Monday, January 14, 2013

Sand Museum Revisited


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While walking the Iwami 33 Kannon Pilgrimage I was able to revisit many places I had been before. There were of course some new things, like the new draincover at Nima.

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The design shows a woman playing a Koto, a reference to the "singing" sands of nearby Kotogahama Beach.

Singing is a bit of a stretch!.... as you walk on the sand it squeaks a little. Of course, if you are familiar with Japanese pop music you may realize that there is little distinction between squeaking and singing.

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Also in the manhole design are the glass pyramids of Nima Sand Museum, the local museum built to showcase the sand.

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Designed by Nima-born architect Shin Takamatsu, the largest pyramid houses the biggest sand-timer in the world.

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When I was there in mid December the lower part of the timer was almost full. It takes a full year for all the sand to fall through. At midnight on December 31st the timer is ceremoniously rotated 180 degrees to begin the cycle again.

6 comments:

  1. :-D I have loads and loads anime soundtracks, and really not all of them are "squeaky" ;-)
    I love Japanese draincovers, but of course this is nothing new to you ;-)
    Hope you are having a lot of fun this year :-)
    HugE HUG!

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  2. I am a fan of your "unfamiliar" Japan here as much as you are yourself. I have been a student of our ENLOV (Paris) ever since I entered our higher levels. Japanese, Chinese, Korean... That was some 55 years ago! As a social anthropologist (Oxonian and Lévi-Straussian species) I have travelled, visited and studied quite a number of 'local' species of mankind (southern middle Timor mainly).

    Now for my question: why are you / why are the Japanese themselves so keen on those manhole pictures?

    Faithfully,

    Gérard Francillon
    gerard@francillon.net

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  3. Bonjour Gerard
    I cannot speal for the Japanese, but for me what is fascinating about them is that usually there is a story connected to the design and I get to learn something :)

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  4. I wonder if Japan is the only country where they decorate manhole covers? In the U.S., I've never seen a picture on a manhole cover, just the name of the foundry, maybe the municipality.

    And I wonder, how do you "showcase" sand?! I love the big sand timer, but what else do they have? Certainly, Japan must be the only country where you'd find a sand museum!

    I'm looking forward to another fascinating year of the "unfamiliar"!!

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  5. Hi Phil
    There are a few artworks made that use sand, but otherwise very, very little. The museum was featured in a soap opera a few years back and that brings in most of the visitors I think. I have seen a few designs on manhole covers in germany....

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