December 9, 2010

K is for Kobe Luminarie

Almost exactly one year ago, on December 10, 2009, we were walking on the streets of Kobe after dinner, looking for what I thought was just a well-lit cathedral I had seen on a poster in the train coming over from Osaka earlier, when all of a sudden we found ourselves joining first dozens, then hundreds, then certainly many tens of thousands of people, all silently walking in the same direction on streets emptied of vehicles. We didn't know what was going on, but we sensed we were in for something special. 

After several blocks, crowd movers asked us to stop; we waited a few minutes, then we were motioned to walk on. As we turned the corner, this is what we saw. I was moved.

Kobe, 2009

After slowly, almost solemnly,  walking several blocks under the illuminated arches, listening to beautiful piped classical Baroque music, we all ended here, at the Kobe Cathedral. [Images look better enlarged.]


And this is looking back at the street we had walked up, many thousands still following us. I'm normally not very fond of being in a large crowd, but this was one of a handful of crowd experiences I treasure.


We learned that we had serendipitously dropped in on Kobe Luminarie, in memory of the Great Hanshin Earthquake on January 17, 1995. The 200,000 lights were donated by the Italian government and the design/installation was by Valerio Festi and Hirokazu Imaoka.

I am linking with Jenny's Alphabe-Thursday, where the letter of the week is K.

22 comments:

Evelyn said...

Pretty amazing.

JDaniel4's Mom said...

How beautiful!

ღღღ-Mumsy said...

That's gorgeous photos, and what a moving tribute!

EG Wow said...

What a magnificent display of lights! I'm so glad you had your camera with you!

gabe said...

wow, what a thing to "stumble" upon! A wonderful memory and beautiful photos!

cieldequimper said...

Fantastic surprise Francisca. I would have loved this. It's beautiful and I'm trying to imagine the music.

Nora Johnson said...

Hi again!

Magnificent installation! Breathtaking - such great pics too!
A great blog.


Happy Alphabe-Thursday,

XOXO Lola:)

Gattina said...

What a lucky coincidence ! it's so beautiful !

fredamans said...

WOW! I wish I could turn a corner and see that!

http://fredamans.blogspot.com/2010/12/alphabe-thursday-k-is-for.html

Jacob said...

I'm in awe! What an experience that must have been! I'm like you - don't like crowds, but also like you, I would have enjoyed this!

Beautiful photos, too, and yes, they should be enlarged to get the full effect!

You don't play golf? I thought all great entrepreneurs played golf! :-)

Jacob said...

Me again, "nature girl"! Heh, heh. But I definitely agree even though it appears infinitely easier for the male of the species to do was you suggest.

Although when Lois ran the NYC Marathon in 2003, certain runners had no qualms about simply draping themselves with a large black garbage bag and doing what they needed to do even though surrounded by 35,000 racing maniacs!

RedTedArt said...

Oh wow! Those are some amazing lights and a prefect way to celebrate "K"!

Maggy

Sue said...

Wow. You really got lucky. That is magnificent!

=)

Su-sieee! Mac said...

Very, very moving. I can just imagine it. Thank you. :-)
Happy Holidays!

Jo said...

wow! i just dont even know what to say ... it's breathtaking ... it must have been such a surreal experience .... the crowd, the lights ... everything ...

Annesphamily said...

A wonderful beautiful find! Thanks for sharing today. Anne

Kaori said...

Oh I can't believe you've seen this! Ever since my parents moved to Osaka, I've been wanting a chance to go but have never made it down there in time...I either need to quit my job or go early and miss new years with the family. SO I'm glad I get to see it from your photos!

I heard there was talk of not having the lights during the recession, as it costs a lot to keep everythin lit up! But I'm glad they somehow found a way to continue this gorgeous festival of lights :-D

jabblog said...

Absolutely stunning - a real lump in the throat experience.

JM said...

WOW!!! Now this is truly amazing and makes our Christmas lights look ridiculous! :-) Fantastic indeed.

J Bar said...

Francisca, this is fantastic. I really wish I could have seen it in person. Thanks for letting me know about it.

Pat Tillett said...

Wow!
What an amazing surprise!
fantastic photos...

Jenny said...

That is absolutely gorgeous. I would have stood there open-mouthed in wonder until someone made me leave.

That is breathtaking.

I'm so glad you shared this with us. I would have never known anything like this existed!

A+