Thursday, August 9, 2012

Shikoku Journey: Beaches + Temples

Dipping my toes in the Seto Inland Sea

Sunday was one of the most relaxing and summery days I've had in ages. After feasting on a morning set in a traditional little kissaten (coffee shop) near Marugame, we embarked on a road trip along the coast of Shikoku.

The island is lined with countless beaches, some more rocky than others, but they all offer an exquisite view of the Seto Inland Sea. Most of my memories of the Inland Sea depict it as dark and stormy, but on Sunday, it was clear, sunny, and calm. When the train travels along the coast towards Ehime (the next prefecture), the view of the sea is breathtaking, and one of my favourite sights was a shrine located on an island far from the shore, only accessible via a narrow bridge.

Turns out the shrine is only open to people two days per year, for the Great Summer Festival, and Sunday was luckily one of them. My friends are I excitedly crossed the bridge, examined the lovely shrine, and paddled and splashed around in the shallow water for a bit.

We continued our trek with a scenic drive across the peninsula near Mitoyo city, where we found a gorgeous secluded beach, in a little nook between cliffs. Some town locals were already having a BBQ, and they promptly invited us to join them and shared delicious portions of grilled shrimp, octopus, scallops, corn on the cob and fresh watermelon (the watermelon had been chilled in the sea water, was temporarily lost at sea but suddenly returned to the shore before being eaten. I thought it was quite endearing).

We all took off our clothes and jumped in the sea (I did borrow my friend's t-shirt and shorts!), and we swam around with our new local friends, and had good, clean fun. To this day, I'm incredibly touched by the kindness and generosity of many people I've encountered in Japan, who welcome us with open arms and share foods and drinks with complete strangers.

We left the beach sleepy, tanned, and refreshed. I got to spend quality time with all the friends I had missed so much since I left Marugame, and it felt like no time had passed, even though our respective lives have changed significantly since then. I think it's a sign of true friendship. Mitch promised me he'd never treat me any differently if I became famous (haha) and he threatened to send photos of my tomboy-ish, makeshift swimsuit style to the magazine.

This day is perhaps my favourite summer memory.

The bridge leading to Tsushima and the Inland Sea

 Lovely Yuri, myself and Jordan taking a dip

The bridge is only open two days per year

Jonathan sliding down to the sea
View of mountainous Kagawa from the shrine

My dear friend Jonathan, who is like a brother to me,
and who made Marugame seem like the best place in the world.

Marugame's newest (and coolest) addition, Jordan.
I told him only great things about Marugame.
JUMP!
The secluded beach, only me and my thoughts (kind of)
Our new Kagawa friends
Picnic in the summertime

BBQ'ed treasures from the sea

Jonathan, Jordan, Mitch.
Mitch, Marugame won't be the same without you.

My makeshift swimsuit, and fellow Canadian Mitch

4 comments:

Nicole Marie said...

how cute are you!! love that picture and dress!! glad you had such a wonderful time!

Kellina said...

Vivian, you have the best adventures! Love this! Thank you for sharing

Vanessa said...

THe top photo of you is truly amazing. Reading this post, all I can think is "this is how life should be."

Vivian said...

Thank you V! Indeed, I was thinking too, that's exactly how life should be. I felt so happy that day :)