Sunday, September 18, 2011

花火 (Hanabi-Fireworks)

I know I have heard that word somewhere…let me think…

Aha!  I remember.  There is a Japanese restaurant downtown Duluth that I ate at with my dad right before moving to Japan last summer.  The restaurant’s name is Hanabi.  There are pictures of fireworks on the menu.  

Japanese can be very frustrating and difficult to learn, but at the same time it can be very rewarding and fun.  Take the word “花火”(hanabi): the first kanji character means flower, the second means fire.  So literally, it translates to “ fire flower.”  There are lots of cool words like this in Japanese.

Hanabi are a big deal in Japan.  As I mentioned before, they accompany virtually every 祭り, or festival.  While we were studying Japanese in Okazaki over part of the summer, we happened to be there during the summer festival (夏祭り).   

Now, a little bit about fireworks displays in Japan.  The shows typically last much longer than the ones back in the states.  Usually over an hour.  Companies sponsor fireworks shows and announcements are made during the show informing the audience which company paid for which displays.  An interesting way of marketing. 

The fireworks show I saw in Okazaki was only the second one I had seen in Japan. I was told by many people it is the best show in Japan.  It is an extra long (2-2 ½ hours) fireworks display that is the pitch to the companies watching and looking to buy for next year’s festivals.


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