December 03, 2009

Slacker to businessman

It seems like every time I update this site, I am apologizing for not writing much and telling you that I have been really busy. So...that is true. AGAIN!

But now, for the first time since I left investment banking, I truly know what being busy means! Yep...no more slacker Kirk!

First of all, I finally got a visa! Woo hoo! It is an investor visa, which I received because I have formed my own company. If that was all, I wouldn't be so busy, but I am using that company to start and run a surf shop in Kugenuma, Japan. I have spent the last two months getting ready for this and the opening is scheduled for December 20th.

I am really excited about it, but also very worried. It is a big commitment of both time and money. And I worry that my Japanese isn't good enough to take on a project like this. I can communicate, but it is not sophisticated enough for nuance or persuasion. Then again, my English can be pretty awful too, so who knows?

Anyway...wish me luck!

Posted by Kirk at 09:19 AM | Comments (0)

October 29, 2009

Big changes

Well, before I get into everything, let me show you Mt. Fuji after the lastest storm last week. Wow...there is snow and everything and it's still October. It looks good, right?

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In any case, I have been very, VERY busy recently. Mostly, because I have been living on borrowed time in Japan. My current visa expires in December, although that is a much better than being illegal, which I kind of was for two weeks in October while I waited for what turned out to be the rejection of my first visa application change. Actually, since the immigration department had my passport I couldn't go home anyway.

I am in the process of applying for an investor's visa and I should get that. I really hope so, because I have formed a company and signed a five-year lease for a location in Kugenuma...I am opening a surf shop!! Woo hoo! It is exciting, but it really seems to be one of those jobs you have to save up for. However, I think I can make it work...wish me luck! Hoping to open in mid-December.

Posted by Kirk at 07:49 PM | Comments (0)

October 08, 2009

Typhoon pictures

I just had to have some pictures, so out I went. As you can see, the sun had come out so I thought the storm had passed, but the wind is still blowing strong and it is clouding up again, so maybe I just picked a good time to go out.

It is hard to get the perspective with these photos...seeing the size and frequency of the waves coming into Zushi Beach is absolutely amazing. I wish I had some pictures of Shichirigahama...I will go there later, but I am sure by then the peak will have passed.

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Posted by Kirk at 10:05 AM | Comments (0)

Typhoon!!

Wow! The typhoon has arrived! And its strong!

I hear that in Shichirigahama, the waves are up to triple-overhead height and they are breaking onto the coastal road...which is 3-4 meters above the beach.

It is hard to tell how high the waves are at Zushi Beach, because I haven't left my apartment but it looks like they are over head-high. I could go down to the beach and take pictures, but there doesn't seem to be much of one to go to.

Posted by Kirk at 08:16 AM | Comments (0)

August 27, 2009

2009 Zushi Fireworks

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Absolutely incredible!

This year, I stayed home to watch. Actually, I just couldn't get myself motivated to organise something and the beach was already so crowded when I was on my home at 5pm, that I didn't even consider going out there to watch. The street in front of my apartment was still full of people arriving halfway through the show...enough so that they started running into the people leaving early to avoid the rush to the trains.

In any case, the view from my balcony was brilliant and at least I know that now should I be here next year. I can have a home party!

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As for the rest of my time recently, I have been at the surf shop.

The key issue at the moment is my visa application. Can I stay? Do I have to go? I'll write more about that later.

Now that the beach is emptying out, I think I will head over to the beach bars for a few beers.

Posted by Kirk at 08:03 PM | Comments (0)

July 22, 2009

Various odds and ends

OK...I am suitably recovered from jet lag and all that, although not enough to take any pictures to post on the blog. So, you will have to make do with text for awhile.

Not that I have much to write today.

It is cool and raining here, which is a surprise since rainy season ended a week ago.

Yesterday, I awkwardly fell on top of my board while getting off a wave and bruised a rib (at least I think I did...one of those things that does not seem serious enough to warrant a doctor visit, but painful enough that I wonder if I should). On top of that, later in the day, I stepped on a sea urchin. I was wearing booties, but the little bastard was sufficiently annoyed to shoot one of its spines through the bottom of the shoe. None of that is particularly serious, but it did make me wonder why I got out of bed.

Oh, I am working at the surf shop now. It might be better to say I am helping out as I am not receiving a salary, but I do get free lunch, free beer and surf wax. And I am learning how to run a shop, which could come in handy later.

That is it for now. I promise to post some pictures soon, so there is something nice to look at.

