Thursday, September 27, 2007

Niijima - escaping one part of inaka Japan for another.

Last week I finally took up my friend Mike's invitation to visit him on the island of Niijima. Mike is a private English teacher who works on two separate islands which are part of the Izu Island chain. We met before I came to Japan at a JET orientation event. We've been good friends ever since!!

I took the train to Tokyo on Saturday morning and hung out with my friend Kazz for the day. We went to Tokyo Tower and wandered around Shibuya for a while before heading to an English pub for a Strongbow (or two) before my ship departed at 11:00 p.m. We met some interesting characters at the bar. Entertaining and flirtatious!

Unfortunately I had to leave before the fun really got started (meaning karaoke). I said goodbye to Kazz and made my way to the ferry port.
I found my floor space, rented 2 blankets and made my 'bed' before heading up to the deck to watch the ferry leave Tokyo Bay. Rainbow Bridge was all lit up, the harbour was buzzing with party boats and a warm breeze carried us out to sea.

Back inside, a group of fishermen had taken over the floor space right at the bottom of the staircase and had finished a flat of beer before I had even brushed my teeth! People buzzed around emptying the vending machines and getting ready for the night long ride to the islands. I returned to my floor space, put my earplugs in, then curled up and slept until the morning announcement of our arrival at the first island stop.

Mike was there at 8:00 a.m. to greet me as I came off the boat. The day was already HOT and the sun was making an impressive show of the crystal clear ocean water. We hitched a ride to his apartment with a local and it wasn't long before the fun began! We took a bike ride around the island, stopped along the way to watch some surfing, drink some beer, soak our feet in one of the outdoor onsens, and do some glass blowing!! In the evening we went out to a local restaurant with one of Mike's friends and got the rumor mill going over 'the new girl with Mike-sensei'! A full day and it was only the first day of my vacation!