Friday, June 3, 2011

Port in a Storm

Nautical chart of Yokohama 1874

Today was the 151st anniversary of the opening of the Port of Yokohama to trade with the West under a series of treaties now collectively referred to as the Unequal Treaties. My family and I usually mark the occasion by taking an evening stroll up to the nearby roadway overpass where, along with other denizens of Temple Valley, we can glimpse the outline of the fireworks display in the harbor. I imagine at one time it was a good vantage point but development in recent years has obstructed the once clear view. Still people gather there almost reflexively as they have for years, old habits die hard. It's really the perfect spot for me since its located a safe distance away from any potentially deadly errant rockets that could veer off course and far enough away to muffle the terrifying bang that follows the fiery display in the sky. This year the rain kind of put a damper on everyone's spirits and nobody was willing to brave the watery walk up to the bridge. That was fine by me since all I usually do anyway is worry about motorists getting distracted by the show and careening into the crowd of assembled onlookers. The crowd is normally pretty big, which is another problem I worry about since I'm not sure if the engineers who designed the overpass had accounted for that extra load when they designed it many many years ago before they had all the modern safety features they have today.

I'm thinking about having this one done in oil
on canvas but nothing is set in stone yet
(carved in stone might be nice come to think of it).

So in a departure from tradition, today I put on my Commodore Perry outfit (which I'm glad I had hanging in the closet) and handed out Alfort cookies to everyone I met. Alforts are a delicious open-faced chocolate sandwich cookie with the image of a ship imprinted on the chocolate (you can learn more about them on the Tasty Japan blog). All things being equal, it was a day to remember.

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