Dezome-shiki [New Year's Fire Review] 2011

While I was looking up things to do for New Year's in Tokyo, I kept coming across Dezome-shiki (New Year's Fire Review). It's annual event that occurs on January 6 by the Tokyo Fire Department to demonstrate their skills and, more importantly, promote safety. With fire trucks, bikes, helicopters, boats, and cars, this seemed like the perfect event to take my toddler who loves playing with all of the previously mentioned vehicles.

The event is held at Tokyo Big Sight in Ariake. This is a view of Ariake from the top of stairs leading to Tokyo Big Sight.

Do I spy a saw? I do! From afar, we could only see the red part, and my friend guessed that this was a saw. She was completely right!

Tokyo Big Sight

Walking towards the event held at the parking lot on the other side of this building.

Beginning of the parade of firemen.

Special Rescue Team

Firefighter driving a "Quick Attacker," aka fire bike, making it easier to respond to off-road and earthquake problems.

Fireboats in Tokyo Bay

Don't they look like Tonka trucks? With all the tiny streets in Tokyo, I understand why they need fire trucks this small. Imagine one-lane, one-way streets in the USA. Now in Tokyo, it's a two-way streetsometimes with cars "parked" on the side of the road (I use the term "parked" loosely because cars are usually parked along No Parking signs yet keeping your flashers on seem to make everything alright) and/or people biking or walking along the street.

Fire trucks come in all shapes and sizes in Tokyo.

I wanted to attend this show to watch the acrobatic skills of the firemen. During the Edo period, Japanese houses (made of bamboo, wood, straw, and paper) in crowded cities like Edo (present-day Tokyo) were prone to fires. Kaga-tobi, a group of firemen assigned to protect the Edo mansion of the Maeda Family, who ruled Kaga (present-day Ishikawa), were tasked to check the fire, wind directions, and its circumstances on top of a high ladder. These acrobatic performances demonstrate their bravery and skills.

I am definitely in awe. That doesn't look comfortable!

Hikeshi were firemen whose main task was to isolate fires by tearing down neighboring houses.
Next, they held a fire demonstration. This building was set on fire, and it seemed like every fire truck, fire bike, and firemen came to the rescue.

Helicopters brought in the Special Rescue Team.

Until this point, I thought the Kaga-tobi performance was the highlight of the show. It was wonderful to watch the firemen raised on the ladders and see the rainbow created from the extinguishers.

The biggest surprise was seeing the fireboats spew all of the colors of the rainbow. I wish I had a shot of all of them.

Afterward, the crowd rushed from the parade to the exhibition hall. We decided to have lunch and come back when it was less crowded. It was the best call for us. When we returned, there weren't any long lines to take pictures with the firemen or ride the toys.

My son and his friend enjoyed dressing up as firemen and riding the fire trucks around.

The best part of the exhibition was that there was something for everyone at every age, including interactive firefighting and rescue demonstrations and crafts. I am so glad there was a play area for my little one, so he didn't have to sit in a stroller or attached to me as his big brother drove fire trucks.

Date: January 6
Exhibit: 9:00 am - 2:00 pm
Show Time: 9:35 am - 11:50 am

Location: Tokyo Big Sight (E6, East Parking Lot)
3-11-1 Ariake, Koto-ku, Tokyo, Japan 135-0063
Phone: 03-5530-1111

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