Posted by Kirk at 07:30 AM | Comments (0)

June 26, 2009

One year in Zushi...nine years in Japan

It's a week of anniversaries for me! Yesterday marked one year that I left Tokyo for a life on the beach. And nine years ago Sunday, I moved from New York to Japan. It's gone fast.

I almost didn't remember, but last night I decided to check out the beach bars for the first time this summer. I did the same thing last year on my first night in the Zushi apartment, so the context helped me to figure it out. So, I had another beer to celebrate. It was nice.

Posted by Kirk at 08:41 AM | Comments (0)

June 25, 2009

Crazy weather

Here is a picture of Mt. Fuji, since we haven't seen it for awhile.

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It is rare to see Mt. Fuji in the summer, but there has been strong off shore winds to blow all the pollution away. As you can see, the snowpack is mostly melted, so it is time to be thinking about hiking up the mountain.

I took yesterday off from surfing and puttered around the house. Even thought I have been getting a lot of sleep, I have been waking up sluggish the last few days, which I blame on the weather. Not that I have to blame anything. In any case, I am feeling more normal today.

Posted by Kirk at 07:58 AM | Comments (0)

June 17, 2009

Rainy Season

Last week was the official start of rainy season in Japan. That is the translation commonly used, but it is a bit confusing because it does not rain all day, every day...in fact, the average monthly rainfall is higher in the Fall than it is now. But, it does rain (or look like it is going to rain) a lot more than April or May, so there you go.

Last night, there was an absolutely fantastic thunder storm. I turned out all the lights in my apartment and for an hour or so watched the lightning flash. It was so close that you could not only hear, but feel, the thunder. That was cool.

The end of rainy season is the beginning of summer, and that is not confusing. Around July 20th, it gets super hot and humid and stays that way for two months. That sucks if you live and work in Tokyo, but the hot weather also means onshore winds by the beach, so in Zushi it is much more bearable.

And if you get too hot, there are always the beach bars, which I have mentioned a million times on this blog. They open in two days, in case you were wondering. By some amazing bit of luck, Zushi beach bars open two weeks before the rest of the beaches in the area. So, come on down if you have time. I am heading off to San Diego in two weeks, so you better hurry.

Posted by Kirk at 10:31 PM | Comments (0)

June 12, 2009

Summer seems to have arrived

Well, it is hot today. Good thing I was at the beach, surfing! Actually, the waves have been really great the last two days. Yesterday was a bit rainy on the morning though, so that makes the 100% sunny day we had today even better.

Here is someone surfing in Shichirigahama...

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I think today was my best day surfing ever. Of course, I fell a lot, but I also had a lot of good rides. Yesterday's waves were better, I think, but we went to Kugenuma and it was so crowded that you could not really do anything but go straight ahead. That place is going to suck once the beach bars open.

Anyway, another week is done. Woo hoo...

Posted by Kirk at 05:23 PM | Comments (0)

June 09, 2009

This and that...

Damn...I spent a good forty minutes writing an entry and somehow managed to erase it all before publishing it. Really, it is that kind of day.

Yesterday, I bought a ticket back to the US to see my sister and niece (she just graduated from high school! woo hoo), but apparently I have messed up the dates, so who knows what I will do now. I have today to think about it. Timing is not my strong point.

I should have plenty of time to do that, because there are no waves today...so no surfing, and unfortunately, no back up plan. In the past, I would go work out, but I quit my gym in Tokyo. I was going up there less and less and it became harder for me to justify the monthly cost and train fare. Having said that, I will be in Tokyo for three of the next four days, so maybe I should have waited. Again, that whole timing thing is beyond me.

The beach bars open in ten days! Woo hoo! I had an early taste on Sunday. I was at the coffee shop next to the station when a friend called to say she was invited to a BBQ in Zushi and asked if I wanted to go. Since she called from the station, I met her right away and we went down to the beach. I got to drink beer and throw a football around, so I was happy.

Posted by Kirk at 08:29 AM | Comments (0)

May 28, 2009

Rainy surf day

By last night, I figured there would not be much surfing this week. On Monday through Wednesday, there were hardly any waves at all in Shichirigahama and Kugenuma was really, really small. I did go on Tuesday, but there was not much surfing to be done. And this morning, I checked the conditions at 6:30am and there was still no action.

So, I was a bit surprised later in the morning when I found out that some big swells were coming through. Needless to say, I went to the beach. The conditions were really good, but I was not at my best. Having said that, I did enjoy it even though it's cold and raining today. On the plus side, the ocean really warmed up, so much so that it was better to be in the water than standing on the beach.

Anyway, after I finished surfing (falling over), I took a few pictures of the people still in the water surfing. One good thing about the conditions today is that most everyone out there was serious, and therefore, really talented and fun to watch.

