Heat Wave!

Heat Wave!

Keeping cool in Tokyo.
Summerland Wave Pool, Hachioji, Japan

©Michael Yamashita

©Michael Yamashita

©Michael Yamashita©Michael Yamashita

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5 Comments

  1. N. Johnson says:

    Nice photographs Mike! This may be the first time I’m seeing a public pool from Japan…and I’m a little overwhelmed by how much this is EXTREME POOLING!

    I look at it from two levels: The Fun Level and the Microscopic Level.

    From a Fun Level, I hate crowds, so to me, this would NOT be fun.

    From a Microscopic Level, here’s what I’m reminded of: “The Water Quality & Health Council, a scientific research group sponsored by the American Chemistry Council” conducted a survey of public pool users. “The survey, conducted in April, asked nearly 1,000 adults whether they urinate in pools. One in five bravely admitted their mistakes. And those are the ones who admitted it.” 20% admit it – it could be more! One of the researchers also mentioned, “Anything foreign that gets in the pool consumes disinfectant and makes the pool less capable of catching the next bug.” I never really thought about that before, but it sounds logical to me.

    Considering the results of the survey of those who ADMITTED to their unsanitary mistakes in the public pool, and then you look at the crowd in Mike’s photos…and…I don’t even want to think how unsanitary that pool must be. I’m just thinking that there certainly must not be enough chlorine to keep bacteria at bay and the pH level correct to make that pool a healthy environment for swimmers. I could be wrong, but…

    I think Mike’s photos would be a perfect fit to go along with a story about public pool safety at a microscopic level. These photos, when you think about them more deeply, tell a more serious story than people just cooling off and having fun in a VERY crowded pool.

    Anyway, don’t public pools have capacity limits for public safety?
    And, what is the “Personal Space Distance” for people of Japan? I know that the PSD is different for people of different regions and cultures, and of course situations and relationships. Perhaps the PSD for public pools is skin to skin, or so it appears in the photos.

    • I’ve been getting a surprising number of negative reactions to my recently posted Japanese wave pool photographs. It seems a number of viewers are horrified, appalled, nauseated and generally grossed out by the sheer number of swimmers squeezed into these mega-pools. There’s no question that given the heat, humidity and population of Tokyo in the summer, the throngs at any swimming pool there are going to, by definition, test the limits of crowd control and sanitation. Japan, however, is prepared for this and manages to keep everyone happy and cool no matter how jam-packed the pool — by moving the water rather than the swimmers. While not exactly conducive to laps, giant wave pools surge with swells a meter or higher, drenching stationary bathers so they don’t need to swim to cool off. Other pools feature circular courses with a current that keeps everyone moving together in the same, very orderly, direction. And of course, Japanese people, by tradition and habit, are arguably the cleanest – not to mention the most cleanliness-conscious – in the world. The water in these pools is clean enough to drink!

  2. Hilton Meyer says:

    These are amazing. Even more amazing is the contrast in cultures. Before reading the comments my brain was saying that this can’t be fun. But then for the Japanese this is the way of life in Tokyo where the population density is immense. So they get around it with technology. The Japanese are very ingenious so sure these pools are not your ordinary western type pools. As you mentioned there is a wave move through so sure this keeps some sort of circulation going and some sort of background clean process. They might even have robots back there somewhere;)

  3. TB says:

    Mike, what measures does a place like this take to stop the chikans?

  4. Lisa says:

    Sorry for all the negative comments about your photos – I’m guessing they’re mostly from people who don’t understand different cultures.

    It amazes me how many people can fit into a pool, and I would’ve enjoyed if you could have gotten a few photos of a big swell. I think both freeze frame and motion blur would’ve made those images great. Because that’s what those pools are made for, after all.

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