Thursday, 30 September 2010

Rain March (English translation of Post on 29 Sep)


It has been reported that in Japan, the weather jumped autumn cool to winter cold!
Japanese are lucky to enjoy distinctive four seasons, but quick transition of seasons keeps them busy at grabbing a thick jumper out of wardrobe.
It is difficult to keep in good shape in such a climate...

Here in Bangkok, we are between a rainy season and a dry season.
It rains twice or three times a day so~ooo hard with a rumbling of the thunder and flashing lights like an invasion of U.F.O.

At my home in the suburb of Bangkok, we can't hear anything else but frogs croaking before the rain.
When it stops raining, now you can hear a chorus of frogs and crickets at the same time.
It is a real mixture of summer and autumn in a little garden.

One of the famous Japanese novelists, Mr. Yukio Mishima describes the rain in Thailand in his novel, "The Temple of Dawn".
It sounds similar to a shower in Japan, but because of the enormous power of tropical nature, Thais young and old, seem to be very scared of thunder.

Let's have a look at "Rain March" by Fujifabric.
Please find the phrase in the lyrics, "rains softly".
Except the rain in summer, it normally rains softly and gently in most of the cases in Japan.

Japanese language has the greatest variety of words referring rain among all the languages in the world.
Depends on the style of rain, the size of raindrops, the season, rain is called in different names - koburi (sparkling), honburi (rain in earnest), toori-ame (shower), niwaka-ame (shower), kosame (drizzle), naga-ame (long spell of rain), oo-ame (heavy rain), kirisame (misty rain), konuka-ame (literally, "rice bran rain"), doshaburi (pouring rain), shino-tsuku-ame ("a bamboo grass poking rain" , a kind of pouring rain), harusame (spring rain), samidare (early summer rain), baiu (rain in rainy season), akisame (autumn rain), etc.

These terns are not used only in weather news on TV, but also in cultural context such as literature, music.
"Ame furi" (lyrics by Hakusyu Kitahara, music by Shinpei Nakayama) is one of the most well-known nursery rhymes among Japanese people.
Ame furi

The cultural aspect of rain must have been established by the delicated sensitivity of Japanese people, but also from the wet weather throughout four seasons, I believe.
Rice is staple food in Japan, so rainfall on rice field is thanked as the blessing of nature.
Rice plants do not grow without rain water.
When farmers suffer from a shortage of rain water, they organize a special ceremony praying for rain.
The style and procedure of the ceremony vary between each area in Japan, but many folktales, such as "Kappa's pray for rain" (Kappa is a kind of mononoke. see Post on Spooky Jacaranda for more details) can be found throughout Japan.

By the way, Thais do also have a rain ceremony.
A special kind of cat with grey fur called "sii sawaat" is put on a little portable float and farmers pray for rain in a rice field.
The reason why they use this particular kind of cat is the colour of the cat resembles to the colour of a rain cloud.
I have actually seen one before, and it is really beautiful shiny grey.

A rain ceremony might be original and also common among areas where rice cultivation sustains daily life.

Next phrase is "scenery full of umbrellas opening and closing".

Every time I go back home in Japan, I am surprised at the great variety of umbrellas, and a history of umbrellas in Japan is quite outstanding.
In Kofun Era (around 550A.D.), Chinese immigrants brought parasols with them to Japan, but because of a wet weather throughout a year, they were transformed into umbrellas for a purpose of protecting from rain.
A kind of mononoke called Karakasa Obake is one of evidences as Kara means Chinese.

After years, umbrellas in a wester style was modified and was adapted its style to Japanese life.

In London, it often drizzles all year round, but we hardly find people using umbrellas!
One of my British friends told me that an English gentleman loves to carry his own made-to-order umbrella, but they do not open it.
Carrying as a walking stick is the good manner of an English gentleman.

Commoners have adopted this culture into their life or people simply cannot be bothered to carry umbrellas with them as it rains too often, in England people hardly use umbrellas in rather heavy rain...

How about in France and Germany which belong to the similar climate?
Do Canadians, who have been strongly influenced by British, use umbrellas?

Please let me know!

