Somewhere in Japan

Dispatch № 55: Emergent Remains

35°36’13.38″N, 140°31’35.01″E

For a weekend away, purely to have a change of scenery, we went to Chiba at the start of Golden Week1 one year. We rented a house and borrowed bicycles to ride to the beach. It was windy and too cold to swim, but we enjoyed a walk on the sand, and examined various objects we found.

Among other things, the wind had partially exposed the disarticulated bones of two dogs at the edge of a low dune.

How long had they been buried there? It must have been a long time. The flesh and fur had long since decomposed, and some disturbance had intermingled the skeletal remains. A disintegrating, salt-crusted leather collar remained half buried, vertebrae scattered around it.

Under what circumstances had they wound up there? One would like to think it was a loving, if illicit, act of burial. Perhaps those dogs loved the beach. However, the mind cannot not help but also explore other, less wholesome possibilities.

Dog bones at Yakata Beach, Chiba Prefecture

They were adjacent to other things emerging from the sand, in a way that made them seem especially lonely. Nearby, an old truck tire. A length of heavy rope. The cathode ray tube and corroded circuit board from an old television.

Nothing stays buried forever. No matter how deep in the sand, eventually things emerge. What happens after that, though, is anyone’s guess.

More than two years later, I have to wonder what the scene there is like now. Perhaps the sand has swallowed up the bones again, or they have been washed into the sea by a storm. There is no way for me to know, especially from a distance (though I wish there were).

A section of rope embedded in a sand dune at Yakata Beach

  1. A collection of national holidays primarily during the first week of May, details at ↩︎

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Picture of David R Munson

David R Munson

Photographer, essayist, wanderer, weirdo. Everything is interesting if you give it an honest chance to be.

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