In a country known for passionate hobbyists, Yokomi is king of the rail buffs. At 44, he has visited all 9843 stations across the country from congested subway terminals in the Tokyo megalopolis to roofless wooden podiums in deserted villages.
He has gone through every ticket gate ? where there are any ? and sketched it. For large stations, he has arrived using every possible line.
"Stations have their own faces," he says as he is welcomed by chirping birds at Sakidaira Station during a two-day trip on the Oigawa Railway running through the fresh green valleys and mountains in central Japan.
As he waits for the next train at the unmanned station, the bespectacled bachelor walks around, peeps into a now-defunct staff room, strokes wooden pillars and taps the plaster of the weather-beaten walls.
"A station staffer punches tickets, greets townspeople and you hear 'toot, toot' as a train approaches. Can't you feel the lingering warmth of old times here?" an enthused Yokomi asks, conjuring up a vision of times past.
After seven rides in six hours on the same line, he returns to the rural station nearest to the inn where he settled down on the first day of the trip.
"Why do I love railways? Because they are there. They are running there. It's not reason, but instinct," he says. "I wonder why I never get tired of riding. The more I ride, the more I feel attached to the railways."
"I dumped my life on the rails"
Yokomi grew up in suburban Tokyo, looking at trains from the windows of his home and school. He competed with elementary-school friends to remember station names in order, a skill he can still perform for several railways. "I don't forget because I recite them from time to time," he says.
He has stacks of telephone book-size timetables which he has bought every month since he was nine. The per-copy price has risen five-fold to 1050 yen over the past 35 years.
"I'm unfit in society, an oddball," he says. "I dumped my life on the rails."
Yokomi, a physically imposing man with loose, permed hair, says his mother has kept telling him to get married for the past 20 years. His sister and brother, a housewife and a pharmacist, are both married with children.
"There may have been another way of life but I'm happy now. I'm lucky to be living without knowing other things" than railways, he says.
He studied law at college but never took bar examinations or took a full-time company job, falling well below the standards of his elite father.
Yokomi says his wandering about Japan was partly due to rebellion against his father Toshio, who graduated from the engineering department of the elite University of Tokyo and designed ships.
The younger Yokomi worked as a day-labourer or on part-time jobs in the winter to make money and travel in the warmer months. He rode all the national lines from end to end by January 1987, just before the state operator was privatised and broken up into Japan Railway (JR) group companies.
Having tried all rail services in the land of the bullet train, "I had nothing left to ride on by around age 30", he says.
But then it dawned on him that a trip is also about the beginning and ending points. He visited all 4636 JR stations by October 1995 ? after three years and eight months that included being reported to the police for loitering, blocked by torrential rain and lying sick on a train bench.
Yokomi was waiting for the last train of a railway in northern Japan that was to be abolished in May 1997 when his father was on his death bed.
"My cellphone rang with calls from my family when I was on the platform but I told them 'this is more important'," he says.
After taking the retiring train, he jumped on a night train to Tokyo. His father passed away two hours before it reached the capital.
"I finally realized I had done something that could not be mended. This really took a toll on me," he says.
Vowing to change, Yokomi published a book on his visits to all the JR stations ? and finally began contributing to the nation's pension system.
"It's superb to wake up in a station"
But a rail buff is a rail buff and he was soon back on the rails.
He declined a full-time job offer from a trucking company where he was working part-time and set out for another round of train trips in July 2000 to visit the more than 5000 non-JR stations.
He completed his travels to the total of 9843 stations on February 20, 2005 ? all the stops in Japan at that time.
Even for Yokomi, visiting the dense web of stations inside Tokyo was tough. "It was like I was on an obstacle race. I myself thought 'This is foolish'," he recalls.
He has spent around 2.5 million yen ($21 900) on tickets alone to visit the 9843 stations. He cut expenses on food and and maximised use of discount coupons, including a $20 one-day JR pass for non-reserved seats.
The goal of hitting all stations forced him to give up the comfort of sleeping to the rhythmic humming of trains on the tracks. He often slept in stations, both to save money and for fun.
"It's superb to wake up in a station and take the first train. You reject the thought without even trying it. If you try, you would surely get addicted to it," he insists.
Not everyone shares his passion
Yokomi acknowledges rural residents do not necessarily share his love for old stations, recalling a villager who had once told him she liked a rebuilt, brand-new terminal better than the drafty old building.
"Local people may not feel good if I say 'Your station is fabulous because it's shabby'. Maybe I should keep what I think to myself as a traveller and outsider," he says.
On the second day of his trip, he passed the same scenic bridge four times as he went back and forth on the Ikawa branch line of Oigawa Railway and got off at a totally secluded "station" where all that awaited him were a signboard and a pond of tadpoles.
As a close examiner of rail timetables, Yokomi observes with nostalgia that the Ikawa line no longer operates two train services early in the morning. "I had seen some time ago that a couple of high school students getting on the morning trains were the only passengers. I guess they have already graduated," he says.
"I'll start a revolution"
He admits he is just learning the norms of society as he comes into contact with more people. He loathes train geeks, calling them mostly a bunch of drab and gloomy men, although he admits he hates them in part because he sees himself in them.
"They are so bad-looking. I'm afraid I still look like one of them, although I didn't care before," he says.
Although they are few, pretty female train fans are revered as "rail queens". But most male geeks have no courage to chat to them as they journey on the railway.
"Even if you can't get along with the girl, you are on the same train all the way. There are risks, unlike bikers who might be able to say good-bye and drive off in five minutes," he explains, justifying the caution.
But Yokomi thinks he can use his minor celebrity to change the image of rail fans: "I have just come out of wallowing in that mud. I'll start a revolution."