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Carp in the gutters by design in Takayama Japan
Sunday, March 04, 2007

Here are some more pictures from Takayama in Gifu prefecture, in the mountains near the Japanese Alps.

The first photo shows a street in the older section of town. Note how roofs and downspouts drain to deep (about 2, 1/2ft) stone gutters. Wood or metal covers allow access to entryways or vehicle parking. It snows a lot here. The gutters carry snowmelt to a nearby river.

Takayama in Gifu prefecture

The second photo shows the gutters draining to the river.

Takayama in Gifu prefecture gutters empty into river

The third photo shows a school of carp (Koi) in the river. The Koi often venture up the gutters in search of food. It's interesting for me, an American, to see Koi swimming in a gutter. My Japanese family wondered why I spent the time to take pictures of a gutter: perhaps you are wondering the same thing.

Takayama in Gifu prefecture Koi in the river

The fourth photo was taken a couple of streets away. One wonders how you can accomodate new transportation technology (cars) with old (narrow street). One way is to make the street bigger, another to make the cars smaller. Note the metal grates over the gutter.

Takayama in Gifu prefecture very small car Dan Curl

As inside the perimeter growth increases Atlantans will have to decide how to manage growth. There will be trade-offs between convenience and utility on the one hand and the nature of the built environment on the other.

I am a believer that the built environment has a direct effect on those who occupy it. "You are where you live" has the same validity to me as "You are what you eat."

Travel gives us a chance to see how other people choose to live:  the way they order their lives and what is "important" to them.

Maybe you don't care if a brightly colored fish swims up a gutter. I think it demonstrates the union of function and aesthetics that defines Japanese culture.

Plus, it's way cool.

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