The only thing better than the message itself is the fascinating water printer machine that “prints” it.
After 94 years in business, beloved Tokyo theme park Toshimaen closed its doors for the final time yesterday. Plans to build the world’s second Harry Potter theme Park on a large portion of the site will now go ahead, with a 2023 opening date, but for many members of the public, the old-school fun of Toshimaen is something that will be sorely missed in the capital.
Our Japanese-language team have been saddened by news of the closure since it was first revealed earlier this year, and made it their mission to attend on the final day to give the ageing theme park the sendoff it deserved.
So they dressed up in baby pink bodysuits and pig noses to honour one of the park’s official character mascots, Carousel, and headed off for one more day of fun at the theme park. The character of Carousel is a cute pig that pays homage to the park’s pride and joy — a wooden carousel made in Germany in 1907 and brought to the park in 1971 — and is said to be born in 1907, with a love for bringing smiles and happiness to people. Oh, and his favourite saying is “Gluck!“, a German word said to mean “happiness“.
Needless to say, our reporters turned a lot of heads at the park that day, but what turned their heads was a silver box on wheels that blew their minds. Called a “Water Printer“, this machine writes letters on the ground with water. It was something they’d never seen before, and the simple charm of it was so alluring that Mr. Sato asked staff if he could have a go at using it himself.
They kindly obliged, and Mr Sato felt all the glee of a kid at a theme park as he pulled the cart along behind him. Just pulling the cart makes the letters appear on the ground, and the printing speed was surprisingly fast, with the Japanese characters perfectly rendered so they were easily readable.
The Water Printer “prints” a variety of messages as it’s pulled along, and when Mr Sato used it, the message that appeared was おもいで (“memories”)…
The full message in the video above reads “Thank you for all the memories, we love Toshimaen” followed by crying emojis interspersed with words that indicate sadness, like “boo hoo/sniff sniff“. The park’s characters of Carousel and El Dorado, a mechanised German horse toy, also appear on the ground in water, making it seem as if the message was written in the tears of the city as it bade it a fond farewell.
While staff refused to reveal the secrets of the Water Printer, a sticker on the machine indicated it was made by Do Science, a Tokyo-based fountain contractor that specialises in using “the most advanced techniques of water fountains” to create “unforgettable moments with beautiful water“.
The Water Printer certainly created an unforgettable moment, not just for our team but for the many people around them, who followed Mr Sato as if he were the Pied Piper, photographing the messages on the ground and gushing over their sweet sentiments.
The printer was being demonstrated at the park for three days only, from 29-31 August. Though the water graffiti quickly disappeared from the pavement as it evaporated in the hot summer heat, the memories it left, much like the park that our reporters have grown up with, will live on in people’s hearts forever.
Thank you for all the memories over the past 94 years, Toshimaen. Now excuse us while we go off and scream in our hearts, like we’ve been told to.
Photos © SoraNews24
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[ Read in Japanese ]