Chichibuga beach on Shikoku island was barely known until photographs of stunning sunsets started to appear on social media. Now visitors flock to capture images of the fiery sea and skies at dusk
Chichibuga beach at sunset, Mitoyo, Kagawa prefecture, Japan. Photograph: Akiyoshi Kuramoto
People were running down the beach. Not for exercise but to get into position before the sun slipped below the horizon. I hurried along, swept up by the sense of urgency.
Mini tripods were lined up on the sand at the water’s edge, and selfie sticks were held aloft. Groups of friends, silhouetted against the pink sky, were trying to synchronise their star jumps, while women instructed their boyfriends on exactly how to photograph them as they stared into the sea.
One woman posed holding her pet dachshund. The entire beach was a mass Instagram shoot.
Chichibuga is a 1km-long, pancake-flat sandy strand overlooking the Seto sea on the north coast of Shikuko, the smallest, most rural of Japan’s four main islands.
Never heard of it? That’s hardly surprising.
Lying between the biggest island, Honshu, with its blockbuster cities (Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima) – not to mention stunning alpine landscapes – and the southernmost island of Kyushu (often called the most beautiful), Shikuko is overlooked by international visitors.
The On-Line Museum and Encyclopedia of Vision Aids believes the Glasses above are the world’s oldest surviving pair of glasses.
Dating back to the 15th century, the glasses belonged to the Eighth Shogun, Yoshimasa Ashikaga, who reigned from 1449 to 1473, during the Muromachi period of Japanese history.
Both the glasses and their accompanying case were made of hand-carved white ivory.
Glasses were actually first invented, however, in Italy (some say Florence, to be precise) in 1286 or thereabouts.
In a sermon from 1306, a Dominican friar wrote: “It is not yet twenty years since there was found the art of making eyeglasses, which make for good vision… And it is so short a time that this new art, never before extant, was discovered.”
In the mid 14th century, paintings started to appear with people wearing eyeglasses.
Read on further via The World’s Oldest Surviving Pair of Glasses (Circa 1475) | Open Culture
On the island of Tashirojima, the cats outnumber people, and the people like it that way and it’s no accident.
The cats n Tashirojima, or what has become known as “Cat Island,” in Japan have come to be the island’s primary residents. Cats have long been thought by the locals to represent luck and good fortune, and doubly so if you feed and care for them.
Thus, the cats are treated like kings, and although most are feral because keeping them as “pets” is generally considered inappropriate, they are well-fed and well-cared-for.
Despite this, luck and fortune hasn’t exactly come to the human residents of “Cat Island.” In the last 50 years, the human population of the island has dwindled from 1,000 to fewer than 100.
As more and more people have shunned the island as it became dominated by felines, the people that have remained have become ever more protective of the cats.
Currently, dogs are not allowed on the island to protect the well-being of the cats – and presumably any dog foolish enough to venture onto an island full of feral cats.