Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Hauling the Chili, North Shore, flying Carps and Clear Sailing

Hauling the chili- No, we weren't going fast, but "Zen" of Sakai II fame was as he and his wife flew across the Pacific to attend the 1st Kyudo World Cup in Tokyo, Japan last weekend. Kyudo is "the way of the bow" - Japanese archery. He has been blogging about his most recent adventures - which includes advance planning for their up coming eco-voyage to Japan - at "Zen's Sakai I - by Land". As for "hauling the chili", he was too kind: after reading how I missed Mexican food, he brought some excellent vegetarian chili all the way to Japan for this Panda and K to enjoy! Gochisosamadeshita. Oishikattadesu. Arigatou Gozaimasu, Zen sama!

"North Shore" has a special meaning to Hawaii folks like Bonnie and world to class surfers, triggering images of towering surf, but in this case I'm referring to the North Shore of Lake Hinuma. K and I recently explored the area to see what it was like on the "Far Side". We found a lot of interesting things, some beautiful cherry blossoms, a nature park, and old style Japanese house with unusual lawn ornaments.

The figures are "Tanuki", a Japanese subspecies of raccoon dog. Tanuki are prominent creatures in Japanese folklore.

Then last weekend we went to the Yacht Harbor to get Bluesette ready for sailing. At this time of year, many Japanese households fly "koinobori" - carp streamers - from flag poles in celebration of Children's Day. The number of carps and their size, corresponds to the family members. A beautiful tradition. The carp is symbolic of strength and perseverance needed to overcome life's obstacles and lead a happy, healthy, successful life.

When we pulled off Bluesette's cover, we learned why we should visit her more often in winter months - a good 10cm of water was covering the bottom of the cockpit. We bailed and sponged it out, then decided we should just wash her and wheeled her down to the launching ramp to use the hose. The old sails had gotten wet too, so we spread them on the lawn to dry. I won't ever leave Bluesette unattended for that long again.

After a break for lunch at Mama's Kitchen (where else?) we did a dry run with the new Ulman sails just to see how they went up and check out how they look. I should have bought Ulman sails to begin with, but didn't know better. The old sails are adequate, but the new ones are wonderful. They are lighter and hoist more easily. The cut of the main makes for easier use of the downhaul and the simple, yet robust, snap attachments for the jib mean a lot less fuss when raising and lowering it. Perhaps the best feature is the large sliding glass doors clear windows in both sails. Big improvement in visibility which means less work and more safety.

Tomorrow, we sail!

Until next, sweet sailing.


Martin J Frid said...

Wow, I can't wait to hear the news from Monday's adventures. You take care. Sailing and archery may have a lot in common. Stay focused.

Don Snabulus said...

Nice to hear that the weather is cooperating. Happy sailing!

Zen said...

I'm delighted the chili was good and hit the spot!

Arkonbey said...

I'm going to try to turn my step-mom-in-law onto your blog. I found out last year (at the family camp on the lake) that she loves sailing but rarely gets to do it. I think she'd get a kick out of reading it (she's an internet-for-fun noob)

I've actually got a plan for her kids (blood and marriage) to chip in to get her a small vessel. Not as big as the Bluesette, but bigger than a Sunfish. Something she could trailer and put in herself, but also take at least one passenger/crew.

Also, archery: is he in the middle of a draw, just before bringing the nock to his cheek, or is that a full draw Japanese-style?

Fair winds and following seas!

Pandabonium said...

Martin - archery looks more intense to me, but I don't know. It is important in sailing (and flying) to focus on control and not get distracted by the little stuff.

Thanks Snabby. It's been a long wait.

Zen - much appreciated.

Arkonbey - thanks, I hope she visits our blog. There are several dinghies that might fit her needs. I hope she gets one.

I'm not very knowledgeable about Kyudo, but there are 7 steps in shooting and Zen is at step 5. Step 6 is to lower the bow while drawing back fully. Step 7 is the release.

The Moody Minstrel said...

I practiced Kyudo for a while back in the early 90's...until I was asked to stop coming to the practice range because the new recruits refused to come in as long as "that foreigner" (i.e. me) was there. There are a couple of different drawing techniques, but they are both beautiful to watch.

The most potentially intimidating thing about it is that your head winds up between the bow and string when it is fully drawn. You're supposed to hold it in such a way that it pivots outward on release.

My family used to enjoy raising our koinobori (carp streamers) for Children's Day. Unfortunately, first the (really cheap) pulley for the line rusted solid. Then the top of the (really cheap) pole rotted out and broke off in a windstorm. That's what happens when a chronic cheapskate buys the gear...

Pandabonium said...

Moody - ungrateful little brats at that school. probably gave you grief mostly because you are a teacher and they thought they could get away with it.

Old Dutch saying - "Goedkoop (is) duurkoop" - cheap is foolish, as your koinobori story illustrates so well.