Mikawa-Toba Fire Festival

3 Mar

The Toba fire festival is one of the several small town festivals that pleasantly litters Japan. It begins in the early afternoon at a shrine in Mikawa-Toba where dozens of business men shed their suits and ties for a piece of loin cloth which looks like a gigantic diaper. Half naked and hammered, they gather in a small shelter next to the shrine and psyche themselves up. Their purpose? To run into the freezing cold February waters.


There was no shortage of free sake while waiting for the men to incubate their bodies with alcohol. Being white, being surrounded by drunk Japanese, and knowing a little Japanese is all it takes: “O sake wa doko desuka?” (Where’s the sake?)

Japanese guy: “Oh, you like Japanese sake?”

Me: “Yes, I do.”

Japanese guy: “I’ll be right back.”

Sake. In my face.

A short procession was held at the entrance of the shrine, then the men were off. Shoulders crossed running bare foot through the streets, they all shouted in call and response fashion, “AHSHY!”, which probably loosely translates as, “Herro how are you?”

While keeping pace with the men on the outside and taking pictures I turned around to exclaim to a friend, “this is nuts.” I scanned the area and saw him hoisting a cup of sake, arm draped around one of the men, running down the street as part of the parade. I was dragged into  the stampede shortly after. I didn’t even get to scream “ERESHI” twice before sake, flowing from the largest bottle of anything I’ve ever seen was being poured down my throat by a friendly participant. I didn’t even have a chance to check for roofies!

We lightly jogged to the ocean where I unhinged myself from the half-naked pack and watched as they ran, walked, tip-toed into the ocean.

See any brown spots?

I saw a couple of Japanese dudes penis’ as they exited the water. They were weird looking.





In summation: There were two teams of men; the East Vs. West. Similar to the NBA All-Star game but really not like it at all. Each side rips and wretches at the flaming structure trying to obtain a small tree nestled inside. Depending on which side wins, Japan will be in for a longer rainy reason which will produce healthy harvests. If the other team wins, winter will extend and some wintry stuff will most likely happen. In America we have Punksotawny Phil. After witnessing this Phil will forever be known as Punksotawny Pussy.

The whole thing really reminded me of The Wicker Man without all the Nic Cage female ass whooping:

"Killing me won't bring back your goddamn honey!"

I apologize for of the Double Rainbow-esque commentary in the video. I wasn’t sure how to react, so I just feigned orgasm. After the festival I obtained a piece of torched bamboo from the structure. I was really giddy when I got it. Then I got home and was stuck with a gigantic piece of bamboo that I couldn’t put anywhere or even feed to a panda.


One Response to “Mikawa-Toba Fire Festival”


  1. Janne the Director’s Favorite Rare Movies Top 100 List #91: Blind Woman’s Curse (1970) « Lunki and Sika – The Animated Adventures! - March 28, 2011

    […] Mikawa-Toba Fire Festival (ohayoblogtime.wordpress.com) […]

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