Ogasawara Islands: Snorkeling paradise

Ogasawara Islands was a snorkeler’s paradise.
On the boat trip they took us out to a special spot where all the fish are. Didn’t get as long a time that would I have liked here, but that’s only because we were lucky enough to see dolphins and spent more time dolphin watching which cut into snorkeling time. I ended up going back out this to snorkeling spot on another boat trip on my last day.

The snorkeling was amazing! So much fun.

From Ogasawara day 1 – minami jima and dolphin snorkeling
From Ogasawara day 1 – minami jima and dolphin snorkeling
From Ogasawara day 1 – minami jima and dolphin snorkeling
From Ogasawara day 1 – minami jima and dolphin snorkeling
From Ogasawara day 1 – minami jima and dolphin snorkeling
From Ogasawara day 1 – minami jima and dolphin snorkeling
From Ogasawara day 1 – minami jima and dolphin snorkeling
From Ogasawara day 1 – minami jima and dolphin snorkeling
From Ogasawara day 1 – minami jima and dolphin snorkeling
From Ogasawara day 1 – minami jima and dolphin snorkeling
From Ogasawara day 1 – minami jima and dolphin snorkeling
From Ogasawara day 1 – minami jima and dolphin snorkeling
From Ogasawara day 1 – minami jima and dolphin snorkeling
From Ogasawara day 1 – minami jima and dolphin snorkeling
From Ogasawara day 1 – minami jima and dolphin snorkeling
From Ogasawara day 1 – minami jima and dolphin snorkeling
From Ogasawara day 1 – minami jima and dolphin snorkeling
From Ogasawara day 1 – minami jima and dolphin snorkeling
From Ogasawara day 1 – minami jima and dolphin snorkeling
From Ogasawara day 1 – minami jima and dolphin snorkeling
From Ogasawara day 1 – minami jima and dolphin snorkeling
From Ogasawara day 1 – minami jima and dolphin snorkeling
From Ogasawara day 1 – minami jima and dolphin snorkeling

Snorkeling is awesome.

Some cool cloud photos:

From Ogasawara day 1 – minami jima and dolphin snorkeling
From Ogasawara day 1 – minami jima and dolphin snorkeling
From Ogasawara day 1 – minami jima and dolphin snorkeling
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Snorkeling at Hirozohama

Have been on a bit of a snorkeling spree lately. Here are some pics snorkeling at Hirizohama (southern Izu peninsula) taken a couple of weeks ago.

From Hirizohama snorkeling
From Hirizohama snorkeling
From Hirizohama snorkeling
From Hirizohama snorkeling
From Hirizohama snorkeling
From Hirizohama snorkeling
From Hirizohama snorkeling
From Hirizohama snorkeling
From Hirizohama snorkeling
From Hirizohama snorkeling
From Hirizohama snorkeling
From Hirizohama snorkeling
From Hirizohama snorkeling
From Hirizohama snorkeling
From Hirizohama snorkeling
From Hirizohama snorkeling
From Hirizohama snorkeling
From Hirizohama snorkeling
From Hirizohama snorkeling
From Hirizohama snorkeling
From Hirizohama snorkeling
From Hirizohama snorkeling
From Hirizohama snorkeling
From Hirizohama snorkeling
From Hirizohama snorkeling
From Hirizohama snorkeling
From Hirizohama snorkeling
From Hirizohama snorkeling
From Hirizohama snorkeling
From Hirizohama snorkeling
From Hirizohama snorkeling
From Hirizohama snorkeling
From Hirizohama snorkeling
From Hirizohama snorkeling
From Hirizohama snorkeling

Travel Notes:
Went for the weekend staying overnight at Yumihahama. Access to Hirizohama is difficult without a car as public transport is limited and infrequent.
At Hirizohama area, you take a boat to the snorkeling spot (1500yen return). The snorkeling spot is super crowded in peak summer period and everyone brings their tents. It is very rocky. But plenty of sealife.

Oshima Fuji open water swimming

Went to Oshima a few weekends ago. Finally got to tick that one off the list. Of the seven Izu islands, I only have one more to do.
Was in Oshima for a triathlon – not an individual one, but rather a team relay. Naturally, I’d be doing the swimming leg. Unfortunately, and to everyone’s disappointment, it rained. A lot. The race was cancelled. And, of course, the next day was a perfectly sunny day. Oh well, hiked a volcano on the Sunday instead so all was not lost.

In the absence of a swim on Saturday, some of us got up early for a pre-breakfast swim. Gotta love a 6am swim on a Sunday. Who needs sleep, right? It was worth it though coz we got to see Fuji.

From Oshima tri day 2
From Oshima tri day 2
From Oshima tri day 2

Mount Fuji in all its glory. Was a drastic change from the previous day of rain and cloud.

From Oshima tri day 2
From Oshima tri day 2
From Oshima tri day 2
From Oshima tri day 2

This particular spot was called Akinohama (on Oshima Island).
We jumped off from a small rocky point.

From Oshima tri day 2
From Oshima tri day 2
From Oshima tri day 2
From Oshima tri day 2
From Oshima tri day 2
From Oshima tri day 2

A fine morning for some wild swimming.
In we jumped. Everyone wore wetsuits except me. Triathletes are such wimps in the water 😉

From Oshima tri day 2

The water was cold. I’m guessing about 19 degrees. Definitely made the heart stop beating for a second when I first jumped in. Took me a while to get my breathing right. Water was chilly and it was surprisingly choppy. Felt a bit seasick out there. Didn’t help that I was seasick the day before on the boat from Tokyo to Oshima island. We had had some wild wet weather the day before.

From Oshima tri day 2
From Oshima tri day 2
From Oshima tri day 2
From Oshima tri day 2
From Oshima tri day 2
From Oshima tri day 2

This is open water swimming at its finest. Refreshing cold water with Mount Fuji looking over us.

C’mon in!

