Sunday 12 May 2019

Extended Golden Week: Zushi, Enoshima, and Kamakura (Part 1)

Zushi Marina, Kanagawa
Japan recently enjoyed an extended "Golden Week" holiday to mark the abdication of the old emperor and the succession of the new (discussed in an earlier post). May 1st, the first day of the new emperor's reign known as the Reiwa era, became the additional holiday which worked out as ten consecutive days off (April 27th to May 6th) for many - but not all - people. Golden Week is probably the longest vacation period of the year for many Japanese and with the extra day many did take advantage of this to travel inside and outside Japan (despite the crowds and higher prices). I enjoyed a trip to nearby Zushi, Kanagawa, a small sea-side city sandwiched between Kamakura and Yokosuka (home to the US naval base) only a couple of hours from the capital.
The weather wasn't especially kind during our stay, but we did have some blue skies (as the picture shows) and the beach was rather lovely (our dog, Jaz, especially enjoyed digging holes!). The beach was actually the setting for former Tokyo mayor's debut novel Taiyō no Kisetsu (太陽の季節)which translates as Season of the Sun but became Season of Violence in the English translation, better reflecting the content which was about the rebellious post-war taiyōzoku youth culture. Interestingly, the Sunshine Party was also the name of Ishihara's short-lived nationalist political party.
In the evenings, the Zushi Beach Film Festival was in full swing and despite the rain quite a few people turned up to enjoy the huge screen and state of the art sound system. The booming speakers are a rarity on the beach - in 2014 the city banned loud music, tattoos, drinking, and barbecues after complaints by local residents. The crackdown on rowdy party goers and yakuza (two gangsters were  stabbed to death on the beach in 2013) saw a 50% drop in the number of visitors in 2015.

In the next post, I'll introduce Kamakura, the old capital of Japan and its wonderful temples and shrines. But for now I'll finish with a picture of Enoshima, a small offshore island a little further on from Kamakura introduced in an earlier post. Driving towards Enoshima along the coastal road the rolling storm clouds - completely hiding any view of Mount Fuji - contrasted vividly with the blue sky and crashing white foam. Breathtaking.