Wednesday, August 29, 2007


For summer fun. I used to go here when I was a kid and have fond memories. We trekked out to Akigawa, an hour and a half away along the Yokohama, Hachiko, and Itsukaichi lines.

Summerland is a water theme park with lots of pools, waterslides, and rides. It's a great way to beat the heat.

Unfortunately, it was chock-a-block packed, even on a Monday afternoon at 4pm. Luckily, they're open til 9 during the summer and offer a discount for coming after 3. Otherwise, I would have felt a little robbed paying 3500Y for admission and pool access. Waterslides are also included, but the wait was about an hour.

Too crowded! One benefit was getting to see a zillion self-conscious girls in bikinis.

Sunday, August 26, 2007


Playing fish with Mina, 5, yesterday in class: each time she drew a card that she didn't like, she said "Ge~!" That's as in Gephardt instead of giraffe, and rhymes with "hey!". And means "puke!". Or barf!, if you prefer. Retch! Gag! Take your pick. Ms. K, the excellent office manager, also uses this charming expression, and one I am eager to cultivate.

Monday, August 20, 2007


Miura Beach was recommended to me last year by Mr. Mu at work. He said the beach was wide and convenient. He's right - it's close to Tokyo, much cleaner than Enoshima, and with a long, wide beach, gentle waves, and good for swimming. Except for the jellyfish.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

move your ass, people

If you're text-messaging, move to the side so people can get around you. Don't cut in front of me at the last minute to get on the train when everyone else waited in line. Don't block the right side of the escalator with your shopping bags and big butt. Take your damn bag off the seat when the train's crowded. Asshole.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

enoshima (江ノ島)

is a pretty disgusting beach. One of my friends calls it "black water beach", and she's not far off. It's totally trashed, covered with refuse, and really packed. One of the closest beaches to Tokyo, there's a big crowd there especially on weekends and during the summer holiday. It was so dirty though, that I couldn't swim. We did clamber around on the rocks on the island itself, which was fun. And the Enoden line, currently completely decorated with animated characters, is awesome.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

dog days

Tokyo summer is sweating, and shucking off clothing until you're left in your barest skivvies if anything at all. It's cicadas (semi) thick in the trees and their lament thick in the air, their purpose in life to fill the close summer heat with the sound of their discontent and then drop dead from the effort. It's longing for lemonade and watermelon, for snow. Everyone is shining in a glow of perspiration, trying mightily to transition from air con building to air con building. Bright festival clothes are spotted in the streets, and folks flap folding fans in hopes of stirring up a relenting breeze.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Monday, August 06, 2007

good good oregon summer

Oregon may not be the best when it comes to weather most of the year. Because most of the year it's rain and drear, grey and drizzle, soggy and damp.

Except for summer.

Oregon is the best place I've been for summer. It's green green green, and hot, but not TOO hot. It's regularly in the 90s, but it's not humid. The evenings are cool, the air is clear, and all's right with the world.

Oregon in the summer is all about adventures. Camping, forest tramps, blackberries, gardens. Picnics in the park. It's too cold to swim at the coast, so you can dip your toes in the icy cold like we did at Haystack Rock, famous Goonies location. It's not too cold, though, to swim in the numerous rivers that run all over Oregon, and which are full-to-bursting with swimmin' holes, replete with kids yahoo- ing as they jump from high rocks into the clear clear water. One such place is Eagle Creek, where Tyler took me hiking and then swimmin' at Punchbowl Falls, where we had a gorgeous enclosed pool all to ourselves just below the falls. If you're not sure where the nearest sweet spot is, check out my friend Brook's dad Relan Colley's book, Oregon Swimming Holes. (Looks like it's out of print and will run you $300 - maybe with enough demand the publisher will reprint.)

Oregon summer is strawberries and roadside stands, t-shirts and haybales, all the doors open and lounging on the floorboards to keep cool, like a cat.

In the Oregon vs. Japan summer competition, Oregon, hands down, TKO, is the champion.