Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Dogashima Spa

He had a pale blue towel knotted round his head and teeth like the tombstones in an old Jewish cemetery. When he spoke, it was with a flash of gold on the right hand side of his mouth. "Motorbike?" He turned suddenly, with a splash. "No, bus. Shimoda." "Alone?" "No, one more. Other side," I gestured towards the fence separating us from the women. He laughed, turned back to his friends, and resumed a conversation about fishing in a gale.

I moved forward a metre, to the very edge of the continent. Through the fence posts, fifty centimetres and a cliff face away, Pacific rollers were breaking on the rocks. The pool was shaped like a circle drawn by a child, big enough for twenty if everyone stood up, and enclosed on two sides by a wooden fence just about the right size for a tall man on tiptoes to peak over the top. A tuft of grass had grown from the rock, a metal standpipe gushed hot water. Straight ahead, across the ocean, were the mountains of the mainland, as drawn-out and lumpy as a boa after lunch. Lying on my back, all I could see was an endless blue sky and pine trees blown backwards by the wind.

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