The Japanese are no strangers to unusual competitions, so I guess it makes sense that they’ve found a way to turn a rage-induced reaction like flipping a table into an annual contest.
On June 16, a shopping mall in Japan’s Iwata Prefecture hosted the 12th annual World Chabudai-Gaeshi Tournament, an offbeat competition where participants try to flip a small tea table as far as possible. The premise is pretty simple: anyone can sign up for the competition, from young children to the elderly, and the goal is to flip the small wooden tea table as hard as possible to send the fake food on top of it flying as far as possible. In fact, the winner is judged not by how far they flip the table, but how far a plastic fish set on top of it travels.
Contestants kneel behind the small tea table, next to an elderly woman dressed in cooking garb, and when she touches their shoulder and says “stop it”, that’s when they get to flip out. Most people channel their rage and frustrations, shouting all kinds of things, like “I want a job offer” or “I deserve a raise”, but any emotion is acceptable. In fact, this year’s winner, a member of the Iwate Big Bulls basketball team, channeled the love for his team, yelling “Go Big Bulls!” and sending the plastic fish flying 8.29 meters.
The silly contest was inspired by the Japanese phrase “chabudai gaeshi” which literally means “upending the tea table” in anger or frustration, and is used to figuratively describe an outburst and upheaval. There is even a popular arcade video game based on the popular phrase.