Mar 9, 2019
I really have trouble letting go of work outside of the office to the point that I’m going to sleep on a Friday night thinking about it. That’s a bad thing not least because a swell and wind check promised the waves would be pumping in central Chiba this morning. And they were.
Too bad then that I only got a few snatches of sleep before three alarms finally got me out of bed at 4:15 am … and still thinking about work. But also about the surf.
Coffee, slice of toast, banana and a yoghurt. A few stretches. Pack the gear and steal out into the dark at 5:00 to the Daihatsu Move that’s parked in a lot that we rent a few hundred meters from the apartment building. The windshield needs a bit of defrosting so I sit and shiver in the dark despite a large beach towel over my lap and some very thick socks. (I’m a no-shoes driver.)
Driving to the beach involves the usual weaving between trucks, a couple of highways, and this one road that the partner and I always debate the speed limit of. She thinks it’s 60. I think it’s 80. Either way no one is doing less than 70. At the core of the debate is that certain stretches of said road regularly feature on cop-dash cam trash TV where people get busted for speeding. I think about that every time I make the beach run.
Tunes in the Daihatsu this morning -- Bon Iver.
Arrive at the beach around 6:00 and it’s already pretty light. Change into the wetsuit. Couple of sips from the flask of hot coffee. Psych myself up for the cold paddle out. The waves have got some size and are breaking deep which means having to force my way through walls and walls of white water which is brown with churned up sand underneath.
I’ll be knackered by the time I get out the back. And I am. (I’ll blame it on the poor sleep, although I could be much fitter.)
Recuperate and take a closer look at the waves. Think about work. Paddle for a wave. Fail. Try again. Bliss! Scratch for the horizon when a large wave face looms that I don’t want anything to do with. Make it. Wait. Paddle. Bliss. More waiting, more paddling and repeated bouts of bliss or the feeling that I’m flailing in a large washing machine set to a very cold wash.
I end things on a good wave and head back to the beach feeling like life is f@#king great despite arms that feel like rubber making slow work of the long paddle back to the sand.
(Pleased to have been able to try out a new set of fins this morning)
Change. Stroll to the convenience store for a Snickers bar and head back to the beach to sip a bit more coffee and contemplate the weakening waves. (Kujukuri is an early morning spot.)
(Surf watch says it's time to go home, and a whole bunch of other stuff that I'm yet to get to grips with!)
Drive home. Keep an eye out for plain car police. (There is almost always a sighting of someone pulled over on the highways between the beaches of Chiba and Tokyo.)
Tunes - Tool.
Home. Shower. Laundry. Cleaning. Out towards the station for lunch (McDonald’s - double cheeseburger set) and weekly food shop (Seiyu).
(Surf laundry. The two loads of regular laundry are out of shot)
Back to the crib. Get a message from the partner. She’s left something at home and needs it at work so I get on the mamachari and cycle the 10 minutes to drop it off. On the way back I stop by at my local surf shop to get some spring wax for the board. The elderly lady who runs it (along with her family) has skin like tan, worn leather and a beaming smile. She says konichiwa like she’s teaching a kid how to form words by drawing out the vowels in a form of song. It’s sweet. Bonkers but sweet.
So I’m finally crashed out on the couch writing this. I’ve got another coffee on the go (I drink too much), I’m listening to a Joe Rogan podcast (the second one with Jack Dorsey, the Twitter guy) and once I’ve uploaded this post I’ll be looking more like this …
… reading “the Cartel” by Don Winslow (a real page turner, which is good because there are over 600 of them) and munching away on possibly my current chocolate-snack favorite Black Thunder!
As good as the Mexico-set war-on-drugs epic is though, I may fall asleep because I’m all kinds of tired. In a good way. And I’m no longer thinking about work. Except just then. Damn!
The partner will come back at 18:00 and I’ll make the dinner. Then it will be Netflix (thanks for the suggestions everyone) for a bit as I decide whether or not to set the alarms again for another surf tomorrow. Or I might go with the stay-up-late / stay-in-bed-the-next-morning option. We’ll see.
What’s your Saturday in Japan like?