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.

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.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

The Otter’s Holt

Bebo and I go for brunch in Cole valley. Waiting to see if we could get into Zazie 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

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.

It is called Kirby Park,-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 You can hear it played if you scroll down.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Back to Normal

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

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.

James gets new collapsible Kayak. Lots of fun ahead!

I find Greta hanging around in San Francisco. We used to work together.

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.


So much fun working with Roberto and Bebo again.

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

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 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

Booze from Bevmo, Cider, beer, lots of wine from Bevmo. I have written about Bevmo before:

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, 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: 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.

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments

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.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Bass Rock

I leave Kintyre and spend time with university friends. These are people I met in 1970. Over 50 years of friendship.

Will takes me to drop off my car as I am too scared to go alone. I then get a train to Edinburgh and stay with George and Jenny. Next day I take the train to Dunbar, or Sunny Dunny as it is known. Sure enough it is another perfect day. I meet Alison, another St Andrews friend and we have a glorious time in the sun.

Dunbar Kittewake.

She has a a boisterous 1 year old Poodle/Golden Retriever cross doggie called Freya. Such fun to take a dog for a walk. Anyway, you can see Bass Rock from Dunbar and Alison helps me book a boat trip the following day.

The next day was one of the best ever. Train to North Berwick and boat out to the rock.

Bass Rock! Thousands and thousands of Gannets.

I am dazed with happiness. I am on a boat, there are thousands of birds, it is a beautiful day, I have my big lens and new camera.

Soppy Gannets

Razorbills in front, Guillemots behind

Amazing birds

Click on all photos and then click again for super magnification.

They are building nests.

So elegant

Back to harbor for delicious fish and chips and squid from a shack on the harbor wall.

So good. Eating fish and chips outside on a sunny day by the sea beats most everything.

I am definitely moving back to Scotland!

Back to Bishopton to Will and Barbara’s place. Will heroically drives me to the airport at 4:15. I thought there would be no one there but hundreds of people are waiting in line to get through security at 4:30 in the morning.

Thanks to Will and Barbara, George and Jenny, Alison for their outstanding kindness and hospitality. So good to see them all again.

An excellent holiday.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Scotland the Brave!

The whole Calder clan unites in Scotland to sprinkle our Mother’s ashes.

After a very long trip, Okinawa,Tokyo, Istanbul, Dublin, Glasgow, I find myself in a grubby Portacabin on a filthy potholed yard somewhere in Paisley. I am there to pick up a rental car. The guy is very aggressive throughout and there is a random drunken Irishman who keeps interrupting. 

I say “How can I get to Bishopton?

He says,”Take the M8.”

I say, “How can I get to the M8 from here?”

He says, “You read the fucking signs.”

Ah Caledonia!

We follow the signs. Jeremy and James

There are about 20 of us and we hole up in a palace overlooking the Kilbrannan Sound that has fantastic views across to Arran. 


Obeying our Mother’s request, we scatter on top of Dun Skeig and also bury in the family grave.

Dun Skeig
Family on Dun Skeig
James scatters

Ferries to and from Islay

The rest of the time we walk a bit but principally eat and drink.

Separate table for the kids

Breakfast – Haggis and eggs. Thanks Ian.
Amazing seafood

More amazing seafood
James and Jeremy get ready to eat.

Fresh eggs by the roadside

I get a cake! Nice Emma is the best.

It is so good to see all the family. 

Ferry in front of Jura

Massive kudos to sister Rosy and brother in law Barry for impeccable organization.

Sorry, Scottish birds.

House Martin
Mr Pheasant
F*ck off Mr Pheasant

Herring Gull
Tarbert Harbour
Not birds but Clydesdales

Bumble bee on azalea.

There but for fortune

Cruel sea

The weather was perfect throughout, the woods are carpeted with bluebells, there are rhododendrons and azaleas flowering everywhere.


The gorse or whins, if you prefer, is in full flower. So beautiful;

Such a feeling of ancientness.

Beacharr, 5000 BC


I am definitely moving back to Scotland.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Last Weekend’s Fun

Last weekend we celebrated the 10th Anniversary of OIST. Well actually 11th; OIST was accredited in 2011. I know, I was there. As with so much else, Covid got in the way and the ceremonial had to be pushed back a year.

Anyway, we had an amazing weekend.

It started with a concert on Saturday night. Super duper violinist Eiko Kano played The Four Seasons with an orchestra of friends.

Eiko san

Lying on table in front of the stage are 4 violins, I go to have a look. They are guarded by an OIST colleague who tells me there are 3 Stradavarii and a Guarneri and I should be careful not to trip. Good advice. Wow!

Stradavarius ‘The Red Diamond’ one of the 3. I have forgotten the names of the others.

The concert was too good for language. For each movement of the Four Seasons she used a different violin. Nuts. As an encore, Eiko playing The Red Diamond, her teacher playing the Del Gesu, which is what cool people call Guarneri violins, accompanied on a 1930s Steinway just donated to the university, play some Shoshtakovich. All of this in a tiny village on the west coast of Okinawa! There was very little here when I arrived in 2011. Look at it now.

A unique experience. Eiko does not think that 4 violins of that distinction have been played in one concert before.

Super VIP dinner afterwards and I am seated next to Eiko, presumably because I can play the tin whistle.

Arisa is the super professional MC

Eiko, who is so much fun, and I discuss the salient features of the four violins and she clearly appreciates my input. Wonderful evening with much speechifying and so many old friends.

Lunch next day with Jonathan, Renee John san and the architects of the university buildings, Ken and Okomoto san. What great people, what memories. On to the big ceremony.

Peter makes excellent speech

Prime Minister Kishida san leaves dull meetings with Biden to send us a message.
Minister for Okinawa.

I spoke to him afterwards and asked if he could slip me a few bottles as I was off to Scotland. He said of course he could but I haven’t heard from him yet.

Governor of Okinawa, great guy.

Great event! My name was mentioned to wild acclaim. Incredible really – what a great adventure! I was so lucky to have been involved.

Congratulations and thanks to the organizers. I am so pleased I do not have to organize this kind of stuff anymore.

This is the sort of thing I do now.

Amazing stuff
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Drive Carefully

My driving license validity runs out at the beginning of June. Since I am now over 70, I have to go through geriatric driving training, vision testing and a supervised drive before they will re-issue my license. I am fairly intimidated as if I blow this, they will take my license away and it is impossible to live in Okinawa without a car. My future on this magic island depends on my performance.

Everything is in Japanese and I enlist the help of the wonderful Nicole san.

Thanks Nicole! She is a lot of fun.

Nicole is a freelance interpretor/translator. Hire her!

We go through a very strict eyesight test.  I worry as I don’t, despite Nicole’s best efforts, know really what I am supposed to do on some of the exercises. We troop out to pay for the training.

The receipt

We are shown movies that are admirable. They underline the dangers of driving a car but in particular the dangers of old people driving a car. Much statistical evidence of the sharp drop off after 70 of vision, reaction speed and decision making. Help!

We sit at the back.

It is pouring with rain as we drive around the special test course. Fairly anxious as there are many Japanese driving protocols that are new to me. Many thanks to Danielle Ellerby from OIST who coached me beforehand. Anyway congratulations Okinawan Police on the training – thought provoking.

The course manual. Notice ultra serious Japanese approach.

I pass!

Now to get my new license, more vision tests, a photo, my name is called and I am presented with a new license! Hooray! I am good until 2027 and God knows where I will be then.

Geriatic driver.
Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments