The Japanese are different

Friday, 3 June, 2016

First, the news the world has been awaiting: Seven-year-old Yamato Tanooka, who went missing in bear-inhabited forests in northern Japan after his parents abandoned him, has been found alive. Yamato’s parents said they made him get out of their car on a mountain road last Saturday because he had thrown stones at people and cars. After being reunited with his son, father Takayuki Tanooka told reporters: “The first thing I said to him was that I was really sorry. He nodded and said OK, like he understood.”

This clip by the Oh! Matsuri team about the Onbashira Matsuri (Sacred Pillars Festival) in the Nagano Prefecture offers a glimpse of what makes Japan different. Groups of men chop down 16 huge fir trees from the local forests and engage in all kinds of raucous ceremonies as they haul them to the Suwa Grand Shrine. The ancient spectacle is held across the region every seven years to replace the shrine’s sacred pillars.

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