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estebanana

 

Posts: 7502
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Dispatches from Akune (in reply to estebanana

Speaking of crossovers between cuisine de Japon and Spain, they made amazing croquetas here. In this area they make then with potato and put shrimp creamy treats them or fish, crab, whatever. They go great with the beer. I've been struck several times by some similarities to coastal towns in Andalucia, the commercial fishing culture and the things people eat.

The croquetas don't surprize me; they came from one of the European cultures that landed in Nagasaki several hundred years ago as did some of the cakes

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 22 2013 10:47:56
 
estebanana

 

Posts: 7502
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Dispatches from Akune (in reply to estebanana

4~ When the Jaded Write Guidebooks

Looking out my back window I can see the Shinto fire prevention deity in the park. The rainy season has just begun. In the last week anonymous offerings have appearing in front of the stone, glasses and cups full of water, bouquets of store bought flowers. Yoshimori was born in Akune, he’s nearing eighty, but looks about sixty five. A group of Akuneans did a short ceremony at the deity site this week. I saw them from the back window, Yoshimori included. It was mainly older people, Akune is an old town, I mean mostly populated by those over sixty as all the young people tend to move out to Osaka or Tokyo seeking employment. There are kids here, lots of them and younger couples, but you see more old people in the streets during the day. At the bus stop after school kindergarteners wait for moms to pick them up. They wait by doing homework, spilling the contents of their book bags on the sidewalk and excitedly finger pointing at shared answers.

The kids wear “kid uniforms” and all the old people wear “old people uniforms". The ages in between just look confused, like they are displaced out of a big city and landed in Akune for no reason. Grandma uniforms are house dresses with either cloth or plastic aprons, depending on what they are doing. Old guy uniforms are wind breakers and drab lose trousers, and wide brimmed straw hats if going fishing. Most of the young guys wear ball caps for fishing, they almost have a uniform together, but still look out of place.

The crowd at the Shinto shrine was in shirt sleeves with the requisite drab trousers, but most were looking natty with shirts tucked in like school boys, even though the average age was about seventy two. The few ladies present took off aprons in favor of knit sweaters or a long kimonoish light coat. Yoshimori told me the mystery offerings probably appeared because there was a small fire in town recently and the person who felt responsible for it probably stepped forward to leave secret offerings of water because they felt guilty. It could have been someone leaving a mess of paper trash in the garage and an electrical cord sparked and set a fire, or any accident, but he thinks someone felt bad and began the new round robin of offerings at the shrine.


The deity is called Hinokamisama and he been there since about 1635. The town has grown around the sculpture and the park has seen many uses during the time he’s been sitting on his lotus pad chair. Before the area behind the house was a park it was a cemetery, they must have moved all the bodies because the kids’ massive play structures, slides, monkey bars, etc. are all rooted in deep cement foundations and would intrude upon the resting level of the dead if they were still there. Not to mention the screaming elementary school brats and skate borders that I can hear in the afternoons. The little sliders and swingers’ screeching would undo the dead and the curb scraping board breaking skaters would finish them off. Poor dead. Good thing they migrated long ago to the Buddhist temple mortuary storage cabinets.


Hinokamisama gave those old boys and girls of the Honmachi district a good reason to get together to drink shochu. Shochu is a distilled beverage made of sweet potatoes and is native to Kyushu, yeah the Koreans, Chinese and other island nations make claim to shochu, but it is the product of the Kyushuians from way back. Akune like all towns and cities in Japan is made up of small districts, they don’t give streets names in Japan, but send mail by directing it to the proper district in town and the post man knows the name of the person and where they live or he goes by a house or building number. It’s kind of odd and it reminds me of the U-2 album with the song “Where the streets have no name”. That song was written in Joshua Tree California, but it applies here as well. Some of the twenty plus folks standing in front of old Hinokamisama were gripping beaded & tassled wrist bands which are a “Buddhist prayer rosary” for lack of a better way to explain the object. Many of them were not from Honmachi, but from other districts in Akune where the streets also have no names. There was a paid Shinto priest officiating and everyone made the proper bows and gasshos on que as he recited various chants. Gassho is the gesture of putting ones hands palms facing together in front of ones chest and holding the gesture for a few seconds in reverent peacefulness. Gassho is exactly the same gesture that Christians make when praying, which makes you wonder about the origins of religion. If all the religions use the same gesture maybe the game is afoot, as Sherlock Holmes would say, but the mystery of why religions fight remains a mystery. Shintoism is the main religion in Japan, but it’s pretty much like everywhere else in the world. You have some religion enthusiasts who make religion a big deal, but most people take religiosity in moderate amounts. It’s like drinking the shochu, too much will give a bad day tomorrow.


