Canicule!

I am back in Okinawa. It is incredibly hot!

Blue

Ichiro san and Tomomi san invite me to dinner. They prepare an amazing meal that we eat in Ichiro sans studio surrounded by fabulous art. Editorial note–I have a new keyboard, the previous one died of mold when I was away. I cannot figure out how to find the apostrophe. Sorry.

Ichiro san with bowl from Campbeltown pottery.
We eat off old Imari pottery
Delicious sashimi under the onions and tomatoes
Yanbaru gazpacho

We also had a delicious octopus salad and cake but forgot to take photos. We drank way too much!

Next morning, feeling like death, we set off at 6;00 to try to find the elusive Okinawa Rail.

The rails welcome me back to Okinawa by posing. These are very rare birds
It is impossible to take photos like this if you see what I mean
Incredible!

Ichiro san is probably the best rail guide in the world.

These flowers will fall off in a few minutes. They bloom at night and die in the morning. So sad!
These butterflies are very big, maybe4 inches across

What a first day back!

My car, Suzuki Palette. It has a brutish 600cc motor and can support boats no bother

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So, This Is Crazy

I believe I have written before about my good luck on stumbling across https://jetnsave.com

Eli has been arranging astonishingly cheap Business Class flights for me over the last few years. When I left gainful employ, I thought I would never fly Business again – too expensive. It has not worked out like that.

This time Eli has excelled himself. I get ANA First Class over to Tokyo and only Business Class returning to San Francisco in a couple of months. Fare is only a few hundred bucks more than a normal Economy flight on one of the quality airlines.

A  long First Class flight on ANA is about as close as my feeble brain can get to envisaging heaven.

I am the only passenger in First Class.

Entry into Japan is still verboten except to citizens and permanent residents.

Two wonderful attendants, Toma san and Yuma san, have only me to look after and by golly they work hard. I have 2 rooms, one for eating and hanging out, the other is my bedroom!

Sitting room
Bedroom

Why me? What am I doing here?

I believe that since Naoko san and Miki san restored my soul, https://thequietripple.com/2020/06/01/saving-my-soul/ the Gods of Okinawa have been looking after me and have made my life a long, tranquil river of pleasure. 

I have one of the best meals ever, washed down by some of the world’s best wines. Hard to believe I am on a  plane.

I drink a lot of this
I ate it all. It took hours!
Amuse Gueles
Still on Champagne

Yes please
Sashimi! Notice turbulence.
Clear soup. Amazing
Oooh!
It keeps coming.
Cheese! Not in keeping but I have a bottle of Chambertin handy.

I have to lie down!

In my ANA jim-jams!

I have slept off most of it when Toma san wakes me for breakfast. She offers me the best wines in the world but it is the morning. I turn them down. Have I finally grown up?

Corn Flakes
Weetabix

As I stumble towards Immigration in Tokyo, I feel a tap on my shoulder. It is Toma san. She has my computer. I had left it on the plane.

Thank you Gods of Okinawa.

Thank you ANA

Thank you Toma san and Yuma san

Thank you Eli

Now for lots of Okinawa Summer fun!

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Sans Teeth, Sans Eyes, Sans Taste, Sans Phone

A reminder that this is a diary. Nothing much happens in this post but it will be fun for me to read in 10 years time.

I take a Lyft down to the Consulate General of Japan to discuss art exhibitions with the charming Mariko san. As soon as the car drives off, I realize I have left my phone on the back seat. A stark reminder of how much I rely on my phone. I cannot get the office number I am supposed to show up at. I cannot contact Lyft. I cannot find bus routes to get home. I do not know where I am.

After meeting on 21st floor of huge building in the financial district, I ask the concierge guy if he could call me a cab. “Sure buddy.” he beams. “Haven’t done that for weeks!”

After much messing around on web sites, I manage to inform Lyft of my predicament and give James’ cell as a contact number. My luck is still strong, the driver contacts James and brings the phone over to the apartment that evening. Thank you Lyft!

The rest of this is just reminders of how nice it is living in San Francisco.

