Fighting fire with fire

I coincided my visit to Miyajima with the fire prevention festival (known as Chinkasai) held annually on 31 December. As night fell, tourists and locals gathered along the narrow street facing the famous torii gate awaiting the festival to start.

IS7A7171

It’s a bit difficult to explain what actually happens. Basically, groups of men carry a gigantic torch on their shoulders and parade around the relatively small area while chanting “yoi yoi”.

IS7A7203

There’s also a smaller version for the kids. Cute eh?

IS7A7238

Smaller torches are then offered to everyone to be lit from the fire of the big torches. The fire is blessed and traditionally people bring the fire home to be used for cooking the new year meal. Today, people take the extinguished torch home instead as a fire protection charm for the new year ahead.

IS7A7194

Everyone gathering around a small bonfire for warmth and to light their torches. It was a chilly winter night as I remembered.

IS7A7318

While it’s a spectacular and fascinating event to attend, I must admit it’s rather dangerous (they do have emergency personnel on standby). In the photo below, the men perform “stunts” by spinning the giant torch. Naturally, everyone got out of the way swiftly.

IS7A7271

It was a really intense and interesting festival though it got me thinking… creating a huge fire hazard in order to prevent future fires is rather ironic, no?

IS7A7293

Considering that my current line of work is in fire safety I’m hoping that I got my fair share of fire prevention blessing for 2014. Seven months on, it’s so far so good for me. Heh.

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “Fighting fire with fire

  1. Wow! Amazing photos as usual Vincent! 🙂

    I’m really keen to go to Japan now, just need to save up coz we went to Europe earlier this year. I just watched the documentary Jiro Dreams Of Sushi, always wanted to eat at his place (which costs USD 300 for the 30 minute, 20 pieces of sushi tasting menu).

    I’ve seen many reviews and it always says to bring someone who can speak Japanese. Can you speak the language mate? 😀

    • Thank you for your kind words HB!

      Unfortunately I do not speak much Japanese 😦 Maybe you can go for some crash course Japanese lessons? Haha. From my experience of traveling in Japan, being able to speak Japanese does open up some more enriching experiences.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: