With chilly winter weather now in full swing across the nation, icicles have grown to extremely large sizes in Saitama Prefecture’s Chichibu and neighboring areas, becoming major sightseeing draws.
The Misotsuchi-no-tsurara icicles in the Otaki area of Chichibu are created from frozen fresh water that has trickled among rocks on the mountain surface near the Arakawa river.
This winter, the water formed into icicles in late December, about two weeks earlier than usual. The natural ice sculptures have grown to about 8 meters in height and about 30 meters wide. A lighting display for the icicles can be viewed from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., with the hours extended to 9 p.m. on weekends. It will run until Feb. 12.
The eight islands of Japan sprang into existence through Divine Intervention.The first two gods who came into existence were Izanagi no Mikoto and Izanami no Mikoto, the Exalted Male and Exalted Female. It was their job to make the land for people to live on.They went to the bridge between heaven and earth and, using a jewel-encrusted halberd, Izanagi and Izanami churned up the sea into a frothy foam. As salty drips of water fell from the tip of the halberd the first island was formed. Its name was Onogoro.So far, so good. But when Izanagi and Izanami first met on their island, Izanami spoke to Isanagi without being spoken to first. Since she was the female, and this was improper, their first union created badly-formed offspring who were sent off into the sea in boats.The next time they met, Izanagi was sure to speak first, ensuring the proper rules were followed, and this time they produced eight children, which became the islands of Japan.I'm sure you did not fail to miss the significance of this myth for the establishment of Japanese formal society.At present, Japan is the financial capital of Asia. It has the second largest economy in the world and the largest metropolitan area (Tokyo.)Technically there are three thousand islands making up the Japanese archipelago. Izanagi and Izanami must have been busy little devils with their jewelled halberd...Japan's culture is highly technical and organized. Everything sparkles and swooshes on silent, miniaturized mechanisms.They're a world leader in robotics, and the Japanese have the longest life-expectancy on earth.Text by Steve Smith.