My ability to tell stories in chronological order rivals my ability to write legibly and knowledge regarding flamingos* (see bottom for back story). In other words, it’s nonexistent. That being said I would like to now share my beach trip story with you. Rest assured that when and if this becomes a memoir I will make an effort to put these events in chronological order. Maybe.
The morning after my enkai I awoke still drunk. My alarm started screaming at me at six thirty and somewhere in the ball park of seven I got out of bed. I felt like I had just spent 17 hours in one of the teacups at Disney world. When I reached my bathroom and my mirror I discovered that I looked like it too. I then tried to piece together why my alarm was going off on a Saturday. After a minute of reflecting on my reflection, I remembered that I had a planner and my answer just might be waiting inside. It was. I remembered I was going to the beach with my friends and that I had woken up early to shower and prepare.
I then remembered that I really needed to shave my legs. I couldn’t be one hundred percent sure but I had a strong feeling that the Yetti look was out in Japan too. Shaving in a spinning teacup? I assured myself that this was a good idea. I’ll spare everyone the details and simply say: it wasn’t. Not even kind of. I searched in vain for Band-Aids that I knew I didn’t have and eventually settled on awkwardly standing around to wait for my cuts to close.
Then I remembered that my friends had said they would arrive around 7:20. It was now 7:40. I walked outside and they were there! My friends informed me that they rang the doorbell while I was in the shower and were contemplating over what their next move was. Had I walked out a minute later I might have missed them.
I started to explain that I had gotten really distracted in the shower but I realized just how awkward that would sound. I excused myself to retrieve my things from inside. I ran back into my house, grabbed a swimsuit and a towel, my camera, and my purse and rejoined them outside.
I plopped into the car and we were on our way. I had decided not to waste any more time by downing a water bottle or grabbing a snack. I immediately realized the error of my ways. Outside the window, the world whizzed by in streams of colors like the trees on the forest moon of Endor when Solo, Ewoks, and friends are pursued by Storm Troopers. This looked like a great time in the movie. It was much less great in real life. In fact, the disparity was so great that I decided to awkwardly stare at my friends in the car and eventually my knees.
For those looking for the Spark Note explanation of this story, I’ll save you some time; The lesson of section one of the story is as follows: There is nothing wrong with drinking, however, should you choose to do so it is important to do so in moderation and to also simultaneously eat and drink non-alcoholic beverages. Should you still be tipsy when you wake up you have already failed point one, however, point two: eat and drink other non-alcoholic things– becomes all the more important. Finally, because Japan is so stinking humid ALL the time, it is VERY easy to get dehydrated. This is especially true when drinking. Plan accordingly. Should you wake up feeling like you just escaped the Disney World Teacups, never, EVER decide to go for a long car ride. Now that we’re all caught up we shall progress to part two.
After the first forty minutes the world decided that I was allowed to see things. This was good because the drive to Amakusa beach was beautiful. There were many cliffs and trees and we were able to follow the Kuma-gawa (Kuma River) most of the way. The rain didn’t dampen our enjoyment or growing excitement in the slightest. As we neared our destination, we stopped at a Conbeni (convenience store) to buy drinks, onigiri, and bento.
Food in hand, we jumped back into the car and proceeded to the beach. We parked just in time to watch as bolts of lightning danced over the ocean. We stood there in silence for a few minutes, then, we all made the mutual decision that we would at least walk on the beach. We made our way across the roads and through a handful of deserters to the ocean.
|The soon to be deserted beach|
We took some time to marvel at the sand sculptures that we assumed were made to celebrate the start of Obon week. I’m not sure how the various leaders or animals would relate to ancestors in any way but I do know if my great-great-great-something or another became a talented sand sculptor I would send a couple lucky crickets his or her way. Eventually, the lightening turned to distant thunder which turned to silence which turned to rain. We decided we would swim.
The water was cold but very refreshing. I saw a fish. It saw me too and swam away. We watched as other people watched us and laughed at the attention. Kumomoto is an incredible prefecture but it seems that the farther you move from the capital, tourists this attracts. This makes no sense to me because it’s one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. Regardless my fellow JETs and I have often found that we are the first Gaijin (foreign person) that many people have seen. Random children run up and hug us, other random children cry and run away (oops) and others still make a variety of creative efforts to capture our attention.
Unfortunately, this is also applied to people significantly closer to our age, including members of the opposite gender. This was highlighted by a particular incident at the beach. A group of about ten guys that looked to be about our age were walking by. They saw us, they stopped, they whispered. They waved, we waved back. We went back to our conversation. Then, two of the brave (?) ones RAN at us and jumped in the water. Now, I’ve gotten fairly creative with how I’ve expressed my interest in boys, however, never would I ever think to myself “hey, that guy is cute. I want his attention. I should run at him and see what happens!” This is an example of cultural differences, which you can learn more about in the section two summary and explanation section.
After our beach extravaganza, we went to an Onsen and I got to experience the awkwardness of being naked around a bunch of other naked people. What I mean by that is, it was awesome. Should you ever find yourself in Japan go to an Onsen. Before we entered the Onsen, however, (did I mention I’m bad at telling stories chronologically?) I had a challenge to face. I hadn’t brought a change of clothes and had no way to dry off from the ocean. It was pouring outside and there were no bathrooms. I could either slip my clothes over my swim suit, wetting my only outfit, or attempt to walk into an Onsen in a swim suit. Something told me this was a social no-no. Fortunately, I came up with my Towel dress: I wrapped my towel and tucked the top into my swim suit forming a tennis-esque skirt and low cut top. Then, I put my shit on OVER the towel to complete the look that I so graciously decided to model below:
Sexy, isn’t it?