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Don’t burn out on New Year’s, go see the fire brigade

by Jun Hongo

Staff Writer

Feasting on countless mochi (rice cakes) and watching mind-numbing television is one “traditional” way to spend the New Year’s holidays. But if you happen to be bored of that routine, check out the Tokyo Fire Department’s (TDF) annual Dezome-shiki event for a glimpse of fire engines in action.

The history of Dezome-shiki dates back to 1659, two years after a great fire burned down a large part of what is now Tokyo. The Edo Shogunate, desperate to promote fire safety but also hoping to cheer up the public, brought out four fire brigades for an entertaining event. Since then, the Dezome-shiki, which originally took place in what is now Ueno, has remained a New Year’s tradition to promote fire safety.

This year, the event takes place at Tokyo Big Site and its highlight is the simultaneous water-shooting display by several fire engines. You should also check out the brigade’s parade, performances by the TFD’s band, ladder stunts and fire-fighting demonstrations. Visitors can take part in some of the events, including experiencing a realistic earthquake on a simulator machine.

There’s also something for young kids, with Doraemon appearing in a show from 12:55 p.m.

The Dezome-shiki fire brigade event will take place at Tokyo Big Site on Jan. 6. Gates open at 8 a.m. and entry is free. For more information visit www.tfd.metro.tokyo.jp.