📍 Lake Akan Hot Spring, Hokkaido
A week went by without sunshine, and the temperature stayed at a constant 15 degrees Celsius, day and night. “The weather is very strange these days,” the farmer across the mountain pass said. We lived in limbo, in a world without night or day, hot or cold, and our skin grew pale in the fog. “You walked across the forest of bears?” he asked. We rested in a shed by his cows, eating the last of our chocolate. The air smelled of wet straw and ammonia. “You’re very strange people,” he said. I felt peaceful, weightless, drained, and I thought of red-crowned cranes dancing in the snow.