Naha Tug Of War


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Asia » Japan » Okinawa
October 16th 2007
Published: October 16th 2007
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Before ConnectionBefore ConnectionBefore Connection

One side of the Tug of War Rope.
This last weekend J and I decided to head to the Naha Tug of War. It was postponed to the 14th because of bad weather the week before. I have been to it several times but this time we didn't pull on the rope so we could get a better idea of the other things going on near the center point of the Tug of War.

We drove down kind of late and I thought for sure we were going to have a terrible time finding parking nearby but we ended up doing okay. We found this little spot of only 6 spots that had metered parking, 60 minutes for 100 yen. Great rate for that area if you can find it. It was one of those spots where you drive over a little gate and it pops up and locks under your car until you pay the right amount to move it. We weren't completely sure if we needed to pay at first or after so we put a couple hundred yen in just to get things started and then figured when we came back, we would add the balance. The other cars parked near us also had their
Crowd ShotCrowd ShotCrowd Shot

Leaning against the telephone pole.
gates up and signs on the meters saying they owed, so we figured we were good to go.

We were at the opposite end of the street that they do the Tug of War on but it was a nice walk and we were able to see Kokusai-dori, which we hadn't been to since we have been back. We didn't do much shopping other than window shopping because we didn't want to have a lot to carry during the Tug of War. The Tug of War is actually done (after a cool little parade) on the major highway that runs the length of this island. They close off several blocks of it for this event and it was really kind of cool to think that it was no big deal to do it...I guess I am just glad I wasn't traveling on it needing to get somewhere during the three hours that it is probably closed for.

After our stroll down Kokusai-dori, we went over the few blocks we needed to, to get to the Tug of War itself. The rope is huge (in 1995 it was the largest rope in the world for the Guiness Book of
Crowd BehindCrowd BehindCrowd Behind

Just a small glimpse at the numbers of people in attendance.
World Records). It is not connected together at the beginning. That is something that everyone on the rope has to help with before the actual tug can start. It is very interesting to watch the connection (which I had never seen before). Once the connection is made (which is actually very intricate), then everyone has to pull the slack out of the rope and get it lined up with this big gold ball hanging over the middle to indicate the line.

Once the pulling started, we moved closer to the middle so we could get some shots with the camera...the far away shots are not as good as I would have liked and I haven't looked at the video yet but some of the crowd shots I took came out nice, I think. The east side ended up the winners after 30 minutes of pulling and everyone cut a chunk of rope off in order to hang it at their house. It is supposed to bring you good luck throughout the year. We even cut a chunk or two to give to our friends. Most of our families have received chunks from previous trips we have made there so
Center PieceCenter PieceCenter Piece

Opened after connection is made.
I don't think I will burden them with it again but we have some friends here that weren't able to make it so we brought some back for them.

The drive back up wasn't too bad, until we got closer to home, and just then we found the yakiniku place we wanted to try so we pulled off and had some great dinner. Overall, it was a fun day filled with culture and competition.


Additional photos below
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View From AboveView From Above
View From Above

Resting on Daddy's head...
At The EndAt The End
At The End

Standing on the middle after it as all over.


16th October 2007

Tug of War Rope Pull
Wow, I think it was a great idea that you chose to capture the event as a spectator this time, rather than a participant, since you have done that already. I learned something new about the event too. I did not realize the golden ball was the center marker or that the participants helped sew the rope together! Thanks for a very interesting narrative!
20th October 2007

How Nice
How nice it is to be in Oki! I remember the huge tug of war. Are you going to do the dragon boat race?
21st October 2007

Dragon Boat
Don't think I am going to do the Dragon Boat myself but I'll probably go to the festival to watch....

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