How does one reach gratification? There has to be an element of success and probably a reassurance of one’s innate abilities. I have been vexed by my inability to remove the wheel with the punctured tire from the Scaffie’s trailer. I wrote about this last week. I tried everything, the hammer, the WD40, the driving back and forth with abrupt braking. Nothing worked.

This has major ramifications. I can’t really sell the boat with a busted trailer.  I could trail it up to the gas station and hand off my responsibility to the wonderful guys who work there, but this seems cowardly and bad mannered as the boat and trailer would occupy a large part of their forecourt. Anyway, driving it up there would probably damage the tire as the rubber ground between the rim and road with the full weight of the boat on it.

As I continue the refit, which necessitates endless coats of wood treater stuff followed by yet more sanding, I try to come up with a solution. I have many ideas involving, Tirfor winches, mules,  metal saws, Bangalore torpedoes and such. But frankly I am depressed. Wheels should just come off once you have undone the locking nuts. Why me etc?


The boatyard

Then I have an idea – what if I put one end of the jack against the trailer frame and the other against the wheel rim and then open the jack just maybe I can get enough force to break the rim off the hub.


The set up

So, I turn the jack handle as hard as I can but of course nothing happens. I return to sanding and brushwork. I return half an hour later and give the jack handle another twist. There is a jerk, a twitch, a grunt. It is hardly perceptible but to my high-tuned ears it means a victory that floods my brain with endorphins and a whole lot of dopamine. I am a stage of life when successfully removing a wheel from a trailer is more gratifying that all the usual metrics of glory.


Prizes,medals,honors. Who needs them?

Everything accelerates. I take the wheel to the gas station where the wonderful Yasushi san grabs it and fixes it in 10 minutes. Within 30 mins of freeing the wheel, it is back on the trailer and all my worries are over.


I don’t like sponge cake

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Spaghetti Frutti di Mare

Obviously one of the huge hooks of Okinawa is the wonderful variety of seafood, which is dirt cheap. Last night I cooked pasta with lots of sea stuff all over it.


You recognize these things


Oysters, clams, sliced giant Okinawan whelks,Tuna all freshly pulled from the Forth.


I hear Scotland nearly beat the All Blacks


glug, glug for a while


Should you put parmesan on seafood?

It was truly delicious.

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I Boiled My Jeans

I have spoken before of the temperature limited nature of Japanese washing machines. Essentially they only cold wash, which I am sure is a very good thing. That said, I worry about my jeans. I mean they soak up all kinds of filth that simply cannot be dislodged by gentle rinceing in cold water.

Today I boil my jeans.


I wonder if a Le Creuset casserole has ever done this before.

My biggest pot is a Le Creuset casserole that I have had for decades. It is far too small for the job.

I gently boil my jeans until they are al dente.


Color of some of water that drains off.

I feel I have done a good thing. Must go and buy a big pot for properly boiling jeans and stuff.


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November is a lovely month in Okinawa. It is cool and yet there are very beautiful days.


A couple of days ago

I set to, to give the Scaffie her yearly sprucing up.  Lots of sanding and laying on wood treater stuff. I wish I had taken a photo of the Scaffie after the recent typhoon. She was full of murky water and all her rigging was in total disarray. But I didn’t, so you will have no idea of how far I have come in her makeover.


Already well advanced. Water gone and first dabs of wood treater.

I work hard and with pleasure as the progress is obvious. What was a mess, is now less so.  I even sew up a small tear in the mainsail.


The seamstresses amongst may mock but I feel quite proud of myself.


Looking much better

One problem is  that one of the tires of the trailer has punctured. I jack the trailer up and loosen the nuts however the wheel refuses to come off. Aluminum, the wheel, and steel, that is the hub, form deep attachment if left unguarded. I bash it, kick it, lever it, karate it, curse it but to no avail. The wheel is solid on the hub such that I cannot take it to the gas station to have it fixed.


Ils ne passeront pas!

Youtube tells me to put back the wheel nuts, but not too tight tight and then zoom the trailer back and forth behind the mighty Xtrail with frequent abrupt stops such that the wheel is snapped off the hub. This seems like and excellent plan. Accordingly, I back the Xtrail up to the trailer so the I can link the trailer to the hook on the back of the truck. By the way, practicing Bokononism is punishable by death on “the hook.”

I need to lift the trailer, bearing the boat, onto the “the hook”. I get myself into very bad postures as I try to guide the trailer onto  “the hook” and feel strong pain in the back. This is it. I am  an old man. I have failed to attach the trailer to  “the hook.” My back cries out,

Am I a cripple, or will it be OK tomorrow?

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I have always thought that Jonathan Dorfan was a good person. So does the nation of Japan. We think alike. I have demonstrated my admiration by occasionally buying him a cup of coffee, or even a meal. Japan outdid me by awarding him the Order of the Rising Sun. This is a big deal.


Jonathan and Renee outside the Imperial Palace,Tokyo,today.

Well done Jonathan!

Read more:

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Goodbye to All That

I do not think that I have mentioned that I will retire as of December 31. This has advantages and disadvantages. I think the most tragic repercussion is that I will never fly Business class on ANA again. I am currently in Narita waiting for the flight to Okinawa basking on the beach of happiness and joy having just flown over from San Francisco.


Amuse gueules





I read the amazing “Love of Country”.

IMG_1616 2.jpg

Read this


Not very japanese but very welcome.

I finish the meal and lay ANA futon on my bed and sleep for 8 hours.

I wake up just in time for more food.


My last good meal on an airplane

Bye bye to all that and thanks ANA.

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Good Samaritans

Riding the bus in San Francisco is an insight into socio/politico/economic stuff. Basically poor people take the bus.

Nearly everyone has a bus pass that they press against a sensor but I, being a Gaijin, have to pay cash into the machine on entrance. The fare is $2.75 but the machine gives no change. On the way home from the conference, I only have a twenty. I thought I was OK because the machine has a credit card slot but it turns out it is only for decorative purposes. This means I would have to pay $20 for a bus ride.

I walk up and down the bus asking if anyone had change for a twenty. No luck. By this time the bus is heading down the road and I sit down not sure what to do next. Then a 20 year old hispanic guy, who was waiting behind me to buy his ticket, ambles down the aisle and in a strange backhanded gesture he gives me a ticket. I go,”Um, I, er well.” He says, “It’s good, brother.”

Next, an old timer ambles down the aisle and hands me a bundle of bills, change for a twenty. I thank him and go to find the young guy. I offer him money but he refuses and looks away, with  hauteur.

Throughout all this everyone around, a mixed bag I can tell you, are grinning and laughing. “Just too many good people on this bus,” hoots the black mother with 2 kids in an enormous pram thing.


The house as I leave this morning.


Conference fun


Sign outside local supermarket. You can get anything at Lucky’s

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