Thursday, August 12, 2010

Edogawa-Ichikawa Fireworks Festival 2010

Long note: I had a funny dream last night. If you read the news, the Electric Train Service (ETS) between Ipoh and Kuala Lumpur has began its operation last week. In my dream, I saw that ETS running on the JR Sobu Line, which connects Tokyo and Chiba. The new train was quite wide and spacious, having about ten seats per row and it seems to receive good feedbacks from the public. I know that it is a little bit weird for a train to have such many numbers of seats in a row. That's not a train anymore, but a plane lol! Perhaps it was from another news (video here) that I saw somewhere on the other day, that gave me such creative imagination haha! 

By the way, my summer holiday officials starts today! It will be a seven-week break, in which I will be spending four of those in the southern hemisphere. That's the first hint I'm giving *hehe*

On another note, I attended a guidance session regarding a lesson I'll be taking next semester, in which we will be dealing with machines in the factory. The pak cik explained it in such way that in the end, I feel that he wanted to scare us off. He shared with us his experiences of having students who had bruises, cuts, and burns during this lesson. Apparently, there had been even serious cases in which students accidentally amputated their finger, and had to tapao back their finger haha!

It was my first fireworks festival in the Kanto region - Edogawa-Ichikawa Fireworks Festival 2010.

Summer is a lovely time of the year and of course, the best period to view fireworks. The first Saturday of August is the day when most of the fireworks festivals are held in Japan. In the metropolitan region itself, there are as many as 22 locations of fireworks displays. It just shows how much the Japanese have special liking for fireworks. Among those, Edogawa Fireworks Festival, which is held simultaneously with Ichikawa City, and Itabashi Fireworks Festival (also held simultaneously with Todabashi) are the two main festivals in Tokyo region that offers big-scale fireworks display.

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It was three hours to go until the fireworks began, but the train station was already crowded with people.

Watching fireworks with your own-eyes and from videos are completely two different things. That is why even though I was still busy, in the middle of my finals last Saturday, I took a break to join the rest of the Chiba gang to attend the fireworks festival in Ichikawa City, about thirty-minutes of train ride from my place in Inage, Chiba.

I was the first to arrive at JR Ichikawa station, and the rest followed shortly after that. It was a simple task for them to spot me among the crowd, due to my errrr... you know.

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It took us about thirty minutes to walk from the station to the riverbank of Edogawa, where the fireworks display was held.

We had Bao Cong and several juniors who had went there earlier, since the afternoon to book a place for our group. Otherwise, it would be impossible to get a good spot by that time, especially when we were there in a big group.

The first task was to locate them once we reached the riverbank and boy, it wasn't an easy task at all.


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That aunty in the middle looked very kan cheong and excited haha!

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Three stooges trying to locate them.

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Just look at the crowd!

There were far too many people there, that it is almost impossible to locate them directly, unless we call them on the phone. But here is the problem. Too many people were using their phones at the same time in that area, that the signal went mabuk. We only got to call them after no less then ten attempts.

Once we arrived at the riverbank, the first thing that came to my mind was that the place really resembles the location where the annual Nagaoka Fireworks Festival is held - along a river. There was a significant size of crowd there, especially on the opposite side of the river, which is within the Edogawa Ward.

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Almost every empty space was already taken by this time, and everyone was just waiting for the fireworks to start at quarter-past-seven in the evening.

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There were two huge truck cranes on the opposite site of the river. Guess what were they for? I will reveal it later.

Edogawa Ward fireworks festival started right after a recession and oil crisis that happened in 1973. The enthusiasm among the locals from that event prompted them to start this fireworks festival. Held along the riverbed of Edo River, it is held simultaneously with the Ichikawa City fireworks festival every year. It can be considered among the biggest fireworks festivals in this region, as there are approximately 1.4 million of spectators (900,000 in Edogawa Ward and 500,000 in Ichikawa City).

This fireworks festival is famous for its opening five seconds, where 1,200 fireworks are launched simultaneously from ten spots.

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While waiting for the start of the fireworks, we played Uno, munched our snacks and of course, did some camwhoring.

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Domino's pizza?

Yup, that's right.

Apparently, the staffs from Domino's pizza are equipped with GPS gadgets, where people can make orders from their mobile phones, and the pizzas will be delivered right at the spot where they are sitting. It's just amazing to see them ready to deliver the pizzas in such a crowded area. This is how efficient the customer service in Japan.

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Sunset by Edo River. The building on the left is the Tokyo Sky Tree, which is still under construction and due to be completed by the end of next year.

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Beautiful combination of colours in the sky right after the sun had set.

The fireworks is comprised of eight different themes, which is repeated in between the wide star-main and star-main fireworks.

There was a five-second countdown prior to the opening fireworks display, which received loud applause from the spectators. I have to say I was quite impressed by the opening display and it certainly lives up to the high expectations everyone were anticipating.

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The mystery was finally revealed. The truck crane was actually used to lift the fireworks that resemble Niagara's (fireworks waterfall) Mount Fuji when ignited.

