Finding Beauty with Imperfection

Category: Beach

Typhoon Jongdari

We have been anticipating the arrival of Typhoon Jongdari since Monday. The various paths had it hitting close to Yokosuka.

Regardless, of the actual path, we were expecting strong winds and heavy rain by 3:00 pm on Saturday.

The heavy rain actually started around 3:30 pm and is expected to continue through the night.

The storm pulled all the moisture out of the area. As a result, the weather on Friday was delightful. Less humid and lower temperatures. It was a great night for baseball. Dave and I went to the Yokosuka Baystars AAA baseball game Friday night with a group of people from his work.

Red Sox and Cubs represented.

The biggest cheering section of the game! They were hysterical!

This morning, the weather still wasn’t terrible. The humidity had returned and it was a little drizzly. Zushi Beach was deserted. The Beach cabanas were packed up in preparation for the incoming storm.

The storm doesn’t seem to be too bad. We have experienced worse. I think we will weather Typhoon Jongdari just fine!

Let’s Catch Up

Konnichiwa! I apologize for a little bit of a pause since my last post. Let’s catch up. Cindy made it home safely. After she left, I had three days straight of English classes. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. They went well. The weather over the weekend was a little taste of spring. Dave and I were able to get out for a jog after the sun came up!

We also went for a shell collecting walk on Saturday and Sunday. We found almost 30 sand dollars!

I need to start thinking about a way / craft to use them. If you have any ideas let me know. So far on Pinterest I’ve found how to clean and preserve them.

As we were walking down to the beach on Sunday, we passed this cute little neighborhood garden stand. It is just so cute. He puts out things from his garden for sale. I took a picture from Sunday and today. His garden stand illustrates the honesty and trust prevalent in Japanese culture.

We had a big rain storm come through on Monday. The storm brought lots of rain, wind and a migraine for me. I’m starting to feel better this afternoon. The fresh air walk down to the beach helped. Plus, I found another 10 sand dollars. I really need to get crafty!

We have more rain in the forecast towards the end of the week. I think spring is trying to make its appearance!

Beautiful Day

Today was beautiful. It warranted a get out and go attitude. I decided to venture over to Enoshima Island. I’ve been a couple times, both with Dave and Dina. It provides a spectacular vantage point for viewing Mt. Fuji (on a clear day). I knew today would be a great day for a trip to Enoshima because I snapped this picture earlier in the morning from Zushi Beach while enjoying a U.S. phone conversation with my girl, Jules. Enoshima Island is the island slightly off center and in front of Mt. Fuji. 

One part of the island I haven’t had the opportunity to explore are the rocks and sea cave. It is some what of a trek out to the island. It requires three trains and a good bit of walking. Here was my route. 

As I walked across the bridge to the island, I was giddy seeing Mt. Fuji with a snow cap. Signs of cooler weather! 

I decided to walk the stairs on the island vice taking the pay escalators. I figured the steps would do my rainy day lazy legs a favor! I was huffing and puffing by the time I reached the top. But, that view! 

Before descending down the other side to the sea cave, I decided to stop for a quick visit at the Sea Candle. I love the gardens and the Sea Candle and I knew the view would be amazing. I purchased my ¥500 ticket from the machine like a boss and entered the garden. I was greeted by thousands of unlit luminaries. 

I saw the flier with relevant information and have already made plans to return next week in the evening to see them illuminated! I think it will be so enchanting. 

As I approached the Sea Candle entrance, an advertisement for the caves caught my attention. I looked it over and then proceeded to the ticket taker at the entrance. He nicely informed me the sea caves were closed. Oh? Hai! Because typhoon caused damage. Oh! Arigatōgozaimas! I was so thankful he told me before I walked down the other side of the mountain! He also told me he wasn’t sure when it would reopen. 

The views of Mt. Fuji from the Sea Candle were as beautiful as I hoped! 

I walked around and enjoyed the 360 degree view of Shonan Beach. The bridge pictured is the one I walked over to access the island. 

As I was returning to the elevator to go back down, I observed a man taking the stairs. I decided to follow and ignore the sign written in Japanese. Again with the great views! 

The spiral staircase took me down to the Terrace level. As I came to the end of the staircase, I realized my error. Don’t tell anyone, but I don’t think I was supposed to use the stairs. 

