We hit the coast with a group of international students for a day of sun, surf…and maybe romance?

Tokyo itself doesn’t really have any sandy beaches to speak of, but the inviting shores of Kanagawa Prefecture, the capital’s neighbor to the south, are just a short drive or train ride away. With summer here, our reporter Seiji was waxing poetic, talking with a group of his Pakistani friends about the joys of spending a day on the shimmering sands and in the sparkling sea, when suddenly they told him something startling: none of them had ever been to the beach.

At first Seiji was confused. Pakistani isn’t a landlocked country, after all. But it turned out that Seiji’s friends, who’re currently attending a Japanese language school in Tokyo’s Takadanobaba neighborhood, all grew up in inland cities. So while they’ve seen people having fun at the beach in movies and TV shows, they’d never been able to experience it for themselves.

This simply wouldn’t do, Seiji thought, while also remembering the delicious taste of the chapati flatbread his friends had shared with him when he’d visited them in their home. Since the SoraNews24 official car/cooking grill was too small, Seiji rented a Toyota Hi Ace, drove to his friends’ apartment, and loaded everyone up for a trip to the beach.

The whole group consisted of eight people, counting Seiji and Tashiro, their cameraman for the day. Once everyone was buckled in, Seiji set the car’s navigation system for Zushi, one of the most popular beaches for daytrippers from Tokyo, and they were off.

While Seiji’s pals are capable of carrying on conversations in Japanese, there was still plenty of excited Urdu to be heard, as the group of international students and Tashiro took turns providing musical entertainment by singing songs in their respective native languages.

But a hushed silence fell over the van when…

…the beach came into view!

Seiji’s friends react to seeing the beach for the first time in their lives.

The silence was quickly broken by cheers of excitement, with even Seiji and Tashiro now caught up in the energized anticipation. After parking the car and changing into swim trunks, Seiji led the group charging into the sea.

Seeing his friends’ smiling faces, Seiji felt deeply moved at the reminder that you’re never too old to find something amazing about the world. “Beautiful! So beautiful,” his friends said as they splashed and swam.

But the waters of the Pacific weren’t the only source of enchantment.

Never having been to the beach before also made this the first time for the group to see in-the-flesh women walking around in bikinis, and Seiji’s friend Raza seemed quite smitten.

At Zushi, as with many beaches in Japan, there are temporary restaurants set up on the sands during the summer. However, for Raza the situation wasn’t as simple as walking up to a young lady, introducing himself, and asking if she’d like to join him for a drink. Being on a shoestring budget in Japan, his finances are tied up in his academic and living expenses, leaving him without much wiggle room in his wallet for romance.

Having recently learned just how wonderful falling in love can be, Seiji wanted to help, and so he offered to foot the bill for the romantic overture. With another member of the group, Usama agreeing to act as wingman, Seiji gave the pair 3,000 yen (US$27), enough to cover a round of drinks for a group of four should the two ladies they had their eyes on accept their invitation.

So off they went…

…to make one more summer memory…

…which turned out to be…

…a little…


But while Raza and Usama got shot down, everyone’s spirits remained high as they buried each other in the sand and ate watermelon, two activities you don’t need a girlfriend to enjoy.

With the sun starting to go down, it was time to pack up, but not before getting everyone’s thoughts on their first-ever day at the beach.

“The ocean was beautiful, and it was fun to be here with so many friends. I hope I can go to the beach two or three times this summer.”

“There were many beautiful women, and it was fun. So much fun.”

“It was fun hanging out with everyone. I felt shy trying to talk to the girls.”

“It was fun swimming and eating watermelon. The ocean was very beautiful.”

“There were many beautiful girls, and it was a lot of fun. The watermelon we shared tasted great too.”

“I got to talk to a lot of people and make new friends. Japanese people are kind.”

Seiji’s friend will finish their language school program in 2020, after which they hope to transition to automotive engineering specialty schools. He’s sure they’ve got bright futures ahead of them, but for the time being, he’s happy to have been able to give them one sun-drenched day of summer fun.

Photos ©SoraNewd24
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