Tokyo Christmas Lights display: Shinjuku southern terrace bakery. Vienna & Bratislava Goth travel video.

cute face purse, mercibeaucoup furry bag

‘Tis the season to be jolly! I had a wonderful time in Tokyo, working on a European TV shoot. During my downtime, I took photos of the city’s Christmas light displays and cute holiday gifts, which I’ll share with you in this post.

Another reason to make merry: my Vienna and Bratislava travel episode is published on the front page of Business Insider! Please enjoy my latest video (featuring Austrian Gothlolis) and the “bokeh-ful” photos below.

Christmas lights japan, fashion snaps

This wall of lights was the perfect place to shoot my new :3-faced purse, from the Mercibeaucoup store in Marui Shinjuku Annex. Isn’t it darling? This dog-like creature comes in tan-colored faux fur as well, but I chose the blue one to match my current hair.

sugar skull sweater, sourpuss cardigan

I went for an all-purple coordinate.

Sugar skull purple cardigan: gifted by Sourpuss Clothing. (I also own their cat-face cardigan, which you can buy online.)
Plaid purple skirt: Peace Now, similar to this one available for sale
Faux fur eggplant colored scarf: Holt Renfrew. Almost identical to this scarf.

shinjuku southern terrace christmas tree lights

My business partner Naomi shot these photos of me in Shinjuku Southern Terrace. During the holiday season, this passageway is lit up with little LEDs, which snake around the trees and walls.

christmas lights bokeh, xmas lights

Xmas displays are the perfect opportunity to produce “bokeh”, or these nifty glowing balls of lights.

tokyo japan christmas decorations, trees

In Japan, not very many people identify as Christians. Nevertheless, Christmas decorations and lights are everywhere. This impressive annual display turns the Southern Terrace into a dream-land.

christmas penguins, shinjuku tokyo japan

You’ll rarely see religious iconography. Instead, the stars of the show are cute winter creatures… like these penguins!

cute xmas displays japan

Judging from the holiday goods for sale, the Japanese put “kawaii” above all else.

cute bear christmas tree decoration

This Xmas ornament is a perfect example: it incorporates a teddy bear, stars and bon-bons.

cute japanese reindeer sticker

Or how about this kawaii Rudolph the Reindeer sticker, from a 100 yen store.

tokyo store windows, mylord

Or a Santa Claus pig. People do exchange Christmas gifts and have gatherings with friends, but not many attend church.

Christmas Russian Dolls japan

Nonetheless, there’s a merry feeling in the air. It’s a great time of the year to pick up little presents, like these Russian Doll cookies.

gontran cherrier tokyo, artisan boulanger

The bright Southern Terrace is home to one of the best bakeries in Tokyo: Gontran Cherrier. This window image makes me think of “The Little Matchstick Girl.”

tokyo japan gingerbread cookies

I’m a big fan of gingerbread, and pressed my nose to this display.

christmas cookies tokyo, shinjuku bakery

Gontran Cherrier has many pumpkin baked goods, including pumpkin curry buns. I also found yuzu cheesecake and black squid ink pizza.

tree shaped croissants

Croissants get a Christmas tree twist, and are dusted with powdered sugar snow.

japanese department store display, odakyu

All over Tokyo, you’ll find wonderful department store displays. This child seems to like the steampunk-y window at Odakyu.

laduree christmas box

Ritzy boutiques like Laduree aren’t the only ones that get into the Christmas spirit.

algonquins blue goth boots

Even the Goth Punk store Algonquins “makes the Yuletide gay.”

smiley face animal purse, kawaii bags

I did quite a bit of “me to me” shopping in Tokyo. My funny-faced Mercibeaucoup bag is among my favorite new purchases.

lumine japan, christmas tree

Lots more Japan winter fashion to show you, including a Nightmare Before Christmas collection from Lumine.

shallow depth of field, bokeh xmas lights

My faux fur purse is large enough to hold my Sony DSLR a700 camera, which I’m taking everywhere with me now. (The extra weight is worth it, for photos like these.)

rainbow bokeh lights, shallow focus

To achieve bokeh and shallow focus, I use a prime lens (Sony 50mm f/1.8). A quick way to achieve this effect: get in aperture mode (A on the dial), and stop down to a low f-number.

bokeh effect, photography japan

I shot this string of rainbow lights right outside the Shinjuku station east exit.

shinjuku neon sign

The “Shinjuku” neon sign, with a traditional man and woman, always makes me smile. Isn’t Japan amazing during the winter?

