(LinkAsia: March 22, 2013)
And finally, on a lighter note, it's springtime in Japan. Cherry blossom season, a big event in Japan, is just about over. But there's another rite of spring. This one is in Kyoto, the old capital. It involves a lot of heavy lifting. Here's Japan's national broadcaster, NHK.
NHK World NEWSLINE
Airdate: March 21, 2013
It doesn't get any busier than this in the Old Daigoji Temple. Contestants try to lift a giant rice cake, or mochi. The women's weight is 90 kilograms. The men's: 150 kilograms. They hold it for as long as possible, making an offering to the gods with their physical strength. Serious challengers can train at a mochilifting center. They stopped by on their way from work. Tires are used instead of cakes. Mieko Tanaka manages the center. Twenty-five years ago, business troubles were getting her down. So she entered the event for the first time. On her third attempt a few years later, she came in first.
Mieko Tanaka, mochi-lifting center:
You learn not to be discouraged. That's what attracts people to this event.
Mika Kitagishi is entering the event for the first time, to cheer up her sick father. The event demands not only upper body strength, but also balance. The trick is to lift the tray at least 85 centimeters and hold it at just the right angle. In the end, it comes down to mental strength, to bear pain and numb leg.
Mika Kitagishi, participant:
I hope when my father sees me pushing myself to the limit, it will cheer him up.
This is the second year Nobuaki Kanaoka has trained here. He is an interior decorator, and his business is suffering. But he enters the contest to get the strength to face the economic slump. The day of the contest arrives. Kitagishi, wishing for her father•s good health. She mustered all her strength, but not her balance.
I did my best, but it wasn't enough. Still, I'll tell my father I want him to be healthy this year.
Now it's Kanaoka's turn.
One minute, two minutes...
I might collapse tomorrow, but I will hold on a little longer. We're challenging our limits, right?
Two minutes and thirty-nine seconds. Kanaoka finishes second.
Second place gives me a completely positive outlook. The training for this contest will give me the energy to face challenges at work.
They make an offering of physical strength. They're granted inner strength. That, plus the satisfaction of challenging themselves to the limit.
Who gets to eat all that mochi after they are done lifting? I love mochi! That's our show for this week. I'm Thuy Vu. See you again.