Being one of the biggest festivals during Tokyo's scorching summer, I decided to avoid the crowds and find an elevated spot somewhere far away. That ended up being a wise idea as, according to the local newspaper, there were 963 000 people attending the event. Apparently, reservations for nearby restaurants begin a year earlier, while spots on the street have guard rotation set up for several days prior. Those less fortunate (read 'unprepared', like me) have to walk where the crowd leads them.
Arriving at the 46th floor of a building outside of Tokyo, I realized that I underestimated the distance to the fireworks and overestimated their size. Also, there were still enough people to make it impossible (read 'impolite') to use a tripod, so I was left with my hat (as a replacement for a bean bag) and a windowsill.
Time to find a better spot for next year.