Although it does not do it justice, here are a few surfing pictures:

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And I took this while I was driving the train back to Kamakura afterwards. Don't know why they let me do that, ha ha. Actually, I was sitting in the coveted forward-most seat, a first for me. Sometimes, I love that train!

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Posted by Kirk at 06:08 PM | Comments (0)

May 26, 2009

Oh...summer is almost here!

Well, I went out to the beach this morning only to find that they have started building the beach bars already. Actually, the Zushi Beach bars open on June 19th this year (beach houses still open on the traditional July 1st)...That is early! It is probably going to be raining everyday, but that is OK. I am not complaining!

I did not take my camera out this morning, so here is a website link instead. One of the more famous bars is Otodama Sea Studio, which is actually a live house with a dance floor. I have never been, but maybe I will go this year.

Or maybe not...

But I will be hanging out on the beach every so often, so please come and visit. Specifically, I think that the Zushi fireworks show will be in August this year, not July. So many changes, it is making my head spin. Anyway, I will keep you informed.

Posted by Kirk at 06:41 AM | Comments (0)

May 19, 2009

Got my mojo back!

So, I went surfing again today. And, this time it was much better. The waves were a bit smaller, but a nicer shape and I rode a longboard today. I had a few really good rides and I didn't explore the reef with my head, so it all turned out OK. I am very happy about that!

I took this picture a couple of days ago from a restaurant/cafe in Shichirigahama. Nice view of Enoshima, so I thought I would share it. Actually, I also took some photos of other people surfing today, but they did not really come out too well. Oops.

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Posted by Kirk at 05:03 PM | Comments (0)

May 18, 2009

Lots of surfing or what passes for it

I should probably create a new category for surfing, because that is all I have been doing recently and, therefore, all I have to write about.

I have been trying to go as much as possible since Golden Week and it seems like I have been making progress. I have been reading the waves better, my timing has improved, and usually I am putting my feet where they should go, so I don't immediately fall off. Naturally, I am happy with that.

Well, until today that is! I managed to cut open my foot (not serious) and lose my contact lenses. Today being the first time for both and probably because I spent more time tumbling in front of the waves than riding on them. I just felt out of sync all day. In terms of getting better, it always seems like it is two steps forward and one step back. Today was the step back. On the other hand, a month ago I would never have considered going in with conditions like today's, so I suppose that is progress of a sort. And it was fun, even if I was spending most of time tumbling through the surf.

And, yes, if there are waves I am going again tomorrow.

Posted by Kirk at 05:29 PM | Comments (0)

May 06, 2009

Get back to work!

The title is for all of you in Japan that have to go to work tomorrow after having almost week off. Yes, it is the end of the Golden Week holiday. I went to the surf shop everyday. It was not so wonderful the last few days because it is raining and that kind of puts a damper on things. Not the surfing...I mean you are in the water already, so as long as the wind is not blowing a little rain doesn't really matter. But, no one really wants to hang around at the surf shop when it is all wet, so some of the social element is missing.

Unfortunately, I also think I have come down with a cold. I am congested and sneeze a lot, which I hear are good indications. In any case, I am ready for more sunny days.

Speaking of which, here is a picture of surfing at Shichirigahama. I took it last week, but the conditions were about the same today. Well, except that it is raining today. And I was in the water and not on shore taking a picture.

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Posted by Kirk at 06:22 PM | Comments (0)

April 29, 2009

Spring is here!

Today is the first day of the Golden Week holiday. It is always difficult for me to figure this out because there are four days off, but they are not always consecutive. This year, the first three days of next week are holidays also...so if someone takes Thursday and Friday off, then they have eights days away from work. Confusing, right? Of course, I do not need to worry about it!

I have been quite busy recently. First of all, I have been going surfing a lot (I am still crap). So, that is one thing. In addition, I finally went to Atami and picked up the mobile phone I lost last month. The woman I talked to at the police station was surprised that it ended up there considering I live in Zushi. Well, she was not half as surprised as I was. It was a pretty strange journey. It takes about 90 minutes on the train and I was in the police station for five minutes before getting right back on a train and returning. I wouldn't mind going back and spending some time in the area, but yesterday was just not good for me. I also had to go to the bank, the city office, the tax office and the post office. I think that covers pretty much every civic institution in the area. I really was busy!

