Camping with Anthony, Day 4
Kotobikihama, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2008 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 VR @ 150 mm — 1/640 sec, f/9, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos

Day 4 of my camping trip with Anthony started early, as usual, but without the prospect of having to move the tent (as I did the previous day), I looked forward to a day of fun.

Already Up for Hours 8:15am, Kotobikihama (Kyoto Prefecture, Japan) -- Kotobikihama, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2008 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 VR @ 20 mm — 1/500 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Already Up for Hours
8:15am, Kotobikihama (Kyoto Prefecture, Japan)

Anthony's new friends had returned home the previous evening, but now he had May and Monet to play with, and added new friends Emma and her older brother, Benjamin, as well.

Kotobikihama beach is large – about a mile long – with several distinct sections. This morning, we headed out to the main part of the beach, which is quite a distance from the campground, around a bend on the shore....

Kotobikihama Beach main area -- Kotobikihama, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2008 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 VR @ 32 mm — 1/1250 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Kotobikihama Beach
main area

The main area is huge, and apparently filled to capacity during the summer. It's got three important things going for it that no other beach in Japan has:

  1. No smoking allowed.

    It's the first non-smoking beach in Japan, and as far as I know, the only one. That doesn't mean that everyone honors it (smokers aren't known for courtesy nor common sense), but it's a good start.

  2. It's unbelievably clean.

    Most beaches in Japan are, frankly, disgusting piles of trash. Just filthy. This beach was spotless.

    When Anthony and I came to this part of the beach on day 2 of our trip, I also brought a metal detector along (a Garrett Ace 250) and the results were quite different from the last time I used a metal detector at a Japanese beach (Shirahama, about 15 years ago). Back then, I had to wade through all kinds of trash, but found a bucketful of 500-yen coins ($5 coins), so it was quite financially rewarding, if not tiring because of the sheer magnitude of trash.

    This time, I found essentially nothing. Over the course of about an hour, I found one 10-yen coin, two pull tabs, and maybe a couple of other random pieces of metal. I could go 15 minutes with the machine on “all metal” mode, at maximum sensitivity, and get not the slightest twitter. I kept checking my own wedding ring just to make sure that the batteries hadn't died, or something.

    Kotobikihama is amazingly, wonderfully clean.

  3. The sand “sings”.

    When you shuffle along the sand at just the right speed, you get a singing tone from your feet. It's sort of odd in the same way that crystal glassware can suddenly sing when rubbed at just the right speed. The sound isn't as clear or beautiful as crystal, but it's noticeable. The beach name – kotobiki, 琴引 – literally means “to play a koto”.

This is all nice and fine, but the real attraction is a stream cutting right through the sand...

Small Stream Bisecting Kotobikihama -- Kotobikihama, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2008 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 VR @ 18 mm — 1/500 sec, f/9, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Small Stream Bisecting Kotobikihama

This is quite different from the hot river below the campsite, which is a small trickle from the overflow of a bath. This is a real stream that cuts through the sand, forging its own path that changes from day to day.

It cuts through some thick areas of sand, making banks up to perhaps 10 feet high, sometimes quite sheer....

Stability Test ( it's not stable, which makes it fun ) -- Kotobikihama, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2008 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 VR @ 135 mm — 1/500 sec, f/9, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Stability Test
( it's not stable, which makes it fun )

Of course, there's the whole “ocean” thing to explore as well....

Monet, Arthur, and May checking out the ocean -- Kotobikihama, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2008 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 VR @ 130 mm — 1/500 sec, f/9, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Monet, Arthur, and May
checking out the ocean
Note To Self: Ocean Is Cold -- Kotobikihama, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2008 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 VR @ 170 mm — 1/250 sec, f/9, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Note To Self: Ocean Is Cold

The stream is fresh water and cool, but compared to the ocean it's relatively warm, so play goes back and forth between the two.

