|image: public domain|
Love this news from Japan, of the Giant Salamander, one of which decided to take a walk upon the pavement. They can get to be five feet in length! They are not dangerous, and in fact, are celebrated, which is very nice. "Happiness is the giant salamander festival!" Thank you to The Daily Grail for this item, which has links and pics.
Giant Salamander sighted in Kyoto, Japan | The Daily Grail: While the residents of Kyoto may have been shocked to see a Giant Salamander out for a stroll (especially since, unlike other salamanders, they can't actually breathe out of water, so I hope he/she headed back into the river soon after), some 200km (125 miles) East in the Okayama mountains there is an annual festival held in celebration of the creature.
The village of Yubara Onsen has held its Hanzaki Festival for almost fifty years now. Hanzaki is the local name for the Giant Salamander which refers to the ancient belief that if the creature were cut in two, both halves would live and grow into a whole.
A procession takes place through the village every 8th of August. Two floats with gigantic models of Giant Salamanders - a black male and a red/brown female - are followed by singers and dancers.