I stopped by the city office because I needed to change my pension payments to automatic withdrawl and while I was there, I filled in my application for the stimulus payment. I will get 12,000 yen!! Woo hoo. It seemed less exciting, after I compared that to the monthly 14,000 yen pension payment I had signed up for. As for the tax office, there was a mistake on my tax form and they could not automatically deposit my refund. The mistake being that on my tax form, my last name comes first, while at the bank my first name is my first name. Hopefully that is sorted out.

Here are a picture of the surfing conditions on Sunday at Shichirigahama. It was not really that good for someone like me. I was out for thirty minutes before I gave up.

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I would post a few more pictures, but I haven't quite got the hang of resizing these using Microsoft. At least there is one picture this time!

Posted by Kirk at 12:31 PM | Comments (0)

April 17, 2009

What goes around, comes around

I got a notice in my mailbox today that the apartment just below mine is going to be renovated. It mentioned that it could be noisy between 9am and 6pm for the next two months...except for Sundays. Well, I never gave much thought to how my apartment renovation impacted my neighbours, but I suppose I will have a much better understanding now.

When I did mine, I gave all my neighbours chocolate. This time around, I got a towel. I guess I could turn it into ear plugs. Maybe I should get a job, so I am not around.

So...it is cloudy today. I have absolutely nothing to do and I did not make a plan for Tokyo because I am going surfing tomorrow morning. This is an interesting issue, because I moved down here last summer, but I haven't really fully made the change mentally. I've found that I go up to Tokyo less often as time goes by, but it still seems to be the default option in my head when I am trying to think of something to do. I really should change that or I should move back. Of course, the bigger issue is whether I will be in Japan at all six months from now and, to be honest, I have no idea. My life would be simpler if I did.

Posted by Kirk at 03:34 PM | Comments (0)

February 01, 2009

Superb weather today!

I have probably touched on this subject before, but it is usually very clear and sunny in the winter, especially after a big storm and even more so on a weekend when there is less road travel throwing up a lot of pollution. Fortunately, that is exactly the situation today.

So, here is ANOTHER picture of Mt. Fuji. I must have the world's biggest collection of Fuji photos taken from Zushi beach! This is worth posting, however.

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Anyway, I haven't been doing much. I thought about going surfing today, but it is probably super crowded so I will wait until tomorrow. That should be nice. In the meantime, I have a question: is it just me, or is this winter warmer than last year? It seems to be, but I wonder if that is because I moved down here to Zushi and the more easily heated apartment. I thought about that because last year I was so happy to escape to my sister's place in Florida for a week. I liked that so much I am doing it again later this month.

Posted by Kirk at 11:26 AM | Comments (0)

December 16, 2008

more surfing...and other stuff

Last time I wrote that I had been surfing for the first time. Well, now I am going every week...so I have been out four times. I am still not very good, but at least I usually manage to stay upright now. I will keep plugging away, even though it is getting colder now.

I almost went to Korea to meet a friend of mine, but my own laziness killed that idea. My friend has the month of December off and decided that he would ride his bike from Seoul to Busan. And he did it! A bit to intense for me, but I did consider popping over to Busan and spending a few days hanging out. Unfortunately, I procrastinated until it was too late to arrange the trip.

That is about it. Christmas is coming...woo hoo.

Posted by Kirk at 09:22 AM | Comments (0)

November 27, 2008

Surfing!

I went surfing yesterday. Actually, I went to the beach and fell off a surfboard a lot, but since I did manage to stay on a few times, I suppose I can brag about doing it. More importantly, I have been wanting to do this for a very long time and I finally did. Wow...must be a good week for things like that!

Of course, it was really fun. I grew up in San Diego and we went to the beach a lot when I was young, but mostly we were on a boogie boards. I did try surfing a few times, and the memories started coming back as soon as I found myself twisting around underwater. I was not very good then either.

I took a lesson from a surf shop in Shichirigahama, but we drove over to Enoshima to surf. I was surprised at how many people were out in the water on a weekday morning, but the sun was shining and there were some waves, so maybe it makes sense. But...it was REALLY crowded!

Anyway, I am going again next week!

Posted by Kirk at 09:16 AM | Comments (0)

November 19, 2008

Clear, crisp and cool

Well, it was another clear day today. Other than going to the gym, I was not sure what I would do today, but after a look out the window, I quickly decided a walk was in order. And rather than try and figure out something new, I did the whole Kamakura-Enoshima thing again.

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This picture is from Inamuragasaki...I know I have posted better ones before, but those probably they did not include a confused older Japanese man trying to figure out how to work his camera. So, there you go - something new. On the way, I stopped for a coffee in Shichirigahama and also signed up for surfing lessons. It might sound a bit serendipitous, but I had been meaning to do that for months.

In any case, I am headed back next Wednesday! I can't wait.

