Saturday, September 15, 2007

Japanese Lantern Display

I was at the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple & Museum when I chanced upon a performance by a troupe of strong Japanese who came all the way from Land of the Rising Sun. They were located outside the rear door of the temple, facing the Cintâmanicakra Avalokiteśvara Bodhisattva hall.

The crew began lighting up the candles inside each lantern. There were rows and rows of huge traditional Japanese lanterns secured on a huge bamboo frame. The beige-coloured bamboo poles were thick and seemed very heavy. There were two of such bamboo frames and each structure weighs a whopping 50kg! After lighting all the lanterns, the performers started to hoist the bamboo structure up. Like the mast of a ship, the structure soared to the skies. The most remarkable feat was that each of this structure was hoisted by one man using only one arm! The performers started to perform balancing acts as balancing on the palm and also on the head! They moved to the roars of other crew members, our cheers and mesmerizing beats of the traditional Japanese drums performed by female crew members, who were rather kawaii in their outfit.The performance took to a "higher level" of excitement, when they started to stack more bamboo poles to the bottom of the structure, when the structure was passed on like a relay to the next crew. The huge structure soon soared to an amazing height, almost challenging the height of the temple. Due to the weight of the lanterns, the structure started to curl as if the bamboo was going to snap! We watched the performance with adrenaline rushing endlessly, as the crew started moving faster in order to balance the tall swaying structure. The applause reached its climax when the crew balanced that insanely heavy structure on the forehead! The performance ended with the performer swiftly dismantling the central bamboo beam segment by segment, until the lanterns came to our eye-level.

They also had a smaller version weighing only 15kg, for any volunteers to try. A couple of courageous men including a lady took up the challenge and proved that the stunt was not easy at all, as they struggled to hoist the smaller structure up. Most of the volunteers had difficulty balancing the structure with two arms, not to mention hoisting and balancing a 50kg towering structure with one palm!


Japanese Lantern Display
14th September 2007
Equipment: Canon Digital IXUS 40

Please pardon the noisy pictures as I only had my IXUS with me everywhere I go.


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