Monday, September 27, 2010

Anjinzuka... pilot grave

Our second year is so far, a repeat of our first. The weather is cool and often wet, a distant typhoon causing high winds a few nights ago kept me awake, while Allan's even breathing meant he was in dreamland. The Mikoshi Parade on the 19th, annual anti-nuke demonstration on the 25th and the Oktoberfest beginning in a few days reminds me of the time we spent living on base.

Interpretation: No Nukes!

This is different, pancakes in a can? Actually, I think it's sweetened milk. I asked a young Japanese woman who looked with some amusement at the photo, but she had never seen it either.
While reading in the lobby of the Family Services Center a few days ago, I heard "Attention on deck!" and two young sailors snapped out of their seats. An Admiral strolled by and said "as you were". It was like watching JAG (the tv show). So there are still some experiences I've yet to have.
On Sunday Allan played golf. He shot a 43 and 45. He is very proud. Since we'll be diving the Great Barrier Reef in a few weeks, I opted not to play. Three things irritate my right elbow, ironing, vacuuming and golf. I had given myself a lifetime pass on the first two, and I might have maintained it if I didn't mind looking like I slept in my clothes. !*%@*#&?!>
If my arm gets sore, it can last a month or more, and Australia is too big a deal to take the chance. There'll always be more golf.

The view from Miura Anjin Park
I recently decided I needed to visit Miura Anjin Park. Read on... you'll see why. Our friend Mark was to take me, but several tries didn't pan out. Yesterday I took the train to Anjinzuka and was given a map by the station attendant that couldn't have been less helpful. I stopped at a Koban (police box) and was pointed west (I think).
Knowing the park is at a high point, I walked up every hill and set of steps I saw. After an hour and several helpful passers-by, I was ready to head back when I saw a gentleman strolling, so WTH, I gave it one more try. He walked a short way, then pointed to a long set of steps (of course). With my final trudge, I fulfilled my quest! See below...

Direct from Lizipedia: If you've read Shogun, or seen the mini-series starring Richard Chamberlain, you might already know that the main character (Blackthorne) is based on a british sailor named William Adams who landed in Japan four hundred years ago.

The ship Liefde, was in distress when it arrived in Kyushi. The crew was taken by the local Shogun, who was interested in Adams. He'd learned to build ships in his younger days, so the Shogun sent him to the Miura Peninsula (where we currently reside) to build ships. He became wealthy from trading with the Dutch and Chinese. He stayed in Japan, even married a Japanese woman.
He was given the name Miura Anjin (anjin means pilot). He died in Hirado close to Nagasaki, but a bone fragment from his body and that of his wife, Oyuki are buried overlooking Tokyo Bay. The Japanese word for grave is zuka, and the village that grew up around the site is called Anjinzuka. It's about 3 km from our house.

Disclaimer: Lizipedia makes no claim to factual content, but is instead filled with conjecture, inuendo and supposition. You may also find merriment, hoopla and tomfoolery. The goal of Lizipedia is to amuse the writer, namely me.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Ending Year One...

Today ends our first year in Japan.

It was a slow day for me, one English student at 10 am, then at 5 pm I met three of my students from the base for dinner in Chinatown. We had Brazilian barbeque. Um-huh, Chinatown - Brazilian food, you heard right.

Jihae (Korea), Emiko (Japan), Elizabeth (US) & Rosanna (Brazil)

A few weeks back, Rosanna, my student from Brasil, told me about the restaurant. I hadn't been able to find anyone to go with, so I was thrilled when she and two other students agreed to go. We did a little shopping as well. I found out that there are also three Greek restaurants in Chinatown.

Over Labor Day weekend we had company from Yokota Air Base. Ace and Pam Tubbs lived in Yokosuka 15 years ago, when Pam was a captain in the navy, (rank just below Admiral). They arrived Friday afternoon. Allan was suffering from something akin to the flu, so he did not join us that night. Our usual Friday is religious services at 6 pm, then dinner in town - somewhere different every week. They were game so we had an evening out while Allan convalesced.

They have friends in Yokosuka who had us over for a barbeque on Saturday afternoon. This barbeque included rice balls, grilled squid and yes, plenty of regular American barbeque food.

Sunday, we brunched at the Officers' Club. This was our first time for the brunch, too much food, but it sure was good.

We took a tour of the base and later went to one of my favorite places, Kamakura. It's a cute town close by, but I hadn't been to this Buddhist Temple before. It's off the beaten path and set in a bamboo forest, uh grove, uh orchard. You know, lots of bamboo trees.

We walked the path to the temple and passed this very special tree. It must be special, because it's really crooked and split down the trunk, yet it hasn't been cut down for firewood. It's lovingly propped up and cared for like a tribute to willpower.

The little guy below is a special angel, saint or god for children, although I'm sure none of those names fit. Isn't that sweet? Children get their own angels with red bibs and caps.

We've had great fun during this year. We arrived the day before Rosh Hashanah, and now we are in the middle of the holidays again. People come from other bases to Yokosuka for the holidays. I met a young man who flew in from Korea. It's still a mighty small group.

The summer ended abruptly after a rainy day earlier this week. Suddenly the weather is cool and breezy. The Mikoshi Parade is this Sunday. We were living on the base during last year's parade, but if we attend this year, we'll be fighting for a parking space.

So tomorrow starts year 2 in Japan. It's going quickly. We go to Australia in three weeks and expect guests in late October and again in March. Hopefully, Brian will come again soon, so we can go to Beijing and Xian, China.