I remember the glow of burning sparklers, a bright glare of spitting fire that stings as each ember strikes the skin, and the smell of spent sparklers, an acrid, ashy aroma that resembles incense. It was usually New Years Eve on those nights when I stood outside in the yard and watched in wonder as the flames fizzled down to short black sticks of metal while the stoic adults observed with unfamiliar smiles.
My parents endeavored dutifully to visit my grandparents during annual celebrations, when the houses bustled with the activities of family reunions. Yet despite the festive mood, the atmosphere stalled within the threshold of stiff formality especially at the house of my paternal grandfather. Whenever I walked through the iron doors with the lion doorknocker, crossed the dusty stone path, and slid open the shouji door, I imagined stepping into my wardrobe at my parents modern apartment to enter a world where time warped into an eclectic era. Grandfather