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Day Three: G-CANS

We have experienced G-CANS. And we have pictures, albeit not as stunning as their own.

G-CANS isn't in Tokyo per se, but in a relatively rural area to the north, in Saitama Prefecture, in the sleepy town of Showa. This area is a river basin that floods pretty readily when there's a significant amount of rain; all the development at the lower end of the basin, around Tokyo, hasn't helped water absorption into the ground. Building the discharge channels underground was more expensive than building above-ground would have been, but it was much easier politically. Here's an animated diagram of the system; click the blue button in the upper left to see how it works, with water filling the system, then click it again when it says "ON" to turn the pump on.

They put a lot of effort into public outreach for this project, which thedreadpilot points out they're obliged to do given the huge expenditure of public funds involved. I'm impressed anyway, though; it's less like an American-style PR campaign and more of a “Here, this belongs to you, Public, come see how it works; you have a right to know everything about it.” They even allow the system, particularly the water absorption tank, to be used as a set for the filming of sci-fi movies. Very cool.

Although their web site's entirely in Japanese, they did give us some literature in English, so if you have any specific questions about it—or our little trip out to see it—don't hesitate to ask, and we'll find the answer for you.



( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 9th, 2005 06:46 pm (UTC)
I think I've seen this movie before...
Jun. 9th, 2005 06:51 pm (UTC)
Total Recall
Was this place used in Total Recall?

Jun. 10th, 2005 02:34 am (UTC)
Re: Total Recall
Couldn't have been—it was constructed after the film was made in 1990.
Jun. 9th, 2005 11:47 pm (UTC)
Those shots are oddly majestic, almost serene. Never would have expected that from a pump/reservoir system. The main chamber looks more like a monument than some object of utility.
Jun. 10th, 2005 02:36 am (UTC)
Agreed. Reminds me a little of the Great Hall of Moria in LotR, with the great height and big columns.
Jun. 10th, 2005 12:05 pm (UTC)
I find that industrial sites can be rather serene. We had a place in Minnesota at our nuclear power plant where we stored really old spend fuel in 15-foot-high stainless steel canisters. A bunch of artificial hills surrounded it, and the cannisters were all white. Especially in the wintertime, with snow covering the whole works, it just felt like walking into a cathedral.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )