightly gripping the wall and trying not to collide with someone. It’s amazing fun! The fear of injury really motivates!
Those skates had laces that were tough to tie. I had to have help from Zanna.
The view of the Yokohama skyline during around walk from the station to the Red Brick Building.
A Christmas light display near the Yokohama Landmark Building.
This is trick eye art on top of the landmark building.
This is Yokohama before industrialization took hold and altered Yokohama bay. To this:
See the bridge in the right corner, that is what we walked across to reach the Yokohama Red Brick Building. If you look in the upper right corner you can see the art rink we skated on and the Red Brick Buildings themselves.
Have a Happy New Year everyone!