I walked along Jusanko (Lake 13) in the late afternoon. The calm, shallow waters were filled with clam-catching boats. The shoreline was lined with blue corrugated-iron huts; all with chimneys, a mound of million clam shells and a neat stack of maki (firewood).
A fisherman out walking his dog told me the kumiai (union) will not allow them to catch as many clams as they used to, but this means they keep their jobs and the lake`s clam numbers stay stable.
Lake 13 scrapes every available yen out of its reputation for quality clams. Stalls on the car park across from the campsite sell clam flavoured sucky sweets, clam flavoured ice cream and vac-packs of clam miso soup.
After packing up my tent in the morning, I walked over the bridge and ordered a coffee milkshake for breakfast. The waitress was a peroxide brunette in a red and white striped t-shirt. She had guessed I was an American from the nearby Air-Force base. She told me I had an air of Prince William about me. I laughed. Then she gave me a cream puff – part of her packed lunch. I thought about proposing.
Instead I had to get the bus north – there are only two a day. I contemplated catching the second bus, but four hours of clam soup and coffee milkshake would test any relationship. I waved out the window. She waved with both hands while jumping up and down. It was a wonderful relationship.