I always am learning new things about Japanese culture while living and teaching English in Japan. Whether it’s from my students at Smith’s School of English Tsukaguchi, from my Japanese family or others, learning these new things makes Japanese culture all that more interesting to me. Before coming to Japan, I didn’t know that firecrackers and fireworks were part of Japanese culture. There are many fireworks festivals in Japan that go on every summer. I’ve seen some nice fireworks in Osaka. Fellow Soapbox posters have written about fireworks festivals here on the Soapbox. Martin from Smith’s School of English Kotoen mentioned some 2009 fireworks festivals in Japan here. Simon from Smith’s School of English Kyobashi wrote about the Tenjin festival in Osaka here . Last week, I discovered from my Japanese wife that her family used to do firecrackers every summer when she was a kid. It has become apparent to me that firecrackers and fireworks in Japan are an important part of Japanese culture. That’s great, because I like them very much!
When I was young, I really liked firecrackers. I remember doing some at the back of my parent’s cottage in Canada. Some were pretty powerful. There was one kind that I’d light, then cover with an open, empty can. When the firecracker would explode, the power of the explosion was powerful enough to make the can fly up into the air! Wow! That was fun! (^.^) Those were good times.
Last week, during my Smith’s Obon holiday, my wife and I went to Okayama Prefecture where my wife is from and some of her family live. While waiting for her father in a supermarket, I saw spotted some firecrackers near the entrance in a variety of packs. Seeing me looking at them, my wife asked me if I wanted to buy any. I hesitated, thinking that it was for kids, but before leaving finally decided to get some. We chose a pack, which contained a variety of firecrackers (some that fly up into the air and explode, some that you hold in your hand, etc.). (^.^)
The next day we did the firecrackers at my wife’s grandmother’s house. Mostly my wife and I did them however her brother, mother, cousin and aunt also did some! (^.^) Her brother kindly drove to a store to get us another pack of firecrackers with some fancier ones. We had a good time and I think it was fun for all of us to do something we hadn’t done for so long. Japanese culture really is interesting! There are always new things for me to discover and enjoy! (^.^)
Smith’s School of English Tsukaguchi