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Published: March 18th 2015
This past weekend we decided to take a trip with Camp Zama's outdoor recreation. Every month this department organizes trips throughout the month where you can sign up for a fee and most are just a bus ride away. This trip was to the Fertility Festival in Komaki City which the description read that you had to be 18 and over and was one that you wouldn't forget. Not knowing what we were getting into that one sounded like a must do! After signing up though everyone kept saying "Oh you're going to the penis festival" and yes that it was!
Just a brief description of the festival from their festival map: "Hounen-Matsuri (the Bumper Harvest festival) is well known as a unique festival. Villagers carry on their shoulders a Mikoshi (portable shrine) which bears an Ohowasegata (phallus-shaped wooden sculpture). 60cm across, 2m (13feet) long, and 620 pounds made of Hinoki (Japanese cypress). They offer this huge phallus to Tagata Jinja praying for world peace, the growth of all things and good harvest."
We had to catch the Camp Zama tour bus at 5am Sunday and it took about 4 hours to get to the festival. Along the way
we stopped at a rest stop that had vending machines that you can buy whatever you needed. I got my coffee and got to watch on a TV screen the process of my coffee being brewed, how awesome! We got to the festival and just like a festival in the US you had all kinds of food, souvenir, and game vendors. The food though was so much more awesome though with octopus and cabbage balls, squid on a stick, octopus on a stick, chicken gizzards on a stick, etc etc. Even more interesting where all the goodies shaped as penises like candy, chocolate covered bananas, etc.
The first offering of the parade to the Tagata Shrine was of the rice-cake. This was the first experience of the day that everyone at the parade gets free drinks of sake (as many of you want) by the people walking in the parade! Can't tell you how many cups of sake we had on this day and I actually like it because normally I don't care for sake. Rice cakes in Japan are not like the hard rice crispy looking treats that are in the US. They are like a dough that
alot of times come filled with things like beef, cabbage, pork, seafood, etc so they are soft. This is a good thing since at the end of the festival they throw these rice cakes into a mosh pit crowd so that people catch them and is suppose to make women have babies. We made sure to stay away from that! LOL
The offering of the portable phallus started around 2pm where there were thousands of people waiting to see this huge 620 pounds wooden shrine. The shrine was carried by several men and goodness did that phallus look heavy and huge! Along the way they still handed out more and more sake with jerky squid (so good but what an awful after taste). So after we seen the large phallus this is where I lost my phone down the porta-jon. Yes this crap really does happen to me! For anyone that will come to visit Japan remember to start doing squats now and to never leave your phone in your back pocket. In Japan they still have toilets that are in the ground so you have to squat like you are going in the woods and "western" toilets
are not always available. Have a new phone now so all is good but wasn't fun to watch my phone being sucked into the ground LOL
This was a very long day and the bus picked us up at about 5pm and we headed back to Camp Zama. On the way we stopped for dinner at another rest stop and ordered our ramen dishes through a vending machines where the guys behind the counter cooked up our orders. Who would've ever thought you could get such good food through a vending machine! We reached home about 10pm and realized that as fun as that was we will not be doing these long trips on a Sunday when both of us have to get up at 5am the next day.
This next weekend we should be headed out to Yokohama to the Ramen museum so until next week!
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