I went to a shochu distillery a few weeks back, there’s one in another district of Akune about a 20 minute walk from Honmachi. I can’t remember how to get there, because I have not gotten used to the concept of streets without names. However I can almost navigate by alcoholic beverage global positioning, ABGP. Maybe there's a joke in there about Dead Reckoning, but it would be too obvious to tell, and have a flat rhumb line or two. My dad and my uncles used to drive around in San Bernardino, the town I was born in, winding their way from one end of town to the other by on side streets by using the liquor stores as positioning markers. You could give directions to a guy in San Bernardino by telling them to drive past the Elgin Fagan bar, turn left on Highland Ave and go down past Heywood’s Ice Cream and then go up Sierra Way past the Monkeys Hide Out bar and to grandmothers house you go. Wait, I’m sorry, I just got you lost. The Monkey’s Hideout is down near Valley College. It’s all very murky to me because I was not actually drinking at the time, being a child, wearing a child’s uniform in the back seat of the car. Heywood’s Ice Cream was more my monument for reference in childhood. Mr. Heywood built balsa wood model airplanes, I remember them hanging from the ceiling of the ice cream parlor. There were crop dusting biplanes covered with seamless bright blue and yellow tissue papers. He made olive green WWII fighter planes and scarlet red Piper Cubs. Maybe there was a Mitsubishi Zero with a big orange meatball on the fuselage. The counter was long and high, the stools were covered in slick sparkly vinyl that stuck to little boys shorts wearing legs in summer and the ice cream tasted much better than beer. I tripped and dropped my cone on the floor once and they gave me a whole new one. That still does not help me locate that shochu making factory. I’ll have to ask directions to visit them again in the late summer to early fall when the big sweet potato crop comes in and they begin the season of shochu making.

On Kyushu, in the south, they drink shochu mixed with straight hot water. No matter whether it’s the typhoon season or the dry season the dudes who wear the old guy uniforms universally drink shochu in a water glass with the ideal ratio of 7 to 3 water to shochu, or also acceptable is 6/4. Much debate can arise as to whether a particular person should be 6/4 or a 7/3 person depending on size and constitution. Throw a big gaijin like me into that equation and they have a field day discussing the proper ratio a newcomer should try. At first I was dubious and drank the shochu on ice, it’s good, but soon I succumbed to the hot water method. It’s much easier to tell the truth. For shochu on ice one must get up from the table and walk into the kitchen and take ice from the freezer, put it in your glass, walk back to the table, reseat yourself on the floor and then pour the shochu over the ice. Geeze, it’s too much work in the heat. Best thing to do is hand your glass to the person nearest the ever present push top hot water dispensing thermos that is ubiquitous to Japanese sitting and dining rooms and ask them to fill your glass with water for shochu. In fact the nearest person does not really need to be asked or told the proper ratio of water to shochu. They will automatically size up your glass and shoot the local Kyushu prescribed amount of H2o in your glass and hand it back. No need to get up and open the fridge, just imbibe hot like the natives. Ice does have its place in shochu cocktails, delicious mixtures of plum wine or fruit juices with soda water and shochu, mostly ladies drink them, but I like them too. However the real man drinks schochu with hot water in the correct ratio, unless the locals are trying to get you drunk to see how much shochu you can drink. I was given glasses with as much as half and half shochu to water at a party recently, and one recalcitrant fisherman by the name of Yuzo gave me a glass with straight shochu. Afterwards that party was to be dubbed “The party with one thousand legs” at some point in the future I’ll write about that one, but it was over three weeks ago and I still have trouble remembering my name much less the no name street it took place on.


The party in the park for the recognition of the fire deity Hino-what’s is name sama completed the gasshos and paid the Shinto priest his due. They walked en masse’ to the Honmachi cultural center a few blocks away for a bento dinner and no doubt some shochu and hot water. The Honmachi cultural center is an old building; some Honmachians think it’s not as good as the other districts meeting halls. Each district has a performance/town meeting hall that can be rented for weddings, concerts or funeral events. But it makes me wonder how those from other districts or out of towners find the damn things because the streets have no names.

I was really, really trying tell you about the incoming rainy season, but got distracted. It’s mid afternoon and shochu time is not officially until after dinner, but it’s always 6 o’clock somewhere. Just have to get up and make hot water.



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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 28 2013 5:32:26
 
estebanana

 

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Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Dispatches from Akune (in reply to estebanana

Akunehenge, where the dead men lost their bones.



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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 28 2013 5:59:40
 
Wayne Brown

 

Posts: 124
Joined: Oct. 22 2012
From: Huntersville, North Carolina, USA

RE: Dispatches from Akune (in reply to estebanana

Many years ago, I arrived in Japan for a 2 year tour of duty. I was told it was the dry season. It rained for 30 days! I'm thinking that I am really going to hate the wet season. I learned quickly that an umbrella was an essential part of my wardrobe. Your thread brings back some memories.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 28 2013 15:16:26

Morante

 

Posts: 1409
Joined: Nov. 21 2010
 

RE: Dispatches from Akune (in reply to estebanana

Keep it up, Estebanana, these posts are fascinating. Perhaphs you should be thinking of writing short chapters, saving them and producing a book?

I have been asked several times to write a book on Cádiz, to supplement "Flamencos of Cádiz Bay", but I have little interest, nor do I want to face several lawsuits .

You should be able to avoid this problem.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 28 2013 16:57:31
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 2576
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: Dispatches from Akune (in reply to estebanana

The Wikipedia article on Dead Reckoning alludes somewhat ambiguously to what I was told as a novice sailor.

It's really "ded" reckoning, for "deduced". Some say that when celestial navigation became practical and widespread, positions reckoned by course and speed (and allowance for the set and drift of current and the leeway of a sailing vessel, contrary to the Wikipedia article) were marked "ded", whereas celestial position marks bore no such qualifications. That's how I was taught to mark my charts.

I thought all of you would be fascinated by this.

RNJ
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 28 2013 19:35:24
 
BarkellWH

Posts: 2811
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

RE: Dispatches from Akune (in reply to Richard Jernigan

quote:

The Wikipedia article on Dead Reckoning alludes somewhat ambiguously to what I was told as a novice sailor.


