The second story describes a most unusual art-form that is becoming more and more commonplace in Japan ... Can you guess what this is?
believe it or not, these are beautiful and intricately stylized Manhole Covers!
"As to why this phenomenon developed, signs point to a high-ranking bureaucrat in the construction ministry who, in 1985, came up with the idea of allowing municipalities to design their own manhole covers. His objective was to raise awareness for costly sewage projects and make them more palatable for taxpayers." - Colossal
Subsequently, a "manhole craze" took off and different municipalities began competitions to see who had the best designs. Today there are more than 6000 artistic manhole covers in Japan, according to The Japan Society of Manhole Covers ... Yep, you read that right !!
FYI - I also discovered the Japan Ground Manhole Association.
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