Okinawan Stuff

I finish repairing and scrubbing the Scaffie fairly early and so I go for a ramble to inhale some Okinawan low yo, yo stuff. I drive past a building site. A new viaduct is being constructed to improve traffic flow. Here is how the Okinawans explain it to passers-by.

Onna son, the community in which I live, declares that the bridge will make living her even more ecstatic. Notice playfulness.

Onna son, the community in which I live, declares that the bridge will make living here even more ecstatic. Notice playfulness of local government annoucements.

This one says that the new bridge will reduce CO2 and make bluebirds happy. Notice the flowers that the construction workers have laced around the sign.

This one says that the new bridge will reduce CO2 and make bluebirds happy. Notice the flowers that the construction workers have laced around the sign.

After that, I visit the river that delineates the frontier between Onna son and Yomitan. Lots of stuff happening.

My friend the Kingfisher. I think there are 4 on the river/stream.

My friend the Kingfisher. I think there are 4 on the river/stream.

What is this?

What is this?

It is Obon, look it up. There is a carnival of Eisa dancing, look it up,  on the main street of Yomitan.

In the streets

In the streets

Where does this come from?

Where does this come from?

Hello ancestors

Hello ancestors

The street is crammed with dancers. It is 32 degrees with high humidity.

The street is crammed with dancers. It is 32 degrees with high humidity.

Learning the tradition

Learning the tradition

Hibiscus

Hibiscus

Ben

Ben

After that I tow the Scaffie to Chioya port and set her free. Check out the video:

https://youtu.be/RxGp9rwJ_sw

Yep, the moon is full.

Yep, the moon is full.

Okinawa.

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Make It All Better

So, I have had a wonderful project on going for the last couple of weeks. Well since the mast went overboard.  I have to replace the mast thwart in such a manner that it will not blow out again. I love stuff like this as it usually involves buying tools.  I discuss a lot with knowledgeable people, in particular Bob and Norma from Rochdale, who built the boat. They recommend replace the original brass screws with steel bolts. Which sounds stronger to you – brass screw or steel bolt?

To use bolts, I have to cut 5 inch holes in the bulkhead on both sides, under the thwart. This so I can get my hand in to screw the nut and washer onto the bolt and subsequently a spanner to allow tightening.

The best tool in the world

The best tool in the world

After a lot of mime, I manage to buy the best tool in the world. It cuts round holes in things. I also have to buy a drill and some drill bits. I drill out the old screws as what had broken off. I drill right through into the ballast space, which will allow me to insert strong sounding steel bolts.

I am so excited that I rush home from work to start the job before it gets dark. There has been a typhoon by the way but I have written about those before. Has anyone, ever, written about replacing feeble brass screws with strong steel bolts to hold a wooden mast thwart securely in place, er in Japan?

It is getting dark as I set to work.

It is getting dark as I set to work.

Beautiful 5 inch hole. Ballast foam behind.

Beautiful 5 inch hole. Ballast foam behind.

Of course, great fun though it be drilling huge circular holes in the side of the boat, I will of course have to close them off again to stop the wild and willful ocean from infiltrating. Micheal, in a truly masterful fashion, tracks down  5 inch hatch covers in some online Japanese chandlery and a polite delivery man er delivers them the next day. Thanks Micheal.

Lovely hatch cover rim.

Lovely hatch cover rim.

There is a small slice of wooden missing from the thwart. It was untimely ripped when the screw was pulled out during the catastrophe at sea. I carve a replacement and glue it in, holding all together with blue string and a five pound note whilst the glue dries.

Not yet bolted on - just drying.

Not yet bolted on – just drying.

Hmmm maybe a tree next time.

Hmmm maybe a tree next time.

During the drying intermission, I notice a very large stick insect cleverly disguising itself against the fly-screen. I soon realized why it had chosen such an inappropriate hiding place.

A stick insect outlaw done shot him in the back of the head.

A stick insect outlaw done shot him in the back of the head.

I get up at dawn to bolt  on the now glue dried thwart.

In russet mantle clad

In russet mantle clad

Bolted.

Bolted.

I then give the Scaffie a jolly good scrub.

Before

Before

After

After, notice cute new hatch covers

So now I will launch the boat and ship the mast and sail around to see if the strong steel bolts work. What a great project. What can I cut circular holes in now?

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Coming Out

So, there is no point trying to hide it any longer, to myself or to everyone else, whom had probably guessed it anyway.   I have to come out. Yes, I am fat.  I am glad to be fat. I am proud to be fat.  I knew there was no point in trying conceal it when I watched the video of me taking the  wounded Scaffie to safety.  Typhoon coming and it is time for discretion to be the better part of valor. Judge for yourselves.

https://youtu.be/kHz4uwmvGBU

Anyway,  having secured the near time destiny of the Scaffie, I go to celebration at the Kitagama for the exhibition at the university.  We did a project on the science behind Okinawan pottery. I used to look at  hand made pottery and go, ” That’s nice.” No longer. I now know the skill and knowledge needed to produce this stuff. My heroes are potters.

