Umino Park
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Swimming through the wakame invasion
The occasional invasion of bright green wakame doesn't stop summertime action at the beach. Diving into the water brings a sensation not unlike swimming in cold miso soup.
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Clam digging in Kanagawa
If you really want to fit in with the locals in early spring, grab a hand rake and a bucket and head to the beach during low tide for some shiohigari, or clam digging. Toddlers to octogenarians will be hunched over the water in search of bivalves underneath the sand. At my local beach, it's a wonder any of the creatures survive from year to year. The diggers are prolific.
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Explosions in the sky
Summertime in Japan is all about fireworks, or hanabi. You could probably find a display every weekend somewhere in metro Tokyo. My neighborhood has a respectable showing every Saturday for several weeks leading up to the big show in late August. The Uminokoen beach fills with picnickers starting in the late afternoon. Men and women wear lightweight yukata. Groups bring homemade bentos and coolers full of beer. Stands sell the standard and delicious Japanese festival foods: okonomiyaki, yakitori, takoyaki, yakisoba, shaved ice, candied apples and more. The light show is launched from barges in the harbor. The next one, the 40th Kanazawa Fireworks Festival, is August 23 and will apparently have 3,200 colorful explosions.
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