Why would anyone coat a park in grey dust?

My twelve month old daughter loves the local parks here in Tokyo. In fact, so busy is she sitting on the ground making grey dust clouds, putting grey dust on her clothes, tasting grey dust etc, that she doesn’t find time to try any of the swings, slides etc that she used to explore in our neighbourhood parks in Seoul (which were coated in undistracting soft matting of some kind). Not sure the local government specifically set it up for the entertainment of one year olds. The only possible reasons I could come up with:

– Kids less likely to hurt themselves than on most surfaces (obviously the most important thing in Ni-go-chuu-i-kudasai-ppon)

– Less likelihood of permanent stains than on grass

– Cheap and easy to maintain (an influence on so many things with a flat economy for basically twenty years and totally squeezed government budgets that are not helped by the profligacy of the bubble years, bubble years that local ward governments in Seoul seem to be going through in Seoul right now…)

Much more colourful and amusing posts on parks from the much missed Englishman in Osaka:

Playgrounds of the world

Puny parks