February 17: Nanase River Park under construction
by Mie
We have a warm beautiful day today from the morning. The temperature has reached to mid-March level in the noon. I walked down to Nanase River Park, which I have been interested in for a long time. The river runs in the southwestern part of Oita City and it merges to Oita river at a junction near my house. A winding part of Nanase river has been straightened in order to prevent flooding. The crescent will soon be used as a part of the river park.
The distant hill is called Ryouzen, a famous hill of 442 meter height, which is located in the southern suburbs of Oita city. A new bridge called Innyaku was constructed to connect the park to rout 210. Many construction-related vehicles are working busily to make the final touch of the park that opens coming April.
An observation platform first attracts my attention. It is located in the north-end of the park under which the newly straightened river runs. Below the platform is an out-door theater.
Arched benches of the theater already welcome a couple of families who were lured to the park by the warm sunlight. The bench or handrails look like real wood for the first glance, but they are actually made from concrete. Thanks to the recent technological developments, many concrete products have been improved to give an outlook and material-feeling of wood. It is something hard to tell them from actual wood
A cottage-like water gate house well matches with the atmosphere of the park. A pair of water gates controls the flow of the river. Another water gate is located in the upper stream 400 meters away. The bridge to the house is decorated with firefly disks, the symbol marks of the river.
On the south rim of the park is a beautiful bridge across the river that still keeps the grass covered water edge. The bridge is called "Amatory Bridge", literally meaning "cat's cradle." The suspension wires make elegant curves. The bridge will be a popular place for young families without fail.
Another unusual-shaped bridge hangs over the river at the south-end of the park called Takase district. There is a historic site of Takase Stone Buddha. Seven small statues of Buddha have been siting in a shallow dent of the tiff precipice since late century, Heian era. Daiitoku Myouou (Great mercy and brightness Buddha), on the left, is wrapped in roaring flames, holding a crosier on the left hand and a sword on the right hand. Daiichi Nyorai (A Tathagata in the womb world), on the right, is the main stone Buddha. Red and golden colors of the paint still survive clearly after some 900 years.
After leaving the park, we came up to a small village called "Arawashi", or literally "appear." On the road shoulder are several stone monuments of various shapes like a lantern or simple stone plate that reads "Daijou Houten", or "Mahayana Code." They are carefully maintained by the village people who plant many daffodils around them.
We were looking down the river from Arawashi bridge. The clear water reflect the sunlight and a lot of small fish are swimming in the warm water. Here drifts a family of duck as well. Yes, spring is coming.
Now let's go home. I walked through a foot path between rice fields on the background of Rouen hill. I hear the trilling of larks here and there. A warm afternoon in February passed peacefully.

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