There is a Farmer’s Market on Sunday at the bottom of the Panhandle – 5 mins walk – fruit, vegetables, fish, hot food stalls, all kinds of stuff.

Tons of fruit.

It is a surprisingly hot sunny day. The weather has been foggy and chilly whilst the rest of the State roasts. I like it. I wear woolen sweaters.

Best Dim Sum, steamed in front of you.
Yum Dim Sum
Happy Dim Sum lady with my lunch.

The house is still being renovated, which means we only pay 50% rent – hooray!

Looks like they will paint the house baby blue — hmmmm.

James has bought a dehydrator. Lots of fun as you can make your own jerky, dried fruit, dried vegetables, etc.

What do you want for Xmas?

We go up to Clement, which is like a trip to Beijing.

Fantastic seafood shops.
Blue crabs
Never really come around to eating fish heads.
James chooses best Salmon for the dehydrator
What could be more fun?
So much fantastic fish.
Christmas tree decorations. Earlier every year.
Orion beer from Okinawa!

San Francisco.

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Welcome to the Onsen California

Son James and I head North in the Tacoma Truck. James discovers a new lager before we leave. This is a very good omen.

Unless my parents were false, and vain the augury they taught me. 

We are headed to Crater Lake in Oregon on Arisa’s advice. We camp the first night near Whiskeytown Lake. https://www.google.com/maps/place/Whiskeytown+Lake/@40.6275208,-122.6098933,9634m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x54d2f139a1707db3:0xc865d3a6a42c8249!8m2!3d40.6221003!4d-122.5541449

We find a perfect place near a tiny town called French Gulch.

Right beside the creek.
We drink the magic potion
We eat lamb chops with Swiss chard.
James encourages the fire.
Wants our food
Food – vegetables ain’t food. Vegetables is what food eats.
Kelly Kettle! Best device for boiling water.

We hammer north through huge areas of burnt forest. So sad, I suppose it will take 50 years to get back to its original state. Probably will not get the chance as huge forest fires seem to happen every year now. They didn’t seem to be a thing when we came to California 20 years ago.

Crater Lake is sublime.

Blue
Huge!
Perfect weather.
Truly amazing place.

We stay the night at the Crater Lake campsite. First time I have ever reserved a camping spot. Clearly the way of the future I am afraid.

Clark’s Nutcracker
Western Wood-Pewee. Not the most spectacular bird but I have never seen one before.

We head South to a hot spring that James knows. By the way, it is very hot, nearly 100F every day. Mind you it seems to be the standard temperature most everywhere in the world.

We set up camp beside a hot spring just beside a lake.

Onsen California
You can never leave.

The water is hot but bearable. In fact it is perfect. A pair of Barn Swallows have set up a nest inside the the Onsen shed. I watch them for hours. I have rarely been so clean.

Mrs or maybe Mr Barn Swallow.
Once they get used to me, they are very tame.

Throughout the day, we soak and then swim in the lake. Paradise.

We have brought James’ kayak and we both paddle around. Great addition to our camping fun stuff.

What an incredible place! Only one other person shows up, also in a Four Wheel Camper, and he keeps himself to himself up in the rocks.

iPhone cameras are incredible. I hear Nikon have stopped making DSLR cameras.

We have to go home. We hammer South, James does all the driving.

Oregon has been great but you know- California.

After a final soak, we leave camp at 8:00 and head for Susanville. Hw 395 through Modoc County is a wonderful road, real cowboy stuff. High desert, hardly any other trucks.

Sand Hill Cranes next to 395.

We finally make it to Susanville and have the biggest breakfast ever at the Lumberjack Diner.

Four sausages, four rashers, big slice of ham, hash browns, two eggs over easy, french toast with butter and syrup, ice water and as much coffee as you can drink! You have to face up to these challenges.

Once again, many thanks to the Taco Truck but above all, thanks to James for excellent company, local knowledge and all the driving.

What a fantastic trip! Oregon and Northern California are hard to beat.

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RIP Abe Shinzo

I am very saddened by the assassination of Abe Shinzo san.

I never spoke to him but was in close proximity on several occasions.

He visited OIST in 2013.

With Jonathan at OIST.

