Beach commute

So I’ve already written more in the last week than I have in the last month, and I’m not even on vacation. What is the cause of this you may ask? Well, I’ve been lugging the VAIO around with me a lot in the lately, so I can manage my exhibition notes on the fly. I’ve also been riding on trains a lot, with all these trips back and forth from Enoshima.

Across the Sea

I can’t remember the last time I was at the ocean at night. Actually, it was probably at a company retreat about four years ago, but that doesn’t count. It wasn’t with friends, or vacation. So the real last time I was at the ocean at night was… San Francisco. When I was at GDC in 2004. That was also for work, but that time I had Amy show me around I think.

The times that stand out in my mind are the ones on dates. Shirahama in 2002 with Nobue my first summer in Japan, or any number of beach weeks at Myrtle with my fraternity.

The humidity is doused with the wind rolling off of the ocean. Today it rained like crazy but tomorrow is going to be a beautiful day; the moon is fulling and peeping out from behind the clouds. There are a few pairs of lovers here and there sitting close in the darkness, lighting sparkles and whispering softly. I almost felt like walking up to them and saying hi, working the rarely seen foreigner angle to help kill the loneliness, but then I remembered when I was eighteen, I would given anything in the world to have a few uninterrupted hours with a girl I was crazy about. So I think I’ll do my past self the same courtesy I received time and time again when I was eighteen, and just make my way back to Hotel Pierre alone to retire for the night.


Melody, rhythm, sweeps, filters, effects. 1, 2, 3, 4, two bars and a drum roll. The build up and break down.

Time smooths my rough edges like a stone in the ocean, but the marrow of my soul is at its core unchanged, and only strengthened, growing thicker and more unyielding with age like a redwood.

Next month I have my first attempt at a private exhibition, that is to say a photographic event. My work will be at Art Space Masuo for the second to last week of July. Fittingly, since the exhibition starts on Umi no hi, Ocean Day, my theme is about my long lasting love afffair with Enoshima. I have been visiting Fujisawa beaches virtually since I moved here after college. It’s one of the easiest to access from Shinjuku while not being overly unclean like most of the beaches in Tokyo Bay. Enoshima is worn in some ways, like the string of paint-peeled love hotels along Route 1, and rebuilt and constantly changing in others, like the recent flurry of gya-ru (think tough, overly baked valley girls) run beachside bars cobbled together annually out of plywood. There is the classic tourist element as well, being close to Kamakura which for over a hundred years was the political and spritual seat of Japan during the Hojo Shogunate.

The Enoden ambles along, one of the areas oldest and most photographed railways. Fish are salted and roasted on spits, hawked by streetfront restaurant owners. A certain variety of rice crackers and tiny dried fish, shirasu, are the famous local exports, and prominently featured in every shop window.

But for me Enoshima isn’t the Buddhist temples or the fish, it is the ocean. The surfers that congregate in droves during the early morning and evening hours of summer, the old man and his wife renting deck chairs and innertubes, boring holes for beach umbrellas with a cordless drill and an extra-long rusted bit.
It’s waking up at an ungodly hour (or possibly not even sleeping the night before) and taking a picnic lunch with ice cold beer and groggily catching the first train to the shoreline. To arrive with the break of dawn and fall asleep in the humid sea air listening to FM Yokohama with a copy of Catcher in the Rye over my face.

I want to show all these things in my exhibition, but the viewpoint may be too varied and dilute my message. So I’m just going to try and take as many photographs as I can over the next three weeks and hopefully end up with about twenty or so that enbody a little bit of the magic that sleeps latent within the dunes.

Today I got five-and-a-half, about 200 shots. A good start.