A new innovation is all the rage in Japan… and yes, it’s even better than the iPad ;-). LED lighting is starting to reach the mainstream, and it is both efficient and good. For example we saw this one being advertised on a train as a drop-in replacement for any 60 Watt household lightbulb. Each LED tube consumes only 7.5 Watts and lasts 40,000 hours, or about 4.5 years continuously. While elsewhere people talk about LED lighting, here in Japan regular families are starting to buy them for home use. With prices as low as AUD25 and often ranging AUD50-100, it is starting to become an affordable option. The benefits are not just in energy efficiency. LED lights are cool and the color can be made to appear “natural”. One common complaint is that each LED unit produces only a limited amount of brightness, but it should be sufficient for most households; in any case you can use multiple units. New innovations are allowing for super-bright LEDs, and during the weekend we enjoyed the jaw-dropping experience of “night sakura”: several hundred fully flowering cherry blossoms gracefully lining the moat of the Imperial Palace. These were lighted using LEDs, and I was amazed that each lighting unit was just about the size of a 7-inch frying pan but a couple of inches deep. Only two or three units were needed to light up each cherry tree. They were very bright, but in a manner that was pleasing to the eye and did not overpower the delicate texture of the cherry blossoms. The park claims to have reduced CO2 emissions by 90% to 0.2 Tonnes by using LED instead of conventional lighting. I imagine LED lighting will become widespread pretty soon, not just in Japan but around the world too.