Monday, August 2, 2010

Fireworks Season

The Japanese love their fireworks. I'm sitting on a hillside right now, waiting for Kakogawa's annual fireworks festival: 75 minutes of major, eardrum-busting, incandescent "Flowers of Fire"! They really pull out all the stops, too - 3 stages, 2 hours entertainment before the show, television stars, great fireworks. A few years ago, an old student, a City Hall worker, told me the fireworks alone (only 3000 shells this year) ran over $100K. During the mid-show and finale, it can make you feel like an extra in Tom Cruise's "War of the Worlds", hoping for earplugs. At least the weeds are green, and the only bloodsuckers are mosquitoes and taxmen!

We've always gotten a place as close to the action as possible, on the western riverbank opposite the stages. We usually meet friends there 3 or more hours early, stake out our claim, then wander around the stalls and nearby stores. By the time dusk approaches, our tarp is an island in the midst of about 3000 of our closest 'friends', the only empty space on the upper riverbank is around the PortaPotty (don't want to sit downwind of that, uh-uh, no way, no how!), and you can barely walk (no, these last 2 aren't connected!). As many as 30,000 pack the east bank, with most of the young ladies in colorful floral-patterned yukatas (summer kimonos), and the young dudes in yukata or with their "pants on the ground".
--love that song!--

Since the 3 oldest kids now go with their friends, and don't even want to see us ol' folks (or be seen with us), we decided to take the youngest and find a less crowded place this year. We're sitting next to a lovely shrine half a mile away, and as you can see in the videos, the view is fine!

Well, the view may be fine, but my video sure sucks. Oh, well.

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