I’ve always been spooked by pods. It started with Invasion of the Body Snatchers, a 1956 sci fi/horror film where aliens abduct people and grow back exact replica replacements – in pods. Then, of course, there are the Alien movies, where not only are people captured and suspended in stringy/gooey pods (for later consumption), but the Aliens also grow their babies in yucky, slimy pods. Gross. I’m all done with pods!

Except that – in Osaka, Japan — there’s a park where the pods are indescribably beautiful. It’s got me rethinking my whole pod revulsion.

Created by the digital arts organization Teamlab, the amazing installation in Osaka’s botanical garden is simply not to be missed. Adam and I arrive at night and wander down a path to the lake, noticing that the trees besides the trail are changing colors in reaction to our proximity. In the lake itself stands a series of monolithic slabs, lit up with swirling patterns a la Van Gogh’s Starry Night. We soon learn that the patterns are influenced by the birds that fly through the slabs! Further along, we discover a “field” of squat yellow lights, bobbing in the water, resembling a sea of electrified marshmallows.

And then there are the pods in the woods: giant jelly-bean like shapes emanating every color in the spectrum, pulsing rhythmically to the dream background music. We’re free to wander, contemplate, get lost in the beautiful weirdness.
Pods are Wow.