After all that, I did make it to the gym. And I also went and got my haircut. Very excited about that until I had to stand on the train platform for 15 minutes as a cold wind buffeted by practically hairless head.

Posted by Kirk at 06:46 PM | Comments (0)

November 14, 2008

Reasons I like to live down by the beach

OK...so, lately, I have been moaning a bit about living down in Zushi and I should apologise, because that is absolutely the opposite of what I did in the summer when living on the beach was the ideal situation. Having said that, there are some bad points. A lack of a good coffee shop is one. I will save the others for some other time.

Although someone did ask me the other day why I go to Starbucks for a coffee when Tully's is so much better. Well, as soon as they open one in Zushi...I will be first in line!

OK...I was trying to stay positive with this post. And here it is...one of the reasons why it is good to live down here. Waking up, walking two minutes to the beach and seeing this:

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Actually, seeing that, realizing it would be a nice picture and walking the five minutes back-and-forth from my apartment to get my camera and take the shot. I did that yesterday, but was too lazy to post it. No visible Mt. Fuji today.

Posted by Kirk at 08:37 AM | Comments (0)

November 10, 2008

Too long in Japan?

So, I am out in Tokyo on a Sunday night. No big deal, right? I even take the last train home...leaves Shinagawa at 12am and arrives at Zushi at 1am. Which makes my sudden 12:50 exit at Kita-Kamakura Station more surprising, especially as I had a green car ticket all the way home. Thirty minutes and 3,000 yen later I am still trying to figure it out. Scary.

Posted by Kirk at 12:27 AM | Comments (0)

October 31, 2008

A little day trip

I finally made it to Nokogiriyama (鋸山) in Chiba...I have been meaning to go for such a long time, but have never made it. And on Wednesday, I woke up and thought about what I would do and it just came to me in a flash...this was my big opportunity to go there. So, I did.

It is not too far from where I live actually. A 20 minute train ride to Kurihama, followed by 40 minutes on the Tokyo Bay Ferry and a 15 minute walk from the station got me there. And I took the ropeway instead of walking up...much quicker!

You are probably asking yourself what is the big deal about Nokogiriyama...well, it has the largest stone Buddha in Japan! 31 meters tall! Woo!

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It was an exciting day. On the ferry, there was some filming going on...there were three presumably famous local talents making weird faces and hamming it up for the cameras. I kept my distance. One of the entourage kept throwing bits of bread off the side of the boat to attract the seagulls and also a hawk...that is her below. But the highlight of the trip had to be the big LNG carrier. It was huge!

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At Nokogiriyama, I walked around for about 90 minutes. It is worth a visit if you have the chance. Actually, it is really a great view from the top and you can see Mt. Fuji behind Miura Peninsula (which is where I live). It was sort of visible when I went, but the pictures didn't really do it justice. Here are some less interesting photos instead.

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Posted by Kirk at 01:31 PM | Comments (0)

September 23, 2008

Autumn Equinox Day

Today was a holiday in Japan, so everyone could take the day off from work. You know, like I do everyday! Anyway, Freda came down to Kamakura and we walked over to Enoshima. Summer ended on a high note: it was mostly sunny and almost 30 degrees! Ironically, I got my first sunburn of the year. I thought I was passed that.

I took a few pictures on the way. This is from the Sun&Shine 35 Cafe in Shichirigahama. That was the first time for me, and I really liked it. I ordered a hamburger and it was very tasty. Woo!

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Like I mentioned, we ended up at Enoshima and once we got there we went to another place that I have been meaning to go to. It is a coffee house on the hill above the shrine that has some pretty good views...here it is. I forgot the name, sorry. By the way, the coffee is good.

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I got home around sunset, so I went over to the beach and took a few pictures that absolutely didn't come out. It WAS a very nice sunset though...sorry that you missed it.

Keeping with the theme of things not working out as I hoped, I went over to the grocery store around 8:30pm and did a bit of shopping for breakfast. I was getting very excited about tomorrow morning until I got to the register and realised that I forgot to bring my wallet. I mean I never go anywhere without my wallet...but for some reason, tonight I did. It looks like I will be eating oatmeal tomorrow morning.

Posted by Kirk at 09:55 PM | Comments (0)

September 14, 2008

Machida DJ concert

Yesterday, I went to a show held at Ryoudenji in Machida. Everything was set up on the temple grounds, and it all looked pretty amazing. I am kicking myself for not taking my camera.

Anyway, there were food and drink booths in the open area at the main entrance and two stages, one inside the main temple and one in the garden out back. The temple is surrounded by trees so it feels very isolated, although they did have to lower the volume because the neighbours behind the trees complained!

