Tuesday, August 14, 2007

6 Foreigners, the Beach, and Wakayama

Today (or rather now yesterday), I went... to the Beach!

Turns out that on the Monday I was here, my friend just happened to already have plans with his friends from Nova, the English cram school where he works at, to go to a Beach south of Osaka. On top of that, I by freak coincidence, had brought my bathing suit with me, so I was ready and able to go!

The beach we went to was about an hour or so south from Osaka. I'll get a google map of it on here later. It was a little pricey to get out there, a little more than 1500 yen both ways, but I figure I'm not paying for a place to sleep right now, so if I were, that would be at least 3000 yen, so now I get to go to a beach for that money instead.

Actually interestingly enough, as has happened to me prior, when we got to Wakayama, it seems there was a bit of confusion as to actually... what beach and where we were going, as well as how to get there. Yea, shoulda looked all that up the night before when I had the chance, but I didn't. Oh well.

Luckily we were able to find a descent beach just a bus ride from the station we were at. If we were to go to any of the others in the area, it would be another 30 to 45 min to wait for a train, and then the same amount to get to that place, plus the money for that Thank goodness we found a place near by that was just one bus away, seeing as though the further we go out, the further we have to come back, money too!

Well the place we ended up at is called Hama no Miya (浜の宮), which literally means, 'The beach of the temple' I guess there was a temple around there somewhere. Oh by the way, the name of the area we were in is Wakayama (和歌山) which literally translates to 'Moutain of Japanese song/poetry' Yes... Moutain. The name of the place we went to the beach was in the vicinity, of a mountain. But with Japan being made of volcanoes, I suppose thats not entirely impossible. Just kind of a amusing, "Hey, isn't the name of this place Wakayama? Doesn't that mean... mountain? Shouldn't it be Wakahama instead?"

But hey, great time. Really had a lot of fun. I haven't been to the beach in... wow, as long as I can remember. It's got to have been at least a few years. Perhaps its been since I went to the beach in Hawaii back in 2004. Although I did go to the beach on Lake Michigan once... but that doesn't count. Its not an ocean, and it's not very pretty, haha. No Palm Trees.

Well I did all those beach things I haven't done for years. I went swimming, collected some shells, played games in the water, had a snow cone on the beach, built a sand castle, and got sunburned. It was great. Oh by the way, the sun screen we bought at the beach, was an impressive 2 SPF. Two. Yea, ok, thanks, I'll spray this stuff on, then go swimming and wash off the small protection it even had. Who makes SPF 2?! If you spend 4-6 hours on a beach, thats 2-3 hours exposure. You're still gonna burn!! And I did, so I have a slight variation in color on my back now, with a deep red neck and shirt line, now more complete with gradiated pink shoulders and neck. Found a couple hermit crabs too, that was pretty cool. Also, sand castles definately get better with age. Good times.

Of course now this was the Pacific Ocean I was swimming in which makes that... oh wait, I swam in the Pacific in Hawaii before... Ok, well that was my first time swimming in the... Asian Pacific. Hawaii was the... middle of the Pacific.

Before we left, I snapped some cool shots of the beach, and found out a new thing I like taking pictures of: Crashing waves. Found a cool spot where the waves crash right under the sunset, and it made for a couple cool pictures, but nothing spectacular, just a start. ^_^

But this Wakayama area was really a nice place. To the left a little south of us was a really pretty bridge, with some nice apartment complexes on the other side of it. They've gotta have one awesome view of the beach from up there. Plus this place was over an hour away from Osaka, with is pretty much a slightly smaller version of Tokyo, so it wasn't the country, but it wasn't a big city either. Had the room, but still had the advantages of city. I gotta say, if I were to ever come to Japan, say on the JET program and they ask me where I wanna go, if a big city were out, or I wanted to do something slightly less busy, Wakayama would definately be up there on my list of places I wanna live. It was really a nice area. It would be really fun to live in one of those apartment complexes and go to the beach whenever you want. I'm sure theres a place to go surfing and other water sports close by too. Next time I might come to Japan and turn into a beach bum while teaching English. Sounds like fun.

And thats pretty much all I did today. Came home after the beach, went over to a friends for a drink and to chat, came back here and relaxed till I went to sleep. Really had a great day. It was nice to do a slightly different day of sightseeing. I'd been going 5 days solid of pure sightseeing, it gets tiring. Going to the beach was really good medicine.

Well I finally head back for Tokyo tonite. Gotta get on a bus for several hours and ride through the night back to Tokyo. Once in Tokyo I'll be staying at a friend's until I head back... back home, back to Wisconsin on the 23rd... which is only 9 days away now. Wow. Really gettin close to the end here aren't we. Good thing I've been keeping so busy I haven't noticed.

Alright, I'm gettin pictures up, and workin on some google maps, check em out!


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