Status: Real place (fake beach)
A couple of people have sent me these pictures of an artificial dome-covered beach.... located a few yards away from a real beach! Yes, it's a real place. This is Ocean Dome, located outside of Myazaki in Japan. Its motto is "Paradise within a paradise." David Boyle, author of Authenticity: Brands, Fakes, Spin and the Lust for Real Life
(which is a pretty good book, by the way), has an article about it
on his website. He speculates that it's possibly the most artificial place on earth. Here's a short clipping:
Ocean Dome is bigger than many ocean liners - over 1,000 feet long - and has space for 13,500 tons of salt water and 10,000 people, without the mild inconvenience of real salt water, real crabs, real seaweed or fish...
It was pleasantly warm, but it felt faintly like a gymnasium - and they always remind me of exams. Also, the palm trees were too perfect to be real. The fruit behind the counter turned out to be plastic, and the backdrop was painted with small clouds and a deep blue sky as the Pacific view outside probably should have been...
I wondered if it ever occurred to James Michener or Oscar Hammerstein, writing Tales of the South Pacific just after VJ Day, that their imaginary island would one day make it into a Japanese theme park.