Beautiful Asia

Produce : Higashikara
Music : "Into The Mist" "Eileen" by Lee Rosevere (

At the end of New Year, it is traditional to burn decorations and bills together with a tower made out of bamboo as a prayer for good health. This is commonly done all over Japan, but this burning pillar of fire is a unique feature in Shirakawa.
That is, the people make huge bamboo towers and spend a night in them. In this age of nuclear families, it has become a valuable place for children to meet and intermingle with the elderly. On that day, everyone builds the tower starting in the morning, laying tatami mats on the inside and installing a fireplace. They have a good time drinking sake (Japanese rice wine) and eating mochi (sticky rice cakes) together, and then everyone goes to sleep except for the fire guards. After that, everyone wakes up in the early morning, and after having passed a night inside, they set fire to the tower.
The tower, which is about 20 meters high, quickly burns up in a a giant pillar of fire. Because it is so ephemeral, it is beautiful. Just as the people bake mochi in the remaining embers and eat it to wish for good health, the morning sun appears in the sky.




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