Umbrellas open and close like flowers on the street.
It is a typical scenery on a rainy day in Japan.

I thought of something like this sitting beside the window hearing a rumbling sound of thunder in Thailand.
"Rain March" by Fujifabric





I am celebrating 1000 page views today.
Thank you for visiting my website.

I thank all of you who cheer me up always.

I will do my best to offer and introduce Fujifabric to the whole world making steady efforts over time.
Thank you always for your kind support.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010















次に「傘が咲いたよ しぼんだの景色」。







Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Serenade (English translation of the Post on 29 Sep)

This last 2,3 days, this one particular song has stuck to my mind, so I have chosen this song as today's topic - "Serenade" by Fujifabric.

The song begins with the sound of crickets in the bush and a babbling of brook.
It reminded me the beginning part of the song "Hataraku Otoko" (A Working Man) by Unicorn as the start of these two song slightly resemble.
But the real content of the song is no comparison.
"Serenade" offers us fujifabric's unique outlook of the world in lyrics.
As usual, the lyrics of this song was written by Mr. Shimura and the music was also composed by him,
it can be said that it is based on Mr. Shimura's outlook of the world.

The sound of drums reminding us a drum and fife band and the sound of crickets and insects being played behind the melody are intertwined beautifully with the lyrics in harmony - makes us feel like wandering around in an amusement park in Europe, such as Tivoli Park in Denmark.

How great Fujifabric is to put this great song coupling with the masterpiece, "Wakamono No Subete" (All About Youth) in a single CD!
A normal band group will sell this song as a single again...

The a serenade is, in its most general sense, a musical composition, and/or performance, in someone's honor. Serenades are typically calm, light music. In fact, the word Serenade is derived from the word sereno, which means calm.
The classic serenade usage would be from a lover to his lady love through a window.
Music performed followed no one particular form, except that it was typically sung by one person accompanying himself on a portable instrument, most likely a guitar, lute or other plucked instrument.

Tom in "Tom and Jerry" plays a violin and sings a serenade for his girlfriend, and in a restaurant in Europe, a group holding musical instruments in hand come in and sing a serenade for your girlfriend instead of you.

Japanese have an impression that a serenade is still a music genre being dominant in the Western world.

Even though the style of a serenade is not so familiar with Japanese, we can vaguely guess as the song leads us to clearly picture the scene of standing outdoor at night.
A direct message to a lady cannot be found in the lyrics, but the song tells us something important in calm tones.

Because of the sound of crickets, we, Japanese people already assume the song is about "a long night in autumn". In this sense, the sound of crickets is the most effective to convey the atmosphere of a serenade at night time.

Therefore, the sound of leaves in "the wind swaying leaves on a tree" in lyrics is naturally assumed the sound of dry leaves just before falling in autumn, not the sound of fresh green leaves.

In the middle of the song, the phrase of  "the land of sleep" (literally in Japanese, it is "the forest of sleep" ) makes us feel that it is getting late at night.

The first song, "Wakamono No Subete" (All About Youth) makes us feel the end of summer, and being followed by "Serenade" in the beginning of autumn.

Let me think the reason why the third song in this single CD is "Planet of Bears"...

Towards the end of the song, the phrase of "soon   I've got to go   a serenade of farewell   when being vanished   come back as it was before" is so moving.
This phrase reminds a lot of Fujifabric fans in Japan Mr. Shimura, himself, and many comments have been written in websites.

I personally feel that Mr. Shimura means something in a broader sense like a life cycle in nature rather than pointing out himself. (but surely he himself is included in the life cycle anyway.)

Humans, dogs, plants and flowers, trees - all the living in nature.
When a life comes to the end, the next day the sun rises again as usual.
At the end, all go back to nature.
Japanese feel empathy and sensitivity of ephemera in the life cycle.

Many of Japanese fans see a projection of a bittersweet sadness of ephemera and transience of things, which is the core of Fujifabric lyrical world, in Mr. Shimura's premature death.

All the living creatures cannot avoid death, but life does not vanish become zero after death.
It just transforms into something else and continues living in another form eternally.

