Manhole Monday: Ishinomaki

It was a jarring juxtaposition to find this manhole cover in downtown Ishinomaki earlier this month:   Colorful, isn't it? Ishinomaki is known for its summertime fireworks display, where 15,000 rounds light up the night sky over the city's bridge. Aside from the Sendai Tanabata fireworks, it is one of Tohoku's best-known hanabi festivals. But since... Continue Reading →

Crash Course: Hanabi (Fireworks)

Summertime in Japan is synonymous with fireworks and barely a weekend goes by without some sort of hanabi display. I'm sad to be missing our local summer festival and fireworks this weekend but we're off to Sendai at the end of the week for a brief summer vacation and I have plans to catch some hanabi up there. Hanabi (literally... Continue Reading →

Manhole Monday: Ginowan

This post is part of a series on artistic manhole covers around Japan. Right before I left Okinawa last month, I was lucky enough to stay in one of the island's swank resorts while waiting for our flight out. This manhole cover was right outside our hotel's front door: Its design is simple, but to... Continue Reading →

Top 5 Fireworks Displays

Like catching cicadas and chasing fireflies, fireworks in Japan are an integral part of the summer experience. Originally used to scare off evil spirits, fireworks (hanabi in Japanese) today are an exuberant affair. During my first week in Japan years ago, I remember joining the yukata-clad masses for the best light show ever over Tokyo Bay. If... Continue Reading →

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