“Dragon Tree, very pretty...” aaand thank you, Trini Lopez! Musical accompaniment isn't needed by the residents of Kesennuma in Japan's Miyagi Prefecture, however, who are just happy to find a glimmer of hope in the ruins of their once-thriving seaside town.
Kesennuma (気仙沼市) was one of Japan's busiest fishing ports before the disaster struck, with approximately 85 percent of the population employed in the fishing industry or related work.
The town's other claim to fame was the “Kori no Suizokukan” (Ice Aquarium), swept away by quake-spawned waves and fires from fishing boat fuel that raged for 4 days, compounding the destruction.
The people of Kesennuma are a resilient lot and they've recovered from wars and natural disaster before. As always, hard work and great patience are the key human factors required for rebuilding but a little hope and faith can sure help!
Enter the dragon... the Dragon Tree (竜そっくり の松), to be exact. The twisted and battered pine was discovered by a young child on his way to nearby Kotohira Shrine for a traditional New Year's visit.
Though only 2 meters (6.6 feet) tall, bent over at a 90-degree angle by the rushing tidal waves and stripped of its needles and smaller branches, the tree now displays a silhouette that strongly resembles that of a classic Chinese Dragon with two tiny, T Rex-like arms. By coincidence (or not), the “Water Dragon” is this year's Chinese zodiac symbol!
Not only does the tree look like a dragon, it's positioned “facing” the sea as if to say, “Now hear this, ocean gremlins, Dragon Tree frowns on your shenanigans!” As for local residents, they're glad to grasp at any glimpse of hope that might brighten their moods and lighten up the shattered atmosphere.
“It really looks like a dragon,” mused a 73-year-old man from Sendai who heard about the Dragon Tree and wanted to see for himself. “Maybe this year will be a good one.” (via Mainichi Daily News, Kasabon380825, and Alfalfa Mosaic)