Death is not the end, it is just a transition stage that all the living creatures go through to reborn as something else, we believe.

"Serenade" by Fujifabric reminds us the life cycle of nature, which has been in Japanese people heart over centuries.
Enjoy discovering the world of Fujifabric!

Monday, 27 September 2010











そして最後、「そろそろ 行かなきゃな お別れのセレナーデ 消えても 元通りになるだけなんだよ」というフレーズ。






Sunday, 26 September 2010

Good-bye With Smile (Translation of Post on 25th Sep)

When we search on "Waratte Sayonara" (Good-bye With Smile) in You tube, we notice that Fujifabric fans post comments with special feelings.
The action of saying good-bye with "smile" deeply strikes our heart.

Why is that so?

Thailand is often called "the land of smile", and it is true that whoever we see in this country, people welcome you with beautiful smile.
As Japanese, we feel comfortable to see their smile, but some expatriates find that smile is the cheating one trying to escape from their responsibility, especially when the language becomes a barrier between two nations.

The meaning of smile is not universal?

Patric Lafcadio Hearn (1850-1904) wrote many essays on Japanese culturem and one of those known as "The smile of Japanese" is very interesting when thinking of the reason why Japanese always smile.
He pointed out that White people find it peculiar when Japanese people have smile as usual on their face even at the time facing a pain, a shame, sadness or a disappointment.

That surely call to our mind living in modern days.

Hearn explains that it is a Japanese custom to show your lovely smile to your parents, relatives, teachers, friends and people who feel affection to you in everyday life.
On the top of it, he also writes that it is the Japanese manner to show your happy smile all the time in public avoiding the others feel uncomfortable by looking at your face.
So, even at the time you are overwhelmed with grief, it is considered to be rude to show your serious or unhappy face to the people who feel affection to you.
Because as a result, they feel anxious or pain from your unhappy face.

It is analysed by Hearn that smile of Japanese people is taught in such a way since little and it is embedded in people's heart at the instinctive level.

The key to understand the magic of Japanese people's smile is due to their good manner.
This smile is distinctively different to a sneer, which is a mask of true heart, but it is purely coming from the manner of caring the other people's feeling.

I totally agree with Hearn in this point.

One of famous Japanese novelists, Ryunosuke Akutagawa (1892-1927) wrote on a mother who lost her only son, I remember.
The guest in the story visited the mother to offer condolences, and the mother welcomed and expressed her thanks to the guest with a calm smile.
"How can she be so calm showing her smile when facing such a tragedy?", the guest wondered, and he tried to pick up something he dropped on the floor.
Then he saw that lady was grabbing her handkerchief so strongly with shaking hands, and he realised how deep the mother's sadness was.

This is the smile of Japanese facing the big sorrow.
The sorrow inside of the smile is so deep that the others cannot easily imagine.
People who have seen such a smile, are deeply moved by its beauty and straighten our back to pay respect back to that smile.

I felt the same way in the lyrics of "Good-bye with Smile" by Fujifabric.

It is obvious for us that He is not smiling because he is happy to break up with his girlfriend.
It was maybe a short period of time, but they spent the time together as a couple.
At the end, He had to say good-bye to the love one, but it was not his real will to make her feel bad at the last moment in their relationship as she was the one He loved once.

He wished to come to the end with a beautiful memories.
That might be what He thought about.

That is why He thought about the breakup over and over for many weeks, looking for mistakes that He made.

This smile is not from strained endurance.
It was the smile from superior spirit caring about others, and it is the best smile coming from Japanese unique manner and sense of beauty.

Let's wipe our tears today and show our best smile!
Enjoy listening to "Good-bye with Smile"

Saturday, 25 September 2010

笑ってサヨナラ 日本人の微笑 

You Tubeで「笑ってサヨナラ」を検索すると、フジファブリックファンの皆さんが特別な思いをもってコメントを書いていらっしゃることに気がつきます。

















フジファブリック 「笑ってさよなら」です。

Friday, 24 September 2010

The Moon (Translation of Post on 23rd Sep)

The moon cannot be missed out when talking of lyrics world in Fujifabric's songs.
Quite a few songs immediately come up to my mind such as "The smooth and flat moon" (Otsuki-sama Nopperabou), "Sky-Rocket Fireworks" (Uchiage Hanabi), "The Same Moon" (Onaji Tsuki) and "Anthem".

