Hyaku san-jū ichi

Niseko in autumn is charming but sleepy, scattered between hills and mountains sporting the first hints of snowfall. Apparently in winter it comes alive with skiers and snowboarders, but before the season there were very few people and hundreds of pumpkins everywhere – little clumps of them arranged around every bus stop, stray ones dotted along the main road, a old cart piled high with them outside the train station. Cruising through, I had some vegetable and dumpling soup at the knickknack-filled little eatery behind the railway ticket office. Besides this ancient cash register, it also features worn tables made from repurposed treadle sewing machines and a wall of old clocks, none of which help when gauging how much time you have until your train arrives.

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