When Anthony and I had visited two days earlier, the stream dove pretty much straight into the ocean, but today it had a long bend running almost parallel, before finally joining the salt water...

Where the Stream Meets The Ocean ( at least for the time being ) -- Kotobikihama, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2008 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 VR @ 18 mm — 1/250 sec, f/9, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Where the Stream Meets The Ocean
( at least for the time being )

I find this kind of movement to be really interesting, and I'd love to be able to take a time lapse movie over the course of a week or two.

The kids don't care, of course, except that it means that they can smash down all the sheer edges of the stream, and know that they'll be back again soon...

Must · Crush · Walls -- Kotobikihama, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2008 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 VR @ 34 mm — 1/800 sec, f/5.6, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Must · Crush · Walls

New friend Emma (five or six years old, in the blue flower hat above) also joined us. Her dad is from London and mom from Kyoto. She was fast friends with this group.

Emma, Anthony, and Monet -- Kotobikihama, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2008 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 VR @ 112 mm — 1/500 sec, f/6.3, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Emma, Anthony, and Monet
Emma Working the Cliffs -- Kotobikihama, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2008 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 VR @ 130 mm — 1/350 sec, f/6.3, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Emma Working the Cliffs
Having a Hat Moment -- Kotobikihama, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2008 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 VR @ 170 mm — 1/750 sec, f/5.6, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Having a Hat Moment

May was sort of the odd man out, being the only one not 5 or 6 years old, but she was a joy (the minute or so captured above, excluded).

Arthur is great with kids, and here enlisted them to build a special kind of sand castle using a dripping-sand technique that my former boss once showed me....

Building the Magical Castle -- Kotobikihama, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2008 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 VR @ 75 mm — 1/750 sec, f/5.6, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Building the Magical Castle

He then explained that it was magical, and that if they chanted the proper magical spells, it would allow whoever stood inside to fly. So he'd make up some magical-sounding silly words/sounds and all the kids would repeat, and then the one in the castle would jump, and sure enough, they felt that they could jump just a bit higher than normal...

Working the Magic on May -- Kotobikihama, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2008 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 VR @ 50 mm — 1/500 sec, f/9, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Working the Magic on May
Anthony's Turn -- Kotobikihama, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2008 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 VR @ 48 mm — 1/500 sec, f/9, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Anthony's Turn
Rapt Attention -- Kotobikihama, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2008 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 VR @ 62 mm — 1/320 sec, f/9, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Rapt Attention

Once that was done, he played some patty-cake with the girls....

Quality Time -- Kotobikihama, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2008 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 VR @ 65 mm — 1/640 sec, f/9, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Quality Time

Arthur is really such a kind and gentle soul. On the way back to camp, we stopped by the outside bath to clean up a bit, and when he realized later that he'd still had his wallet in his pocket, he just smiled and took it in stride.

Also, at one point in the afternoon, an amazing wind came out of nowhere and blew down his tarp and almost flattened our tents. It had been hot and still, when suddenly a cold wind whipped up. For everyone else in the campground it was just a pleasant breeze, but because of how our tents were right at the top edge of a sloping sea-facing cliff, they got blasted by a funneled jet of air that was almost tornado-like in its localized fury. For 15 minutes, Arthur, I and another man who ran to our aid held down my tent, until the wind stopped as suddenly as it had started.

It was all quite surreal, but Arthur's calming attitude (he has a calm attitude about everything) was contagious, and so we looked on the bright side and were thankful for the cool breeze.

Later, Arthur made another castle with the kids at the beach below our tents, then went snorkeling a bit. He used to be a professional diver, so this is familiar territory for him.

Benjamin, Emma, and Monet see Arthur off on a snorkeling dive -- Kotobikihama, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2008 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 VR @ 105 mm — 1/350 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Benjamin, Emma, and Monet
see Arthur off on a snorkeling dive

In the evening, I got out my tripod to try to capture some sparkler action...