PS: My newest travel episode, about Vienna and Bratislava’s cool culture, is released! Watch me hang out with Austrian Gothic Lolitas, visit a rockabilly stores, and drink absinthe in a Slovakian bar.

bratislava slovakia graffiti art

I leave you with a bonus photo of Slovakia’s spooky street art. Would you do a European train trip like mine? I hope you learned something new from our Business Insider video; let us know your feedback in the comments. Happy holidays!



  1. Trent
    Posted December 19, 2013 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

    Ooh Ooh Ooh !!

  2. 99balloons
    Posted December 19, 2013 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

    <3 <3

  3. Kelly
    Posted December 19, 2013 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

    This was so much fun

  4. Violet
    Posted December 19, 2013 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

    nice video!! great work as always!!

    • lacarmina
      Posted December 21, 2013 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

      glad you like the videos! 1 more to come from eastern Europe.

  5. Sara
    Posted December 19, 2013 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

    I love it!!

  6. Tay
    Posted December 19, 2013 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

    I would love to know how you became a travel writer.

    • lacarmina
      Posted December 21, 2013 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

      Blogging leading to journalism opportunities, and years of working at it!

  7. mimi
    Posted December 19, 2013 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

    it’s da most wonderful time of da yearrrr

  8. Silver Base
    Posted December 20, 2013 at 12:37 am | Permalink

    O.O! O.O!! O.O!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    oh …..

    • lacarmina
      Posted December 21, 2013 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

      Oooooh lala! :)

      • Silver Base
        Posted December 22, 2013 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

        LOL you suit with blue and violet too much *O*~

  9. Jolly
    Posted December 20, 2013 at 2:33 am | Permalink

    Pretty lights
    Tokyo is best

  10. Israel
    Posted December 20, 2013 at 3:20 am | Permalink

    love & soupoort #LaCarmina

  11. Cinnamon Zilvy
    Posted December 20, 2013 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    Your :3-faced purse is so cute!! I really like it * – * kawaii~ ♥

  12. Lee
    Posted December 20, 2013 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    Stunning pics you go girls.

  13. Silvia
    Posted December 20, 2013 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

    it’s really cute!! *__*

  14. Cristina
    Posted December 20, 2013 at 6:33 pm | Permalink


  15. Sarah
    Posted December 20, 2013 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

    NEED <3

  16. Tricia
    Posted December 20, 2013 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

    AHH adorable!!

  17. Michael
    Posted December 20, 2013 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

    H NO!!!!! Now you dye Basil BLUE!!! Blue Scottish Fold kitty!!
    Our pal Stacey of Stacy Toxic-Sphider Lepage Toxic Blossom Japanese Street Fashion shop turns the big 3 today. Three times TEN that is! I think she’s a bit bummed… Send her some Kawaii love, why don’t you! And a rub from Basil!

  18. BC
    Posted December 21, 2013 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

    So cute!

  19. Stuart
    Posted December 21, 2013 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

    If I was 300 years younger;)

  20. Daniela
    Posted December 21, 2013 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

    Really good post! I love the photos ;)

    • lacarmina
      Posted December 21, 2013 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

      Thanks, Daniela. We’re trying to up the quality of the pics!

  21. Ursula
    Posted December 22, 2013 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

    Merry Christmas to you.

  22. Cristine
    Posted December 22, 2013 at 11:19 pm | Permalink

    Awesome I wish I were there

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