My very first trip to an official beach in Japan!!
I’ve seen the ocean at different times; I’ve crossed the distance between Honshu and Kyushu on a ferry; I’ve been by the banks of a river; but this is my first time to actually go and see the ocean and dip my feet in the water! If I’d known the water would be so warm and calm, I’d have brought my swimsuit, but I went in to my knees, anyway.
Together with other JETs, I went to a beach called Nijigahama (Ni-ji ga ha-ma, if that’s hard to read) in Hikari, which is about an hour train ride from Waki. I’ll try to start inserting maps sometimes so you can see where I’m talking about. If you keep pressing the minus (-) button on the top left of the map, it’ll eventually zoom out to where you can see where I was in the whole of Japan. You can zoom in, too.
There’s a typhoon that’s supposed to reach Yamaguchi by Monday, but Saturday seemed good so we all went to the beach as planned! The pictures make it look like there was a storm coming or something, but the weather was perfect (warm) and it didn’t rain there or anything.
Here, you can kind of see the distance between the water and where the plants start. It’s actually wider than it seems below (see above picture for reference), but still smaller than the beaches I’m used to. But hey, southern California is a pretty stiff standard, and I had a very good time at this beach!^^
There were some people besides all of us JETs who were there, like the Japanese guy in the center of this picture taking random pictures of the beach/us, but it was pretty quiet there and it was mainly just us. We played music off someone’s iPod with a small speaker my friend brought, and shared snacks and stuff we’d bought mainly at 7-11.
I didn’t see any sunbathers, because obviously the sun wasn’t out…but I think that even with the sun out, there still might not be very many. My friend Anneli was commenting today on the train ride over that, even though Japanese summers are SO HOT, it’s awfully hard to find sunscreen; and even when you do, it’s always pretty small and expensive. I was recently running low on the (70+ SPF) sunscreen that I’d brought over here from the US, so I went to a supplies store (Wants) to purchase some, but there wasn’t much to choose from. I think the highest SPF was 30, at least in a price range I was willing to pay. I decided to try Daiso instead, because it’s cheaper, but they only had 15 SPF, so I just went with that.
When I was at the jr high taiikusai last week everyone was out in the sun all day, including the teachers who were directing the event. All the female teachers had wide-rimmed hats, often with additional fabric covering the back of their necks, and what I’ve been calling “arm socks,” which are like really long gloves that you pull almost all the way up to your arm. Even though it was hot out, most of the teachers wore sports pants, not shorts, and sunglasses were uncommon. I had one girl from the elementary school ask me why I was wearing sunglasses, I assume because no one else was, haha. It’s really bright out, and I squint a lot without them, but I guess that doesn’t bother everyone. Students wore hats for the events sometimes, but they didn’t have arm socks or long pants so maybe they just put on sunscreen…but I think that many people probably just forgo sunscreen in favor of additional clothing or “sunbrellas.”
Something I also liked about this beach was the cute eating places nearby^^ This first one had ice cream in waffle cones for ￥350 yen, and it was really big!^^ Cuuuuuuuuute!! :3 Such a cute shop!!
There’s a cute little cat that hangs out around there. I think it belongs to the ice cream store owner, because there’s a sign on the window telling customers not to feed it any food haha. Kitty gets two pictures!
Kitty was allowed to wander wherever she liked, and she followed us into the hamburger shack we visited next, scaring another friend by rubbing up against their legs when they weren’t paying attention, haha.
The hamburger place was awesome! My friend and I agree that the bread was a little different, but they had darn good hamburgers there. I ordered the avocado cheeseburger, and she got the Hawaiian cheeseburger (with grilled pineapple), both ￥600. We ordered them to go and ate on the beach. (They have onion rings there, too!) It was getting dark when we ate them and I couldn’t really see the inside, and we were having trouble finding the cheese, but I think I tasted it in there somewhere!
Following my friend Yu’s advice, I’ve been trying to keep a simple scrapbook with tickets, business cards and the like from different places I’ve been, and write simple comments by them. I’ve been pretty good about remembering to ask about pamphlets and business cards the last couple days!
There are more pictures from this day on my Facebook, if you’re interested. As well as more pictures of the cat…
Song of the Day: Psy, “Gangnam Style” –> My friend and I want to learn the dance, haha. We took a picture doing the horse-riding motion on the beach, too…