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Above the fireworks waterfall is sakura (cherry blossoms) fireworks. A very creative idea, I must say.

Niagara's fireworks is also can be seen at Nagaoka fireworks festival. However, the Nagaoka version is ignited from a bridge. Seeing them using a truck crane to launch the Niagara's fireworks in Edogawa reminded me to the quote from our very own uncle Samy Vellu not very long ago. 

He once said during a ceramah, "Kita akan bina satu jambatan untuk orong-orong kampong di sini (We will be building a bridge for the people in this village)". One pak cik asked, "Datuk, sini takde sungai, buat apa bina jambatan? (Gradpa, there's no river her, why wanna build a bridge?)"


Samy gloriously replied, "Kalau takde sungai, kita bina sungai! (If there's no river, we build a river!)"

As for this case, they don't have a bridge, so they built a temporary one. For the first time, I realised Samy Vellu's words are logical haha!

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Japanese fireworks are without doubt an elaborate and magnificent art, even though a dangerous one for the masters who fabricate the many varieties of colored bursts that thrill onlookers. Compared to Western countries, the most obvious and pleasant characteristic of Japanese fireworks are in the creation and firing of eye-pleasing spherical explosions.

The artistic concepts of fireworks are different between Western countries and Japan, thus the design, manufacturing process and its structures are different.

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In Western countries, fireworks are created to be dynamic and powerful, Roman candles, snakes and the like with the sequence of bursts harmonized to the sound of accompanying music.

In Japan, the main creative idea of the fireworks master is to design and create the explosions in the shape of huge balls so the effects are seen equally well, to the delight of all onlookers.

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# 7

"Hanabi" (花火), or "fireworks" in the Japanese language can also be translated as 'flower fire'. This flower image comes from beautiful spherical shaped blossoms such as the peony or the chrysanthemum, well known as Japan's Royal Family's symbol.

At Nagaoka fireworks festival, there would be a brief introduction on the each fireworks, the sponsors, etc before each of them are launched. I think there are only a few places where it is done like this, because during the one at Edogawa, they just launched the fireworks randomly.

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When I saw randomly, I mean, really randomly to the extend where the unburned fireworks shells  flew everywhere, as if we were at a war zone haha! I am not kidding here. The wind on that day was rather strong, and it caused the unburned fireworks shells, some of them still on fire to fly everywhere, that it hit some unlucky spectators.

There was an unlucky couple, sitting about one meters behind us, who was hit by a piece of fireball. They panicked, and frantically tried to waved it away. Shortly after that, another piece just missed my face by about thirty centimeters.

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This is not the best shot, nevertheless, I was glad I wasn't hit by a fireball when I was taking this picture haha!

For the first time ever, I felt that watching fireworks is a dangerous job!

The journey back to the train station was another adventure. A walk, which should take us less than thirty-minutes, turned almost three times longer. Our movement were limited to a speed slower than Streamyx. So, you should be able to roughly estimate how slow we walked.

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My job was to lead the rest through this crazy crowd.

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We reached the train station in one piece, and as expected, it was total havoc and chaotic.

Ohh yea, this is a souvenir I got from the fireworks festival.

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Or should I say, from the war zone?

8 comments:

kae vin said...

Why the poor quality of the pictures? You used cell phone?

Given your height, you should stand a higher probability to be hit by the fireball! lol!

and i m really impressed by the GPS domino. Japanese can have really creative ideas huh!

D-Tourist said...

Wow.. the firework was impressive!how long did it lasted?
Hmm.. guess we'll be seeing alot of post from the Kiwi Islands..during ur summer hols... hor :)
Btw.. did u took the JR Sobu Line back to Ipoh ...:P

calvin said...

@ kae vin:
three of those pictures were copied from my friend's facebook photo album, hence the poor quality. the rest of the pictures came from my camera, and i notice about it when you mentioned it. i don't know, perhaps it's time for me to get a new one.

we were watching the fireworks while sitting down, so everyone had an equal chance of being hit by the fireballs xD

imagine youself ordering pizza hut while watching the fireworks during new year's eve countdown in malaysia. i think you will have to wait for the next year before your order arrived lol!

calvin said...

@ d-tourist:
it lasted for approximately 75 minutes, with short intervals in between each other.

wow, you are good in guessing game, aren't you? xD

haha, if there is such train line connecting tokyo to ipoh, i might consider taking it; never mind the long travel time xD

D-Tourist said...

huh... 75 min, no kidding. initially i wanted to ask if it lasted 15 min... guess this wat u call jakun .. >.<" hahahah...
so any prize for guessing right :P

calvin said...

@ d-tourist:
yes, i'm not kidding you. in fact, there are even longer fireworks festival in other parts of japan. that is why once one has watched the fireworks in japan, he will not find the ones in malaysia attractive anymore ><

hmmm, alright. i will treat you to a plate of taiping's famous pasembor if you happen to drop by (provided i'm around) xD

D-Tourist said...

oh.. kamsiah :D

Anonymous said...

Very Interesting!
Thank You!