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Wednesday, September 20

Life's A Beach

The attempt was made to go to the Hayama Modern Art Museum. Sadly, it was closed. On Tuesday. We don’t know why. There is a theory that it could be because the previous day was Monday and a Japanese holiday. Museums are usually closed on Mondays but open on holidays. So they may have closed Tuesday instead. Just a theory though.

Never will a day be a total wash here in this yet undiscovered land for me because there is always something right around the corner to see and do instead. We just calmly turned and left the museum parking lot and headed to the beach. And Denny’s!

Denny’s is nothing like back home. It’s nice! Perched on the ocean and a wraparound balcony to sit on, enjoy your meal and take in Hayama’s loveliness. And parking there is free if you eat there… which my friend and I took full advantage of. To get down to the beach was only a short walk away; and it was absolutely breathtaking. Of course, any beach is the perfect place for me. You just can’t go wrong when staring out at the vastness of the ocean and smelling the salty, green air. You just get… lost.

Not surprisingly, there was a shrine. On the beach. A gorgeous shrine of which a traditionally dressed couple came out carrying the smallest baby wrapped in their kimono. I can only assume that they were performing some sort of baptismal ritual. After they passed, we removed our shoes, threw in some change for an offering, rang the bell, clapped three times (all of which are rituals when entering a shrine) and then passed into the room. The ocean breeze blew threw the room as we took a seat facing the altar. Not surprisingly, my friend and I do not practice Shinto so we didn’t stay long. We didn’t want to disturb the sanctity of the room. We said hello to a priest (not sure if that is the correct word actually) and then went on towards the cliff and down the steps onto the beach.

The beach is purely broken shell which was often difficult to walk on. Note the torii out in the water. And a lighthouse to guard sailors away from the rough shores. Once we found a spot to sit and just enjoy the view for a bit, I quickly forgot about the difficult walk across it. After rolling my boot cut jeans up as goofy as possible, I put my toes into the ocean for the first time on this side of the world. The water was perfect. Warm and purifying to the psyche. I can’t honestly say that we didn’t do much there but simply sat and talked and breathed in the ocean.

I could have stayed there all day.

My skin on the other hand could not. Darn my father for passing along Irish blood. Within fifteen minutes, my next was getting bright red, forcing us back to the shade of the tree line away from the jagged shore and its white-tipped, Pacific waves.

It was actually rather difficult to find an appropriate amount of shade as the trees have seen their years of weather beatings. They slanted hard in the unforgiving wind and the needles of the pines grew like a flat top high above.

Lunch time was approaching so we headed back to our car and Denny’s. Like I said, this is very different from the place back home that I will only eat at in the dead of the night when I am too drunk to care. The menu had about six burger type foods, none in buns, with various sides from French fries to rice to Japanese vegetables. There were also traditional Japanese meals on the menu. I opted for the shredded pork with ginger on top of cabbage that came with miso soup and rice. We enjoyed a fabulous tasting meal at a place previously shunned, while watching the ocean battering the shoreline below and hiding under the safety of an umbrella. Denny’s may be my new favorite spot. (Just please God never let them put the ‘Moons Over My Hammy’ on the menu.)

Back to the car with our validated parking ticket and a new respect for Denny’s, we headed home. Got a little lost, but eventually found our way back.

I just don’t know what to do with myself. This life seems to be getting rougher and rougher.

If Japan keeps treating me this way, they may force me never to leave. Kidding, Mommy!

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