We arrived in Shirahama without incident. Even with everything that is going on in Japan, Shirahama is a really nice place. It’s quite popular with Japanese tourists, as the beach is really amazing. Oddly enough, in the 1980s the local government were worried Shirahama would lose it’s famous white sand beach to erosion, so they started importing sand from Australia.
In the middle of summer, the place would be packed, but coming out of winter into spring, it’s usually a bit quiet. As soon as Marine Day (third Monday of July) passes, people will start swimming, but it’s not so common to swim before that, even though the temperature is already really hot.
It’s interesting for me, and quite different to New Zealand. For me Japanese summer is almost too hot to swim by the time Marine Day rolls around. It feels like getting into a bath. I know a few Japanese people who have been surprised at what we call ‘beach weather’ back home, as NZ isn’t the tropical island that some people imagine. It’s between Australia and Antarctica, and the winds that whip are from the south can make summer feel like winter.
Anyway, we’ve just arrived in Shirahama, so why am I talking about NZ weather? I finally got a chance to drive for a little while, which was nice. It’s not that I don’t like driving, I’m just a little nervous about it. Alex drove trucks in the army for a while, so he really knows what he’s doing. I don’t think I posted a photo of the car we’re using at the moment, but this was the first one we could find keys for. Ayako, Risa and Taro wanted to keep the little soft toys that were on the dashboard. I don’t think it’s the way neither Alex or I imagined driving around in an apocalypse or whatever is happening, but I guess it’s Japan and it’s not our place to complain.
At the moment, we are taking a break for lunch in front of Engetsuto, which the giant rock arch in the middle of the sea that’s pictured above. It’s pretty cool. Lunch is the lunch of the ready to eat meals we got from the SDF (Self Defence Force). We still haven’t had much of a chance to look around yet, but there are a lot of hotels here. Who knows what or who is in them all. It’s impossible to know from the outside. We might have a chance to pick up some extra food, people or a cooler car, but the first priority is to meet Taro’s brother. He’ll know more about what’s going on down here and apparently he’s set up pretty well.
I got a brief email from the guy who moved from his apartment to a karaoke building with a bunch of other people:
So, life in the karaoke building is not as fun as it sounds. Food is getting low. There are too many people here. It worries me. With no power, running water or gas, we make cup noodles by heating bottled water up over a cooking fire in a trashcan. Otherwise it’s bar snacks. I wish I had some fruit or something.
I realise I was lucky to get here. There always seems to be people banging on the door. It’s blocked up pretty tight, but the other guys say there are more than before. Don’t think anyone will be leaving for a while. It’s so boring here and we can’t even do karaoke. Hope you’re holding up okay and I can get down to Wakayama to see you soon. Don’t know when they might be, but I am really over this place. Stay safe!