Culture · Friends · Japanese Pop Culture · Living in Japan · Pictures

Your Voice is a Firework


This past week has been one hell of a ride. Between learning that I am changing schools mid-year and the death of one of my kitties, I have been an emotional wreck.

Yesterday, Jun and I went to friend’s house along with a few other people to have dinner. We made about 4 or 5 different types of okonomiyaki and ate so much that we could hardly move. We also played on the Wii for a while.

the whole gang

The highlight of the night was doing fireworks by a river. You can buy small fireworks in Japan just about anywhere. There are displays in supermarkets and convenience stores for reasonable prices. We ended up selecting a 900 yen selection of fireworks that included three glow stick bracelets.


A few of us were dorky enough to use the fireworks as wands and started casting spells at each other. Jun and I had a whole battle between Harry Potter (me) and Lord Voldemort (Jun). However, at times I think Jun went into more of a Snape character as he kept yelling “How dare you Mr. Potter?!” before casting a spell.

Our fireworks selection also included some adorable 線香花火 (senko hanabi). The English equivalent is a “sparkler,” but I am not sure if I have ever seen this type of firework in America. These are a very popular “toy firework” that gets its name from incense burning in the Edo Period. The Japanese describe the use of this firework in 4 stages:
Using the stage name just sparklers are divided into four stages.

①Peony – An orange “ball” starts to form.
②Pine needles – Sparks fly out from the ball.
③Willow – sparks start to become weak.
④Falling chrysanthemum – the ball falls from the firework.

They are a very delicate firework and you have to hold your hand very still to form a big enough ball to get some good sparks flying.

Jun's heart is ablaze!


8 thoughts on “Your Voice is a Firework

  1. Great pictures. It sounds like you had a nice evening with friends. I enjoyed reading your description of the Japanese sparklers. I wish we had those. They sound beautiful. My boys (kids and husband) played with a few firewords on the 4th here. They had some you set in small stands on the ground and the firework fountains up. They all took turns jumping over them. It was quite a sight.

    1. Thank you for your always thoughtful comments!

      I never grew up being able to play with fireworks. I am pretty sure that they are illegal to buy in California. So, when summer rolls around here in Japan, I have to play with fireworks as often as I can. The Japanese sparklers are really adorable.

  2. Oh my goodness, who is that sitting next to Jun, I forgot his name. He was really funny if I remember. Looks like he still has the same girlfriend as when I was there–they must be serious.

    Fireworks are illegal in California. Everything here burns so quickly. A group of 4 homes burnt to the ground in Salinas because someone was playing with fireworks. I think I have some of those sparklers left over from Albuquerque.

    1. The guy next to Jun is Hiromu. A very funny guy. Same girlfriend…but they broke up once and got back together. They have been on thin ice for awhile now and Yuka, the girlfriend, has been saying she wants “new love” for several months now. Yuka doesn’t want to be alone, so she is “keeping” Hiromu until he goes to China next month. He is going to spend the year abroad. They are not a serious couple in terms of “I am going to marry this person.”

  3. Cat is also going to China for a year and she is leaving in a month or the beginning of September. Sterling is getting married to his high school sweetheart on Labor Day weekend so she will leave after that. She is at Berkely this summer learning Mandarin.

  4. Beautiful fireworks photos! Thank you for explaining about Japanese sparklers, they sound so much more elegant and mysterious than non-Japanese sparklers hehe XD Although there’s no way I could hold my hand steady long enough…

  5. CONGRATULATIONS on getting to keep all your schools and getting another elementary school–finally things look like they are going smoothly!!!

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