Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Out To Nemuro, and Oh Yeah, It's The Fourth Of July! (Part 2)

Adventures at Cape Nosappu

Eisaku and I drove through central Nemuro and continued out to the coast. We kept going east and kept going east until we could go east no further, passing "Give us back the Northern Territories!" signs along the way with increasing frequency. There was even a place alongside the road that seemed to be a hangout for right-wingers, complete with big black vans with huge speakers that blare imperialistic anthems and a sign that said "TAKE back the Northern Territories!" (meaning forcibly). Oh yeah, let's just go to war with Russia over some islands that nobody really wants to live on. Asses.

So we get out there, and the fog is THICK, and the excitement that's been building up for seeing these disputed islands just leaves me.

Second time now. That fog has kept me from being able to look across the water and say, "Hey! That's Russia! COOL!" Back in early May, I tried and failed, so I was really hoping that this time around...

Ah well. We were still as far east as we could go in Japan. Plus, there were fun building dedicated to the sole unrelenting purpose of saying, "Hey! Russia! Give us our islands back!" There was an arch with a flame below it, which I thought was kind of cool, but I got a good laugh when the flame went out RIGHT AT five PM. Hmmm, I guess after hours you don't want the islands AS BAD. There was also a building with an observatory tower, designed for looking across the water and saying, "Hey! That's Russia! Give us back our islands!" This also closed at five and cost 10 bucks, so we passed.

After taking a look around at a couple of shops, Eisaku and I decided to head over to the lighthouse and stand as far east as we can get and still be in Japan.

This is the Cape Nosappu lighthouse. It was really foggy.

Me, checking out the fog, and the wreckage of some ship that must have crashed against the rocks and just been left there.

This is it. I'm as physically close to the U.S. as I can be and still be in Japan. Fitting, what with it being the Fourth of July and all.

Eisaku striking a pose...of some kind.

This was the lighthouse's foghorn. It was LOUD (which, I guess, is a good thing). Loud enough to shake your insides, and scare the bejeezus out of you if you're not prepared for it.

I had to climb down and take a closer look at that wreckage. It was pretty cool stuff, although the waves crashing pretty close to where I was made me a tad nervous.

After we got our fill of lighthouse and shipwreck and foghorn fun, we headed back to the car.

Eisaku snapped this photo of three seaweed harvesting boats. Seaweed is a big commodity out here.

We drove back on the north side of the peninsula and headed for downtown Nemuro and our hotel. On the way there, we came across a native flower field that had ponies in it.

We took a look.

I didn't quite know where our hotel WAS exactly, so we stopped by Nemuro Station to ask for directions. While we were there, we snapped a few photos.

This sign claims that Nemuro Station is the easternmost station in Japan. That is a baldfaced lie. Which is why I look so skeptical. More on this soon.

Captain Eisaku, atcher service.

We figured out where our hotel was, so we took off for it to check in and go eat dinner...

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