Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Girl...revisited

One of the first blog postings I did was how sorry I was to have finished reading the final part of Steig Larson's trilogy.  The first book of this was called The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  I found out earlier in the year that a film had been made of this and I was anxious to see it - even if it was done in Swedish with subtitles.  Roger Ebert gave it a pretty good review.

I rejected my natural meanness and bought a copy of the DVD (second hand, of course) and watched it with S.W.M.B.O. the other evening.  It is a long, complex movie - 2 1/2 hours and it's not that easy to follow if you haven't read the book.

Some of the critics have been harsh about it, but maybe they're not used to watching subtitles.  Nonetheless the central character, Lisbeth Salander, played by Noomi Rapace, is riveting.  The second movie is out now and I'm starting to waver.  You can see the trailer here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JlF-hk3IJQE

Monday, August 30, 2010

Final Post on Japan

Sunday's column was on my trip to Japan.  It was covered extensively here so instead of boring you again here are some photos of the place.  You can read the column on www.sbsun.com/trevorstravels

Mom, Dad, there's someone I'd like you to meet!
Part of the small shrine in Kamakura

Shibuya, the World's Busiest Crosswalk
Typical House in Shimoda


I hope you'll indulge me with this.  But is it just me or does Rachmaninov evoke the same scenes of black and white European railway stations; belted gaberdine raincoats; trilby hats and cigarette smoke blending with the steam from the locomotive's wheels?

Possibly some of the most romantic music ever composed, Rachmaninov always looked intensely sad.  He had to leave Russia at the end of the revolution.  He earned his living as a concert pianist in the US, and died in 1943.  I had always thought he was buried in Beverly Hills, and intended to visit his grave.  I find out that he is actually buried in New York.  One interesting fact is that he had enormous hands and so his music is very hard for women to play.  This recording is by Vladimir Ashkenasi - One of the best ever.


Saturday, August 28, 2010


I was bought a Kindle about a year ago. It has certainly been a wonderful present. I see that the price is now down to $139   http://www.amazon.com/Kindle-Wireless-Reader-Wifi-Graphite/dp/B002Y27P3M/ref=kin3w_ddp_compare_image1

The device is fine in the brightest sunlight and it loads a book in less than a minute.

Once you've finished reading the book you can archive it and recall it at any time. You can pack Kindle into any small space for travel and have up to about 250,000 books available to you. Most of them at $9.99 or less.

The only downside I can find is if you want to look back over several pages. With an easy font changing system - for older eyes! - the amount you are into the book is displayed in a percentage, which means it is not so easy to find a particular paragraph or fact.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Tokyo Living

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/f00a9f76-ab21-11df-9e6b-00144feabdc0,_i_email=y.html    I was sent this link by a friend the other day.  It's about a Brit who lives in Tokyo with his Japanese wife and young family.  I recognize some of his experiences.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Dog Friendly?

I was asked by a friend the other day if I knew any dog friendly restaurants locally.  Now this is a concern as I believe health departments are not keen on man's best friend sharing feeding bowls with their owners - at least in public.  It's a problem.

My son Michael and his wife Eiko have a wonderful little King Charles Spaniel, and as urban dwellers, they also eat out quite a bit.  Mostly they look for restaurants with patios outdoors.  But from time to time they have to resort to stealth.  It entails a small gym-type bag.  Jazzie is quite used to the bag and in fact looks forward to it as it means an outing and of course, treats.  So they slip her inside and park her under the table.

Now who could resist these little fellows?
Now the problem arises when Jazzie drops off, as she is known to snore quite loudly.  Servers are often seen to look around at the customers to see who has fallen off their chairs.  Michael has to then resort to talking loudly or even snorting a bit.  I wish I had a solution for my friend.  It would also be nice to be able to take out Frankie and Johnnie from time to time.


I have to confess to a certain love of afternoon naps. Most of the people I know seem to regard this pleasure as a weakness. Maybe it is. But I ignore the criticism.

I believe I am not alone in this habit; Churchill, Napoleon and other famous people have been known to get their "heads down" from time to time. It has also been followed by most of the male members of my family. My father had a sofa in his office for years and his staff were most protective of his need for "forty winks." Grandad's preferred spot was an arm chair in the front room. I can do the sitting up job, but much prefer the horizontal method. Usually no more than 20 minutes though.

