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Enjoying Beer in a Hammock

島カフェ

The morning when I had woken up in Hatsushima, I was already forty. Things looked different…then I realized I had accidentally put on contact lenses twice.

After taking a bath at the Shimanoyu, making hot sandwiches at breakfast and checking out, we went to the Asian Garden to rest until lunch. We spent time doing nothing on a hammock which was set up under the tent for shade drinking beer. Why does beer in the morning taste so good? After some lugubrious time, we headed to Shokudogai, the dining street.  

Ohatsu’s Pine Tree

お初の松

There is a pine tree called Ohatsu’s pine tree near Shokudo-gai. There is a folktale of a girl called Ohatsu connected to this tree. 17 year-old Ohatsu fell in love with a young fellow, Ukon at the festival of Izusan. He promised her if she came to see him every day for hundred days, he would marry her. So she crossed the sea in a wooden washtub (!) every night. However, on the 99th night, a man who was in love with her put out the fire as a landmark. Drifting on the sea in the dark night, she was caught in a wave and died. Ukon went on a pilgrimage to grieve for her soul. The man who put out the fire died in agony seven days later.

It is a sad story. Though it is only briefly told, it is full of dramatic factors: festival, love for the first sight, promise, basin, jealousy, pilgrimage, and death in agony. Love is blind through the ages. The man who put out the fire was a looser, but what about the guy who made the vulnerable girl travel across the sea in a washtub? He was a jerk, too. Why didn’t he come himself? Maybe it was because I was a bit drunk, but the thought pissed me off.

Meganemaru

写真-3

We visited Meganemaru for lunch. My friend had researched for a good dining place. Lots of people take a day trip to Hatsushima to have lunch. Meganemaru seemed busy with lots of visitors. I was attracted to Ikadon, a bowl of rice topped with squid sashimi, but I chose Omakasedon, a bowl of rise topped with variety of sashimi such as mackerel, shrimp, turban shell and squid. I ordered a pint of beer, and another later.

Two old ladies shared a table with us. They were coming from Gunma with a cheap ticket, which took many hours to get here. Though I don’t really like to be in a train or bus for long hours, I was impressed that there was such a way of having fun.

The ferry’s departure time was coming close, so we left Meganemaru with a full belly.

Kinomiya Jinja

 大楠We got back to Atami around two o’clock. We had enough time, so we decided to have a long walk to Kurumiya jinjya. Sweating heavily, we arrived at the popular power spot that is well known for a gigantic camphor tree. The two thousand year-old tree was much wider than I had expected. I was convinced that its massive presence attracted lots of people. It is easy to say, “Oh, this tree is more than two thousand years old.” But two thousand years is mind-boggling indeed. I wonder what has the tree witnessed for so many years.

I paid my respect at the shrine and picked up an omikuji, a paper fortune. Surprisingly, it was daikichi, which means excellent luck! It said unexpected joy and blessings are coming. Follow your intuition. Your circle of acquaintances is going to be larger.” Yet it warned me not to get carried away. This was the very first omikuji after I turned 40. I felt so lucky. Then, I realized that the last one of my 30’s was “The 48ways omikuji”. I took it out and reread it. The erotic omikuji said “Your body and soul are going to be revitalized.” Considering that I had a fever a several days before, this three-day trip gave me a relaxed time, the erotic omikuji was in a sense right. It is not something to be taken lightly, I guess.

The Nostalgic Rick Astley (extra)

We got back to Tokyo and met up with one other friend at an 80’s bar which opened lately. They made a toast to celebrate my birthday. I got presents from them. Thank you. While we were talking about the trip over a drink, Rick Astley’s music video come on the screen. Rick Astley!

As a teenager, I bought his Give You Up! and Together Forever CD.I found myself moving my arms to the music like Rick did in the music video. I still remember Rick said about himself “ I’m shy,” on a TV program in Japan. I had remembered it because my middle school self was able to understand the short phrase and because I had wondered why a shy person would say in public that he was shy. Not that I mean anything. It was just a piece of memory. What was the dream I had as a teenager? Being a housewife with sextuplet. As for my dream right now? I imagined saying “it’s a secret” in a seductive 80’s idol manner, but it made me sick. Ew.

With Listening to Rick Astely and other 80’s songs, I had a nice birthday. Thank you to my friend who made plans and organized everything. Now I feel like being 40 is not so bad. I’m excited.

Fin.

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朝食Morning of the second day in Atami.

After having a nice morning bath at Otsuki Hotel Wafukan, where we spent a night, we headed to the dining hall to have breakfast.

