Island Yamakasa

Much has been made on the interwebs about the Hakata Yamakasa Festival, and understandably so–it sounds awesome. (I may have to go next year!) My lovely island, being relatively close to Fukuoka, has a Yamakasa festival all its own. Maybe a third of the island, or 10,000 people, come out to watch dance performances and eat fried food, then watch groups of men haul one-ton floats through the streets in the blistering sun.

Each of the floats celebrates a different shrine in the area.

Have I mentioned lately that Japan is awesome?

I am actually in this picture, dancing the Sevillanas.

The night before, folks can ooh and aah over the intricate floats. This one, though not so intricate, is still striking.

According to the interwebs, the Fukuoka Yamakasa involves a 2km long race, with hundreds of half-naked men hurdling through the streets with their intricate floats. Iki does a similar thing in the morning, but I arrived in time for the parade celebrating the end of the festivities. Essentially, the men (having drunk plenty of beer by this time…what? It’s a festival) stagger around, occasionally crash into the other floats, try to push the other floats off the bridge, and get splashed with water to keep them cool.

It’s kinda ridiculously awesome.

It was a blistering day--over 30 degrees celsius. The men definitely needed that cool-down.

So, my favorite float came from Sei Shrine. It is my favorite shrine on the island, actually. Whenever friends come to visit, it’s generally the first place I take them.

It’s a fertility shrine.

With many interesting carvings.

(Seriously, I am so immature.)

The po-po clears the way for the Penis Shrine.


🙂 🙂

And, just because there isn’t enough gesticulating and testosterone fueled pissing contest, sometimes it turned into a good-natured this:

Who will reign supreme?!

I’m gonna give you a second to absorb that level of awesome.

So, my minions:

Any recent parades in your town? Any fun/silly landmarks that might be able to rival the Sei Shrine in terms of awesome? Also, how bad do you want to come visit me now? 😀