Manhole covers serve a simple purpose, they keep a lid on things. You know, so us regular folk don't disappear from the surface of the Earth and find ourselves up to our armpits in digested food and feral pokemon. While I stand by these seemingly wild claims, I must make clear that I am no expert. I take photos of manhole covers and I feature them on my website. That's about it.
Inspiration, it seems, is drawn from anything and everything. Themes range from modern to traditional, from the whimsical to the restrained, from the intricate to the austere. Some, you just stare at and wonder if they even tried at all. Yes, I'm looking at you Fukuoka.
So, how does your local cover compare? What does it depict? The local flower? A folk tale? A collection of random shapes?
I'm in two minds over my city's choice for the street-level lids. Tosu (transportation hub of Kyushu), in Saga Prefecture, have paired the Iris with, and as if to pay homage to the streets themselves, a dirty, great multi-laned highway cloverleaf. Mind you, I'm hard-pressed to think of what else they could've gone with. It's still too soon to immortalise the local J1 soccer league newbies. Perhaps, one day though.
So, there you have it, officially sanctioned street-art, Japanese style. Hey, if you consider yourself "into manholes" like I know many of you are, why not contribute to the project to put Japanese manhole-covers on the map. First, get in touch.