Saturday, July 29, 2006
Summer: yukata and fireworks
Now is the time for yukata. Even for me.
You see, in the summer, in Japan it is common for Japanese to enjoy festivities in yukata, a lighter version of kimono. They are quite cool, but it is a little embarrassing for us non-Japanese without slight builds. I actually taught for a day last week in the too-small yukata pictured here.
It is also time for fireworks. It seems like almost everyday there is a huge fireworks display somewhere in Tokyo. On Thursday my part of Tokyo had its own festival, shooting off over 16,000 individual fireworks, but I was working on the other side of the city and couldn't go. Instead, I went to the Sumida fireworks festival, something I have been looking forward to since last year. It has been around since the 1730's or something, and there is a woodblock print I am quite fond of that shows the fireworks. Today's version doesn't have the elegant majesty of the woodblock print, but it makes up for that in sheer spectacle. The show lasts for an hour and 20 minutes; over 20,000 fireworks are fired; and there must be a million people or more in attendance, half of them in yukata. It is an event; it is something that will be remembered when life changes in the next 10-20 years.
I managed to find my friends from training even with the madness. Well, 2 out of 5 ain't bad. This is Steph and Bjorn, from (opposing sides) of Australia.