I also sat behind him at two Irei no Hi ceremonies. https://thequietripple.com/2016/06/23/irei-no-hi/

He was a good man. He was a trusted and respected politician, such a rarity these days.

He was also a good friend to OIST.

The fact he was shot in Japan beggars belief. There is essentially no gun crime in Japan. The Japanese do not want to own guns. The strong code of mutual respect and politeness cannot admit guns.

My condolences to the Abe family and all the people of Japan. They have lost a great man in the most awful manner.

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The Otter’s Holt

Bebo and I go for brunch in Cole valley. Waiting to see if we could get into Zazie https://www.zaziesf.com to get some of those good old Eggs Benedict, a guy says, “I really enjoyed your talk, fascinating.” I have become very well known in San Francisco since my USF talk. I have my pen ready but he curiously does not ask for an autograph.

Despite the adulation, we get fed up waiting for a table at Zazie and install ourselves at a street table at https://www.crepesoncole.com/menu/

Bebo prepares to eat.

This place used to be a comedy club called The Other. Apparently Robin Williams started here. We told a lot of jokes but no agents appeared.

I have to get The Other Burger !

Anyway, Bebo and I agree that Covid has diminished our get up and go er ness. We have been allowed to sit around doing nothing with no guilt for 2 years and the hue of resolution has been sicklied over, so to speak.

In an attempt to regain self respect I set off for the Elkhorn Slough to take photos of otters and birdies.

I intend to set up the camper in the same place that James and I spent last Thanksgiving. https://thequietripple.com/2021/11/29/beaver/

It is called Kirby Park

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Kirby+Park/@36.8370537,-121.7442754,16.15z/data=!4m13!1m7!3m6!1s0x808e05d522a8775f:0xe0a6b302581f0239!2sMoss+Landing,+CA+95039!3b1!8m2!3d36.8044003!4d-121.7868953!3m4!1s0x808e0415b2c5e8b9:0xa3b3985c56547266!8m2!3d36.8402755!4d-121.7436406

Not nice. There were about 10 trucks full of Mexican guys, dressed in gangster gear. They were making a lot of noise and drinking. One was repeatedly beating a dog with a stick. Once they felt I had been there long enough, a truck drove over and parked beside me. Nothing was said, the blacked out windows remained up. After 5 minutes the truck eased away back to the core group and another truck took its place. Were they trying to tell me something? Hmmm, maybe not the best place to spend the night. Perhaps they will leave. However at 19:00 more trucks arrive.

It is also cold and bleak as thick fog has rolled in from the ocean. More howls from the poor dog. I drive home again! The drive down and back were great.

Well at least I tried

A holt is the name for an otter’s house. I did not see any but the Otter’s Holt is well known reel that I play on my new carbon fiber flute.

Ryukyu Robin in ink

https://thesession.org/tunes/636 You can hear it played if you scroll down.

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Yay Eggi!

A cameo.

James is off on an adventure in the truck. Street cleaning looms and I have to move his bike to the other side of Fell.

I venture out and fall into conversation with a guy who is sitting on the steps. I feel in my pockets to make sure I have the house keys and close the door.

Alas, the keys in my pocket are not the house keys but are James’s motorbike keys. I have locked myself out! I am in big trouble!

I look up and down the street to see if Jesus is around and could help me.

One of my windows is unlocked but access is tricky. I try but I am too old, fat, generally past it, to hop up onto a rickety fence and slither into the window.

I stand around on the street working out what I can do. I try to borrow a ladder from adjacent gas station. Asian lady with little English is terrified and I let it go.

Not Jesus but a young man called Eggi rescues me.

He, with friends, are hanging around. I explain my predicament and Eggi, like a goat, hops onto the fence by the window and jumps through into my apartment. He strides out of the front door: I am saved!

Thanks Eggi!

Whew! Alone on the street. Locked out of my house. In a foreign country. Mass shootings everywhere.

I try to give Eggi lots of money. He refuses. America is not all bad.

In case any of you are planning to break into my place, I have now locked the window.

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Back to Normal

I test negative! Hooray! After 2 weeks of isolated languor I can get on with life again.