From Oshima tri day 2
From Oshima tri day 2
From Oshima tri day 2

The pensive swimmer:

From Oshima tri day 2

Tumon Bay: Postcards from Guam

Guam is an interesting little island. It’s pretty tiny, with a population of about 160,000 inhabitants. You can see the whole island in a day if you have a car. It’s really close to Japan – only a 3.5 hour flight. It’s a popular holiday destination for Japanese people. Guam is actually a US territory but the island is a mix of Japanese, American and local influence. It is heavily catered for Japanese tourists. Pretty much all the signs are in Japanese, as well as in English. It was almost like a mini-Japan, perhaps a cross between Hawaii and Okinawa. I found that I could understand more by reading everything in Japanese, despite the fact that everyone speaks English in addition to Chamurro. Maps, menu, signs etc are all in Japanese. And most of the tourists are predominantly Japanese or Korean. At the same time, it has an American culture. Big shopping malls, large portion food and the currency is USD. There is also quite a strong military presence with a both a navy and air force located on the tiny island. The weather though is hot, humid and sunny – it’s actually pretty close to the equator.

It has beautiful bays and coastline, and jungle/bush areas. But it’s a super tiny island filled with big cars and trucks. 98% of the cars are imported from Japan. It seemed like there were more calls than people. The malls and shopping outlets are popular with tourists. They even have a 24-hour KMart store. However, there is not a single Starbucks store on the island of Guam. Another random tidbit I learnt was that there is a jail on the island. It accomodates 300 people, but currently houses about 700 people.

The main city centre area is Tumon Bay (although that is not the capital of Guam). Tumon is the tourist hub where all the hotels are. It’s really pretty and the water is amazing. It was very picturesque and relaxing. Water and sunshine is all I need.

These are all photos from Day 1 in Guam.

Our view from the hotel room overlooked this side of the bay to the right:

From Guam day 1
From Guam day 1
From Guam day 1

I enjoyed waking up to this every morning I was there:

From Guam day 1
From Guam day 1

Ahh, paradise:

From Guam day 1

This was the other side, where we headed down for a swim on the Saturday morning:

From Guam day 1
From Guam day 1
From Guam day 1

The bay was super shallow, but the water super clear. Popular for snorkelling and there was a surprising amount of fish and marinelife.

From Guam day 1
From Guam day 1
From Guam day 1
From Guam day 1
From Guam day 1
From Guam day 1
From Guam day 1
From Guam day 1
From Guam day 1
From Guam day 1

An example of appropriate and inappropriate beach footwear:

From Guam day 1

The hotel was also really nice. We had a great view from our room and it had an infinity pool.

From Guam day 1
From Guam day 1
From Guam day 1
From Guam day 1

Surrounded by water and more water:

From Guam day 1
From Guam day 1
From Guam day 1
From Guam day 1
From Guam day 1
From Guam day 1
From Guam day 1
From Guam day 1
From Guam day 1
From Guam day 1

Brace yourself: lots of photos of pretty much the same thing. But that’s my style that you’ve come to know and love.

From Guam day 1
From Guam day 1
From Guam day 1
From Guam day 1
From Guam day 1
From Guam day 1

This is why I love water and love swimming.

From Guam day 1
From Guam day 1
From Guam day 1
From Guam day 1
From Guam day 1
From Guam day 1

Sunset from the hotel room:

From Guam day 1
From Guam day 1

Guam was an awesome holiday mini-break. I would have liked to have spent more time there. I managed to squeeze in a lot for a short amount of time. Saturday was mostly hotel-bound and admiring the views of the bay, aside from a small swim session and resting up before the 8km swim race. Sunday was then spent recovering the 8km swim, so I really didn’t do a lot of sightseeing over the weekend.

Cocos Island Swim Race Report: Guam 8km swim race

I owe you quite a few blog updates. The blogging has taken a backseat lately. When I haven’t been at work, I’ve been swimming training. For the last 5-6 months I have been (secretly) clocking up miles in the pool. Since January 1st of this year, I have logged about 220km in the pool. I have been in training for a year (being 2014) of endurance open water swimming.

My main event for the year was the Guam Cocos Island Crossing swim – 5mile (8km) swim race. I’m pleased to say that I finished it and was happy with my performance.

The race was on Sunday June 1. The days leading up were tiring.

I got a massage on the Thursday night (I’ve enjoyed incorporating massages into my training routine).

Here’s a rundown of it all.

Friday looked like this: Start work at 9am (a little earlier than usual). Finished work at 5:30pm and headed straight for Narita airport. Lugging wheelie suitcase throughout Tokyo and up and down stairs was a bad move. Carrying suitcase upstairs strained my arms a bit. They were sore the next day. I needed to be in tip top condition for Sunday’s race. I usually travel with a backpack and usually don’t lug the wheelie suitcase around. Bad move, bad move. Flight was just after 9pm. Arrived into Guam at 2am.

In the early hours of Saturday morning at 3am, I checked into the hotel at Guam and literally just crawled into bed. What a long day. Swimming friend, Lisa, was also doing the race and had arrived earlier and was already asleep.

Saturday – having only gotten into bed at 3am, I reluctantly got up at 9am for a casual training session. We headed down to the beach and set off for a swim at Tumon Bay. The place was gorgeous. And the view from our hotel was awesome. I hadn’t been able to check it out earlier. The Bay area is beautiful – clear waters, sunshine. Amazing. We did a a slow relaxed swim. I cut mine a bit short as I was super exhausted, but Lisa continued on. I headed back in to the hotel to grab some food. It was about 11am, so it was more an early lunch. Then went back to hotel room to rest. I was a bit sleep-deprived and the heat was a bit draining. The sightseeing would have to wait until after the race. Before I knew it I had fallen asleep into a long power nap. Lisa woke me up at 4:30pm. Ugh, time to get up for the pre-race briefing which was from 5-6pm. We got our race caps and tshirts and a briefing (which was all in Japanese). As we had to register in Japan we were kind of lumped in with the Japanese participant contingent – we were all at the same hotel and had a separate briefing etc.

After the briefing we ventured off for dinner. Settled for a nice carb dinner of spaghetti at an Italian restaurant.
It was then time for an early night. We were in bed by 9:30pm, coz that’s just how I roll on a Saturday night! Next day was gonna be an early start and I had only managed handfuls of sleep at a time in the 24 hours prior.

Sunday morning: Lisa was up at 3am to do her pre-race getting ready ritual. I am not a morning person and I rolled out of bed at 4am and straight into my cossies. Got all my gear together and then we headed down to the lobby.

Pre-race fuel packing:

From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race

Fruit salad was breakfast, which I had purchased the day before. Plenty of fluids to sip on to stay hydrated – mostly water, coconut water and sips of gatorade as well. I didn’t end up eating the Cliff Bar and only ate one banana, although had planned on and should have eaten two. And some sports liquid (gel).

Here is what I packed for post-race replenishment:

From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race

Didn’t end up eating half of that stuff after the race. But better to be prepared. Basically we had to bring all food and supplies as there would be no opportunity to purchase anything after the race and the one-hour bus ride back. Better to have all the junk food on hand. Just think of all those calories that I would burn off and that needed to be replaced.

There was bus for the Japanese group that would take us to the race venue. Bus left at around 5am and we got to Merizo Pier – the south end of Guam at about 6am. I ate a breakfast of fruit salad on the bus on the way.

Merizo was about an hour away. Some pics of the coastline from the bus window along the way:

From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race
From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race
From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race

Weather and water conditions were looking favourable. Flat and glassy.

We arrived about 6am at Merizo Pier. Race time was at 7am. There were 2 course options: 4km or 8km.
The 4km race started at Cocos Island and you swam to Merizo. This has been the original race course for about 20 years. Swimmers are required to take the ferry across to Cocos Island. A ferry takes the swimmers across there.
Only in the last couple of years have they offered the 8km swim, which is start at Merizo, swim to Cocos Island and then back to Merizo.

Race course:

From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race

Time to Grease Up courtesy of the Vaseline table:

From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race

Vaseline helps to protect against jellyfish and chafing.

We could see out to Cocos Island. And there was a rainbow. It was a good sign.

From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race
From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race

Water looked flat for now but it would change once we started swimming.

From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race
From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race
From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race

Cocos Island:

From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race

The course marked by about 15 buoys was a curved route, not the most straightest direct route. And the 4km and 8km swimmers all started at 7am. So the 8km swimmers had to make sure to stay right of the buoys so we wouldn’t swim into the oncoming 4km swimmers.

From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race

I guess it doesn’t look too far….

From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race
From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race

Water temp was warm about 24-25 degrees. My ideal water temp although for a long distance race it could have been a bit cooler as it definitely got warm out there as we were swimming. Air temp was in the 30s.

From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race

Ready or not:

From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race

Number #302. Mind the 4am bedhair that I’m rocking. Not looking my finest in these pics.

From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race

Pre-race selfie. All greased up. Goggles. Check. Swim cap. Check. Cossies. Check. Shoulders. Check.

From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race

Just after 7am we were off. There weren’t many of us in the 8km swim. As it turned out, only 28 of us. This meant that most of us would be swimming our own race as we’d all be spread out over the 8km swim. They had a couple of hundred swimmers in the 4km swim though. I started off ok. The water was nice and I was really enjoying the swim. It was fun for about the first 2km. There were lots of buoys to follow so that made sighting easy but then they seemed to get further and further apart. I kept swimming but goddamn it that island did not seem to be getting closer. I started to worry a little. I was not getting closer to the island at all. Was there a current? Was I getting pushed back? Was the island being moved further back? Was I moving at all? Were my arms working? Was this all a dream and the alarm clock was going to go off any minute? Sadly the latter was not the case. Nothing to do but keep pushing forward a little stronger.
Lots to think about when you’re swimming 8km.

I thought to myself: “by the time I get to the island/halfway point that will only have been 4km and I have to do it again to go back”. The thought of doubling that and doing another 4km was overwhelming. I even half-wished I would get stung by a jellyfish just so I would have a reason to quit the race. The 4km was mentally tough even though I do 4km most days at the pool. I had trouble sighting the turnaround point. Where was that last goddamn buoy? I didn’t want to miss it because that was where the drinks boat was going to be. Surely enough I saw it. There was a kayak sitting by the buoy. Boy, was I happy to see that. I swam up to the kayak and grabbed a cup of water. I stopped for a mini break whilst treading water. I had two cups of water, and took a gel (I had carried 2 gels with me tucked into my cossies. One for the 4km and one for the 6km point). I asked the guy for the time. It was 8:12am. Alright. Not bad. Was happy with that. 4km in 72min. I had beaten the cut-off time. There was a 75min cutoff time to reach the halfway point. I actually cleared the 4km in about 60-65min because the race hadn’t actually started until about 7:10am. Buoyed by the fact that I was within the cutoff and that I could see a handful of other swimmers behind me, I continued on. At the risk of sounding like an Nike ad, “Giving up is not an option”.

“You’re halfway done”, I told myself. “It’s all downhill. Just take your time going back. It only took you an hour to do 4km. The total race time cut off is 2hr 45min, so you’ve got another hour and half to do the last 4km, and you’re not last. There’s a bunch of people behind you. You can do it”. I entertained myself with thoughts of all the food I was gonna eat after the race. The massage to look forward to. The sightseeing. And oh, the retail therapy I would indulge in after the race. I was going up to hit up the shops as a post-race reward. I almost made a deal with myself before this swim race that I could get myself a Macbook Air if I finished this race. But I decided to save that for passing JLPT level 1 this year. Somehow, I don’t think I’ll be getting a Macbook Air this year. Anyway, I digress. Swimming is awesome for thinking a million thoughts. At least I didn’t have to count laps. Counting 4-5km worth of laps in a 50m pool gets pretty monotonous.

Swimming back to the Guam mainland was harder physically but mentally fine. Sighting was a big problem for me because basically all you saw was the giant landmass of the Guam coastline and from Cocos Island it was hard to spot at what landpoint you should be heading for. We had been told to look for a high mountain/peak with antennas/power lines. Do you know how small antennas are when you are 4km away? And floundering in the water, no less. And when you are shortsighted! One of the best things I had done in the lead up to the race was purchase myself prescription lens goggles. What a world of difference they make. If you knew where to aim for, for the finish spot, you could straight-shot the distance back, but if you couldn’t, you could follow the buoys but that was going to be a longer distance. I ended up following the buoys for most of it but kept well clear right of them so I would be in better alignment for the finish goal.

