It’s that time of year again! Spring is in the air, the cherry blossoms are blooming, and everyone’s feeling a little bit randy. What better way to celebrate life than with the Kanamara Matsuri, better known as the Penis Festival, to be held on April 6th from 11am to 6pm.
Every year on 15 March in Komaki City, Aichi the Honen Matsuri (Harvest Festival) is held. Unlike other harvest festivals this one is to celebrate all forms bounty from crops to cash to family.
Also unlike other harvest festivals, this one has a 2.5m wooden phallus that gets paraded through the city during the afternoon. It’s called “Ooowasegata” (lit. big guy stem figure) and this year it drew a crowd of 190,000 spectators according to a Tagata Shrine announcement.
- Fran Wrigley
Mar 8, 2014
Japanese children enjoy many rite-of-passage celebration and age-specific holidays. This week it was Girls’ Day (hina matsuri) on March 3rd; next up in May will be Children’s Day (kodomo no hi). Another children’s holiday comes along in November: shichi-go-san, for children who have turned 3, 5 or 7 that year.
Once Japanese young adults turn 20, they have a special holiday to celebrate the beginning of adulthood, too. Coming of Age Day (seijin no hi) celebrates those who have reached the Japanese age of majority by turning 20 the previous year. And now growing in popularity is the “halfway to adulthood” festival, held when a child is 10 years old.
So what is this new(ish) celebration, where did it come from, and what does its burgeoning popularity tell us about Japan today?
- Master Blaster
Mar 1, 2014
Have you ever watched the first twenty minutes of Saving Private Ryan and thought to yourself: “Man, that looks like one hell of a party”? If your answer is yes, then you might want to check out the annual Yanshui Fireworks Festival in Taiwan every February.
The event has gained notoriety for not only shooting its fireworks into the sky, but also directly at the faces of people watching them. Although such interactivity makes this the next level in fireworks displays, this festival actually dates back nearly two centuries.
- Joan Coello
Dec 17, 2013
Over the weekend, I stopped by the End of Year Cosplay Festival (EOY) held at Marina Barrage in Singapore. Although I love anime, I’ve never been to an anime convention or cosplay festival for one simple reason: I hate crowds. But this time around I had a friend, who coincidentally is a cosplay photographer, to show me the ropes of treading through a people-packed cosfest, so I braved the crowds to bring you guys (and girls) some fabulous cosplay photos!
- Casey Baseel
Sep 19, 2013
Located in a remote section of a remote prefecture of Japan, Kumamoto’s Amakusa City faces the same problem a lot of rural towns do: its population is dwindling as children born there generally have to leave to pursue an education or career, and few move back.
As part of an effort to boost the remaining residents’ spirits, as well as hopefully garner a little tourism publicity, Amakusa recently held a World Santa Congress.
They’re usually the epitome of seriousness and order, but it seems even military men can find Japan’s summer heat a little overwhelming…
New fad in Japan: Posting your phone number, bank account, and other personal information on Twitter
- Preston Phro
Aug 13, 2013
Even as more and more people complain about how unsocial social network services have become, some Japanese Twitter users have put their faith in humanity and opened up a new line of communication with their fellow Tweeters.
How? By publicly posting their phone numbers, some going as far as posting their bank account information and address.
Over the years, Thailand has gone by many names. Until 1939 it was Siam, and the country’s friendly citizens have earned it the nickname “The Land of Smiles.”
For a few days each year though, Thailand is also “The Land of the City-Wide Splash Fights.” Read More
- Master Blaster
Apr 9, 2013
On the first Sunday of April in Kawasaki City, Kanagawa Prefecture, the Kanayama Shrine holds a festival known casually as the “Penis Festival” on account of its huge array of multi-colored members.
Known as one of Japan’s oddest festivals, the Kanamara Festival draws huge throbbing crowds from around the world. We sent a reporter to this year’s festival for a glans-on experience. The following is her report, along with more photos and videos than you could shake a wang at.
Coming just days after we brought you images of visitors at a zoo in China tormenting lions by throwing snowballs at them, we receive a collection of photos taken earlier this week showing tourists at China’s Jilin festival shooting arrows at live roosters tied to a wall of ice.
The brutal practice is allegedly part of the yearly festival where visitors are invited to pick up a bow and take a few shots at the squirming birds. Although some of the tourists reportedly refused to take part, there were others who, sadly, weren’t afraid to spill a little blood.
Some readers may find the following images disturbing.
- Philip Kendall
Nov 13, 2012
Tori no Ichi is an open-air market festival held in Japan on the day of the Rooster in November, as determined by the Chinese calendar. At the festivals, markets are set up in front of or near to Shinto shrines, and charms- most often decorated bamboo rakes called kumade- that are said to bring the owner good fortune in the coming year are sold to visitors.
Kumade literally means “bear hand”, since, when you think about them, rakes are shaped rather like a large hand with claws. Rakes were chosen generations ago as a sign of good luck since they can be used to draw things– in this case wealth and good fortune– towards us, and the practice of buying ornamental rakes has been common in Japan since the Edo period (1600-1867).
Wanting to check out the lively festival and ask for continued success for the website next year, our reporter Mr. Sato headed over to the famous Hanazono shrine in Shinjuku to purchase a kumade on behalf of RocketNews24.
However, having never purchased one of the charms before, he discovered that he had more than a couple of things to learn…
Sep 24, 2012
When Chinese officials were deciding how to handle the over-100,000 visitors expected to show up for the Xishan Wanshou Palace Temple Fair, an annual religious festival held in Nanchang, Jiangxi province, there was one problem: what to do with the beggars?
