Sunday, January 26, 2014

Nozawa Onsen Fire Festival

野沢温泉の道祖神祭り

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Culture alert! I checked the Nozawa Onsen Fire Festival out this year. I'll sum it up quickly, the internet can give you more details if you care.

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Every year the 42 year old men of the village gather on top of a giant wooden pyre, all Wicker Man style. Then the other villagers try to light it on fire! Holy shit, danger!

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But, all the 25 year old men in the village protect them. With their faces. Hunh?

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You heard me. Essentially, everyone gets a stick, lights it on fire, then pummels these 25 year old dudes. Everyone is very drunk. Very.

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Meanwhile, the 42 year olds are throwing down more and more sticks, inviting more madness.

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It is INSANE.

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At first, the children of the village are given sticks fire sticks. I'm talking 3-year-olds on their parents shoulders. With fire. Being encouraged to burn their neighbors faces.

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Like I said, madness. I should also note that Nozawa Onsen is a huge ski destination for Australians. So expect organized, drunken rioting by the Japanese villagers, and unorganized, drunken rioting by the Australians. There are about a hundred staff on hand to keep the lines at bay.

I haven't known more than a handful of Australians in my life, so I'm trying not to pass judgement on an entire nation based on the actions of a few of their kids. Is there a Jersey Shore in Australia? Because I have a feeling that those were the minority in attendance.

What's with the shouting "Blllllllaaaaaaap!" thing. Is that an Australian thing?

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Don't worry, the pushing crowd quickly jumps back once the pyre goes up.

RIP to all those poor 42 year olds. Straight up Logan's Run.

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お疲れ様!

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What else does Nozawa Onsen have to offer?

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Onsen of course!

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Besides the onsens in the hotels and ryokan, there are 13 public baths scattered around town. Totally free to enter, though you are encouraged to drop some coins in a bowl outside.

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There is even a stamp rally.

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Very cool spot. Keep in mind, though, that these public baths are quite small and quite hot. A few of them were barely big enough for 2 people. The best one, in my opinion is O-yu - 大湯. It has space, and 2 baths at different temps.

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Nozawa Onsen is also a popular ski destination. Hence the massive influx of Australians.

And be sure to eat some nozawana, the local pickled vegetable. Nozawana omelet with a glass of local sake. Nice lunch, son!

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4 comments:

Bogan said...

Hey mate… appropriate post on Australia Day. Blllllllaaaaaaaap!

Webmaster said...

Clarification: http://bg.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=blap

Brian said...

Thank you for the clarification.

Anonymous said...

The Gold Coast/Surfers Paradise is Australia's Jersey Shore. There was even a shit TV show (The Shire)capitalizing on it. It was cancelled on the grounds of sucking ass.