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chooch


member
Location: Japan

Total posts: 8
Posted:Hiburi Kamakura is a Japanese fire-swinging festival. It is held on the night of February 14th, the old Japanese New Year, at Kakunodate, in the province of Akita in Northern Japan. The object is to drive away bad things from the rice fields by holy fire. They tie big coal or rice bags to straw ropes. Then they set them on fire and swing them round on the snow. I have never seen this and they just swing the bags around their bodies but I think it looks cool
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like fire pois.Check this web site out.->http://www.hana.or.jp/kakunodate/maturi/c10-2.htm


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Simos


enthusiast
Location: London, UK

Total posts: 382
Posted:wow yeah it does look cool indeed!
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those flames look huge! thanx for sharing,Simos


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protozoa
BRONZE Member since Feb 2001

member
Location: Baltimore, MD USA

Total posts: 148
Posted:Wow, pretty impressive pictures! Can anyone read Japanese & offer us a brief translation of the text?Wow again!

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adamrice


adamrice

poo-bah
Location: Austin TX USA

Total posts: 1015
Posted:Don't let it get around that I'm doing a translation for free (especially when I should be doing it for a paying client) but:---Hiburi Kamakura, a tradition on Feb 14 (Chinese New Year) is an unworldly festival where magnificent wheels of fire dance in the snow. Kindling is laid in furnaces of snow and set aflame, and bundles of rice stalks (?) are built into 5 m tall trees in the snow. An "amatsu" kadomatsu (New year's pine decoration) is lit, a shrine rope is burnt, etc, in hopes of a new year without trouble. For Hiburi, bags of rice are attached to 1 m ropes, lit from the furnaces, and swung in circles by holding the rope, as a prayer for health, longevity, and a peaceful home life. It's a Chinese new year's practice to "sweep away hardship from the fields with sacred fire". Bags of charcoal or rice are attached to ropes and swung around. The sight of giant rings of fire in the winter night evokes the world of fantasy.---The rest is just contact info. "Hiburi" literally means "fire swinging." I get the feeling part of this practice represents the idea of getting bad news out of the way in a controlled and ritualized fashion, rather than waiting for real bad news to appear.------------------Adam Rice :: www.fire-gear.com

Laugh while you can, monkey-boy

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Simos


enthusiast
Location: London, UK

Total posts: 382
Posted:wowwww Adam - you rock! thanx for the (free
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) translation...how come you can speak japanese though; does it have to do with your job or something? (of course you don't have to answer this, i hope you don't mind me asking
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)...what i don't get is the following: doesn't the rope burn after a while? what happens then - do you just get a lot of flying coal around???it looks like a really nice tradition - i wish i could attend a festival like that...happy swinging,Simos


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protozoa
BRONZE Member since Feb 2001

member
Location: Baltimore, MD USA

Total posts: 148
Posted:Adam:Thanks so much! Don't worry your secret is safe with us! *laugh*-protie

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adamrice


adamrice

poo-bah
Location: Austin TX USA

Total posts: 1015
Posted:I'm a freelance Japanese translator by trade. I don't get much work relating to festivals--it's mostly high-tech or market research stuff--so this was a little different for me. Perhaps Tsumi, Chooch, or someone will weigh in with corrections.I never saw anything like this in Japan, although I did attend one multi-day festival, the Neputa (along with half the main island, it seemed), that was really entrancing.The ropes do seem like they'd burn through. I wonder if the fuel is spent before the rope is consumed? Or perhaps the swinging action alone is enough to keep the flames off the ropes. I dunno.[This message has been edited by adamrice (edited 22 February 2001).]

Laugh while you can, monkey-boy

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Kat
BRONZE Member since Dec 2000

Kat

Pooh-Bah
Location: London

Total posts: 2211
Posted:Great translation Adam - you don't need any worried there.I was at the hiburi festival last week and last year, although I only caught the last few minutes and so I missed the opportunity to swing myslef. It looks harder to swing than normal Poi. However you just swing the fire ropes around and you don't do any tricks . The hiburi festival is one of a few great festivals around this time of the year.On Feb 14th is the Hiburi Kamakura Fire Swinging Festival in Kamakura (which is also a beautiful town and very proud of the Samurai houses you can visit there.)Feb 15th is the Rokugo Town Takeuchi (Bamboo Pole Hitting) Festival.This festival is exciting, violent and it rocks! 2 teams from the North and South of the town face one another and bash one another over the head with long bamboo poles in 3 two minute bouts, the last round fought around a blazing bonfire. See picture:http://www.obako.or.jp/rokutown/takeuti.jpgIts quite dangerous, a guy died 3 years ago, so everyone wears protective helmets and padding around the throat and other vunerable areas. Proud to say that I took part this year - a precedent for females! After the fighting everyone gets tanked up on sake sitting in snowhouses where there are lots of sing-songs and hugging! ??!!(It's the best)On the 16th (and 15th) is the Yokote Kamakura (snowhouse)and Bonden Festival (16th & 17th). Children sit inside the kamakura and beckon vistors inside to drink amasake (rice drink) and eat mochi (rice cakes). There are approx. 100 kamakuras and numerous small candle lit kamakura as well. Its really beautiful and the kids are sweetCheck it out: http://www.ideha.yokote.akita.jp/yokote/siro.jpgThe
Bonden is a competition to judge who has the best bonden(ornamental sacred wand to worship Shinto God) carried on the end of a 5m pole, and are carried to a shrine on the 17th.After that you can go snowboarding in nearby Tazawako and relax afterwards in one of the numerous onsen (hot springs).Isn't Akita great!I don't work for the tourist bureau or anything but if anyone is interested in taking a holiday to Japan, doesn't mind the cold - then this is a great time of the year to come and see the 'real' Japan.Have a good weekendKat------------------"London is a city coming down from its trip and there's going to be a lot of refugees" - Danny,Withnail & I


Come faeries, take me out of this dull world, for I would ride with you upon the wind and dance upon the mountains like a flame.

- W B Yeats

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Simos


enthusiast
Location: London, UK

Total posts: 382
Posted:that sounds soooo nice Kat...
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thanx for sharing - grrrrrr so many beautiful places to visit, not enough money and time
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why does it have to be this way???happy swinging,Simos


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