I teach in Kurogi, a town of 10,000 people. Not much happens there– the kids are convinced it’s the most boring place in the world, and that New York City must be paradise — and it doesn’t have many claims to fame. But one thing it proudly boasts, besides the most extreme temperatures in Fukuoka, is its really big tree.
It’s a really big tree. Tucked away shyly behind it is a shrine built in its honor, where I have seen many older townspeople come to pray. In front of it is a small sign detailing the tree’s specs:
See that? It’s 40 freaking meters tall. That’s, like, 12 stories high. It’s a big tree.
It’s Kurogi’s main claim to fame, perhaps, but pretty much no one outside of Kurogi has heard of it. The most famous tree in Japan is Jomon Sugi, on an island south of Kyushu, which is one of the oldest trees in the world and a UNESCO world heritage site. But you know what? The Jomon Sugi’s only 25 meters tall. I say Kurogi’s tree puts it to shame!