A shopping mall in Yahaba, Iwate Prefecture was the venue for the 12th World Chabudai-Gaeshi Tournament on 16 June. This is a regularly held event in which participants must shout a phrase of anger, frustration, passion, or hope, while upending a small table and sending it flying.
▼ A promotional video for last year’s contest
They way it works is simple. Contestants first take a seat at a small table with imitation food set atop it. An elderly woman in cooking garb is seated next to the contestant and when she touches their shoulder and gently asks them to “stop,” that’s their cue to flip out both figuratively and literally.
Participants can shout about whatever their hearts desire. Rages this year included a man addressing all women with a “What’s wrong with me?!” On the other hand, affirmations such as “I want a job offer” or “I deserve a raise” could also be heard.
Various items are placed on the table but the key piece of equipment is a plastic fish, specifically a Pacific saury. While the player is only making contact with the tea table, their goal is to send that fish – and only the fish – as far as possible. In the end, contestants are judged on both distance of the saury and overall performance.
▼ Scenes from this year’s event
It’s a long running contest that has been around for years, and is based on the Japanese phrase “chabudai gaeshi” literally “upending the tea table.” The phrase has also been used to describe Nintendo legend Shigeru Miyamoto’s tendency to drastically change projects just before they were to be completed.
In other words it can also mean to, stir sh*t up, throw a monkey wrench into certain proceedings, or add a healthy dose of chaos to a situation for better or for worse. The terms has been used to describe US President Trump’s behavior at the recent G7 meetings and is the used in the name of women’s rights group Chabudai Gaeshi Josei Action.
▼ A while back there was even a chabudai gaeshi simulator game in arcades.
This year’s winner was Shinya Chiba of the Iwate Big Bulls basketball team who sent his saury a whopping 8.29 meters (27.2 feet) while shouting “Go Big Bulls!”
If you think you can do better, keep an eye on information from Yahaba Town for the time and location of the next Chabudai-Gaeshi Contest. If the event continues to grow we may someday see a dream match between Japan’s two most notorious table flippers: Miyamoto and Yoshiki of Japan X.