From time to time reports come out praising naps and I have yet to find a negative report on them. Sometime they are called "power" naps, and I did know one business in Canada years ago that acknowledged their use. This small firm had a nap room with several sofas where employees could relax when the need arose.

I did wonder if I would grow out of the habit, but so far there's no sign. What are your feelings on naps?

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Dodgers

There are few truly inspiring moments in the life of a Dodger fan.  Mostly it's a long series of disappointments.  For instance, how can a team with a 9 to 1 lead in the ninth inning see it go to an 11 to 9 loss?

How can all our best players either be on the DL or fail to swing the bat effectively?  Even against the poorest opponents.  How can a team with such a supposed reputation fail to win a world series since 1988?  I watched that series, and foolishly thought it was going to happen most years!  Had I known the dearth of positive results, I would have savored the win more.

But there is one huge lift for all of us depressed fans - the continuance of Vin Scully for anther year.  His decision was announced at Sunday's game - a true gleam of light in yet another bad performance.  He is 82, and now only calls home games and those on the right side (Actually left side) of  the mountains.  He doesn't go on  the long trips.  Who can blame him!

Scully has been calling Dodger games for 61 years and is a true national resource.  He brings a color and a grace to the game that is usually missing from other commentators, who seem to think a lack of skill can be balanced by a recitation of statistics.  Long may he continue as he is truly unique, and he enriches the game.

White Space

Readers of this blog may have noticed that there was a huge amount of white space at the end of the postings and before the final part.  This has been fixed.  Also "Alternative Tracks" has been renamed  "Local Tracks" as it's really only for readers in So Cal.  Unless you want to start jumping on planes, of course.

To find details on any of these places go to www.sbsun.com/trevorstravels to access all my columns and also hear the Podcasts.

The big photo just before Local Tracks has a hot link on it - just click there for details.  This week it's the Integratron - quite an experience!  Believe me!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Jensen Alvarado

This Sunday's column was about the Jensen Alvarado Ranch in Riverside.  It's the first brick building in the area.  Captain Jensen, who was a Danish citizen, learned that adobe bricks dissolve in heavy downpours, hence his choice of brick.

The Captain had come down from the Gold Rush, having made a great deal of money from selling things to the miners.  He had in modern parlance "A ton of Whack!"  He lacked social position however.

Now, it so happened that the Alvarado's had lots of position but were a trifle lacking in the whack department.

Their daughter Mercedes was only 16 but up for marrying the 40 year-old Captain - today it would be called statuary rape, I believe!  She was staggeringly plain and from the photos somewhat hirsute.  However, they had 12 children, ten of whom made it to adulthood.  So who's to judge! To read the rest of the story go to www.sbsun.com/trevorstravels


This week's music track will get your motor running.  Check out the Boogie Woogie here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1QQzbCmlZM4

It's done in Switzerland and the pianist is Silvan Zingg. He's something of a hero in the country, but I think the dancers are amazing, particularly the young man.

It's hard to keep your feet from tapping to this one!

Thursday, August 19, 2010


Today is the day I officially go into "the red." Three score years and ten is the oft quoted span for us, and so today being my birthday I have run over that number by hitting 71. It's not as traumatic as last year's was. Seventy was a hard gate to go through. There's no escaping that number. Sixty you can still kid yourself a little, but not the big seven-oh!

So having had a year to adjust to the fact that my age now starts with a seven, I suppose adding a small "one" on the end is not too bad.

I now have to work hard to beat the statisticians' predictions and continue to hurt the government by taking more of my allotted social security than they calculated for me. I also have to keep "the old man out!" Once you let him in he'll stay. So if any of you locals find me shuffling around, please administer a well aimed boot to my posterior and tell me to get a damned grip!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


There is definitely a change in the way people perceive where they are in the world. I mean exactly where they are in terms of their geographical location. And the younger they are the poorer it is.