Having served in the U.S. State Department office that handles the Pacific Island countries in the early 1990s, and subsequently doing post-retirement consulting gigs for the State Department out in the islands, I have gotten to know them very well, politically, historically, and culturally. One of the charges in my portfolio was the Marshall Islands, where I made several official trips. The Marshallese used to be first-rate navigators in the Pacific. Then the Japanese took over from the Germans after World War I and turned them into agriculturalists. The U.S. became the administering authority under the United Nations Strategic Trusteeship after World War II, and subsequently in 1986 the Marshalls became an independent nation in Free Association with the U.S. Sadly, the Marshallese have completely lost their seafaring skills.

But at their seafaring best, the Marshallese used navigation charts consisting of strips of thin bamboo running in parallel, with some variation, and small cowry shells at strategic locations on the strips of bamboo. These are known as "stick charts" today. The strips of bamboo represent currents and wave action known only to the Marshallese navigators of old, while the cowry shells represent island locations in the area covered by the stick chart. In the old days, when the Marshallese were premier navigators and derived their living from the sea, they would undertake long voyages using these stick charts as their primary means of navigation. I picked up a replica of a stick chart on one of my trips out to the Marshalls. The Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC has an original stick chart among its exhibits on Oceania.

Cheers,

Bill

_____________________________

And the end of the fight is a tombstone white,
With the name of the late deceased,
And the epitaph drear, "A fool lies here,
Who tried to hustle the East."

--Rudyard Kipling
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 28 2013 20:34:04
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 2576
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: Dispatches from Akune (in reply to BarkellWH

I believe it was in one of Frank Hezel's books or articles where I read that in the old days when the Marshallese Iroij (chiefs) sailed in their ocean going vessels, with their retinues of warriors in a fleet, that all the qualified navigators were required to sail aboard the chief's vessel. Thus the rest had no choice but to follow.

Hezel saw this as a manifestation of the rigid social hierarchy in the Marshalls, as opposed to the greater opportunity for social mobility in Palau, at the other geographical extreme of Micronesia.

I lived for 18 1/2 years on the tiny island of Roi-Namur at the north end of Kwajalein Atoll, where the four big radars and their supporting facilities were. One afternoon we cut our dive trip short, because we were the only ones who could hear the "Mayday" distress calls of a boat that was lost and running low on gas, and because the weather was beginning to look dangerous. We relayed their call back to Roi-Namur, and looked for them on our way home. As we poked our noses out of the lagoon into the ocean to look for the lost boat, we met swells that were at least 12 to 15 feet high. The Marshallese boss of the small boat Marina on Roi-Namur was a friend of mine. During the subsequent search and rescue operation I was at the marina when my friend's brother-in-law and a teenage boy embarked fearlessly in a 24-foot Boston whaler to join the search as darkness fell and the weather got worse and worse. They took only their machetes and extra tanks of gasoline, explaining, "If we get thirsty, we go on some island to get drinking coconut."

I asked my friend how they would find their way in the dark. "Oh, you know, by how the waves go," he replied.

I had some familiarity with the usual wave patterns from diving and sailing trips every weekend, but I certainly would not have bet my life on finding my way in the dark by feeling the direction, height and frequency of the swells. And I would not have sailed into that weather in broad daylight.

During the last few years I lived on Roi-Namur, there were a number of positive developments in Marshallese seafaring. The traditional methods of canoe construction were still known on Ujae Atoll. A man from Majuro, the capital, organized a course in canoe building for young people on Majuro, profiting from the skill of Ujae canoe builders. Sailing canoe races with cash prizes were sponsored by some prosperous Marshallese at Majuro. Before I left at the end of 2009 there were also races at Ailinglaplap and Kwajalein.

The development that I found most encouraging was that it became widely known that there was at least one survivor of the ancient line of traditional navigators. He worked as a ship captain in the maritime industry of the Marshalls. He was holding classes, teaching young people the traditional knowledge, so it would not die out with his passing.

RNJ
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 28 2013 23:04:33
 
BarkellWH

Posts: 2811
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

RE: Dispatches from Akune (in reply to Richard Jernigan

quote:

The development that I found most encouraging was that it became widely known that there was at least one survivor of the ancient line of traditional navigators. He worked as a ship captain in the maritime industry of the Marshalls. He was holding classes, teaching young people the traditional knowledge, so it would not die out with his passing.


Something similar occurred in Hawaii a few years ago. A group of Hawaiians got together to build an old-style, ocean-going canoe in the hope that they could rekindle the tradition. But in Hawaii, as in the Marshall Islands, these attempts to rekindle the old seafaring arts are evidence enough, if any were needed, that they have lost the art of navigation and seamanship they once had. And with the Marshall Islands it is even worse. The money and programs provided by the Compact of Free Association have created a dependency among the Marshallese that has blunted initiative. There is no need to take their living from the sea anymore (unfortunately it consists primarily of Budweiser and spam now), and thus there is no reason to maintain the old seafaring skills.

For all practical purposes those navigational skills using stick charts that represented currents, wave patterns, and islands died out long ago. There will always be a few who are interested for cultural reasons, but they are much like our Revolutionary War "reenactors" who can load a ball into a musket and fire it. They are more curiosities and "reenactors" than representatives of a genuine revival of the old seafaring and navigational knowledge.

