Friday, December 18, 2009

Happy holiday season!

I do love this time of  year since my childhood. As a homemaker, I'm very busy to get things done, but I've enjoyed this season as much as possible. I like to go out especially at night when the city acquires a wondrous air.

First of all, I went to enjoy "Kobe Luminarie."
(YouTube Kobe Luminarie 2009)
Have you ever been there? If so, how did you like it? It is a special illuminations displayed for two weeks in the former half of December. I hear it is originally from Italy and the art director is an Italian. Famous streets of Kobe are lined with millions of lights and the moment of lighting up is breathtakingly beautiful above all. Solemn church music evoked sadness in me for a moment because I remembered Kobe Luminarie started as a memorial service to the victims of the Great Hanshin Earthquake, and to encourage people as well. While walking under the canopy of the arts of lights, my heart was filled with someting warm in spite of the cold creeping from the sea.

A week before Christmas is one of few days in a year when
you find me making a cake or baking cookies. On Christmas Eve, I will casually go with my husband to an orchestral music concert held at a library. Right after Christmas, I put away all the (modest) Christmas decorations and displays at home, and start to tackle with preparations for the New Year.

Over the New Year, I'll keep up family customs as usual. New Year's Eve is spent at home, watching TV , eating "toshikoshi soba" which literally means "year passing buckwheat noodles," and listening to " joya no kane," or toll bells which ring out old year and ring in new year, at midnight. On a New Year Day, my son and his wife join us, my husband, daughter and me. We wish each other's good luck and health of the year, have a feast, and then worship a shrine in the neighborhood. I look forward to seeing again a lovely white horse there. On the second day, I go to my mom's home; it's once-a-year family reunion. Next year we'll celebrate her "sotsuju," or 90th birthday. On the third day, I visit in-laws' and pay a visit to family grave. I like the warmth and cheerfulness of family together of these three days.

With best wishes for a joyful Christmas and a happy New Year.


  1. I have been to Luminarie once. Actually I had been skeptical about it before going to see it, wondering if it'd be really worthwhile but when the light was turned on all at once,I burst into cheers. It surely gave us joy, energy, hope and dream.

  2. I have been there once,too. Its design was really fantastic, especially the last place. I was convinced to hear that an Italian made it. Those illumination warmed me. It is good custum to meet near relatives on New Year. isn't it?

  3. I have been "Kobe Luminarie" with my friend from kobe Mikage. It was very cold night but I didn't feel cold because of many visitors, we couldn't walk easily, like a crushed in. The Luminarie encourages people who suffered from a big earthquake.

  4. I haven't seen Luminarie at all. But I can imagine how wonderful it is. Whenever Nara has light festival, they use candles. I feel Luminarie symbolizes something very special in Kobe. Do you know there are trains decorated with beautiful pictures of Luninarie in Kintetsu Line?

  5. Snowwhite, I haven't seen the trains with Luminarie pictures. Direct trains between Kobe and Nara are very convenient and speedy without being bothered to change trains. Nara and Kobe, each has its own personality. I think candle lights suit Nara. I like watching faint wavering flame of a candle. Kobe luminarie looks too gorgeous, but maybe the city arranged brilliance as strong as that magnitude of earthquake to boost people's spirit from that catasrtophe. Luminarie suits the image of Kobe, refined, fashionable cosmopolitan port town. What do you think?

  6. I have not visited a light festival,“Kobe Luminarie”. The illuminations I have ever seen are only the picture on a TV screen. It is beautiful! Kobe has greatly bounced back from the strike of the Hanshin earth quake. Many people in Kobe are very powerful and have bound together against the disaster. The bright lights look as if the symbol of the brave is displayed in the dark. Wishing you the joy of family, and a new year filled with good health!

  7. Luminarie which started to cheer up the earthquake-torn city is becoming one of the biggest events in Kobe. This festival seems to match Kobe perfectly. Kobe is home to foreigners, so it has a lot of exotic flavours.
    I also love the flickering light of candles casting a warm and soft glow. I agree with you, Nara looks more beatutiful in candle lights than in electrical lights.


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