Perhaps it has something to do with all the electronic devices out there that tell them how to get to a particular restaurant or cinema. But I fear they may be counter productive. No one seems to use maps any more - how are Rand McNally and Thomas Guides doing these days, I wonder? Maps do create a picture in your mind of where you sit on the globe.

I first noticed the problem when I stopped at a gas station to check directions. Mostly the attendants didn't have a clue. To get to their jobs, they knew they got on the freeway then got off at exit 46 for instance. Anywhere else they were clueless.

We are often shown interviews of people in the street telling the camera that they think Canada is south of us and Mexico to the West. As for France - forget it! It's not just a stunt, people really don't know.

We are always being told education needs more money. Maybe we could try and teach geography the way it was rather than mixing it up with social engineering. How about getting some maps, they're cheap and it would be a good start.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Riverside Metropolitan Museum

This Sunday's column is on the Riverside Metropolitan Museum. It's right in the downtown section of the city and was once the post office there.

Cornelius Rumsey was the original owner of much of the permanent collection. He was the NABISCO cereal magnate. It was given to the museum by his widow in 1948 and displayed in the basement. The building was deeded to the museum in 1966.

Currently there is a display on show through January on self adornment. It has brought a large number of young people to see it. One of the main features is a collection of photographs on tattoos, together with letters explaining the designs. www.riversideca.gov/museum

Music Track - Tom Waits

I first heard this fellow as the credits rolled for the movie Pollock. He's very unusual, but compelling - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P4CzLh-pLAE

Tom Waits has been around for a long time; have a listen to some of his other stuff - it just goes to show what several packs of cigarettes and a bottle or two or bourban a day can do to your voice!

Saturday, August 14, 2010


Evan, my grandson is about to leave us, as it's the start of a new term. We shall miss him. But before he disappears down to the flatlands again, I took him on one last assignment. It's a column that will come out in about six weeks.
It was a visit to the Wolf Mountain Sanctuary in Lucerne Valley. It's run by Tonya Littlewolf and she's been caring for these big beasts for the last 25 years.
I told Evan we would no doubt go into a cage or two and that the wolves were pretty big. At 15 of course, he's bullet proof and said it wouldn't be a problem for him as he had a big dog at home. Yeah, right!

When Istas the wolf came out to greet him some of that bullet proofness fell away. But after a little time they settled down and everybody relaxed.

Istas gave me a good check over but no doubt he could detect the smell of "Poodle" and knew not to mess with me!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Pool v Snooker

I was sorry to see that we lost an icon of Snooker a week or so back. "Hurricane" Higgins died at 61 - I'm surprised he lasted that long. A diet of 60 Marlborough's and a bottle of booze a day can't help with longevity. (This picture is not of the Hurricane - see note below.)

He was a phenomenon of the 70's snooker scene and helped take the game to another level. He received his nickname due to the speed of his shots. He was very dominating.

I had to make a decision back around that time; to keep on playing snooker while lacking the skills to take me to the top, or get into business seriously. Thank Heavens, I chose to straighten up from the green baize table and grasp the attache case. It was a wise choice.

Coming to the US, the transformation was complete, as although pool shares much of the same aspects as snooker, there is something about the proportions that just doesn't raise it to the same level. This link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=McThDshEgU0 shows the best example of snooker with a maximum break by Ronnie O'Sullivan. Pure magic!
The photo is of Chris Ross, my old snooker chum. He became English National Snooker Champion and also he was the Billiard Champion too. This was taken about five years ago - he could still knock down a mean ball!

Monday, August 9, 2010


Coming back from Japan, we had a wonderful example of bureaucracy and how it helps "improve" our lives. I had gone cheap on the fares and used Air Canada for the journey as it was almost half the price of Singapore Airlines; naturally there had to be some punishment to go along with this decision; apart from the staggeringly bad food on the Canadian flight that is.

We returned via Calgary with about a two-hour lay over - time enough for maybe a little walk around and some light refreshment. It was not to be, the bureaucrats were lying in wait for us.

Firstly, we had to fill in a form for the Canadian customs and immigration. On it I was forced to declare a rather tacky little six-inch ninja I had bought in Narita. We stood in line to be interviewed by an agent - it was rather pathetic considering we were only going to another gate - had these people never heard of a transit lounge? But worse was to follow. In it's wisdom, the US authorities had brought their service to Calgary to avoid long lines at LAX. (Not to avoid long lines - just ones at LAX!)