Everything was getting tired. Shoulders and elbows were getting sore. Even my upper legs were weirdly getting sore. Prior to this race, I had never actually swum 8km in one go. The furthest I ever got to was 7km in a single session, and a couple of 6km sessions. I did do 9km in one day but there was split over a 5km morning swim and a 4km afternoon swim, so 8km in one go was definitely testing me physically. I found the first 4km tough mentally though.

The water was definitely choppier as time passed, compared to the morning’s glassy conditions. Not strong chop, but small and steady and there was definitely a current as the tide picked up. It was a beautiful swimming location though, ideal for beginner endurance open water swimmers.

From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race
From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race
From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race
From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race

Finish ramp in sight. I was so happy that I had finished it. Done. Completed. Survived. Hell yeah. This had been a bucketlist swim for a while and I was glad it was over.

Lisa had finished 13min prior to me, and took some photos of me coming into the finish line:

In good form, even 8km later:

From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race
From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race
From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race

Shaky legs: Feeling weird to be vertical again.

From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race

Start and finish point:

From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race

I loved how they had an ambulance ready and waiting at the finish line. Perfect. There was my ride home.

From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race

The post-race selfie (to compare with the pre-race one): Feeling pretty damn happy.

From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race

I was super happy with the achievement of swimming 8km. Was very pleased with my time of 2hrs 23 min (and 55 seconds). I got 4th female overall. And Lisa and I dominated in our age category. She took 1st place and I took 2nd place. I even scored me a medal! Fancy that (although am still waiting for that to arrive in the post due to a medal mix-up and someone took my medal home). There was also a 20min difference between myself and the 3rd place woman in our age group.

Mind the swollen goggle-y eyes:

From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race

There were only 28 starters for the 8km and I came 14th out of all the men and women. About a third of the men were all military dudes as well, so I was up against a strong bunch of swimmers. I’m not your model swimmer. I’m basically a 30-something year old, overweight office worker. Am not tall nor lean nor even that fit, so was happy to just to swim 8km just to finish the race and swim the distance. And let’s face it, it was an excuse to go to Guam. So basically right in the middle. Pretty much an average swimmer but beat half the people there. Such results were unexpected but I was super happy. I had been super worried that I wouldn’t make the cut off time. And I had never swum 8km before either.

My tongue and lips were feeling super funky.

Cocos Island conquered. Looking pretty damn pleased with myself:

From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race
From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race
From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race

Post-race thoughts: They recommend that you be swimming on average 25km per week in training prep for this swim. Whoa. Really?! I had only been doing about 15km per week. The swim conditions were favourable, I thought, compared to a rougher water ocean swim. I didn’t come across any jellyfish which was awesome. Although jellyfish are a problem for this swim. Water was clean and clear. I got few stings/bites from sealice etc which caused some discomfort during the swim. I didn’t do the swim as comfortably as I thought I would have. So yes, I definitely recommend swimming 20-25km a week. I could have trained more, but time constraints make that difficult. I actually felt like I did a lot of training for this swim, but if I had wanted to finish in a faster time and to do it more comfortably, I definitely would need to train more. For my goals, what I did was sufficient and doable. More training would have led to an imbalance in my lifestyle. For 8km, I always knew I could do the distance. It was more a matter of could I do it in the allocated race time limit. I could potentially have shaved off a couple of minutes if I had wanted to. eg reduce rest/fuel time at the turnaround point. Between the 4-8km mark up, I was also taking periodical sips from my second gel. I also took my time in the second half. The second 4km took me about 10 minutes longer to complete than the first 4km.

Overall though, I felt pretty good considering, after the race. I drank lots. Didn’t have much of an appetite until a couple of hours later. It took several hours for my tastebuds to adjust again. Lips were swollen and pruny. I will admit that I must have peed been about 8 times during the race. This is why I love open water swimming as opposed to a pool. But by the time I got out of the water, I was in dire need of an actual toilet. An 8km swim in the open water is definitely going to cause some bowel movement.

It was then back onto the bus for the trip back to Tumon. On the way back, our bus temporarily broke down along the side of the road.

From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race
From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race
From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race
From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race
From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race

Race started at about 7am and I was done and out of the water by about 9:30am. The day had barely even begun.

Back to the hotel room, for a much needed shower and relax time. We then had a big celebratory lunch.
Cue meat coma. Needed the protein, what can I say.

From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race
From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race

Thank Guam for US-sized portions!

From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race
From Cocos Island Crossing OWS race

And I enjoyed a well-deserved massage later that evening. The poor shoulders and arm!

So that’s my main personal big swim race challenge for the year done. I think I’ve decided that I want to do a destination swim every year. It needn’t be a long swim, just a destination swim race.
I have also stupidly signed up for a 10km swim race later on this yea…well, actually in a couple of weeks time. And not just one 10km swim race but 2! One of them is not until later on though so have another 2 months to train to get up to 10km. Ugh. I blame my housemate. Somehow I’ve been roped into doing them. Thus, the swim training continues. Why do I do this to myself?

Local news wrap up of the race.

And I appear in photo 26 of the photo gallery. Not. At. All. Flattering.

Indonesia Day 1: Taman Sari Water Castle

Back to Yogyakarta on day 1.
After checking out the Palace, we walked onwards to the Taman Sari Water Castle which was nearby and a hell of a lot easier to find the the Palace.

