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What's going on in Japan? (No.32)

Bulbs illuminate Sendai street in prayer for recovery

SENDAI--An annual "Pageant of Starlight" event kicked off in this northeastern city on Dec. 2, using about 460,000 light bulbs to illuminate trees along a main street. The March 11 tsunami washed away 550,000 bulbs that had been used in previous events. The loss of bulbs compromised this year's event, but appeals for help were rewarded with more donations and corporate support money than the organizers have received in previous years. Organizers of similar events in Omotesando, Tokyo, and in Odate, Akita Prefecture, also pitched in by lending bulbs. "Plenty of tears were shed this year, but assistance from all over Japan has lit a light of hope," said Emiko Okuyama, the mayor of Sendai, at the lighting ceremony. The organizers are expecting 3 million visitors, up 250,000 from last year. The event will run through Dec. 31.

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