15-Sep-2003 -- On day 3 of my three-day weekend, three-day confluence adventure, I started out from the city of Obihiro after having taken the train from Shiranuka the night before (the site of the second confluence, 43°N 144°E). It turned out to be a particularly strange confluence, mainly because of the strange house at the confluence.
I met up briefly with Akiko who had been with me on the quest for the first confluence (43°N 145°E). But I thought I should catch the 11:20 AM train to Tokachi-Shimizu, and so I didn't have enough time to have lunch with her.
Less than a half an hour by train, Tokachi-Shimizu was as close as I could get to the confluence. Because of this, it looked like I would have to take a taxi since the point was in the middle of an agricultural region with no buses, only a network of farm roads.
The town was basically a suburb of Obihiro. There was nothing remarkable about it. I grabbed some unagi (teriyaki eel) in a supermarket and headed off in a taxi with my GPS on. The taxi driver was completely dumbfounded by where I was going and what I was doing with the GPS, but I had explained to him where to go by map.
Amazingly, roads took us to within 30 meters of the confluence. When we arrived, he and I noticed a strange white house. "Is that where you're going?" he asked me in surprised Japanese. I told him 'yes' and paid him off the 3500 Yen ($30) it cost for the 10 minute ride to get there, making it the most expensive confluence!
Once dropped off, I had to go investigate this house which was almost right on the confluence. It was white with no windows and made of a strange material which seemed like something between plastic and ceramic if that makes any sense. Because of the material and the precision of the workmanship, the house seemed like it must be high-quality, not some make-shift farm house. And, everything was clean and new. The door was a simple geometric design with a slit of transparent material which could have been glass. I couldn't see much of anything inside.
I knocked on the door but there was no answer. I grabbed the door handle but received a nasty shock. You just don't expect this kind of thing when confluence hunting. What a strange place. Some Japanese people I've talked to since have said that this seemingly extraterrestrial house may be run by the Shiro Sho Zoku (The White Clothed Cult), a Japanese cult that loves white and fears electromagnetic radiation. Perhaps they had some fascination with being on the exact point of lines of 43. Others say that it may just be a strange farmhouse.
I went to the plot of land next to the house to document the point. Something had been growing there but it was now overrun by grass and weeds.
My way back was an adventure in itself. I walked down the hill to the only near thoroughfare, a toll express road. There was no way I was paying another expensive taxi fare. I climbed over the fence to go hitchhiking on it (as Mitch and I had done on 43°N 142°E).
However, after having walked down to a rest stop area, the police discovered me and temporarily detained me on the spot. I made up a story that I had left my friends at the rest stop on the other side of the road because I changed my mind to go the other direction. After a lot of confusion and head scratching on their part, they ended up taking me on a half-hour ride down the expressway in the direction I wanted to go! And they seemed pretty much OK with it. From there I hitched a ride back to Sapporo. Not a bad conclusion to such a crazy predicament!