Nature is calling…

Most people are probably familiar with the fountains made with statues of peeing boys which can be found all over the world. They were really big during the Renaissance but Manneken Pis in Brussels remains the most iconic by far and replicas of it are quite popular in Japan today.

Our reporter Masanuki Sunakoma heard one of the many legends surrounding Manneken Pis which states that the boy it depicts is a real young lad who foiled an enemy invasion in the 14th century by peeing on the fuse of a bomb and disarming it. Masanuki always liked to associate that story of resourcefulness and courage with the statue.

And it was in the town of Ogose in the Iruma District of Saitama Prefecture, that he found a Manneken Pis statue that was perhaps the greatest embodiment of this spirit. His journey took him to Akasakazawa Check Dam, which is a type of dam system with the purpose of slowing the flow of water to reduce erosion rather than stopping water altogether.

The location of the statue was a little remote, so Masanuki first drove along the Ajisai Kaido highway to the parking lot of Ajisaiyama Park. “Ajisai” is the Japanese word for “hydrangea flowers“, which usually bloom around May, so if you time your trip right you can get a nice glimpse of those too.

Masanuki was too early for that though, but the path towards the dam was still quite beautiful…in an eerie kind of way.

It wasn’t long before he could see the dam and its eternally peeing guardian.

It was magnificent.

This boy had clearly been doing his kegel exercises and was unleashing a stream…nay, a torrent of symbolic pee into the stream beneath him.

A sign nearby explained that this statue was installed in 1991 as a way of raising awareness for erosion prevention efforts in the area. The reason for this boy’s relentlessly powerful leak was a fun lesson in hydraulic engineering too. The source of water is an area upstream with an elevation 100 meters (328 feet) higher than the statue.

Because of this difference in elevation, the statue is beneath water, as far as gravity is concerned, and will always flow for as long as the stream that feeds it exists.

The sign also explained that because of this design, the path of the water periodically gets clogged up with sediment and rocks which reduce the flow. In other words, this poor little guy has a chronic case of kidney stones.

▼ Looks like he might be passing a few as we speak

That would explain why the stream coming out of it wasn’t quite as fire-hose-like as the picture on the sign. Still, it was nothing to sneeze at, and it reminded Masanuki of those fireworks they use in Chinese dragon dances.

What the sign didn’t explain was the lad’s monkey companion hanging from a trapeze and seeming to beckon us over as if to say, “Yo, get a load of this!”

It was weird but kind of cool too. After all, if they were going to make a Hollywood movie about this boy’s counterterrorism efforts, giving him a simian sidekick would probably go over really well with test audiences.

Just then, something else odd caught Masanuki’s eye as he glanced over at the dam itself…

The three holes in it seemed to look like a pair of crying eyes and a frowny mouth. It had a very Ghibliesque quality to it and he wasn’t sure if this was intentional or just his own pareidolia kicking in.

Considering everything else going on around here, Masanuki certainly wouldn’t put it past them for this to be an intentional design. In the end, he was left with more questions than answers but that only added to the mystique of this location.

It’s also a place that changes, depending on the water conditions as well as the boy’s stones, and is great for repeat visits.

So, if you’re looking for something different in your Saitama hiking adventures, the Akasakazawa Check Dam is certainly worth checking out.

Dam information
Akasakazawa Check Dam / 赤坂沢砂防ダム
Address: Saitama-ken, Iruma-gun, Ogose-cho, Kosugichinai

Photos ©SoraNews24
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