Sunday, July 30, 2006

Oyama Fireworks Festival... take deux

Wow, has it been a year already? This time last summer, I was heading out to Oyama on my very first local train trip to go see the Fireworks Festival. My, how things have changed. A Japan veteran, I now travel with an insulated bag filled with shochu coolers, a high-end digital camera, and of course a beautiful Japanese fiancee... the difference a year makes!

What a fantastic day. The weekend started last night with dinner at Modern, my friendly neighbourhood Okinawan pub... not going there so much these days, we tend to spread our restauranting out a bit. Then, today we set out to join a BBQ in progress in Oyama with Wasim, Steve, Saki and Masaki. They'd arranged for a little gazebo type setup with a grill over some hot coals... great food! Here's part of the group hamming it up for the camera.

Of course, as with any event in proximity of the hoards from Tokyo, the parks along the riverside in the relatively small town of Oyama were absolutely packed with people. We were lucky to get in rather close to the place from which they were launching, and staked out our little patch of grass. (Yes, those are people on the opposite side of the river!)

The fireworks are sponsored by different companies, but the hour and a half show was essentially a succession of fireworks displays with short intermissions between them... a great format for a fireworks festival. And now, for some of the pictures I took.

I thought this one was pretty cool since I caught one just going off, which you can see as a star at the bottom. Nice clear pictures, considering I was doing this freehand and that the S3's fireworks mode leaves the shutter open for a while.

Another good shot, showing two bursts at different stages.

This one I liked because it looks like a flower, very cool effect with the shutter staying open long enough to capture the initial explosion as well as the outward movement of the embers.

You'll notice the quality on this one is lesser, that's because I switched modes to give continuous shooting a try. While taking about a picture a second, I caught several "moment of explosion" type shots, of which this is one. Too bad the picture is so noisy. The Fireworks mode does a much better job, but takes a good 5 seconds to process the image and remove noise.

And finally, another great big thanks to the gods of zooming. My favourite shot of the night, I took this shot while zoomed into the center of a burst. Very cool!

And of course, what's a festival without yatai food. This time around we didn't grab anything to eat since we were stuffed from the BBQ, but I thought this was a nice effect of movement contrasting with the ononomiyaki sign which is in focus.

A great day, as you can very well see. Also, Yoshiko has agreed to finally allow me to post her picture on my blog. Once the committee reviews the portfolio I've presented them and choose an appropriate picture, I'll post it.

Tomorrow night, Matt and I are joining one of our departing students for a Sake experience somewhere out here. Looking forward to that as well.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

One year a veteran does not make.

12:27 PM  
Blogger Michel Lafleur said...

Ouch, big words from an anonymous commenter. Care to elaborate\discuss?

2 things:

1. The "veteran" comment was meant more as a comparison between the me of one year ago, embarking on my first solo train ride and the me of today.

2. With the rate with which I've seen people leaving Japan after their one year contract is over (or before), I think I can stand by the comment that I am a veteran... if not of Japan, then at least of the Eikaiwa system.


1:05 PM  
Blogger Kimberly said...

I am also a Canadian, who taught English in Oyama for a year. I googled to find something about the annual fireworks, and your page was the first to come up. This brings back great memories, thank you!

2:35 AM  

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