+crowded world++japan++tohoku region++aomori++may 17 2011

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AFTER a lovely journey through the hills, we stopped at Morioka, the capital of Iwate Prefecture. This was heart of the aftershock action post March 11 2011, and not far from the tsunami zone. Not that there was too much damage to see in/from Morioka Station. We didn't have long to stay, because there was a shinkansen on the way. It was going to Aomori... Shin Aomori, to be precise. There to board our White Swan service to Hakodate, across the Tsugaru Straits on the northern island of Hokkaido.

Japan is the land of amazing engineering, and I visited another amazing engineering site today... Tappi Undersea Station, somewhere between Aomori and Hakodate. I have always had a fantasy about living underground, or even at the bottom of the ocean, and this place is the closest I have ever seen to the realisation of my dream. A train station which is not only underground, but under the ocean as well. We stopped here for a couple of minutes. From the platform, dark tunnels lead forlornly into the gloom, milled by dwarves (perhaps). It is possible to get out and go on a tour of the tunnels, if you give some notice...