The Fireworks in Ichikawa

Did you go to a firework festival this summer?
The annual fireworks at Edo River (江戸川, edo-gawa) is always on the first weekend of August. This firework festival is one of the biggest ones in the greater Tokyo area. 
It’s a little bit confusing because it has two names. Edogawa ward in Tokyo began this annual firework festival along the river in 1976 and they call it the Edogawa-ku Firework Festival (江戸川区花火大会). But then in 1985, Ichikawa city in Chiba, which is right across the river from Edogawa ward, joined in on hosting the firework festival, calling it the Ichikawa Shimin Noryo Firework Festival (市川市民納涼花火大会). So technically it’s the same firework festival with a different name, depending on where you watch it from.  
I know Dru was on the other side but I like watching from the Ichikawa side of the river because you don’t have to save your place during the middle of the night to get a decent spot. Last year, there were approximately 490 thousand people on the Ichikawa side and a whopping 900 thousand people on the Edogawa side.
A lot of people take pride in which side they watch from. I was told by my coworker, who defines himself as a true Edokko (江戸っ子), that someone who was born and raised in Tokyo would never cross over to Chiba to watch the fireworks. But me? I was born in Okinawa and I could really care less about which side I watch it from, so naturally I choose the side that has less people and a larger space.
Like last year, we had a little picnic in the evening before the fireworks. I love festival food, it’s so good! We ate and talked while watching the sun go down, which was beautiful in itself. And when the fireworks finally started with a huge bang, we were ready to be entertained!
Here are some photos:
The festival stalls selling everything from yaki-soba to shaved ice!
A photo in between buying food from the stalls.
It was a beautiful sunny day!
You can never have too much festival food! 
We celebrated my bestie’s birthday with a candle in the jyaga-bata! 😀
Happy 30th birthday to D!
The beautiful sun setting across the river (that’s the Edogawa side of the river).
The festival starts with the traditional 1,000 fireworks in the first 5 seconds!
These are my favorite fireworks, with just one color…simple but stunning!
What a night. Hoping to be here next year, too!

The Golden Week Road Trip: Choshi

Have you ever been to Choshi?
It’s in the northeastern part of Chiba prefecture and has an amazing view of the pacific ocean. Well, it usually does. But when we stopped by on our way back down to Chiba, it was so cloudy that we couldn’t see a thing! Of course, that didn’t stop us from going up to the observatory deck to take a few pictures just so we can say we were there.
I actually liked the view that we had, even if we couldn’t see far.
There are also some other activities going on inside the observatory deck and we ended up working on seashell art. The project itself was fun but the older men and ladies teaching us were the real entertainment. So nice and eager to tell us their outrageous stories.
After that we took the Ken-o-do further down Chiba to drop off our baby sister at her campus. And that was the end of our short Golden Week this year. I’m hoping next year we have an even longer vacation so we can take an even longer road trip somewhere! x
Here are some photos:

The Golden Week Road Trip: Chiba

Hello, hello!

How is everyone’s post Golden Week? Or if you’re not in Japan, your regular week? I’ve been dashing around Tokyo lately. May might end up being my busiest month yet.

But before I head off to Kagoshima, I wanted to share a few photos from my Golden Week.

What started off as a sleepover at my sister’s place in Ibaraki, inadvertently ended up being a road trip through Chiba. I know that doesn’t make any sense but let me explain. My other baby sister is currently a university student in Chiba so we drove down there to pick her up. Her campus was gorgeous. It was also quite far…who knew Chiba was such a large prefecture?

But we had a great time cruising up the highway along the shoreline, with Beyonce and Taylor Swift belting out their tunes (we were, of course, their backup singers).

Here are some photos:

My sister’s campus had a random phone booth sans telephone…so random!

Together again! We hadn’t seen each other since the picnic in Yoyogi Park.
The beautiful green arch of cherry trees above this path…isn’t it lovely?

I promised my grandma to send pictures…so we did a little photo shoot!

Look how lush and green the mountain is. I love it.

No better place than this to celebrate Greenery Day.

Posing for a photo before heading out to eat!

We stopped by the small beach town Katsuura for lunch!

Our yummy lunch sets…we were pretty hungry!

My delicious tamago-don (oyako-don minus the chicken) set.

My baby sister filled us in on how college life has been since April.

We left the soba shop to take a walk down to the beach.

I always love looking out to sea…something so calming about the sound of waves.

Another group shot before we head back up to Ibaraki.

A pretty sunset at the end of our road trip.

The Summer Fireworks

Fireworks, called hanabi in Japanese, are a summer staple here in Japan.
I don’t think there’s ever been a summer without going to a hanabi festival or just fireworks in the park with friends. But fireworks are definitely linked to summer here and I can’t seem to do without it.
This year, I took my beautiful new picnic blanket (you can probably tell from the pictures that I want to show it off! haha!) with me to the hanabi festival in Ichikawa. It’s a city in Chiba prefecture, located along the Edogawa river. We had a little picnic of festival food before the fireworks started. And then we just rolled over and enjoyed the show in the night sky while we oohed and ahhed 😀
Here are some pictures:

My sister with her we-found-a-great-spot smile 😀

I got free uchiwa’s (a hand fan) the night before and decided to redecorate them!
This is how we save seats! The whole riverside on both shores was a sea of picnic sheets.

There were lots of different festival food stalls along the river.

Anzu-ame, a festival favorite, is apricot dipped in sweet syrup.
People start gathering as the time for fireworks comes near.

People also watch the fireworks from boats called Yakatabune.
We had a glorious sunset…you can even see the Skytree in the distance!

My absolute festival favorite is Gyaga-batah, which literally means potato-butter.

The fireworks start off with a bang!

Tons of people were there watching the fireworks!

Something special about each explosion of lights. Aren’t fireworks fabulous?

It was a pretty great night…might have to make this an annual event!
“Bright lights and the big city.
It belongs to us tonight.”
– Cee Lo Green