June 2018


Our monthly online newsletter,"L'ESPACE".
L'ESPACE is a diverse French word that means place,area,cosmos,and gap.

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Let's Spend the Night with the Lights Out

Cheung, Ayn and Haruka are friends living in a shared house. One evening as they are walking home, Cheung calls out to Ayn, who is looking up at the sky.

What's up? You've been doing nothing but look up at the sky for a while now.
Cheung
I was just thinking that when I look up at the sky in Tokyo I can only see a few stars. In Vietnam too, it's become hard to see the stars in urban areas. I'm a country girl! I'd like to see a sky full of stars once in a while.
Ayn
The sky over Seoul is the same as in Tokyo. The city lights are bright everywhere in the city.
Cheung
That reminds me of something. There's a campaign calling for everyone to turn their lights off all at once on the summer solstice. Do you know about it?
Haruka
I've heard of it. It's called “Candle Night,” right?
Cheung
That's right. Candle Night is held on the summer and winter solstices. On those nights people turn off their electrical lights and live by candlelight only from 8 o'clock to 10 o'clock in the evening.
Haruka
That sounds like a nice campaign. Is it held every year?
Ayn
Yes! The inspiration for Candle Night came in 2001, when people in Canada launched a voluntary blackout in protest against the United States' nuclear energy policy. In Japan t a major campaign called the “Million People's Candle Night” was launched in 2003.
Haruka
The purpose of candle night is to increase people's awareness of energy and environmental issues, isn't it?
Cheung
The idea is to take a second look at the lifestyles we take for granted and for each of us to do something to make a difference, even if it's something small. Candle Night is a great opportunity to do that. But what's important is that we light candles in the darkness and take it slow. What you think about during that quiet time is up to you.
Haruka
I think it's a nice idea to just stop, put our busy lives aside and spend a little time thinking.
Ayn
All kinds of Candle Night events happen all over Japan around each summer and winter solstice. The best-known one in Tokyo is the event held in June at Zojo-ji Temple. There everyone counts down to 8 o'clock, to witness the moment when next-door Tokyo Tower shuts off its lights.
Haruka
That sounds like fun! Let's go!
Cheung

The night of the summer solstice has arrived. The three friends have their candles ready and are waiting for 8 o'clock.

That Candle Night at Zojo-ji was magical and wonderful, wasn't it?
Ayn
It sure was! But the best thing about Candle Night is that it's easy to take part without going to the event venue. You can get together with family or friends, or just have some quiet time alone. It's really nice that everyone can enjoy it in their own way.
Cheung
Well, it's almost 8 o'clock. Let's light our candles before we turn out the lights.
Haruka
OK, we're all ready. Let's turn out the lights.
Cheung
Wow, that's beautiful! It gives me a warm feeling to think that at this moment people all over Japan are gazing at candlelight in the darkness, just like we are.
Ayn
It's the same room as always, yet it feels like a different place. My soul feels so calm now. Wouldn't it be great if people all over the world could spend a night in peace like this? Or am I exaggerating?
Cheung
I don't think you are. I'm happy that the two of us could spend a special evening like this together. Let's look forward to the next Candle Night!
Haruka

Tokyo International Communication Committee

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