Cheers,

Bill

_____________________________

And the end of the fight is a tombstone white,
With the name of the late deceased,
And the epitaph drear, "A fool lies here,
Who tried to hustle the East."

--Rudyard Kipling
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 28 2013 23:43:17
 
estebanana

 

Posts: 7502
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Dispatches from Akune (in reply to estebanana

I remember the stick charts with the shells. there was a movement in Micronesia to revive the old sailing navigation knowledge. It ended up being documented by PBS on Nova in a program entitled The Navigators. There was also a book written called 'Song for Satawal'. I think the author was same fellow who wrote about the Baidarka, skin covered boats of the Aleuts, Kenneth Brouwer.

One other component to the a stick charts were the songs that worked with the distances and current patterns. In the songs were revealed the choices a mariner would make depending on sea conditions, seasons etc. Things like if you are half way to Truk coming from a certain direction wait till the second day of being in a specific current before turning the sails against the wind.. that was just a made up example.

On shore the older men would give schooling to the boys and made them memorize the entire lexicon of songs. When they would take a novice sailor out on a trans island journey they taught them when and where to sing the correct song to bring up the information about what to do next. The songs were progressive and needed to be taken in order according to position under the stars, current direction, wind etc.

The whole culture was almost lost, but the few remaining elders that remembered the songs, even if they had never taken the journeys themselves, taught the song to younger guys and they tried the system.

It been a long long time since I studied that stuff, I used to remember more about it.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 29 2013 4:27:00
 
guitarbuddha

 

Posts: 2969
Joined: Jan. 4 2007
 

RE: Dispatches from Akune (in reply to estebanana

quote:

ORIGINAL: estebanana

I remember the stick charts with the shells. there was a movement in Micronesia to revive the old sailing navigation knowledge. It ended up being documented by PBS on Nova in a program entitled The Navigators. There was also a book written called 'Song for Satawal'. I think the author was same fellow who wrote about the Baidarka, skin covered boats of the Aleuts, Kenneth Brouwer.

One other component to the a stick charts were the songs that worked with the distances and current patterns. In the songs were revealed the choices a mariner would make depending on sea conditions, seasons etc. Things like if you are half way to Truk coming from a certain direction wait till the second day of being in a specific current before turning the sails against the wind.. that was just a made up example.

On shore the older men would give schooling to the boys and made them memorize the entire lexicon of songs. When they would take a novice sailor out on a trans island journey they taught them when and where to sing the correct song to bring up the information about what to do next. The songs were progressive and needed to be taken in order according to position under the stars, current direction, wind etc.

The whole culture was almost lost, but the few remaining elders that remembered the songs, even if they had never taken the journeys themselves, taught the song to younger guys and they tried the system.

It been a long long time since I studied that stuff, I used to remember more about it.


I enjoyed this thoroughly.

I enjoyed sharing your sense of being a part of and a brother to all peoples and cultures and crafts.

The nobility of this intent is of far more interest to me than the degree to which the prose is 'finished'. And, more importantly, sharing your realisation ......felt good.


Have you ever heard the The Shipping Forecast on Radio4 ?

D.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 29 2013 8:34:39
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 2576
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: Dispatches from Akune (in reply to BarkellWH

quote:

ORIGINAL: BarkellWH

Something similar occurred in Hawaii a few years ago.



Diving at Yap for a couple of weeks, I fell into conversation with the driver of the dive boat. He heard another diver and me talking about our sailboats, and asked a few polite questions. During the conversation I mentioned I had seen Hokule'a, the big Hawaiian twin hull voyaging canoe.

"Do you know the story?" asked the Yapese man, in his early 60s.

"Probably not. Please tell me."

"The Hawaiians say the first people there came from Tahiti. They say they used to go back and forth every year, but they forgot how. They wanted to build a boat and sail it to Tahiti. It was a man from Yap, the atoll of Satawal, his name Piailug, who taught them how to go. They had pictures of the voyaging boats, drawn by white people when they came to Hawaii, but they didn't know exactly how to build it. Piailug showed them how, and guided them on the trip to Tahiti. How do you say...?"

"Navigator?"

"No, the leader..."

"Captain?"

"Skipper. My boss, he says, 'Skipper'. "

"Yes. That is one of the oldest words in English."

"Piaialug lived here on Yap for a while. He was my friend. Then he wanted to go back to Satawal, so I went with him."

"How did you go?"

"We built a boat and sailed to Satawal, six of us."

Satawal is a low atoll, about 500 miles (800 km) east-southeast of the high volcanic islands of Yap. Before the white people showed up, Satawal paid tribute to the warrior kings of Yap. They speak the same language. Satawal and the intervening small islands are now part of Yap State in the Federated States of Micronesia.

"So did you go south, catch the equatorial current, and ride it east?"

"No. If you go down there, when you get to the current, no wind, or if the wind blows it is against the current, and big waves jump up."

"Yes. Some of my friends from Kwajalein went south to the equatorial current, and rode it east to the Line Islands, then turned to sail the tradewinds north to Hawaii. But while they were in the current a storm came and damaged their boat."

My friend continued, "On this side of east current, other side too, current goes back west. If you get into that and no wind to sail out of it, you go the wrong way."

"Yes. We call them the equatorial counter-currents. As you know, many of out sailboats have motors, too. You use that to stay in the right current. But if you run out of diesel, you're in trouble. So how did you go?" I asked.

My friend faced east-southeast, and gestured to indicate a boat tacking left and right into the wind. Longer tacks to the right, shorter ones to the left, since the wind is to the left of the desired direction, but not far enough to the left to fetch Satawal on a single tack.

