I had a busy weekend and came home late every night, so I’m a bit late to write about the highlight of Summer in Japan. Right, fireworks!
Every year around July-August, you can find countless events all over Japan and one of the most popular ones is HANABI or fireworks show. When I was in college, I missed it 3 years in a row because I always went back home or traveled in other countries during summer vacation. I went to a big fireworks event in Chofu once and it was incredible. I remember there were loads of people and I was just following my Japanese friend around, trying not to get lost. We got a good spot and that night was just magical. They played some music together with fireworks for some parts. It was pretty fun. Too bad I can’t find any pictures from that year.
Well, this year I didn’t really plan on going since I know it will be super crowded and I’m not a big fan of that. Imagine being outside in a hot and humid weather then fighting for a good spot to sit seriously makes me nauseous. Thanks to my friend who made an effort to bring me with her, or else I would have missed a wonderful night.
We met up at Kuramae Station around 3PM and we walked along the main road, trying to find a river. Well…we were walking for a while and realized it shouldn’t be this far so we asked some people around. It was a bit confusing though since we saw many people in Yukata (so we know they must be heading to see fireworks too), but they all walk to different directions. We decided to just walk toward Tokyo Skytree. It’s kind of the easiest way and we were getting tired.
Along the way, we saw many Yatai (small shops) got set up. The usual 焼き鳥,かき氷, 焼きそば and so on were being prepared. Some people were already there to keep their spot! Hanabi starts at 7PM and it was just around 4PM. We were so amazed by how patient Japanese people can be when it comes to lining up. It was burning hot and my friend’s face got all red. We decided to just get inside Tokyo Skytree and chill, then would go out around 6PM to find a spot (if we’re lucky enough).
We had some yummy Korean food and was ready to go back out. As expected, as soon as we walked outside, we saw a big crowd of people sitting around. We walked to another street and it was less packed, so we sat there. A bit after, they did some pre-game fireworks which was really helpful ’cause now we know if we had a good spot or not. We kept moving for 3-4 times until we luckily saw a place that didn’t have too many people. We were all sitting on the road right where we can see fireworks between two buildings.
The fireworks lasted an hour and a half. Isn’t that crazy? 🙂 It sounds like a long time but when you can see the actual thing and you have fun, it went by really fast. There were so many fireworks patterns and I adored Pikachu/smiley face figures so much. How can you not smile when you see these things in the sky, right? 🙂 It actually felt really good to see the show with many people. I feel that everyone felt the same way. It’s fun to admire such arts with people we love like family and friends. Almost everyone yelled out the same phrases such as Sugoi!, Kirei!, Subarashi! etc. It got to the point I couldn’t stop laughing because the guy next to me kept saying Sugoi! every 2 minutes. Haha XD
For any of you who plan to go see fireworks next time, these are things you shouldn’t forget to bring:
1. A mat or newspaper to sit on
2. Some cold drinks
3. A hand-held fan to cool you down
4. A good-quality camera!
If you are like me and you think you would not be able to handle a large group of people, I’d encourage you to try it once. You can always leave early if you don’t enjoy it, but I doubt that would happen. You will definitely have a great time doing both people-watching and fireworks-watching! 🙂