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About 600 people visit Urakawa, Hokkaido, in late August each year to attend the two-day Bethel Festival, a hallucination and delusion competition for those suffering from alcoholism and other mental illnesses.
During the festival, alcoholics and patients with schizophrenia talk about hallucinations they have experienced, create a stir among the audience with their stories of failure, and sing self-deprecating songs.
This is helpful stuff. The next time my 150 ft tall Mr. Hallucination drops in, dance is my weapon. Dependence on my mother? Does it count if I never stray from my Mother's basement?
The grand prix of this year's Bethel Festival on Aug. 26 and 27 was given to a man who came up with a dance to calm down 50-meter-tall Mr. Hallucination, which a friend complains threatens to attack him from outside the window. The past grand prix winners include a man who had never strayed more than two meters from his mother for 35 years but overcame his excessive dependence on her, and a woman who spent four days in a restroom at a train station after hearing an auditory hallucination that she claimed ordered her to go live in a public restroom.
I'm sorry, delusions are seen as bad things, and that's the fault of news coverage?
Hallucinations and delusion have been negatively interpreted because of news organizations' coverage of incidents involving such handicapped people.
"Walk down the path to reality" is now my favorite all time bumper sticker.
Bethel's slogans "Turn your weakness into bonds with others," "Walk down the path to reality" and "Live without being afraid to despair," were created through discussions between patients.
...Bethel, a facility supporting the activities of mentally disabled people, ....running a coffee shop and publishing books to support the livelihood of mentally disabled people in the town.
......."We are not seeking to reintegrate these people into a society governed by market mechanism, the very society that caused them pain, as if nothing had happened. We'd rather like to help each of these individuals integrate themselves into the realities of the regional community through their engagement in business activities while accepting their own illnesses as they are.
Urakawa comes from Ainu words that mean "river with dense fog." Many people come to the town in an effort to find themselves and uncover the future of civilization after straying into the dense fog of life.