If the sweltering heat of the Tokyo streets wasn't enough of a reminder, the outfit donned by the Peeing Boy at Japan Railway's Hamamatsucho Station should make it clear that swimming season is here. As a kid I used to spend a good portion of my summer vacation submersed in saltwater. When the beach was crowded the watchwords were "watch out for the hot spots." These were the warm zones which were most likely recently visited by real live versions of the Peeing Boy. Covered by water from at least the waist down, gangs of kids on the go could secretly hose down large swaths of the sea with total impunity.
While recovery efforts are still underway to restore Japan's tsunami-ravaged northeastern Pacific shore line, there have been reports that beach traffic is also down along the less battered coast just north of Tokyo. Fear of radiation contamination from the damaged Fukushima nuclear reactors is keeping swimmers out of the water and away from local beach resorts. It seems as if "hot spot" is once again the phrase of the day. Much of the fear stems from TEPCO's dumping of radioactive water from the crippled Fukushima atomic power plant into the sea. The strategy, used to gain control of the runaway nuclear crisis, was much derided by critics who felt TEPCO was contaminating a large swath of the sea with total impunity.
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