Oops – a – daisy! Let’s just keep this between us, shall we? But, just so we are clear, I paid for an entry ticket to the garden and Sea Candle! 

One last view from the Terrace. 

And from the bridge as I walked back to the train station. 

On my way back home, I stopped and did a little shopping. Both in the Shonan Beach area and then in Kamakura. It was just such a beautiful day! 

Life’s a Beach

Finally, we had a break in the clouds today. Dina and I made plans to visit a beach. Our goal was to check out Tateishi Park, a Hayama beach, and hopefully collect sea glass. 

When we arrived at the beach, a U.S. jet flew overhead. It was a beautiful sound of freedom. Jet noise at the beach. For a minute, I thought I had been transported home! The beach itself was mostly pebbles vice sand. We were both able to find a good collection of sea glass. Maybe you notice we had a friend with us today. We sprung Dina’s youngest out of school because she had an orthodontist appointment. After her appointment, we all headed to the beach. It was a much needed quiet beach time for everyone!

We had fun walking the beach, climbing the rocks, looking in the tide pools, and sea glass hunting. Even though Eme was missing school, I used every opportunity to give her a science lesson! 

We also learned a valuable lesson abou the sea hawks. On our way, we stopped at a Family Mart to buy lunch to eat on the beach. We didn’t finish it all and left it on the blanket while we hunted for sea glass. Rookie mistake! When we returned, we discovered the sea hawks had invaded! They ate my crackers and Eme’s steam buns! Those rascals!! Oh, well. The day was too gorgeous not to laugh it off. 

The sea glass, broken pottery, and a couple of shells I collected. 

Inamuragasaki Beach

A friend told me about Inamuragasaki Beach. She described it as a beautiful black sand beach with an amazing view of Mt. Fuji (on a clear day). Inamuragasaki Beach is located in Kamakura and accessible by the Enoshima electric train line. Here was my route today. It took about 10 minutes longer to get there than it did to come home. It’s all about train timing!

After I arrived in Inamuragasaki, it was a quick walk to the beach to see this view! Enoshima Island is the foreground of the picture.

A small video to help you enjoy the beach!

Despite the chilly sea breeze, I enjoyed my walk along the beach. Nothing brings me more peace than walking along a beach listening to waves crash. There were a couple bridges to cover where streams connected with Sagami Bay. Another reason to love Japan. They build bridges at the beach where drainage may cause your feet to get wet! Inamuragasaki Park is in the distance.

As I continued my walk along the beach to Inamuragasaki Park, I couldn’t resist turning around and snapping another picture of Mt. Fuji. It was such a beautiful day. Simultaneously, as I walked the black sand was strangely beautiful and mesmerizing with the crashing waves.

Even on a winter day, the park was lovely.  Besides the views, there was a small daffodil garden.

The park had multiple levels. Each connected with stairs, of course!

With each level, the view became even more magnificent! The first picture I am standing in front of the statue. The caption wasn’t in English so, I am not sure of the meaning.

Interesting statue on the lowest level of the park.

The view from above the daffodil garden…

I took this picture from the middle level. The trees framed Mt. Fuji nicely.

Finally, the view from the top!

We can definitely stop to walk the beach and through the park when you visit. There are a couple restaurants I’m interested in visiting as well!

Fish Heads

I went out for a little bit of urban exploring today. Dave and I have been running the same route for our long runs for a while now. To add miles, we will add an extra loop here or there. There is one area where the road goes through a tunnel and is closed to pedestrians. At this location, we simply turn around. We have wondered where the side trail might lead. I decided to take the train into Zushi and then walk over to the area to investigate.

First I made a stop at Zushi Beach. It was a beautiful day.

The first path I checked out led me to a beautiful area. Surfers and paddle boarders use this passage as an access to the area around the point of Zushi Beach.

As always, stairs!

The other path led me to the fancy neighborhood near Ōsaki Park. It was a steep uphill climb. There were a few special treats at the top. The first, Mt. Fuji.

The second, blooming shamrocks.

The third, cherry blossoms starting to bloom!

There were only a few trees in this grove. None the less, I felt the first signs of spring fever! Honestly, this has been a delightful winter. Mostly sunny skies and very mild temperatures. However, I’m very excited to experience the beauty of the spring blooms. I had to make myself stop taking pictures of the blossoms. They were so beautiful and the light was perfect.