It was Moon Festival on the 21st night, so let's talk about "The Moon" ,today.

This photo was taken at around 10pm on the Moon Festival night in  my garden.
Can you see the rain clouds around the moon?
Because of the high humidity in the air, there was vaguely a rainbow-coloured ring around the moon.
It is still in the middle of the rainy season in Thailand, so lightnings, stars and the full moon could be seen at once in the sky.
Quite animated that was!

Thai Chinese, who immigrated to Thailand from China almost a century ago, have brought the custom of eating moon cakes, and they invented the new flavour - Dorian flavour.
For Japanese, who get used to eat delicate Japanese sweets, Wagashi, cannot even imagine to arrange Dorian with such a strong aroma (strong smell of fermentation, similar to cat's pee pee, I think...) making moon cakes, but Thai people seem to enjoy it very much.

The moon cakes have been transformed into the form that the indigenous people like, but Thais have not been penetrated with the custom of "gazing the moon" at all.

"Gaze the moon in silence with admiration."
It is nothing special for Japanese, but this custom can be found only in East Asia.

In China and Taiwan, Moon Festival is celebrated to a greater extent and the day is set as a national holiday.
(It is not a national holiday in Thailand,though.)

The custom of gazing the moon in Japan has been introduced from China in ancient days, and has throughly become a permanent fixture with Japanese society.
We, leading a busy life, are yearn for graceful appearance of aristocrats in Heian Era who enjoyed gazing the moon.

Moon Festival is celebrated every year on the 15th of August in a lunar calendar.
In Japan, it is also the time of harvest in autumn, so the special stand for the moon is decorated with autumn crops such as dumplings made from rice powder, taro, chestnuts, etc with Japanese plume grass, in order to thank and wish the moon for the good harvest.

At my parents' home, the moon stand was placed where the moon looks the most beautiful in the house, and the whole family celebrated it.

Speaking of the moon, the story of the Moon Princess Kaguya is the most popular among Japanese young and old.

This tale is said to be the oldest folktale found in the history written in Kana letters, and the author and the written year are both unknown.
Please look at this web site for more details.
The tale of bamboo cutter

There are a few other folktales similar to the one of bamboo cutter (the one in Tibet is well-known and it is often said Tibetan one was brought into Japan by immigrants from the continent), but it is limited in the area where people have the custom of gazing the moon.

Let's look at "The smooth and flat moon" by Fujifabric.
The contrast between the moon at night and the rainbow at daytime is very impressive and beautiful in this song.
At night, traveling alone in mind gazing the smooth and flat moon and the shining rainbow in the sunshine...
It is filled with fantasy.

The shadow of moon craters are clearly visible to the naked eyes some nights and make us confused which part is really rabbit shaped (Japanese have believed that shadow of rabbits making rice cakes can be seen on the moon for a long time).
On the other hand, the moon looks so plane and shining in white light on some nights.

Mr. Shimura used the word, "Nopperabou" which is the name of mononoke (see the post on Spooky Jacaranda) to express this plane shining moon.
He is a genius for lyrics, really!
Allow me to explain what Nopperabou is some other day.

I am not aware the fact that Mr. Shimura had any personal memory about the moon, but there must be some memories and informtaion about the moon, inherited from our ancestors over thousands of years in our Japanese DNA.

In ancient days, before any form of civilization emerged on the earth, the moon light was the only light on the dark night.
The moon light softly wrap all the living creatures - insects, fish, birds, animals, humans, trees, flowers and grass - with its mysterious power.
After the custom of gazing the moon has been firmly established in the heart of Japanese up until now...

The moon in the Fujifabric's songs invite us to the journey in the mysterious world beyond the time line.
"The Smooth and Flat Moon" by Fujifabric

Thursday, 23 September 2010






















Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Spooky Jacaranda (Translation of Post on 21st Sep)

Mononoke literally means "a thing transformed", and it is classified as preternatural creatures including spirits of the dead and the alive.
In 1997, the well-known Japanese film director, Mr. Hayao Miyazaki produced the film, "Princess Mononoke" and it was globally viewed in selected regions in Europe, U.S.A and Canada in 1999.

