Saturday, 27 November 2010

Tori no Ichi

This November saw two Tori no Ichi festivals at Hanazono Jinja in Kabukicho. I gave Hebi-Onna a miss this year so haven't been able to add to the three year's worth of snake-skin tucked in my wallet. 
Lots of eating and drinking though watching the punters buying bears claw (kumade) bamboo rakes hoping to rake in the money over the coming year. You can start with a tiny little starter claw about the size of a cocktail umberella but have to upgrade every year. 
Some of these folks have been coming for 40 years or more and can barely carry the bigger ones home.

A guy I know got into the buying-a bigger-one-for-luck cycle about 10 years ago, spending more and more hundreds of dollars at the same stall every year

This year though he didn't want to bother but since the stall owner had his business card the usual reminder emails started coming in a few weeks before. 

When he didn't turn up for the first festival the reminders got a lot heavier and on the final day they were basically demanding stacks of cash with threats and reminders they knew where he worked.

He caved in and paid up.

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