Memory of Light

Kobe Luminarie / Kobe, Japan / Photograph by Tica, 2013 Winter

I appreciated how Japanese enjoy their living and natural beauty. Each season, there is different scenery worth memorizing and experiencing, such as Sakura (cherry blossom) in spring and maples in autumn. However, it is not that Japan has the most beautiful scenery among all countries, but the existence of space and time they spare for these beauties that form the tradition and atmosphere of enjoyment of the beauty.

Even in the winter, when flowers are nowhere and temperature drops drastically, a series of winter illumination are held by Japanese to decorate the cold and cheerless. The beauty and the warmness of these events have heated the coldness and left unforgettable images on people’s hearts.

Kobe Luminarie is a light festival held in December in Kobe annually since 1995, in memory of the Great Hanshin Earthquake in that year. The light-up symbolizes the hope, recovery and renovation from the severe damage of the earthquake, when thousands of people died and supply of electricity was seriously short. The lights are composed of hundreds of thousands of painted lights designed and installed by Italian artist Valerio Festi and Japanese Hirokazu Imaoka, and were donated by Italian government, which brought its italian name “Luminarie”.

Each year, the main theme and design of lights differs a bit, for 2013, the theme is “Memory of Light”. Walking with crowds in the tunnel of lights, I felt the warmth and love around. During the two-week festival, millions of people came, donated small amount of money and generous love, and brought back great memory and beautiful impression of the recovered Kobe.

Kobe — energetic to welcome people, harmonious with different cultures, and brave to proceed forward — is a city with love and hope.