Jul 31, 2013

Sumidagawa Fireworks APOCALYPSE! And hide Museum.

When I found out that the hide Museum was being temporarily re-opened (it was initially open in Yokosuka, Japan from 2000 to 2005) I knew I had to go.  I was crushed when I found out they were closing the original museum back in 2005 and didn't think I'd ever get a chance to see it.  BUT luck was on my side.  Ash agreed to join me last Saturday on my pilgrimage to respect The Man- The Man who was (and is) a huge musical influence to many, who wrote such awesome amazing songs as "Dice", and who may have been part of the main reason I almost always had pink in my hair.  Until work no longer allowed it, that is....

Dice- the first song of his I fell in love with

If you had any qualms about my pink hair, parents, it's him you have to blame

The museum was a bit smaller than I expected, but filled with greatness nonetheless.  So many of the outfits he wore for photo shoots and shows; memorabilia; personal items like his contacts prescriptions and fake nails (ew?); handwritten lyrics, notes, and doodles by him; his many many guitars (including the famous yellow hearts one you see in the picture above)...  And at the end you were seen off by a life-size replica of him, made with such intricate detail that if you looked close enough you could see each individual eyebrow hair and even the fine hair over his face.  If cameras had been allowed I would've taken a picture.

I didn't buy any souvenirs, as the ticket stub and memories were enough for me.

After the museum, we met up with Roomie at Asakusa Station and decided to rent a karaoke room so we could change into our yukata (summer kimono) while we waited for Yuu.  When he showed up, we walked around trying to find a place to eat, ended up over at the Solamachi shopping area around Sky Tree (after stopping by this awesome park to slide down the really long roller slide, which was really fun but made me feel like I got rug burn on my butt), then headed back to the river to try to get a decent spot to watch the fireworks for the Sumidagawa Fireworks Festival. You should read about it, it's got quite a history.  And as the article says nearly a million people show up for it annually so it's a bit of a madhouse.

The spot we ended up getting was worthless as the buildings blocked our view.  However, when the fireworks started, they started taking groups of people across the bridge so everyone would have a chance to see them.  Our plan was to cross over the blue bridge, find S who was meeting us there after she got off work, then cross back over on the red bridge to see the fireworks being set off further down the river.  The bridges become one-way for pedestrians during the event, so if you cross over and then want to get back to the other side, you have to walk over to the next bridge.  However, just as our group started getting led across, a crazy typhoon-like storm blew in, complete with thunder and lightning and wind and torrential downpour.  We did get to see some pretty cool fireworks up-close as we were crossing, but by the time we had reached the other side they had cancelled the rest of the show.

We had already gotten completely soaked during our short walk across the bridge- umbrellas worthless against the wind- and had to tread through the flooded streets and sidewalks along with hoards of others trying to make it back to the main area of Asakusa.  We finally met up with S, and tried to decide what to do from there.  The station was so packed, the lines of people were gushing up the stairs and out of the station and down the street.  There were police officers shouting that the crowds were so bad they didn't know how long of a wait it would be to get on the train, and were suggesting people to walk "about 20 minutes" down the road to Ueno Station.  We took the suggestion and herded off with tons of other displaced, soggy people.  The streets were still barricaded off, police were running around trying to direct the crowds, trampled mushy trash littered the street, people were still huddled and taking shelter under store awnings...  It was like a scene from some doomsday/apocalypse/disaster movie.
The "20-minute walk" was more like 40, but when we reached Ueno we all went to grab some food before we parted ways.

I think it was a first for me to really want a nice hot shower in the summer, but ohhh it felt so good to take one when Roomie and I finally reached home!  A bit disappointed we didn't get to see more of the fireworks show, we at least have our amazing story of survival to tell instead.  And there's always next year. :)

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