About Me

maker, creative, living lightly, local, craft, minimalism, and taking joy in the small things

Sunday, 25 November 2007

The Naked Part of the Name is a Lie



So today was Naked Man Festival Day. Phoebe, Dom and I had planned on participating in the shrine carrying but Dom got shingles, so Phoebe and I decided just to watch – we had no idea where to go to participate even if we had wanted to! Ran into a whole bunch of ALTs from the Ken. Also met Georgia for the first time - a CIR who is therefore excluded from the ALT stuff, which is why I hadn't met her.

So we went and watched the women in the early afternoon. There were 3 different shrines being carried around – I think if you had an aerial view there would have been a pattern to see, but obviously we couldn’t see that!

We were given some Amasake to drink while we watched – like creamy, sweet sake with bits of dessicated coconut. Not so nice really. Anyway, there was to be a bit of a wait before the men started, so we headed to the mall for some Baskin & Robbins, and shoe shopping. We collected some more ALTs and headed down to the festival. There were so many teams carrying ‘shrines’.

The women had been carrying things that looked like mini temples, but the men were carrying wheat barrels, draped in branches or tinsel. And these ‘shrines’ were like sedan chairs – long planks of wood coming from a platform on which the ‘shrine’ rested. And on each plan there were several people to carry it. The aim, for the men, was to carry it down the long street that leads to the temple, and drink and dance in the street. Then when they reached the temple they had to run up A LOT of stairs still carrying the wheat barrels. Once inside the temple they would smash the ‘shrine’ – no idea why.

Anyway, this activity is called the Naked Man Festival. Complete lie. No one was naked. But in the street leading to the temple, and in the temple itself, there was so much to look at and do that I am over the lies. There were so many stalls – it was probably the best festival I have been to yet.

Once all the little shrines have been brought to the temple and destroyed the teams form one mass of men and have to carry 2 bigger ‘shrines’ down the stairs and a pair of wheels that apparently weigh 2 tonnes. There were so many people, and apparently people have died in the past. We did the ambulance sirens a couple of times, but the injuries were minor. We really couldn’t see what was going on with the wheels – we saw them go over the stairs, but have no idea how they didn’t crush everyone and everything within its path.

Back to the train station – and I managed to miss my last bus to Hagi. I had a timetable which said the bus was at 8.30, but when I left the waiting room for the bus platform the timetable there said the last bus was at 8.15. So I had time to make it, but didn’t because of the timetable change! Called Phoebe, who emailed me Georgia’s details – thank God I met her today, and Georgia was kind enough to let me stay at her apartment though, so all good!

1 comment:

Geoff said...

You should set the ACCC on them- Naked Man indeed!