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PLACEText: Junya Hirosawa

On the third day, at 5:00 in the morning, I headed to the Shiretoko Pass again. It was little bit later than I expected. The cloud we had yesterday was gone, but another thick cloud appeared around the Pass. It was moving so fast. After passing on the Pass where I can see only 100m away, there was red valley on the left side.

The morning sun came in through the thick cloud. The valley was turning red. The silhouette of birch, which lost its leaves with rain yesterday, emerged. It was a spine-tinglingly spectacle. Taking photos I went down to the slope. It was totally different scene from 2 days ago.

The thick clouds covered over my head to the Nemuro Channel, and the sun blazed out above the Kunashiri Island. The cloud moved, the light sparkled on the sea.

I looked back without much attention, and the light came in through the breaks in the clouds. The blade of the birch and rowan, which were in good color 2 days ago, were all gone now because of the rain and strong winds. I noticed the mountain changing its figure in a day. Perhaps it is now snowing in Shiretoko Mountains which was covered to clouds the day.

A deer was having breakfast on the side street while the morning sun softly appeared in the Utoro side. I headed down to the area of Iwaobetsu. When I passed several curves, I found a big black something moving ahead of the road. Finally, the king of forests appeared, a brown bear in Shiretoko.

The bear was slowly moving in the forest, and when it turned around, we were locked in each other’s gaze. The distance between us was less than 10m. The bear had balmy eyes. It stopped under the big tree with vines of mountain grapes and hit the tree to weigh up. Thinking a little bit, the bear started walking again. Maybe the grape was not grown enough yet, and the bear went away in the forest. The natural road was for bears to go through. While I was talking to someone who was in the same hotel about the bear I just saw, we heard the sound of branch cracking. The big black something was watching us. Another smaller young bear!

It was 50 minutes after I saw the previous bear. The smaller bear was watching us and moving to the right side, where there was the road of the previous bear was walking too. Changing to the telephoto lens, I followed it. Then, 3 crews of TV station came close to me. The movement of the bear stopped. The bear must doesn’t like to meet many people. I told the crews about the bear’s road, and let them open the road. Then, the young bear went over the road again, and away in the forest. It was about 7 minutes happening. The TV crews interviewed me a bit. It was Fuji TV and for news program in the afternoon. They said they were following to bears.

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