On May 27, 2007, I went to see the annual Yokaichi Odako Matsuri or Giant Kite Festival.
Slightly past noon, they launched the first flight of the giant kite. What we were all waiting for. It was a pretty windy day, so the kite immediately went straight up and very high. What should have been a long and high flight ended 50 seconds later in a totally unexpected and spectacular head-first crash into a bamboo grove.
It took about 3 hours for them to finally recover the kite, after cutting down some bamboo trees, disassembling the kite and rolling it up. The kite was badly damaged, but repaired in June, taking about 20 days, for display at the Giant Kite Museum.
Photos here: Yokaichi Giant Kite Festival 2007
Video link: http://youtu.be/zVEk8I0nF4Q
This is the second “accident” at this kite festival in 3 years. In 2005, the giant kite snapped in half in the sky and crashed to the ground hitting a few spectators. The bamboo used in the frame was reported to be “too green” and thus weaker. It is also the second time in history that the kite has crashed into a bamboo grove.
Too bad for the people who arrived at the festival after the kite crash. They did not see the giant kite at all.