National Geographic : 1980 Jan
I' 4Y I1 W14!f Best part of the school week is three hours of instruction-by classroom teachers- (Continuedfrom page 79) that seem to drift over from across the strait-and of a day of parting, and of tears beneath wheel ing white sea gulls. Most visitors to this "land's end" ride sightseeing boats around the peninsula or visit the Five Lakes near the park's boundary, then leave. But the un trammeled wilderness is there. Itis a miracle of sorts, in this crowded country. The Great Provider, the Sea Some nations have their plains and steppes, flat immensities of fertile cropland. Japan has the sea. Even in Hokkaido's inte rior it is a presence never farther removed than beyond the next mountain range. Racks of drying fish hang under the eaves of farmhouses and fishing huts, and the smell of seaweed drifts far inland on the breeze. Hokkaido's indomitable fishermen go out on their harsh northern seas in every sort of vessel, and what can be taken from the ocean, they take-in all, 20 percent of Ja pan's total catch. Canoe-size boats creep among fields of floats just offshore, tending cultivated scal lops and seaweed, including a kelp prized throughout Japan. Sea urchins, oysters, and other shellfish are gathered, and farther out cod, pollack, mackerel, octopus, squid, hairy crabs, and king crabs are taken by ships as large as a hundred tons. Once, along the Sea of Japan, fleets set out in spring for herring, but no longer. As hap pened in the North Sea about the same time, the seasonally swarming hosts that drew NationalGeographic,January 1980 Iv.-, 9ra rl Yf.'