Sunday, July 8, 2012

Shonan Day Trip

Shonan Shinjuku line

Yesterday my friends and I took a day trip to Shonan, a region located one hour south of Tokyo, which features a long stretch of scenic beaches, including Kamakura and Enoshima. Mutual friends were throwing an event, so it was a great excuse to get away from the city. In true Tokyo fashion, the day trip started in late afternoon, without much of a schedule, but with an armload of drinks and snacks for the train ride.

We were feeling pretty lavish, so we booked the green car train tickets: for an added fee, you get a plush seat in a reserved compartment, therefore do not have to struggle for seats with the rest of the crowds. I had never ridden the green car before, so it was a very exciting part of the trip, and we secured some seats on the second floor, which assured a great view.

We arrived in a city called Chigasaki, in Kanagawa prefecture. My friend Tom (from the 9/11s) used to live there (yes, we all started out in smaller towns), so he acted as a tour guide and showed us the surroundings. I was immediately smitten with Chigasaki, as it reminded me a lot of Marugame, the place where I spent my first year. We walked along the small streets and peeked into the local shops, visited the local convenience store for some magazine browsing, and armed ourselves with (found) umbrellas as the sky became increasingly grey.

The beach was a miss as it soon started pouring rain, so we ducked into a local izakaya for a feast of yakiniku (grilled meats), vegetables, and ¥200 pints of beer. The rest of the evening was spent at a cozy bar filled with a collection of vinyls and turntables, where my friends Tom and Tim deejayed. It was a great night of mingling and sipping drinks to the sounds of a chilled out soundtrack.

The return trip was not as luxurious, as green cars definitely were not involved, but was a lot more eventful, complete with a fishing rod, more beers, and an entertaining neighbour who indulged us with dubious newspaper photos. Last trains are filled with questionable characters, but it prevented us from falling asleep during the long train ride. After a little nightcap in Shibuya (where I ordered what looked like a glass of milk), I walked home in one of those delightful summer nights and readily crashed in my futon.

I absolutely loved that little escape, it made me so happy and relaxed, and I promised myself I would do that more often.

Train essentials: beer, bottled water, and a cute snack

Chigasaki station
A LOT bigger than Marugame

Chigasaki is quaint

I loved walking those quiet streets

I was curious to see if the magazine selection was different than Tokyo
(but it's not really)

¥200 beers, yes please

Cate sampling the grilled camembert,
because we're classy like that

Tom, as DJ River Phoenix
played an excellent set

The train ride back, with our questionable new friend

Shoes, shoes, shoes

Last train galore

Hipstermatic-ed Tim

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