2006/03/08

Sprite of the Crumpled Rose

In two posts last summer (July's "Tall Stories" and August's "Bon Dance Update") I took you to nearby Hamanasu Park with its tall observation tower and beautifully landscaped park. The park was built to commemorate おおの (O'ono) village - the area where we live - being incorporated into Kashima City in 1996. Around the same time there was a serious problem with beach erosion which had started years earlier. It wasn't so much that the Pacific Ocean was washing away the sand, rather it had to do with people making off with beach sand to use for fill and contrsuction, even though it was illegal to do so. A series of hammerhead shaped breakwaters were built along the coast to help capture and retain more sand. On one of these breakwaters, a statue was errected that is related to Hamanasu Park. It is of a "sprite" or fairy. In Japanese tradition, sprites occupy every living thing, and many inert objects as well. This is the sprite for hamanasu.

I had read of it at the park, and even seen it at a distance from the park tower which is a ways inland. As today was sunny and relatively warm, we decided to go see it up close.

Getting there was not quite as easy as we had anticipated, as there was construction which closed the road leading to it. We had to detour to the south and walk along the beach to reach it. That was fine, as the salty ocean air was wonderful and we could look at sea shells along the way. Besides, after a long winter Pandabonium needs some exercise.

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click for more shells


The statue is pretty large as was made evident by the contrasting height of a fisherman out on the breakwater. The image is uplifting to see, as she has one arm raised high with a bird perched on her hand.

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Up close, one can view a relief of Hamanasu flowers on the base. Pandabonium here with his winter hair cut....


So what is Hamanasu? What does it mean? Hamanasu is a rose that has been cultivated in China and Japan for over a thousand years. It likes cold weather and so the northern most Japanese island of Hokkaido is famous for them. Hamanasu park marks the southern most boundary of the growing region for this flower. In Latin it is called "rosa rugosa" - crumpled rose. There are some growing in our neighborhood, as our house is just a few kilometers almost directly inland from the park.

Hamanasu or Rugosa Rose


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Today there were two fairies.


The nice weather brought quite a few people out for a weekday. A couple of guys were trying their luck at fishing.

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There were six or so surfers out too - in wetsuits of course. Even with the sunshine, the ocean spray kept the air moist cutting visibility.

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Some men were working on a fishing boat which was high and dry on the sand and fenced in with driftwood and bits of flotsam and jetsam.

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I've named this fishing boat the "Flotsam Maru"


Looking back toward shore, we see the Hamanasu Park Tower which reaches 77 meters above sea level and has a great view of the coastline and even as far inland as Mt. Fuji on a super clear day. See the post "Tall Stories" in the July 2005 archive for some pics from up there.

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With the long cold winter we've had (is it spring yet?!), it was sure nice to get out and feel the sun and breathe some fresh air.

8 comments:

Don Snabulus said...

Interesting. Those breakwaters will create an area behind them that will increase erosion. Hopefully nothing important is over there. I know that Oregonians living on sand spits who rip-rap often cause their neighbors to require the same because all that energy must go somewhere.

Your roses are reminiscent of the Nootka wild rose growing here. Those are not due for another month or two though. I will try to remember to get a picture when they bloom.

Pandabonium said...

Actually they work pretty well in this case. I misused the term breakwater, they are actually called "groins" since they are perpendicular to the shore, and work to trap sand on the updrift side. They simulatiously can cause erosion on the down drift side, as you point out, so they are not suitable for every location. Used in series they can enrich the areas between them.

On Maui the Army Corps of Engineers built a big seawall to "save" a beach park. The seawall caused the beach to disappear and more damage to take place on neighboring properties.

The Hamanasu roses in my neighborhood have been blooming this month, though the season is supposed to start in May.

FH2O said...

I enjoyed taking that nice walk with you panda; it was beautiful! Thanks!

The winter hair cut is fine but would have much preferred a 'fairy pose'! The bear's out of hibernation - so loosen up! ;)

Robin said...

Warm sun, cool sea breeze, the feeling of spring and life in the air.

Wonderful post. Thanks for sharing...

Anonymous said...

What a nice & fresh “Spring Blog Tour” for us, Panda!

You know we’ve a particular ‘Hak Sa Beach’ here. Why named that? It has a unique black-tinged sands. Hak Sa means black sands. It’s a longer and popular for windsurfing and jet-skiing. There’re plenty of facilities for the whole family at it’s reservoir park. e.g. boats for hire, water activity, grass slide and barbecue areas.

Hey….where’s the bird that should be perched on K?

(PinkPanther)

Anonymous said...

Panda
All Japanese ships seem to have the "Maru" suffix - can you offer what that word means?
Thanks alot

Pandabonium said...

FH2O and Robin, thanks for joining me. Glad you each liked it. Yeah, next time I'll pose as a fairy.

Pink Panther, That's interesting. There are black sand beaches in Hawaii made up of tiny grains of volcanic ash. The bird on K's hand is magical and you can only see it if you really believe in it. ;)

anonymous - here's an explanation or four from wikipedia - take your pick:

The word maru (丸, meaning "circle") is often attached to Japanese ship names. There are several theories associated with this practice.
1) (The commonest): That ships were thought of as floating castles, and the word referred to the defensive "circles" or maru that protected the castle.
2) That the suffix -maru is often applied to words representing something that is beloved, and sailors applied this suffix to their ships.
3)That the term maru is used in divination and represents perfection or completeness, or the ship as a small world of its own.
4)A legend of Hakudo Maru, a celestial being that came to earth and taught humans how to build ships. It is said that the name maru is attached to a ship to secure celestial protection for it as it travels.

Today commercial and private ships are still named with this convention.

YD said...

cute K!!!

the bird is holding the camera.

^_^