The scale of the event in recent years has made it a magnet for the impoverished and homeless seeking alms and many visitors have complained the constant pleading for pocket change ruins the festive atmosphere.
Unable to just throw the beggars off the street (this is a religious festival, mind you), organizers decided to take the humanitarian route and erect a 165 foot-long iron cage to keep them in during the duration of the festival.
For the nights of August 5-7, the streets of Yuzawa, Akita prefecture, are illuminated with the soft glow of ukiyo-e-esque paintings on paper lanterns for the Tanabata Edoro (Picture Lantern) Festival, a 300-year-old festival that takes place near JR Yuzawa station during Tanabata every year.
Akita is known for having some of the most beautiful women in Japan and the hand-painted paper lanterns do the prefecture justice, portraying illustrations of beautiful Japanese women, often in seductive poses.
Take a look at some of the lanterns from previous years below:
Ever wondered what it would be like to be covered from head to toe in tomatoes?
Ever dreamed of smashing a tomato in someone’s face?
Ever wanted to see the streets run red…with tomato juice?
If so, you may think you have to head all the way over to Spain to partake in Valencia’s world famous La Tomatina festival. However, those of you who live in Japan are in luck. You only have to go as far as Tokyo. That’s right, on September 9th, at the Tamagawa river in Tokyo, adventurers and pasta sauce enthusiasts alike can participate in a large-scale tomato fight just like the one in Spain.
Summer in Japan is all about matsuri, or festivals. Young people dressed in yukata walking through streets lined with food stalls and game booths, the rowdy, drunken group of local men carrying a giant mikoshi shrine through the crowd while yelling “Washoi! Washoi!” and, of course, the fireworks.
The Japanese take fireworks very seriously, which is why Japan is home to some of the most spectacular fireworks displays in the world. To see what we mean, the fireworks show at this year’s Nagaoka Matsuri in Niigata prefecture has been generating buzz on the net thanks to some amazing video footage posted to YouTube. Check it out below!
Jun 26, 2012
If you were to measure your life in sights that left you spellbound, whether they be of natural beauty or formed by the hand of man, to what extent could you say you have truly ‘lived’?
Okay, existential conundrums aside, a beautiful view can be a pretty life-affirming experience. On June 21, the sky above the Polish city of Ponzan was transformed into such a view when 50,000 paper were released into the night sky to celebrate the summer solstice, known as St John’s Night.
Apr 3, 2012
“What if Tokyo became a city that could coexist with nature?” is the question that sits at the heart of “Tokyo Hotaru” (Tokyo fireflies), a light and sound festival to be held along the Sumida River on May 5 and 6 during this year’s Golden Week.
- Master Blaster
Mar 16, 2012
This year marks the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Japan and Pakistan began. Since then the two countries have maintained a very strong diplomatic and economic relationship. However, culturally the two countries haven’t gotten as close as they could have.
Thankfully the Pakistan Embassy in Japan along with members of the Pakistani community in Japan have organized the Pakistan Bazaar in Yoyogi Park, Tokyo. Anyone in the Tokyo area on 24-25 March is welcome to experience the historical and cultural beauty that fills Pakistan with free admission.
Jan 31, 2012
Japan’s premier naked festival, Sominsai (Somin Festival), was held this year on January 29 at Kokuseki Temple in Iwate Prefecture.
The name “naked” is somewhat misleading though, as participants are required to wear a fundoshi, a piece of white cloth which can best be descried as a traditional Japanese G-string. This scant clothing offers little protection from the blistering, below-freezing cold participants are expected to endure. Nevertheless, the toughest of men from across Japan come to test their mettle by trekking through grueling icy course from the temple to the river that’s cold enough to make you feel like you’re dying.
I know this because I took part.
That’s right, your fearless reporter put his life at risk to bring the experience of Kokuseki’s Sominsai to you, our beloved readers.
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- The top five places to survive the zombie apocalypse in Japan2
- So, the Dalai Lama walks into a convenience store in rural Japan… 【Photos】3
- 10 incredible tiny houses in Japan: a photo tour4
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- Watch the Singapore Tourism Board video that was so bad it was pulled from YouTube6
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- We finally get to meet Goku’s mother — and we think she’s a real cutie!7
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- Attack on Titan’s studio head talks sequels, keys to the hit anime’s success7
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- Beautiful gym babe impresses Chinese netizens with her incredible fitness!【Pics & GIFs】4
- Japanese netizens put reality on hold for a moment, fall in love with new attorney general of Crimea5
- Picture perfect siblings of 18 years apart melt the hearts of Chinese netizens【Photos】6
- Attack on Titan’s studio head talks sequels, keys to the hit anime’s success7
- Unfortunate Google employee forced to wander alone on eerie abandoned island for Street View photos8
- Chinese Photoshop Trolls and the Half-Blood Prisoner of the Deathly Phoenix Goblet (Part 6)9
- Ghibli’s Hayao Miyazaki says the anime industry’s problem is that it’s full of anime fans10
- Watch the Singapore Tourism Board video that was so bad it was pulled from YouTube
- Scrapped original Dragon Ball designs bordered on plagiarism
- Cute girls are universal! Japanese netizens rave over a Chinese girl who is “too cute”【Photos】
- Otaku pro wrestler Tomoyuki Oka makes no apologies for blurring the nerd/jock boundary
- Live-action Attack on Titan film casts lead role, sets filming location and start date
- Real-life barbie bares real-life face in minimal makeup selfies【Photos】
- Touching commercial pulls off a hat-trick to hit us right in the feels once again
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