Every year as a part of seeing those teachers off whose contracts are coming to an end, the rest of us and our friends all gather on an island for a day of the beach and a night of fun. I went last year too, but my taiko schedule with Neil forbade us from really spending any good amount of time on the beach. This year I was determined to enjoy the whole day. Also like last year I decided to swim the channel over to the island. It isn’t too far a swim and the idea of saving 5 dollars on a round trip ferry while also getting some exercise made the decision an easy one. I could tell that it had been a while since I’ve swam any at length though.
When we arrived it was just a normal beach party. We played a lot of throw ball (Nerf) and spin disk (Frisbee) which was as always a great time. For food we all brought what we would need to fuel an active day and our BBQ. Last year everything I came with had to be packed into large glass jars that trailed from my ankles as I swam over. This year however, with friends on the ferry I could give them a number of bento lunches and other snacks to transport on my behalf. As for my drink, I finally busted out one of my year-old casks of umeshu which had by then transformed into a real treat; people were amazed that I had made it myself and all wanted to partake of its sweet syrupy goodness.
A few of the attendees
One of the odd things about the event was that most people returning home were not actually present. That same night was a party hosted by a teacher and his wife from a few years ago, so those that knew them bailed on the traditional beach event for theirs. We still had a great time of course, but I couldn’t see any reason not to combine the two.
Throughout the rest of the night we had a mini dance party and karaoke session, Roman Candle fights, and lots of good conversation with friends about anything. I had a Couchsurfer from the Netherlands whose stay lined up with this event perfectly, so I was happy I could share the opportunity with him as well. Finally though, around 3am people started to peter out and retreat to their tents. I however knew that sleeping in a hot, sandy tent with nothing to cushion against the hard ground would be miserable, so I slept on the beach near the fire.
The next morning we awoke far fresher than the dismal state of last year and cleaned up the beach. We had to wait around for the ferry to bring us to the mainland, but once there we sought out a McDonald’s to kick-start our day. The event was definitely a success and I will be looking forward to next year’s, which I expect should have a bit more significance.