Shibukawa Dashi Matsuri. The best festival in Gunma :D


Once every two years Shibukawa’s main towns do battle. It is all friendly rivalry but it is intense none the less.

When I first Started this blog published a post about it.

Well its 2010… and Like I said… I did indeed take part again. This time I joined the actual community that I live in and made a point of helping out with some of the prep work. Brian and I are the only ALTs in Shibs who were willing to go all out for our towns. Which is something we, and our towns will never forget.



I live in a little town called Shimogo. It is the 2nd town in Shibukawa city after Shibukawa itself. For some reason we have a higher percentage of badasses and generally stronger people in our town than anywhere else in Shibs. So I guess I fit right in :D


“It is a trial of your strength, stamina and commitment to your community…”


I pulled from 10H00 till 22H00 on both the Saturday and the Sunday and being a member of the team i also did all the social things too which brought me much closer to the people whose town I live in.

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We worked, sweated, bled and gave 100% together to do Shimogo proud. With Shared hardship comes real friendship. I met some truly awesome people and will meet them again in the near future.

I also managed to interact with many of my students who were participating in the festival with their own towns.


This year was also the first time in 14 years (I may be wrong) that Motomachi hill was a part of the route. The last time it was done, a Dashi’s brakes failed and killed a participant. There were fatalities this year but judging by the state of my heart at the top I am surprised we didn’t have a few heart attacks. To be fair.. we did RUN up a third of the bloody thing (but like I said… Shimogo is strong)


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The Shimogo Dashi ‘drivers’.
They make Leonidas and his 300 Spartans look like little girls.

As night fell all the hard work became worth it. Seeing all the dashi lined up around the central intersection in Shibukawa with all the teams in their local outfits. Taiko drums beating and flutes singing. It takes you back to days past. 2010 is absorbed by a dream of an era long since past. Only that dream is a reality.


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There was also the customary ‘Momi’ (the rope moshpit/wall of death that I described in the post 2 years ago) Unlike the last time I was both on and a direct contributor to our flawless record. not a single town in Shibukawa could stand up to the combined massive might of our town. Azumacho came close but we still won out in the end :D


I would like to say it was the best day of my life.. but I have had so many of those that it starts to lose it’s potency after a while. It comes down to this. If I had died during the event… or for that matter, right now as I type this.. I would die happy and content. It was one of those experiences that very few have ever had. I know for a fact that very few ALTs would ever go this far and put themselves through the kind of hardship, fatigue that the Dashi Matsuri brings.


It is a trial of your strength, stamina and commitment to your community and your neighbours. It brings you closer to the people you depend on, and those who depend on you.


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