Monday, September 21, 2009

Bluesette Meets Her Neighbor

The American expatriate next door...

As mentioned previously, this is "Silver Week" in Japan, a vacation from Saturday to Wednesday created by a cluster of holidays - Monday, Respect for the Aged Day (mind your comments!); Tuesday, Autumnal Equinox (celebrated as Ohigan by Buddhists here) which is usually September 23rd; Wednesday, Kokumin no kyūjitsu ("the day between two holidays"). The last needs a bit of explaining. Japanese law states that if there is only one non-holiday between two holidays (in this case Respect for the Aged Day on the 21st and Autumnal Equinox on the 23rd) that day should be made a holiday too, but placed after the other two.

Now that I've made that crystal clear (like mud)... we missed sailing last weekend due to the typhoon so decided to sail today (Monday) and again Wednesday since K has the days off. When we walked out to the boat, a man was uncovering the boat next to Bluesette. We had never seen it uncovered before. Hakuta-san (the yacht club owner) introduced us to the boat's owner, Mr. Y.

It turns out that we are not the only ones to have imported a sailboat from the USA, for Y-san's boat is from Florida - a "Com-Pac Picnic". Y-san took sailing instruction at the yacht club, purchased the Com-Pac and has been sailing Hinuma for the past three years.
So Bluesette has a "fellow American" (boat) next door.

Y-san's Com-Pac being moved to the launching ramp

The boat is 14 feet long, like the Lido, but 6" wider, has almost the same sail area and due to its self bailing cockpit and high profile hull, is 200 pounds heavier. It's a cat boat design - ie the mast is all the way forward on the boat - and has a gaff rig (the top of the sail is supported by a sort of second boom called a gaff). It's a very stout boat that is easy to set up and very well suited to single handed sailing. Y-san has a small outboard motor so he can power down the river to Oarai Port should he choose too.
Y-san, ready to sail

We were expecting very light winds today so were pleasantly surprised at the 2 to 3 m/s plus (4.5 to 6.7 mph) that we experienced. Likewise, the sky was cloudy in the morning, but gradually cleared considerably. It was a great day for sailing and we shared the lake with Y-san, the school's two JR boats, a sailing canoe, and father and son - the father in a Laser or Sea Hopper, the young son in a small pram.

The boating license applicants were busy taking the practical exam from the government officials.

An armada of fishing boats. These folks were out to catch "haze" (hah-zay), known elsewhere as Japanese Goby. They are small (only about 12 cm) bottom dwelling fish that are said to be quite tasty.

As we made a long downwind run, a hawk kept us company, circling just ahead of Bluesette.

Y-san in his Com-Pac

We docked just minutes ahead of Y-san and pulled Bluesette out of the water. Before we left I gave Y-san the web address for this blog, so I hope he sees it and likes the pictures.

It was 14:20 when we reached Mama's Kitchen, so we missed the lunch specials of the day. No worries. I had deep fried fish, salad, shijimi clam miso soup, rice, horenso (Japanese spinach), and fish tsukudani (tiny fish boiled in water, soy sauce, sugar, and sweet sake). K had pasta with crab and tomato sauce and chocolate cake roll with fruit slices. The cook gave us fresh, warm, anpan (adzuki bean sweet rolls) to take home. Life is good at lake Hinuma.

Until next, sweet sailing.

Update: I got an email from Y-san and he explained the name of his boat: "Silvervine". A clever name. His Com-Pac boat model is"Picnic" and the design is a cat boat, as mentioned above. Well, in East Asia there is a vine called Matatabi which has the same effect on cats (the animal variety) as does catnip in the Western world. Matatabi is called silvervine in English. In addition, "matatabi" means "travel on indefinitely". So he named his Picnic Cat "Silvervine".

We're looking forward to seeing him again.


Anonymous said...

I can see lines of fish at the left bottom of the "Y-san in his Com-Pac" picture, especially, when you enlarge it. Amazing!!!

Pandabonium said...

K - thanks for pointing that out. On the large version I count about ten of them. Very cool. And thanks for taking the picture too.

Don Snabulus said...

Good catch, K! (no pun intended)

Looked a bit cloudy for a while, but it cleared up. A nice sailing day.