October 14, 2012

Swimming in Kamakura

Nearly checked off three goals in one day, but apparently the giant Buddha in Kamakura (61) closes at 4pm. Your guess is as good as mine as to why a statue has visiting hours.

I did learn though that Kamakura is a fantastic day trip from Tokyo. It took only 30 minutes by rail and we were able to explore jungles (slight exaggeration, but there were giant spiders) and see some exquisite temples and shrines. I will be returning soon, not just to check off number 61, but also to spend more time exploring this delightful town. Here are some highlights from our day trip:

Taylor directed us down an alley where we were delighted to find one of the best smelling stores my nose has ever entered. We treated ourself to a pre-breakfast snack of moist fig bread and citrus bread.

Ignore the weird effect the panorama mode created on everyone's head and instead enjoy the view
"Jungle" trek

Kelly crossing coy infested waters

I spy a Light

A shrine tucked into a cave.

By washing your money, you welcome good fortune.

Ancient money laundering

Worst. S'mores. Ever.

Hand & Soul store of gifts and knick knacks, all carved by the owner and his wife.

Perfectly tucked into the hill

The sun began to set as we walked from this area of Kamakura to the beach. I asked Kelly if Kamakura could be considered the "Venice, California" of Japan and she said "Definitely not". But then we ate at a hemp cafe:
Not the Venice of Japan? Bullshit.

The cafe was a perfect place to chow down after we worked up an appetite swimming in the Pacific Ocean (60). By the time
we arrived at the water, the sun had set and the stars began to creep through the haze of the night. We dipped our toes in the water and discovered it was pleasantly not-bone-chillingly-cold. Kelly suggested a swim and Taylor and I happily obliged.

The water was truly the perfect temperature: just cool enough to wake us up but warm enough to easily stay in for a half hour. In fact, if not for the taste of salt water in my mouth (laughing and body surfing are not a pleasant oral experience) I may have stayed in for the entire night. It was a really beautiful experience, and as if half-naked ocean swimming under the stars with two friends was not enough, off in the distance, fireworks exploded in the sky. I felt very at peace. I felt very close with my friends. I felt very bad that all the creatures around me would eventually be served as sushi.

While I didn't get to watch the sun rise over the water, the rest of my night turned into the beginning of the following day so I was able to be the first person in the world to watch the sun rise. But if you want to hear that tale, you'll have to read this: The United Nations of Shibuya