These Walking Dreams: Day 129 (August 19, 2017)

Kiritappu, Hamanaka → 🚉 Hattaushi Station

Map of Hokkaido with author’s route from Hamanaka to Hattaushi Station highlighted. 🗺 Open map in GaiaGPS ⇝

Two shopkeepers, a younger and an older woman, smile into the camera in their shop. 📍 Hamanaka

You walked here from Kagoshima?” she asked, and laughed. I sat on the counter, swinging my legs, eating a plate of breaded oysters with a pint of lager for my second breakfast.

‘No Japanese could do that since we lost the war. Our spirits shrank with defeat, you see. We’re not big enough for such a journey,’” Alan Booth wrote in The Roads to Sata, quoting a man he’d met on his walk.

We were in the last grocery store before Nemuro, some 60 kilometers away. I showed her and her young colleague my old military map of Tōhoku and Hokkaido, and they studied it with wonder. No Japanese could do what you’ve done,” she said, and Booth stood with us then, cradling his own pint, radiant, alive.

She was wrong, of course, but what did it matter.

Panorama of a beach with kelp in the surf.

Hundreds of clams in a cluster on the beach.

Two men fish from a pier.

Clothes drying on a rack with a view of the ocean.

The top of a wooden column rail eroded in a strange way, with ridges rising in concentric circles. 📍 Sakakimachi, Hamanaka

Gabor walks on a narrow road running parallel with a wild Pacific beach.

A small stream snakes into the ocean across the beach.

A white horse grazes in a meadow. 📍 Esashito, Hamanaka

The land grew wilder and more beautiful by the step, almost overbearingly so, and it emptied of people for the last time. Dusk caught us on a remote stretch of coastline, Palau and Papua across the flat, steel blue expanse. White horses grazed on the meadows of estuaries in solitude, pictures from a children’s book. When the fading light reduced the world to flat silhouettes, a herd of five stags came out on a ridge, and we laughed at the overblown absurdity of it all, a Laibach music video at the end of the world, closer to Russia now than to Kushiro.

A small train passes by in the night. 📍 Hattaushi Station

Next → Day 130, August 20

Prev. ← Day 128, August 18

These Walking Dreams is a visual field diary of a 4,300-kilometer walk from one end of Japan to the other, in the spring and summer of 2017.