patriot abroadAaron Pylinski | Community Writer
“The 4th of July is a tradition. It’s when we became a country and it’s important to remember that. It’s turned into a celebration where everybody comes together over the years. And it’s important for people to have those moments in life where they remember the past, make memories, and build towards the future.”
“Most of the time on the 4th of July, I go out to the beach and watch fireworks, have a few drinks, and hang out with friends.”
“My ideal July 4th is going to be nice and hot. I’d spend a day at the park, relax with a nice dinner, and watch the fireworks at night.”
“Everybody in the Marine Corps is a brotherhood and a sisterhood. We are all one big family.”
Stay Local, Enjoy our 4th of July Block Party
“For the 4th of July Block Party, we’re trying to bring that small-town America feel. Provide a place for everybody to get together, have a good time, and make memories.”
Other local events include:
- Youth & Teen Firecracker Dance Party:
Celebrate Independence Day early with refreshments and dancing.
July 3, 3 PM at the Youth & Teen Center
- SMP Game Day & Hotdogs
Enter tournaments for pool, ping pong, or air hockey while enjoying hotdogs. Prizes are awarded to first and second place winners from each tournament.
July 4, Noon - 2 PM at the Hornet's Nest
Flower Arrangement or Cooking Class with Cultural Adaptation
Meet Iwakuni residents during this community exchange. Create a craft or participate in a Japanese cooking class.
July 6, 9 AM - 2:30 PM at the Tsuzu Elementary School
- Independence Day Tokyo Fun Trip
Take a six-day adventure to Tokyo with IT&T.
To Hanabi, or not to Hanabi? That is the Question
Missing the back-home barbecues and traditional American fireworks displays? Trade them in for shock and awe, Japanese-style and kushi (meat on a stick). Fourth of July doesn’t have to be star-spangled glam and glitz, the Japanese culture loves blowing stuff up, too. July in Japan is a cavalcade of aerial explosives toasting the greatness of the invention of gunpowder. If you need assistance booking travel or lodging accommodations, reach out to our IT&T staff at the crossroads. Curious about Japanese culture when it comes to hanabi? Reach out to Cultural Adaptation.
Japanese fireworks - or hanabi - are widespread around the country spanning July to September. These blockbuster fireworks festivals are sure to satisfy those patriotic primal instincts coded in the American DNA.
Hokkaido Makomanai Music Fireworks Festival - Head North for music and over 22,000 fireworks set at Makomanai Park. The park was the venue for the 1972 Sapporo Olympics. There’s nothing more American than live music and loud explosions.
Ise Shrine Dedication Fireworks Festival - Combining pyrotechnics and competition, this festival touts being one of the three biggest fireworks festivals in Japan. Buckle up for over 10,000 fireworks launching in a dazzling array on the night sky.
Nagoya Port Fireworks Festival - A smaller display by comparison (3,000 fireworks), this fest is set in a scenic location and attracts upwards of 370,000 people. If the crowds are too much, ditch the fireworks for Japan’s take on Red Lobster located nearby.
Nagara River Chunichi Fireworks Display - This festival is hailed as the top fireworks display in the country showcasing the All-Japan Selection, a competition between pyrotechnicians from around the country. Expect daytime displays as well.
Kihoku Lantern Festival - Did someone say, “Giant, exploding peacock?” At this fireworks festival, an elaborate peacock lantern is set afloat during the late afternoon. Once the sun goes down, a grandiose fireworks display known as the Saiun Kujaku - or Rainbow Peacock - lights up the evening sky.
Sumidagawa Fireworks Festival - This particular festival is the premier event for fireworks enthusiasts in Japan. It is set in Tokyo and believed to be the oldest running fireworks display dating back to 1733. To speak to its popularity, this festival usually draws upwards of a million people.
Minato Maizuru Chatta Festival - Kyoto is a short shin ride from Iwakuni. This two-day fest starts with a full day of dance performances called Minyo Nagashi that also includes handmade shrines on parade. On day two, prepare for a ship-borne fireworks display.
Nagasaki Port Festival - Head to the southern edge of Kyushu for two days of fireworks, lasers (yep, lasers), music, and dragon boat racing. I mean, dragon boats and lasers? How could you say no?
Beppu Fire Sea Festival - Beppu is hell, plain and simple. Few places in Japan offer a saturation of steam and bubbling hot water quite like the jigoku of Beppu. Suffice it to say, the Beppu Fire Sea Festival is three days of open-air food, markets, dancing, music, and fireworks. Hell never looked so fun.
Shirahama Fireworks Festival - What this fireworks festival lacks in volume, it more than makes up for in style. Set out a towel on Shirahama Beach and watch the night sky erupt with a Niagara Falls display that is described as a “Waterfall of fire.” That sounds like it should be a Dio song.
American Forces Travel, Uncle Sugar’s Priceline
- All current active duty military (Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard)
- All members of the Reserve components and National Guard
- All retired military, including those in the Reserves and National Guard who are retirement eligible
- All Medal of Honor recipients and 100% disabled veterans
- All Department of Defense civilians serving outside the United States, including appropriated funds (APF) employees and non-appropriated funds (NAF) employees
- All current active duty and retired US Public Health Service (USPHS)
- All current active duty and retired National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
- Full-time, paid employees of the American Red Cross and United Service Organizations (USO) hired in the United States and serving at U.S. DoD installations overseas
- Eligible family members who are officially sponsored (ID card holder) by authorized patrons in the above categories