Saturday, 2 November 2013

Rjukan and 半日村



A feel-good story to kick off your weekend!

The Norwegian town of Rjukan is situated in the bottom of a valley and from September to March not a ray of sunlight reaches them, until now.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-10-30/giant-mirrors-capture-illusive-sun-for-norwegian-town/5057182

The story reminded me of the Japanese picture book 半日村‎ about a town with the same problem (but a different solution). The village in the story is shaded by a high mountain, much like Rjukan, and only gets a few hours of sunlight a day. Consequently few crops grow and the village is plagued by listlessness. The adults believe they were simply born unlucky and accept their fate. One day a boy, Ippei, starts climbing the mountain and digging. He carries the dirt back down to the village and throws it into the lake (the source of perpetual cold winds). Everyone laughs at him but soon other kids begin to join in. The adults scold them, saying what they are doing is useless and goes against common sense. Things have always been the way they are, and there's no use struggling against them. You can probably guess the ending, especially since I included an image that is a big spoiler ;)
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