Back in August of 2017, I made the life-changing decision of leaving home to spend a whole semester abroad in Fukuoka, Japan. In the months before leaving for Japan, I didn’t research too much into anything Fukuoka had to offer as I honestly love to let the world surprise me with its wonders. I would soon discover that Fukuoka was much different than Buffalo, NY in many beautiful and awe-inspiring ways. As the semester rolled ahead, the number of adventures, pleasant surprises, and unforgettable snapshot moments would seem to be limitless.
It wasn’t long before I discovered some of my favorite spots in Fukuoka. Of them all, I must say that there were none quite like Momochi Beach. Situated right behind the alluring Fukuoka Tower, Momochi Beach seemed to be a hidden wonder that everyone and their mother knew about. With Fukuoka’s flagship monument standing over it, how was Momochi beach ever able to steal the spotlight?
All I have to say is that the people who designed the layout of this seaside park knew exactly what they were doing…As you stroll past Fukuoka tower and make your way down the curved stone staircase towards the beach, you are met with Marizon — Fukuoka’s Momochi Seaside Park waterfront facility. Lined with shops, restaurants, and more, you could buy just about anything you would need for a perfect beach day — right on the beach.
Whenever I wasn’t feeling the choices provided at the waterfront, I kept in mind that Fukuoka Tower not only had a one-of-a-kind ice cream shop right next door, but convenience stores and restaurants attached to the tower itself — literally a minute walk away from the beach. If the convenience wasn’t attractive enough, the most eye-catching part of the facility definitely was– The elegant yet mysterious Wedding Island Marizon. In the four months I spent in Japan, the gates to this wedding island always seemed to be locked as bystanders admired its mesmerizing beauty from the outside.
Despite everything the beach offered, the elements that kept me going back over and over again were simple — the soft sand in between my toes, the crashing of the waves, and the amazing view (the contrast between the flashing city lights and nature’s calming atmosphere was absolutely captivating), especially at night. Over the course of the semester, it became commonplace for me and a friend of mine to sneak out of our living quarters and walk to Momochi Beach in the dead of night (around 1am) to clear our heads and let the peacefulness take us over. By that time, all the shops and restaurants would be closed, but we were never really there for those things. They were just icing on the ever so delightful cake that was Momochi Beach.
I remember one night in particular where I was incredibly overwhelmed by a situation that was going on back at home. I felt helpless being thousands and thousands of miles away. As I laid staring up at the ceiling of my cozy one-person room (yet that night I felt anything but cozy), I knew just what I needed to help calm me down. I gathered my friend and snuck past the manager’s office, yet again breaking curfew to find peace at the one place I knew would never let me down.
The night was calm and soothing. The air seemed to be the perfect temperature, not as hot as the Fukuoka climate usually simmered but definitely not too cold to feel uncomfortable by any means. As we walked, I spilled my guts out to my friend about what I was feeling. I always admired how straightforward he could be with me, but tonight wasn’t so easy. He didn’t have all the right answers and I had no idea where to begin in terms of helping myself. Not to let myself feel defeated, we decided to walk towards Momochi’s breakwall — a first for me.
I will never be able to forget the utter tranquility I felt sitting out on that wall. After a couple minutes of venting, my attention seemed to be taken hostage as the moment wrapped its soft yet forceful fingers around me. All I could hear was the serene flow of Fukuoka’s glistening waters, interrupted by the occasional clap of a fish taking its leap out into the open air, just to smack the surface of the water on its way back in. I got lost in the visuals of the circular pattern of waves that emanated from each fish’s reentry point. To my right — the city. Bright lights of various colors shined from the windows and signs protruding out of each building. To my left — the solid black night sky littered with vivid yellow stars. And in far the distance past the water– the ambiance of a prominent yet seemingly unreachable city. All of this combined — an environment that was vibrant, yet delicate — saturated, yet subtle. Euphoria in a moment of despair.
I don’t talk like that often, but there was no other way to try to put that moment into words. I still don’t know if I was able to explain well enough how that beach somehow took control of each of my senses. It felt amazing to surrender to that moment in time, realize that things will get better and let the world do the thing it never fails to do — amaze me.
Thanks, Lisa for the opportunity! To those reading this — thank you for the read, first of all! Secondly, never let the snapshot moments pass you by. Cherish them while you have them and remember that sometimes it’s the tiniest things that make the biggest impacts. Happy travels!
For more on Ryan’s travels: