Thursday, March 15, 2007

Riverside Walk

Saturday was such a beautiful day I thought about taking my camera to get some shots of the river, but by the time the battery charged up I knew it would be too dark. I charged it up anyway with the hope that Sunday would be just as nice. It wasn't. But in other ways it was, with the chilly wind and overcast skies reminding me more of my home country, Scotland, than other times I could remember.

People imagine Tokyo doesn't have much to offer in the way of nature, but it's there if you know where to look. Sakaigawa ( meaning Border River ) is the naturally formed border running between Tokyo and Kanagawa, and for me, the stretch just east of the station has served as many a backdrop for stress-release runs or after-dinner strolls.

The river plays home to a surprisingly large number of bird species, even I, not exactly an avid bird-spotter, have enjoyed seeing the variety and colour of the creatures I share the local habitat with. Not that I could name many. Duck, pigeon, sea-gull, is about my limit. Same with plant life. But the soothing effects of just being out there, especially this time of year when things are coming out of hibernation - colours vivid, blossom scents vivifying - makes you feel good to be alive.

But unfortunately it isn't just flora, fauna and fish that gather along the river, but also gomius nautilus, also known as junk, garbage, rubbish. Who knows where it comes from, or how it manages to accumulate along such an otherwise soothing stretch of the country's heritage? Some things I've seen in there spark the imagination, others defy belief.

Why the river? I know it costs to have large rubbish taken away, but why dump things in the river? Isn't that what we have vacant lots for? Disused carparks? Do people think that when something is dumped in the river that it somehow disappears from human consciousness? That it will wash away the next time there's a heavy rain and all will be well again? It must be the psychological benefits of discarding the broken or no longer necessary over a fence to lower ground. It becomes someone else's problem.

Well I can see it, I can see it all too clearly.

I can't suggest any solutions. I don't know who is to blame, nor would gain any satisfaction from doing so. But perhaps if each town had an accessible free dumping ground, paid for out of our city taxes, where all the junk could be separated into recyclable, or at least raw materials for the making of something else, then people might be tempted use it. And council guys whose job it might be to periodically clear the rivers and ferry the garbage to such a processing plant. I understand the rivers are cleared out by the community occasionally, but I don't think it's often enough, especially judging by my own photos. Or it could be a useful project for local schools. What the hell, give the job to homeless guys if the council doesn't want to do it. Just a suggestion.

I love the river, always have done. Often wondered if it's something to do with the magnetic field the moving water creates that calms my soul, or just the rippling sounds, the wildlife, the sparkling light. I don't know.

But I am grateful.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

are you in japan dr eamer?

12:18 pm  
Blogger ShadowFalcon said...

I never realised you were in Tokoyo!

9:17 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nicely illustrated and narrated.

11:18 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yup, I'm in Tokyo, or at least just across the river from ...

4:31 pm  

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