No, the title isn't just a catchy little phrase - I'm actually talking about a real Tug of War game! We went back down to Naha City last weekend for their annual festival and got there just in time to participate in their tradition - a HUGE Tug of War that involves the world's largest piece of rope and takes place in the center of highway 58 that runs right through the city! I believe they tugged for about an hour total - we got there when they only had about 30 more minutes to go. We were on the north side of the rope and as far was we could see, people were pulling in our direction - that's how long this thing was! We couldn't really see the actual rope when we got there because of the thousands of people pulling it as well as the swarms of onlookers, but we could tell it was huge based on how wide the crowd was. The rope tuggers took up most of the street, while tons of other people that cheered them on stood on the sides or on the sidewalks. People had flags and drums and really got into the whole thing. Each side of the rope had a set of Japanese leaders who actually stood on this giant rope, blowing whistles and motivating the tuggers to, "Pull! Pull!". Anyway, our side won! After the winners are announced, everyone is free to cut pieces of the giant rope off and take them home for a year of good luck (until the festival next year). This is a tradition that everyone was crazy about! People practically attacked this rope as soon as the competition was over, taking huge chunks it - some people were even wearing them as belts or necklaces for the rest of the festival! It was a ton of fun, and we even got a little rope for ourselves. We have it tied to one of our balconies in our apartment. After letting people cut pieces of the rope for about 30 minutes, the Japanese police cleared the area and started bringing in cranes to remove it from the street - quite a task!
Here are some photos and videos that should help you visualize the crazy scene:
Check out this video of the Tug of War:
After the Tug of War, we ventured around a little more, stopping at a few shops and then eating at a little Japanese place on Kokusai Street that was small, but actually had really good food! The fried rice was fresh and amazing, and their Soba was the best I've tried here so far. Soba is a traditional Japanese noodle soup dish that is made with long noodles, broth and some pork. You eat it with chopsticks, and you can find in all over Okinawa. The best part? It's perfectly polite to slurp! Love it!
Soba is the one in the foreground
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