These amazing pieces they donate to the university.

These amazing pieces they donate to the university.

The other Matsuda  sensei is happy because I give him a bottle of Springbank.

The other Matsuda sensei is happy because I give him a bottle of Springbank.

People dance

People dance

What a great place for a party. Notice earth floor and drying pottery.

What a great place for a party. Notice earth floor and drying pottery.

Good day but I am fat.

Do I care?

No.

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Golly!

I go out for my after work sail. It is windy and generally glorious. We hum along and I take poor photos of the sunset.

You have seen this before.

You have seen this before.

I am beating back against a stiff breeze and a reasonable chop when the mast, sail and yard make a break for it. The whole lot shoots over the port side of the boat into the wild and wistful ocean. Golly!

I do not know what the correct nautical terminology is but the wooden slab into which the mast fits, just ripped away from its retaining screws and the whole kit and caboodle, the whole shebang, the  whole shooting match, lock, stock and barrel, went over the side.

This thing.

This thing.

I may tell you that I was surprised.

So, I manage to get everything back on board and lashed down fairly securely as I am being blown heartily out to sea.

Far from land

Far from land

Oars are low tech. I love them.  I start rowing back in against the wind and reconcile myself to the fact that, being a couple of miles out and heading straight into the wind, I will be rowing far into the night. I sing, “The Mingulay Boat Song”, ” Westering Home”, “Leaving Port Askaig”, “My Heart is In the Cold, Cold Ground”, “I See Mull”  as I heel ya ho to the safety of the shore.

The rowing, once it became clear that I was making headway against the wind, was very pleasurable. I have been rowing since I was very young. Alone at night on the East China Sea, under a crescent moon and the twinkle, twinkle little stars, rhythmically pulling on the oars is a good place to be. I lose interest in where I am, knowing that I will eventually close to the shore. Finally, I nearly row into the   big rock  just off the house.

On the mooring a couple of hours later.

On the mooring a couple of hours later.

Hmmmm, how to fix? Just have to wait until tomorrow.

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Toussaint Louverture

At the height of the British slave plantations in the West Indies, insouciant owners would come home to find a white cockerel with a slit throat hanging and bleeding  all over their front door. Voodoo!

Tonight I come home to find strange voodoo dolls placed carefully outside my front door. Oh no! What have I done to anger the eternal spirit of Bondye?

Heap Strong Medecine

Heap Strong Medecine

So I guess it must be Ok because someone has spelled out “THANKS” with finger bones.

Primitive

Primitive

The charming potters who built their own kiln on the beach, as mentioned in previous post, shipped out very early this morning. They left me a gift of the ritual slaughter figurines they had been so lovingly kilning over the last couple of nights. How sweet.

Voodoo sunset last night

Angry Voodoo sunset last night. Click on these photos.

Tonight however the ladies have left and Nature is at rest.

No wind.

No wind, no sail.

Tranquille

Tranquille

A couple of birds.

Chinese Bulbul

Chinese Bulbul

Pacific Reef Egret

Pacific Reef Egret

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Get Off My Lawn

After a weekend of science communication stuff, brilliantly directed by Val Jamieson and Rowan Hooper from New Scientist, we have a evening at the house.

Some people arrive

Some people arrive

We eat food prepared by Ishigaki san and Koda san who are my best friends.

Home grown.

Home grown.

We drink Awamori cocktails with orchids.

Beautiful women, orchids and alcohol

Beautiful women, orchids and alcohol

Miwa san

Yay! Miwa san

No caption needed

No caption needed

The Kyles of Lochalsh

The Kyles of Lochalsh

We go for a late evening sail. People swim. There is one note of discord because my wonderful beaches have people on them. This is very unusual and we investigate. Some people are fishermen, which in fact is not unusual at all. The  others are amazing. Two women from the mainland who have built a kiln in Dead Man’s Gulch and who are firing pottery overnight on the beach. They are charming, we have the best time.

Unusual

Unusual

This makes everyone very excited.\

This makes everyone very excited.

On the walk back to the house one of the fisher folk reels in a massive fish.

Rowan about to eat fish. Valerie is from Glasgow.

Rowan about to eat fish. Valerie is from Glasgow.

What a great evening.

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I Don’t Like to Talk about None of my Women

So,  this blog rarely bothers with the inconsequentials of my professional life but from time to time, Big Business bellows, groans and kicks his stall so hard that he is difficult to ignore.

Today research at the university was featured on the front page of Nature.

Deep fry

Deep fry

This has provoked a well orchestrated media splurge. For example:

http://www.economist.com/news/science-and-technology/21660955-studying-cephalopods-may-illuminate-evolution-brains-all-sorts-tentacles

More of the same at :

http://www.oist.jp/news-center/media-links/first-cephalopod-genome-decoded

Thanks Joykrit who wrote:

http://www.oist.jp/news-center/press-releases/decoding-genome-alien

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