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December 22, Harajuku
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In a tradition dating back over three centuries, the Tokyo Fire Department kicks off each new year with a display of its firefighting prowess. The New Year's Fire Review (known as Dezome-shiki in Japanese) opens with a parade featuring fire trucks and choppers before moving on to a string of impressive rescue drills, though it's the gawp-inducing show of ladder stunts performed by firefighters in Edo-era garb that always gets the biggest applause. This annual ritual was first held in 1659, two years after a devastating fire left two thirds of the capital in ashes – though also helped spawn the city's first dedicated firefighting squad.