The Japanese dug too long and too deep!
Unthinkable horrors have been awaken, the voices of the deep echo screams of suffering.
The folk fled the area in terror. On its way they met six persons going into the opposite direction, the direction of the mines...
The real horror for the area around the prefectures 埼玉県 (Saitama) and 茨城県 (Ibaraki) are not ancient monsters, but rather gigantic water levels. There is a huge area, which happens to be barely above sea level, and to make it worse, is surrounded by mountains and therefore looks like a bowl from bird's view. And what happens to a bowl if it rains (heavily) it is filled with water. So this area had to struggle with high water for years and years until 6 years ago.
So what happened? How can man compete against tons over tons of water? Not even superman could have lifted so many tons of water and put them back somewhere else. Well Superman was American, but we are here in Japan and the Japanese can do it!
So what did they do? They started digging. They dug a whole underground city and fixed with countless gigantic concrete pillars. Yes the dug the Mines Of Moria. They connected this hall with five key points of dangerous rivers, known to cause floods in this area. At the key points they erected gigantic silo like holes, which they can open to literally drain the rivers affected by high water.
a model of three of the five "silos" and the underground city, they were so big, that a space shuttle could start from them
So what will they do with all the water underground? They erected one gigantic pump driven by a Jumbo Jet engine which rotates a gigantic screw which is able to pump out, and I shit you not, 200 tons of water per second.
So where do they pump the water to? They pump the water into yet another river, the 江戸川 Edo River. This river is one of the longest in Japan, and therefore quite hard to raise in its water level. Next to that, there are no settlements directly next to the river, because it is lying in a quite a deep valley. So the river is perfectly suited to be filled with all the exert water, without causing havoc itself.
So what did this monstrosity cost? 1400億円 which translates to almost 1 billion Euro or almost 1.5 billion US Dollars.
So who paid for that? While the flood always cause a huge havoc, the affected area hosts almost no major cities, but only small towns and villages. So who could pay for a monster project like this. Well you know how much money was spent for the recent China Earthquakes. After the last big flood in this area it was similar, the whole of Japan spent a lot of money to realize this project, and the rest was paid by the government itself.
So does it work? Yes, although it was only completed last year, it is already used for 6 years. The number of times the underground city was flooded saving the people on ground level is 41 times.
every time after they flood the area, they let a cleaning wagon down the whole on the ceiling, to remove all the mud and other stuff from the river
So you can simply go down there and marvel at human kinds insanity? Yes, but you need to follow a guided tour, which you have to apply for one month in advance. Also you or one of your friends must be able to speak Japanese. The tour itself is free :)
the made scenes for a couple of movies down there, the last one was Ultraman, and the producers left the operators a lot of toys, autographs and gadgets
The homepage of the project, where you can also apply for the tour is here: http://www.ktr.mlit.go.jp/edogawa/works/saigai/sonae/gaikaku/frame_index.html
You can also find a bit of English information about the project on Wikipedia.
A really incredible experience and my horizon of what human kind is capable of doing has again been widened.