Next stop Tokyo aboard the Hayabusa Shinkansen. We will go past the former location of Japan’s deepest station, under the Seikan Tunnel. It’s closed now and the tunnel has lost its record status, but they still let you know (in Japanese) when you are about to cross beneath the sea.
The skies have turned grey over Hokkaido, matching the urban landscape. Last night as we left Kushiro I thought the factories belching smoke matched the sky.
Now, as we run down to the south the flat grey sea is barely distinguishable from the featureless overcast sky. In between silhouettes of grey and brown houses, factories, abandoned pachinko parlours without their neon adornments.
Separating us from the mirror sea is a stretch of green. Sometimes we go deeper inland through mountains, forests and farms, but much of the beauty of this route, and it is scenic, lies at the coast.
If I could keep my eyes open long enough to observe it.
There’s a shop in Nemuro called Fashion DoDo. Like that bird it is now just an extinct memory.
These towns at the end of the line have suffered from the ravages of lost industries and lost children. So many of the shops and eateries, warehouses, houses here are abandoned and collapsing with entropy.
The constant squawk of the sea birds presents more life than its human occupants.
The town itself feels like it is at the end of the world, a stillness to the sky and air that the sea breezes cannot dispel.
I wanted to taste the famed seafood for lunch, but couldn’t find anywhere open to serve it. Eventually I had tempura soba at a hidden restaurant run by a pair of old ladies.
Naturally I discovered a sushi restaurant near the station on my way back, though one could be mistaken for believing it shut from the outside.
Almost time to return to Sapporo, a very much living city and absorber of youth, leaving Nemuro for the old.