<table style=”width:auto”><tr><td><a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/jW-ypb9PEKONoUEGkJ1RRd0ErprwCYrsut0bVWpMc2o?feat=embedwebsite”><img src=”https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-k3KWZIDABHU/U2o8DAxyW3I/AAAAAAACkzk/YkoukME9jxo/s640/DSC_0104.JPG&#8221; height=”425″ width=”640″ /></a></td></tr><tr><td style=”font-family:arial,sans-serif;font-size:11px;text-align:right”>From <a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/116032719585350311356/TamanSariWaterCastle?authuser=0&amp;feat=embedwebsite”>Taman Sari Water Castle</a></td></tr></table>

<table style=”width:auto”><tr><td><a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/uJ0XWK8DmtvQizw_G_8Oct0ErprwCYrsut0bVWpMc2o?feat=embedwebsite”><img src=”https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-qC7wrs_lMX4/U2o8DCVfV4I/AAAAAAACkzw/KSfTYGgB2Ik/s640/DSC_0105.JPG&#8221; height=”425″ width=”640″ /></a></td></tr><tr><td style=”font-family:arial,sans-serif;font-size:11px;text-align:right”>From <a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/116032719585350311356/TamanSariWaterCastle?authuser=0&amp;feat=embedwebsite”>Taman Sari Water Castle</a></td></tr></table>

Passed a chick on the street:

<table style=”width:auto”><tr><td><a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/iuUiF0p8KNKf7aJ03xvRSt0ErprwCYrsut0bVWpMc2o?feat=embedwebsite”><img src=”https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-q_pB6dlfsx4/U2o8ERq839I/AAAAAAACkz8/W-nWVzg07cE/s640/DSC_0108.JPG&#8221; height=”425″ width=”640″ /></a></td></tr><tr><td style=”font-family:arial,sans-serif;font-size:11px;text-align:right”>From <a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/116032719585350311356/TamanSariWaterCastle?authuser=0&amp;feat=embedwebsite”>Taman Sari Water Castle</a></td></tr></table>

Being all about water myself, I was keen to check out the Taman Sari Water Castle, but it wasn’t very big at all. Just a few old half empty pools. Nevertheless it was kinda chill and a chance to take a seat and get some respite from the heat. It’s always very relaxing to be near water – a natural energy.

<table style=”width:auto”><tr><td><a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/xXaJHtaLJza-l07sxnEq990ErprwCYrsut0bVWpMc2o?feat=embedwebsite”><img src=”https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-fcW9cQ2C13o/U2o8FtjxQDI/AAAAAAACk0Q/8tthgRTL3Zk/s640/DSC_0111.JPG&#8221; height=”425″ width=”640″ /></a></td></tr><tr><td style=”font-family:arial,sans-serif;font-size:11px;text-align:right”>From <a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/116032719585350311356/TamanSariWaterCastle?authuser=0&amp;feat=embedwebsite”>Taman Sari Water Castle</a></td></tr></table>

<table style=”width:auto”><tr><td><a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/RQ4mIICZVnBAs1MaNJDAUN0ErprwCYrsut0bVWpMc2o?feat=embedwebsite”><img src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-6K4ucGAHNns/U2o8Go62a_I/AAAAAAACk0o/m1wl320wtbw/s640/DSC_0113.JPG&#8221; height=”425″ width=”640″ /></a></td></tr><tr><td style=”font-family:arial,sans-serif;font-size:11px;text-align:right”>From <a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/116032719585350311356/TamanSariWaterCastle?authuser=0&amp;feat=embedwebsite”>Taman Sari Water Castle</a></td></tr></table>

<table style=”width:auto”><tr><td><a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/iyI2teu4IYbz4Nj0IrN-Nt0ErprwCYrsut0bVWpMc2o?feat=embedwebsite”><img src=”https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-mUTC4PMh8Bo/U2o8HADXD_I/AAAAAAACk0w/M1PQPCZiOfA/s640/DSC_0115.JPG&#8221; height=”425″ width=”640″ /></a></td></tr><tr><td style=”font-family:arial,sans-serif;font-size:11px;text-align:right”>From <a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/116032719585350311356/TamanSariWaterCastle?authuser=0&amp;feat=embedwebsite”>Taman Sari Water Castle</a></td></tr></table>

<table style=”width:auto”><tr><td><a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/ws4gS-vBaSqWis06CriOtN0ErprwCYrsut0bVWpMc2o?feat=embedwebsite”><img src=”https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-v-CKfgdphWw/U2o8H-CvTmI/AAAAAAACk1A/-tIxZd2zKGI/s640/DSC_0117.jpg&#8221; height=”640″ width=”425″ /></a></td></tr><tr><td style=”font-family:arial,sans-serif;font-size:11px;text-align:right”>From <a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/116032719585350311356/TamanSariWaterCastle?authuser=0&amp;feat=embedwebsite”>Taman Sari Water Castle</a></td></tr></table>

<table style=”width:auto”><tr><td><a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/etVXgm1VopS4BEauJIw2Lt0ErprwCYrsut0bVWpMc2o?feat=embedwebsite”><img src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-KYJYYX_VIvw/U2o8I2ftUTI/AAAAAAACk1U/hXcpP3w-nzk/s640/DSC_0116.JPG&#8221; height=”425″ width=”640″ /></a></td></tr><tr><td style=”font-family:arial,sans-serif;font-size:11px;text-align:right”>From <a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/116032719585350311356/TamanSariWaterCastle?authuser=0&amp;feat=embedwebsite”>Taman Sari Water Castle</a></td></tr></table>

<table style=”width:auto”><tr><td><a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/IEburiAo6mn-HLS-xXFBAt0ErprwCYrsut0bVWpMc2o?feat=embedwebsite”><img src=”https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-op_oLrwBQgA/U2o8JWI2pPI/AAAAAAACk1Y/bxo59BgwcBk/s640/DSC_0120.JPG&#8221; height=”425″ width=”640″ /></a></td></tr><tr><td style=”font-family:arial,sans-serif;font-size:11px;text-align:right”>From <a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/116032719585350311356/TamanSariWaterCastle?authuser=0&amp;feat=embedwebsite”>Taman Sari Water Castle</a></td></tr></table>