We arrived around 3pm and stayed until 8pm or so, but I could have stayed longer. For the last part of the day we mostly hung out in the main temple, listening to the music. Because it was a DJ, I did not feel compelled to watch the stage and could check out all the other people instead. It was very relaxing and a big change from the usual day/night out in Japan (at least for me!)

Posted by Kirk at 09:46 AM | Comments (0)

September 10, 2008

It's still summer!

OH! The weather has been amazing this week. Blue skies, lovely sunsets...it really has been great. Yesterday, Laura came down and we spent the afternoon hanging out on the beach. We watched the sun set and headed off to Vahana's Bar for what is becoming our ritual after beach dinner and drinks. Laura was kind enough to buy me a beer to drink on the way home from the station, which I did. I am a derelict.

Anyway, here is the beach yesterday...

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And here is the sunset...

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Today is also looking great...I spent an hour on the beach this morning. Woo hoo!

Posted by Kirk at 12:19 PM | Comments (0)

September 02, 2008

One last hurrah!

Well, tragically, the beach bars closed on Sunday. I went over in the afternoon and stayed until 12:30am...so, it was a pretty long day. Freda, Haruko and Max also came down to enjoy the party...thanks!

Like I promised, I took my camera along and shot a few pictures on the beach. Once I started drinking, I forgot about the camera, so there are not any pictures from the evening.

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The bar closed at 11pm, but nobody seemed to be in a rush to go home and I was out pretty late. Not much else to say really...I had a bit of a hangover yesterday, which is one reason why I did not write anything until now! Hard to believe I have to wait 10 months to order a beer on the beach.

Of course, last week's daily rain has been replaced by sunny days. Now that the beach houses are gone. Arrgghh.

Posted by Kirk at 10:06 AM | Comments (0)

August 31, 2008

Well, it was raining...

Tonight was the penultimate night for the bars on the beach. Woo! I drank too much. I did not mean to...the weather is too blame. You see, it started to rain heavily once I arrived at the bar. And without an umbrella, I thought it would be best to wait until it stopped before going home. I didn't think it would be six hours.

In hindsight, that might have been a bad idea. On the other hand, I had fun and met lots of cool people AND after tomorrow the beach bars will be gone. Furthermore, there was an afterparty that I skipped. The fact I am writing this is evidence that I have some willpower!

Anyway, tomorrow is the last day of summer. I will take the camera.

Posted by Kirk at 01:07 AM | Comments (0)

August 27, 2008

At least it isn't raining!

I woke up to bright sunshine this morning. Of course, as soon as I swung my legs out of bed the clouds rushed in to block it. That is OK...it is not raining (yet?). Did I mention this is the last week for the beach houses/bars? I went by last night but everyone closed up early because the rain drove all the customers away. Since there are only five days left, it is a bit upsetting.

It did give me a taste of what it will be like living here from September. I better get a hobby quick.

Anyway, I took my camera out to the beach this morning. Really, I am not sure when I stopped doing things like that. Probably around the same time I stopped updating this blog. For today, anyway, a return to normalcy.

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Here are some random boats secured off the jetty on the south side of the beach. That is the Denny's side for those of you who know the difference. You can clearly see Enoshima off to the right and there is a ghostly Mt. Fuji barely visible above it, at least in the original file.

Posted by Kirk at 08:12 AM | Comments (0)

August 24, 2008

Lazy August

As i mentioned last month, I went to London for a week's escape from the summer heat and humidity of Japan. I think that might have been a great strategy when I lived in Tokyo, but leaving from Zushi was not really necessary. Of course, it is hot here, but not nearly as bad as Tokyo.

Having said that, London was fun. I met up with lots of friends! As usual, I drank too much the first night I was there, but meeting everyone I has not seen in the last year tends to do that (thanks for organising everything John!).

I stayed with Leigh and Nicky most of the time and they were kind of enough to take me to the last England-South Africa test match. I have seen cricket before, but this was the first test match and also my first time to The Oval. We had brilliant seats the first day, although the people in the picture on the right had a pretty good view as well considering they were outside the ground. Then again, they probably had a hard time getting a 7-pound pint of Pimm's...poor bastards.

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As you can imagine, I also have spent a lot of time at the beach. Lots of people have come down to visit and that's been very nice. Unfortunately, the beach season ends next week. What will I do for the next ten months! If you have a chance to make it to Zushi Beach, please stop by the Happy Go Lucky Beach Bar, just to the right of the main entrance to the beach. Everyone there is super nice and it is a good spot to relax. You can kind of see it in the picture on the right below...it is the bar with the grass cone for a roof.

