Danjiri Matsuri: Street Racing With Gigantic Wooden Carts
In the good old days, even before there was cars, Japanese folks were already participating in street racing in wooden carts. Here’s a lovely photo of the Danjiri Matsuri [だんじり祭] from Mainichi Photo Journals
I had learned about it during my Japanese studies in the university and its such a cool event that it left a deep impression in me. Here’s a short description taken off Wikipedia of what takes place during the event:
The way in which the festivals are celebrated vary from town to town. The danjiri carts can vary in size and decorative style. Some are large and tall, others are relatively small. In some towns, the danjiri are pulled slowly through the town until they get to their destination. In other towns, the danjiri are pulled as fast as the people can pull it. This results in a difficulty turning the cart at corners, sometimes resulting in the cart falling over and killing someone. It is said that at least one person dies in the danjiri festival of Kishiwada every year. It is common for danjiri to hit and damage buildings when they careen around a corner, and for this reason shop owners may buy Danjiri Insurance. The Kishiwada Danjiri Matsuri is probably the most famous Danjiri festival, with its fast danjiri and very animated guild leaders that ride up on top of the danjiri, hopping and dancing as the danjiri moves faster and faster. It attracts thousands of spectators every year.
Here’s a youtube video of the Kishiwada Danjiri Festival 2008: