Unlike some rural areas of Japan, the blue-skied Miyagi-ken, in the northern areas of Honshu, seem to be retaining their prosperity. The cows live indoors, the residents drive new cars and build new houses — even some in Meiji-era castle style, never a cheap undertaking. New roads are paved, farmlands across the region are worked constantly, and few (if any) lost cars litter the landscape.
So while one train-line that traversed the district has been decommissioned, its rolling-stock has been recovered, a Showa-era station has been restored, and is well on its way to becoming a local densha-otaku museum.
There is no haikyo to be found, not even the usual rural pachinko parlors, and even the few classic cars spotted look sweet and new, this RT40 Toyota Corona Deluxe among them. The only mark on it is the small crease in the license plate. Everything else from its gorgeous blue glass (why do they no longer make cars with blue glass?), to black vinyl interior was in perfect, low-km condition.
Except perhaps for its clutch. A nearby construction foreman advised its one owner since new was waiting on a clutch part (perhaps not the pressure-plate as my Japanese auto-parts name vocabulary is a little lacking). The foreman commented that somewhere they were waiting on an order for parts to mount up before making and/or shipping them.
A fellow photographer and I looked it over affectionately, before traipsing off for the rest of our photo shoot.
The shinkansen may now blast through Miyagi-ken on their way North, but the local residents are a great example of modern Japan — cows living on carpet with beer & grain, a new Lexus in the garage, and a mint Corona to enjoy.
Skorj is a photographer/journalist living in Japan. You can see more of his work at Magnesium Photos.