Home > Pre-Japan > Great Works of Fire

Great Works of Fire

As usual, I have a number of blogs to catch up on! Recently I’ve found it increasingly difficult to post on a regular basis. I’m not sure whether that is just what happens in time after the novelty wears off, but it’s a shame none the less. I really do enjoy writing my blogs, I enjoy choosing the right words in the right situations, enjoy playing with them, writing and re-writing them. And yet when I am at home in my apartment sitting in front of my computer, I can never actually get myself to do it! It’s a bizarre kind of laziness, one which involves absolutely nothing to feel lazy about. I mean, I’m already in front of my computer…well, who knows. Today’s post is about an event from Saturday of two weeks ago, in Hita.

Hita, despite (or perhaps thanks to) being smaller, is a very charming place which seems to do a much better job at making itself known to the prefecture. They have a number of fairly well known festivals during the year, and one of them was the river opening festival. This festival entailed a parade which included just about every high, junior and elementary school and their brass bands, the main road littered with food stalls, random concerts and activities throughout the day and to cap it all off: the largest display of fireworks on the island of Kyushu.

There were over 100,000 people expected at the festival, just about double the size of Hita proper. Us foreigners did a good job adding to that number, as around 25 of us came in from around the prefecture. Arriving around noon, I met my friend Noor, formerly the Most Fashionable Man in Japan (MFMIJ) and we checked out the parade, where Noor was continuously accosted by students of his. He teaches at a lot of elementary schools and junior high schools, so a lot of students knew him. We ended up shooting the breeze with a few junior high school girls while watching the parade. It sounds quite devious, but I assure you it was all innocent fun.

After the parade we split up and I tagged along to the Sapporo brewery. We took a tour there (all in Japanese, leaving me to translate it to the best of my ability…) which was quite interesting, and which ended up in us getting 20 minutes to down three beers free of charge. In case you are wondering, three beers in twenty minutes on an empty stomach leaves one with a bit of a straight walking problem, and a serious case of the giggles.

Following the vehicle to free beer (I mean the factory tour) we made our way back down to Hita proper and slowly made our way to the river, where the fireworks were to go off. The lovely Hita JETs had gotten up mighty early that day to secure a spot along the river for all of us to enjoy the festivities, and they picked a fabulous spot not 100 yards from the fireworks, about as good a view as one could get! We all arrived around seven and sat down only to feel the first drops of rain pitter patter off our hair. Rain had been forecast so we all carried umbrellas, but it was still a bit of a downer. It rained at a mild pace throughout the hour and a half long fireworks display, and we ended up quite soaked, even with our umbrellas. My left pant leg was entirely saturated with water, and…wait…go back. Did you just say “hour and a half long fireworks display”? Why what a keen ear you have! Indeed, the fireworks went on non-stop for just about an hour and a half, with (we counted) twenty stages of fireworks, all sponsored by various local companies. It was an absurd bonanza of exploding fire and whiz bang. About an hour and 15 minutes into it most of us were ready to call it a night because as one might imagine, no matter how spectacular fireworks really are, an hour and a half of straining your neck to watch and hear these absurdly loud firecrackers exploding from 100 yards away is about 45 minutes too long.

Never the less, hanging out with all the JETs, being fed whiskey disguised as tea and watching Japan make just a teeny hole in the atmosphere with all the fireworks was a lot of fun. I myself only got two photos of the fireworks, since it was raining, but I have leached some photos from a few of my friends and will share them with you now. Enjoy!


View from across the river

The pictures that follow are Kate's. She has a way better camera than I do, and wasn't afraid of getting it wet, apparently.





Categories: Pre-Japan
  1. June 8, 2010 at 10:35 pm

    sounds like more fun than our 4th of July celebration lol

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