<table style=”width:auto”><tr><td><a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/gvPHOQarkcXJ7QQLjO5BW90ErprwCYrsut0bVWpMc2o?feat=embedwebsite”><img src=”https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-KSV4lcBbSrg/U2q-vkeRzcI/AAAAAAACl8E/-Ut_1FDNS-8/s640/IMG_7624.jpg&#8221; height=”640″ width=”480″ /></a></td></tr><tr><td style=”font-family:arial,sans-serif;font-size:11px;text-align:right”>From <a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/116032719585350311356/TamanSariWaterCastle?authuser=0&amp;feat=embedwebsite”>Taman Sari Water Castle</a></td></tr></table>

<table style=”width:auto”><tr><td><a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/6HNAR1g5KxgVOpo1ZnSzoN0ErprwCYrsut0bVWpMc2o?feat=embedwebsite”><img src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-TljsI93tct4/U2o8LXAbXdI/AAAAAAACk2Q/oODnVxp57SI/s640/DSC_0125.JPG&#8221; height=”425″ width=”640″ /></a></td></tr><tr><td style=”font-family:arial,sans-serif;font-size:11px;text-align:right”>From <a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/116032719585350311356/TamanSariWaterCastle?authuser=0&amp;feat=embedwebsite”>Taman Sari Water Castle</a></td></tr></table>

<table style=”width:auto”><tr><td><a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/vW_7otuFu_X7MUI__NjWSN0ErprwCYrsut0bVWpMc2o?feat=embedwebsite”><img src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-JIpu0LGLy4g/U2o8MCvsPPI/AAAAAAACk2Y/nW8SFYtwChE/s640/DSC_0127.JPG&#8221; height=”425″ width=”640″ /></a></td></tr><tr><td style=”font-family:arial,sans-serif;font-size:11px;text-align:right”>From <a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/116032719585350311356/TamanSariWaterCastle?authuser=0&amp;feat=embedwebsite”>Taman Sari Water Castle</a></td></tr></table>

<table style=”width:auto”><tr><td><a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/-7rsqmBFVTL95LcuCPG7Pt0ErprwCYrsut0bVWpMc2o?feat=embedwebsite”><img src=”https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-LrhqA6qNzMA/U2q-w6VrdFI/AAAAAAACl8c/v-leC323RqE/s640/IMG_7628.JPG&#8221; height=”480″ width=”640″ /></a></td></tr><tr><td style=”font-family:arial,sans-serif;font-size:11px;text-align:right”>From <a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/116032719585350311356/TamanSariWaterCastle?authuser=0&amp;feat=embedwebsite”>Taman Sari Water Castle</a></td></tr></table>

<table style=”width:auto”><tr><td><a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/X7-iWnDjIsuow9hibRaQd90ErprwCYrsut0bVWpMc2o?feat=embedwebsite”><img src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-55ylFRbuacg/U2q-w5fhiFI/AAAAAAACl8Y/46YOd7zmoMc/s640/IMG_7629.JPG&#8221; height=”480″ width=”640″ /></a></td></tr><tr><td style=”font-family:arial,sans-serif;font-size:11px;text-align:right”>From <a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/116032719585350311356/TamanSariWaterCastle?authuser=0&amp;feat=embedwebsite”>Taman Sari Water Castle</a></td></tr></table>

<table style=”width:auto”><tr><td><a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/kYPctEln_MTakXaOVPDZH90ErprwCYrsut0bVWpMc2o?feat=embedwebsite”><img src=”https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-9WeEm9Lz2s0/U2o8OY947tI/AAAAAAACk3E/bhh-j-UCIc8/s640/DSC_0132.JPG&#8221; height=”425″ width=”640″ /></a></td></tr><tr><td style=”font-family:arial,sans-serif;font-size:11px;text-align:right”>From <a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/116032719585350311356/TamanSariWaterCastle?authuser=0&amp;feat=embedwebsite”>Taman Sari Water Castle</a></td></tr></table>

<table style=”width:auto”><tr><td><a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/4PEo-g0z-MlvM0bGPStkUt0ErprwCYrsut0bVWpMc2o?feat=embedwebsite”><img src=”https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-DHH3hBHSjm4/U2o8PUXwSZI/AAAAAAACk3Q/SIaH2HzasII/s640/DSC_0134.JPG&#8221; height=”425″ width=”640″ /></a></td></tr><tr><td style=”font-family:arial,sans-serif;font-size:11px;text-align:right”>From <a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/116032719585350311356/TamanSariWaterCastle?authuser=0&amp;feat=embedwebsite”>Taman Sari Water Castle</a></td></tr></table>

<table style=”width:auto”><tr><td><a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/MuqXG8U6gsqPCVamB0-ugN0ErprwCYrsut0bVWpMc2o?feat=embedwebsite”><img src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-Jhf9DjZamwg/U2q-9Zf_2xI/AAAAAAACl8k/AyI6Os2Eiqk/s640/IMG_7651.JPG&#8221; height=”640″ width=”640″ /></a></td></tr><tr><td style=”font-family:arial,sans-serif;font-size:11px;text-align:right”>From <a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/116032719585350311356/TamanSariWaterCastle?authuser=0&amp;feat=embedwebsite”>Taman Sari Water Castle</a></td></tr></table>

<table style=”width:auto”><tr><td><a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/klZj-KLvNf8s6ACa-rhBdt0ErprwCYrsut0bVWpMc2o?feat=embedwebsite”><img src=”https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-DGXQsoBeoRg/U2o8Qw_G3PI/AAAAAAACk3o/JIEP8k7LHPA/s640/DSC_0136.JPG&#8221; height=”425″ width=”640″ /></a></td></tr><tr><td style=”font-family:arial,sans-serif;font-size:11px;text-align:right”>From <a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/116032719585350311356/TamanSariWaterCastle?authuser=0&amp;feat=embedwebsite”>Taman Sari Water Castle</a></td></tr></table>

View over the local rooftops:

<table style=”width:auto”><tr><td><a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/W49dpIrk8NfzG1fL0wpuQN0ErprwCYrsut0bVWpMc2o?feat=embedwebsite”><img src=”https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-R2Wy1ovRfgs/U2o8RJZ39gI/AAAAAAACk3w/i_7xVqkLt6Q/s640/DSC_0137.JPG&#8221; height=”425″ width=”640″ /></a></td></tr><tr><td style=”font-family:arial,sans-serif;font-size:11px;text-align:right”>From <a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/116032719585350311356/TamanSariWaterCastle?authuser=0&amp;feat=embedwebsite”>Taman Sari Water Castle</a></td></tr></table>

