Naha Tug-of-War!!

First of all, Mark & I would like to wish his dad a very Happy Birthday!! We send our love across the pond & we hope you have a fantastic day!!!!


Today was the big Naha tug-of-war festival! It was so much fun! It was crazy, but it was really great! We headed down without really knowing what time it started, but were happy to find a parking spot close and a carnival going on. First on the agenda: eat! (I'm sorry that I'm not sorry for all of the exclamation points in this first paragraph... it's that serious.)

Mark was a lot more adventurous than I was, he ate the squid on a stick. I couldn't make myself try it, but he ate the entire thing. At one point he said, "I think I just ate the butt." Seriously, how gross! We did the usual carnival ritual and stopped at many different vendors. They had beer and liquor, too. What I thought was interesting to see was the coke vendors with their bourbon mixers and other particularly hard alcohols for a daytime carnival.

Squid on a stick. Ew!

Afternoon mixer anyone?

Mark also got in on some of the games. This was a cork shooter and wasn't the best at being accurate, but it was still fun to watch. After this we watched a similar game and a dad won his 1 or 2 yr old a blow up back pack and she was SO HAPPY. It may have been the cutest thing that I've ever seen... besides puppies.

We headed down the street to the tug-of-war. The rope was a million times bigger than the Itoman tug-of-war. From what we've read online, the rope weighs 40 metric tons. Can you even believe that?! Not long after we made it they blew a whistle and people started rushing to the rope. Apparently it was go time! I was going to let Mark do the participating so I could take pictures but, before I knew it, I was right there in the middle with him.

So, from the main rope they had all of the skinnier ones, which is what we tugged on to get the bigger part to move. It was insane. I don't know how many people were there, but last year they reported around 100,000. Think about that for a second! That's a lot of people.  We had to pass the ropes a couple of times to get the angles right before we started, which is what Mark is doing in the picture below. There was definitely some people that didn't understand the concept... hence why he has 3 ropes instead of just one.

They start the same way as the Itoman festival, with an "altercation" of Kings in the middle. At the end they opened up this egg, boulder thing that was hanging and released confetti and streamers. Then, the fun began . This tug-of-war was a little different than the last because both sides were actually tugging at the same time. It lasted for 30 minutes or until one side moved their rope 5 meters.

This is the "altercation" of Kings. If you make the video bigger, it's easier to see what's going on.

This is the end of the "altercation" and the ball thingy releasing the confetti.

There are "coaches" blowing whistles to try to help everyone get in a rhythm but with that many people it's rough. We would start moving the rope and, if we would have just kept with the same rhythm, we would have won quicker (Ya know, because I'm an expert tug-of-warrior now!). However, everyone would get super excited and start tugging really quickly and messing up the flow. Then, we'd have to stop and start over.

After 30 minutes, our side won! Yay! The crowd really couldn't hear anything so it was a delayed response. Then, a Japanese guy turned around and said, "WINNER!!!" and high-fived me. Everyone eventually started celebrating and we climbed up on the rope.

View to my right 

 View to my left
Much like Itoman, everyone takes a piece of the rope for good luck. Most people had knives with them, I even saw a small saw. They were really prepared. Luckily for us, everyone was friendly and shared. We now have a lot of rope that I get to find some awesome DIY project to incorporate it into!!


  1. Looks like alot of fun. Thanks for birthday wishes. I think I would pass on the squid on a stick. I have eaten small octopus(i?) and the tentacles do not go down correctly. You are making some great memories over there.

  2. This was our first time at the tug of war also, we were on the opposing side, but nonetheless it was a lot of fun! I just wish I got in on some of the rope. We pretty much left empty handed, but the experience is something I'll carry with me for a lifetime.

    1. Aw, I hate that you didn't get any of the rope! We had a really good time, too. I'm sure if you go next year you'll know the ins and outs so you'll leave with some!


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