Nozawa Firefest: De-liver-ing an Pleasant Encounter

Powdermania’s first visit at the Nozawa Firefestival

Not surprisingly, Nozawa Firefest (link) this year was insanity.

Drunken Japanese wander about, spilling sake into cups to force upon complete strangers. Drunken Australians wander about, spilling beer onto whoever gets in their way.
Drunkenly, I wander about, spilling Chu-hi in my belly and taking pictures of what I see.

Flaming bundles are distributed and recklessly swung at innocent bystanders. Deluges of singing and swaying locals descend upon the structure, beating anyone who gets in their way. Friends, family, and foreigners aren’t safe from the sea of embers that fills the sky.

Chu-hi saturates the bloodstream and overwhelms the liver. The swarm stumbles and sways as the night burns on. Smoke clogs the lungs and burns the eyes. Voices go hoarse and groups are split up. It’s the exact opposite of everything Japanese: disorganized, unrelenting, chaos. And none of it is even remotely passive aggressive.

The main structure catches fire, and the flames flicker high into the night sky. The lucky ones can stagger from the crowd under their own accord. Countless victims fall into the deep gutters full of running water that line the streets. Crowds and flames disperse into the night, while the gaijin traps carry away vomit and dignity. It was another solid night of shenanigans in Nozawa.