Nosawa Fire Festival and Tokyo!

HOTFIREThe Nosawa fire festival is not a cultural experience, it is a reverence. That is what a sign said in the town as we were walking behind the parade of people from the town with flaming bundles of sticks!! If you are in Japan during this time I would highly recommend going to this event. Getting into town was chill. I went with Nando, Bjirke, Alex, and Charlie. The Danish dudes had a rental car and were down to drive there! We started our night with dinner at this super low key Japanese restaurant off a side street away from all the chaos. Nobody was in the restaurant when we went in. It had such a cool vibe, exactly what we were looking for! I ate ramen with chicken cutlet in it and khulos. Delicious!! First bowl of ramen while I had been there! After dinner we headed over to the fire fest. It started with fireworks and a parade down the street with Japanese people in front with fire and the crowd fowling behind. There parade took us down the street towards a giant wooden structure with a bunch of older men on it. There was a bunch of really cool snow structures built on the sides of the road and tents with people selling sake everywhere.. This is when the fest got wild!!! From what I heard the fest is a very old tradition of when the 62 year old me defend 26 year olds from burning the structure down. We were standing right next to this huge pile of sticks stacked up towards the center of the crowd. There were fire men everywhere and there were also sake firemen!! They go around shoving sake down everyone’s throat! It is hilarious!! Charlie went before and let us know what is good with theses firemen. You just yell sakeeeeee! And they hook you up!!!! They do a drum ceremony with fireworks and eventually light up the big bundle of sticks in the center. Burned my jacket… Shieeet… Then the battle begins!!! All the younger villagers light their bundle of sticks and attack the big structure! There are a group of 26 year olds defended the big structure, while to old me on top sing! They beat the shit out of each other. It was insane! No half asking it what so ever. Straight up whacking each other with flaming bundles of sticks!!! The dudes defending looked pretty haggard at the end. This goes on for a couple hours and the fire moves closer and closer to the structure. Eventually they light it up!! The guys defender the structure, but traditionally they light it up anyway and it is suppose to supply good rice harvest! It was such a cool festival!!! A very cool experience! I have never seen anything like it!!! Just got back to Durango!! Sitting at the airport waiting for my bags. The day before leaving Japan I went to Tokyo with the same crew as the fire festival. Tokyo is crazy!! So many people! So much concrete!! 37 million people in Tokyo!!! 13 million in metropolitan Tokyo!! Insane! The buildings are so smashed together. Not a centimeter of space has been wasted in thus city! We got an Air BnB. It was a tiny little home in a small little “neighborhood” in an alley. Went out for the night! Had so much fun!! You are allowed to walk around with booze in your hand! You bet we took advantage of that! Roadies all night! HA! Went and had a beer at a bar, then met up with Nando’s bartending friend. He was Japanese and lived in Tokyo. He took us out to a super good restaurant. We had all different kinds of skewers and had pork, beef, and HORSE!!!! Turns out horse is delicious!! After dinner we went out and raged!! Such a great time! Bar hopped all night! Checked out the super busy intersection with hundreds of people crossing! The one you see in movies! Chaos!! We were all over Tokyo that night!! The subway system is super clutch for the nightlife there! Wild night!!! Kinda crazy, but all over town there a prostitutes and they come up to you and are like “Massage? Hand job? Blow job?” Definitely did not do that! Thought it was fucking hilarious though! The next morning in Tokyo was the last day in Japan. I got a massage!! Not the hand job blow job one! I was taking a walk in the morning while everyone was sleeping still and saw a massage place for a hour massage for 3200 yen. Thirty bucks for an hour massage!!!! HELL YEA!! Did that then headed out. Getting to the airport was the biggest cultural boundaries I have ever dealt with. My phone had no service or data so that did not help. I was pretty okay in the subway station. Everything is color coordinated so I could handle that. There was one point where I was unsure which hall to go down, but this little old Japanese man saw my confusion and pointed me in the right direction. Once I got to Tokyo Station is when it got really hard. I had to find the bus stop in the city. Took me a while… Thankfully I gave myself enough time. Hard to find your way around with no directions, no phone, and can not speak the same language to the people you ask. Funny asking people where to go because when you start speaking English they get just as confused as you are. Finally found the bus stop and did not have enough yen to ride and they did not take credit. Had to go roam more to find a currency exchange. Found that pretty quick, walked back to the bus station, it was raining during all this, and waited for the next bus! MADE IT! Got on the bus and headed to the airport! What an incredible trip! Words can not fully explain my trip to Japan!!! Highly recommended!

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