Jul 4, 2018

Eyesore or Thing of Beauty?

So just about every day my wife and I talk about how beautiful it is out here in Minamiuonuma. After all, our little Niigata home is tucked away in the Japan alps, flanked by beautiful mountains and full of rice fields and gorgeous flora and fauna.

However, there is one point of contention to which we cannot agree:

Is this an eyesore or a thing of beauty?

Eyesore or Thing of Beauty? photo

By "this," I mean the big ol’ hunk of concrete and metal that is a Shinkansen track .  Running on it is the Joetsu shinkansen, which, although it is not the prettiest bullet train around, connects a place that would otherwise be near unreachable in the heavy snowfall characteristic of this area.

So the debate is whether or not that track and the trains that run along it are blights upon the scenery or things that adds to the aesthetic appeal of the landscape.  

My wife is firmly in the "eyesore" camp.  Her solid position is that the drab (often dirty) grey concrete is out of place among the rich nature that surrounds it.  

Me?  I am all for it.  I love nature, but the shinkansen is a feat of engineering.  It is an example of the human ability to overcome obstacles in life.  Nature is beautiful, but the shinkansen is also beautiful.  Thus, put them together and you only enhance the beauty.  It's like a double rainbow where one is natural and the other is man-made.  How about that?  Who doesn't like a double rainbow?

In any case, there are plenty of other places in Japan where the juxtaposition of man-made structures and nature are interspersed throughout the landscape. Do any of you expats out there have any good examples?  What say you--eyesore or thing of beauty?  Feel free to use the comments section below!



Hitting the books once again as a Ph.D. student in Niigata Prefecture. Although I've lived in Japan many years, life as a student in this country is a first.

Blessed Dad. Lucky Husband. Happy Gaijin (most of the time).