Kanchu Mizuabi, the Ice-water Bathing Festival

I’m a bit of a samugariya (someone who hates the cold), so I found myself shivering just watching these guys pouring ice-cold water over themselves. It’s part of the annual Daikoku Matsuri at the famous Kanda Myojin Shrine in downtown Tokyo, and is an ancient purification rite. Originally, it was for people who had just turned 20, which is the age when one legally becomes an adult in Japan. I couldn’t help but wonder if the hidden purpose of the festival is to lower the sex-drives of randy young 20-year-olds. The festival is open to anyone, and there were a few women and guys who looked to be in their 50s and 60s as well.

I was quite surprised to see Bubbles from the Trailer Park Boys at a Japanese festival.

By the way, if you go to take photos, you want to be in the group on the right of the pool. The people on the left and center get told they can’t stand there about five minutes before the festival starts (even though they’ve been waiting for like an hour and the so-called “organizers” were there the whole time without bothering to mention they weren’t allowed to stand there.)

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