"Did you use GPS?"

"No. Thirty-five years ago, before GPS."

"Did you use a sextant, a chart and the books with numbers? We would say, 'celestial navigation'."

"No. Piailug knows how to follow the stars. He knows their names, and which ones to follow at different times of the night, different times of year."

"How did he learn to follow the stars?"

"His father and his uncles taught him, many years."

"Did you find Satawal following the stars?"

"Satawal very small island. You see it maybe ten miles away, no more. Less at high tide. Sometimes not find it just following the stars."

"So how did you find Satawal?"

"You watch for birds. Birds live on island, go out to fish in the morning, maybe 25, 30 miles away. You watch them go home at night and follow them."

"You sail toward land at night?"

He laughed, "No, my friend, do you? Wait until morning, go by sun."

"What if you don't see the birds?"

"Then go by waves. You know, waves make picture around island."

The tradewinds consistently raise swells from the east-northeast. An obstacle like an atoll or large island forms diffraction patterns in the swells. The Micronesian mariners memorize these patterns and can find specific islands that are out of sight by recognizing the swell patterns. At Kwajalein I was told that the Marshallese stick charts portray these wave patterns.

"And you look at clouds. Lagoon is different color from ocean, color shows up on bottom of clouds."

"What did you take with you?"

"We took drinking coconuts. You catch fish, eat them raw, they give you a little water, but you need drinking coconuts. Plenty islands on the way to Satawal to get coconuts. And you fix breadfruit for traveling."

"Bury it in the ground to ferment?"

"Yes."

"How long did you stay on Satawal?"

"Two years, a little more." He smiled, "I marry a girl from there, bring her back to Yap."

"When was the last time you saw Piailug?"

"Two years ago, he came to Yap. We have big feast, guys that went with him to Satawal, cook some pigs, drink some beer, whole village."

That's the closest I ever came to meeting one of the great navigators.

RNJ
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 29 2013 22:53:46
 
BarkellWH

Posts: 2811
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

RE: Dispatches from Akune (in reply to Richard Jernigan

Yap is one of the most interesting islands in Micronesia, and in the entire Western Pacific for that matter. It is the most traditional of the islands that make up Micronesia. I took some time to visit Yap during official visits to Micronesia and got a good view of Yapese society with the Governor as host. Tramped around sites with old Japanese Zeros that were still largely intact, and visited traditional villages.

The famous stone money of Yap, the circular stones with the hole in the middle (known as "Rai" stones) that we all learned about as kids reading National Geographic, have an interesting history. The Yapese quarried the stones from limestone quarries in Palau and brought them to Yap in their vessels. Today, you can still see many of the "Rai" stone discs embedded in the ground and standing upright in Yap. They vary in size, some small, others as large as 12 feet in diameter. The "Rai" stone discs remain embedded in place and are rarely moved, though ownership may change.

I have spent a lot of time in Palau, Micronesia, and the Marshall Islands. They all have their points of interest. But I would have to say that the most interesting of all the islands in that region are Yap and Palau. They are related not only by the quarried "Rai" stones that the Yapese brought to Yap from Palau, but by the fact that the Yapese are much more culturally related to Palauans than they are to the rest of Micronesia (Pohpei, Kosrae, and Chuuk). Even today, when I am fortunate enough to do an occasional State Department gig on the islands, I find them just as interesting and inviting as I did when I first went out.

Cheers,

Bill

_____________________________

And the end of the fight is a tombstone white,
With the name of the late deceased,
And the epitaph drear, "A fool lies here,
Who tried to hustle the East."

--Rudyard Kipling
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 29 2013 23:44:07
 
guitarbuddha

 

Posts: 2969
Joined: Jan. 4 2007
 

RE: Dispatches from Akune (in reply to Richard Jernigan

quote:

ORIGINAL: Richard Jernigan



That's the closest I ever came to meeting one of the great navigators.

RNJ


It is worth mentioning that a single species of humans inhabit the entire earth.

Aboriginal peoples the world over have cultures stretching back far beyond the period where speciation would seem to become statistically inevitable.

It must be assumed that all inhabited areas were repeatedly 'discovered' throughout prehistory, particularly in the light of the vast range of habitats which humanity has occupied.

Similarly the myth of the virtuoso. There have men of awesome wisdom and accomplishment for as long as there have been men.

And they shame me.

D.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 30 2013 0:40:13
 
BarkellWH

Posts: 2811
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

RE: Dispatches from Akune (in reply to guitarbuddha

quote:

Similarly the myth of the virtuoso. There have men of awesome wisdom and accomplishment for as long as there have been men.


Agreed, Guitarbuddha, with one exception. The virtuoso has existed throughout history, reaching back into prehistory. But It is no myth, as virtuosos have always existed and continue to exist to this day. I would argue that those who would call the idea of a virtuoso--one who possesses (in your words) "awesome wisdom and accomplishment"--a myth are the small-minded among us who cannot stand the idea that there are, and always have been, men (and women) whose intellect, ability, and accomplishments far exceed that of the average person. Those who would denigrate their accomplishments and call them "no different than you and me," are simply revealing their own inadequacies and insecurities. We should be grateful for the musicians, composers, scientists, physicists, historians, and all who contribute to a greater understanding and appreciation of the world in which we live.

