In Nagakute, the satellite city outside Nagoya where I live, a festival is held in October. It is held once every two or three years and is supposed to bring a good fall harvest. Nagakute was historically the site of a famous battle in 1584 (The Battle of Komaki and Nagakute) between the forces of Toyotomi Hideyoshi and those of Tokugawa Ieyasu. The festival involves men and boys dressed in traditional garb, who run around town carrying ornamental muskets, kneeling to fire their weapons in succession at various locations. The muskets do not hold bullets, but they do make a powerful sound and emit fire from their barrels. There are two groups that move through different parts of town, each leading a beautifully adorned horse. Eventually, the two groups converge on a shrine. There, they have mock battles, using sticks, knives and other assorted weapons. The “fights” are stylized, almost like a dance, and all ages participate. It is a very visual event, and one I really look forward to. This year, however, there was an accident during the first round of musket firing in the morning. It rained for the first time in the history of the festival, and the men were having trouble getting the gun powder in their guns to light. One man, whose gun wouldn’t fire, added more gun powder without pouring out the old powder. His gun ended up exploding and he lost his left hand. After that, the decision was made to cancel use of the muskets for the rest of the day. It was a terrible thing and I feel terribly for the poor man, but I hope they will take safety measures and allow use of the guns again in the future, as the sound and sight of the guns being set off all over town is really impressive. Other than that tragic incident, it was a fun day with no other injuries and I got to see lots of local Nagakute folks enjoying their roles.