Japan is an archipelago of some 6,852 islands, or possibly 6,853. Being a volcanic island chain it does tend to produce young off-shoots on a somewhat regular basis, the latest of which is off the coast of what is known as Nishinoshima (Western Island) and has emerged, following a series of sub-ocianic eruptions, over the last year or so. And Nishinoshima itself barely popped it's head above the waves some forty years ago, the blink of an eye in geological terms.
The five main islands of Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, Shikoku and Okinawa retain the majority of the population. But then things get a little complicated. There are many, many habitations on the smaller and less well known locations. Having visited only four of the five it's about time I made the journey to the last, Shikoku. Somewhere made magical that I really want to walk, first brought to my consciousness in "Dogs And Demons" the story of how Japan, unchecked, may implode but at the same time, how beautiful Shikoku, the island, actually is.
However, these days as I've found, it takes a little over three hours to walk from the island of Nakanoshima to the central station in Susaki City based on the timelines of Google Maps. With the creation of infrastructure, the islands of Japan are slowly being brought together. Not long ago the journey from centre of town would have been interrupted by short ferry ride but today it can be made with boots of leather. And over that bridge come some of the nicest people in the world. And it's a place I must one day sit, probably booted feet hanging over the edge, and say thank you.