”Heisei, thank you…” SPLAT.

There was a New Year’s Eve-like atmosphere in Japan on Tuesday night. With Emperor Akihito having officially abdicated the throne earlier in the day, much of the country decided to stay up until the stroke of midnight, when the 30-year Heisei period, as Akihito’s reign was called, came to an end.

And just like on New Year’s Eve, some people went out to party, like the people in the video below (from Twitter user @sui_uj) in the Namba neighborhood of Osaka. Namba is the city’s most popular party place, with a dense concentration of bars and restaurants plus picturesque views near the Dotonbori canal. Partiers often meet up and mingle atop the Ebisubashi bridge, but it’s not unusual for said partiers, fueled by bravado, alcohol, or some combination of the two, to leap off the bridge and into the water.

Usually this happens after victories by the local Hanshin Tigers pro baseball team, but with the Heisei period winding down, one young man decided it was time for one last leap from the ledge. Shouting, “Heisei, thank you!”, he ran forward, bounded over the railing, and plummeted

right onto the deck of a sightseeing boat that was passing underneath the bridge at that exact moment.

▼ An alternate angle of the incident

Jumping off the bridge is dangerous under any circumstances (the city regularly asks people not to do it, as deaths have occurred), but it’s even more so when you’re smacking into a solid object instead of the water in the canal. In a stroke of incredibly good luck, though, the exact spot where the man hit the ship was where the crew stores the tires it hangs off the side of the boat as bumpers when docked, which cushioned the blow. The sightseeing cruise quickly returned to the dock, where the operating company’s employees attempted to provide first aid, but the man refused their assistance and walked off, with his injuries, if any, apparently minor enough that he felt he didn’t require immediate medical treatment.

▼ Though he was still prone and crumpled when the ship docked.

With bridge-jumping occurring so often in Namba, some might be surprised that there wasn’t a police presence to prohibit stunts like this. In actuality, though, there was, but not until later that night. The incident in the above video took place at about 8:30 p.m., and the authorities simply didn’t expect anyone to be so amped up about the end of Heisei period that they’d be jumping off the bridge with more than three hours left in the era.

In any case, let this be a lesson to everyone. When in Osaka, it’s fine, and even recommended, that you enjoy aspects of the local culture like takoyaki octopus dumplings and manzai comedy routines, but maybe pass on jumping off the bridge, and if you absolutely can’t resist the temptation, at least look down before you leap.

Source: Twitter/@sui_uj via IT Media
Top image: Wikipedia/Martin Falbisoner
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