Who wants trees for shade, when you can hop on them and slide all the way down a steep slope with your bravest and risk-taking friends?
During the Onbashira festival that occurs every six years in Japan, they do just that—and have been for the last 1,200 years.
The logs are chosen from fir trees, which are felled and dragged by hand to their destination. When a slope is reached, local men hop aboard and careen to the bottom to test their bravery. Yikes!
The process, as dangerous as it sounds, gets participants injured and sometimes, killed. Despite this, it’s incredibly popular, attracting over half a million spectators. The dramatic hill riding is just one part of the several month process of moving the logs, which is filled with numerous festivities. Maybe that's what fun rides are all about. Do or die, they say.
Trees have always brought communities together. For better or for worse, it's the thought that counts. Why they do it, and what it means to them. "ForEver," and for whatever is at stake. In the end, memories of brave men risking all, or winning all, is the reminiscence of their people, traditions, and culture.