Hanabi

Summer-time in Japan is a time for celebration. And what better way than with fireworks (花火 : はなび), pronounced hanabi in Japanese.

As I wander down to the Yodogawa River (淀川) in Ōsaka (大阪) the cops blow their shrill whistles directing traffic and the crowd alike.

And crowded it is. But orderly too as we follow one another like a herd driven to greener pastures.

The streets are lined with stalls selling food and small restaurants taking advantage of the passing trade.

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Rooftop vantage points are popular with friends gathered for the occasion.

Young ladies dressed in colourful kimonos (着物: きもの) get into the spirit of the occasion. Laughter and chatter rise like incense into the night sky.

The start time is 7.50pm and given the size of the crowd I’m guessing I should have arrived a lot sooner to secure a spot overlooking the river.

Fortunately, I secure a reasonably good viewing position amongst the many families.

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As the fireworks start, kids in pyjamas stare open-eyed in wonder.

The heat is heavy. The humidity oppressive. But it does nothing to dispel our enthusiasm. And many people cleverly wield fans like weapons to generate a modicum of breeze.

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The “snap, crackle & pop” of the fireworks is deafening.

The ground shakes to the carefully choreographed routine which lasts a generous 50 minutes.

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Needless to say the experience was amazing (すごい)!

Kim*

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