Monday, 19 April 2010
Clam digging & "the little things"
On Sunday Iida block headed south to Gamagori in Mikawa Bay, Aichi-ken for clam-digging. It was a beautifully hot and sunny day and I was more than a little excited to see the seaside, living in a mountainous, landlocked ken as I do. As we headed down the final road to the seafront I was already half out of the window like an excited pooch heading to the park, and as the salty air hit my nostils I realised how much I'd missed being near the sea.
First we headed out across the long bridge to the little evergreen woodland-covered island in the bay (Takeshima) and had a wander around the Yaotomi-jinja Shrine, which is supposedly where Takeshima Benten is worshipped (one of the seven famous Benten gods in Japan). On the far side of the island I was delighted to find a myriad of natural rock pools across the shore, and we all spent the best part of an hour poking our noses (not literally) into the pools. There were crabs, anemones, jellyfish and various other little critters skitting about. It was great fun: I don't remember the last time I went rock-pooling.
Wash your hands before entering or the water dragon gets you
McJellyfish being "investigated" by someone with a stick
Soon afterwards the tide had zoomed out and we were in our boots in the sand digging away furiously for shelled quarry. I'd never been clam-digging before so I was quite pleased with my impressive haul of the little shelled creatures. Truth be told I would have been happy sat there just digging a hole, such a childish nature I can have at times. After a solid couple of hours digging I left the others playing in the sand and located a nice rock for some reading.
We then headed to Nagoya for a nosh-up at Outback Steakhouse. It's expensive but it's a treat for us rural JETs. After that it was straight to the international store to purchase goods from our home countries that can't be readily found in Japan. I was delighted with my haul of cereal, chocolate and chai tea. Then it was to Starbucks for a latte! Back in the UK I favour the cheaper (and nicer) Costa Coffee, but beggars can't be choosers, and a nice smooth soy latte hit the spot. I've probably mentioned before but Japanese coffee is quite simply, awful. I drink it for a caffeine kick in the morning at work and nothing else! So you can understand Starbucks was also quite a treat.
On the way out of Nagoya Marion so kindly obliged our excited souls by producing She-Wolf by Shakira (which by now has to be the Iida block anthem), which produced a fantastically-active car-rave, much to the delight and amusement of Nagoya locals. Just before we got to the highway a red light produced the finest opportunity for a Chinese fire drill and we all leapt out of the car, the faces of the drivers around us a mixture of amusement and horror (if you were sat at a red light and the doors of the car infront were thrown violently open, spilling fast-moving foreigners in your direction, your heart would no doubt leap to your throat too).
A play in the sand, an armful of cereal and chocolate, a soy latte and a car-party with friends: life is most definitely all about the little things...