The weather here has been so variable, from heavy tropical rain storms, then bright blue skies 15 minutes later.
Our friend took us to his local beach, Ohki-hama, and it was amazing. My mind couldn’t believe that this was Japan. I really felt like I was back home, real surf, real sand and hot enough to want to swim. I also couldn’t believe that this was his JET experience, like they say, ”every situation is different”.
The surf was quite rough though (due to a passing typhoon), it was too much for Risa to handle (and almost too much for us). We couldn’t catch many waves, just a constant fight through large, rough breaking waves. But, it was great fun. I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed a swim in the ocean so much. Weird.
My friend had some work obligations today, so he had to rush back for them and left us to go explore Ashizuri Peninsular on our own. We pulled out the ‘cub and headed south, hoping that the skies would hold for a little while longer. As we got further and higher along the peninsular, the weather got worse, there was no sun, only clouds. Slightly disappointing, but we kept riding, enjoying the sweeping roads on the underpowed, overloaded ‘cub (though, it’s the brakes that are the most underpowered). As we started descending back down, the weather started improving, until it got to the point that it was bright blue skies and sunshine. Amazing blue skies and sunshine I should say. There were a few onsen hotels, but not too many, we continued along the road until it stopped at a car park for the peninsular. From here it was a quick 5 minute walk to a view platform where we could see the giant cliffs being thrashed by violent (and stunningly beautiful) waves. The colours were amazing, the creamy white on top of bright/deep blue. Risa wanted to eat it.
There was a giant statue for a Japanese sailor, Nakahama Manjiro, who was born in this area and was shipwrecked on a small island, (not really) near Tokyo in the 1800’s. He was rescued by a passing American merchant ship, and taken back to America. He spoke no English, and was the first Japanese person to ever visit/live in America (where he studied English). Ten years later he returned and (eventually) became a powerful advisor to the Shogunate about foreign matters.
Not far from the cape was Hakusan-Domon (Hakusan cave gate), a natural gate that has formed through white granite rock. There was even a free foot onsen that we could sit at and look down to the cave, though the building was far too hot to want to put our feet in hot water, or spend any more time there. The lady there told us that there was a small path that led down to the beach to see the cave from eye-level. The cave wasn’t the only thing that we saw though, there were two snakes (and a bazillion small red crabs, which were everywhere around here). I can’t believe that I have probably seen more snakes in my two years in Japan than all my life in “snake infested” Australia. Maybe. They didn’t bother me too much (they were tiny), but Risa couldn’t wait to get out of there.
We headed back to Tosashimizu along a different (and coastal) route, with occasional glimpses of the stunning and rugged cliffs, the crashing blue sea and occasional small coves. It was hard to concentrate on driving with so much other things to look at. Lucky Risa.
We arrived back in Tosashimizu as the first rain drops started to fall, and after running one red light (it’s what all the old men do) we managed to avoid getting too wet. Once again, amazingly lucky with timing.
After our friend returned, we all went out to dinner in neighbouring Shimanto City. But, before dinner, we went to play an unusual game of air-hockey. This particular machine will occasionally dispense 3 pucks at once some multi-puck craziness. It was frantic and utterly brilliant. Best game of air-hockey I’d ever played. My friend was being cocky about being undefeated, until he played me. I then went on to thrash Risa, before being mentally overwhelmed/overstimulated and defeated by my friend.
The crazy weather continued, from tropical rain to starry skies.
We’d planed to go to a Chinese restaurant (which would have been the third time in three weeks after having it in Osaka/Kobe), but both restaurants were shut tonight. So, we settled for pasta/Italian. Risa and I got a nice pancetta salad, some seafood spaghetti and a delicious bacon/salami pizza. Not stomach stuffing, but we left very, very content (if craving desert).