Finding Nemo: Snorkeling in Ainan, Ehime

Awaking mostly hangover free post enkai on Saturday morning, I had one thing on my mind: the celebration of James’ birthday that night down in Ainan. A few of us had planned to make the trip, so we packed up the car, traded cars due to tire issues, and then were on our way; road trippin’ in a Prius.

A few Bryan Adams albums later, we arrived in James’ small town. We had some beers over conversation, hilariously reading the messages on a table he owns, which had been passed down from various ALT’s and signed by even more, and discovering our friend Yasu had already been here (“Yasu, when were you here before?” we asked. “I have NO IDEA, but that’s my phone number,” he replied, pointing to a signature and number on the table..HA) before heading out in our Saturday’s finest to a local restaurant to meet his friends and have some nomihodai (all you can drink).

After a minorly awkward beginning, we were all a few drinks in, and the conversations started flowing more naturally as we started to become less nervous to break out the few Japanese expressions we knew and James’ friends were less afraid to use their English. (I assume this is why it was awkward.) We had drinks and delicious food, and we each took turns wearing a blonde wig Yasu happened to bring along that matched his nurses dress he also brought “just in case” – which obviously meant he wore it out. After an absurd amount of group photos later, the dinner was over. I somehow had a quick game of Super Mario before we left the restaurant (I guess there was a Nintendo there, but I didn’t notice it until we went to leave, and just had to play a game obviously). Then we were back at James’ for a dance party. A highlight of which was James and I dancing harder than I have ever danced in my life to “Big in Japan”. What a tune.

birthday boy
The birthday boy himself.

We rocked out for a while, literally dancing up a storm, until we were “shhh-d” by the neighbors, who in true Japanese style, apologized to us for having disturbed us during what was obviously a rockin’ party. So we turned down the tunes and ended the night.

The next morning, I woke up on a small pillow between the table and the wall. Apparently, in our state, James and I had decided NOT to bother breaking out the futons (I am left only to assume that he suggested this, he was on the couch!), and to just sleep where we were. Either way, I woke up feeling surprisingly good; for now.

Sunday was a beautiful and warm (read: blazing hot) day, so we headed out to the local Kashima deer, monkey, and peacock island to go snorkeling! Here: we nearly went snorkeling in the wrong spot (which would have lead to the opposite of Finding Nemo – Not Finding Nemo, or any Fish in General), got charged at by a local monkey, saw a blow fished that puffed too soon, and ungracefully struggled in water with giant flippers on. Well, actually, I didn’t struggle as much because I was somehow given children’s flippers…

on the ferry
Looking good, and not the least bit hungover, on our way to drinking and snorkelling adventure
Post birthday celebration snorkelling.

The island was beautiful, and the water was nice. After finally getting started snorkeling, and in the right place, we were swimming with beautiful fish in no time. There were bright blues ones, jellyfish which seemed not to sting, as well as coral, and I spotted a Sea Anemone, which we ALL KNOW, is home to Nemo fish! So I hovered over it for a while, and sure enough, out from it swam a little Nemo fish! “IT’S NEMO, I FOUND NEMO,” I struggled to shout to my friends through my snorkeling mask. Fortunately, good friends understand you in times of need, and swam over to see Nemo for themselves. We also happened across a puffed up blow fish, which Yasu retrieved via stick. We thought he may be alive, but unfortunately, he had passed away. RIP Blowfish that Puffed Too Soon.

our message to the blowfish
RIP Blowfish.TRIP
Turn that RIP into TRIP. WOO for trips!

On our way out, with the island mostly deserted, we found some of the locals had come down to hang out… the monkeys (well really only one monkey). We cautiously approached him, in an attempt to take a photo when it charged at us! As we all know, this is not my first time dealing with monkey’s so I was unafraid. Eventually he veered off the path and ran into the woods.

That concludes last weekend’s adventures.

Until next time,
xo R


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