47 Shimokita: Amongst the strangers in squid town

Time to try to get back on track with this blog.  Only 52 more posts to go.  Will be done by Christmas, which Christmas I am not sure though.

Right, where was I, the last night on the Shimokita peninsula, in a packed guesthouse in squidtown about to enjoy a squid feast organised for me by the wonderful wizard from the dragon shrine.



I went down to dinner hoping to find a friend.  The dining room was full of working men, all sitting on thin cushions in front of low dining room tables. As a bumbling foreigner, and as a lone tourist in Tomari arriving on a rusty, old basket-bike I felt a little nervous and ridiculous, like a shy baboon invited to a board meeting.

Guided to a crowded table, for an hour I knelt in uncomfortable silence, speaking only twice, the first in muttering an embarrassed thank you to the pale-faced, buxom waitress when she brought my specially arranged extra-large serving of squid slivers, the second a short, tense exchange of words to negotiate the positioning of the soy sauce dispenser with the stressed-out man opposite me.

The man’s manner concerned me.  In silence he necked 3 beers before ordering a tin can cocktail.  His dark face was creased up; he looked in pain. I could not decide if he was craving company or silence.  When the baseball came on TV, he started speaking, and as if a tap handle had been turned a stream of words came gushing out.  Like me he was also an outsider, he had just driven without a break for 12 hours coming north from Kanagawa.

The two pie-eyed blokes next to me, sharing a black bottle of a sweet-potato based spirit, were salaried employees of Tohoku Electric.  The chirpiest of the two, a greytop from the Tsugaru peninsula, confessed to being a fan of Yomiuri Giants, Tokyo’s main team.  His excuse for supporting a team 400 miles away was that Tohoku had no major league team when he was a boy. Now Tohoku has the best team in the country, the Rakuten Eagles who were crowned champions last weekend.

The other diners disappeared long before our table ran out of gas.  The jolly waitress, whose cheery manner blew like a fresh breeze during dinner, told us about the other guests.  The biggest group who woofed their dinner down in 20 minutes work at the Higashidori nuclear plant; the serious group sitting across from us were inspectors investigating the land around the Higashidori nuclear plant, they are examining how much the earth has moved in 2,000 years.  If they find evidence of major earthquakes, it will dash the hopes of a nuclear restart on the peninsula.  The waitress hopes the plant can be reopened and guesthouse business will keep booming.

According to the latest news, the inspectors ruled the fault is still active.

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2 Responses to 47 Shimokita: Amongst the strangers in squid town

  1. Anonymous says:

    So long, and thanks for all the Tokidoki fish. I have loved every single shining one of them. For the last time,

    • tomointokyo says:

      Thank you for the comment Jaunty. I am very pleased that you have enjoyed the posts.

      I don’t think tokidokitokyo is dead, at least I hope not. It is just in a confused hibernation. Its critical faculties have stopped working since returning to the UK.

      I hope you will still be reading when it wakes up.

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