Now I can finally reveal the goal of all my travelling, the destination which I’ve been striving for all these long, last five months. In Hakodate at the end of last week Rosemary and I finally made it to this technological mecca. For you to fully understand I will first explain some background.
Many people don’t appreciate the ugly aspects of the industrial infrastucture which enmeshes us, providing all the comforts which those able to read this have. It’s easy to stand on a once beautiful coastline and bemoan the oppressive lines of the new nuclear power station, or to look out from our efficiently built low price flat and complain about the aesthetics of the identical apartment building across the road. If you use electricity, what right do you have to complain about how it is generated? If you wear clothes mass produced by light factories, then what right do you have to lament their grim facia?
So it was with some excitement that I discovered Japan commemorates and celebrates the less-than-gorgeous, yet highly utilitarian. This by preserving her First Concrete Electricity Pole (see photo). There’s even a plaque next to it. The pole was built to replace previous wooden poles in order to reduce the damage to the city in the frequent fires of the time. Naturally a wooden pole is much nicer to look at, and I’ll remind you of that next time it burns down in an earthquake and you are left with no lights.