Monday, October 12, 2009

Japanese Beaches

(PICTURE: A typical concrete wall surrounding a beach.)

Last year Huyen and I watched the Japanese animated move, "The Grave Of The Fireflies." If you haven't seen the movie it is worth a watch as a good anti-war film. However, this isn't about Japanese animation or reviewing the film. This blog is about Japanese beaches.

In the movie there was a scene that took place at the beach. I noticed in the scene that there was a large concrete wall on the sand of the beach. I thought this was a little odd. Well, having been in Japan for a couple of weeks, I realize it isn't that odd. The Japanese coastlines are almost all lined with concrete. I've been to two beaches so far and both had a concrete wall behind the sand. At one of the beaches there were gigantic concrete tetrapods in rows about 100 feet into the ocean.

(PICTURE: Tetrapods in water.)

I've been doing some reading about these things and apparently it is Japan's way to fight nature from deteriorating the Japanese islands. It makes sense I guess but it sure makes the beaches ugly. I have always thought of Japan as a place that values the beauty of nature. In some ways I'm finding that to be true, in other ways -- like the beaches -- I'm find that is not true at all.