<table style=”width:auto”><tr><td><a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/ZMIvYbkf4wMaoLoxEIqiTN0ErprwCYrsut0bVWpMc2o?feat=embedwebsite”><img src=”https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-NMoTyfy6XYc/U2o8R65SQJI/AAAAAAACk38/FYR_qSfqup4/s640/DSC_0139.JPG&#8221; height=”425″ width=”640″ /></a></td></tr><tr><td style=”font-family:arial,sans-serif;font-size:11px;text-align:right”>From <a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/116032719585350311356/TamanSariWaterCastle?authuser=0&amp;feat=embedwebsite”>Taman Sari Water Castle</a></td></tr></table>

<table style=”width:auto”><tr><td><a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/QtmKDaLteBNSvVK–Zwqh90ErprwCYrsut0bVWpMc2o?feat=embedwebsite”><img src=”https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-cesg-IFFdtM/U2o8SSb21SI/AAAAAAACk4A/at9YsFik9SA/s640/DSC_0140.JPG&#8221; height=”425″ width=”640″ /></a></td></tr><tr><td style=”font-family:arial,sans-serif;font-size:11px;text-align:right”>From <a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/116032719585350311356/TamanSariWaterCastle?authuser=0&amp;feat=embedwebsite”>Taman Sari Water Castle</a></td></tr></table>

<table style=”width:auto”><tr><td><a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/LjlVXVQ6aUaQyJB-icJxZ90ErprwCYrsut0bVWpMc2o?feat=embedwebsite”><img src=”https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-EiBUPfZyek0/U2o8TDM-zzI/AAAAAAACk4M/VUHgTXgcUf4/s640/DSC_0142.JPG&#8221; height=”425″ width=”640″ /></a></td></tr><tr><td style=”font-family:arial,sans-serif;font-size:11px;text-align:right”>From <a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/116032719585350311356/TamanSariWaterCastle?authuser=0&amp;feat=embedwebsite”>Taman Sari Water Castle</a></td></tr></table>

The water is open: spring swim

Braved the cold waters again for a pre-summer swim training session. Headed down to Hayama Isshiki beach (more like a bay) with a couple of other brave souls.

From Hayama April swim

It was another early start to the weekend. Why do I find myself getting up earlier on weekends than I do on weekdays (work days). It’s almost as if I look forward to Mondays purely for the sleep in (the luxury of getting up between 7:30-8am).

After the Polar bear dip on New Year’s Day and nearly dying, I donned the wetsuit this time. A summer wetsuit (sleeveless and short legs) but a wetsuit nonetheless. Air temperature was 10 degrees. I’m guess water temperature between 13-15 degrees. Stung like ice and your chest constricts making it hard to breathe. Legs are numb and your arms feel like lead pushing through the water. It takes a good long while (about half an hour) to warm up and not feel numb. Makes breathing really difficult. We managed a loop around the bay and swam about 1.2km all up which is not bad for my first open water swim training session, considering it’s still only April.

Perfect conditions for it though. Flat as. Just the way I like it. Was a bit hard to get into a good stroke and breathing pattern and my sighting was terrible. There were quite a few people out there on SUP boards and in dragon boat boats.

From Hayama April swim
From Hayama April swim
From Hayama April swim
From Hayama April swim

Perfect conditions to SUP:

From Hayama April swim
From Hayama April swim

Am soo looking forward to SUPing again this summer.

From Hayama April swim
From Hayama April swim
From Hayama April swim

It was a struggle getting down there early in the cold temperature, but it was totally worth it. Will be needing to get in a few more open water training sessions.

Last night, I did a really good solid training session in the pool. I’ll share my set with you – good for building endurance and speed and kills the boredom of a straight 5.5km swim:
1km warm up (1km). No rest
10 x 100m sprints (1km). 2min turnaround (ie 100m sprint + 10-15 second rest + start the next set all within 2min)
5 x 200m sprints (1km). 10-15 second rest between sets.
10 x 100m slow/easy (continuous 1km alternating between sprint down 50m, recover 50m swim back). No breaks.
1 x 500m sprint
1km cool down/recovery swim
Total Distance = 5.5km

SUPer Manly

I’ve just come back from a week in Sydney. Was great to feast on good food, sunshine and hang out with family and friends. It was a jam-packed holiday.
Was able to get in a couple of days of SUPing in Sydney.

One of my favourite things to do in Sydney, is taking the ferry from Circular Quay to Manly. Blessed withe awesome weather, my good friend Nell and I had a nice chillaxin day with a couple of hours of SUP thrown in.

Prepare to Get Jealous. Enjoy the photo tour.

Harbourside:

From Manly SUP
From Manly SUP

Relaxing on the ferry ride:

From Manly SUP
From Manly SUP

Cruising through Sydney Harbour:

From Manly SUP

Approaching Manly:

From Manly SUP
From Manly SUP
From Manly SUP

Check out this stingray!!!

From Manly SUP

Silhouette v Stingray:

From Manly SUP

Gotta love the clean, clear water of Sydney.

From Manly SUP

Wharfside:

From Manly SUP
From Manly SUP
From Manly SUP

Out on the water, SUPing:

From Manly SUP
From Manly SUP
From Manly SUP
From Manly SUP
From Manly SUP

Out in the sunshine, in and on the water – I’m in my element:

From Manly SUP
From Manly SUP

Nell SUPs for the first time:

From Manly SUP
From Manly SUP
From Manly SUP

I’ll tell ya what, it was a bit windy and the current was against us. We tried to paddle in to another couple of beaches, but we just couldn’t get in against the current. Had to stick closer to the shores.

From Manly SUP
From Manly SUP

Sydney water taxi:

From Manly SUP

Manly even have a SUPball club – a game played on SUP boards. Definitely something I’m going to check in when I move to Sydney. But man, it looks tough!

