Monday, July 21, 2008

Fire flowers

花火 Last night I went out to Yokohama with the beau and one of his friends to see the big fireworks festival. Or fire flowers, if you do a direct translation from the Japanese, which sounds much more exciting and old skool. Mostly because of our work schedules we have never been able to go to watch hanabi together so we made the most of it and went pimped out in yukata (above) and jinbei (him). Jinbei are a style of clothing consisting of shorts and a top that has a shape similar to men's yukata. Instead of yukata, many guys will wear jinbei out in the summer but only to casual events. Let me just say here that I love a guy in yukata or jinbei. I don't know what it is but the beau looks so cool in both and when I spotted a group of young guys in yukata, I thought to myself, "thank god for hot Japanese boys in yukata". If you are a foreign woman here and you don't get enough attention as it is, try going out in yukata or kimono some time. You would think they had just discovered sliced bread or something.

I got my yukata four or five years ago from Uniqlo. Every summer they release a new collection and for a yukata/obi set it's only 3900 yen. Granted you and a million other girls will have the same yukata, the big population helps to tone that down and I was happy not to see anyone else with my pattern last night. Plus you can buy geta or other accessories elsewhere to customize your look.

The hanabi in Yokohama are set off from a barge in between two large piers on the shoreline and there is special reserved seating along both piers for a pretty penny which we went for because really, hanabi come but once a year. It was well worth it though to be right where the action was and to be close enough that my heartbeat kept getting thrown off by the boom of the fireworks. What a great show! One full hour of hanabi sponsored in sets by different Japanese companies. There's nothing quite like hanabi to encompass the feeling of summer in Japan. And the Japanese know how to do summer.

There are still a bunch of hanabi festivals left this summer but nothing could top our seats or the atmosphere last night. The Sumida-gawa hanabi are next Saturday but I'm going to stay down the river around Ryogoku to test how much of it I can see from my hood.

The only downer of the night was when this old man got on the train and started puking. Instead of getting off at the next station his wife just put down newspaper on the train floor and gave him a CLEAR plastic bag to do it in next time. Which he did, and then started sorting through it with his hand for some reason I didn't quite catch. I felt sorry for the poor guy, and maybe they just wanted to get to where they were going, but they should have gotten off the train. The beau said as much under his breath and some foreigner standing in front of us tried to impress his gf by saying that the beau should be more considerate and nice. Unfortunately I didn't hear the exchange or I would have asked him if he wanted to join the old guy in sorting through his spew. Hey, maybe next month's subway poster will touch on this issue!

All in all a great night and relaxing long weekend. And in the further spirit of Japanese summer, the beau and I went to the Mitsukoshi depachika (department store basement) tonight to buy unagi among a lot of other stuff. I could spend hours in those basements and every time we go we end up buying way more than we can eat because it all looks so damn enticing. When eaten in the summer unagi is supposed to help increase energy and it is often said to increase male virility. As with many of our food ideas, we were watching a food program on TV that was featuring unagi and so of course, that ends up being our dinner. Which I am now going to eat. Itadakimasu!

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