NICK: Omikoshi festival
Trip Start Jan 25, 2006
105Trip End Feb 25, 2008
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I don't know the history of this event, but it's a pretty cool thing to see. I think first, the (probably yakuza)men drink all night the night before. Then, at around 4-5 in the morning, they get their omikoshi's and haul them to the small square in front of the Botchan Steam Engine Station. The crowds gather and thicken around 6.
The omikoshi are carried by about 40 men a piece into the center of the square from different ends. These things are pretty solidly built, and they weigh quite a lot I'm sure with the gold and hardwoods they use to build them. Once there, they give a few shouts, the shrines are heaved onto the shoulders of the men, and then are bashed together
I'm not sure why they do this.
It is exciting, though.
This year, one person died when they were crushed by the mob (I'm guessing, the mob was too thick to be able to see anything, but after nearly every bout (of which I counted about 10), they carried someone out on a stretcher. Seems like a lot of mass of people being pushed together with great force.
It's likened to sumo wrestlers bashing together.
Unfortunately, in Japanese culture, everything is likened to sumo wrestling: dogs fighting, bulls fighting, omikoshi-bashing, etc. After so many comparisons, I start to question the originality of the person who was describing the event.
Anyways, after we went home, I slept for a little longer before I went to work.