Let’s meet at Tsukuba Center at 8:30 am to clean Top Sante Beach on Saturday morning 21 September: International Coastal Cleanup Day.
We will leave the trash bagged and in a pile in the beach parking lot. Hokota City will pick it up from there afterwards. In addition to cleaning, let’s play in the waves and enjoy the beach. After we finish at the beach, we’ll stop at Top Sante Taiyomura Onsen for a relaxing hot spring soak on the way home. This municipal sports/onsen complex website has a nice video of the onsen and beach: https://topsante-hokota.com/
The Ibaraki coast from Hasaki to Mito is long and straight in the north by northeast direction, with concrete jetties every few kilometers. The 52-km drive on local roads from Tsukuba takes about 75 minutes. The sandy beach at Top Sante is suitable and safe for anyone able to walk down the steps from the parking lot, but note that there are no lifeguards and the surf can be dangerous; furthermore, sometimes rip tides develop along the jetties. This beach is popular with surfers and is likely to be busy if surf is up. Waves are not predictable this long in advance, but you can see some relevant information at this site: https://ja.magicseaweed.com/Kashima-Ibaraki-Surf-Report/4014/.
There are no public bathrooms on the beach, but there are public bathrooms up the hill about 300 m in the onsen parking lot.
If very bad weather is predicted on the afternoon of the previous day, then I will postpone this event.
If you don’t live in Tsukuba but want to participate, you are welcome to meet us at the beach; we should arrive there about 9:45. The will be a car based trip.
To sign up, email me with your name and mobile phone number. If you can drive, then please inform me of how many passengers you can carry.
I’ll bring along a cooler, sun shelter, some beach chairs, a kite and some boogie boards.
Sun protective clothing, sunscreen, or both.
Raingear (the trip will be held if rain is predicted to be light)
Clear plastic bags for gathering trash
Tongs for picking up trash, cotton gloves
Beach toys such as kites, frisbees, boogie boards, surf boards, etc.
Beach chair, wetsuit and short fins optional
Lunch and plenty of water to drink
Change of clothes (for after onsen)
Expected per participant costs:
300 yen club fee
850 yen for onsen (more if you use the pool or gym)
A share of the car fuel costs (drivers excluded); probably on the order of 1500 yen; to be calculated on the day
TWMC accepts no responsibility for participant safety.
Although the weather forecast for Saturday looked poor on Friday morning, in the afternoon, the forecast had improved and I decided that the trip would proceed. We gathered at the Tsukuba Station parking lot at 8:30 and were soon on our way to Top Sante Beach. Floris and Robin came to join us by Tx from Tokyo; Robin had seen our trip announcement on the Ocean Conservancy website (https://oceanconservancy.org/trash-free-seas/international-coastal-cleanup/). The participants from Tsukuba were me, Nobuko, Laura, Rie, Thierry, Han, Anja, and Ivan. A few raindrops fell on the drive, but although the sky was overcast, no rain fell at the beach while we were there. There was a steady wind that increased in the afternoon and the air temperature was in the low 20’s. The sea surface temperature was about 22. We set up a folding shelter and a few beach chairs as our base and got right to work a bit before 10. A surfer Goro who saw us cleaning joined us for most of the day. Mio, Noah, and Eli from Tsukuba also unexpectedly popped up in the afternoon to pitch in.
Unfortunately, there was no shortage of trash to gather: many pet bottles, mysterious plastic cylinders about a cm long, toothbrushes, plastic bags, fishing gear of all sizes including large floats, ropes short and long, a bumper for a ship, little shards of flat plastic, glass bottles, barbeque grills, a carboy filled with some unknown brown liquid, and many other things. We worked steadily, with breaks for lunch and to enjoy the sea. Most of the trash was easy to pick up, but there were some items that were partially buried in the sand. Next time I’ll bring a knife and shovel.
We had arranged with Hokota City for them to pick up the trash from the parking lot next to the beach. While we carried the trash up, another couple of surfers (I didn’t catch their names) helped us. Thierry drove some of the trash in his car from the northern end of the beach parking lot to the pickup pile near where we had parked.
The city contacted us on Monday after they had picked up the trash we gathered. They were pleasantly surprised that we left them 500 kg of trash and welcome us to visit and clean again.
Thierry was our uncontested champion trash collector! He worked with hardly any breaks.
One car drove back to Tsukuba around 15:00. The other two cars left the beach around 16:00 and stopped at Top Sante Onsen on the way home (just a few hundred meters from the beach) to enjoy a nice soak with ocean view. These 2 cars reached Tsukuba around 18:45.
The amount of trash on the beach is discouraging, but the work is not hard and I think all of us enjoyed the day and feel good to have made a small contribution to mitigating environmental damage to our coast. Let’s have more coastal cleanups in the future!
Thanks to all who helped us clean Top Sante Beach. I’m thinking of going back on Saturday to ride some waves. Let me know if you want to join me on our newly clean beach.
Also relevant, note that a 2019-2020 Fulbright Scholar at the University of Tsukuba is speaking this Friday evening at Temple University Japan Campus about the environmental footprint of the Tokyo Olympics: https://www.tuj.ac.jp/icas/event/trash-islands-the-olympic-games-and-japans-changing-environment/
I’m thinking of attending. Let me know if you want to join.