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I went to Nuala's housewarming party last night and I have never seen such a lovely house. The party was good too. On a final note, despite it being the end of August it has become quite cool in Zushi. I am talking about the weather, and not the it-is-a-more-popular-place-because-I-moved-here sense. One good thing to come out of that is this blog entry.

Posted by Kirk at 11:20 AM | Comments (0)

July 31, 2008

Zushi Fireworks 2008

Like I mentioned, yesterday was ANOTHER beach day including the Zushi Fireworks show. Despite the first signs of rain in what seemed like forever, it came off as planned. It was really comfortable sitting on the beach...maybe it was 75-80 degrees and a nice wind was blowing.

Actually, I went to Hayama during the day. i took this picture of a small beach yakisoba stand in front of the Imperial grounds. I did not eat there or anything, but it is one of the few things I had yet to take a picture of, so there you go.

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We went back to the train station around 4pm and there were already loads of people heading to Zushi Beach to save their spot for watching the fireworks. As a result, I rushed back home and grabbed my beach gear and went out to find a place. From nowhere, this summer storm appeared, but no one seemed daunted as you can see below.

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Eventually, we all settled in. And the fireworks were awesome. It all seemed to be very close. I have never taken a good picture of fireworks, but this should give you an idea of how it looked.

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Posted by Kirk at 10:28 AM | Comments (0)

July 30, 2008

Summer plans

I am off to London next week! my original thought was to break up the usually miserably humid summer, but that was before I realised just how much more comfortable summer could be outside of Tokyo. It helps that I can pop over to the beach for a swim whenever I get too warm, but the main reason is the breeze off the ocean which seems to take the edge of the humidity.

Tonight is also the Zushi Fireworks and I am really looking forward to that. Last year, we watched it from the rooftop of my building, but this time around I am going to go the beach early and save a spot. I hope it all comes off OK. I am heading over at 5pm, which is almost three hours beforehand, so that should give me plenty of time.

Posted by Kirk at 09:45 AM | Comments (0)

July 28, 2008

Hayama Fireworks

I went to watch the Hayama fireworks tonight. Even better, I watched from Zushi Beach so I only had to walk two minutes to get there. I am sure Hayama was crowded, but there were probably only 20-30 people on the beach around me and five people in the beach bar I went to. So, it was very relaxed and a good warmup for the Zushi Beach fireworks on Wednesday. That will be crowded.

I really like fireworks. And bars on the beach.

Posted by Kirk at 08:49 PM | Comments (0)

July 25, 2008

Did you really want to hear from me?

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I took this at the beach yesterday. It is not really a big deal for me because I have been going everyday this summer, but I talked to Yoko the other day and she said I should update this. So...this is for all of you that are sitting in your cubicles reading this. I thought you might want to see what you are missing.

It really has been a lovely summer so far. There was hardly any rain in rainy season and despite the sun being out everyday it has not been unbearably hot. Well, at least not on the beach! Maybe being able to go for a swim whenever it suits me helps. Or could it be the cooling ocean breeze?

Well, it is going to be good beach weather this weekend too. I will try to take some pictures.

Posted by Kirk at 11:18 AM | Comments (0)

June 25, 2008

Moving Day!

I am moving today! Actually, I am in Zushi now, waiting for the moving company to bring my stuff. They are eating at the restaurant across the street now!

I will be glad when the whole process is finished. I spent the last week slowly going through and packing everything to make sure I would throw away the things that I did not need. Since the Zushi pad is half the size of my Tokyo apartment, it was necessary. It was kind of sad to see a lot of the stuff that I had collected over the last eight years get thrown away. Which reminds me, this is exactly eight years! I guess I should write about that separately.

Anyway, I hate packing and I hate moving, so this has been a real trial. But it is almost over and if I move back to Tokyo, none of the things here will be moved up there! So, hopefully, this is my last move in Japan!

Speaking of which, I have one year left on my visa and actually I am not really sure of that because I have no idea what the local city office will say when I tell them I have no job. They tend to frown on that in Japan for some reason. We'll see.

Posted by Kirk at 12:44 PM | Comments (0)

June 14, 2008

The right decision...

I decided on Zushi after all. I am looking forward to it. Well, actually, I am in Zushi right now, so it is easy to do.

Seriously, moving is such a hassle that I cannot wait until all of that is finished. On one hand, it is easier since I own the place I am moving to and know the neighbourhood etc. On the other hand, I have to get rid of half my stuff and deciding what to keep and what to toss is a huge challenge to someone as indecisive as myself!

