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Celebration of Light, Events, News

Japan plans 'Land of the Rising Sun' theme for Honda Celebration of Light (PHOTOS)

Celebration of Light, Events, News

Japan plans 'Land of the Rising Sun' theme for Honda Celebration of Light (PHOTOS)

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Kenneth Chan Jul 29, 2017 12:59 am 2,252

The first night of the 27th annual Honda Celebration of Light fireworks festival will take spectators through time to explore the rich history of Japan.

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Robert Baisham with AKARIYA Fireworks, the team representing Japan, told Daily Hive the theme of the show on Saturday, July 29 is ‘The Land of the Rising Sun.’ It begins with Japan’s enduring Shogun past before transitioning to contemporary modern times.

AKIRAYA Fireworks, representing Team Japan, with help from Sirius Pyrotechnics prepare the barge for the 2017 Honda Celebration of Light fireworks. (Kenneth Chan / Daily Hive)

“It’s a tribute to honour the greatest warriors Japan,” said Baisham. “The history tells us the Japanese, and Shogun’s run everything. From there it develops to what we know Japan today, and we want to pay tribute to that because their culture, art, and mentality.”

He says crowds can expect to hear a mainly “mellow” soundtrack that peaks with music from The Last Samurai by Hans Zimmer and the Mission: Impossible cinematic series.

There will also be a Canadian song finale to fulfill this year’s creative requirement from festival organizers to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary.

Following a public vote earlier this year that narrowed down the list of songs, each of the three fireworks teams were required to select and incorporate one of the three Canadian songs into their shows: The Tragically Hip’s “Ahead by a Century”, Bryan Adams’ “Summer of ’69”, and Leonard Cohen’s “Halleulujah”. Japan’s Canadian song will remain a surprise until the show.

AKIRAYA Fireworks, representing Team Japan, with help from Sirius Pyrotechnics prepare the barge for the 2017 Honda Celebration of Light fireworks. (Kenneth Chan / Daily Hive)

Thousands of shells will be launched from a pair of 250-ft-long interconnected barges, which are the same barges used for the fireworks shows at Canada Day at Canada Place and New Year’s Eve.

The mortar shell sizes will range from two to six inches, and a number of large shells will vary between eight and 12 inches – the largest authorized fireworks in Canada.

AKIRAYA Fireworks, representing Team Japan, with help from Sirius Pyrotechnics prepare the barge for the 2017 Honda Celebration of Light fireworks. (Kenneth Chan / Daily Hive)

Sixteen people are involved in the barge set-up of this particular show, including 10 people from Sirius Pyrotechnics, a Quebec-based pyro company that is responsible for staging the fireworks portion of the festival.

It takes three days to set-up each show, with crews working between 10 and 12 hours per day. To ensure there is a fair playing field, each team is provided with the same budget and a detailed manual on the rules and specifications of what they can do on the barge, such as the angle of firing and safety procedures.

AKIRAYA Fireworks, representing Team Japan, with help from Sirius Pyrotechnics prepare the barge for the 2017 Honda Celebration of Light fireworks. (Kenneth Chan / Daily Hive)

This is the second time AKARIYA Fireworks has participated in the Honda Celebration of Light since winning the competition in 2014.

Each of the three shows will be three minutes longer than normal this year, bringing the full length of each show to 28 minutes. The shows start at 10 pm sharp every night, and the live music simulcast is available on radio station LG 104.3 FM.

One other major change to this year’s festival is the relocation of the concert stage and festivities that normally occur at Sunset Beach to Second Beach in Stanley Park.

AKIRAYA Fireworks, representing Team Japan, with help from Sirius Pyrotechnics prepare the barge for the 2017 Honda Celebration of Light fireworks. (Kenneth Chan / Daily Hive)

Optimal weather conditions – clear skies and warm temperatures – are in the forecast for Saturday night. Temperatures will hover at 19°C by the time the fireworks begin exploding.

However, it will likely be an exceptionally tight squeeze for those seeking viewing space at the beach, particularly English Bay Beach, as a very high tide is expected to coincide with the fireworks.

AKIRAYA Fireworks, representing Team Japan, with help from Sirius Pyrotechnics prepare the barge for the 2017 Honda Celebration of Light fireworks. (Kenneth Chan / Daily Hive)

AKIRAYA Fireworks, representing Team Japan, with help from Sirius Pyrotechnics prepare the barge for the 2017 Honda Celebration of Light fireworks. (Kenneth Chan / Daily Hive)

AKIRAYA Fireworks, representing Team Japan, with help from Sirius Pyrotechnics prepare the barge for the 2017 Honda Celebration of Light fireworks. (Kenneth Chan / Daily Hive)

AKIRAYA Fireworks, representing Team Japan, with help from Sirius Pyrotechnics prepare the barge for the 2017 Honda Celebration of Light fireworks. (Kenneth Chan / Daily Hive)

AKIRAYA Fireworks, representing Team Japan, with help from Sirius Pyrotechnics prepare the barge for the 2017 Honda Celebration of Light fireworks. (Kenneth Chan / Daily Hive)

AKIRAYA Fireworks, representing Team Japan, with help from Sirius Pyrotechnics prepare the barge for the 2017 Honda Celebration of Light fireworks. (Kenneth Chan / Daily Hive)

Daily Hive Vancouver is a proud Media Partner of the
2017 Honda Celebration of Light

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Kenneth Chan
National Features Editor at Daily Hive, the evolution of Vancity Buzz. He covers local architecture, urban issues, politics, business, retail, economic development, transportation and infrastructure, and the travel industry. Kenneth is also a Co-Founder of New Year's Eve Vancouver. Connect with him at kenneth[at]dailyhive.com

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