Cheers,

Bill

_____________________________

And the end of the fight is a tombstone white,
With the name of the late deceased,
And the epitaph drear, "A fool lies here,
Who tried to hustle the East."

--Rudyard Kipling
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 30 2013 1:26:10
 
Ruphus

Posts: 3736
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RE: Dispatches from Akune (in reply to estebanana

Yes. Impressive intelligence reaches so much more back in time than what is commonly imagined today.

Cave man´s stone tools already shaped like todays, and that spear from even 400 000 years ago that rivals the high tech specimens used for olympic games today.

And there is one thing I don´t get.
How did the prehistoric reach to virtuousity without the discovery of Persian / Hellenic philosophical basics made yet?

How can coherency come about without an idea of methexis first? Without a least tool for making out and eliminating subjectivity?

Obviously it is possible to come to coherent / practically correct terms even based on arbitrary vision, only that I am having too little fantasy for envisioning it.

In the end it is about an exceptional phenomenon, as you can see with backwarded cultures of superstition today that remained without intellectual progress throughout so many centuries and need to import every single screw from abroad.

Hence, the amazing achievements of prehistorical times must have been single inspirations and hits among uncounted missings.
- I suppose.

Ruphus
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 30 2013 1:32:35
 
guitarbuddha

 

Posts: 2969
Joined: Jan. 4 2007
 

RE: Dispatches from Akune (in reply to BarkellWH

quote:

ORIGINAL: BarkellWH

quote:

Similarly the myth of the virtuoso. There have men of awesome wisdom and accomplishment for as long as there have been men.


Agreed, Guitarbuddha, with one exception. The virtuoso has existed throughout history, reaching back into prehistory. But It is no myth,


Thanks Bill, I didn't set out my terms very well at all.
What I should have said was, the myth popular amongst the young that the only virtuosos are tall skinny white dudes no more than ten years older than them. These virtuosos usually play electric guitar. They also believe that all previous generations were as infants compared to them.

Now I know that that seems ridiculous but I was one of those fools once.

Now my heroes, amongst the living, are mostly fat and over fifty. With rare exceptions like Grisha.

Thank you for drawing my attention to my silly oversight, I would have hated to let that stand.
D.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 30 2013 1:38:33
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 2576
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: Dispatches from Akune (in reply to Ruphus

quote:

ORIGINAL: Ruphus



And there is one thing I don´t get.
How did the prehistoric reach to virtuousity without the discovery of Persian / Hellenic philosophical basics made yet?

How can coherency come about without an idea of methexis first? Without a least tool for making out and eliminating subjectivity?


Ruphus


In my humble opinion, at some future time people will shake their heads and tut-tut over the childishness of many of our most cherished and "enlightened" ideas. That is, if we don't drive ourselves into extinction by destroying the planet first.

Remember, Galileo was confined to house arrest by the Inquisition in the same year that my ancestor came to America, and only 40 years before that Palestrina was writing his sublime counterpoint for the Sistine Chapel choir.

RNJ
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 30 2013 3:49:17
 
Miguel de Maria

Posts: 3520
Joined: Oct. 20 2003
From: Phoenix, AZ

RE: Dispatches from Akune (in reply to BarkellWH

I have not seen mentioned in these fascinating accounts of the Pacific one of the most important tools of the trade for the ancient navigators--their balls. Yes, apparently they would lie in the front of the boat and let it all hang out. This area of the body, blessed with so much sensitivity, would help them sense the finest movements of the boat. The additional information thus gained was a great aid in orienting themselves in the infinitely large ocean.

_____________________________

Connect with me on Facebook, all the cool kids are doing it.
https://www.facebook.com/migueldemariaZ


Arizona Wedding Music Guitar
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 30 2013 4:29:40
 
estebanana

 

Posts: 7502
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Dispatches from Akune (in reply to estebanana

I enjoy everyones responses and stories.
Wayne and Morante, I hope you tell your own stories. Richard and Bill always love your musings.

Guitarbuddha, send me your texts for editing and syntax correction. I'll go easy on you.

_____________________________

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 30 2013 9:50:17
 
guitarbuddha

 

Posts: 2969
Joined: Jan. 4 2007
 

RE: Dispatches from Akune (in reply to Miguel de Maria

quote:

ORIGINAL: Miguel de Maria

I have not seen mentioned in these fascinating accounts of the Pacific one of the most important tools of the trade for the ancient navigators--their balls. Yes, apparently they would lie in the front of the boat and let it all hang out. This area of the body, blessed with so much sensitivity, would help them sense the finest movements of the boat. The additional information thus gained was a great aid in orienting themselves in the infinitely large ocean.


Bravo Miguel. The balls of many ancients and their cultivation are a large part of what makes me feel shame by comparison.

D.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 30 2013 11:10:38
 
Ruphus

Posts: 3736
Joined: Nov. 18 2010
 

RE: Dispatches from Akune (in reply to Richard Jernigan

quote:

ORIGINAL: Richard Jernigan


In my humble opinion, at some future time people will shake their heads and tut-tut over the childishness of many of our most cherished and "enlightened" ideas. That is, if we don't drive ourselves into extinction by destroying the planet first.

Remember, Galileo was confined to house arrest by the Inquisition in the same year that my ancestor came to America, and only 40 years before that Palestrina was writing his sublime counterpoint for the Sistine Chapel choir.

RNJ


Asn an example in that respect I always think of how physicians used to operate babies without anaesthetization until early 20th century, because of the claimed fact that babies had not developed nervous systems yet.