From Manly SUP
From Manly SUP
From Manly SUP

Right by Manly wharf is where you can hire SUP boards and kayaks:

From Manly SUP

Don’t these people have jobs???

From Manly SUP
From Manly SUP

I heart Sydney:

From Manly SUP
From Manly SUP
From Manly SUP
From Manly SUP
From Manly SUP
From Manly SUP

After SUPing, it was time for some swimming. Water was a little fresh. Not yet summer in Oz. But water was super clear.

From Manly SUP
From Manly SUP

Spot the fish:

From Manly SUP
From Manly SUP
From Manly SUP

Spot the mermaid:

From Manly SUP

Worked up an appetite after all that time in the water.
Seafood and wine by the water. It’s a hard life, but someone’s gotta do it!

From Manly SUP
From Manly SUP
From Manly SUP
From Manly SUP
From Manly SUP
From Manly SUP
From Manly SUP

Ferry ride back after a great day out at Manly:

From Manly SUP

Da Opera Haus:

From Manly SUP

Yo wasSUP

Have found a new hobby that I’m addicted to: Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP).
So much fun! I’ve gone two weekends in a row now.
It’s been something that I had wanted to do for ages but never got around to until this summer. I had a sneaking suspicion that I might be half decent at it. I tried it for the first time a couple of weeks ago down at Koshigoe (near Enoshima). I got a lesson for a couple of hours and then had a bit of practice on my own. I was on an air SUP board which is a little trickier. And it was down at a surf beach where the conditions were a little tougher. Paddling is easy. The hard part is standing and balancing. I fell off the board so many times and ended up with major knee rash from the amount of times I had to heave myself back on the board.

Fast forward to the weekend just gone. I spent the weekend at Shiga prefecture for another open water swim race (that’ll be a separate post). I spent my time at Lake Biwa. With my newfound addiction, I researched on the Internet for SUP board rentals at Lake Biwa. I was in luck!

Found an awesome little water eco sports outfit that did SUP board rentals. Super cool, nice people. They even gave me a free ice-cream! They drove me down to a nice area of the lake where I went and SUPed. It was only my second time and it was out on a flat lake so it was soooo much easier. And I had proper board. Managed to not fall off once!

SUP is such a good workout! Really works the calves, and if you look at talented SUPers they have well-built calves. Being short (like myself) also helps because you need a lower centre of gravity to maintain your balance. It’s also quite the core workout. Being short and stocky, I have a bit more natural advantage, so I didn’t find it so difficult. I just need more practice and practice to work on my speed. Haven’t quite got up to SUP surfing yet!

Having since partaken in SUP, I’ve gone all OCD and have been researching all about it on the internet – mostly places where I can get rentals (SUP boards are expensive to purchase!). There are also SUP races which I might be tempted to do next year. In particular, there is an awesome event called “Paddle Mix” which is a 1km open water swim + 1km SUP + 4km run. That is totally my cup of tea!!!! I definitely want to enter it next year.

It’s such a bummer I live too far from the beach. It takes 2 hours to get to the closest beach from Tokyo. And it’s an expensive hobby. I guess it’s a little bit like snowboarding but on the water.

Here are some action pics of SUPing at Lake Biwa, ah fun summer days!

The shores of Lake Biwa – the largest lake in Japan:

From Biwako SUP
From Biwako SUP
From Biwako SUP
From Biwako SUP

Out in the middle of the lake (I had my waterproof camera with me):

From Biwako SUP
From Biwako SUP

Nice flat waters – ideal for starting out.

Me out on the water:

From Biwako SUP

A pro SUPer in the making, mark my words:

From Biwako SUP
From Biwako SUP
From Biwako SUP
From Biwako SUP
From Biwako SUP
From Biwako SUP
From Biwako SUP
From Biwako SUP

It’s so relaxing, just being out on the water, paddling away.

From Biwako SUP

Sunset over Biwako:

From Biwako SUP
From Biwako SUP
From Biwako SUP
From Biwako SUP

What can I say, I had an uber SUPer weekend!

Life’s a beach

週末のために生きている。
I live for my weekends.

Spent an awesome day at the beach yesterday.
It’s not often I get to enjoy a lazy day at the beach.
My trips to the beach are usually to compete in open water swim races.
Was nice to finally do a lazy summer beach day.

Headed out all the way to Onjuku Beach – the far side of Chiba.
Totally worth the 30buks and 90min train ride to get there.

From Tokyo station, you can get the express train “Wakashio” and ride the train in air-conditioned, reclining seat comfort.
Note: the train departs from Platform 1 at Tokyo station. There are TWO platform 1’s as we discovered the hard way as we stood waiting at the wrong platform and had to sprint through Tokyo station, the whole 500m to the other platform 1 to make our train. We literally got on the right train on the right platform in the nick.of.time. *You will want the Keiyo line, platform 1 and not the Chuo line platform 1.

From Onjuku Beach

You know you’ve reached Onjuku beach when you see the camel statues:

From Onjuku Beach
From Onjuku Beach

Onjuku Beach is one of the best leisure beaches I’ve been to. Way better than the Shonan beaches. The water was beautiful and clean and clear. We parked ourselves on the sand for 5 hours enjoying the sun, surf and champagne (BYO champagne).

From Onjuku Beach
From Onjuku Beach

This is how you beach, in style:

From Onjuku Beach
From Onjuku Beach
From Onjuku Beach
From Onjuku Beach

We rented a beach umbrella for the day. The sales assistant not only carries the umbrella to your beach spot, but even digs a hole in the sand and sets up the umbrella for you. At the end of the day, you just leave the umbrella and they’ll pick it up at the end of the day. Bless, Japan. And the beach has beach shacks which sell food and more importantly, beer.

Beer, books, the beach. Bliss.

And just when you thought the day couldn’t get better, the day was topped off with an onsen. There’s an onsen right by the beach. The water was amazing. It was a dark brown colour (the colour of coke)…it was like a bathtub of coca cola. It made your skin feel amazing.

The day was so ridiculously awesome, that I plan on doing it all over again next Sunday (except maybe try and get to the beach even earlier!)