So it has taken twenty years, but I have finally seen the Pacific. This past Saturday, my landlord told Pat and I that he would be throwing a barbecue
party at Tsujido beach; we were invited, and told to bring some of our friends from school. So that morning we woke up, quickly stuffed towels and bathing suits into our backpacks, and biked to Shinagawa Station to meet up with our friends Alexis and Kyoko, and then took the train south to Tsujido station.
Sota, our landlord, picked us up from the station and drove us the approximate two kilometers to the beach, where the party was just getting set up. The party would consist of me and pat, Alexis and Kyoko, as well as a few of Sota’s previous renters, plus his family and friends. It was an incredibly international group, with representatives from Japan, the United States, Korea, the Netherlands, and Italy present. We sat around with a great view of the ocean all day, listening to music, eating oysters and grilling everything from chicken to steak to hash browns and vegetables. The grill area was set up at the top of the beach, under an bridge, providing shade, which later served to save the party when it got dark; a light bulb on a cord was strung down from the top of the bridge so we could carry on into the night.
Tsujido beach, I was told by Anoma, one of my roommates who speaks Japanese, is actually a very famous surf spot in Japan, and has been featured in popular TV shows and movies here, similar to the way Venice Beach in LA is always seen in American shows. Although the surf was calm on Saturday, I could see why. The beach was breathtaking, with the Pacific stretching out endlessly in front of us, and the famous Enoshima Prospects Lighthouse to our left. When we stood facing the ocean, to our right (south) were mountains that I wish we could have seen more clearly; unfortunately, the day was too hazy to make them into anything more distinct than dark, cloud like smudges on the horizon.
Physically, the beach itself was very different from the North Atlantic beaches that I’ve grown up with in two ways. One, the sand was black! This is from the volcanic nature of Japan and the Pacific in general. Second, the water was far warmer than I was used to. On my phone it said the water a Tsujido was about eighty degrees fahrenheit. There was no way that was true; it felt maybe more like somewhere in the mid seventies, but it was still very nice.
We finally got back to our house at around ten or eleven p.m. I was exhausted enough by the time we reached Shinagawa Station, and had completely forgotten that I still had a 3-kilometer uphill bike ride to go before I was actually home. It felt so good to get out of the city for a little while, and to finally see a part of Japan other than the endless urban sprawl of Tokyo.