More bad weather coming in.

Nothing too bad but not happy cruising weather.

So, I rig my home-made tarpaulin cockpit cover which should keep out most of the rain. Apparently there will be gusts up to 80 knots and I dread the whole thing will tear off.

Flimsy, I have no confidence that it will resist the storm.

I have had great difficulty finding anyone who can make me a canvas made-to-measure cover. Having established that there is not a viable Okinawan option, I turned to England. I was passed like a parcel from place to place with no progress. I finally contacted a Norfolk Gypsy owner in Essex whom I had noticed has a very solid looking cover. He has been very helpful and has put me in touch with the person who made his cover. It looks like this person will be able to make the same for me. Fingers crossed.

Mine will have a closed stern. Maybe too high to resist a real typhoon.

You can always tell a storm is coming because flocks of Golden Plovers turn up on flatland close to the shore.

Here we go again
Great White Egret worrying about its neck during the upcoming storm

Anyway, change of subject; I have to get rid of my old rice cooker. I amble up to the village office where they give me a delightful sticker in exchange for 300¥. This I stick to the old cooker and leave it outside for the garbage men. So easy.

Classic Okinawan administration graphics. Pink,with happy Okinawan lady with added purple, yellow,white, black and grey.

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This is a high speed scrapbook of stuff from my recent trip to Europe. It is really a personal archive so I don’t forget. The trip was dominated by my Mother’s cremation nevertheless I got in a lot of other stuff. Thank you so much to all of you who extended such wonderful hospitality.

Landed at Heathrow very early to be met by my ever charitable brother Alan who got up very early.

We went to see his daughter, my niece, Emma and her kids.

Pub lunch. Beautiful weather.
Bangers and mash. I love English food.

Back to Alan’s in Stony Stratford where I ate a lot of pies.

Pork pie and mustard. I love English food.

Then to Geneva. I stay the night with Jeremy and set off very early by train to Bellegarde, where I am picked up by bestest friend Zandra.

Words no good.

Two days with Zandra, her daughter Lauren, Lauren’s husband Andy and their twin daughters.

Beautiful twins with their Okinawan cups.


Sandy’s grave. Not so bliss.
The best chateau in the world.

Back to Geneva where I dine with Greta, one of the best ever communication fellows at OIST.

Yay Greta, spreading her conquests further to Geneva
Early breakfast outside Jeremy’s apartment

Fantastic day with Jeremy. We go to Evian for Filets de Perche beside the lake.

A classic. I love French food.

We go to Jeremy’s studio in Bernex, a small ski station above Evian. We take a telesiege up high and go for a walk. Too beautiful. Then we drive back to the lake for a swim.

A glorious day. Thank you Jeremy
Saucisson. I love French food.

Back to England for the cremation Very early flight but again I am picked up. This time by very charitable Barry. I stay with sister Rosie. Barry and Rosie have the most beautiful house in the world. We eat incredibly well.

Venison. I love English food.

Then to London to stay with Ian and Ann. They feed me so well and take me to a chandlery where I pick up lots of bits for the boat. They also have shorts that fit my very un-Japanese bottom.

Fabulous place in the middle of Covent Garden
Pigeon. I love English food.

Back to Okinawa. I get in very late after 20 hours of travel. The car would not start.

Not what you want at the end of a long trip.

During my absence I missed Arisa’s farewell party. Boo. She was a wonderful colleague who did so much to establish OIST’s reputation.

Bye bye Arisa, we will all miss you.

Europe is amazing. I must spend more time there. Thanks everybody.

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For the last few months I have noticed that the food I prepare has tasted strange.

This was particularly evident in a pig’s foot terrine that I cooked last weekend. Each time I tasted it during the very long simmering period, it needed more salt. So I added more salt from the plastic bag of salt that I use for cooking.. When it came to eating it, it tasted very odd and I had to sprinkle even more salt on it from a salt cellar.

This is a salt cellar

Yesterday, I spilled some salt from the bag and instinctively licked it off my hand. It was not salt. It was sugar.

This is a kilo bag of sugar which I have added to soups,stews, noodles,rice; have rubbed onto all kinds of meats and fish.

How many bags of sugar have I consumed, thinking it was salt?

Being illiterate does not help with weight loss.

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One of the first things I bought when I came to Okinawa, getting on for 9 years ago, was a rice cooker. She has served me very well but has become very shabby. The top has rusted badly and she is generally grimy despite my best efforts to clean her up.

