Saturday, August 19, 2006

happy danger beach

today i finally got down to the business of discovering my town. the sky was pleasantly rain-soaked and cool, the humidity bearable for once. my mission: to see how far away the convenience store ("conbini") is by bicycle. like many japanese institutions, the conbini functions as so much more than just a place to grab a can withdraw money at the ATM, use the spotless bathrooms, choose from an almost unlimited array of to-go lunches which they will heat, garnish with appropriate condiments (mayonnaise is usually involved) and utensils, and have bagged in seconds; and finally, you can pay your utility bills. there's no such thing as remittance through mail, unfortunately. so i needed to know how much of a ride i am in for each time the electricity payment is due. unlike the narrow street and obstacle-plagued sidewalk that leads to the closest grocery and other shoebox-sized stores, the road to Circle K (that's right, they have them here, too) is broad and has wide, unpopulated sidewalks that actually make riding my bike a pleasure instead of a spectacle of awkwardness. this road also runs parallel to the long coastline, so the view is breathtaking. before i knew it (well truthfully i hadn't really been paying much attention because i had so many new vending machines to ogle) i had reached my destination. ta da!

and here's the graveyard next door to Circle K!

in celebration of a shorter than anticipated ride, i carefully considered and bought a mandarin orange jello fruit cup thing, red bean paste-filled mochi balls, and some envelopes.

i crossed the road to the retaining wall/elevated sidewalk that overlooks the beach, climbed the stairs, and settled down to eat my treats and watch the misty ocean. a little side note: sadly, swimming on this beach is prohibited because a strong tide and sharp underwater drop-off have carried too many out to sea. so i've affectionately dubbed it Danger Beach. i say affectionately because it's still a beach, and i have always loved looking out over water, especially considering how claustrophobically overgrown everything else here is. i've also been informed that in the event of an earthquake and resulting tsunamis, we're probably in pretty good shape because the beach is SO LONG that the tsunami would have room to spread out instead of filling up a basin-shaped beach.
or something.
so it could be good in a particular kind of crisis. ANYway, the beach already feels like a special place--it marks my first day of discovery.

let's be honest, red bean paste tastes like dirt, but since i EAT dirt, i usually enjoy it. yum! here's me showin' a little leg.

on my ride back i came upon this cat sitting comfortably on his bike, waiting to be let in the house. he was ve-e-ery suspicious of me but not suspicious enough to jump down and hide.

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