Rumi san, the lady who gave me the plumeria cuttings, came to the party. To my amazement she humbly mentions that every year she releases thousands of baby turtles onto the beach  next to her idyllic guest house.  Would I like to take part?


My first pink plumeria flower came out today

She explains that the real danger for turtle eggs are typhoons. The sea comes right up the beach, floods the nests in the sand and the eggs rot. To avoid this she locates the nests, digs up the eggs and reburies them in cosy sand boxes on her deck.


Turtle hatchery

I go over tonight as the first babies have hatched. There are five and after sundown we release them.


Ready to go


It is a beautiful evening

It is too dark for photography and flash would not be appropriate. The little darlings go like hell straight to the sea and off they swim. One in a thousand grows to adulthood – boo hoo.


I know where I am going


Good luck



Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

The Day After

I rise with the dawn and wander into my devastated home. I hate cleaning up late at night, at the end of the party.   It turns wildness into domesticity, enjoyment into puritanism, release into control. So at 6:30 the next day, which is today, I wander around with various trash bags picking up the aftermath. I like this. It brings back cameos of the previous evening as I come across various clusters of glasses, cans and bottles. It is party archaeology. By 7:30 it is all clean. Luckily today is the day of glass bottle, can and plastic bottle pick up. Did I organize this?

It is the most beautiful day ever and I take diving stuff into the Scaffie to explore the seas around Cape Zampa.


Like a little boy, I dress up in diving stuff way before I need to use it.

There is a gentle onshore wind that drives us elegantly across Nagahama bay.


It is very hot


We near the holy ground.

Nobody goes here to dive. It is remote and you need a boat to get there, which is probably the reason.  Anyway, under the water there are dozens of chasms each covered in an amazing variety of coral. It is relatively shallow. I think I rarely went under 40 feet. This means there is lots of light and visibility. It is incredible. The video that you will find does no justice to the real colors of the coral and the fish. I dive, I look, I gasp. I take the opportunity to clean the Scaffie’s bottom.  I sail back across the bay towards my home. I head out to sea and then, profiting from the onshore breeze, take the gentlest of runs onto the mooring. No words.



Sunset 15 minutes ago.

There is a shoulder of lamb on the Cobb. Not very Okinawan I know but God bless you Okinawa and all who sail in her.

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments


Rebecca has been with us for the last 6 months and has been the best fun. Now she leaves. We are so unhappy that we have a party.


This Rebecca

My neighbor comes in unusual garb. He is frankly er eccentric.


Have fun everyone.


Michele, Matsuda sensei, Rebecca, Tomomi


Arisa,Rebecca, Matsuda sensei, Tomomi


It is incredibly hot


Bye bye Becca

Frankly, it is too hot to have a party but we work at it.

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Dusty Springfield

There will be a party to mark the leaving of Science Writing Fellow Rebecca.  Rebecca is a role model to us all.


The Yellow Rose of Texas

To make the party go with a swing I will BBQ two legs of lamb. My noble Cobb is too small for such big chunks of meat so I borrow a big Weber. I load it into the back of the Fitu with great nonchalance. Now we come to an essential weakness in my personality. I get the big stuff done but do not pay enough attention to the end game. In this context it means I get the BBQ, I load it into the car, I drive home. I move onto the next preparation. What does it matter when I unload the Weber?

Driving to work this morning someone pulls out in front of me and I hit the brakes. Suddenly the car is full of choaking dust and I cough grotesquely as I gasp for air. I pull over and burst out of the car into the beautiful Okinawan morning, panting like an old dog.

The Weber was still in the car. The Weber was full of ash and old charcoal. The Weber had fallen over and tipped its charge into the back of my car.


After the ash has settled.

I get to work to work and it being summer, I took off my shirt, and I tried to wash off some of that dusty dirt.

I worry about how I will get all of the dust and junk out of my car. Naoko looks kinda bemused and tells me to go to the gas station that has the car wash and vacuum cleaning stand. So, a reflection on my life in Okinawa. Because I am illiterate and essentially deaf and dumb through lack of Japanese skills, I exist in a very feral way. Find food, shelter, survive. I find the places where I am least exposed. Thus in nearly six years, I have only been once to the gas station with the vacuum cleaner, never to return. It is a self service gas station and being illiterate, I could not work out how to pump my own gas.

I was going to clean the car at home with a dust pan and brush. Do you hear what I am trying to say?  Japan / Okinawan is a hyper modern society but I experience it like a fox sneaking around the trash cans at night.

IMG_0392 (1).jpg

I have already taken out most of the detritus.


Luckily the machine has only 3 buttons – Start, Stop and Dust. I only dare use the first two.

Any way good adventure. I like being a fox.

Check out the sunset.






A bit later the same night.  I mean after the sun had gone down.


Ohayu gozaimasu

What next?




Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments


Nothing much to say really but I feel I have to record the glory of the Okinawan Summer. Sunsets continue to be a competition each night.


3 days ago


2 days ago


Last night

Big plans for major passage aborted due to high seas and cowardice. I have heard so many warnings, alarms, “Have you got a radio, have you got a GPS, have you got a doctor on the boat? ” My native hue of resolution is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought. Conscience has made a coward of me and I am ashamed.


I go out when the wind has gone down some, but I know that I am a pansy


Swimming home – the sea is so warm


Tim, the University CIO pops up


Tim’s wife carries sleepy baby Hugo. Can you see the rainbow?

Yep, it is Summer in Okinawa.


Geckos are ubiquitous


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Serigaki Serenade

Best fun yesterday as we inaugurate our latest research facility. Let me introduce to you the  – OIST Marine Science Station.  So; big event, VIPs, speeches, television, cats doing funny stuff. However the defining memory was a performance of Tanchame by the Serigaki Sanchin Serenade. This mesmerizing ensemble is made up from staff at the university who are sanchin sensei and dance doyennes.  The dance is emblematic of the relationship between Okinawa and the sea.  Watch:

The Serigaki Sanshin Serenade crew were much better.


Go Ami, Computer support, the most important function at a university. Go Naoko, who runs the Mathematical Soft Matter Unit


I loved it.


Congratulations to the Serigaki Sanshin Serenade!

Thanks to everyone who made it so much fun.


We will study this sort of stuff.

Here is the official version.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments


It is Saturday so I go to the Fish Market at Toya.


Huge fish

That is enough of that. The guys have come to slash the undergrowth that has been encroaching steadily around the house. Sometimes it is difficult to get out of the front door.


Jungly stuff

During the proceedings my neighbor, Nagahama san, comes to chat. I notice that he is carrying a samurai sword. This is quite unusual on Okinawa. I try not to mention it but after some very rare mime patterns I understand that he wants me to come to his house to look at his Samurai armor.


Nagahama san in shinto moment

image3 (1).jpg

He lets me shoot his gun

So, I am not sure what to make of this.

Anyway, the guys slash energetically in the heat and humility.


There is a wall there that I have not seen for 3 years.


Yay new garden


Aregato gozaimasu!

DSC_0838 (1).jpg



I don’t like sponge cake


There is a typhoon hammering into Taiwan. We expect the wake tomorrow. Hence brooding feel to photo.


Where the snakes live.


I like my new garden.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment