#trending: Dragon Ball or Godzilla egg? Mysterious metal ball on Japan beach perplexes residents and netizens
SHIZUOKA, JAPAN — Measuring about 1.5 metres in diameter, the mysterious ball has since sparked intense speculation among residents and netizens alike.
- Japanese police were alerted to a mysterious metal sphere on Hamamatsu city's Enshuhama Beach on Tuesday (Feb 21) morning, prompting a bomb squad investigation
- Despite confirming that it was not a threat, officials could not determine what the object was or where it had come from
- Netizens were quick to point out its resemblance to "Godzilla eggs" and the spherical spaceships from popular manga Dragon Ball
- But the mystery was quickly solved — and those in the know were unimpressed
SHIZUOKA, JAPAN — As the United States and China clashed over an alleged spy balloon and a series of unidentified flying objects, the residents of Hamamatsu, a city in the western Shizuoka prefecture of Japan, were stymied by a separate mysterious object which recently washed up on a local beach.
Japanese news outlets reported on Tuesday (Feb 21) that police had been alerted to a mysterious metal sphere on Enshuhama Beach around 8.45am that morning, prompting a bomb squad investigation.
Though X-ray scans determined that the sphere was "hollow and not a threat", it provided no insight into what the object actually was.
Measuring about 1.5m in diameter, the mysterious ball has since sparked intense speculation among residents and netizens alike.
Several likened it to the "egg" of a fictional monster such as Mothra of the Godzilla franchise, or the fictional cosmic entity Cthulhu invented by writer HP Lovecraft.
"It's just Dragon Ball live and not aliens," joked a French pop culture account on Twitter, speaking of a popular anime and manga series in which spherical spaceships are used for interplanetary travel.
Others called it "Miley Cyrus' wrecking ball", referencing a 2013 hit song from the American singer.
Jokes aside, even the Japanese Coast Guard confessed that it had "never seen" such an object, as representatives of its Omaezaki branch told Yahoo Japan.
But the mystery was quickly solved — and those in the know were unimpressed.
"It's a 'steel buoy'," explained one Japanese Twitter user on Tuesday afternoon. "A device for holding buoys and anchor cables underwater so that they don't get tangled in the sea.
"Even if the Coast Guard clerk doesn't know, the survey team sees it on a daily basis, so I think they (should) know."
Another Twitter user said: "I can't believe officials from a country surrounded by ocean don't recognise a ball buoy,"
Some also noted that a "mooring eye", or metal loop to which mooring ropes may be tied, was clearly visible in footage of the sphere.
One local man in his 50s who had gone to the beach for a run in the midst of the investigation was similarly surprised by all the commotion.
"That ball has been there for a month," he told state broadcaster NHK. "I tried to push it, but it wouldn't budge."
Nariyuki Takahashi, manager of Hamamatsu Civil Engineering Office's maintenance section, later confirmed to broadcaster FNN that the object was a foreign "metal buoy".
"It seems that it is not used for fishing or anything like that, but when installing such things as sensors for surveys," he added.
Shizuoka Prefecture officials began the removal process at around 9am on Thursday, reported broadcaster SBS. Using a chain attached to a crane, it took about 30 minutes to lift and clear the sphere from the beach.
It was weighed later and found to be about 300kg.
As the sphere has been determined to be safe, it will be stored for a period of time at the construction company's site and disposed of if no one steps forward to claim it.
Chief inspector of Hamamatsu Civil Engineering Office's coastal development section Tatsuki Fukuda told SBS: "I think everyone in Hamamatsu city was worried and curious about (it). I'm relieved that the work is done."
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