Fire Festival in Akabira City !

 by Kazu

Originally, the festival had been arranged and started  by the citizens who were eager to keep "the fire" of the coalmine that lighten the future of the city after the coalmine in the city had been closed. The 41st festival was blessed with fine weather and sunshine as opposite to the one held last year. It started calmly this year.
Tonight, 3,000 fire works will decorate the sky over the city.
The venue of the festival is the community park next to the police office "Aka-uta Keisatsu-sho"  and has the enough parking space.
Rock'n rollers were on the stage and played the tunes composed by Mr.Eikichi YAZAWA. They are a volunteer amateur band which shows their performance of high quality actively in Soprachi sub-prefectural area in this season.
 The festival held last year was harshly hit by heavy rain and the performers and citizens got drenched to the skin. Everybody is happy and full of vim and vigor this year.
This is a good place for the police to keep the order near their office.
 All the BBQ gridirons provided in the food court  were polished up by this gentleman.

Everybody was waiting for the sunset followed by the parade of torches that set off the fire tower.
Each party is enjoying the performance on the stage and their talk with family and friends.So far nobody fell prey of alcohol before the sunset.
The BBQ corner was almost filled with the citizens, guests and tourists and the tension was getting higher.
This rock'n roller kept on singing and swinging until the sunset.
The stage was getting red with the sunshine.
Local BBQ house in Akabira City, Yakiniku no Takimoto had its stand in the venue.
And other well-established restaurants and shops set up their stands at the perimeter of the community park.
Curry restaurant SHIMA is very popular in Akabira City and adjacent cities and towns.
Pizza and other junk food struck out record-high sales this year.
Mom's diner "Boran Tei" delivered home-made cuisine with their smile.
My superior Mr.Yuji Takeda, Director-General for Sorachi Sub-pefectural Office of Hokkaido Government  and the Vice president of Akabira Chambers and Commerce Mr.Kikushima got acquainted with each other last year and discussed on the system of local money called "chiiki shinko ken" and its effect to the local economy.
What a beautiful sunset! In Japanese the clouds of this type are called "Iwashi gumo" which means "sardine cloud" in Japanese.

The torches ignited at the three shrines in the city were carried by the youngsters with only red Japanese traditional underwear "Aka-hun". Every young males shouted "wasshoi wasshoi" and  cried out "huuuuuuuuu!" going around the fire tower for a while.
It was so difficult to ignite the torches and the tower because of the heavy rain last year but this year, the temperature was so so and the park and audience were heated up this year.
Some people got plastered at that moment and the contrast of yellow skin and red T-back shorts for males may be curious for the people from overseas and may look the gay party.
Praying for the flourish of the city and to revitalize the coalmine area, the youngsters kept on going around the tower.
After approximately 5-minute running around, they ignited the tower.
One of the runners was gasping while the ceremony proceeded. he looked very satisfied with his run and the smile of the audience. Chubby? Please do not say that.

The tower was ignited.
The tower flared. Everybody is gazing at the flame.
The flame was getting bigger by leaps and bounds.
After a while, the fire of the tower was carried to the mountain made of debris from coalmine.
Old citizens remembered the time when the city was in full flourish and youngsters are simply enjoying what the flame has given to the human beings.
It was getting calm in the park. The flame was only one protagonist in the park at that moment.
No wind and rain disturbed the people this year.
The flame was shrinking.
And the Chinese character of fire could be seen on the sidehill of the emountain. Three youngsters carried the torch from the tower and ignited. It took 20 minutes to reach the ignition point of the mountain. Fireworks will start soon tonight. July 15(Sun.).

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