Friday, November 18

Crying shame as streetwise giant radish is cut down in its prime

November 18, 2005 From Richard Lloyd Parry in Tokyo UNTIL it was tragically cut short, the life of Dokonjo Daikon was an inspiration to all who knew him. Born in obscurity, he overcame the sternest of obstacles to rise to prominence in his small town. Loved by his neighbours, he became a symbol of the Japanese virtue of perseverance against the odds. People came from far and wide to wish him well — until a brutal attack this week that left him critically injured. It is all the more remarkable because Little Dai, as he is fondly known, is not a human being, but a plant; a long, thick, white daikon, or Japanese giant radish. For the past few weeks newspaper readers and television viewers have been gripped by the vegetable drama unfolding in the small western town of Aioi. Daikon are among the most common of Japanese edible roots, and Little Dai was remarkable in only one respect: rather than growing in the fields, he was an urban radish who pushed himself up through solid asphalt on a roadside pavement. He first appeared in July and, rather than extracting him and filling in the hole, the local council honoured him with a signboard bearing the words: “Observe with affection”. Locals christened him Dokonjo Daikon, “the daikon with fighting spirit”, or, more colloquially, “the radish with balls”. [link]

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