Kotobikihama, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2008 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 VR @ 26 mm — 1.6 sec, f/6.3, ISO 320 — map & image datanearby photos

I also tried a family portrait of Emma, Benjamin, and their folks, but 15 seconds is a long time to ask a couple of kids to stand still....

, f/3.8, ISO 500 — map & image data — nearby photos Warm, Fuzzy Family Portrait -- Kotobikihama, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2008 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 VR @ 22 mm — 15 sec, f/3.8, ISO 500 — map & image datanearby photos
Warm, Fuzzy Family Portrait

The lights on the horizon are from fishing boats, I presume. They were really bright, casting shadows even though they must be 10 miles away.

Continued here...


All 7 comments so far, oldest first...

Now THAT looks like a fun day at the beach. I’ll bet those kids slept really well all night.

— comment by Marcina on May 22nd, 2008 at 2:54am JST (9 years, 7 months ago) comment permalink

Wow! How is it that ALL your friends and their friends have such exceptionally exqusite children? Your camera is doing a great job of capturing their beauty in delightfully unposed shots. Don’t stop.

— comment by Grandma Friedl on May 22nd, 2008 at 6:29am JST (9 years, 7 months ago) comment permalink

Hey, I can see where I put down my towel in the main beach foto! This beach had a webcam when that was the next cool thing on the net.

Having been brought up close to the beach, it was a real joy for me go to Kotobikihama several years ago, so much so that as soon as we got there, at night, I pulled off all my clothes (against my wife’s protests) and ran into the ocean naked. It was a moonless night, I couldn’t even see myself, and no one was around, so there was no modesty issue. I learned a bit about Japanese jellyfish that night, but they are small and the sting doesn’t hurt me much.

But when I got out of the water I learned something more amazing about that beach than the not-so-impressive squeaky sand. It’s bioluminescent! Everywhere I stepped the sand burst into a glowing aura around my foot. Did you see that?

No, I didn’t. Perhaps you have to be naked and drunk to see it? (This beach, like most others, tends to have a lot of sand, so I tried to stay away as much as I could, unless I had to go for Anthony’s benefit). Now must try to expunge from my mind the image of a naked 6’5″ man having a “jellyfish encounter”…. —Jeffrey

— comment by nils on May 23rd, 2008 at 2:39pm JST (9 years, 7 months ago) comment permalink

I wasn’t drunk in the slightest. Having grown up near the beach in California, I have a compulsion to jump in the ocean whenever I get near, and I just couldn’t wait to go change clothes at our ryokan just up the road from the beach (past the campsite). The rhythm of the waves is nature’s music for me. Do your swimming before O-bon and you should beat the jellyfish, but Japanese ones are tiny and the sting was barely noticeable to me. The moonless night must have made the bioluminescence more prominent.

— comment by nils on May 25th, 2008 at 1:14am JST (9 years, 7 months ago) comment permalink

Day 4’s sky and sea are really beautiful blue. We’ve never try the “valley”,but there is a
“sand-cliff” like the”valley” under your camp spot,did you know? We always play there,but the next time,we we will try the “valley”. And I can see the lights of
squid-fishing boat on the horizen in the night shots. That makes me feel “Summer has come!!” My family loves summer very much!
I told you there were some flash light in the sea at night,do you remember? According
to my illustrated reference book,those were maybe firefly-squids.Iwant to tell you
that.
They come to the cost for spawn,before sommer.

— comment by Chiharu on May 26th, 2008 at 12:28pm JST (9 years, 7 months ago) comment permalink

great images, nice story. I am tremendously proud of my brother.
John Brigham Denver Colorado

— comment by John Brigham on June 16th, 2008 at 3:57am JST (9 years, 6 months ago) comment permalink

Beautiful beach!
By the way, Monet’s parents seem to like impressionist painters. 🙂

— comment by Anne on September 9th, 2012 at 8:59pm JST (5 years, 3 months ago) comment permalink
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