After filling up another form, we queued up with all the other people to be scrutinized, not by an agent but by a Canadian, who was there to look at our US immigration and customs declaration form. Naturally I had failed to put that day's date on it and I also put the incoming flight, not the outgoing - bad boy!

With passports and forms held high we lined up in the snake to zig-zag our way with the other thousands to the six agents to interview us. There were 12 booths but only half manned. A slightly fraught official lady was trying to jostle some passengers ahead of others so that their flights could leave on time.

We wound around the zig-zag and eventually reached a customs agent who somewhat sneered at my ninja declaration. He also seemed disappointed that we were not carrying any financial instruments over $10,000! Finally, we were through and with twenty minutes to spare - maybe time for a beer!

Oh no! Security; and very long lines before and after our documents were once again checked. Did no one tell these people that we were in the damned computer complete with our grandmothers' maiden names? Not only did we have our boarding cards read by some machine, we had to stand in a booth and be gawked at - I'm told it shows us naked! They really must be bereft of visual stimulation if they get anything out of my aged body!

Back to the line with our bags waiting. Naturally we looked very suspicious so all our luggage was gone over. The ninja was found. Tearing open the nice cardboard box, it was laid bare, complete with its small plastic sword! No way that could get through without someone agreeing. A supervisor was called. He looked at the offending article carefully and decided that it passed - just! We had to repack all our cases and then we had an entire five minutes to get to the plane. A real eye opener for how bureaucrats work. Lots of forms for useless information that is available with a click of the button.

Chaffey Garcia

Yesterday's column covered the Chaffey Garcia house in Etiwanda. It's been beautifully preserved and the custodians are to be congratulated for their work.

The house was the first in the area to have electric light and also they had the longest telephone link in San Bernardino county. The house is only open on the third Saturday in the month so make a note in your calendars to visit it.

Music Track

For this week here is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H9OgyQomlmM

It's the adagio from Mozart's Clarinet Concerto. A work of piercing beauty.

It was used in Out of Africa when Meryl Streep and Robert Redford had their picnic.

I've chosen the version by Jack Brymer as it's the one I'm most familiar with. It's no matter that the recording's old as it's not a piece to experiment with, I think.

I do wonder why there is never vibrato in "classical" clarinet music whereas it's always used in other types.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Day 10 of 11 - Kamakura

For our last full day here, we took a trip to Kamakura, which is about 3/4 hour's train ride away. We left at 9:00 which put us well ahead of the weekend crowds - it seems that the early bird still does get the worm out here too. There are three main tourist draws here: The Giant Buddha, a large shrine and also a small shrine up in the granite hills. We decided to do all three.

The small shrine has a tradition that if you if you wash your money here, it will quadruple in value. Now I came here ten years ago and did the entire washing thing, and it didn't work. In view of the slightly damp state of all of us with the humidity, I left the wet money thing alone this time.

We returned to the town via a Starbucks and thence on to the Buddha. It is large; about 35 feet tall. It was also begun in 1252 which makes it older than me! Well, a little bit.

We then went off to the large shrine and enjoyed some very large and colorful lilies growing in the moat area. By now the tourist population had grown and it was hard to take any pictures that didn't have a couple of million Japanese in them. But we saw what we wanted to see and then took off to a small and very nice noodle restaurant.

Japan - Final Thougths

Once again it was a privilege to visit this very foreign country, and I have some thoughts about this particular visit. Taking Evan (15) along made me look at the place a little differently. Since I first started coming here in the mid-seventies there have obviously been some changes. Surprisingly, the use of English has not seemed to have grown. There is less of it around, although many of the traffic signs have some English on them, which was never the case 35 years ago.

At the same time there are a lot more Gauguin (foreigners) on the city streets. In Tokyo, it looked like at least 5% of the population were outsiders. Many of them speak Japanese and do so well. It is a very difficult language, and reading it is almost impossible.

