top of page
  • Writer's pictureJacek Brychczyński

Chibafornia aka my first summer spent in Japan

Updated: Oct 20, 2022

Waking up at 4:30 am in my micro van to see an amazing sunrise and go for a surf session right after is basically why I chose to live in Chiba Prefecture this summer. Besides all the cool things I could discover about the living in the countryside, there was nothing better than those moments by the ocean with a surfboard.

Logistically it wasn't super easy for me to surf every day due to pretty far distance that I had to cover to reach the ocean. 40-50 minutes by car is fairly long drive especially when we consider waking up for a morning surf. Because of that I wanted to experience increasingly popular van life which surprisingly isn't so popular on the seaside of Boso Peninsula in Chiba Prefecture. Most of the time, after arriving late in the evening at the free parking by the ocean, I was only one. Only a few other cars during the weekend. There is of course big advantage to this situation, having lots of space for yourself in perfectly safe country. On the other side, already before the sunrise, when I was waking up and looking through the window of my car outside, there were plenty of cars of keen surfers. So there are some well motivated individuals here who can wake up probably around 4am or earlier, depends where they live, and come down to surf in the morning. I tried set the alarm few times in my bed at home. I never stood up.

Seeing all the van conversions in Europe done by my friends, I had the image of van life requiring quite big vehicles with lots of space inside. Well it's not the case in Japan. There is special category of cars that are small and with little engine power, but still could be four wheel drive. They are called kei cars and few manufacturers came up with kei truck in cargo version where the back seat of the car is folding flat. At first sight I couldn't believe it's possible for me to comfortably lay down flat with my body fully extended. What a nice surprise when I actually tried it out and my body fit perfectly. With picnic table, two chairs, surfboard, tripod, gas cooker, wetsuit, some towels, clothes and camera backpack, I have still ideal space to relax and sleep comfortably.

Summer is very hot and humid, ocean is very loud. Sleeping inside the car might be sometimes very hot without any ventilation system. Opening the windows means that you will be eaten alive by mosquitos. Mornings are very hot right after the sunrise which was starting around 4:30am. Nevertheless some lessons were learnt and at least I could experience micro van life. To be continued!

49 views0 comments


bottom of page