At dawn after a rainy night, a moth warms itself on a vending machine.
“Excuse me,” the man said as he walked out of a shed, “but Minamiōsumi Town looks like a dog.” He was holding a copy of a tourist map. If you looked at the outline of Minamiōsumi Town — a bureaucratic construct joining the remote villages of the southern Ōsumi Peninsula — with the East Asian penchant for zoomorphic associations, it did kind of look like a happy, shaggy dog. “And it’s jumping at Wales!” he added. My brother, who had lived in Kagoshima for four years until recently, happened to be in Wales at this moment.
Beyond the rice paddies, the Pacific glinted under grey skies. Satakori’s shopkeeper was then alerted to the presence of the gaijin-san, who was served a breakfast of sautéed chicken livers and hearts, baked Kagoshima sweet potatoes, and Coke. Fueled by this manic concoction, the gaijin-san walked straight out of Minamiōsumi Town and into Kanoya, some 50 kilometers away, in the general direction of Wales.
Across the mountain range spanning the southern breadth of the Ōsumi Peninsula I walked into the clouds, then out of the clouds, and when I could see again this house appeared, with the soft contours of a classical landscape painting, its hedges of azaleas glowing in the mist.