This is the first post in a while because I have been going out every night since the first of August until last night. Why? Well every year from the the first of August to the third of August is the summer festival of the city I live in.
I love the Nagaoka summer festival. On the first of August thousands of people line up in the street to dance the traditional dance of Nagaoka. After the mass dance, portable shrines are paraded though the streets. This is all done with loud speakers playing some traditional songs about Nagaoka. Here are some pictures of the first night.
On the 2nd and 3rd there are fireworks. Each night has about an hour and a half of fireworks which can be seen over the Shinano river (which is the longest river in Japan). My house is very close to the Shinano river, so it was used as a base of operations for the past two days. On the first day I had a BBQ. It was a good time. Here are some pictures that I took with my cell phone.
So, why do you think that we have fireworks every year on the second and third? Well, starting in 1879 Nagaoka the local samurai groups worked together to put on two days of fireworks. Before WWII the fireworks were in September. This changed when Nagaoka got bombed on August first and second 1945. They changed the days with the wish that Japan and Nagaoka would quickly recover from the war damage. Starting in 2006, after a major earthquake, floods and a very hard winter the Phoenix was added to Nagaoka's fireworks. The Phoenix represents the fact that the citizens of Nagaoka will rise again no matter what happens to the city itself. The Phoenix can be seen below.
It is a good time and I make sure I go to the fireworks every year. It is one of the biggest fireworks shows in Japan and people from all around Japan come to see it. If you are ever in Japan on any of the fireworks days it is worth the price of the ticket to get to Nagaoka.