Ikea Japan

If you’re a gaijin living in Japan, going to shop at Ikea should be on your to do list, in the first week of your arrival in Japan. Why? Simply because you will be able to find a lot of product and furniture that you might need to comfortably live in Japan at a price that will not kill your wallet on the spot.

Ikea was introduced in Japan in 1974, the company launched a franchising deal in 1974, only to beat a retreat in 1986. The exact reasons of the retreat are not clear but it is mostly said that it was because the japanese housing market really did not match the company products.  The Ikea CEO said; ” He attributed IKEA’s failure two decades ago to the fact that the company was not ready for the demanding Japanese market — and that Japanese customers were not ready for the do-it-yourself style that defines IKEA.”

20 years past and extensive reasearch were done by the Ikea corporation, to first understand the Japanese life style and also the Japanese needs.

So with all that the first modern Ikea store was open in Funabashi in 2006 followed by the seconde one in Yokohama also in 2006 and 3 other location in 2008: Kobe port island, shin-Misato Saitama and Tsuruhama. All stores are a massive 40,000 m2 which in Japan is incredibly big for a store.

IKEA in Kobe

Chiba’s surf life

Ok every year comes a season I love!! Summer!

Every summer I’m really lucky because I have a beautiful month off. One of my good friend moved in the prefecture of Chiba 千葉県  2 years ago, I did not have the chance to visit her until this summer. She lives in Ichinomiya 一宮町, a small surfer village near the ocean and the city of Mobara茂原市 .

Being in vacation I decided to go pay her a visit. From where I live in Koshigaya, it takes around 2h30 to get to Ichinomiya. If you’re leaving from Tokyo station it’s around 1h30. When you arrive there you are greeted with a typical small Japanese village. Ichinomiya is in my opinion a really great place to live. You have the Kujūkuri Beach 九十九里浜 at your door step, the second largest beach in Japan. The beach covers 66km and there are 9 municipalities located along it.

Not long after my arrival my friend picked me up, first stop the beach! At the beach I was welcomed by my friend husband and a short board (typically not for beginners). The first thing they had in plan for me was a surf lesson. Ok if you did not read about me before I’m Canadian from Montreal. People generally don’t surf where I come from, the ocean is far and in winter you can forget about the surf it’s -25 degrees. But now here I was on a beautiful beach attacked by massive (at that time for me) 7 foot waves, a surfboard in hand.

Having done many sport in my life, most of them consider extreme I did not hesitate to jump in the water. I must say, after the first 4 minutes of paddling I noticed a strong current and it made me some what uncomfortable. Even with that feeling I managed to try to ride a wave. 20  minutes later I was dead, I did not have anymore energy. No need to say I did not catch one wave but a connection born.  An emotion was waking up in the roots of my body. It was the love of surfing.  After that day my friend got me a room or should I say a house near the beach and I stayed in Ichinomiya surfing till the end of my vacation. The surfer’s life is pretty easy, get up at 6 or 7am, eat, take a walk to the beach, check the waves, if they are good you do a little morning session, then go back home to regroup with the friends, go back to the beach surf till the sun goes to sleep and finish it off with a nice BBQ on the beach. Wow what a life!! I wish I could live like that every day like a lot of real surfers but for me it will only result in 1 month a year full-time and for the rest of the year I will call my self a ”weekender”.

The surf life is amazing, the friendship between surfers is super great and really welcoming. I got the chance during my month in Chiba to meet so many nice Japanese friend. It is already on my list for next year. Surfing is wonderful you learn how to feel the ocean and enjoy the beauty of being in nature.  At the end of the summer I was proclaimed by my fellow surfer friends an official surfer which made me really happy.  My wave total for last summer was 6 really good and clean rides, 30 something good one and 1000’s bad ones.

Soon I will buy my first board and get ready for next summer, which is already at are door steps.

!!Coming this summer!!

This summer I will also try to make a post about the best beach to surf in Chiba and also an article: a surfer’s budget for an incredible Japan surf vacation!!!

!!Coming this summer!!