Please note that this article and its included video contain flashing lights and gaudy colors.

On our last visit to the SoraHouse, our ultra-cheap country home in the mountains of Saitama Prefecture that we bought for just one million yen (roughly US$9,100 at the time of purchase), we set up an open-air foot bath to keep our toes nice and toasty in the crisp alpine air. Of course, the reason for those dipping temperatures is that winter is here, which also means that Christmas is on the way, and that got our Japanese-language writer Go Hatori thinking about Christmas decorations.

With a whole house of our own, Go wanted to put up a huge Christmas light array. Thriftiness is one of the core values of life at the SoraHouse, though, so while our boss Yoshio approved of Go’s plan, he set a budget limit of “around 10,000 yen” (US$70). That might not sound like very much money to work with, but over the years we’ve gotten pretty good at online bargain hunting. Go managed to find 40-meter (131-foot) strings of LED lights for sale at very low prices here on Chinese e-commerce site Shien, purchasing a total of seven packs (280 meters of lights) for 10,339 yen.

Since they’re flat and adhesive-backed, there’s no hammering, drilling, or tying involved in putting the lights up. Go’s actually used similar products before, and this batch, while not particularly thick, felt relatively well-made and sturdy, considering its price point.

With 280 meters of lights, Go didn’t have to limit himself to the SoraHouse exterior, either, and he started attaching them to the walls and ceiling inside the building too.

By the time he was finished, it was completely dark outside. Taking a look at the darkened building, it looked more than a little like it could be haunted, but with the flip of a switch, Go was ready to banish the spooky gloom and replace it with the warm glow of holiday cheer!



OK, so these were definitely lights. They just didn’t look much like Christmas lights.

This one is actually on Go, seeing as how the product description and package never make any Christmas-related claims. Instead, these look more like the lights you’d see decorating a bar, food stall, or dance club while backpacking across the Asian continent.

And yet…they didn’t look half-bad! Sure, maybe they weren’t giving off much of a Christmas vibe, but it felt pretty cool to have what we figure you could call a “gaming house” aesthetic.

Then we stepped inside, and the atmosphere got even more stylishly festive.

Depending on the angle, our house now had either a futuristic cyberpunk or whimsical theme park sort of feel, neither of which we were complaining about.

In the big city, say, at SoraNews24 headquarters in downtown Tokyo, we’d never dream of putting up such literally flashy decorations. But with no nearby neighbors to the SoraHouse property, our pulsing lights weren’t bothering anyone.

And in the end, the lights not looking very Christmas-y is a blessing in disguise, since now we can leave them up as long as we want, especially since we’ve also got our zero-cost electricity supply system up and running.

Photos ©SoraNews24
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