The year when I was ten, in early May, my parents and I went to the annual large family gathering held in a coastal city several hours drive to the south from our town. We arrived at the hotel earlier than others, and my father and I decided to go for a walk to the seaside.

It took us only a few minutes to get to the water, where, instead of a sand beach, many concrete objects crested the waterfront. Their shape was nothing like I’d seen before. Countless pointy edges tangled with each other.

“What are they?” I asked my father as we moved closer to the water. “Those strange-looking objects?”

“Oh, they are tetrapod,” came a reply. “Like a concrete embankment, they protect the land from high tides and tsunami.”

“Why didn’t they just make a concrete embankment, then?” I asked further. If they served the same purpose, why did we need tetrapod?

“Well,” said my father. “Tetrapod are efficient. Because of their pointy shape, they can break waves easily, and it’s also easier to set them up compared to building an entire embankment.”

“Then why…” I held back the question why we needed an embankment if tetrapod were better.

Once we got to the seaside, my father suggested we walked on the tetrapod.

“Be careful,” said my father as he started leading the way. “Watch your step, and don’t fall!”

I climbed up the tetrapod using both my legs and hands. As I crawled forward, I saw many tiny animals looking like lizards running around us. I grinned.

By following the length of the tetrapod, we were able to reach quite far from the shore. Beneath us, rough waves came and broke into splashes upon hitting the edges of the tetrapod, its deep sound shaking the air around us.

“These tetrapod are fun!” I exclaimed as I stood up and looked over the rolling waves coming and colliding into tetrapod. “I love tetrapod!”

That was the day I first learned about tetrapod and fell in love with them.