Sailing around the edge of the Izu peninsular, we were struck by the big difference in wealth of the city compared to the country. Tokyo and Yokohama are obviously rich places; the people are well dressed, and the goods in the shop windows are expensive. The country on the other hand has a dilapidated appearance and there is very little in the way of amusement, restaurants or bars. In some places nothing at all. It's not a cultural thing it's a lack of disposable income.

Ten years ago it was amusing to see that the growth of cellphones was being driven almost entirely by teenage girls. They were the ones with their eyes focused on these little devices. Today its spread to everyone. We took an 8:30 p.m. commuter train from Tokyo to Yokohama and everyone was locked in on their cells, texting all the time, and scrolling up and down. They were also anaethsetized to the outside world with iPod earbuds crammed into their ears. It was noticeable that very few read papers or books - ten years ago it was nearly all reading materials.

The costs of everything are magnified by the poor dollar. The rate over the last decade has slipped from about 110 Yen to the dollar, to 80. The formula of knocking off the last two zeros to get an approximate dollar amount doesn't hold up well these days. On top of that this is a very expensive place to visit. Dinner bills are usually about $50 to $75 a head. A glass of beer will set you back around $10 to $20 dollars. Taxis start their meters at about $10.

This is a fine society. If anything, the beginnings of city graffiti have stopped and reversed. There is even less than five years ago. There is absolutely no trash in the streets and the Japanese are obsessed with "separating" their rubbish. No doubt living on a very densely populated island enforces politeness and rule obeying, or war would break out.

The dress code is very strong. As it's the high summer season, "salary-men" are in "biz lite," which is short sleeve white shirts, open necked, with black trousers and black hard shoes. Women in dresses and suits. Children equally well clothed. I have managed to avoid the hot season here before; and it is very hot indeed. A lot of people carry towels to wipe their skin, and it's a good job the trains are all air conditioned.

However it's obvious that the price to pay for such order is more control over the population. As a resident alien, Michael had a visit from a young policewoman, who came round to check a few details on his registration card. She spoke some English and was extremely polite, but insistent that some details were missing and he had to write them on a form. He grumbled but complied.

If the pedestrian light is against you, you do not cross, no matter how empty the road. I did wonder if there might be a fault in the system sometimes, but the Japanese seem to be prepared to wait forever.

We fly back today and arrive a couple of hours before we left! It's rather analogous to the change of cultures we will experience. I'm dreading the jet lag next week.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Japan Day 8 of 11

We certainly changed our seascape view for an urban one. This is the sight from the 68th floor of the Sky Garden building in Yokohama. The elevator takes 40 seconds to get to the top and the views all around are spectacular on a clear day, which this was.

When you live in a small rural community like Big Bear, it's wonderful to be able to visit a well run and organised city, and one with virtually no graffiti.

Today, Friday, Eiko is taking Evan up to Tokyo by train to join some family friends who are taking him to Fuji Park. They have the largest and scariest roller coaster there. I'm glad I'm not joining him! Michael and I will just have to try and amuse ourselves here at base, before we too go up to Tokyo and enjoy an Indian meal tonight. Will Evan's stomach be able to join us too?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Japan Day 7 of 11

We saw Mt Fuji in the last of the setting sun on the way back from last night's restaurant. It's one of the most famous sights in all of Japan and almost of reverential status in the minds of the Japanese; so Evan was lucky.

The following day, Wednesday, I decided to get sunburnt! Obviously without S.W.M.B.O. to assist me, I can't be trusted to live on my own and failed to apply sunblock to parts of my ageing body. We enjoyed a stop at a beach area nonetheless; we anchored far enough away to allow us to pee off the side of the boat without causing offense! After five days afloat, Michael felt he might have to be retrained to use a toilet as he had become almost feral in that area!

We set the sails for the marina and after the usual shouting and swearing - a regular feature of putting up the canvas - we began our homeward bound leg.

Now this takes us across the shipping lanes of huge ocean going tankers plying their trade to Tokyo. These ships are often over 100,00 tons and can move very quickly. Shouting: "Power gives way to sail, old man!" Does not have a lot of effect when they're almost on top of you.

Similarly a Japanese Navy submarine driving full blast down the seaway is not interested in diverting her course. So you better watch out. Halfway across this game of chicken, a Japanese Navy destroyer was obviously set to ram us so we decided to lay off our direction.

