Monday, July 27, 2009

Life's a beach

WTF spent an impromptu day at Chojagasaki beach in Hayama this weekend. We had wanted to swing our clubs at the little driving range on base but it was closed thanks to the wind-which if you ask me is the perfect weather to practice golf in, have you ever watched The British Open-so we walked back home, doused the Kawaii Girls in sunscreen, packed them into the car, destination unknown. I asked WTF Husband to put a little dot of sunscreen on my back to cover a spot I just had removed, not wanting it to darken and he did just that plus some, so now I have a grapefruit size circle on my back that's an entirely different color than the rest of me, thanks Husband for that.

We've seen the beaches of Zushi, Kamakura and Enoshima and wanted to see a different part of the peninsula, so we took a shortcut through Shonan Village and came out in Hayama. After some hysterical moments trying to the turn around and back the car out of a narrow street, which by all accounts should have been a one-way street but was in fact a two lane road, we ended up at Chojagasaki.

Let me take this moment to comment on WTF Husband. He's a passenger in Japan, after years of being the driver. I do all the driving now, in large part because he's always gone and I'm more familiar with the area. While I am mostly comfortable with driving here, I still have pause every now and then on where to make u-turns, so I asked him were a good spot to turn around was but he had nothing to offer except pointing fingers at every driveway and street we passed. So I turned on my blinker-proud that it was actually the blinker and not the wind shield wiper by accident-and waited to cross the yellow solid line into a gas station. He starts in on me that you are not to cross the yellow line...hello, it is was the only way into the gas station but I was going to wait out the oncoming traffic and do it anyways, then he says with a deadpan serious tone, "There's the police don't do it." Now I'm flustered, concerned I'll be arrested and put in jail for 23 days before anyone can help me, so I move along when he says coolly, "Hey, why aren't you turning, the car is letting you through?" Hmm, smart ass, let me think about this. So in my haste and frustration I turn left onto a street that turns out to be more like a hairpin than a 90 degree turn and find myself stuck sideways, trying to back out into the road, surrounded by 5 or 6 scooters that came out of no where. In a sign of how bad it was, the normally very polite and courteous Japanese drivers started honking at me. I guess they didn't notice the shoshinsha symbol plastered on the front and back of my car. That little leaf magnet on the car gives me special license to make boneheaded mistakes and other assorted traffic faux pas'. Really, other drivers are just supposed to give me a wide berth and treat me with special care as a beginner driver in Japan. Same thing. Oh and there wasn't even a police officer, again, thanks Husband.

It was a beautiful gaijin moment. I may have even made one man jump off of his scooter to avoid hitting the car because he didn't show signs of stopping as I was working the 15 point turn to get us out of there. Did he really think I could get myself out of that jam in a couple of seconds? He didn't let go of the scooter though, so maybe we was trying to push it up the hill we were on, but what's the point of a motorized scooter if you have to push it, but I digress. The skirmish wasn't for nothing because I stumbled on
The Museum of Modern Art, Hayama rather accidentally thanks to my side street detour.

So back to the beach, if it had been a perfectly clear day, Fuji-san would have been visible on the horizon. WTF will just have to go back to check that out some other day.
Photo courtesy of Shonan Boy's Adventure

We weren't really sure where to park in the lot because several sections were roped off and had signs in different colors. We chose one place that we later moved from because it looked like reserved parking and no one else was parking there. I'm not sure how that is managed since you pay the parking fee at an automated machine when you leave and there are no attendants.

Beach side, we frolicked amongst the other beach goers, splashed in the water and the
Kawaii Girls buried each other in the sand. Everyone had inner tubes and little rafts that they floated on out in the water. The lifeguards paddled by on big boards and out in the distance, people swam to a large rock and by all accounts, just sat there taking in the scenery.

Kawaii Girl #2 insisted on being buried with food and if you ask me.

When it was time to leave, Kawaii Girl #1 stripped naked, I guess she was done with having sand in her lady parts. At that, Kawaii #2 started to do the same, never one to miss out on the chance to take her clothes off. There just weren't enough towels to cover our embarrassment, or our free-birding girls, but the beach goers seemed to have found it cute, given their watching eyes and smiling faces and a mother and child came up to us at that moment to show us a crab they caught in a bucket. Back at the car, I noticed several other children in the buff so perhaps beach nudity isn't a taboo around here.

Leaving the parking lot and getting ready to pay I noted that the machine only took coins or ¥1000 bills, neither of which I had. Oh great! Stuck cars and beach nudity weren't going to be our only fun for the day. Now we were going to have to sleep in the parking lot. I was glad that we still had some Pringles, despite the can being full of sand from being used as a digging instrument and a half sipped on Capri Sun.

We re-parked the car and I sent WTF
Husband, who has zero foreign language ability apart from "cervaza por favor," on a mission armed with an English to Japanese language booklet, the ¥5000 bill and hopes he'd come back with change. I tried to take pictures but cars were in the way. Somehow he managed with showing the parking ticket, the money and holding up five fingers. The Japanese man, who turned out to be a local photographer, handed him change and said in English "same money" noting that it was an exact exchange.

I would have been happy to have been short changed in the deal, a help-the-poor-gaijin fee, I just wanted out of the parking lot and there was no other way without paying the machine.
It all makes for a great story however, so if you ask me, WTF's day was a great one-if you ask WTF Husband, well you might get another answer but remember he's just the passenger now and I'm the one writing the blog.