Tuesday, April 19, 2005


Yesterday evening being the date of the first event in the 8th International Symposium on Fireworks' display series, we set out with a comfortable travel time-cushion to Ogoto, south of here on the Lake (usually a 20-25 minute drive), where the first show was to be.

Unfortunately, everyone within a hundred kilometers of the site had the same idea, so we were still a good distance away being passed by snails when the show began silently lighting up the sky a tantalizing distance ahead. Since this was the first night, the fireworks were either British or Chinese; they did not look Japanese, they were more… impressionistic? In any case these would be blasting-edge fireworks, making their first public appearance in Japan, maybe the world.

In all the urgency of new fireworks we therefore took an immediate hard left and headed for the lakeshore where we knew there was a nice park from which we could view the fireworks across the water - and hear them loud and clear - from a couple of kilometers away. Also it would be darker there, so in that way better for the watching than being part of the deafened jam right at the site (sour fireworks).

Unfortunately, everyone within ten kilometers of the park had the same idea, so the park and the road to it were packed with cars and pedestrian fireworks fans bumping into each other in the dark as explosions rocked the air, flashing glimpses of the faces of the toes you just stepped on…as China and Britain showed their stuff on the skycanvas.

And it was impressive. Things I’ve never seen fireworks do before: like gigantic slowly swelling globes of multicolored light quanta, pulsing from within, very long lasting and very slow fading; and fernlike columns of golden fire climbing very slowly way up into the sky, now and then pausing in place, then climbing onward…

There is a gourmet quality to fireworks, like wines made of light… Wednesday night Italy and China will be serving their eyewine in Moriyama, across the Lake. We'll be there early, as part of the deafened jam.

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