He changed direction too, and set us up for some target practise. We shouted and waved our arms: "Excuse me, Sir, you appear to be heading our way!" Or something like that. We laid off again and this time he did not readjust his bearing so we slipped behind him. Just so we didn't forget him we hit his aft wake, which was an interesting experience for those of us lolling on the netting in the bow reading a book. Total soaking, Ha, ha!

We arrived back at the marina and filled Milestone up with 150 litres of diesel ready for her next adventure. We had done about 150 nautical miles and managed to avoid too many risks at sea. Now it's air conditioning, hot showers and city life once more in Yokohama

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Business Hours

There seems to be some sort of regulation regarding business hours out here in Japan. Restaurants close at the oddest time of day - like 7 o'clock for instance. They even have a last order time as well, so no sneaking in a big fish fry order at 6:55!

They also close places in the height of the vacation season, there seems to be no rhyme nor reason to it.

We think it has something to do with the lack of disposable income, the lack of foreign visitors - we have met no other Gauguin since our trip on the boat - and also that unions do not allow any expansion of working hours or shifts. So to operate a restaurant for lunch and also dinner you have to be open for eight hours and that means 11 to 7, and no later. Everyone seems to understand the rules and so they concur without a problem.

Ordering Food

We overcame the problem of ordering food last night - technology to the rescue. We arrived in a small fishing port called Koto and docked for the night. Eiko from Yokohama had called and found out that the restaurant closed at 7 p.m. and last orders were at 6:30. More of this curiosity of business later.

Michael had been there before so he knew it was a very popular fish restaurant and not one specializing in chicken entrails with gruel on the side. This might have been the situation the previous night which is why we did not employ the following method to order.

We were seated on the tatami floor much to the amusement of the local diners, who no doubt were equally repelled by the strong "Gauguin" stink emanating from our long day at sea. The little girl came over for our order, and fortunately it was beer to begin with so no problem there. We then asked her if she had English menus, and perhaps Japanese menus in the English language. Ha, ha, fools. Have you got Japanese menus in Big Bear? I don't think so!

So whipping out his iPhone, Michael speed dialed Yokohama and told Eiko to speak to the waitress. This of course, delighted the staff and the other diners. After a few minutes, everyone was smiling and our food was terrific. Sushi, of course, followed by Miso soup, small fishes and then larger ones grilled and full of flavor.

Come 6:50 we had to beg for a final beer and they eventually agreed it was better to break the rules than upset these strange hairy smelly red faced men from the deep. The bill was pretty good too - about $85 for the three of us.


If you think we have been too selfless in allowing the pack to break up, here is a picture of Jazzie the little dog. I think no one with any heart at all could refuse her. So today, she is in air conditioned comfort back at home, while we flog around the Pacific. with empty beer cans floating around the bilges.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Japan Day 6 of 11

It's amazing how life likes to hit you upside the head when you're a laughing and a joking. There were were, deserted by the junior Mrs. Summons and the dog ,and slowly becoming used to it. We had planned an evening out in the fleshpots of Shimoda - in truth a couple of beers at the Soul Bar followed by a nice fish dinner at a really good restaurant we knew; great stuff.!

So we had the beer in the bar, and the owner and I ignored each other after the unpleasant little incident the other evening about opening hours. Honor was satisfied on all fronts. So there we were walking to our second goal and turning the corner, horror of horrors - it was closed. I can hear you saying "no big deal, just go to another." But you see, without the aforementioned Mrs. S. we were lacking in one small talent, the language. Michael can order beer, and get himself home in a taxi, which I think speaks highly of his language skills after living in Japan for 10 years. I can say: Can I have another beer, please. And Evan can say: I'm sorry Master - he watches far too much Japanese anime on TV.

But none of us can order food in a restaurant which lacks an English translation, or even has those nifty little plastic models of food outside the establishment. And Shimoda has no one who talks our stuff. So there we were, stymied. So we settled for a supermarket with air conditioning that would shrink your eyeballs, and splurged on sashimi, sushi, and some ice cream for the boy. We ate this with relish back on board Milestone and it was a pretty good evening after all.

