I think, for some reason which I can’t recall, I completely missed the fireworks over the Sumida river in 2010, so, this year, I wasn’t sure what kind of view we’d have.
In 2009, I shot this and you can see that there is a construction crane on the left side of the frame. At the time, I was curious to know what, if any, of our view of the Sumida-gawa fireworks would remain when the crane had done its work and the new residential building was in place:
To be honest, I’m not overly interested in the Sumida fireworks display – they’re just slightly too far away to be exciting, but it is nice to see the night sky aglow on a summer’s eve.
This year, as a result of the triple disaster on March 11, the Sumida fireworks date was pushed to the end of August (it’s usually in late July) and the Tokyo Bay fireworks were not held at all.
Historically, the Sumida display is quite interesting: apparently, 1732 was a bad year in Edo (the old name for Tokyo) with famine and disease wiping out a good chunk of the population. The following year, the shogunate held a ceremony on the Sumida dedicated to the water god and to pray for better fortune and for the souls of all those who’d died the previous year. Restaurants near the Ryogoku Bridge asked for consent to shoot off some fireworks during this ceremony and the tradition began.
As you can see from the photo above, there are actually two stages on the river, so there’s double your viewing pleasure if you’re in the area or have an unobstructed view.
Well, as you can see, that’s no longer the case from our balcony: the apartment building’s complete and we’re left with one tiny corner on the left, where the unobstructed view used to be, and the other partially obstructed display in the middle.
That’s one thing about Tokyo: you can never get attached to your view because the landscape never stays the same for long in this city!