One last picture of Mt. Fuji before I tell you about the fish heads.

So, fish heads. After my urban hike, I was ready for a snack. I needed to head to main base via the train to pick up the car after having the oil changed. I stopped at Family Mart. Family Mart is my favorite convenient store chain here in Japan. I grabbed a bottle of water, an onigiri and a bag of Japanese crackers. While walking from the train station to the service station on base, I was snacking on crackers.

Well, I thought they were all crackers. Turns out, they included dried fish.

After I pulled it out of the bag, I had an instant “WTF” moment. Then I remembered, I’m in Japan. They eat fish in everything. Even crackers.

I saved the rest to eat until I got home and could dump out the bag. As you can see, the fish were advertised. I guess I should look closer next time I try a new Japanese snack. In the small dish are all the fish and fish heads included in my snack!

I did try one. They weren’t too bad. They were very crunchy with a salty, sweet fishy taste. The aftertaste kept me from eating another!

Patong Beach, Phuket, Thailand

Phuket island has many beaches each with a different vibe. Some are better suited for families, others offer more seclusion and then there is the party central option of Patong. During our vacation, we stayed at the Baan Laimai Beach Resort in Patong. It was located directly across the street from Patong Beach. In less than three minutes we could walk from our hotel room to the beach. The hotel was listed as a 5-star hotel. Dave and I agreed it was lovely and probably a 3.5-4 star hotel by non-Thailand standards. Our room was a pool access room, meaning we could step into the pool from our balcony. The hotel was a little dated and lacked amenities one might expect at a 5-star hotel. The customer service was definitely 5-star. The staff was friendly, helpful and attentive throughout our stay. The food at the hotel restaurant was also very good. I will describe our food experiences in a future post. The pool also had a swim-up pool bar. Between the bar in our room and the pool bar, we enjoyed quiet time by the pool when the craziness of the town became too much. Here are a few pictures of the hotel. It was decorated in a “Beyond the Sea” theme for the new year celebration. 

Sitting on our pool side patio

Dave took a picture of me from the top floor.

Jellies & lanterns – they were illuminated at night

Afternoon pool time

Jellies & lanterns at night – view from our room


Us. From our room.

Patong Beach is one of the main public tourist beaches in Phuket. There plenty of water sport activities for rent. These included: jet skis, parasailing, Thai long tail boats as a water taxi, sail boats and tubing. We found the beach the most pleasant early in the morning when we would walk the break line searching for sand dollars. The beach was a decent length, it would take us over an hour to walk the entire beach. When we would walk later in the day, there was plenty of room for swimming, soaking in the sun and all the water activities. Here are a few pictures from our daily walks.

Just a few sand dollars we found

12 year memorial from the 2004 Tsunami

This is the arts & crafts project from all the sand dollars! I used them to accent picture frames. Now I just need to pick two of my favorite pictures! 

The city of Patong was on the upper end of the “anything goes” scale. The main street is called the “Bangla Walking Street.” The street is lined with stores, massage parlors, firing ranges and bars. In the evenings the street was closed to all vehicles. Walking among the tourists are vendors selling and advertising both the tangible and the unimaginable. If you imagine Bourbon Street in New Orleans combined with Duval Street in Key West and Beale Street in Memphis and then amplify it 10 times, you would have a pretty good idea of Bangla Walking Street in Patong. I would not describe this area of Phuket as family friendly. Despite this, we saw many families with young kids and even strollers. Like I said, it was definitely “anything goes.” Here are a few PG-18 pictures. Proceed with caution. 

One of several firing ranges

Massage- “happy end”

Virtual reality platforms

Yep, anything goes

Vendors in every direction

Another shooting range

Toys. For kids? And free drink with a shoot.

Check out the power lines! They were like this everywhere.

No shirt or shoes required

Soap. You wouldn’t believe me if I didn’t take a picture.

As you can imagine from the pictures, there was always a lot going on in Patong. This was part of the reason we enjoyed the quiet oasis of our pool and went on a couple excursions. I will share the details of the excursions in another post. I first had to set the stage and give you a true understanding of Patong Beach in Phuket, Thailand. 

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