Shimoda Izu Birthday Trip 2008 with Aya

September 8, 2008 · Print This Article

Largely by accident, going to Shimoda, Izu in Shizouka Prefecture, Japan has become an annual summer ritual.  It started two summers ago with the Can, which was the best road trip I’ve ever taken in Japan.  The tradition continued this summer, and it was my third birthday in a row spent on Tatadohama Beach, but my first ever with Aya.  We drove her dad’s car down my favorite strip of road in Japan, Rd. 135 along the coast all the way down to the very tip of the Izu Peninsula where Shimoda dwells, seemingly forgotten by Japan at large, but gladly adopted by me as my summer getaway from the madness of Tokyo.

Aya’s surfboard and my skimboard were all traveling with us, my sweet DLO fm transmitter was pumping out sweet tunes via my iPod via, and the weather was good.  However, despite all these things, the trip was nearly an epic fail, saved only by the dynamic Aya and I have between us that powers all good things for me these days.  

Why almost an epic fail?  Because Shimoda is not totally off-the-map anymore.  It seems that, in particular, Brazilians have discovered it and things were very crowded on Tatadohoma Beach which is usually able to accommodate all who wish to sleep near or upon it.  Getting a parking space was a battle.  The partying went on late into the night, and the revelry resumed at 5am sharp.  Tatadohama always has large waves, but almost nothing which didn’t offer Aya much for surfing, though she managed to catch a few still.  

Most unbelievably was always faithful Ohama Beach not having any waves either, the first time I’ve ever seen poor skimboarding conditions at that beach.  And again it was taken over by way too many visitors, many of which were there simply to intoxicate themselves and get in the way of legitimate beach actively, namely my skimboarding.

Then, on the second night, it started pooring raining.  There were not even any hotel rooms available.  So Aya and I decided just to drive back to Tokyo at 10pm at night!  It was a great adventure in heavy rain listening to The Doors.  Another benefit of this late night cruise home was no traffic.

It was sad that Shimoda, for the first time, failed me, but it was great to finally go on a road trip with Aya and share one of my favorite things in the world with her, rocking out while driving.

Aya surfing at Izu 13 Aya surfing at Izu 01 Aya surfing at Izu 02
Aya surfing at Izu 05 Aya surfing at Izu 03 Aya surfing at Izu 04
Aya surfing at Izu 07 Aya surfing at Izu 09 Aya surfing at Izu 10
Izu beach lifeguard Aya surfing at Izu 11 Aya surfing at Izu 12
Moon over Izu 03 Moon over Izu 04 Moon over Izu 05



4 Responses to “Shimoda Izu Birthday Trip 2008 with Aya”

  1. on September 8th, 2008 10:04 AM

    Sad that it was ‘discovered’ by a disrespectful crowd like that. Hopefully our upcoming weekend will be much quieter.

    Was that gas in the car?

    Nice little video, but not sure how I feel about that opening music. When the Pixies took over I was relieved.


    Jason Collin Reply:

    I’m trying to use all royalty-free music in my videos (except when captured naturally as in driving in the car), so don’t want to just drop in some top-40 hit for the intro, but yeah, some are better than others. Running out of new ones, so may have to repeat intro music.

    Gas? Hmmm, there are always easter eggs in my videos usually.

    Yeah, hopefully like Japanese, all others immediately stop going to the beach after August 31st too.


  2. Curt
    on September 9th, 2008 12:20 AM

    Your vids are getting better – very tight. You’ll have to show me what you used to do the circle focus thing.

    Didn’t know it was Shimoda you were going to. Last year around the 10th of August I was there to visit a small research lab. That particular spot was not too crowded, and somewhat peaceful in the evening. It’s kind of away from the main beach I suppose – but I don’t know the whole area well. When I tried to leave, it was chaos getting to the train station, and I missed my reserved seat train. that was the official national Obon time, IIRC.

    I took my Canon with UW housing there, and took some underwater photos, but they were not so great. I wasn’t used to using the housing. But one shot I got was pretty good – just above the water. The outer lens still had some water on it, so the margins of the image are smeared. The overall effect was nice though, and I use it as a background banner on my teaching site:

    Anyway, happy Birthday!


    Jason Collin Reply:

    Thanks Curt.

    The spotlighting is in the Video FX section of iMovie HD.

    I’ve been to Shimoda over obon the past three summers.

    I can totally see how you’d miss a train there as sometimes it takes 45 minutes to go 2km (like it did on this particular trip). I wonder how locals deal with that kind of gridlock?

    Take some more underwater shots!


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