What was supposed to be a day of food festivities led to a tragic accident.
A festival was held in Japan’s Shiga Prefecture last week where Higashibiwako’s Japan Agricultural Cooperative organized what was called the “Friendship Festival.” The event aimed to promote agricultural products and a chance for attendees to get a taste of the local “oumimai” variety of rice.
As part of the gathering, a speed-eating contest was held as one of the highlights of the festival. According to RocketNews24, 15 people participated in the event. Contestants were given five rice balls and a time limit of three minutes to finish them all.
However, to the shock of everyone, one of the participants collapsed during the onigiri speed-eating event. A 28-year-old man collapsed after putting the fifth ball of rice in his mouth. Paramedics rushed to the scene immediately to provide assistance and then took him to the hospital. Unfortunately, the man died three days later on November 16.
The day after the “Friendship Festival” was held, Higashibiwako released a statement on their website and apologized for having cancelled the afternoon event. They also thanked the medical team for extending their help during the emergency. They did however refrain from posting details about the accident as a sign of respect to his family.
The organizers expressed their condolences and remorse regarding the unfortunate accident and assured everyone that they have and will always put the safety of their attendees as top most priority.