The conception of "mononoke" is originally derived from animism, a primitive form of religion.
Animism is based on a belief that "spirits and gods exists in all things in nature".
It is more like a belief rather than a religion, and it can be found all over the world - Native Indians in U.S.A and Canadian Inuit are particularly famous for its accompanied adherence to the mother nature.

In Japan, a type of animism was already found in the prehistorical time (14,000 ~ 300 BC), and it is often called Jomon Shintoism, which is the original form of Shintoism.

It has been believed in Japan that at dusk and at around 2am, the border between our world and the world of the dead gets ambiguous and humans have a better chance to see those creatures.
Between 1- 3am, even grass and trees fall in asleep, and a cursing ceremony, nailing a doll of straw on a big tree in a shrine garden, is widely known in Japan.

During these times of the day, our world is connected to the world where enraged gods inhabit, and mononoke grow in their spirits.

One type of mononoke called Tsukumo-gami is a spirit which possesses any plant or animal lived long or an item used for a long period of time by humans.
This spirit can be often found in folk tales all over Japan, including Ainu's, and men are punished by not taking a good care of a household goods.

Now, let's move on to "Spooky Jacaranda" by Fujifabric!
This song sounds rock'n roll, but it is filled with typical spirit of Japanese culture.

The scene at the beginning reminds us a car race at night in the films, such as "The Fast And The Furious", but after the middle of the song, it turns into the dark creepy Japanese spooky world!

In dark at night, I, just like being possessed by something, suddenly turns into an animal, roars, and SHOUTS
at mononoke.
And beside me, there is a burned guitar made of expensive Jacaranda Wood, and it is growling...

Can you feel this spookiness in Japanese spiritual world?

This is one of my biggest attempt that I am making in my blog - explaining in words WHAT is behind the lyrics of Fujifabric's songs.
I just wish Fujifabric fans abroad can receive the message and the real meanings of the lyrics more easily by understanding hidden matters under the surface, and this can lead you to enjoy and love Fujifabric even more.

Claude Lévi-Strauss (28 November 1908 – 30 October 2009), a French anthropologist, who is often called the "father of modern anthropology" argued that the "savage mind" had the same structures as the "civilized" mind and that human characteristics are the same everywhere.
He strongly calimed "the search for the underlying patterns of thought in all forms of human activity." - after all, we are all the same humans.

Here is "Mononoke hakaranda"(Spooky Jacaranda) by Fujifabric

Tuesday, 21 September 2010















Monday, 20 September 2010

Mt. Fuji

When thinking of Mr. Masahiko Shimura in Fujifabric, Mt. Fuji always comes up in my mind.

I personally had a tough week as one of my family members was admitted to hospital, I am very glad to talk about Mr. Fuji feeling some energy flows into my body!
Today's topic is on the magnificent theme, "Mt. Fuji".

For Japanese people who live abroad, Mt. Fuji suddenly grows bigger in our mind since the moment we left Japan.
Even the foreigners with not much knowledge about Japan, usually know "Mt. Fuji", and the name "Fuji" is more frequently used for places and products aiming at Japanese people, compared to Japan.

The supermarket purveying for the Japanese people in Bangkok is called "Fuji Super" as precedented.

For people originally coming from Ymanashi and Shizuoka Prefecture, Mt. Fuji is always in the scenery in our heart and also a guardian deity.

In our bedroom, a piece of photo of Mt. Fuji in a frame is put up on the wall.
I feel that things will be just all right when looking at the Mt. Fuji - no matter what that is.
Time I have lived abroad has exceeded the time I spent in my hometown, but even now, I am always comforted and cheered up by Mt. Fuji.

I will write about Mt. Fuji in general some other day, so please let me go on writing something including my personal memories.

