Lighting up the night

For those of you who don’t know, in Japan things get a wonderful kind of crazy in November. Streets, gardens, parks, and civic areas light up. Some tastefully appointed classical-style gardens focus more on up-lighting.

Garden lights and water

Garden lights









As for the rest, there’s not a lot of middle ground here. And depending on your bent it’s meh—or magical. Way too over the top or utterly splendid excess.  To see an example click here.

On dark chilly nights people come out to take pictures and enjoy a stroll that they otherwise wouldn’t attempt. Whaaa? Walk around in a park in the dark? Are you crazy? But lit up, it’s a destination.

After downsizing from cul-du-sac where the folks liked to do up their houses to a condo, I miss that light-up vibe in my neighbourhood. Our street doesn’t make much effort.

Though it seemed much too early in spite of being well past Hallowe’en, I decided to create a restrained (you could say puny) version within my home: one string of fairy lights in the house plant. Not satisfied, I was compelled to set up the tree. Just the tree and the lights, nothing more.

Houseplant light up

Tree and painting light up









I love the way light throws shadows on the ceiling and walls, gilds edges, glows from surfaces, and reflects in the glass in the picture frames. Happy surprise, the bamboo painting, too, looks as if it has been decked out for the season.

I love the way light—even one candle—changes everything about darkness, not only in a room but also the mind and heart. I love the Promethean defiance. No matter how dark it gets we mortals take our feeble fires and defy the black heavens. With only one flame we say: Ha! Take that!

This entry was posted in Essays, Fiction, Poetry, Japan, Travel & Culture and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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