At one of my first days, I asked Domi, whether he knew the Book: "Darum nerven Japaner" (eng. That`s why Japanese people are annoying), because I wanted to give due point to the chapter about Japanese bikes. Because what the book claims is true, all Japanese ride the same bike model in the same color with the same equipment. Since I got the bike of another intern, which left shortly after I arrived, I am also stuck with such a bike. But after having to search for my bike every day, though I always remembered where I put it, I was fed up. Now I got a nice black sticker at the back fender saying in huge red letters: "Expect Resistance".
Now I always find it easily. No other Japanese bike got sticker or anything else on it, due to conformity. But that is another story...
Anyway, his reply to my inquiry was: "Are you kidding me? Are you aware that the guy, who wrote the book works in just this very office and sitting over yonder!", said Domi pointing at the other end of the office. Since the book is very famous in Germany, especially with people having interests in Japan, you could say that I work together with a celebrity!
(Btw. Later I found out, that Domi still had not read the book, although he worked together with Christoph for quite a while!)
So it come that I got to know Christoph and he invited me to a beach party in 逗子 (Zushi), which lies on the other end (other shore) of 神奈川県 (Kanagawa). I didn't see a beach for many years, so I decided to tag along. Alas Christoph does not live in 厚木 (Atusgi), so I had to get there all by myself. Having only the name of the city and Christophs cell phone number, which I forgot at home.
Well for me the only way to find anything, no matter the equipment (maps, compass, GPS), being to ask people for directions every few meters anyway, I managed to get to 逗子. There I phoned another trainee, which luckily had Christoph's number. He told me to take a bus to some station and then look for the beach below a bridge. And so it came that for the second time I successfully reached a destination in Japan "all by myself" (and I had to change trains 3 times!).
So what can I tell you about the Japanese beach. Where we had the party, was pretty much like European beaches are. Some beach music "disco", where you could dance, various places to buy drinks, toilets, and well sand and the sea.
The weather was pretty nice and the beach was not crowded. Although I was a bit afraid at first, I had no problems with the fact that all of Christoph's friends were and spoke Japanese. I think it gets already easier talking in Japanese with every time I speak to people without the possibility to fall back to English. Later Pedro, the Portuguese trainee and Sharon his Chinese girlfriend, as well as some other foreigners I haven't met before joined the party and we got ourselves a truly warm, nice, colorful and happy group.
Later, when the sun went down, we made a 花火 (hanabi = fire flowers = fireworks). It was really wonderful, and there were some pretty cool things in the packages like a tank, which first shot sparks and then starting spinning around like a U.F.O. (未確認飛行物体).
After that we left that place and looked for a beach "bar". We took a bus and walked for a while, since it was not to be reached very easily. The bar reminded me of my image of Jamaica and was really nice. Only wood, no fancy design, lanterns, every very simplistic and "natural". When I inquired about it, they explained me, that during the phase of huge economic growth at every beach in Japan huge fancy western buildings with much electronic and lights were built and the traditional pre-touristic Japanese way of enjoying the beach was all but forgotten abandoned. However after the Bubble Economy had burst apart, people finally began to realize that you don't need much to enjoy the beach together with your friends. And that was when places like this one, were (re)built. Alas I had made no pictures, so suffice my description above. In the middle of the bar has a tree, were many little paper sheets hang around, in all forms and colors. And all around the bar were pens and paper sheets to write something one. They explained, that people write their wishes down and hand them up hoping they may come true.
Browsing through some of them I found
people wishing for a girl/boyfriend,
wishing that their boy/girlfriend would marry them,
striving for world domination,
desiring to be more pretty and/or less fat,
hoping they will pass the entrance exam,
wishing health to everyone and their family,
world peace and love,
no more wars,
to get drunk tonight,
that something wonderful will happen to them tonight
and many more.
Of course I also hung up a wish, but I will not tell you what I wished for ;)
And thus ended another day in Japan, and took a Taxi back to 逗子駅 station and then the train back to 厚木 and dreamed of the peoples wishes coming true and of nights on the beach only lit by the stars and the fire of torches....
dreaming for you