Nerd Alert! Newest Trend in Travel: Drainspotting

Travel News — By Alex Resnik on August 10, 2011 at 1:00 pm

Where there are dorks, there will be dorky reasons to travel. Geocaching, comic-cons, Star Trek conventions? Pffff, soooo Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. This year’s hottest trend for geeky pilgrims: not trainspotting, drainspotting.

What’s drainspotting? Much like trainspotting – a hobby for friendless ferrophiles that involves snapping and collecting pictures of rare trains – drainspotting involves taking pictures, but of rare manhole covers. That’s right, like the kind you might try to avoid on your bicycle on a rainy day.

If it’s hard to imagine collectible (not to mention photogenic) manhole covers, that’s probably because you haven’t been to Japan where, it turns out, they’ve made quite an artistic medium of their sewer systems. Not surprising, really, since these are the same people who brought you collectible fake pets and Hello Kitty love hotels.

According to the Daily Mail, there are some 6,000 wacky manhole covers in Japan, mostly in smaller towns where stodgy locals resistant to the idea were placated by designs telling a story about the local region. For example, in the city of Nagano, famous for its apples, you might find a manhole cover adorned with red apples and blossoms. Others include a T. Rex in a city known for its fossils, and Little Red Riding Hood in a town whose sister city in Germany was the birthplace of the Brothers Grimm.

Somebody’s already gone out and found most of these, putting them into a book so, you know, you don’t have to.

Images courtesy of the author. Don’t ask.

Tags: drainspotting, Japan, manhole covers, nagano

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