Kobe Luminarie

Trip Start Jul 27, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Japan  ,
Sunday, December 10, 2006

I went to see the famous Kobe Illumination today with a Japanese friend from Osaka.  We weaved through the city of Kobe, waiting in line for over 2 hours.  I hadn't seen Ai since the language camp in Richland center so we had a lot to talk about and the two hours flew by.  Luckily, since it was so crowded we didn't really feel that cold.  The lights were beautiful.  It started with a grand opening and continued to light up a few blocks as it led us to a park where there was a huge display for the grand finale.  At the end of the show there were endless vendors set up selling festival foods and taking advantage of the hoard of visitors. 
The Kobe Luminarie is a light festival that is held in Kobe every year in December for approximately 2 weeks to commemorate the rebuilding of the city after the Great Hanshin earthquake that took place on January 17th of 1995.  Although the earthquake happened in January, it took until December to repair the city- which is why they hold the light festival at this time each year.  It was meant as a solace the first year to commemorate those lost in the earthquake and to celebrate the renovation of the city after the damage.  The event was a big hit and has kept occurring ever since.  The designs and displays change each year and rumor has it that the displays keep getting more and more extensive.  I was told by someone that this year the city had cut back the budget for the event since it had become so out of hand in the past- but from seeing the Luminarie, I don't think anyone noticed any budget cuts.  
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