Not so many years ago, any mention of Tanegashima brought to mind "guns" and "space."
A third claim to fame, however, is now gaining considerable steam and starting to change the image of the island.
That is surfing.
When I landed at the airport, I spotted young people carrying surfboards. A shop employee also told me, "Some people are relocating here for the surfing." Their numbers are not insignificant.
Without exaggerating, you can run into migrant surfers on any part of the island.
Changing where you live...
I think it's a weighty, impactful decision.
Yet the waters around this island attract those willing to move despite the challenges.
Talking to one of these new residents, I heard that having water on all sides of Tanegashima, as well as a short distance between the east and west coasts, makes it easier to find waves when a swell comes in.
If the conditions are bad in one area, you can quickly head to another area.
That appeared to be one of the reasons why surfers love the island.
The surfer-to-surfer network is also strong, so they let each other know when good waves are hitting.
I could understand why Tanegashima is called a surfing mecca.
The island is like paradise for a wave rider.
Paradise...I guess that is the word for Tanegashima.