I Guess and Fear

I can sometimes do very irrational things.

My learned brother Ian pointed out that just varnishing my new rudder will not cut it. Sea water will inevitably sneak in and the rudder will delaminate. He advises covering the the whole thing in epoxy.

I have had several experiences of late of trying to find specific articles in Japan and failing after much wasted effort. The stuff is there, it is just a case of navigating the linguistic maze to locate it. Something as specific as marine epoxy fills me with foreboding.

My tremendous luck, a leitmotif of my life so far, steps in again. Colleague Harry has lots of it as he has been building a surfboard and he er gives me some. This made me unreasonably happy and I watched every second tick by on Friday afternoon so I could get home for a weekend of unabated epoxy joy.


Thanks Harry!

My rudder has been lying in a nice sheltered spot all week but I decide it would look much nicer on the flat bed of my truck. I move it. It does look very nice and I thrill with anticipation of tomorrow’s careful mixing and application of epoxy.

Of course it pours all night. I am asleep but on waking in the grey dawn I rush out to find my rudder drenched and having absorbed more drink than is good for her. I can now not apply acrylic until the wood has dried out. Too much romance, not enough common sense, another leitmotif.


Drying on the ironing board.

I cast around to think of things that will cheer me up. Octopus, of course!

I go down to the Chelsea Octopus Store to get my prescription filled.


A mess of octopi.

There is no guarantee that any have been caught and I frequently trail home empty handed. Today, clearly to compensate for my earlier disappointment, there is a crateful.

I choose a beauty, which was clearly caught minutes or even seconds ago. I love Okinawa.


Freshly pulled from the deep. You will of course know that the Octopus genome was first decoded at OIST.

The guy, who is my brother, asks if I would like him to clean it. This is new, normally I do it at home. I say, “Onegaishimasu.”  It is very interesting to watch. He gives it a very thorough scrub, extracts the beak, cuts off bits that offend him and then gets handfuls of rough salt and gives the octopus a real going over with said salt.  I anticipate that this removes the mucus that normally covers the octopus and turns a slightly slimy purple on cooking. The whole process takes about 10 minutes. I am astounded how diligent and methodical he is. There is no rush, no atmosphere of I want to get this finished as soon as possible, just methodical attention to production of a quality product. We worship the octopus. While I on my knees, I await the best fast food in the world, 2 fish and 2 squid tempura that are delivered piping hot in a paper bag. I am feeling much better.

On the way home I take a little birdwatching diversion around Nagahama.


Poor photo but rare bird around here. Eastern Great Tit. Much less yellow than its European relative.


Grey Tailed Tatlers. Click on these photos to absorb the beauty.


This is truly meaningful. A mixed flock of Black headed and Scaly breasted Munia. First time I have seen Black headed version.


Japanese White Eye.


Blue Rock Thrush. Very common around these parts but a beautiful bird whatever.

I return home elated.

Swings and roundabouts.




When you dip the tentacles into boiling water, they go all curly and thus more enticing to eat.

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