On Sunday, we headed down to Naha with some friends for the giant tug-o-war. When I say giant, I meant ginormously huge. In 1995, the rope made it into the Guiness Book of World Records for being the largest rope made of rice straw. In 1997, it topped it’s previous record. It was 186m long and weighed 40,200kg. There were also 15,000 people pulling.
The day started rather tame. We knew we would never be able to find a parking spot, so we parked at the airport and took the monorail. The kids loved it. Little Missy was so excited to ride the choo choo train, as she called it. There were so many people on the streets that it was hard to see much of anything, that and everything was in Japanese, so we really had no clue. A good portion of the crowd was American though, I was suprised by how many Americans and how many people we knew that we ran into.
They started with the parade of flags. 14 people in special black uniform, called a Mumunuchihanta, use long sticks with a U shape on the end to hold the flags up. Apparently, it’s really hard to walk and hold the flags up. There were a few times I thought the things were going to come down on the crowd.
Once they had the flags in place, the tug-o-war started. Hubby stayed with the kids and our friend and I walked over to get a better look. We sorta got stuck in all the chaos and ended up pulling.
I’ll do my best to describe this. The rope is huge. Every maybe 5-10 feet, there were 8 smaller ropes coming off the main rope, 4 on each side. These are the ropes that were pulled. I don’t know how long the smaller ropes are, but there were 4 or 5 people in front of me and 3 behind me, maybe more. There were guys standing on the main rope about every 20 feet or so to direct the pulling. He blew a whistle to keep us all pulling in time together. At some point, hubby joined us. We pulled for a half hour straight. It seemed like our whistle blower would get frustrated with our pulling efforts and motion us to move in closer. By the end, we were on top of each other. There were arms, elbows, butts, and everything else on me. It was fun though. I’m missing some skin on my hands now, but it’s all good.
When the tug-o-war is over, everyone can take a piece of the rope home for good luck. We took small pieces. The smaller ropes we were pulling were make of 6-8 smaller ropes that were twisted together. We cut off the smaller of the small, but some people had the whole small rope. It was a good day and something I felt I had to experience while I was here.