March 9, 2010
Due to a set of very unusual circumstances, I found myself with 4 hours of sanity today. It was a preview to how my days will be once I win the lottery this year, except of course in the parking lot will be a Porsche 911 Turbo instead of a Saturn Vue. I found myself being very grateful for something that should be a given, not an extraordinary exception. Such are the ill things one is often trapped into when living in the world of Men.
November 4, 2008
What you see in the above photo is a mysterious rock out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. It is the symbol of Chigasaki. I have no idea how it was formed or what it really is. Despite skimboarding this place for the past six summers, I never investigated its meaning. And I do not want to know. I always imagined it as a great shark’s dorsal fin. The rock is very mysterious, for as you walk further from it, the stone actually appears closer to you. Such is the scene of my first ever skimboarding in Japan back in June of 2003, and my final session in October 2008.
September 8, 2008
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.
August 5, 2008
I was stoked as usual for this past Saturday’s skimboarding session, but the waves were just not there for any kind of even modest session. Walking to the beach I saw a few skimboarders leaving and from afar could see a few still down on the beach. I quickly realized why there was almost no one out there, though, despite the beautiful day—the strong wind was just making all the waves way too sloppy.
July 31, 2008
When Aya and I first arrived at Hiratsuka Beach stoked for our 4th skimboarding session of the year, we were immediately met with a crowd of “beach football” players who were having a huge tournament. I had never even heard of the sport before. We saw a lot of skimboarders walking away from the beach, though, up on the main sidewalk. I thought there might also be a skimboarding tournament, but I guess since we were arriving at the beach itself just after 12:30pm, that’s the end of the morning session for most Japanese skimmers.
July 23, 2008
The waves were significantly bigger this time at Hiratsuka, which always makes for more fun for the skimboarder, as well as the chance for bigger wipeouts! But here’s a secret—big wipeouts are fun. They may look like they hurt, but most of the time you are falling into deep water so it’s just a matter of keeping your mouth closed so as not to drink in any water.
Besides the larger waves, the biggest conditions difference was that the sand was a bit softer, no doubt because of the larger waves crashing on the shore and carrying sand all over the place. This meant I ran a step slower than in the previous week’s session. It also meant that my ears ended up being full of black sand! Usually I get a little, but this time the amount of sand coming out was a bit disconcerting. Aya hadn’t experienced this before, so I had to reassure that this was normal for skimboarding Shonan area beaches.
July 14, 2008
Quite some time ago, a student told me she had rented a dog in Odaiba with her boyfriend. I had to have her repeat that. She really liked dogs, but since she was a pre-med student, she had no time to take care of one. So she said renting one was the next best thing. I filed that story in my deep memory as I thought it might be something I’d like to do in the future.
So this Sunday when Aya and I found ourselves heading to the Odaiba area to check out a sweet pterosaur exhibition, I recalled the dog rental story and suggested we try and do it. I am very careful about doing anything with animals in captivity, but surprisingly no ethical warnings came up in my mind about renting a dog.
July 14, 2008
Skimboarding session #002 for the year was rather special. For the first time in 6 summers of skimboarding at the Shonan area of Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan, I sought out a new skimboarding beach. Having found Chigasaki Beach in summer 2003, it was love at first sight, despite it’s flaws, and though I heard of this other beach nearby that was possibly a skimboarder’s haven, I stayed at Chigasaki. For at Chigasaki there used to be other skimboarders, but over the past few years I’ve seen maybe three or four total. Then after the typhoon last September disturbed the ocean floor reducing the size of waves greatly, I knew I may need to find a new skimboarding beach for 2008.
(video after the break)