So it is another summer and with each summer comes another fireworks festival. This year was quite an eventful year for me but it wasn’t for good reasons. It was fraught with problems and a big scare, but in the end it was still a fun time and I really enjoyed the fireworks.
This year, I decided to help out as my friend John was really busy with work. He had enough time to just buy the supplies and setup the area as always. Thankfully this year he had 5 people to help him out so they were able to setup 15 huge blue sheets for over 300 people to have fun. If you have ever read about my previous trips to the Edogawa fireworks, then you would know that this is actually a HUGE party.
I actually started my own misadventure at 11:30pm. After getting home from work, I quickly took care of a few chores around the house before I grabbed a case of beer, some water, changed, and headed out to the fireworks. This was my first year to be on overnight guard duty and it wasn’t as bad as I had thought.
The first thing I did when I got to Shinozaki Station was to head straight to the fireworks area. I was lucky enough to catch one of the last trains to Shinozaki and found it to be a terrible experience trying to bring a case of beer on a late Friday Sobu Line train. Let’s just say that my feet were stepped on, I was jostled around, and barely got off the train at Motoyawata.
Spending the night next to the river was a very interesting experience, but not something that I really want to do too often, if ever again. I didn’t get to the site until after midnight and by then most of the people who were guarding were looking a bit tired. I found the group relatively quickly but even under the full moon, it wasn’t so easy to find the spot. There were about 7 of us camping out all night.
Camping was not very special as all we did was talk, drink, and eat. I was hoping to try to sleep by 1am, but I ended up staying awake until about 3. While there weren’t a lot of people around us, it was still a bit noisy. We were relatively quite as we were just chatting the night away, but around us there were many young university students just drinking and having loud fun. There were even people setting up all night. You could hear hammers almost constantly being used as different groups of people just setup their areas. I ended up not being able to sleep at all until sunrise, but I did try.
When the sun came up, most of us had given up. I did try to sleep a bit more after eating breakfast and when all was said and done, I only had about 1.5 hours of sleep. I then headed home where I took another nap for 30 minutes before I had to get ready to go back to the event. I had a LOT of stuff to bring and I had so much that I even broke my dolly as I headed out the door. I was still able to bring it all there but it wasn’t easy. I ended up taking about 1.5 hours to get there, but a lot of it was waiting for a taxi at the station.
When I did get back to the site, we setup our area but I started to feel a little sick. I was really tired and I thought a little rest was needed. That’s when I had one of the biggest scares of my life; I started to experience heat stroke. The lack of sleep and carrying over 30kg of stuff really did a number on my body in 34C heat. When a friend arrived with a parasol, I hid under her to try to keep “cool” but without any wind, my condition just got worse. I did what I could to cool down, including using a small piece of ice, but I just got worse. My body was tingling, my sense of touch was numb, and my muscles were starting to tense up. While I could still move my body normally, when at rest, my hands were closed in a strange position. I got a friend to help me to a tent where I got some help. I had a cool pack and some rehydration fluids given to me. I was told that the drink should taste bad and thankfully it did; it actually tasted salty. If it tastes delicious, I might have needed an ambulance. After about an hour, they basically asked me to leave and I returned to the party.
*Note: The full heat stroke situation is condensed and I kept it as brief as possible.
Once I was back at the party, things were still not great. I had to keep it easy, not drink, and still get a few things done. I was pretty busy but I kept relaxed. I had a good time talking with friends and then the fireworks finally started. I enjoyed the fireworks a lot and even had a chance to enjoy a mysterious red moon behind us. I was one of the first to notice and about 30 minutes later, someone screamed out about it and about 100 people turned around. I just smiled as I saw it much earlier.
Overall, my experience this year at the Edogawa Fireworks was a misadventure. I still had a chance to enjoy the fireworks and I had an experience that has taught me a lot about what to do when suffering heat stroke. Next year, my friend may not hold the party as he has been getting very busy this past year, but I really hope he does have it. It is a lot of fun but if he doesn’t I hope I can find someone else’s party to crash.