Sunday, September 5, 2010

The water in the Sea of Japan is sometimes incredibly Caribbean-like

This August,and September so far, was absolutely blistering, but with little rain. For that I'm thankful. April-July was wetter than normal with 1200mm in that period. (4 feet) We've finally gone under 30C/85F inside the house.
Is that Diamond Head?

The corn harvest topped out at 250 ears, from 450 plants, not bad. It was pretty much on my prediction for 1\2 being successful.

Didn't make it over 300 due to boars/deer/insect damage on the final 2 rows. Recently in the evenings the hamlet resonates with the sounds of radios in the fields, banging on fences, and a few bottle rockets (my contribution). The other day a lone monkey foolishly came down for a daytime glimpse of the now golden rice paddies. Poor little guy was ruthlessly harassed by all. Actually felt sorry for the him, till he comes near my house that is.

Put in 秋じゃが fall potatoes. 3 beds of 30-40 seed spuds. Continuing with the use of double wide rows between raised beds. The few visible remaining corn plants mark the beds used in summer. They will rest and were broadcast seeded with rape. This should act as a green manure for next year's planting.

The solar powered yard lights have been upgraded from compact fluoresent to LED's. This simple but somewhat costly act has extended their range to 60 hours. Of course I waited till the bulbs were on sale. Edison would be proud, a 20 dollar light bulb. The new LED's are 0.11 amps, using less power than the already super efficient CFL's. A very small home could easily be lit with a single PV panel and one battery. Lighting is the easy part of trying to be off grid , but it just got a whole lot simpler. Before, the ultimate in off grid lighting was supposedly propane, I'd say the standard has changed. The bulbs are said to be good for 40,000 hours or about 20 years.


  1. Hello there, I live in Shiga and have been surprised how clear the water has been this year. Recently I took some similar footage in the lake.

    I seem to remember that you were going to make a cross-Biwako trip a couple of years ago. Will you be coming to Shiga for the aqu@muse day in Biwako?

    If so, let me know. I live 15 minutes up the lake from the beach where the sailing day will be. I can send you the blog on building out house and the local area if you want.

  2. Hi Paul, thanks for commenting,

    Glad to hear the water in Biwako is doing well. I'd like to see the pics on your blog.

    I was invited to do a crossing, but the plan never came through. It's supposedly treacherous to do solo. Hence the invite. The guy who tried it once snapped his centerboard and had a multi kilometer swim, yikes. Are the winds that bad?

    I'll look into the aquamuse day and see when it is. Yes please send me the link to the blog, thanks.

    By the way I spent a summer at JCMU in Hikone. I look forward to reading your blog more,


  3. When were you in Hikone? I guess that was as part of a university course?

    Here is my first go at taking a video underwater.

    Here are some pictures.

    This is the blog of our house being built.

    This is a fun trip we made a few years ago.

    ...and this is my latest attempt to make a blog.

    As for the aquamuse day, here is the link for that.

    Looks like you have a lovely place in the mountains. How far is that river from where you live? Also, do you work full-time? You seem to fit a lot in.


  4. Hi again Paul,

    Thanks for all the links, I enjoyed checking them out. I especially like the ones of your home, it came out very well and is in a great location.

    Yes I did a "semester abroad" studying Japanese at JCMU Hikone in 97.
    I can't believe the water by you is that nice. When I was at JCMU there wasn't much time for exploring so only snorkeled a few times at the beach just opposite (south) of campus, near the "Birdman" launching site.

    Take it your friend or yourself has an Aquamuse as well,from the pics. How's the kite surfing going? That looks like a tough sport to master.

    The river (creek) that we swim in is just behind our home. The one where I canoe is about 20 minutes by car, and the lake to sail is 15 mins. It's a hydro dam so it's seasonal. Midsummer is too hot and usually water is too low to bother, so from now should be going out again.

    Yes, I work full-time at my own school. I saw a link to your school there, mind if I ask you a work related question?



  5. I know where you mean in Hikone. Have kited at Matsubara a couple of times but never thought to snorkel there.
    Had only been out kiting once since our second son was born last August, but have made it 5 out of the last 10 days! It's an exhilarating sport but is only safe in any kind of onshore wind. It also takes 4m/s or more. The aquamuse fills in some of the gaps there - off shore and low wind are good for sailing or paddling down the river.

    My school teaches children from ages 2 to 11. If you have any questions, maybe we should use email - this feels a bit public.

    This address will do for now:


  6. Hi Paul,

    5/10 is pretty awesome, you must be happy. Have you gone to the aquamuse event before? We went to one in Fukui a while back. It was great sailing, though rather far for me. I'm usually not too keen on large, structured events if you know what I mean. Some of the guys sail rigs were unbelievable. I'm more of an "about" sailor, the knots may not be correct, but it'll get you there.

    Would you be interested in sailing someday? I wouldn't mind making the trip out there and camp out.


  7. Never been to any of these events before. It's just that it's down the road from here and they happen to have the same class of boat. I, too, manage to get by with the limited know-how that I have.

    Noticing the aquamuse link in your blog, I'd wondered if you would be going to this kind of event. I think I will go along this time to see what it's like. You are welcome to stay here if you'd like - this time or another time. I'm keen on sailing any time I get the chance. We have a week off in October and are thinking of heading to the Setonaikai. Maybe we'll figure in the Japan Sea coast there, too?

    Here is a link to some kiting yesterday:


  8. Excellent video Paul,

    The sound really makes it. How fast were you going on that video do you think?

    I don't know if I can make the regatta, may have to be doing a big firewood haul on that date, but if it doesn't happen I'll let you know asap. Thanks much for inviting me.

    Are you into camping out in tents etc...? That's an option for a trip to the sea or Biwako too.


  9. I lived for 15 years on the Sea of Japan and that water was my summer playground, a mere 15 minutes away by bike.

  10. Yeah it's a great place in summer, how was it in winter though? will be getting out there soon I hope. Thanks for commenting.