The Ancient Japanese Log-Riding Tradition Is Not For the Faint of Heart

The Onbashira Festival is a little more thrilling than your average get-together. Every six years in the Suwa region of Japan, participants honor a 1200-year tradition by sliding massive logs down steep hills and over rough terrain using nothing but thick ropes and sheer strength. The most recent festival took place this spring, and the thrilling highlights were captured by filmmakers in the above video spotted by Colossal.

As the footage shows, taking part in the festivities can result in serious bodily harm. The event is risky and sometimes even fatal to those who participate, but Onbashira (which translates to "the honored pillars") is a sacred and time-honored ritual.

After chopping down fir trees that weigh up to 10 tons in the first half of the event, the timber is then dragged through streets and countryside to Suwa's Grand Shrine. Once the destination is reached, the logs are raised to replace the sacred pillars that were put there years ago, symbolizing the shrine's renewal. There's plenty of time to start planning a visit to the next Onbashira festival; it won't be held again in the region until April and May of 2022.

[h/t Colossal]

All images courtesy of Vimeo.

China Launches Crowdfunding Campaign to Restore the Great Wall

The Great Wall of China has been standing proudly for thousands of years—but now, it needs your help. CNN reports that the wall has fallen into disrepair and the China Foundation for Cultural Heritage Conservation has launched an online crowdfunding campaign to raise money for restorations.

Stretching 13,000 miles across northern China, the Great Wall was built in stages starting from the third century BCE and reaching completion in the 16th century. To some degree, though, it’s always been under construction. For centuries, individuals and organizations have periodically repaired and rebuilt damaged sections. However, the crowdfunding campaign marks the first time the internet has gotten involved in the preservation of the ancient icon. The China Foundation for Cultural Heritage Conservation is trying to raise $1.6 million (11 million yuan) to restore the wall, and has so far raised $45,000 (or 300,000 yuan).

Fundraising coordinator Dong Yaohui tells the BBC that, although the Chinese government provides some funds for wall repairs, it’s not enough to fix all of the damage: "By pooling the contribution of every single individual, however small it is, we will be able to form a great wall to protect the Great Wall," he said.

[h/t CNN]

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YouTube // Deep Look
These Glowing Worms Mimic Shining Stars
YouTube // Deep Look
YouTube // Deep Look

The glow worms of New Zealand's Waitomo caves produce light, mimicking the starry night sky. Using sticky goop, they catch moths and other flying creatures unfortunate enough to flutter into the "starry" cavern. Beautiful and icky in equal parts, this Deep Look video takes you inside the cave, and up close with these worms. Enjoy:

There's also a nice write-up with animated GIFs if you're not in the mood for video. Want more glow worms? Check out this beautiful timelapse in a similar cave, or our list of 19 Places You Won't Believe Exist topped by—you guessed it—New Zealand's Glowworm Caves!


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