This year on the 18th  May, Yamanashi Daily Newspaper and Shizuoka Newspaper published "Fuji-san (Mt. Fuji) Newspaper".
It was aimed at making residents in these two prefectures recognise the connection with Mt. Fuji once more, and it is my belief that we don't have anything else to be proud of more than Mt. Fuji in our town.

I have never realised this fact till I left my hometown.

In Fuji-san Newspaper, the article on  "immigrants' Mt. Fuji" was astonishing.
After the WW2, a great number of people immigrated from Yamanashi to the countries in South America.

Because many people passed away with the last words, "Wish to see Mt. Fuji once more.", Mr. Fujikawa expended his private funds upon building a statue of Kannon (The Japanese Goddess of Mercy) in a field in Izu Ooshima where Mt. Fuji can be beautifully viewed.

How they felt being in such a hardship so far far away from home...

In Kofu City where I was brought up, Mt. Fuji can be viewed depending on the weather, and I still remember we, even as children, could feel the season by mountains around including Mt. Fuji.
During the rainy season, it hides in deep deep clouds, but once it is over, Mt. Fuji shows up with no snow on the top among mountains in the south.

Finding several little lights sparkling on the left shoulder of the mountain, I felt we have reached the time of climbers in summer.
Mt. Fuji keeps changing its appearances depending on the weather, time, and season, and I have an impression of the mountain being fickle as showing its beautiful figure in the poor weather or never showing up in the fine weather.

Not only the season but also the direction is obvious by using Mt. Fuji as a compass.
Living in the Kofu basin, Mt. Fuji is situated always in the south so it is detectable which way you are heading to without any device of new technology.

Recently, due to a big boom in Japanese culture (TV dramas, rock bands, etc) all over Thailand, Japan has been ranked for the first country that Thai people would like to visit.

Quite a few people in here told me that they would like to see Mt. Fuji  with cherry blossoms once in their life.
And that is the moment I am so proud of myself coming from such a beautiful prefecture.

Mr. Shimura in Fujifabric must have felt in a similar way to me, maybe much more than me.
We can tell by him using the name, "Fujifabric" for his band in his whole lifetime.

There must be lots of things happened in his life during the 18 years in Fujiyoshida City, but he must have loved his hometown including all the events and people in his memory, and there is always Mt. Fuji in his town  showing no interest in human activities.

Around that area, distinctive nature can be observed.
Yamanashi Prefecture is full of beautiful nature as being surrounded many mountains, but even we, as locals, feel that the nature at the foot of Mt. Fuji is totally obscure and harsh keeping humans away because of its sacred aspect.

Strange enough, for us, same as the tourists from other prefectures, Fujiyoshida City is the town of Mt. Fuji.
There must be quite a few people from Kofu City who went to Fuji Q Highland (the Amusement Park in Fujiyoshida City) for the first trip with your friends in your teens.

When the bus crossing through the Misaka mountain pass, all of sudden Mt. Fuji strikes us with its great figure.
That was maybe the time that I felt Mt. Fuji is so fabulous.

It is not exaggerated to say that because Mr. Shimura Masahiko, with a great gift, was born and brought up in that town enjoying the nature, we are fortunate to enjoy their music now.
I would like to express my thousands of thanks to everything which make this possible.


There was the ceremony mourning the death of Mr. Shimura held in the end of January, and unfortunately, I could not attend.
When I saw the photo later Shimura-kun standing on the top of Mt. Fuji made of beautiful flowers, I felt he is now back where he belongs to.

I am sure he is now with Mt. Fuji he loved, and keeps watching us.

Sunday, 19 September 2010
























Thursday, 16 September 2010

Sparkler (English Translation of Post on 15th Sep 2010)

To the readers in Japan, it suddenly got so much cooler today, and outside must seem thoroughly auturmn-like.
The top temperature of the day last week is 10C higher than today's sounds rather crazy!
This never happens in Thailand as it is always summer throughout a year.

To the readers in West Europe, the weather skipped to autumn and it's gone into a winter now, I heard.
Around Vancouver in Canada, one of my friends wrote to me and it sounds similar to the one in Europe.
We are heading towards autumn and eventually winter in the countries in the Norther Hemisphere.