Hooray!
The Government sends me lots of free antigen tests.

We take down the barrier between my room and the one behind, creating a luxurious 2 room suite.

Original doors appear
I can drive the truck around in here.

It is a great space.

Two room Calder. I am coming up in the world.
Very nice

It costs $100 to fill up the truck! Used to be $50. I blame everybody.

Gosh!
James gets new collapsible Kayak. Lots of fun ahead!

I find Greta hanging around in San Francisco. We used to work together. https://thequietripple.com/2017/03/25/great-is-an-anagram-of-which-womans-name/

We have a wonderful day, eating and driving around the city in the truck.

She is the best.

I give a talk at the University of San Francisco on the History of CERN, my part in its downfall. Robert Cailliau (Zoom) and Bebo White (in the flesh) also speak. I could not remember anything and so reread all the Press Releases that I had written for CERN since 1989. Amazing! I was so lucky to have been involved in all that stuff.

Bebo!
Robert!

So much fun working with Roberto and Bebo again.

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Sitting/Lying Around

After a truly wonderful time in Scotland, I am definitely moving back, I return to San Francisco and am immediately scythed down by Covid. Not so bad as I had son James to generally look after me, go shopping and such. Not surprisingly, after a couple of days, poor James is also scythed down. Sorry James.

We have spent the last 5 or 6 days in lock down in the apartment.

Not so bad as San Francisco has fantastic deliver to your home systems. I use Instacart https://www.instacart.com/store/. They work with a huge range of stores. You go to the store website order whatever you want and an hour later it is delivered to your door by gleeful young Californians.

Steaks, sausages, a chicken, pork chops, brussell sprouts, potatoes, onions, milk, apricot jam, olive bread, rhubarb pie and lots of other stuff from Gus’s, a fantastic store on Haight. I have written about Gus’s before https://thequietripple.com/2020/02/25/debauchery/

Booze from Bevmo, Cider, beer, lots of wine from Bevmo. I have written about Bevmo before:https://thequietripple.com/2018/11/23/fell/

The problem is neither James nor I have any appetite nor inclination to drink. Anticipated banquets stay in the fridge.

What to do day after day? Buy stuff from Amazon of course.

Coleman hiking boots. My former faithful pair gave up the ghost as I was sprinkling my Mother’s ashes on Dun Skeig.

New flute!

I am reluctant to take my Willis and Goodlad, of which I have written before, https://thequietripple.com/2019/02/21/analogy/on trips. She is so wonderful but I worry about damaging her, which would be a crime against humanity. I get a carbon fiber flute made by Carbony:https://carbony.com/products/flutes/. These are indestructible and I am very much enjoying trying to get the best sound out of it.

New futon cover. Dark color hides the dirt.

Stuff for cleaning and protecting the ‘canvases’ on the camper.

New lens cap and lanyard thing for the big lens.

2 new pillows

Self explanatory

I love this stuff. Delighted to find it on Amazon. I thought it was a uniquely Japanese thing.

Nice red teapot.

Stanford T-shirt

Hub cap for 2012 Tacoma. You can get anything on Amazon.

Trousers that fit my huge bulk. Impossible to find in Japan.

Amazon is incredible! The most obscure stuff is delivered to your door the next day. Perfect for Covid boredom. Also makes for truly nail biting blog entries.

I feel much better but I am scared of taking another test in case it is positive again. Hmmm, maybe wait until tomorrow. Any suggestions as to what I can buy on Amazon are much appreciated. Maybe some Salt Cod.

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All Things Come to Those Who Wait.

I fly back to San Francisco, having had a negative Covid test before getting on the plane.

A couple of days after arrival, I begin to feel bad, sore throat, cough, headache etc. I don’t worry about covid on account of the recent test.

Son James has some do it yourself covid tests and after a few days of no noticeable improvement, I test myself.

One day apart. Same result!

I have Covid.

I somehow felt I had got away with it and would miss infection. Hubris.

I really do not want to spend days isolated in my room. There are so many great things I want to do! Luckily I have James to look after me, I mean like going out to buy beer.

Oh well, I suppose I will spend the time buying myself presents on Amazon.

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