It was my son's 8th birthday on Saturday and this year he chose to go camping rather than have a party. It turned out to be a great choice! We went to a tiny town South of Oita called Kamae and went to a beach which had basically nothing but sand, surf and free camping sites. We only stayed for 2 nights, but the children spent basically the whole time in the ocean or on their bikes and my husband and I spent most of the time sitting around reading books or going for bike rides, with the odd cold beer thrown in for good measure. The hammock was definitely my favorite spot to laze in - I could read my book while still keeping an eye on the swimmers. I must say it was great! What was even better was that the first night we headed down to the beach with our pathetic packet of free fireworks from the petrol station and discovered that all the other people staying at the campsite were there with huge bags of much bigger and more impressive fireworks. We sat and watched and didn't have to worry about who was about to be burned or of course pay for them! The second night we were the only ones staying at the beach which was wonderful. The whole beach to ourselves, all the cold showers to ourselves (no complaints when it is so hot outside!), the ex-neighbours charcoal to make a fire for our marshmallows and only the sound of the waves to put us to sleep. All in all a great (much needed) break away! I was so excited about the summer holidays actually feeling like a holiday that I came home and booked tickets for Hong Kong at the end of the month - Birgit, Paul, Peter and Rosa - we are looking forward to seeing you soon!