Imagine how clearly the poor little beings must have demonstrated each time
that they did have pain, and yet the scholars would just ignoore it for `knowing it better´.

On the same basis hundreds of billions of times daily animals are being needlessly tortured by fellows who have determined for themselves very comfortably that there was no suffering caused / going on.


BTW, Stephen might discover yet what is preceeding before everything gets lined up so neatly in Japanese fish markets. Like bloody bays with hundreds of delphines chopped up alive as alleged fishing competitors.
And may he try wale meat only to wonder why something so bad tasting that it must be offered at dump price ought to be slaughtered in the first place.

Or how Mistubishi used to be largest destroyer of primare woods while trees being legally strictly cherrished in Japan.

Just as guitar reviews are most fun right away, with best judge coming about yet after a while though; similar it is with exploring places and cultures, naturally.
The pros & cons come to you rather after a while.

Ruphus
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 30 2013 11:25:22
 
estebanana

 

Posts: 7502
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Dispatches from Akune (in reply to Ruphus

quote:

what is preceeding before everything gets lined up so neatly in Japanese fish markets. Like bloody bays with hundreds of delphines chopped up alive as alleged fishing competitors.
And may he try wale meat only to wonder why something so bad tasting that it must be offered at dump price ought to be slaughtered in the first place.


Most people here think eating whale meat is stupid, but the conservatives in government protect the interests of whalers because it is a dwindling cultural heritage. Eventually they will stop whaling just as they stopped wearing katana (swords) and lopping off heads.

The place they catch dolphins is up in Honshu on the east coast, most people think that is stupid too. That is the only place they kill dolphins so there's not a bloody line of dolphin carcass in every fishing port, only in the killing house of Taiji Cove. The reason they kill the dolphins is because the primary industry in not catching dolphin for food, it is to catch them live to sell them to marine parks for dolphin shows. In this way the entire world is complicit with the killing of dolphins because marine park attendance drives the live dolphin trade. Taiji makes millions of dollars a year selling live dolphins as compared to a few hundred thousand selling dolphin flesh.

The dolphins are captured by fishermen and the ones deemed trainable are separated and pre trained to be habituated to humans feeding them. The other dolphins are given to the fishermen to kill to sell as meat. One live healthy dolphin fetches $125,000 dollars in the marine park entertainment market. The reason the Taiji fishermen kill dolphins is to supply world wide marine parks with dolphin acts. If the Taiji fisherman stopped some other organization in another part of the world would trap and train/kill dolphins for trade. The best way to get them to cease is to protest against dolphin captivity world wide. Marine parks that keep live cetaceans are horrible institutions, but it is a billion, billion dollar industry worldwide. Taiji is small change in the bigger picture.

The town of Taiji is stuck in an economic feed back loop, they can't afford not to hunt dolphin and until the government will pay subsidies for them to stop they will continue because the town relies on marine park entertainment money to survive. Many Japanese people have been telling the government to ban dolphin harvesting, but the government resists forcing change ancient traditional practices as part of keeping the Japanese identity intact. It works in good and bad ways, in the case of Taiji dolphin hunting is old practice that not many outside the dolphin hunting tradition would miss. But since dolphin harvests are a part of a local cultural practice that defines regional Japan and it's tapestry of local cultures it is difficult to get support to end it. The argument being: Ok if you get rid if this traditional practice, where do you end?

______________________

Most Japanese prefer smaller sustainable fish species over bigger more environmentally problematic species . If you ask a Japanese person if they would rather eat a small fish or a large fish they will say the smaller fish because the younger fish is more tender and tasty. For several fish species there is more than one word for the fish according to how old it is. Yellowtail is called Hamachi when it is between a foot and 20" long and when it gets bigger it's called Buri; most Japanese prefer Hamachi. Large toro tuna is going more and more out of style and many Japanese will tell you they prefer other fish over big rare tuna. The market is out there for the big tuna, but much of it today gets exported to feed the new rich in China and here Japanese are eating it less and less due to the astronomical prices it commands vs. very tasty fishes that are well within budget.

The Japanese are an ancient seafaring country as far as local off shore fishing is concerned, they have it dailed in better than any country I've ever seen. They are also hands down the cleanest people on the planet when it comes to handing fish. They are experts on fish and everyone should take a lesson from them about fish.

The Japanese know fishes better than the French know cheeses and breads.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 30 2013 12:36:56
 
estebanana

 

Posts: 7502
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Dispatches from Akune (in reply to estebanana

There is a city, can't remember the name, on the same area of coast as Taiji where the dolphin is the mascot of the city. They treat the dolphin like saint an consider the waters around the town as a dolphin sanctuary.

Helps to be a reporter on the ground to get the facts.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 30 2013 13:02:50

Morante

 

Posts: 1409
Joined: Nov. 21 2010
 

RE: Dispatches from Akune (in reply to estebanana

Here, in Barbate and Zahara de los Atunes, the fishermen have lived for centuries by the almadraba: a ancient method of trapping migrating fish with nets which have smaller and smaller entrances until all the atunes are trapped in a small space. Then the boats surround them and begin to lift the net, pulling the fish onto the boats using gaffs. The sea all around is red with blood.

Most of these atunes (cerca de 400 kgs) are blast frozen and flown to Japan at astronomical prices. The fresh fish is eaten here, much more cheaply, the morilla and the ventrecha being the most prized parts.

