Sunday, November 27, 2011

illustration friday (round #2)


In eastern Hokkaido there is a lake called Lake Akan, where the marimo grow. A marimo is a rare growth form of the filamentous green algae (Chlorophyta), where the algae grow into large green balls with a velvety appearance.

The Ainu, northern Japan's indigenous people, called them lake goblins or lake rollers. It turns out that the only other regions where colonies of marimo are known to form are Iceland, Scotland, and Estonia, but the ones in Lake Akan are known to grow particularly large-- up to 30 cm across.

When I was young, we used to think of marimo as a sort of pet, and kept them in jars filled with water. I was a lazy guardian, and my marimo invariably died, but, if memory serves, one of my sisters kept one alive for a long time, growing it to an impressive size. Nowadays they are a protected species, and the little ones you find in souvenir shops are hand rolled from free-floating filaments.

11 comments:

  1. How interesting! Lovely illustration - love the the description - lake goblins!

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  2. How do you feed them? Is water enough? I never heard of these. I'll look for pictures on the web.

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  3. The world is so full of wonders.

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  4. That is amazing!!! At first I was reminded of kiwi green but reading your description, I like the growing organism much better. Oh, there could be a science fiction movie about that...

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  5. Cool illustration. Love your hand lettering!

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  6. Living in Kansai, I heard "Lake Akan" as if someone's being told off. ;)

    Thanks for the lovely dragon postcard by the way!

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  7. @Lisa, that's funny. Having lived in Kansai for a total of 11 years, I know what you mean. Incidentally, as with so many geographical names in Hokkaido, the name of the lake comes from the Ainu language, and the accent of Akan-ko (Lake Akan)is on the first syllable, so it sounds rather different than the Kansai-ben "akan."

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  8. Oh my goodness...this is something I've never heard of! (I always learn something wonderful and new on your blog.) I had to check them out on Google images...fascinating! And your story about keeping them as pets is adorable. Lovely composition on your painting!

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  9. Fascinating!!! And such a beautiful etegami. Very beautiful piece, Debbie!

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  10. Love the colors!
    Hope all is very well!

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