Wednesday, April 10, 2013

I: Oh, the Places You'll Go!

I is for Isonoura, Japan

Isonoura beach is not too far from Wakayama city, where I lived during my first year in Japan. We would often take off for the beach, either by train or later on by motor scooter, to hang out.

It's a popular spot for surfers, and some of the English teachers we worked with had made friends with some young surfers. In fact, don't tell Mike, but my first kiss in Japan was with one of these young surfers. I can't remember much about him, including his name (Akita? Maybe?), but it's the guy in the dark gray sweater in the photo below. (As you might guess, it was terribly memorable!) Surfing in Japan is really tame in comparison to Hawaii or the West Coast of the United States, but these surfer boys took it very seriously!

Dinner with the surfers (when my sister was visiting Japan)
Judging from what I can find on the Internet about Isonoura Beach, it's vastly more crowded and popular nowadays than it was back in 1986-87! Isonoura paled in comparison to Oregon's beautiful coastline. At one end of the beach were factories, and it was strewn with piles of garbage here and there. I'm not the only Oregonian to notice this. I found this on an Osaka blog (from 2010, emphasis mine):
A Personal Note: Please be sure to collect any trash that belongs to you to help keep Japan’s beaches clean. Coming from Oregon, where beaches are heavily protected and kept in a very natural state, I am always shocked at the amount of trash people leave behind on the sand, and I hope everyone will avoid this sort of behavior.
According to this photo on Isonoura Beach's Facebook page, now they have planted palm trees in the middle of the beach, so they look completely unnatural and spoil the wide sandy beaches...strange!
But even though I'm spoiled, a beach is a beach...and it was a fun place to escape to...especially when I acquired a motor scooter and could ride there on my own! I often took solitary trips to the beach on my motor scooter. Now I think about the safety of that...what would have happened if I'd had an accident and I'd been on my own? This was before the advent of cell phones, and I was a foreigner. The risks I took back then in my early 20s!
With Debbie and another Wakayama teacher, Margaret

Picnic on the beach
Cath flicking something on the beach
Catch up with my other A to Z posts here. Tomorrow, lots of India spots starting with "J"!


  1. Fun post! I love to travel too, but I don't think I'll ever get to go that far! So thanks for reliving your memories, and your first kiss, with us! Hope to see you stop by my blog if you get a chance!

  2. I would love to beach comb for glass there!!!! Funny but I never think of surfing outside the US. Never would have thought about Japan as a surfing place.

  3. I had cell phones in my 20's AND I look back and shudder about some of the things I did. :)

  4. It's an ugly custom of people to leave their trash behind along the beaches, no matter what country. We suffer so much for this too. I hate it.
    Great pics! I'll sure come back tomorrow as I love to hear about India.
    Father Dragon Writes

  5. I have spent many years in Japan and have thoroughly enjoyed going through your japan posts ! Brought back many god memories !

  6. Lovely post! I think Japan is a beautiful country, and thank you for sharing!! Never been there, and most likely never will have that opportunity, but very interesting!