They Also Serve Who Only Stand and Wait

La Truckette spends a lot of time standing and waiting. Of late, she has demonstrated her valor. As I negotiate the change of life, she plays a critical role.

Today I have to pick up the fridge and washing machine as what I have bought for my new apartment. We drive down into deepest Okinawa and load up.


Thousands at his bidding speed
And post o’er land and ocean without rest:


“Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?”

I install them in the new crib.


Only cold water


Exciting photo

I then rush back to the house because a conglomeration of students have bought the little blue boat.

We load her on the Truckette.


His state
Is kingly. Thousands at his bidding speed
And post o’er land and ocean without rest:



Bravo La Truckette

As we charge down the road I am sure that the way that the boat is rigged contravenes many laws but in Okinawa, I feel that there is still a feeling of tolerance towards transporting boats.

So, we drop the little blue boat off in Chinen san’s backyard, which is right on the sea. Chinen san, my hero, lets the students keep the boat in his yard, which is directly below the university. Thank you Chinen san.


Little Blue Boat’s new home. I think she will be happy.

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Things start to get serious. I have to get rid of lots of junk that has been gathering around the house or  rotting on the deck. Okinawa is not kind to stuff. Everything rots and corrodes at very high speed.

Luckily I have the truckette, which I load up with rotten tables and chairs, old BBQs, and a chest of drawers that I bought in Bedford in 1976. Sorry to say sayonara because I spent hours stripping paint off it, 40 years ago. Stripped pine was very fashionable in those days.

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Tsuha san helps

The chest of drawers then went to Switzerland, France, California, back to France and finally Okinawa. Okinawa did for her. The humidity and heat warped the frame and the drawers such that it became very difficult to pull them out. This I found very annoying so she had to go. After 40 years I just chucked her out. Is this a good or a bad thing?


One of Okinawa’s attractions.

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No Risk, No Fun

So I have doubtless done a very stupid thing but, as I have probably mentioned before, no risk, no fun.  The safe option, the trip carefully planned, the ferry booked in advance,  leads to each adventure being reduced to frantically trying to join up pre-established dots. No fun in that.  Mike Tyson had it right about planning. “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”

Actually, I am getting a little off subject here. Yesterday I went to Miyako Jima and bought a wreck. I aim to restore her to something like her former glory but who knows this may be a good daydream but an excruciating reality


The start of a long and doubtless stormy relationship

It is pouring with rain in Miyako. Taguchi san, the owner, and I look at the boat in a disconsolate way, both of us understanding the depth of human folly. The rain and overall dreichness is the perfect setting.  We have to wait for the wonderful Samae san who has agreed to interpret. Eventually the rain is so strong that we go and sit in Taguchi san’s car. I have a very strong Scottish flashback; sitting in drenched wool, in old car on desolate harbor side, waiting for the rain to stop.

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Saemi san. The rain has eased.

Anyway we all go to have Soba.


Soba makes everything OK

There are many difficulties ahead. I have to arrange transportation to Okinawa, install the boat at a marina, find people who can fix the motor, the electrics, get new sails, all in Japanese.  This should keep me busy.


Taguchi san drives a hard bargain.

After the business part, Saemi san takes me for a short drive around Miyako in the driving rain.


Miyako Jima is big on bridges


I like bridges


This is what I plan but fully expect a punch in the mouth

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Check Out My Crib

One disadvantage of retirement is that your employer no longer pays you. Strange but true. As I move towards that state I realize that I will have to downsize residentially. My wonderful, beautiful house that has delighted me for the last 5 years and more, will have to go. Too expensive.

Today, I get the keys for my new crib. One thing, of the many, I have learned in Japan is that you do not need a lot of space. Once you abandon the concept of a bedroom filled with huge bed and welcome the tatami mat and futon, which are cupboarded during the day, you liberate significant amounts of space.


Cupboard is where you stash sleeping equipment during the day.


The entrance. Toilet and shower on left. Extra bedroom on right.


Lots of light.


La cuisine


Extra bedroom.


Atomic toilet


Wash away my sins

I like this place. This will be my Okinawa base for the next few years. The rent is absurdly cheap.


They very nicely named the building after me. My place is the 3rd floor corner apartment.


I go for a tramp around the hood.


Modern Okinawan architecture.


I like this better


Stand and deliver

What fun.


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Tokina AT-X300

I tell you , this is when Okinawa scores bonus points. It is the very end of November but I wake up to a glorious day. The first thing I do is to put on some coffee and then I wade out to recover my anchors, which will never more drag in front of my house. I then breakfast on  asparagus, poached eggs, toast and coffee. I love poached eggs.

Tim has lent me his high pressure cleaner, normally called Karchers. I wonder why?


Long time, long time gone.


Before and after Karchering


Did you wash the back of your neck?

I then attack the space under the deck. I so regret that I did not take a before-shot, because it was sordid, Augean stable-ish.


After, yay Karcher!

All well and good, but what I really want to do is to praise my Tokina AT-X 300 lens. It is my greatest source of joy. Well, not really but you know what I mean.


Heron, light years away. Click on these photos.


I can see for miles and miles and miles. Oh yeah. Evening light in Okinawa.


Ie Jima 40 kms away. Hand held photo.

She is an amazing lens. What I like most about her is that she is manually focusing. It is a totally sensual experience to sensitively and calmly, rotate the focus thing until you feel it is just right and only then, blast off. What a difference from the hum, buzz, clatter, strange rectangles indicating that the camera is focusing on something other than what you wish, which comes with autofocus.

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Winter in Okinawa

So, we move rapidly towards December. I suppose you could say it is Winter. I have put on very thin woolies on the last two mornings only to have to strip them off by 10:00 because a storm drain of sweat is streaming down my back.

Great excitement as tonight the Kitagama fires its kiln. This is the biggest kiln on the island with I cannot remember how many chambers.


Everyone is very relaxed. Notice that none if the kilns are bricked up.

On the way there, I stop off at Cape Zampa to admire a winter sunset


Amazing! You can see the Keramas in the distance.


Sky, Keramas, Sea.

Firing up the mighty Kitagama is a big deal as it only happens 4 times each year. There is ritual and fun with fire and smoke. I got to know the potters very well and I tell you they are definitely among the chosen.


Inside a kiln


Still loading – long way to go.

I realize that I am way too early for the spectacle. I go to chat with Matsuda Sensei and he says he thinks they might fire it up at 9:00. It is 7:00. I am totally useless at hanging around waiting for things to happen. I want it, and I want it now!

So I go home , but what a lovely evening.

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Rex Harrison

The floodgates of heaven broke open today for about an hour. I love heavy rain, it is fun.


That is 2 and one half inches in one hour.

The result was dramatic.


There is a storm drain just down from the house.


Water pours out from all over the place


This is bad news as the mud settles on the coral and seaweed and makes them unhappy.

Then the rain stops and the sun comes out.


Amazing colors


Spot the Reef Egret


Poor coral

Anyway, I then go to the dentist, which is always the best fun.


I wait for the party to start


Party time with Mori sensei!

When the party is over you go to the waiting room to calm down and eventually pay some risible sum. There, I find old friend Reuven wearing a shirt I gave him.


Party on.

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