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.

Afternoon Map
8 City Maps Rendered in the Styles of Famous Artists

Vincent van Gogh once famously said, "I dream my painting and I paint my dream." If at some point in his career he had dreamed up a map of Amsterdam, where he lived and derived much of his inspiration from, it may have looked something like the one below.

In a blog post from March, Credit Card Compare selected eight cities around the world and illustrated what their maps might look like if they had been created by the famous artists who have roots there.

The Andy Warhol-inspired map of New York City, for instance, is awash with primary colors, and the icons representing notable landmarks are rendered in his famous Pop Art style. Although Warhol grew up in Pittsburgh, he spent much of his career working in the Big Apple at his studio, dubbed "The Factory."

Another iconic and irreverent artist, Banksy, is the inspiration behind London's map. Considering that the public doesn't know Banksy's true identity, he remains something of an enigma. His street art, however, is recognizable around the world and commands exorbitant prices at auction. In an ode to urban art, clouds of spray paint and icons that are a bit rough around the edges adorn this map of England's capital.

For more art-inspired city maps, scroll through the photos below.

[h/t Credit Card Compare]

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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