I’ve been meaning to post these photos of the Kobe Luminarie (神戸ルミナリエ) for some time now. The Luminarie is a yearly lights festival held in the city of Kobe (not far from Osaka).
Though held in December, the festival has nothing to do with Christmas. Actually, it’s held to commemorate the Great Hanshin Earthquake which struck Kobe in 1995. The festival was first held in that year, and was intended as a once of event, but due to its popularity has continued ever since. The Luminarie is a huge draw for tourists and millions of people come to see the show every year.
The lights are donated by the Italian Government and the installation is produced by Valerio Festi and Hirokazu Imaoka. Italy is also a country which has experienced damaging earthquakes, which perhaps provides an explanation as to why they would donate the lights to Kobe, but I haven’t been able to find specific information about this.
The installation includes hundreds of hand-painted, colourful lights, and it’s different each year. If you ever get the chance to see it, I’d definitely recommend it.
It’s worth braving the crowds and the long walk through the cordoned-off area of the streets when you reach the central area where the lights are. Italian opera is also played through speakers, which adds to the atmosphere. Though the abundance of couples enjoying the lights together made me a little sad to be there alone!
A Quick Update
Hey, so it’s been a while.
I thought I might just post a quick message about how things have been going. I’ll try not to go into too much detail, because most of my followers are probably more interested in school uniforms and sushi cats than my personal life, but I thought that maybe some of you would be wondering why I haven’t written any long posts lately.
While I was originally only planning on staying in Japan for one year, recently I’ve realised that returning to New Zealand isn’t really what I want to do, so I’ve decided to stay for longer (how long exactly is yet to be determined).
This has meant that I’ve had to break up with my long term boyfriend, which of course isn’t an easy thing to do. Despite this decision, we still tried to enjoy the time we had together while he was visiting, and had some fun times together.
I won’t try to pretend like it was one of those perfectly amicable breakups where nobody gets hurt. Maybe things would have been different if I’d been honest with myself about what I really wanted to do. However, we managed to work things out in the end, and we’re still going to be good friends, which is more than I could have wished for really.
These past couple of months have been pretty busy for me, and there’s plenty of stuff that I’d like to write about, so I’ll try to fill you in retrospectively with some interesting posts when I have the time.
Anyway, that’s probably enough from me now. I’ll finish with a big thank you to the people who’ve been reading, liking and sharing my posts. I really appreciate your support!
It’s hard to believe it’s been three years already since the disastrous earthquake and tsunami swept through northern Japan.
While the area is slowly recovering, there are still many people living in temporary housing and rebuilding efforts are ongoing.
This collection of photos from The Japan Times provides a snapshot of what the area is like today, as well as how people are remembering the disaster and dealing with the destruction it left in its wake.
English Words That Don’t Appear on Tests (試験に出ない英単語) is a little different from your standard English textbook…
It’s likely it won’t help you in school (ever). But while you might have a hard time using the example sentences in real life situations, they sure are entertaining, especially combined with the illustrations by artist Chino A.
You can see more of the textbook on Kotaku here and here.
Japanese artist Hikaru Cho (Chooo-San) transforms foods into other products with hyper-realistic paint.
At only 19 years old, the art school student’s work has already gone viral before, with a series of realistic body paintings, transforming the artist into a mutant with multiple eyes, a twisted mouth or zippers running down her skin.
Cho’s work is playful and creative, and she obviously has a good eye for detail. It’s likely the internet will be seeing more of her in future!
"Everyone loves Engrish, and everyone enjoys lampooning the machines that create it and the silly humans who wear it. But is it as funny when the tables are turned? What happens when non-Japanese deck themselves out in clothing with unintelligible characters on it, only to have the true meaning outed on the web for all to see?"
There’s some absolute gold here.
But hey, at least they didn’t get it tattooed on their skin.
This video from director and photographer Scott Gold has some amazing shots. Simply titled “January in Japan” (Nihon de wa Ichigatsu), the video reminds us how uniquely beautiful a country Japan can be.
If you have any interest in Japan (which you probably do, if you’re reading this), or if you just enjoy a good piece of cinematography, give it a watch.
There isn’t a dull moment in the seven minute running time, and the soundtrack is perfectly matched to the visuals.