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Posts Tagged ‘japan’

Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

Oddity Central, if you haven’t guessed from reading my previous posts, is by far one of my favorite websites. It’s full of really weird stuff that happens all around the globe and, more often than not, contains news stories you wouldn’t find in any regular newspaper. This next post really takes the cake.

We all know different cultures have very different ways of expressing their individuality and in most cases, we need to be tolerant and respectful of those cultures. In Japan, a very special festival is held each year called Naki Sumo (or Baby Crying Festival) and, well…it’s exactly what you might think it to be.

Huge mean and scary sumo wrestlers get to hold each of these babies and get them to cry doing whatever they can to get the job done. Whichever baby cries the most is the winner. But that means that the sumo wrestlers have to work extra hard and really have their game faces on. Heh.

According to the website, 80 babies under one year old were entered into the festival this year. The Japanese believe that this ritual will cleanse their children of evil spirits and protect them. It’s actually a 400 year old tradition.

To view more pictures from the event, click here. You can view videos of this ancient practice on Google videos.

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Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

One of the latest Oscar winners is causing quite a stir in Japan. The film that won for best documentary, The Cove, is among the controversy.

To give you a little update if you haven’t seen the film, it is about a hard nosed group of fishermen in Taiji, Japan who hunt dolphins both for their meat and for their entertainment value. The documentary shows images that many viewers may have a hard time watching, as the hunting style of the villagers is very gruesome.

According to the Associated Press, the small town has been hunting dolphins and whales since the early 1600s. The people of the town look at it as a part of their culture, while the rest of the world scorns them for doing so. As a result, they feel they are being discriminated against.

Few people knew about the dolphin hunting industry before it was brought to light in this Hollywood documentary. Now that the film has won an Oscar, even more people are in an uproar to have the dolphin hunting stopped. Even so, the fishermen from the town say they refuse to stop.

Because of the film’s popularity, a television series version will premiere on Animal Planet later this year. Also, the politics continue…the makers of the film, have very recently busted a Los Angeles sushi restaurant for serving whale meat to its patrons, which is illegal. And, as always, PETA is in an uproar.

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