Naked Swede and the imaginary beach party - PART ONE

So far, this morning view is the most effective hangover cure I have encountered.

So far, this morning view is the most effective hangover cure I have encountered.

Every summer my friends and I rent a van and drive to Shizuoka prefecture, an area located west of Tokyo known for beautiful beaches and bikini babes with sun-kissed skin. One time I saw a girl in a 7-Eleven parking lot there who was so hot I turned to my friend and said, “To be honest with you I would cheat on my girlfriend with her,” but I didn’t, and then my girlfriend ended up dumping me anyway about a month later. In retrospect, I should have given it a shot.

Anyway, our summer trip activities are divided evenly over the course of one weekend. After getting an early start out of Tokyo around 7am, we arrive at a beach called Shirahama just in time for lunch (a couple onigiri from 7-Eleven and a bunch of beer). Like all party beaches, Shirahama is full of muscleheads, scantily clad beach babes and leather-skinned cougars; it is essentially the Japanese equivalent of the Jersey shore, only with more STDs.

As the sun begins to set, we migrate to our accommodation in Shimoda, a quieter beach town far from the raunch and ratchetry of Shirahama. This is where the real fun begins, for by some good fortune, we may have found the greatest accommodation in all of Japan. This place is like a combination of a traditional ryokan, a Thai bungalow, the jungle levels in Tomb Raider, and the entrance to the Temple of Doom. The owner is an Okinawan hippie who has clearly ingested a fair share of psychedelics in his lifetime and wants nothing more than to sit on the beach and play bongos until sunup. I have actually seen him do this.

On this particular trip we had about 12 people with us, so we had to book a second cabin in a separate part of the resort. I would be staying in this room along with three other untouchables who’d also been deemed unworthy of the main cabin. Such is life. Since we arrived at the resort around dinner time, we thought it best to just throw all of our luggage into the main cabin for the time being and make our way to the barbecue pit, where the hippie would provide us with hot coals and a grill to bring back to our site. We could move our things to our own room later.

For the barbecue we spared no expense. If Jesus and his disciples had been Korean, this is what the last supper would have looked like; we had an endless supply of pork, beef, kimchi, raw garlic, fried rice, fried noodles, mushrooms – and as with all of our dinners - a ton of booze.  There is a certain state of enlightenment that can only be attained through a perfect mixture of red meat, garlic, kimchi and polish vodka, and all of us got there. The feast lasted well into the night, and that’s when the yawning began. When the first of the gang to die excused herself from the table and crawled back to the main cabin, others followed suit, and soon we were down to five: two Hawaiians, an Aussie, a Swede, and Chickenboy.

The night for us was far from over, and in a booze-meat-and-garlic-infused madness, we decided to grab a bottle of vodka and walk down to the beach in the middle of the night while the others slept. This is where Odin decided to have a little fun with us; the moment we set foot in the sand, the sky opened up and the five of us were treated to the most majestic thunderstorm I have ever witnessed. The thunder shook your bones; the lightning illuminated the sky, the earth and the ocean, and in that split second you could see for miles. The rain was heavy and warm. All of this together became the second most beautiful thing I have ever seen in nature (the first being the girl in front of 7-Eleven with whom I did not cheat on my girlfriend).

We passed the bottle around while waiting for the next bolt of lightning to strike, and each time it did, we could see a tiny island with a lighthouse off in the distance. It was then that the Swede, who will be referred to as Alecsson, decided that he would swim out to the island because he had convinced himself that there was a large group of people there, all of whom wanted to party with him.

“Do you guys see that island way out there?!”

“Uh, yes.”

“Well there’s a bunch of people there, and they’re having a party!”

“There’s nobody there, Alecsson. The lighthouse guy isn’t even there now.”

“No! There’s a party there, and I’m going to swim over to it!”

The Swede proceeded to tear off all of his clothes - as Europeans often do when they’re on the beach - just as a perfectly timed lightning bolt illuminated his bare white ass for the rest of us to see and laugh at.

Now this island was about a mile (or 2 kilometers for all you non-Trump supporters) from the beach, and any attempt to swim there while deeply intoxicated in the middle of a thunderstorm would have without question resulted in tragedy. So when Alecsson began sprinting bareass into the water and toward certain death, it did not help that the rest of us did nothing but laugh uncontrollably. In our defense, the entire scenario was hilarious. You had to be there.

Fortunately for Alecsson, there was one hero among us who wasn’t laughing. The Aussie, who had been unable to drink earlier in the day because he was driving the van, had his head on straight enough to realize the gravity of the situation. He chased after Alecsson and dragged him back to shore before he could get in too deep. “You guys are fucking assholes,” he said as he helped walk Alecsson back from the beach to the main cabin.

And then there were three. But the escapades had only just begun.


The time we got smuggled into a Taiwanese mountain village

Hang me up to dry: what I learned from a month without booze