I went out to the Hadaka Matsuri, also known as the Naked Man Festival last night with Nick-sensei and Tatsuki and Satoshi. Over 500 years old, this festival takes place during the coldest time of the year.
Men wear just a loin cloth and thin cloth foot covers. It is a competitive festival, the aim being to grab a sacred stick thrown into the crowd of participants at 10pm. Some decoys are also thrown, so there are multiple scuffles happening for about 10 minutes until the winner turns in the real stick.
Usually teams of friends or co-workers join after getting really drunk. The teams parade around the shrine grounds three times, each time running through a waist high fountain of freezing water. Then hundreds of participants crowd the front of the shrine jostling for position until the lights cut out and the sticks are thrown in the dark.
I have joined twice in the past, but this year I took the boys out to see it for the first time. We got there just in time for the fireworks show (a rare thing in winter), ate some good festival food and were in time to mill around the front of the shrine while the teams were parading through. That is where most of my pictures were taken.
Nick and I got interviewed by RSK tv, but I have no idea if anything aired or not. We found our favorite Turkish kabob stand and ran into a few NEO students.
We left before nine, but watched the dropping of the stick live on YouTube, which was a new experience.