Fortunatley, I found a cool bar in Zushi last night and I think it can be my local! That is a major concern crossed off the list. On my way home, I went to the beach (ha ha) and you could see the moon over the water. I felt like it was a sign I made the right choice. Of course, two months from now when I am complaining about something, remind me that I said that.

Anyway, I am moving on the 25th! Less than two weeks away and only two days before the bars on the beach open. For once, timing is my friend.

Posted by Kirk at 09:31 AM | Comments (0)

December 28, 2007

Mt. Fuji from Zushi Beach

A view like this is one of the reasons I like going down to the beach. I took this a few weeks ago...just getting around to posting it now. That is not too bad considering it took me almost two years to show you the picture of the salt house.

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Anyway, I stayed in Japan for the holiday this year. That is OK because I was in San Diego in October and I will go again in February. My sister and her husband are in Florida for the next four months, so it is a good opportunity for a winter visit! Speaking of holidays, I have really wanted to head down to a warm tropical beach lately.

Instead, I am going back down to Zushi tonight. Not really tropical this time of year, but it is much easier to get to.

I have been thinking of things I want to do in 2008. Maybe next time I write something here, I will show you the list. Probably, I should figure it out in my own head first.

Posted by Kirk at 03:35 PM | Comments (0)

November 26, 2007

Another beach stroll

Continuing on the beach lifestyle theme, I met some friends at Kamakura Station yesterday and we spent the day walking to and around Enoshima. The weather was absolutely lovely and the views were terrific. I wonder how many more weekends like this we will get!

This is what Mt. Fuji looked like right after sunset...you may have noticed that the banner on top has changed. I took that one soon after.

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I was joined by Max, Freda and Keizo. I know Max from school. I met Freda through another student, but he was too busy studying to come down and join us. And Keizo is a friend of Freda's that I first met a few weeks ago when we walked around Futako-Tamagawa and Todoroki.

Here is everyone enjoying an ice cream, and later helping Max pick out a car for the ride home.

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There are also some group pictures...unfortunately not on my camera, so I am waiting for Max or Freda to send one to me. Waiting...waiting...

Here is one more picture from Enoshima looking back to the mainland. It's different, so I thought I would let you see it.

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I really should write more about Enoshima, but I do not have my thoughts organised right now. On one hand, it is chock full of souvenir shops and that is not really so lovely, but there are lots of really cool places. It would be interesting to live there, maybe. Well, maybe not. We saw a coffee shop with a fantastic view of the coast line back towards Kamakura. Maybe next time, a leaisurely coffee there would be enough.

Posted by Kirk at 11:01 AM | Comments (0)

Zushi Beach Yabusame (逗子海岸流鏑馬)

Well, it has been a month, so I thought it would be nice to update the blog again. I have been kind of busy, but always when I get home it does not seem to be entertaining enough to write about. Well, last week's horseback archery on Zushi Beach being an exception. In that case, I was just lazy. But...I am over that now, so here are some pictures and a brief chat about it.

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Every year, there is a demonstration of horseback archery (Yabusame - 流鏑馬)on Zushi Beach. Apparently, this happened for the first time on September 2, 1199. No, that is not a typo...800 years ago. The martial art was first promoted by Minamoto Yoritomo who ruled a newly united Japan from nearby Kamakura. Cool, right?

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I did not get to see very much, mostly because the wind was extremely strong and I kept getting sand in my eyes. I always like being on the beach, but this was less than ideal. The demonstration was supposed to last a few hours, but it ended early. I think everyone was ready to go home.

Afterwards, some of the students came down and we went back to the Zushi pad for a few drinks. It was great fun.

Oh, here is a picture from the festival in town before the archery. The main shopping street was closed for the morning and there were all sorts of food stands and the like. There was also this ceremony, but I was not close enough to really see or hear what was going on.

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Posted by Kirk at 10:44 AM | Comments (0)

October 13, 2007

Walking in Kamakura

I spent Friday morning walking in Kamakura. Of course, I have been down there a lot, but this was the first time that I went there from Zushi instead of Tokyo. It is much more convenient right?

I met a friend at Kamakura station and we walked from there to Kita-Kamakura, passing all the big temples on the way. I left Zushi at 9am...compared to 8am if I had been in Tokyo. Ha! Even better, the weather was perfect for walking: the sun was out, but it did not get too hot. This is going to be easy to get used to.

Here are a few snapshots, so you have something to look at. I took these at Engakuji, just by the station. We sat for awhile on a bench in a temple overlooking the big grassy area. It was really comfortable there.

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On the way there we also went t