Families watching the dashed spotlight show on May 21
Wednesday, May 18. Today and tomorrow, it seems, will be cloudy and rainy. We are hoping that it will clear up by the 21st when the dashed spotlight returns to Senkoku-ishi.
Friday, May 20. The day dawns bright and sunny. We decide to go to Senkoku a day early at noon and see what we shall see.
12:48 pm. We station ourselves inside the upper grotto. The light shining on the broad side is now nearing the triangular part of the megalith but has not yet hit the triangle. (Right)
12:54 pm. A spot of light appears in the triangular area, then another. Two spots. How delightful! The dashed spotlight of May 21 will surely appear tomorrow. The peak brightness is at 12:55, and the dashes last until 12:58.
Saturday, May 21. Many people, adults and children alike, gather at Senkoku, anticipating the annual return of the dashed spotlight.
12:53 pm. And here it is! More and more dashes appear, extending downwards (left). The beam of light reaches past the edge of the triangular stone and splashes on the floor (below). We want to catch the light in our hands. It’s alive!
Gradually, the dashes start to blink out, until there is none left at 1:01 pm. We turn our attention away and start to converse with each other.
1:08 pm. Look! Dashes are reappearing, although in different places than before. The sun has moved to a new position in the sky, enabling its beam to strike other bumps on the triangular face. This is doubly delightful! This show lasts until 1:22 pm.
The spotlight of May 21, 2016 has arrived on time. Remember that we have already observed leap day on February 29. If we did not, then the spotlight would have been a day late. The leap-year observation of October 15, 2015 was indeed valid. The millennia-old Kanayama solar calendar is still keeping time accurately!