End of the World

I ride the train as far north as the tracks will take me: Wakkanai. At the station we are received by a group dressed in folk costumes. I assume this must be the Ainu, the indigenous people of this region. A woman hands me a brochure. It is bilingual: Japanese and Russian. Balalaikas. Then they dance.

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They are promoting a trip to Sakhalin. One world ends, another one begins. Russia is somewhere over there.

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Just take the ferry.  I did not expect this. I did not get a visa. I have to stay. All around me I feel the charm of a frontier town. After half an hour slow walking I have seen most of it. This appears to be the entertainment district.

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The main attraction is a concrete breakwater dominating the harbour.

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I wonder what kind of waves it is supposed to break, but then I remember. It is built like a tunnel. Someone seems to have found shelter beneath it.

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I walk leave the town behind me, follow the shore …

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… until the fortifications give way to gravel. Nets are left to dry.

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Nature says Hello in a friendly way.

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There are boats on the beach. Around here fishing seems to be done in a more traditional way.

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I am alone. After the densely populated cities and the sweltering heat, there is solitude and a cool breeze.

For the first time on this trip I put on a jacket.

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It’s the end of the world … and I feel fine.

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