Music Track

This week I've chosen a track - The House of the Rising Sun. Now I remember when it was done by The Animals and you can ask You Tube to perform that original version.

There is even an upbeat version by Dolly Parden - in full Victorian tart costume, no less.

But this week try http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_bDW-YQZVLw

It's by Sinead O'Connor and she does it really well with that "clear as a bell" voice of hers.

Eric Burden of The Animals is still around by the way. He still performs the song and sometimes he does it in Pappy and Harriet's in Pioneertown out here in S. California close to Palm Springs.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Japan - Monday Aug 2nd

After a decent night in Ariri we stood on Milestone's deck at 6:15 and contemplated the rising sun. The cicadas were rubbing their little back legs furiously and the noise was all around us. It was hot! Again! We decided that this was not going to be a good spot to remain. Also Jasmine had been panting a lot to Eiko's concern. Jasmine is a six-year old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel who is not at her happiest on the boat. Eiko decided that as they were both city girls, what they both needed was air conditioning and pampering, which they were not getting on the boat.
We therefore decided to head back to Shimoda and let Eiko catch a train back home to Yokohama with Jassie in tow. Both seemed to perk up at the prospect.
Evan took the helm all the way for the three and a half hour journey. I had been concerned that he might get bored just being on the boat for hours at a stretch, but he seems to have got the tempo of the ocean and enjoyed his role and looking at the changing seascape.
We stopped for a small swim en route and deposited Eiko and Jassie as soon as we docked. Waving farewell to them, Michael and I found solace in a some adult beverages. We hosed the boat down and readied ourselves for life minus the distaff side of the family.
We settled on a Lad's Lunch basically from a frying pan. Shot full of heart attack components, we served up mushrooms, bacon (lots of it!) tomatoes, frankfurters and scrambled eggs with bread and butter.
Eiko texted Michael to say she and Jasmine were sitting in an air conditioned first class compartment having had a free drink and some sushi for lunch. Michael and I reached for another cold one! We're hitting the bar and restaurant tonight! Evan did show a slight motion sickness when we first set sail, but I'm glad to say that he's not had any problems since. In fact he's settled into this life well. US Navy on the career list???


We've done pretty well for food so far. We called into Cosco for a big stock up and since we arrived on board Milestone, we've eaten in house all the time - if you include the large plates of sushi brought in from Cosco on Friday.
For lunches we've had soups and big French bread sandwiches with all types of salads and cold meats. Last night, with Ariri being very limited I hit the curry hard. Beef vindaloo and mixed vegetable korma. On the previous night we had steaks fried in butter with new potatoes, onions and zuchini. Tonight we're hitting the restaurants!

Japan Day 4/11

I seem to have lost count of the days. Sunday, for which this is the post is only Day four. So obviously, once again, my arithmetical skills have been called into question. On Sunday morning we left Shimoda at about 7. It was already hot and we cruised down the Izu peninsula and round the bottom tip, to follow the shoreline up along the "Dark Side." Quite why it's called that I haven't figured out.
We stopped at a small bay that was crowded with holiday makers. It was very sheltered and had lots of beach stuff going on - also a raft not too far away. Naturally after we had dropped the anchor a small man in a small boat with a flag puttered over to us to inform us we should not be parked so close to the shore. Eiko pretended to be Korean and we pretended to be her idiot charges, which was not too hard. We ignored him and he went away.
We swam in wonderful water at about 80 degrees. In fact we were in the water so long our hands went all wrinkly! We then enjoyed some al fresco lunch. At about 2:30 we left for our next stop, Ariri, the most typhoon safe harbor in all of Japan.
Hot, I'll tell you hot. Hot is when you tie up at a metal dock under almost vertical granite cliffs, with thick foliage on them. Hot is when there is not a breathe of air inside a harbor so safe it resemble a map of the inner ear. And we were booked there for two nights!
Like most small places, Ariri has very little in the way of amusements. And to make matters worse we were on the wrong side of the harbor. We decided to stay on board as we had an electric hook-up, and that meant fans. Oh the joy! We catered in house and with the fans going all night we actually had the best night so far.