Gojikosai Festival a.k.a Naked Man Festival
With a name like that, how could I resist? This traditional festival is held annually in Hofu, a small town near mine, where half-naked men get ridiculously inebriated and carry half-ton, portable shrines to the top of the main shrine, Tenmangu. The stairs are the tricky part. On the count of three, the men would yell and sprint to the top, nearly tipping the poor shrine on us innocent spectators. By sunset, the event is at full speed and all we could see were masses of pink flesh (Japanese don't have the enzymes in their bodies to properly digest alchohal, so their skin turns pink) and white paper lanterns. Lauren, Marina and some other Hofu-ites met up and stood around drinking beer and hot sake. On the way to the shrine, there were dozens of stands selling sugar-glazed fruit, yakkitori (grilled chicken on bamboo sticks), mochi (rice cakes filled with sweet red beans) and other delicousness. While the each of group of men were waiting their turns, they would stand in front of the shops, spinning the shrines around, chanting to the shopkeeper. After, the shopkeeper would give them a bag of money or sweets. The night wasn't complete until we ate at Mos Burger, the best fast food remedy to McDonald's. Before we knew it, one of the employees gave us each a Santa Clause hat and took pics of us to put up in the store.