To Be or…Hanabi!!



Ok, please do not jump for cover and distort your faces. These are not the different kinds of “misdirected burps” I am describing here. Please! As they say, what happens in “Vegas” stays in “Vegas”, so shall this be. Although, sometimes they do happen while you’re asleep, or just when you’re about to enter a meeting after the paneer butter curry with nan you had for lunch, and while the Tech lead is busy describing the bugs in your code, all you hear are those “internal explosions” I was referring to above.

Well, I am getting back to my old habit here. Digressing.

Anyways, I can already hear Mr. I-am-Oxford-returned-a-fan-of-Shakespeare-i-know-a-lot-of-English-how-can-you-twist-such-a-famous-line- (ok, this name actually goes on with more hyphens, but for the benefit of those still covering their noses, let us just stop it here) say, “Hey, I am Oxford returned and a fan of Shakespeare. I know a lot of English; how can you twist such a famous line to suit some title of a post you want to write about? And hey, you have not even started writing about it – you’ve been talking about, oh dear Lord, misdirected burps?? My goodness!!”. Burp. Fizzz. ” Oops..sorry, but please, how can you do this…”.

And so he goes on with his rants about the famous “To be or Not to be” line and also later on, to dissect the importance of this phrase in present day world literature. Well, now you know why I needed to stop with the hyphens.

Anyways, to cut a long, hyphenated story short, and also to avoid any further confusion about the sounds I made described above, I wanted to tell you a little about the Japanese version of the festival of lights and firecrackers called “Hanabi” which I went to. As you may have already guessed, those sounds were part of that. Yes, now you can come out of hiding and relax. Fizzzz……

Well, for the uninitiated, Hanabi is much like the RamLila show we have back home in India, but without the 10-heads statue and the “Jai Shree Ram” chants. Instead, it is replaced by cheers of “Tamaya, Kagiya!!” with the occasional beer-inebriated “ooohh…aaahh…wow man…” thrown in , a humungous gathering of people hitherto never seen especially in a Japanese town such as mine,  lots of pretty women strolling in Yukatas (cotton Kimonos) drinking beer and carrying uchiwas, the ubiquituous round fans and of course the occasional camera-lunging Indians – who would probably be, out of sheer habit, doing a sprint for the venue to find the “seating with the sahi view”. Of course, having said that, the Japanese are a step ahead, as always; and in this case, a night and a good couple of hours. Most people come the night before to the venue and lay down tarpaulin mats to reserve their seating!! So, you really do not get to hear the “please adjust, thoda jagah banaiye”, or the indignant glares for the 1*1 square foot of concrete you reserved with your handkerchief!!

Hanabi 2008

Just to give some gyan on Hanabi(fireworks), no muggy summer night in Japan is complete without a visit to these spectacular “flowers of fire” shooting up into the dark starry night and bursting out in various forms and colours. The cheers “Tamaya” and “Kagiya” refer to the names of the 2 families who were the biggest producers of Hanabi during the Edo period, and catapulted this local festival into the nation’s biggest and the most grandiose display of fire and forms. Using state-of-the art techniques, the crackers streak through the dark skies spitting out an assortment of inspired shapes – UFO, fish, hat, shapes of planets, smileys and lips.

A joyous entertaining display of light and sound, Hanabi truly offers a lot of succour to the otherwise hot and humid Japan nights. No amount of words can truly emulate the colours which light up the skies. Hence, I shall stop trying to be a random-blogger-wannabe-poet-trying-to-write-shakespearen-english-..Oh my god, there goes the hyphens again!! and end my spiel.

Instead, have a look at the Hanabi slide show I have added here of some of the sights I was able to capture with my Nikon D40X.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

So I hope now you’ve understood why I needed to give such a title. Yes, you are right – I did not have much to write about the festival itself, and hence I needed some masala to make sure you read it!!!

Damn! Why did i mention masalamanburp…fizz…phisss…pheeeeewww…

I am so sorry..please enjoy the photos while I cover my nose…!!

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