Onomichi, Part 1
29.05.2014 - 31.05.2014
Over the past 3+ years we've been mildly obsessed by Japan's Tohoku earthquake, the subsequent tsunami and the Fukushima nuclear plant meltdown. We've watched hours of documentaries about the events, the aftermath, and the plans and efforts to avert comparable outcomes "next time."
What was stunning about much of the footage was the exposure of developed urban areas and farmland to the tsunami's inland floods. This exposure, we now can see, was largely a function of the topography of the land formations: Coastal hills are so precipitous that little building or farming can occur on them; river valleys and coastal flatlands best lend themselves to farming and development.
Our time in the port of Onomichi brought some of this into vivid perspective. The business section of Onomichi lies on a thin strip of flat ground next to the sea; the backdrop is steep hills. Surrounding Onomichi in the Inland Sea is a chain of islands, kind of like the San Juans. Despite the labyrinth of islands seemingly "protecting" Onomichi from the potential furies of the open sea, the city's high sea walls are designed to eke out still three or four additional feet of protection by use of mighty, closable steel sea gates. [Pam: Dick cut my head off on purpose; he just wanted to show the scale of the sea gate
In our conversations with locals the subject of the impacts of global climate change was repeatedly mentioned. Sea level rise, here we come.