Light fantastic

I’d like my last post of 2014 to be filled with light:

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Living in Japan, that’s a much easier task than I would have thought: It turns out that the Japanese love light at this time of year.

Blue light:

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Red light:

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White light:

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And even, um, bunny light:

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All of this light is a surprise to me. I didn’t have any idea that there would be spectacular public displays of light this time of year throughout Tokyo. We Americans on base have done ourselves proud with some pretty flashy displays on our homes — for our own house we opted for tasteful white roping paired with greenery — but the real show happens well outside the gates. There are dozens of displays in the area that we could choose to see. Some ended at Christmas but others will continue for several months into the New Year.

Last week, Wil, Liam and I saw a beautiful display that stretched throughout the downtown Roppongi neighborhood of Tokyo. The blue lights shimmered on a plaza that included a glittery waterfall curtain. The red and white lights took turns adorning the trees that lined a busy city street. I loved gazing out at the Mori garden display from Roppongi Hills because the holiday lights there were framed from above by the city lights.

That display came at the end of a day which included sipping gluhwein while perusing the booths at a (very) small German Christmas market in Roppongi. We had also toured a Tim Burton exhibit at the Mori Arts Center Gallery which concluded with a spectacular view of downtown.

We also spent an evening walking through Showa Kinen Park in Tachikawa. (Showa is the amazing and massive Emperor’s park I blogged about this summer.) A portion of the park is transformed into a winter wonderland that wide-eyed children and their parents can stroll through. Some of the displays were clearly Christmas-themed, showing trees and tree-like structures, but others, including the bunny display, were simply celebrations of light that may have made obvious sense to the Japanese visitors but left us somewhat confused. No matter. Spending an evening walking through a maze created by Christmas lights, admiring sparkling lights reflecting on a fountain and watching an entire field of light trees dance in time to music was a wonderful way to usher in our holiday week.

Thank you for reading this blog and for sharing 2014 with our family. We’ve experienced a lot of change this year, both good and bad, and I’ve appreciated the chance to share our journey with all of you. Although we won’t be able to immerse ourselves each day in 2015 in the kind of light these shows so vividly portrayed, I do hope for us — and for you — that the coming year will bring its own share of light-filled moments.

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