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Japanese skating rink freezes 5,000 sea animals, closes after backlash

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The biggest challenge for any skater who doesn’t live in frigid environs? Available ice sheets.

Japan’s Space World theme park in Kitakyushu City attempted to create one for its patrons, with a rather novel twist: Under the ice were 5,000 sea creatures, frozen in place.

Fish. Crabs. Many other aquatic friends, whose rigid carcasses made for impressive designs on the ice. If the Canadian national hockey team can freeze a loonie under the ice for good luck, we can’t imagine the good fortune one would experience with 5,000 Japanese fish under their skates.

Called “Freezing Port,” it was billed as a one-of-a-kind attraction on the park’s Facebook page, and included captions on the photos of the fish that translated as “I am d… d… drowning, s … s… suffocating,” according to CNN International.

To the surprise of absolutely no one outside of the absolute monsters that run Japan’s Space World theme park, there was backlash. And, of course, the backlash led to the park closing the rink on Sunday and apologizing for its very existence.

From CNN:

“Why is it fun to skate over the frozen?” a Japanese Facebook page called Relief Pain Animals said. “It is shocking that this kind of idea was taken up normally in Japan … This is the worst attraction educationally.”

Other regular social media users voiced their fury at the park’s new attraction. “This really makes me upset. Do you think children are happy to see this fish in skate rink?” Miura Tsubasa commented. “You have no soul to plan such an event to begin with,” another user called Misaki said.

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In a statement, Space World said it apologized for those who found the ice rink uncomfortable. “Therefore we will cancel the event of the Ice Museum from today,” the statement said.

From Tokyo Reporter, the park says live fish weren’t used in the exhibit, which explains the intricate designs of the dead animals: 

“The real fish we used were provided wholesale from public fish markets, and these fish sellers are all aware of the purpose of this project,” the public relations department official said. “Many of these fish don’t meet standards for selling to customers. And the big fish like whale sharks, sharks, and rays aren’t real, they’re simply photos that were blown up and embedded in the ice.”

When asked to explain what the project is about, Space World said it “wanted people to interact with the creatures of the sea…The attraction is divided into multiple zones, including a ‘deep sea zone,’ with accompanying explanations about the kinds of fish on display.”

Well that sounds super exciting. If only there were facilities around the world where people could, you know, view aquatic creatures in a manmade habitat so people could interact with them. Oh, and also a place where they SWIM AROUND AND BE ALIVE AND AREN’T [EXPLETIVE] FROZEN IN A SKATING RINK.

Now, we don’t know if any hockey would ever be played here. As of now, this is a “hockey adjacent” story involving an ice rink. But if you’re someone that’s like ‘why is this on a hockey blog?’ then we’ll counter that with the obvious retort: What do 5,000 dead fish have to do with Space?

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