Local Area Network

Typhoon Local Area Network or LAN for short is on its way. I do not think it will be a real typhoon like we used to get when I was a boy but probably a significant blow.

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High speed LAN

You may remember that I have been tardy in taking the Scaffie out of the water of late resulting in trauma and pain for the poor boat.


I am so sorry.

So this time around I am determined to get the Scaffie out of the water before the diving and fishing boats flee for safety on land and in so doing block up the slipway.

I leave work early on Tuesday, go back to house shackle the trailer to the mighty Xtrail, drive up to Chioya port, take bike out of the mighty Xtrail and cycle home. I change into carefully color coordinated  costume and swim out to the boat through a considerable swell. It is very high tide and I am delighted that I can still haul myself into the boat. In fact this whole episode has been a very life er enhancing experience. It is only a mile or so from the mooring to the safety of Chioya but of course the wind is dead against, the tide is dead against, the sea is agitated and it is raining heavily.

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Blue spot is the mooring and if you allow your eye to travel right, you will identify the harbor

I sail for 45 mins, doing everything I can to gain distance, only to eventually accept that I have actually gone backwards and that there is no possibly of sailing to Chioya.


Nae use

I return home in the darkness and swim back from the mooring cheered only by the prospect of eating lamb chops. First I have to walk back to Chioya to recover the mighty Xtrail as, after all, I have to go to work tomorrow.

Are we downhearted? No!

The same thing starts today. I rush from work to Chioya where lies the trailer. I take bike out of Xtrail and use it to go back to house. I change into carefully coordinated etc, etc. I swim out to  boat and am delighted that I can etc, etc. I do everything I can to sail to the harbor  but it is futile.

So I row.

Can I force the Scaffie against wind and tide using what fragments of my physical capabilities are left to me? Well it turns out that the answer is yes. Life affirming.

After 45 minutes at the oars we crash into Chioya fishing harbor. I fetch the trailer and load on the Scaffie and after the usual incompetent clowning, drag her up the slipway.

Then comes one of those hinge moments in life. I have to lift the trailer and reposing boat onto the towing attachment on the back of the Xtrail.  It is getting very dark and is pouring with rain. If I fail, the boat is left stranded at Chioya until I can find some real men to help me. I bend down and grasp the trailer. It is very heavy. I bend my knees and push my huge bulk upwards and to my joy, the boat and trailer also rise allowing me to clatter her onto the towing clamp thing. Life affirming.


Flash, badly used, always makes things look darker but it does capture rain well.



We drive home without the boat falling off the trailer or horrible accidents as trucks crash into the trailer as I turn into the house at very low speed on a blind corner.


Safe and sound.

So, the boat is rescued but likewise my self esteem, as I have recently viewed myself as a fat cripple. I can still haul myself into a boat. I can still row with the best. I can still lift the boatl-laden trailer onto the towing hook. Does one need to do anything else?

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The Chisholm Trail

An important support in my ‘Norfolk Gypsy sails the Ryukyus’ fantasy is a boat trailer. I need a trailer for the boat to sit on. I have failed for the last six months to find anything better than a wheel barrow. I have even started a process to have one hand made, or made by hand if you prefer, which would cost me thousands of dollars.

Today  early in the morning, I spot a beautiful new trailer that appears to be the rightsize-ish, in the yard in front of my old sidekick Chinen san’s personal version of Xanadu. Chinen san lives much as I aspire to live later in life. The two rooms that make up the bottom floor of his house are littered with outboard engine detritus. One room also serves as an office. His desk is covered in Awamori bottles, propellers, boxes of split pins and spare parts catalogues. Everything is covered in oil. I dread to think what is upstairs.



Arisa about to plug her ears to dampen the roar of the Tophatsu, back in 2014. Chinen san in his element.

Anyway Chinen san says that the beautiful trailer is not for sale but is to replace an existing trailer on which a boat is currently positioned. Why don’t I take that one when the time comes to change?  “Where?!” I cry.  ” Why nearby.” cries Chinen san.


I get no kick from cocaine


Mere alcohol does not thrill me at all.


But I get a kick out of you!

“How much?!”  ” San man en.”     This is about 300 bucks.


It felt like this. Chinen san on the left.

“Here is your  trailer.” said the Archangel Gabriel, known as Chinen san in these parts.


Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.

I will have to tune her up with new tires, current ones are filled with concrete, which is an old Okinawan tradition to stop tires going flat. I will also install a winch.


Like this one

All of this happened early this morning. The whole transaction took 10 minutes. Luck has been a constant throughout my life.


Later Hitomi brought her beautiful son, Koki, to see us


Hitomi has been at OIST as long as I have. Congratulations Hitomi! Yay Koki!

A joyful day reaches conclusion as I hear the thunder of the delivery man’s hoofs, or hooves if you prefer, coming on down the trail.  He hurls a box at me as his uncontrolled wagon races down Route 6 at 8:00 pm. Yay the lamb has come through. The winter is assured.

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Eat me!

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From an Antique Land

Cashmore continues his Asian tour by playing a couple of gigs at OIST. These straddle a weekend and another Japanese National holiday. We have time to frolic.

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Conditions were much worse than they look

After a very dramatic sail with much potential drowning,


Noda san comforts Roger.

We console ourselves at the best restaurant in the world.


We eat amuse gueles, octopus, sashimi, fish, mozuku, seaweed tempura and guzzle Orion. This is Roger’s fish. Everyone should eat here.

Saturday too windy for boating, alas.  We clean the beach.




We buy Octopus for dinner party.

Very pagan dinner with Octopus, whelks and scorched lamb.


It is a good life. Tim, Mary, Marianela, Gordon, David, Roger.

Birdwatching  replaced sailing.


Little Ringed Plover. (Credit Cashmore)


Greenshanks. (Credit Cashmore)


Uber rare Whiskered Tern

On Monday, we went hunting the rail. The Okinawan Rail is one of the world’ rarest birds as it only lives in a small area of northern Okinawa. There are only 217.75 left.


From a previous excursion

We scoured the places where I have previously spotted the Yanbaru Kuina, Okinawan for Okinawan Rail, don’t you know, without success. Just as it is getting too dark to see, Roger howls. I dread he has had a stroke, but no,  he has seen the rail thus  gaining entrance into one of the most exclusive clubs.


Rail hunting in Yanbaru.

Lots of fun.

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Tokyo Fun

I go to Tokyo to stay in the world’s worst AirB&B.


A bit like a 90’s squat


View from window.

However it is close to the mega hotel where the symposium is held.


Abe san speaks to us from his bunker


Mighty Cashmore is there.

I skip the conference dinner, events that I usually dislike, to play music in the ‘Warrior Celt’.



The bar is in a sleazy maze of streets near Ueno. Fantastic place.


Hit me with your rhythm stick. Notice how gleeful everyone looks.

Great night, despite having difficulty crossing Tokyo on the subway at 12:00 after 3 pints of Guinness. However I finally make it back to the squat.

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I am Japanese

So that is it! I am Okinawan! Yay!


Permanent resident

This means I can live in Japan for the rest of my life. Folks, this makes me very happy! I now have Japanese permanent residence, a Green Card and a British passport, er for what that is worth post Brexit.

I am changing my name. No more Neil Calder, from now on please address me as Ryutaro Higa.

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Happy Birthday Mr Governor

I am invited to a very posh do to mark the 55th Birthday of the Kariushi Hotel chain. I have got to know the owner, Taira san, over the years and he is a very fine fellow.


Taira san, doubtlessly ruthless but great fun to be around.

It is also the Governor, Onaga san’s, birthday. We all party like crazy.


Onaga san also good bloke.

The food is completely over the top. Tables groaning with every imaginable delicacy.





On such occasions well-wishers send sprays of orchids and other flowers.


Flowers everywhere. It is hugely impressive.


There must be a hundred trillion million white orchids.

Thanks Taira san and congratulations Kariushi enterprises.

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Ben Goes to Jail


View from deck in 2013. Notice how small the tree is and how low is the vegetation.


The vegetation,mainly Aloe, has grown up into the tree


Ben goes wild with the saw.


I now have the best view

Unfortunately it turns out that cutting down vegetation on sea front is against the law.

A man from the Village Office comes round.

“Who did that?”

“Ben did!” I sneak.

“He must go to prison!!”

“Will you let him off if I sing “Tancha Bay I Wish You Were Sake?”


I sing and everything is fine.

He was actually very sweet and rather embarrassed about telling us off.


Ben likes beer

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