The splendid breakfast, which was beyond my expectation, excited me. Carefully selected raw egg on rice was the best.  

A couple of university students who were seated a little distance away from us were talking about the philosophy of life based on their own experiences. The entrance exam or interview apparently is the biggest event in life for them. Of course, I thought, they have only lived half the years I have. You’ll experience much more young men. I was feeling a little blue on the last day of my 30’s. I can’t believe I came so far!

Landing on Hatsushima Island!

初島

We headed to Hatsushima Island, which is about 20 minutes away from Atami by ferry. With a nice breeze, I felt good. A line from Olivia wo kikinagara (While listening to Olivia) was repeating in my head.

♪ I didn’t imagine this day was coming…  

I mean it. I’m gonna be forty tomorrow… I still remember when I asked myself, “Am I an elementary student for the rest of my life?” as a third grader since every day seemed too long. But look now. I’m turning to forty all to soon. My hair I just had washed that morning was getting sticky so quickly, and in no time we arrived at Hatsushima Island.

Hatsushima is the closest island from the Kanto Area. Its circumference is about 4 kilometers, and about 250 people live in this island. On disembarking, you will see Shokudogai, the dining street.

We had booked for a camping trailer at the camping villa of the Hatsushima Resort Island. It was early for checking in, so we rested at the lawn at the Asian garden where many hammocks were set up.

SARUTOBI 

サルトビ

SARUTOBI(I don’t know why but I keep calling it Sasuke by mistake.)is an all-out rope athletics course. My well-organized friend, unlike me who always doesn’t have a plan, had pushed SARUTOBI and she was looking forward to trying it. Though you might have to wait for three hours during summer vacation, we didn’t have to wait at all today. So we tried it out.

Once you put a harness into the wire, you can’t quit. So, you need to sign in case of getting injured. I was a little bit worried at first, but soon I realized it was a piece of cake for me. After a while, my friend became quiet and said, “I can’t do this. It’s too scary.” She has run full and ultra marathons and even climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro. It surprised me, but I even heard male students making a fuss about the course. Right, the course was full-scale and if you made false step, you could get in a big trouble. But once you start, you have to go on.

After quickly finishing the second course and cheering my friend from the ground, I heard one girl’s voice coming from above, “That lady is already finished! How fast!” The girls started right after me. Now they were shaking like a newborn doe. Waving to them, I grinded to myself: I have lots of experience.

As a kid, I used to run around the hills and played Tarzan. I hung on a tree vine that my brothers cut off from trees growing luxuriantly, and swung shouting like Tarzan. That was the most fun among the play activities in my childhood. I never expected that the experience would help me like this.

There is a expression in the Fukushima dialect called “sasukenee”, which means “not a big deal” or “no problem”. Literally, SASUKE was sasukenee for me. Oh no! It was actually SARUTOBI.

Strolling The Island

リゾート

After we took a quick bath at Shimanoyu, the hot spring with a view of the ocean, we strolled around and headed off to Shokudo-gai, the daining street, to have a late lunch. This island has no beach so the waves directly hit the rim of the island and roar. I felt rejuvenated, taking a bath and taking a walk in the sound of the wave hitting rocks.

海苔ラーメン

We had seaweed noodle and beer at Sakaya. The wether was fine, a beer after exercise was good, and the simple flavor of the noodle with seaweed, which is the specialty of the island, was delicious. The well-seasoned squid legs served as a complementary dish was great with beer. Only a few people were left in this hour, so we enjoyed talking with the owner of the place. He said he likes traveling all over Japan for sake. He sometimes made jokes, harmless but boring ones. I still remember his tanned smiley face. The place on the bathroom door which said “President’s Office” made me laugh when I went to the bathroom.

The Supermoon

スーパームーン

Fighting with mosquitoes, I enjoyed taking a nap in the hammock in front of the trailer we stayed for a night. Dinner here is barbeque and its ingredients are prepared. You can also cook western style nabe by boiling them thoroughly in a pan, ( Actually when you think about it, it is neither western style or nabe. It’s a quite rough dish.) and that’s we chose. The taste was not so bad. While we just kept eating it, a man from the villa brought a cake and a bottle of sparkling wine. My friend had them arranged for me. (Thank you!)

ケーキ

This day that was the last day of my 30’s had a supermoon. It is said to have detox effect.I wanted to release my bad habit of imagining bad things and being worried about them. I could be obsessed with things that have not yet happened. I wanted to stop it. So I made a promise to the full moon.

The only supermarket on the island closes at five. The light-out time here was ten thirty. After finishing all the drinks, we went to bed before the date changed.

To be continued in Day 3.

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