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11&12 May

Last weekend I went for a weekend away to the beach! I couldn’t manage it during Golden Week as everything was already booked up and busy. That suited me fine as it meant I could avoid the Golden Week crowds!

Now looking at my pale English skin, you wouldn’t think Clare and beach holiday belong in the same sentence. And you’d be right. I don’t do tans OR hot weather, however what I enjoy about the beach is the sea view, smell, sound and just that feeling you get at the seaside of being on holiday. That’s really all I wanted from this weekend, was to feel like I had left Tokyo and to exercise that HOLIDAY part of my working HOLIDAY visa…rather than just feeling like I’m working all the time.

Unfortunately it rained the entire Saturday. Not that drizzly piss rain you get in London, but actual pouring down rain. Before I could check in to my hotel at 3pm, I had some time to kill, so I set about looking for somewhere nice to get cha and food and get out of the rain. I stumbled across the café I had written down that I wanted to go to after much research on the area, just by chance! I love it when this happens to me seeing as I am completely hopeless with directions and maps. The staff were extremely accommodating making me a panini without meat or fish. They made me the potato and whatever meat it was panini but without the meat. Yes that’s right, I said potato. It’s common in Japan to put some kind of potato in sandwiches and no one blinks an eye. Whether it’s potato salad (aka po-ta-to sa-ra-da) or what I had which was an odd combination of potato, butter, and egg …in a Panini.  Whatever, it’s the thought that counts!

potato and egg panini...

potato and egg panini…

Once checked in to the hotel, I literally spent the whole Saturday in the hotel room, which didn’t bother me one little bit. After sharing a room for 6 months, you have no idea what a relief and a luxury it was to have my own room, a NICE room, with a view, all to myself. And not to sleep on a bunkbed! I had forgotten what comfort felt like! I booked this hotel in Fujisawa, near Kamakura with the plansto visit Zushi beach, which was only about a 20 minute train ride away from Fujisawa. I booked the hotel via email having had trouble with the online booking form, which was unnecessarily complicated. Therefore I actually didn’t know much about the hotel before I arrived. So when I got there I was so pleasantly surprised at how awesomely retro it was! See the photos below of the kind of thing I’m talking about.

20130512_005 20130512_007 20130512_024 20130512_009I felt right at home, and the staff were also kind. They did do the usual, “you’re so good at Japanese” after all I had said was “my name is…”, but that happens frequently for Japanese language learners. I’m used to the over exaggerated impressed reaction to my Japanese, after saying but a few words.

Anyway, I lay in bed watching TV and got a lot of blog writing done and really felt like I was on holiday, which was the most valuable part of my weekend away experience. I bought some tea at the supermarket and a couple of other things and enjoyed the solitude, the Japanese listening practice from watching Japanese detective dramas, and a nice bath.

Luckily when I woke up on Sunday and looked out the window, it was sunny! At least, it wasn’t raining anyway. I had my buffet breakfast which consisted of salad, yogurt, coffee and a rather cheap and cheerful “toasted sandwich”, consisting of the cheap, white, overly sweet bread (aka shoku pan) you get here and some plastic-y sliced cheese  (aka su-rai-su chee-zu ).  I checked out and set off to Zushi to see the beach.

And see it I did. After much wandering around in the heat with my luggage, of course as I couldn’t figure out which direction to go in, I eventually reached the beach. All I had wanted to do was see it, smell the air, walk on the sand and take a photo or two. Mission accomplished.

20130512_02820130512_032 I then spent the rest of the afternoon in a pizza restaurant by the sea as it really was far too hot for me actually on the beach, which had zero shade. I’m so pale and English. I had read about this restaurant before I came and had wanted to come because it has a sea view. Unfortunately it was so busy that I didn’t actually get to sit by the window with the sea view, which was a real shame. However I still managed to enjoy myself with a glass of wine, pizza, and later coffee whilst reading Charlie Brooker. Perfection!

I got on the train back to Tokyo in time to miss the rush of people going home and was back in Tokyo in an hour and a half. I got off the cheapo community bus outside Shiba park at Tokyo tower, close to my house. The bus dropped me off right next to a piece of grass I had no idea was there! I have been wishing I had a park a bit nearer to my house with grass to lie on and here it was! OK it’s not a “park” as such and the grass is kind of mangy and full of dirt patches, but it’s open space and good enough grass to lie on! It was still warm and sunny so I lay down for half an hour with my head on my luggage listening to Ricky Gervais.

20130513_008A nice end to a nice weekend get away.

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