A growing number of people all across Japan have been noticing their neighborhoods getting a little jazzier these days. If you live in Japan and haven’t seen them yet then just wait. But why have cities all over the country been trading in their traditional yellowish lights for the blue light special?
There are a lot of theories circulating about the choice of blue for city streetlights. Not too long ago RocketNews24 ran a story about research being done to determine if blue lights can reduce the number of people jumping in front of trains. Contrary to the metaphor feeling blue is not as bad as you might think.
Another popular theory is that blue lights can help reduce crime. This strange notion was not born in Japan but from Scotland. One particular shopping area expected that changing their lights to a shade of blue would help the ambiance. What they didn’t anticipate, however, was that the mellow vibe of the blue lights also brought a significant drop in crime to the area as well.
In Japan also since the introduction of the blue lights there have been reports of less crime in the areas using them. It’s hard to say exactly why though. Perhaps the criminals’ minds are really relaxed out of their crimes or maybe the change in atmosphere makes them too uneasy to go through with it.
I had my first encounter with these lights in Shiga prefecture. Turning off of a main street I suddenly found myself in a sprawling blue wonderland. The silence of the night was heightened by the cold blue hue over everything. It’s almost like walking into an interdimensional time-rift or CSI flashback.
In contrast to the willies people like me get by turning smack-dab into the bluelight zone out of nowhere, long-time residents of the area hardly even noticed the change. When asked about them one local said; “Come to think of it, I do get the feeling they’ve been increasing. It’s hard to say though. It just feels natural to me.”
So, tonight when you go outside take a quick look up. Your neighborhood might have gone blue and you didn’t even notice, and apparently you’ll be much safer because of it.
[ Read in Japanese ]