The Japanese word for firework is hanabi. Hana means 'flower' and bi means 'fire'. On 1st of August I went to see flowers of fire blooming in the firework festival at Lake Yamanaka. Before the fireworks I saw a beautiful sunset with Mount Fuji reflected in the lake. As the light faded, small torches made of drink cans were lit all along the lakeside. Barges carrying the fireworks were towed into the lake. Finally the show began at 8 o'clock, and for a brief hour huge fire-flowers bloomed at four different points around the lake.
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I fell in love with Japan long before I came here in 2003 to teach English, and it has proved to be a lasting romance. I love the history, the traditional architecture, the food, the strange and sometimes ridiculous contrasts, and the beautiful countryside. I lived in Shiga prefecture for one year, and in Kyoto for nine years, and now I live in Machida in Tokyo. I've traveled a little in Japan, but not nearly as much as I'd like to. I like traveling by train, but my favorite way to travel is bicycle.