There’s only so long a beach girl can survive Japanese mountain life. A year was the limit for me.
I was thrown into the middle of Japan when I first moved there for work 6 years ago. In the literal sense, the town next to me held a belly button festival every year as evidence to its central placement on Japan’s main island, Honshu. I pulled through thanks to rock river jumps, canyoning, hiking and snowboarding, but being the beach baby I am Japan’s waves were calling me.
12 months into my working holiday I set off from the mountains and toward the black sandy beaches of Ichinomiya, Chiba, to experience the Japanese surf scene. It didn’t take long to meet my new neighbors. My 1LDK (=as small as your bathroom) apartment was situated adjacent to a set of six beach-style cottages. The entire block was nicknamed mura by the locals, meaning ‘village’ in Japanese. Residents of mura included surfers who lived there full time, and surfers who came down on the weekends from Tokyo. We were all young, we all loved to surf. Every weekend was a party.