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Sunday, January 11, 2009

Any excuse to play with fire

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After a session at the Gym with Tom this morning it was back home, get changed, then out again for the English lesson I have every Sunday (I'm the teacher, not the student). On my way through the park in front I couldn't help but notice a gathering of hundreds of local residents, all of whom had brought the kadomatsu ("gate pine") from outside of their front doors.

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These are placed outside the front door to welcome ancestral spirits, and to keep a thriving pine decoration industry going.

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Playing with fire is a popular pastime in Japan, and mad festivals involving naked people doing crazy things with fireballs are not uncommon. I asked a few people if burning kadomatsu is a an old Japanese tradition, but they said no.

So it would seem that this is a new invention, a good excuse for the local pyromaniacs to have a bit of fun.

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This chap with the hose pipe was very amusing, happily squirting the fire in a bid to, er, well, get it wet I suppose. He then decided to soak the pagodas that had been set up along the side of the park ("they might catch fire!") and under which a group of cute little grannyies sat. They were not best pleased as he wasn't very good with his aim and ended up squirting them in the face! He was eventually relieved of hose duties by a little child who knew better.

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All in all, it was jolly good fun, and another reason to stay in this area. Negotiations re. the contract start next week.

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