In the land of anime, sushi and WWII denial, you would think Japanese citizens would be less shocked by an “egg” on Enshuhama Beach, Hamamatsu beach, on 21 February 2023.
Amidst tense relations, aka drama queens America and China making a big fuss over a balloon, Japanese officials had to send a bomb squad to ensure the mysterious sphere was not a threat sent by neighbouring countries.
Metal bomb or Godzilla’s egg
On Tuesday morning, 21 February 2023, the police of Hamamatsu city were alerted that there was a large metal sphere on Enshuhama Beach around 8.45 am. The police sent a bomb squad investigation promptly after.
Thankfully, investigations found through x-ray scans found that the sphere was hollow and hence, “not a threat”. However, investigators are still confused about the globe and its purpose.
With a diameter of 1.5 metres and weighing about 300 kg, it is too large and heavy for an average person to carry to the beach, which meant it was washed up on shore, sparking discussions amongst netizens and residents.
Netizens drew similarities to the eggs of fictional monsters in the insanely popular Godzilla franchise like Mothra.
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They were probably referring to the roundness of the sphere and how there is little chance that it is formed naturally; hence it has to be manufactured (or made by monsters).
Many comments referenced the popular Manga Dragon Ball Z, where spherical spaceships, not unlike the one found on the beach, are used for interplanetary travel.
Many comments also referenced the chart-topping song “Wrecking Ball” by American singer Miley Cyrus.
However, the mystery still hasn’t been solved, so what exactly is it?
Even Japanese coast guards confessed that this was their first time seeing such an object, as representatives of its Omaezaki branch told Yahoo Japan.
However, with the help of netizens, the mystery was solved in almost no time.
Many Twitter users shared that it was a steel buoy. They referred to the two “handles” on the mysterious object that gave it away; the users tweeted that the name for it is a “mooring eye”, and it could be seen in the footage of the sphere.
A Twitter user shared that the survey team would have known even if the coastguards weren’t familiar with the object.
Another user shared their disbelief that a country surrounded by water would not know what a ball buoy is.
The Twitter comments turned darker when some commenters expressed that this metal sphere could be an old submarine mine. The Japanese police must have also thought so because they immediately sent a bomb squad to investigate.
Residents, however, were even more baffled that this incident had gained international traction. A local man in his 50s who went for a run amidst the investigations was surprised when he saw officials flocking to the beach.
He commented to state broadcaster NHK that the ball buoy was there for a month and even attempted to push it to no avail.
The manager of the Hamamatsu civil engineering office’s maintenance section, Nariyuki Takahashi, later confirmed to broadcaster FNN that it was indeed a foreign “metal buoy”.
He also added that it was most likely for installing survey sensors and probably not used for fishing or commercial activities.
The removal process started around 9 am on Thursday, 23 February 2023, reported SBS, by using a chain attached to a crane; it took about half an hour to lift it and remove it from the beach.
It was then revealed that it weighed a whopping 300 kilograms.
Since it wasn’t a national security threat, the sphere would be stored at the construction company’s site for some time, and if no one claims it, it would be appropriately disposed of.
WWII mine scare
An oceanographer, Mark Inall, at the Scottish Association for Marine Science told the BBC that he instantly knew that it was a buoy, as reported by Yahoo. Still, he understood why many would mistake it for a World War II mine (even the Japanese police).
He then assured readers that mines would have spikes sticking out of them, like the picture below of an active WWII mine found by a tourist off the coast of Skopelos, Greece, in October 2016.
Buoys washing up on beaches is common in Scotland, Inall explained why he was so familiar with buoy balls.
He added that they can float in the sea for decades, causing their markings to fade and resemble an egg of an otherworldly monster.
Phew, we just avoided a world-level threat; can you imagine if it was an actual spawn of Godzilla?
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