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Photo Journal: Big shoe to fill

Some 60 people carrying a huge "waraji" straw sandal shout "wasshoi, wasshoi" as they parade through the city of Fukushima on Aug. 3, 2018 -- the first day of the 49th Fukushima Waraji Matsuri festival. Mayor Hiroshi Kohata declared the festival's start after the approximately 12-meter-long sandal weighing about 2 metric tons was brought out on National Route 13 and a Shinto ritual was conducted. The sandal was originally made to fit an enormous Nio guardian statue that is said to have once adorned Haguro Shrine on Mount Shinobu in the city. About 3,300 people from 33 organizations joined the Waraji dance held at the same time as the sandal procession. The festival, launched by local shop owners and residents to pray for strong legs and feet, has been held every summer since 1970. (Mainichi)

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