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Here’s a cool thing about Japanese cities. They use lights to make otherwise unimpressive nightscapes look nice. And very cleverly, too. Of course, there are areas teeming with blinking LED billboards, advertising everything from cooking oil to payday loans. But for the most part, businesses use well-placed directional lighting to make their storefronts look enticing and elegant. They don’t need to use them a lot, just effectively.

I’m a big fan of busy cities that stay awake well past normal sleeping times, and lights are key to this lively atmosphere. In Canada, I think Montreal does this well. They always have coloured lights at night painting empty public spaces, like walls of buildings. Paris, New York, Tokyo, and Bangkok are all cities that aren’t ashamed to hide when the sun goes down. I’m hoping Toronto gets on board. I love that city, but it looks as uninspired at night as the Leafs did in their 4-0 loss to Vancouver last Saturday. In the meantime, I’m enjoying what Fukuoka has to offer. Some shots I took recently around the city:

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