Naked Man Festival

Trip Start Jul 27, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
okayama youth hostel

Flag of Japan  ,
Saturday, February 16, 2008

went to okayama. have been wanting to go for a while. just happened to drop in the same weekend as the infamous NAKED MAN FESTIVAL. if that hadn't been going on, i might have bailed on the city after a few hours... not sure what exactly everyone has been raving about.

saw the crow castle, and the beautiful garden that surrounds it (kourakuen) which is known as one of the top 3 gardens in japan. but since it was winter, the garden was pretty sparse. still i enjoyed roaming through it, taking in the sites, breathing the fresh air, having the sun on my face, and relaxing with good company.

the naked man festival (which let's be honest, is what you're all curious about...) was alright~ another slight disappointment one could say. i think if i was a dude and i had run in the festival, it might have been more enjoyable. but as a spectator- not a lot happened. we went to the temple around 9pm. waited around till midnight, when hoards of men crammed into a tiny little temple, and then fought for a lucky stick. we were so far away, and there were so many people, that we didn't get to see the actual fight for the stick. but i'm sure some guy went home happy. supposedly the one who ends up with the stick in his hands at the end of the night, will have a great year, or a great life, or *something* great- along those lines. hmm- never even saw who the lucky fellow was. i was kind of expecting an awards ceremony, or a kodak moment of him posing with his newfound stick... or something spectacular. but no, nothing.

mmkay, i do realize that i'm sounding a bit harsh. there were good aspects to the event, for example-it was interesting to see people of all ages decked out for the night in their little footsie slippers and loin cloths. there were young boys, men as old as 90, and foreigners alike- all enjoying the event together, which was neat to see. BUT it was the coldest night of the year, and they were all nearly naked- so i could only grimace in pity as they passed, thinking about how cold they must be.

would i go again? no. am i glad i went? yes!

i think i enjoyed meeting up with my friend and spending the weekend together, engaged in intellectually inspiring conversation, much more than i enjoyed the visit to okayama itself.
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