Monday, September 24, 2007

Beyond Ocean Dome

A good friend recently asked me what my favorite performing gig had been. That would have to be my time spent at Ocean Dome, in southern Japan.

Ocean Dome was a bizarre place. It was an indoor pool park that was enclosed in a dome covered stadium. On sunny days the dome would be remotely activated to split in the middle and slide apart, opening up right above the center of the park--a man made stretch of artificial beach and ocean, complete with waves. The waves would be cranked up for the surfers' exhibition, one of the park's daily shows. Perhaps the most bizarre thing about Ocean Dome was that it was only about a half mile away from the real beach.

As a high school freshman, I had practically predicted that I would work in a domed facility as an adult. I still have a Language Arts composition of how, in the doomed and imagined year of 2001, pollution would have grown so dense and toxic, it would have become necessary to move all animal species into protective reserves. In my self appointed future, I was working as a veterinarian at one of these sanctuaries, the Last Kingdom, a colossal, glass, domed structure.

When I first saw Ocean Dome in person, however, it seemed to be more along the doomed lines of "A Wrinkle in Time" than my zoological fantasy--it was easy to imagine Ocean Dome as completely empty, and serving as the housing facility for IT, the severed brain and evil nemesis of that story (is it frightening to anyone else that most work places refer to their tech support staff by the two initials, I.T.?).

My limitations in math and science soon prevented me from pursuing an education in biology, as well as any future jobs in caring for animals. Still, it was gratifying to go see "The Simpsons Movie," this past summer, and see a bit of my adolescent dream realized on the big screen when the town of Springfield was quarantined underneath a giNORMOUS hermetically sealed see-through dome.

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