I came to Japan during summer and a few months after the great March 11 earthquake. The atmosphere was not cheery as expected, as if everyone is trying to forget a nightmare and just wants to go back to the usual grind of their daily lives. In the office, receiving an email about radiation level, tsunami disaster zone updates and earthquake drills were almost became a norm. The HR team even, was distributing a pin saying “Gambaro Japan!” (translation: “We Can Do it, Japan!”), a little token symbolizing that this country is aiming to move past the economical and psychological damage that the 9.0 magnitude quake has brought.
With one nuclear plant badly damage, the government has launched an initiative to “power down”, by encouraging business establishments and residential areas to conserve the use of electricity (Setsuden). Just imagine the feeling of leaving your apartment freshly showered but once on board the train, inside the office lift or even sitting at your desk, you just want to run back home and shower again. Hand fans were given for free at most JR stations, but this has proven to be no match against the summer heat.
With everything that happened this year, it’s kind of hard to justify why the city should spend thousand watts of electricity for its annual Christmas Illumination. But one Tokyo district has found a smart solution to continue with the yearly holiday tradition and yet still be sensible enough to support the government program.
Using the biodiesel generated from the waste oil of nearby homes and restaurants, Minna No Illumi at Gotanda has proven that there is always an alternate ways to produce electricity. The 156,000 LED lights brightening the stretch of the beautiful Meguro River is a testament that sometimes it takes a little ingenuity of turning things that we consider as trash into something useful and pleasant. I can only wish that other districts follow suit as well, even the rest of the world.
Let the lights of Minna No Illumi reminds us that the world is full of promise, that there are more reasons to be cheerful than reasons to be depress. Indeed, life is tough and its not going to be easier but it takes a right attitude and faith to move past the bad and move on to what is good.
Merry Christmas Japan! Merry Christmas Bloggers! Merry Christmas WordPress! Merry Christmas Everyone!