Monday, April 7, 2014

Ann Hampton Callaway

Bluesette!  Through the platinum voice of Ann Hampton Callaway - sweet.

Until next, sweet sailing.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

One Word: "Plastics"

In a famous movie that starred Dustin Hoffman, a character approaches him and says "I have just one word I want to say to you. Plastics". Do you remember that line?

It was in the 1968 classic "The Graduate".

Well, that's not my advice to K, but some 'ump-ditty-ump' decades after getting her associate degree, she has - with just two years of late night studying, weekend lectures, exams, and numerous online classes (all the while working, mind you) - attained her liberal arts bachelor's degree from the University. She is a new graduate.

It was a challenge that she gave to herself.  To prove that she could do it.   As Tim Allen's character, Jason Nesmith, said in the movie Galaxy Quest (1999), "Never give up, never surrender!". She may kill me for posting this, but I am in total awe of her for this achievement.

Here is "the graduate" right after her graduation ceremony which was held in NHK Hall (Home to the NHK -Japan National Radio- Orchestra) last week.

My "one word" of advice for K? "Education".   You are awe inspiring, K!

Until next, sweet sailing.  And learning.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Wear Green, Be Green

Until next, Happy St. Patrick's Day, and sweet sailing.

Monday, March 3, 2014

So Long Mama's

Heading to the harbor last Saturday to install the new cover on Bluesette we decided to stop at Mama's Kitchen for lunch as it was already 1:00 PM.  As we approached we noticed - couldn't miss - a rather large flatbed truck parked in front of the entrance and as we got closer we could see cardboard boxes stacked inside the restaurant.    Mama's was obviously closed and moving out.

So we went to the neighboring hotel - Ikoinomura Hinuma - and had an acceptable soba lunch.  We've eaten there before - even stayed overnight a couple of times - and while the food is OK and the lakefront view very nice, it obviously isn't Mama's where we have enjoyed having lunch regularly since the beginning of our sailing adventures in 2009.

Mama's Kitchen - April, 2013

Later, Mrs. Hakuta at the Yacht Harbor informed us that Mama's couldn't make enough to keep paying the rent.    The restaurant business is a tough one and the earthquake/tidal wave/nuclear accident of 2011 severely impacted tourism to the area.  Even the yacht harbor has seen considerably reduced business as fewer visitors come to fish and schools cut back on sailing programs.

We will miss visiting with Mama and her family and the special way they prepared and served our lunches.     Every time we pass the building we will be reminded of the good food and good times we enjoyed there and wonder how they are getting on.   Our last visit was on November 24 of last year.

Always fun to have lunch at Mama's Kitchen

Special requests, such as all plant based meals,  no problem.
Scrumptious dessert made with Mama's special touch.

There will not be a new restaurant attempting to replace Mama's Kitchen.  Rather, as Mrs. Hakuta at the Yacht Harbor informed us, the new tenant will open a karaoke club (just what we need - not).  
So long, Mama and family.  Your customers will miss you.  May good fortune smile upon you in whatever you do next.

Until next, sweet sailing.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Gotcha Covered

I got tired of having to bail water out of Bluesette every time we uncovered her.   A few weeks ago I went looking for a new cover.    The original one was good material - Sunbrella - in terms of wear, but proved unreliable when it came to weatherproofing and became a home for mildew. The fit was a bit loose and it sagged in rear of the cockpit and I had to use line or bungee cord to support it.   Japan's climate is tough one for rain and mildew and despite my best efforts at cleaning and re-waterproofing, the mildew always returned and lots of rain always found its way into the boat.

I came across SLO Sail & Canvas, makers of sails, boat covers, and catamaran trampolines, who are located in San Luis Obispo, California, and ordered a cover made of Top Gun Fabric.    SLO was fast!  I placed my order on the 15th of February, and in less than a week they completed the cover and shipped it to me USPS Priority International.  It went through Japan customs and was delivered on the 27th! 

Here's a clip of SLO Sail and Canvas making a cover for a Sunfish:  

We took the new cover out to Hinuma, removed the old cover, bailed out Bluesette again, cleaned up a bit and installed the new cover and mast socks.   I ordered attached straps which clip into place.  The fit is nice and tight with no sagging. 

 The new cover from SLO Sail and Canvas

As the yacht harbor's dock was closed for repairs, it was quiet with the only movement coming from ducks on the dock and about ten Black Kites (as in the bird of prey) circling overhead. Since we had not been out there since November 24th we took some time to catch up with Mrs Hakuta and her two grand children over some green tea in the club house.  

Perhaps in a month or so we'll go sailing again.  Until then, I trust our new cover will keep things nice and dry.

And until next, sweet sailing.

Monday, February 24, 2014

New Boat!

No, we don't have a new boat.  We just found something to do until good sailing weather arrives...look at some new boats.

Japan International Boat Show 2014

March 6th through the 9th at Pacifico Yokohama convention center and Yokohama Bayside Marina.  

 Until next, sweet sailing.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Treat or Treat

Last sail of 2013...

It was a short season last year.  Busy schedules, some really vicious weather, and a little bad luck conspired to keep us off lake Hinuma on far too many occasions.    But when we did sail, (and once motored electrically),  we had great times.

Our last sail of the year was astonishingly early - October 13th.  The weather that day was glorious with beautiful skies and pleasant winds.

We prepped Bluesette, but as we were getting a late start decided to go for lunch at Mama's before sailing.

 Our favorite sailing day cooks were in fine form.   We started with salads.  Mine with no seasoning or dressing.  Salt, oil and sugar tend to get in the way of the flavor of the veggies. 

 Moved on to pasta - mine with zucchini, tomatoes and herbs.

Dessert....grapefruit, mikan, grapes, cherry and kiwi. 

K's was similar but featured sweet potato pie instead of kiwi.

Then it was back to the harbor to cast off.  We were the only sailboat on the lake, but not alone - there were some jet skis, a water skier, the Yacht Harbor's power training boat, and some wind surfers around.

The winds were a little light at times, but enough to keep us happy on such a beautiful day.  Besides the water was getting chilly and I'm sure K was glad not to be getting splashed.

K took  some beautiful pictures toward Tsukuba-san which provided a majestic background for the lake and windsurfing sails.  Click on the photo below to see the full sized version. 

A lone little cumulus cloud appeared to float above Mt Tsukuba like a smoke signal.   I think it was telling us that our sailing season was coming to a close on this idyllic day.

Or perhaps it means...

Until next, sweet sailing.