However up until now it has been taboo to talk of the high levels of mercury in tuna and in other large marine predators. Hard to believe, but it seems that we have succeeded in poisoning the sea
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 30 2013 13:07:22
 
estebanana

 

Posts: 7502
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Dispatches from Akune (in reply to estebanana

Salvador Dali used that method of tuna fishing in his painting called Tuna Fishing.
Not that I'm the biggest Dali fan.
The tunas are an amazing bunch of fishes. Richard Ellis wrote a book called 'Tuna, A Love Story' in which he tells the history of tuna fishing and it's state of being at this time. It turns out to be a sad, sad love story.



Images are resized automatically to a maximum width of 800px

Attachment (1)

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 30 2013 13:20:41
 
Ruphus

Posts: 3736
Joined: Nov. 18 2010
 

RE: Dispatches from Akune (in reply to estebanana

Fist of all, heads ... err ... hats off to you for being so informed before even having fully landed. (!)

In sight of the idiotic argument of the cruelty defenders there: So tradition ever since must have been pulling used underpants of school girls from automates for guys to sniff on them, and all the other ( high tech) bizarrness of todays urban Japan.

The argument of preserving tradition in ignorance of civil fundamentals should be quite an easy thing to shred even in a culture like Japan´s.


quote:

ORIGINAL: estebanana

The Japanese know fishes better than the French know cheeses and breads.


As spontaneous thought:
Well coincidencing withe the fact of the oldest pottery remains having been found in a Japanese cave ( from ~ 25 000 years ago I believe). The assumption that yet the high nutrional value of fish protein having allowed for the final leap to last of hominids ( and their big brains), hence fishing having contributed largely to humans´ development, fits to a fishing and in the same time possibly leading in toolery original habitants of Japan.

- Could simultaneously be another example of inefficiently engaged intelligence.
( For cruelty / lacking empathy being no mental advance.)

Sure will they drop these kinds of traditions sometime, but it shouldn´t help anymore when there be nothing left over for slaughtering.

Ruphus
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 30 2013 13:56:42
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 2576
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: Dispatches from Akune (in reply to estebanana

quote:

ORIGINAL: estebanana

The town of Taiji is stuck in an economic feed back loop, they can't afford not to hunt dolphin and until the government will pay subsidies for them to stop they will continue because the town relies on marine park entertainment money to survive.



The eagle ray is one of the most beautiful of fishes in its native habitat. Its shape, coloration and graceful flight always lifted my spirits when I saw one, or usually two or three together, on one of my 1500 or so dives in the Pacific.

While I still lived in the Central Pacific I watched a TV show on the National Geographic Channel, or some such. A group of scientists were pursuing eagle rays in shallow water somewhere. The panicked rays fled at flank speed.

When they managed to catch one, the fish never stopped flopping about violently enough that I worried it was injuring itself. As the scientists took blood samples and so on, the narrator droned on about how it was necessary to do this to protect the eagle rays.

I had drunk a glass of whisky, which no doubt lowered my inhibitions. I found myself on my feet, shouting at the television, "Stop! Stop! Just leave it alone, you sons of bitches! You don't need to torture it to protect it! All you have to do is to leave it alone and stop destroying its habitat!"

I don't like to see salt water aquariums. Having grown accustomed to the way fish act on the reef, their aquarium behavior fills me with dread. Seeing a pod of dolphins cavorting in the ocean seems always to bring a smile to people's faces. I know it does for me. I don't go to Sea World.

I have stopped talking about it back here in the world. No matter how modestly I phrase my comments--and a large part of my career depended upon tact and diplomacy--I am almost always met with looks of incomprehension. It's the same as it was talking to my high school friends in Washington, DC about scenery in Alaska, where I had lived just before.

http://tinyurl.com/l8ky9kh

(I found this photo by googling, but I was pleased to notice it was taken by a friend and occasional dive buddy.)

RNJ
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 30 2013 19:17:23
 
Ruphus

Posts: 3736
Joined: Nov. 18 2010
 

RE: Dispatches from Akune (in reply to Richard Jernigan

quote:

ORIGINAL: Richard Jernigan

I have stopped talking about it back here in the world. No matter how modestly I phrase my comments--and a large part of my career depended upon tact and diplomacy--I am almost always met with looks of incomprehension.


Reason´s daily bread in a decoupled world.
You shouldn´stop, though, for victims´ sake.

This worlds beauty is exposed to the illwill of billions of blinds, and its mere chance are a couple hundred thousand of seeing people and their more or less urgent efforts to make fellows realize.

I think whatever made you see is also what makes you due to take the Sisyphus route.

Ruphus
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 30 2013 21:22:36
 
guitarbuddha

 

Posts: 2969
Joined: Jan. 4 2007
 

RE: Dispatches from Akune (in reply to Richard Jernigan

Richard that reminds me of all the documentaries I saw as a child where kindly security gaurds working for vets in kenya shot a lion or an elephant for its own good.

Later I learned that very often the animal died.

It is too easy to believe that something is good just because we find the people informing us credible.

So often we are told of clinical interventions by kind people with flunkies with guns doing things 'for their own good'. And yet when the camera, as it must, points the other way the results are not as foretold.

Still I have nostalgia for the good old days when I didn't feel the need to at least try and think things through.

Strange though how people who don't flinch at murder on the great stage find tortured animals intolerable. Almost like an outlet for a heart for a long time conditioned against its true nature.

D.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 31 2013 0:20:24
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