And so the long weekend begins. I woke up this morning as the morning light entered the bedroom, grabbed my kindle to start my day off with a good book and a cup of coffee, only to realize that I was out of coffee. Every coffee lover will know the joy of waking up with that nice ground coffee bean smell in the kitchen, and the mesmerizing sound of the coffeemaker dripping hot liquid in the pot. So to have to stumble to the konbini half awake through the last rains of 梅雨 (rainy season) was a real bummer.

Anyhow, what I want to touch on is not my grumpy coffee-less morning mood, but today’s Japanese national holiday: Marine Day. Japan is known for its vast amount of bank holidays, ranking 6th country in Asia in number of public holidays. Marine Day, which was established in 1995, is a day to be grateful for the importance and significance of the ocean to the maritime nation of Japan. This day usually falls at the end of rainy season, and couples and families would usually venture to the seaside and enjoy a day at the beach, or go to an aquarium that tends to hold special Marine Day events.

Due to the aforementioned rain – and the elephant in the room: the pandemic – I will be staying inside and write this reminiscent post instead. I was thinking of the Japanese waters and how I have been amazed time and again with its beauty. My mind instantly travelled back to Nago, Okinawa. Back in 2017, my uni friends and I made a pact that during our exchange in Japan, and our tight group would be spread over various universities in the country, we would meet up in Okinawa. And so in March, we all saw each other again for the first time in months in Japan’s tropics. I clearly remember it being drizzly the first few days, but then on our last day, the sun came out and we found a beautiful – seemingly deserted – beach. Spending that beautiful day on the beach will forever be one of my most cherished memories. And the sunburn that has left marks on our bodies up until today, is also a daily reminder to wear sunscreen. Nevertheless, it was an extraordinary vacation where I was surrounded by incredible human beings.

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