Before autumn comes thoroughly, please allow me to write on "Fireworks" continued from the last post.

There are a few songs of Fujifabric's being inspired by fireworks, and "Sparklers" (Senkou-Hanabi) is one of them.
It is the first song in the Mini-Album called "A la Carte" released on the 21st October 2002, and it enjoyed its unique distinctive atmosphere.
Please find the part, "If have a time to savour the feeling of solitude" in lyrics. (The English lyrics of this song is not yet finished... Sorry about that! I am going to work on it soon.)

Have you ever played a sparkler before?
Japanese Sparkler called "Senkou-Hanabi" is quite different to the one played in UK on Guy Fawkes Night.

Senkou-Hanabi is one of the classic hand-held fireworks that burns slowly while emitting reddish yellow flames and sparks.
It has been love by Japanese people over 300 years, but it is such a shame that there are only three firework artisans left who produce this type of fireworks in Japan now.

Senkou-Hanabi consists of a thin shaft of twisted tissue paper about 20 centimeters long with one end containing a few grains of a black gunpowder.

The type called Nagate (literally meaning "long hand") common in the East part of Japan are handmade because the process of packing several different composition into a piece of paper tube and twisting skilfully can be done only by human hands with a great experience.
Therefore, a great amount cannot be manufactured by a machine in a factory.

As the labour cost is so high in Japan that most of this type of fireworks are made and imported from China nowadays.

There are 4 stages while Senkou-Hanabi is ignited ;

1. Stage of Peony - a molten slag is formed
2. Stage of Pine Needle - spraying an array of delicate branching sparks
3. Stage of Willow - sparks are lowered down
4. Stage of Fluttering Chrysanthemum - just before burning out

In my hometown, Yamanashi  Prefecture, my grandparents called this fireworks as "Rose Moss".
The shape of the sparks looks similar to the leaves of rose moss, too, though...

You look for a place where no wind blowing first, and squat down.
Hold the thin tissue paper end up, the pointed end straight down.
Light the pointed end so that the flame is at the bottom.

After a few seconds, the part in flame rolls up and a glowing molten slag (approx. 3mm diameter) will form. (Stage 1 - Peony)

The molten ball spray an array of delicate branching sparks, looking like a bundle of pine needles, with a range of up to 20 cm. (Stage 2 - Pine Needle)

After probably 30 seconds or less, the branching sparks start lowering down and the molten ball gets smaller. (Stage 3 - Willow)

At the end, the branching sparks disappear and the molten ball is surrounded by the thin curved lines looking like falling chrysanthemum petals. (Stage 4 - Fluttering Chrysanthemum)

We can feel the Japanese sense of beauty finding each stage is expressed in the name of plants.

When I was little, on a summer night, children gathered and had a competition "whose Senkou-Hanabi can last the longest".
You have to keep the firework away from the wind and hold with a steady hand, so that the delicate molten head does not drop.
If the molten ball is dropped in Stage 2, then your firework will burn out quickly!

It is also a good memory of mine that adults had to give us warning every time when playing Senkou-Hanabi saying, "Don't wear sandals as if a hot molten ball drops on your foot, you will have a serious burn forming a little hole on your foot!"

It is said that it somehow mesmerizes the players into silence and evokes mono no aware (translated as "an empathy toward things," or "a sensitivity to ephemera").
The sparkling bright fireworks are all finished and the fun time is almost over...
Senkou-Hanabi is the one played last amongst other fireworks with complete silence.

Japanese have a special affection towards the things reminding us the beauty and briefness of life (see this Post)
The ephemeral, which has stayed with us over thousand of years, is still felt in the celebration of Senko-Hanabi.

Mr. Shimura in Fujifabric, who was such a wonderful artist, must have felt the poignantly briefness of life even more than us...
But we feel the same in you, Mr. Shimura...
You make us feel ephemeral of life, you know...

Fireworks must occupy some spaces in his heart for definite when remembered those summer days with his family, friends and a girlfriend.

Please share the feeling of ephemeral with us through fireworks.
"Senkou-Hanabi" by Fujifabric

Wednesday, 15 September 2010