Summer time is the season for typhoons here, but also the season for large fireworks festivals. "Fireworks," or "hanabi" in Japanese literally means "fire flower." It makes sense. Like summer wind chimes, the sound and fury of fireworks is supposed to distract people from the horrible humidity. The big festivals are always held on rivers. First, the launchers are on barges anchored in the water, which is supposed to enhance safety. Second, many of the rivers here are very wide, bordered on both banks with public parks and large embankments as a flood control measure. That provides ample space for thousands to gather (and food vendors to serve them). It also provides maximum visibility.
After dinner tonight we could hear a fireworks festival off in the distance, above the sound of the television. I don’t know where. First it sounded like thunder. But I soon knew it was a fireworks festival because of the frequency of the concussions. At times like this I also imagine North Korea is attacking, because maybe that’s what concentrated cannon fire - an artillery barrage - sounds like from a distance. I went out onto the balcony to see if I could see star shells bursting high in the distance above the nearby apartment buildings , or maybe tell-tale flashes in the dark sky. I couldn’t see anything. But the explosions sounded creepy. They always do. Pop-pop-pop-pop-bang! Bang-bang-bang-popopopopopopopopopop! Bang! Silence.