Sumoto River Construction Update

One of the berms they built on the river yesterday partially collapsed, leaving a tracked crane stranded out on the water. I was driving by and saw as it happened. Now I have seen a lot of things swallowed by the river – houses, rice fields, even a brand new 350z, but a crane? That would be something new.
But the owner of the crane wasn’t ready to give up on it yet. He sent his men out on a boat, and they probed the sunken area of the berm with bamboo poles. It appeared the road had sunk around half a meter into the river. One man got off the boat and into the driver’s compartment of the crane. He started the engine, then revved the hell out of it in long, angry bursts. Diesel smoke hung over the river like a scene from some nameless Vietnam war movie. And then the crane lurched forward!
To other cars passing by, it must have seemed like the crane was driving over water – a sort of Frying Dutchman, trying to round the Cape of Sumoto in a Kubota crane. In fact, the sight of it almost caused an accident – there were sounds of tires screeching on the main road, but no sound of impact.
Today, on my bus ride to work, I saw fish upriver of the construction zone for the first time since the big typhoon two years ago! They looked and acted like carp, but experience tells me they are mullet, even if all of their pathways to the ocean seem blocked by all the spill barriers and earthen berms put up by the construction crews.
Before the big typhoon and the flooding, the river was filled with all kinds of fish, both fresh and salt water (and the mullet, which can live in either). Crabs, too. And they used to raise unagi in there, as well… I hope it all returns someday. Right now it is so muddy from the construction that I doubt anything but the hardiest fish can live in there.
You know, I really am going to have to take my camera out there sometime before they finish up. It is quite amazing how they have channelized the river so far.

2 thoughts on “Sumoto River Construction Update

  1. Awesome that you saw the berm cave in and the big crane chug its way out of the muddy waters. Do people eat the mullet and unagi from those waters?

  2. Unagi, yes. Mullet, no. The mullet can be caught in the ocean and are rarely eaten around here. Even then, only in the winter, when they apparently can be eaten as sashimi.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.