Reality Check

Japan's Ocean Dome and the joys of simulated life

| October 8, 2003 Issue

Searching for a paradise more real than reality, David Boyle explores Japan's Ocean Dome -- sliding roof, wave machine, and painted clouds -- just across the highway from the real ocean. Writing in The Ecologist, Boyle explains that what he finds is anything but Eden. He is non-plussed by the fake fruit, constant 86 degree-temperature, fake volcano with water slides, and piped-in sound of "Swing Low Sweet Chariot." Even after the employees demonstrate that their wave machine produces 10-foot high waves for 24-hour-a-day surfing -- constant, perfect, never-ending waves -- he just can't get excited about it. Eventually, the real ocean, real sky, real crabs, saltwater, seaweed, and fish -- just a short walk away -- call out. He returns his rented swimming trunks (orange with sailing ships) and heads back into the real world.
-- Joel Stonington

Go There>> Ocean Dome...