This time of year tangerines are abundant in the Japanese province of Wakayama. Trees no taller than two meters turn into a closed universe of orbiting orange planets. In the coastal cities of Kii-Tanabe and Kii-Katsuura you buy them by the five or ten or twenty in a plastic bag for almost no money at all.


The tangerines circulate in a shadowy economy, farmers with small orchards selling their fruits on the street. A few hundred meters from their stalls, trains are constantly leaving and arriving, linking the countryside to the big cities. You get on board for a price that surpasses the yield of the entire season many times.


Parallel spheres like these exist everywhere in Japan, with the Japanese transmigrating smoothly between them. In the morning counting their coins to buy tangerines, in the afternoon riding the train in their best clothes.


At night down and out in bars, next morning sharp as a razor. At home in the digital universe, taking time to honour ancestors and worshiping at the many shrines and temples that dot the landscape since ancient times.


I walked from shrine to shrine along the Komano Kodo-route through the Kii Mountains. Not many Japanese on the trails, but they crowded the shrines, worshiping spirits of mountains and rivers, who appear as Buddhist and Shinto deities.


Along the trail a sacred tree, at its root an offering of two freshly caught fish, an opened bottle of sake and a pile of tangerines.

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