>> Candle Night in Solviva Organic Farm--'Tsuchi no Tomoshibi, Kaze no Tomoshibi' (Lights of Soil, Lights of Winds)
>> Turn off the Lights and Watch the Stars on October 17--Lights-Down Event in Kofu Valley
>> Candle Night Summer Solstice 2009--Report on June 21
>> Event report: Dim It 2009--Hong Kong
>> Enjoy the Starlight--The International Year of Astronomy 2009
>> Event: 'Dim It' in Hong Kong-- Lights-out Event on June 21 (Updated)
>> Many People Enjoyed Candle Night--Candle Night Saskatchewan, Canada
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>> Recreating Ancient Night of 'Heian' Dynasty--Lights-down at Kyoto Gyoen Forests
>> Event Report: Dim It--Hong Kong
>> Event Report: Lights Out Day in China
>> Event Report: Lights Out Day--Taiwan
>> Event Report: Candle Night Korea
>> Over 65,000 Facilities to Join--MOE's Lights Down Campaign
>> Event Update: Candle Night Korea
>> Brief Report of Candle Night Winter Solstice 2007
>> Artist's Performances--Candle Night in Governador Valadares, Brazil
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>> Candle Night in Taipei 2007
>> Candle Night Summer Solstice 2007 in Tokyo
>> MOE's 'Lights Down Campaign'--Black Illumination 2007
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>> Reports from Overseas--December 2006
>> Candle Night Winter Solstice 2006--Kobe, Japan
>> Preparation also Underway in Candlelight--South Korea Winter 2006
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>> MOE's Black Illumination 2006
>> National Candle Night in Mauritius 2006
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>> Candle Night Winter Solstice 2006--Rikkyo University
>> A Living Organism--Candle Night in Sapporo 2005
>> Candle Night in Shanghai 2005
>> Greetings to Candle Nighters on the other side of the world.
>> Candle Night in South Korea 2005
>> Candle Night at Harajuku Cat Street
>> 'Candle Night'-Summer Solstice 2004 in Japan

Candle Night in Solviva Organic Farm--'Tsuchi no Tomoshibi, Kaze no Tomoshibi' (Lights of Soil, Lights of Winds)

Re-1DSC_3525.jpgA Candle Night event titled "Tsuchi no Tomoshibi, Kaze no Tomoshibi" (Lights of Soil, Lights of Winds in English) was held at the Solviva Organic Farm on June 19, 2010. The farm--a beautiful terraced rice paddy field--is located in a mountainous area of Takashima City, Shiga Prefecture and commands a fine view of Lake Biwa, the largest lake in Japan. Under the theme of protecting a historical terraced paddy field and the global environment, 50 participants lit about 1,000 candles. The candles produced a beautiful "move of lights" all around the terraced paddy field.

Terraced paddy fields were seen all over Japan in the past. They use natural slopes in mountainous areas. Each area of a paddy field is very small. Maintaining these areas require heavy manual labor because it is difficult to use machinery, and thus productivity is very low. The use of terraced paddy fields has decreased since the 1970s due to the national policy of rice acreage reduction and aging producers.

Since 1990, the terraced rice paddy fields have regained popularity because of their function of protecting the ecosystem, preventing floods and replenishing water sources, as well as food production. It has also renewed its cultural value as one of Japan's traditional landscapes. However, many remaining rice paddy fields remain abandoned and have not been revived.

Solviva Organic Farm is a place where you can enjoy beautiful Lake Biwa. In spring, wild flowers bloom around the terraced paddy fields; in summer, swinging grains of rice; in autumn, colorful leaves; and in winter, a snowy landscape. Two years ago, farmer Koichi Yoshikawa changed his farming practice from organic farming to "natural farming," using spring water from the area. In the natural farming process, they don't use machinery nor tilling. They don't get rid of weeds, either. Rice grows in natural surroundings as is.

Yoshikawa says, "when we think of the future, it will become more and more important to live without depending on fossil fuels. We started Candle Night because it gives us an opportunity to protect nature, not to put more burden on the earth, and to feel the light of the moon and the stars.

Their Candle Night--Lights of Soil, Lights of Winds--has become part of the "Satoyama Life Project" to rejuvenate local communities. People from the area and students from nearby cities cooperate with each other to hold the event. "Tsuchi no Tomoshibi" (Lights of Soil) means lights shed on the beauty of the soil; while "Kaze no Tomoshibi" (Lights of Soil) means the communication among people who join and participate in the event.

Participants of the event said, "It was interesting to get together with people with different backgrounds in a place far away from their everyday lives. Candle Night connected one another and worked as a catalyst to change people." "By flickering candlelight, it was a good opportunity to think about the meaning of "Tsuchi no Tomoshibi" and "Kaze no Tomoshibi" based on the terraced rice paddy fields and their natural surroundings." "It is a once-a-year event and very special, but I hope the feeling of being thankful to nature becomes our everyday thought."

(Taeko Ohno)

September 7, 2010