Posted on Sep. 21, 2010 by geoffropuff

being from torrance, i always took going to the beach for granted.  i mean, torrance beach was about 15 minutes from my house, and redondo/hermosa/manhattan were only about 20 minutes away each.  then, when i went to ucsd, la jolla shores was a 15 minute walk/5 minute drive from campus.  even living in torrance and wanting to go to huntington beach is only a 40 minute drive.  i went to the beach with some friends in august, and it took, wait for it…..3 HOURS!

mariya sunscreen

at least we had plenty of time to apply ample amounts of alliteration/sunscreen.

miki drove her daughter, mariya, me, emiko, and takayo all the way to a beach on the coast of chiba prefecture.  steve overslept so he took the train/bus and met us there.

steve and takayo

steve did eventually make it, fedora and strange old-school camera in tow.

aside from the long drive, i was really looking forward to my first experience at a japanese beach.  upon arrival, i thought, “man, the beach is empty.”

deserted beach

at least he didn't have to compete for space in the massive human bioball (yes, starcraft 2 reference).

that was until i realized that japanese beaches revolved around ‘umi no ie’ or ‘beach houses’ which are makeshift beach restaurants/campout areas.

umi no ie

restaurant, bbq area, restrooms, showers, board rinsing areas, etc.

all the crowds congregate to these areas, meaning certain parts of the beach will be deserted while other parts are like a sardine can.

beach bioball

just a small sample size of an immensely crowded beach.

as per my usual custom, i took a nap on the sand to warm up before entering the water.

sleeping on the beach

emiko has good creepster photography skills.

it being a pretty hot day, we rented an umbrella/parasol for the afternoon.  the guy even came and dug the hole to plant it in for us.

beach umbrella digging

full service umbrella services. he even came back later in the day to retrieve the umbrella, to complete the circle-of-comfort-without-work.

a lot of the day was dedicated to just relaxing in the sun/shade, and entertaining 4-year-old mariya.  she’s a cute kid that i’ve featured before.  she’s so well-behaved and a kid that i don’t mind being around at all.  i just wish i could understand what she’s saying cuz apparently she likes me but we can’t communicate.

mariya beach hat

little kids in japan all wear hats, either straw hats with flipped-up brims or weird yellow hats, and they all have the chin strap. (they also carry around a weird style backpack.)

beach mariya and takayo

mariya made takayo and i continuously get cups of water to fill the moat in her sand castle. 8oz of water at a time won't do that on a dry beach...

mariya beach watermelon ball

a particularly flattering picture that i can't help but cracking up at.

me and mariya

people always tell me that others probably think i'm mariya's dad... too young! I CAN'T HANDLE THIS PRESSURE! AHHHHHHH!!!

one special thing that japanese people associate with summer and the beach is suika-wari.  suika means watermelon and wari means to split.  people put the watermelon on a towel and then give one person a stick and a blindfold.  you spin the person around and then they have one swing to try and hit the watermelon.  essentially, if you replace the watermelon with a donkey-shaped candy box, you have a birthday pinata.


i REALLY wanted to go and steal some of their suika.

i’ve always wanted to try it but we didn’t have an ice chest big enough to hold a watermelon.  maybe next time.  instead, i chose to wear a half watermelon on my head.

watermelon head

as a kid, people called me watermelon head and i cried.

something i noticed at the beach was that a LOT of japanese people have tattoos.  or another more likely explanation for their concentration at the beach is that almost all places in the city restrict people with tattoos from showing them.  the beach is one of the few places where people can show them off and just be relaxed.  in fact, i saw some yakuza (or at least some guys with full back tattoos resembling yakuza tattoos) playing dodgeball.

yakuza dodgeball

unfortunately, i didn't want them to attack me for taking a picture of them so i'll have to leave you with this.

at one point during the day, we all got hungry and decided to try out the umi no ie restaurant.

umi no ie group pic

they have tatami mats covered in sand in the restaurant and we STILL had to take off our slippers.

they had quite a variety of foods but i decided to have 2 dishes:

beach yakionigiri

yakionigiri: barbecued riceball. i love these so i knew it would be a safe choice.

beach yakiasari

yakiasari: barbecued clams. they were expensive so steve and i thought they would be really good. WRONG! very mediocre for 2000 yen ($20).

overall, the beach was a fun experience that i hope i can do again before i go back to the states, but i’m not sure that i will because it’s such a trek.  either way, this trip was a lot of fun.

beach group pic

the group minus picture taker takayo. good last hurrah before i went home to torrance for the summer.

okay, last random thing.  i made friends with a lifeguard.  japanese lifeguards wear funny outfits.  that is all.

me and a lifeguard

so awesome.

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One Response to “BEACH!”

  1. i might take the picture of you sleeping and make it my wallpaper



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