Fourth of July (independence Day) in NY is a day for BBQing in the park or in the backyard…and sometimes, come evening, you head down to The Promenade in Brooklyn Heights or over to Dumbo (long before it became known as DUMBO) down by the water front, and try to catch the fireworks. This was once a year. It’s usually so crowded that you regret going and ask yourself why hadn’t you just trusted your instincts and watched it on TV like any sensible New Yorker would? There’s usually a casualty or two, and more than a few stick-ups and pick pockets. Not to mention the fireworks don’t look much different from the year before or the year before that or the year before that or…
Then you come to Japan where fireworks are also a tradition and Summer fireworks festivals are numerous and spectacular. There are at least 10 in the Tokyo / Yokohama area between July and September. They’re safe (except for chikan) and fairly organized (considering the ratio of police to people attending- sometimes as many as 500,000)
You remember when you first came to Japan and were mildly disappointed because rarely if ever did you see anyone wearing Kimono…then came summer and you saw all the girls with their beautiful flowery yukata on, shuffling about in their slippers; and the guys looking extremely cool in theirs, clacking around in wooden slippers or sandals headed for hanabi. And you told yourself, ‘now this is the Japan of my fascination!’ And you thought: I don’t care what they think: one day I’m gonna wear one of them yukata to Hanabi. Hell, if they can wear European suits or even dreadlocks why can’t I go native once in a while?
Well, six years later…
Hanabi and yukata…go together like baseball and Hot Dogs.
PS: And is it my imagination or do the fireworks actually get better every year in Japan?
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