Christmas time is almost here again and although I feel there really isn’t a Christmas in Japan in the traditional sense, a certain unique spirit of it is evident all around us. One of the things nearly everyone in Kansai is inundated with is festivals generating mind-boggling throngs of people and Kobe Luminarie is no exception.
Originally conceived as a method for improving the spirit of Kobe and its residents after the great Hanshin Earthquake in 1995, Kobe Luminarie became a symbol of solidarity and hope. Many of the young couples who attend it now each night for a date were barely old enough to remember that far back clearly, suggesting fifteen years really is a long time. As a result, the classic intention of Kobe Luminarie has changed quite dramatically.
Luminarie used to be held throughout all of December, culminating in a beautiful finale festival on December 24th. Unfortunately, in recent years the crowds have become unmanagable, and together with the fact that the cities of Osaka and Kyoto both have introduced their own versions of Luminarie, Kobe is now only open for an nice evening stroll from December 2nd to the 13th. Today is the 10th, so that leaves just this weekend to get it done. The weather should be very nice, though a little cold so get out there with your favorite other and enjoy a pleasant evening bundled up together. Obviously if you live in Kansai, you probably didn’t need to be reminded, but for those of you in other parts of the country, if you’re coming into Kobe for a visit, there’ll be an extra nice treat waiting for you.
Martin Werner Zander, Partner in the Smith’s School of English Company
Owner, Smith’s School in Kotoen
月謝制のスミス英会話 甲東園校 仁川 逆瀬川 門戸厄神