Baby Crying Sumo

Put your baby in the arms of a stranger, preferably an enormous sumo wrestler.

Another baby will be in the arms of another sumo wrestler. If your baby cries first or the loudest, your baby wins, and you’ve got a healthy baby. The sumo wrestler tries to get the baby to cry, because powerful crying chases evil spirits away, ensuring a healthy future for the baby. This event is called nakizumo.

Eh?

I first heard about this ritual last year, but I thought it was a late April Fool’s joke.

Baby or no baby, if you’re in Tokyo on the last Sunday in April (the 27th this year), get thee over to Sensouji Temple (浅草寺 – I know, in English it should just be Sensou Temple) in Asakusa to check it out. For details, call the temple: (03) 3842-0181.

Nakizumo is held in several locations in Japan, and it is also held in the autumn, so you can scoot around Japan to witness this event more than once, if you can’t get enough of it.

******

Sensouji, by the way, is Japan’s oldest Buddhist temple for ordinary people, according to this handy guide my mom picked up. The guide further explains that on the grounds of Sensouji

fairs and markets are open to sell various goods such as ground cherries and battledores to many visitors.

Selling battledores? The forerunners to badminton racquets? Or placentas?

Ground cherries look like this. Recipes, please.

Asakusa itself has gallons of events and nifty neighborhoods for hours and hours of snuffling. Here’s the helpful multilingual website for more information.

Off you go.

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