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    The Hairy Wookie Mycernius's Avatar
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    Japanese fireworks

    November the fifth in the UK is bonfire night, or Guy Fawkes night, and involves a lot of fireworks being set off. Now I have seen many pictures of festivals in Japan and they also appear to like their fireworks, but their sparklers appear to be different to those I am used to seeing. The ones in the UK are lit and you can wave them about, but the Japanese variety seem to be a more sedate affair. From what I have seen they seem to burn slower and need to be held still with your hand at the top (Doesn't the hand get warm?). What is the correct name for them and are they available outside Japan?
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    Regular Member misa.j's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mycernius
    From what I have seen they seem to burn slower and need to be held still with your hand at the top (Doesn't the hand get warm?).
    They have all kinds of sparkler that burn slow, fast, shoot a rocket or a parachute, whirl on the ground etc., and some of the bigger ones are made to be lit standing upwards on the ground. I used to wave those hand-held ones around and found out that the sparks weren't that hot.

    I could buy them at most convenience stores in Japan in the summer, but they are illegal in NY and only done by people with a license at festivals.

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    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    A question I have longed to ask Japanese people since I have never been to Japan : "In Europe we have a lot of fireworks for events such as the National Day, New Year, etc. Do you have fireworks in Japan ? Have you ever seen fireworks ?" --sarcastic snigger--

    Sorry, it will takes decades before I recover from the trauma of Japanese ignorance... if my heart ever heals...

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    大卒社会 Karamuucho's Avatar
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    I don't know about buying those small sparklers abroad, I haven't seen any in London atleast. One thing though, even the sparklers over here you're not acutally supposed to swing them around (lol sorry for stating the obvious, I'm sure you've seen the adverts, what with Diwali and all that) and with those Japanese ones you can do just the same, with the sparks fyling everywhere.
    Japanese fireworks shows are some good memories of mine, probably because of the festival atmosphere more than the fireworks themselves but I remember that a lot more fireworks in Japan fire in a perfect circle shape, the ones I see over here tend to go in all sorts of directions!
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    japán vagyok undrentide's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mycernius View Post
    November the fifth in the UK is bonfire night, or Guy Fawkes night, and involves a lot of fireworks being set off. Now I have seen many pictures of festivals in Japan and they also appear to like their fireworks, but their sparklers appear to be different to those I am used to seeing. The ones in the UK are lit and you can wave them about, but the Japanese variety seem to be a more sedate affair. From what I have seen they seem to burn slower and need to be held still with your hand at the top (Doesn't the hand get warm?). What is the correct name for them and are they available outside Japan?
    The one you call more sedate should be 線香花火 senkou-hanabi.
    Ordinary sparklers are made of thin wood line plus papers with powder in it, but senkou-hanabi is made of twisted paper with powder inside (on one end).

    Once you light it on, you have to hold it still. The powder-inside end starts to burn quietly and and make a small, firely ball. If your hand shakes or you move it, then the fire ball drops.
    If you manage to hold it still for a while, then the small fire ball starts to spark - its sparks are small and delicate, we call it matsuba (pine leaves) as the way it sparks looks like a branch of pine tree. You can enjoy its delicate beauty for a while, and the fire ball is shrinking, then it has less and less sparks, until it looks like tiny yanagi (weeping willow) with long, thin leaves hanging. The fire balls is shriking into nothing, burning out, and the light goes off. All remains in your hand is just a thin, twisted paper.

    I've heard that the number of senko-hanabi manufacturers is dwindling rapidly, and there are senko-hanabi made in China. Some people say the quality is quite different, though I don't know myself as I've never tried.

    When I was small, senko-hanabi was my favourite, it came in a bunch (maybe 10 strings) and was quite cheap. Even when I'm writing this, I remember the smell, and the small noise it makes while giving off lovely sparks...

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    相変わらず不束者です epigene's Avatar
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    I found "senko-hanabi" in action on YouTube, though the resolution is poor:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8DWquffviY

    As undrentide said, Japanese handheld fireworks (temochi-hanabi) are appreciated for color and the delicate differences in how they spark. And, senko-hanabi is the smallest and the most delicate. It is very often mentioned in songs because its romantic glow and fragility (a glowing bulb giving off soft sparks slowly and at random in different directions before it dies down by dropping on the ground).

    I can compare the old Japanese senko-hanabi and the cheaper Chinese-made ones that are widely popular today. The key difference is life span of the glowing bulb and random sparks, which is longer for the Japanese-made ones compared to the Chinese, a difference, I believe, caused by cost-cutting efforts to keep these sparklers cheap and affordable for kids to play with. The old-style Japanese sparklers are still available but are sold only at specialty shops and quite expensive.

    A typical set of handheld Japanese "hanabi" (may include fire crackers, too) used in summer evenings:
    http://www.hanabistore.com/spcart/1004.htm
    Last edited by epigene; Nov 14, 2006 at 10:31.

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    Japan has the best fireworks I have never seen.

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    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mrjones View Post
    Japan has the best fireworks I have never seen.
    Where else have you seen fireworks ?

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    The Hairy Wookie Mycernius's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info you guys.

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    I have have only seen fireworks in Finland and Japan. Oddly the smallest village in my prefectrure beat hell out of the bigger cities and capital city of prefecture, when it comes to quality of the show.

  11. #11
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mrjones View Post
    I have have only seen fireworks in Finland and Japan. Oddly the smallest village in my prefectrure beat hell out of the bigger cities and capital city of prefecture, when it comes to quality of the show.
    Not sure how Finnish fireworks compare by international standards by those of Guy Fawkes' night in London, or on 14th July in Paris have little to envy to Japanese ones. Those of 4th July in the States and the New Year in many big cities around the world (Sydney, Honk Kong, Moscow, Paris, London, New York...) are also quite famous.

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    Hullu RockLee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mrjones View Post
    Japan has the best fireworks I have never seen.
    You mean "I have ever seen"?

    I've seen some vid's/pics from Dave (Dutch Baka) when he was in Australia, and the fireworks there seemed mighty impressive as well !

    How about fireworks in Suomi? I'm dying to see them next year!
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    大卒社会 Karamuucho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    Not sure how Finnish fireworks compare by international standards by those of Guy Fawkes' night in London, or on 14th July in Paris have little to envy to Japanese ones. Those of 4th July in the States and the New Year in many big cities around the world (Sydney, Honk Kong, Moscow, Paris, London, New York...) are also quite famous.
    That also depends on the fireworks that you've seen in Japan though. The ones I've seen in London (along the thames etc, i loved the 2000 fireball~~) werent a scratch on the ones I watched in Gunma with my grandparents.

  14. #14
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    Japanese fireworks are great ! I don't know how long it last in other European countires but in France it generally last 30 min.

    In Japan it lasts at the very least 1h and up to 2h !! Incredible.

    I was also surprised by the form of fireworks they have : hart, smiley, doraemon... o_O !

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