Fireworks festivals are held throughout Japan in August, co-sponsored by the local governement and shop-owners. According to My host father, these festivals had been introduced more as an economy-moving event, and became highly popular.
Yesterday, I went to see the annual fireworks (Hanabi) festival of Matsudo city, a not-so-large city in Chiba prefecture. 8,000 fireworks are launched here within about 90 minutes. I went with two other foriegn students of my university; Hanabi is much more fun when there is a group.
The people start gathering to the locations earlier, so that they can secure a good place to see and enjoy the fireworks. For the famous ones, the places get fairly crowded as early as 2pm (the start time is usually around 7:00pm). The traffic police does an excellent job in managing both pedestrians and traffic. Some of the streets are closed for vehicles to facilitate quick movement of the crowd.
The festival was held near the Edo Gawa river. We managed to find a relatively good place somewhere along the river bank.
Taking photos of hanabi is not easy, due to their speed, and randomness of firing. I tried a few things that I learnt in the only photography lecture that I have taken part, and took as many photos as I can. Some of the good ones are here. I am happy with the photos as I have only a 2.1 Megapixel digital camera.
These were taken with about 1 second exposure. Yes, I had to carry a tripod. :o)
But these two were taken with handheld camera
There were two children in the family sitting next to us. It was fun to hear them arguing what each of the fireworks resembled. There were butterflies, flowers, waterfalls, hearts, a smiley face, and even a mouse! :-p
This was one of the flowers
I uploaded a video clip to Youtube and posted below.
Common type of fireworks for the ending. You can see the reflection on river water, too.