Watching the river run: While I was in Fukuoka on Friday to lecture at a couple of universities, the rain didn’t stop. In fact, it was continuation of record rainfall so overwhelming that more than 20 people have died in floods and mudslides.
My wife and son’s hometown, Kurume, was not damaged much because it sits on a wide plain, and the major river that surged through it, the Chikugo, has been designed to bulge, with wide pedestrian spaces inside its banks.
By Saturday, the play areas and walkways were under water, but the banks were fine. These shots catch the scene at the riverside Suitengu Shrine, where leaders were reining in their ceremonial boat and handling other weather-related chores. Normally, the distance from that wall to the water is more like 35-40 meters. Now the water splashes against the slope.
On the other side of the river, a nine-hole golf course was missing from view, along with most of a van.
Apologies to those who have seen this already on Facebook, but the conditions were serious enough to merit inclusion here, too.
As the sign notes in the bottom photo, the river banks are the site of a fabulous, two-hour fireworks show in the first week of August each year. Right now, the seating areas are mostly submerged. But I imagine the water level will decline and the aptly titled Water Festival fireworks will sparkle and crack as usual for as many as 200,000 people.