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Rice Field Becomes Giant Artwork

FNN is reporting (J) on a dramatic rice field in Aomori prefecture.

Hokusai Katsushika‘s image of waves and Mt. Fuji is recognized worldwide, but the village of Inakadate produced what may well be the largest tribute ever: A rice-field sized version of it. Every year for the past 15, the town has planted a field with many different varieties of rice that produce a massive work of art as the rice plants mature. One field features “The Great Wave off Kanagawa,” while an adjacent field has “Red Fuji,” which is part of the same series of prints by Katsushika.

The reproduction measures 143m by 104m (470 by 340 feet), and took about 700 people to plant. The field isn’t just for show; the rice will be harvested at the end of September.

Sprouting Traffic Mirror

The leafy pole
(image from a 2chan post)

In one of those oddities of “nature never gives up,” FNN is reporting (via Yahoo! News – J) on an interesting traffic mirror in Ooiso-machi, Kanagawa Prefecture.

Convex traffic mirrors on orange poles are a common sight across Japan, thanks in part to the country’s cramped roads and countless blind corners. At first glance, this particular one seems no different from any other, but if you look closely it appears to have sprouted a tuft of bamboo leaves on top—rather like the mirror is wearing a wig.

In fact, a tenacious bamboo sprout forced its way through the concrete beneath the mirror, and grew right on up through the 7 cm (3 inch) hollow center of the 2.5 m (8 ft) tall pole. Because it’s so funny-looking, this leafy mirror has gotten quite a few fans in the neighborhood.

Ooiso-machi has gone on record as saying that they’re going to leave it be, so long as it doesn’t create a hazard by blocking the mirror.

[Cultural note for those from the US who may be unfamiliar with traffic mirrors: While they're usually only seen in parking garages in the US, In Japan (among many other countries), traffic mirrors are very common on any intersection or curve where it isn't easy to see oncoming traffic. Though essentially a necessity in Japan due to the extremely tight curves in many places, I would guess that a lot of intersections in the US could be made safer, or at least less of a hassle, if they were used more frequently. And before you assume they'd just get broken by untoward youths, they're made of polished steel, not glass.]