Thursday, August 6, 2015

Cool Reunion

Back on the water with clouds shading us and light breezes propelling and cooling us.  Finally, a long rainy season had come to a close.   We launched on Saturday, July 25th.  Happily, I remembered to bring the tiller this time.

A boat towing a waterskier and a few jet skis shared the lake, otherwise it was very quiet.   On the far shore a some fishing boats had been tied together and a floor and roof attached over them to form two party platforms.   Adorned with lanterns and flying the Hinomaru flag, the beached craft were ready for an evening of sake, food, and song.   They can be seen toward the end of this 5 minute raw video. Go for the full screen...

Lunch at Ikoinomura Hinuma Resort followed.   We do miss our friends and food at Mama's, but 仕方がない (shoganai)  - it can't be helped.   The resort's restaurant has been renovated with new wood floors and ceilings, and they added some partitions.  The partitions are nice, but it makes it hard for the staff to see the patrons.   As a result, the service is slower than it used to be. 

Until next, sweet sailing.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Dry Run

As I've said before, Japan has four seasons: Too Cold; Too Wet; Too Hot; Too Windy.

Right now we're inthe middle of too wet, with 4 of the 5 last Saturdays offering rain.   Usually, this season (called "Tsuyu", written 梅雨, literally meaning "plum rain" in English) starts June 8th for us and gives the Kanto plain around Tokyo about 12 rainy days in June, lasting until mid to late July.  This year, as we had 22 rainy days in June, it seems longer than it is.

When the forecast offered a rain free, if cloudy, day, I jumped at the chance to finally get in our first sail of the year.  After breakfast I walked Momo around the block (in a very light rain) packed up my gear and cajoled K into the car.

By the time we reached the harbor, it was overcast, but not raining.  We went through our usual drill of preparing Bluesette for the wind and water.

New ball float on the mast head - check.  Life vests? check. Wind Vane on the mast head - check.  Raise the mast, attach the jib and tie it down, attach the boom, attach the main out haul and main halyard, partly raise the main.  Almost ready.  Whisker pole? check; new combination paddle and grappling hook? check; rudder? check; tiller?  Hmmm.   Where is the tiller?   I'm sure Tillerman doesn't have it.  Oh, yeah.  I left it in our garage where I had taken it with the intent of cleaning and lubricating it.

After that discovery, some sailor talk followed, then K cheerfully said, "It was good practice for us, anyway." 

We took our fruit and Oolong tea up to the club house and had a break.  After that we went back to Bluesette and "practiced" stowing everything and covering her up for next time.  

Dry Run on a Gloomy Day

When we finished we went to nearby Ikoinomura Hinuma Resort  and had a soba lunch before heading home.   Along the way, K stopped at a garden center and bought some flower plants for her flower garden.

Not a bad day considering we never even launched.  Now it's raining again.   More of the same forecast...  

We hope you readers in the US enjoy your 4th of July holiday.

Until next, Sweet Sailing!   (and don't forget the tiller)

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Spit and Polish - Mood Indigo

Well, not "spit", just a bucket of water. And in lieu of polish, I used waterproof sandpaper - between 650 and 1500.

The mission was to clean up the hull of Bluesette which had some sun damage on parts of the gel coat.

We took Momo along for company and drove to the Hinuma Yacht Harbor, stopping along the way to pick up some lunch and give Momo a little walk.

Momo found a shady spot under Bluesette's stern and we put her food dish and water dish nearby.

Sanding away at the gel coat was a drag. Uhg! By the time I started it was close to noon and pretty hot. I concentrated on the front port quarter of the boat,as it gets the most sun. It may take another trip or two to finish restoring the finish on the entire hull.

We took a break for lunch on a blanket that K provided.

There were other folks around for the licensing test that was being held that day. One of them had come in a Chevy Suburban and his wife stayed in the car with the air conditioning and motor running the whole time. Yikes. You'd have thought that gasoline were free and climate change a non-issue! Or maybe they just didn't think at all. :0

In the end, unfortunately, I didn't have any rubbing compound to finish off the job. Next time. And next time I'll also be sure to come up on the train early in the day and do the work before it gets so danged hot! And then too I will be able to cover it with wax to protect it against the elements for a while.

On the bright side, the SLO Sail  Canvas cover has performed flawlessly and kept the upper part of Bluesette dry and protected from all the elements. Considering the length of time we've had Bluesette, the amount of work we've had to put into maintenance is pretty minor.

Small price to pay for all the joy we get from sailing Bluesette every year. I try to do the maintenance work in deep gratitude. :)

Indigo?  Well, Bluesette's waterline is indigo in color, so I guess as I worked away above the waterline, my mood was Indigo.

And if you are in that mood...  Here's Doris Day singing Mood Indigo.  Wow.  Some nice trombone licks too!

Until next, Sweet Sailing!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Panda Bears' Picnic 2015

The first Sunday in May we decided to take Momo to one of her favorite parks - Suigo Prefectural Forest Park - for a picnic.  It's on the other side of Lake Kitaura from home and is just a 20 minute ride by car.

The park has nice foot paths through lots of trees and around and over a small lake.  There is also a large grass area for picnics, play, and even outdoor concerts.

They used to allow fishing in the lake, but no more. After we had walked around a while and crossed the suspension bridge we found out why:

This sign warns of the presence of "Mamushi" - a poisonous pit viper common to Japan, Korea, and China.  Two to three thousand people a year get bit by these things in Japan every year and about ten people die from it.    Yipes! I'm glad that Pandabonium and K kept me on the path. - Momo the Wonder Dog

We found a nice spot for our picnic out on the grass under the shade of a young tree.   Pandabonium and K brought things to eat of course.  I had my water dish and bottle.  K shared some of her boiled chestnuts with me!  Yum.

Bananas, a bag of chestnuts, spiced kabocha, and apples.
"A family nearby had brought the kids' bikes.  I heard them say they thought I was "kawaii" (cute)." -Momo 
"As always, it was great fun to picnic.   By the time we were done, I was a little tired and happy to go home for a nap."  - Momo
If you go down in the woods today you're sure of a big surprise
If you go down in the woods today you'd better go in disguise
For every bear that ever there was will gather there for certain
Because today's the day the Panda Bears have their picnic

Every Panda Bear who's been good is sure of a treat today
There's lots of marvellous things to eat and wonderful games to play
Beneath the trees where nobody sees they'll hide and seek as long as they please
That's the way the Panda Bears have their picnic

Picnic time for Panda Bears
The little Panda Bears are having a lovely time today
Watch them, catch them unawares and see them picnic on their holiday
See them gaily gad about
They love to play and shout
They never have any cares
At six o'clock their Mummies and Daddies will take them home to bed
'Cause they're tired little Panda Bears

If you go down in the woods today you better not go alone
It's lovely down in the woods today but safer to stay at home
For every bear that ever there was will gather there for certain
Because today's the day the Panda Bears have their picnic

Until next, Sweet Sailing!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

"Ware Tada Taru (wo) Shiru"

Written on a tsukubai (stone water basin) at Ryoan-ji temple, Kyoto.    It means "one already has all one needs".

At Ninna-ji, Kyoto

I am resuming posting to this blog...

Until next, sweet sailing.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Trombone Happiness - Loopy?

A very cool version of Pharrell Williams' "Happy" on the trombone!


Hat tip to 'Zen' of .

Until next, sweet sailing, and happy tromboning...

Monday, August 11, 2014

Life Can Be A Bear

Kumamon is Japan's most popular mascot. 

Kumamon represents Kumamoto Prefecture which is located on the island of Kyushu, just across Shimabara Bay from Nagasaki Prefecture.   When the Kyushu Shinkansen was completed a few years ago, Kumamoto Prefecture decided to create a mascot to promote tourism and trade.  Kumamon was born.  Kuma is the Japanese word for "bear", so naturally, Kumamon is a bear.

The character has become very popular throughout Japan.   He has been such a success that he brought in over US$1.25 Billion in just two years!

Here is a video song about Kumamon with English subtitles.  It was filmed at Kumamoto Castle - one of the three best castles in Japan.   Warning: possible "cute" overdose.   :)

Until next, sweet sailing.