It was a milestone day today. We made it to Japan’s northernmost point, Cape Soya. After a hearty breakfast of convenience store bread and canned coffee, we hit the road north. I thought it would be all coastal and flat but we actually had some rises. The road turned inland a little and we were back into the forest. I stopped on a descent to wait for Kazuko and take her photo but she was a long time coming, so I turned around to see what she was up to and found her coming down the hill looking for me with a malnourished fox in tow. I handed over some fruit cake, which she put in her mouth (the fox, not Kazuko) but didn’t eat until I threw a bit more on the ground. Then she ate what was in her mouth and picked up the other bit for her kids. As stated in the comments below, it strikes me as incompetent, a fox going hungry in the middle of summer like that. I imagine that’s how bankers feel when they look at the unemployment figures.
We continued north and finally got to Cape Soya, Japan’s northernmost point. We took our photographs, rang world peace bells and pressed the button that made the Cape Soya music play again, and again, and again.
We cycled up the hill to more statues and memorials overlooking the cape. While we were wandering about, a girl on a motorbike rode up (not the the hot one on the pink bike: sorry Damian). I remembered her from the campsite the night before. I had watched her struggle to put her tent up and wondered at the time how she could possibly have come this far north without figuring out how to put a tent up. I surely wasn’t the first night of her trip. In any case, she arrived at the car park and promptly managed to fall off her bike. She claimed to be okay and then struggled to put the thing back upright. A few minute later, there was that uncomfortable sound of a motor trying but failing to turn over. I considered offering to help but, as I know nothing about motors, the best I could have done would be to stand by and say ‘there, there’ every time it failed to start. I think there was a general sigh of relief from everyone in the area when it finally turned over. Later, at Wakkanai train station, while having a cup of what can barely be described as coffee, I watched a young guy trying to disassemble his bike and put it into a bike bag for his train trip home. He was also struggling. He’d take something off, then try to put the bag on, then realise it still wasn’t fitting in. Then he’d take the bag off again, stare at the bike and try changing something else. In this case I could have helped but I was having lunch. In any case, he was always going to get there in the end. Just as I’m sure the girl on the motorbike will fudge her way through her trip. And seeing these two manage to eventually get by fills me with hope for the fox, too.
At the restaurant at the top of the hill (where they also play the Cape Soya song again, and again, and again), we had an early lunch of local seafood specialties. I had some yummy raw sea urchin and scallops with lightly steamed octopus, while Kazuko had scallops and salmon roe. Very tasty indeed.
Wakkanai was the place where we decided we would treat ourselves to a night in an onsen hotel. It rained while we were in the bath and I thought we might have got away with this being all the rain there was. Alas, when we woke the next morning, the weather had turned and we faced a headwind and wet weather for our ride back down the coast.