Jigsaw puzzles from Japan
Feature page for August 2008
Fireworks in Japan have a history of nearly five hundred years, and the summer without them would now be unthinkable. There are large displays across the country, some of them famous - the Sumida-gawa fireworks in Tokyo, or the Nagaoka firework festival near Niigata on the west coast. At the same time, sparklers and other hand-held fireworks continue to delight children of all ages...
This page celebrates the issue by Epoch in summer 2007 of a new series of fireworks photo puzzles (all in small pieces) – and more issued for summer 2008. A slightly unusual subject for a puzzle, this offers some new challenges. I did the 450-piece Nagaoka fireworks puzzle, and it's not the easiest, the colourful streaks of light tending to turn into an abstract mass. But there are extra clues, too: since each line is the path of a body in free fall, it's generally possible to see at a glance which way up a piece goes. (If you want to get technical, each line is a parabola, curving downwards.)