The Elements of Light

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It's possible to go on forever about the loss of one's favorite old buildings in Tokyo, or the unstoppable rise of terrifying new ones, but for my money, it's really the explosion in the use of LED lights that has transformed the look and texture ...

It's possible to go on forever about the loss of one's favorite old buildings in Tokyo, or the unstoppable rise of terrifying new ones, but for my money, it's really the explosion in the use of LED lights that has transformed the look and texture of the actual cityscape over the last few years.

As such, there's a newly uniform quality to the light found now in particularly busy (read: loud and tacky) areas of town like Akihabara and Kabuki-cho, which upon closer inspection, is actually made up of tiny starbursts in the form of countless Light-Emitting Diodes, which can be bought like licorice whips if you know where to go.

In the beginning, there was the gentle warmth of lightbulbs, then the laser-like color streaks of neon tubes (watch the Tokyo scenes in the 1967 James Bond film "You Only Live Twice" for reference), then the tyranny of oppressive and ugly fluorescent lights took hold. Now, it's the LED's turn to keep the populace from losing their way in the dark.

 Now, it's the LED's turn to keep the populace from losing their way in the dark

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