A few of us who live in this area of Japan (Shonan) are putting together a small blog about the place, and write some bits about locations, shops, foods, festivals and all of that and we’re calling it Shonan Press. I put my first piece up on there regarding Enoshima – it’s a great place to visit, and I’ve included a decent variety of photos from the place. I’m looking forward to getting more content up there! Feedback appreciated.
It’s been a long time since I changed that header image, and since the last one was from a cooling stream, I thought I’d replace it with a sunset, which looks nice and warm, even though I took the picture in late 2013 and it was definitely not warm. The same time I took these pictures I think.
There’s something very calming about sunsets all over the world, over forests, cities, the ocean, wherever. I’m frequently reminded about something the amazing Douglas Adams wrote for the ‘final’ Hitchhiker’s series – Quintessential Phase about boundary conditions, (I’ll dig the quote out for the next post) and a sunset where the ocean meets land seems to be two simultaneous boundaries.
There’s something just very relaxing about coastlines and sunrises or sunsets, even as Winter moves in. After almost 5 years of living near the Japan’s Pacific coast, I just don’t seem to get bored of cycling down here, and just walking and taking some pictures (yes, almost the same picture) again and again. I’m not alone either, year round people are cycling the beach track, surfing a little, even playing beach volleyball, and I just don’t think it gets any more relaxed than this.
I live in the Shonan area of Kanagawa, so in the summer we often go down to the beach area, which is what the area is really famous for, and after a day hanging around, getting into the ocean and walking around the beach, you can get some nice sunset shots and people venture home. Of course, if you’re in the water, take the waterproof camera (in my case an old GoPro 2). Actually this day, it wasn’t so busy, as usually the beach hut bars are fairly crowded.
Last night we went down to the BMW Stadium in Hiratsuka for a family night out to see a live football game between the local team – Shonan Bellmare – and visitors Tokyo Verdy. It was a very decent night out all told – the stadium is in a nice park and there was a lot of stalls almost like a mini-matsuri outside, selling shaved ice with fruit syrup, beer and a decent array of snack foods. The stadium is a nice, if somewhat Soviet-era looking concrete construction which apparently can hold around 18,000, but it felt plenty full with last night’s attendance of 9,370.
Shonan play in J2, the lower of the two Japanese professional leagues, but that’s OK – my local team in the UK isn’t exactly top flight, but that doesn’t stop an entertaining game, and the crowd were treated to some good football for 90minutes, and even two well taken goals in the second half giving the final scoreline of 1-1. Points have to go to the Verdy fans who put up a solid 90minutes of drums and chanting, and at least from where we were sat, drowned out the locals.
It’s been a while sine I’ve been to a J League game actually, though I always watch games when I go back to the UK, and whilst the support style might change around the world, the community feeling on the terraces and the appreciation of the play seems fairly constant. I have to say though, watching an evening game 3Km from the Pacific Ocean in a t-shirt and shorts contrasts oddly to Boxing Day games in the north of England.
Bottom line: if you’re in Japan, and you haven’t checked one out, go and see a J League game, and if you’re visiting, put it on your to do list.
I didn’t take many photos as I was assisting in keeping the kids under control as it was their first ever live football game, and whilst my eldest said she liked it, she was tired after 75mins., and my youngest spent some time with one of us walking about as he was fascinated by the stadium and all the people.
I’ve been a bit busy of late and so haven’t written any posts, and I think that’s going to be the situation for a while yet due to now being in the middle of a few things. However, I thought I’d update with a few photos from the last few months.
Just a short post. Over the last few years, perhaps due to family and tastes, I just seem to have gotten out of drinking beer very often, or at least the lager derived beer which constitutes such a large percentage of the market here. I should say though that whilst wine now represents the small amount of alcohol beverages I do drink, I have been trying some local micro-brewery beers to see what the local brewers are offering.
Overall they were all palatable ales. I’m not sure I’d want to drink too many of any of them on a given night, but if you’re having a bit of a house party they’d go down pretty well. They’re a little bit pricey – even in supermarkets – going for 400-500yen a bottle, compared to the 200-300yen for a can of lager. That said, you’ll enjoy one of these more than two cans of Asahi Super Dry.
Despite the names, by European standards, they’re perhaps not deep, rich tasting beers but again, very decent, and fit the region they come from – Shonan is famed for it’s beaches and layed back attitude – to being almost horizontal at times, and drinking these I don’t think of oak beamed pubs but of open fronted cafes selling yakitori with surf boards propped up.
Looking around, the area seems well served with local brews apparently grown from local hops too, so as I try a few more I’ll perhaps post on them, and actually make some more notes on the taste comparison front. I wouldn’t mind getting on the bike and visiting a hop farm too.