I go to Amazon, I buy a new one, which is delivered at 10:00 am on Sunday morning. I love Amazon.

As she was.
As she is now. Replacement is black and has more buttons

The real problem is learning how to use the new one. The manual explains everything but is in a language I cannot read. Too many options.

Google translate fails to deal with rice cooker language. I foresee an interesting lunch with Japanese friend, going through the manual.

It has of course been pouring with rain ever since I got back from Europe. Small Typhoons.

Pity the poor tourist

My home-made cockpit cover blew off again. I have been trying very hard to buy a proper cover but cover makers in England seem to be determined not to sell me one or send me dimensions so I can get one made over here. Brexit despair probably.

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Mummy died. We all got together to mark the finality of it all. There was never a better woman.

We, my sister and brothers with partners met the day before the cremation to decorate the coffin with hundreds of photos that spanned my mother’s life. This was a good event as we discussed each photo, ooh’ed at photos we had forgotten, marveled at her beauty as a young woman. With wars, uprisings, 4 children and so much more; she had an amazing life. It brought us very close together. Thank you Rosy for coming up with the idea.

Mist Covered Mountains
She was very beautiful.

We sat in the cremation parlour and sang and listened to songs that Mummy liked.

A life.
Lots of tears.

We all cried.

Not a dry eye.

Bye bye Mummy. I am so unhappy.

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Very Okinawa

I become aware of a grinding noise coming from the back of my X trail. It does not take me long to work out that it is coming from the passenger side rear disc brake. I stick my finger in to see if the disc, or rotor as the Americans will have it, is ridged and nearly burn the end of my finger off. Red hot rotor!

Can you see very ridged disc?

I suppose the brake pads have worn down to metal but also the caliper piston is jammed so that they are in constant contact with the disc. Not good.

I am quite a long way from home and realize that I should get this fixed as quickly as possible, so I stop at the first workshop. They explain that they would love to fix it but they have no spare cars to lend me during the 5 days the repair would take. Not an option, as living 5 days in Okinawa without a car is not feasible.

Yasushi san is an old friend who works at the gas station close to my previous house. I run to him and explain my predicament. He explains that because of the Obon holiday all the garages are backed up with work and it is going to be difficult to get the car fixed quickly. He sits me in the waiting room, brings me cold water and starts phoning garages. 10 minutes later he explains that Kamiya san is waiting for me in his shop near Tori Station. I love Yasushi san.

He is a great guy

Yes, Kamiya san is waiting for me. I know him! I used to take cars to him for the Shaken. He takes the wounded X trail and gives me a car. However he asks if can take this car to Ishigaki san’s restaurant and swap it with a car she has. How does he know that I know Ishigaki san? Why does he want me to exchange cars? There is no point trying to work it out, all of this is so Okinawan.

I go to the restaurant, which is the best in the world. I have written about it many times.

We hug, we grin, we swap cars.

Noda san and Ishigaki san with Ben and Courtney
My new car.

I speak little Japanese and understand not much either. The characters in this story have very little English but somehow we get by very well. I have good friends in Okinawa. Thank you.

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Lapsang Souchong

One of the most pleasant activities during my stay in England was sitting around in brother Alan’s kitchen reading newspapers, something I never do here, and drinking lots of Lapsang Souchong tea.

Cannot hope to read Japanese newspapers but I can drink Lapsang Souchong. Well, it turns out to be difficult to find this tea in Okinawa, for me at least. I track down a tea shop called Lupicia but to my horror, I find that it is located in the in the Aeon Rycom shopping Mall. This is a enormous complex. I have only been once and it took days to recover. I hate shopping. I get claustrophobia.

Stay away.

Notwithstanding, I set out on Sunday afternoon to buy tea. Big mistake! First Google maps takes me to another Aeon mall. I waste an hour. As I approach the Rycom mall, a huge traffic jam evolves. I am completely jammed in with cars to the left of me, cars to the right of me that rattle and thunder. After another hour I finally steer the car into the mall. All the parking lots are full. There is a traffic jam in the parking area. I have a panic attack and give up all hope of getting into the mall. There are so many cars , so many people. So I spend 3 hours failing to buy tea.

The backdrop to this is more terrible weather.

No sailing

The typhoon rips out the eyelets that hold the ropes that connect the cover to the boom. The boat fills up with water, as usual.

Not good

Another typhoon is on the way so I strengthen everything and cross my fingers.

I wish I could get a real cockpit cover.

Of course, no sailing. Not much fun lately.

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