Intro to Cloud Nine

Introduction to Cloud Nine.

As before it has been a while since I updated this a blog. It is a slow process here since my life is no longer wrapped up in WaterWorld. Now it is just a sometimes hobby, when possible. Sad, but sadness is part of life as well. More for some than others. So even just being able to do some occasional sailing time in WaterWorld is a blessing. As I said in my last post, maybe I have been invited to join, Team Bliss out of Kobe to restore my “sea-legs”.
I had started a “meet up” group to see what kind of interest there was for a sailing club. I had a few hits, but as with my meetups for Meditation, Tai Chi and King Fu, people join the meetup and then do not follow through. People like to dream and talk but do not want to really take the steps to make that dream real. 
Last month, I asked for an arrangement to meet up with and sail with Team Bliss. Most of the Team was busy, but I did get to meet up with Bill the boat owner and one of the crew members. A woman sailor, a nice person, who is studying classical piano and drives one of my favorite cars and os learning about boat racing.
The three of us had made a plan to go for a short sail. The weather was good, even though light wind which was on and off. We met at the Yacht Club there in Nishinomiya and got organized to go, only to figure and out the battery was not going to cooperate with the plan. Capt. Bill contacted another friend who came out to take a look. Meanwhile, Yuka-San and I went off to the store to buy a set of Jumper cables. It was my Iwa to use the second battery as a jumper for the main battery. They were not hooked up together as in many boats. So a jumper was needed. 
After we returned from a successful mission, the boat was running. Can’t Bill’s Friend had sorted out the problem with the engine being too tight to turn with the weak battery. After a bit of chatting, we set off on a sail, which really a motor sail as we did not want to take the chance of not starting again.
The wind had picked up some by this time. Enough that we used the main with a Reefed jib to go about. We do a short bit with full ails but it was not that pleasant with took much heeling. So returning to a reefed jib gave us a nice easy ride. 
It was good to be back on the water again, and also in a heavier boat than what I was sailing for classes at Aoki. It made for a more enjoyable ride. I had been out that part of the Bay around Kobe before when working for the Aoki Yard. It is a big modern marina. Reminds me of the Marinas back in Ca, not like the little fishing port types here in Japan. The famous sailor, Kenichi Horie from Japan who sailed to SF on a special boat sails or sailed out of this Marina I believe.

The sail was short but pleasant, it was really just an introduction sail for me on S/V Cloud Nine. The first of hopefully many more. Once I get a passkey and hopefully some students or club members for the Lohan Sailing Society. It will be the return of Capt Zen.
…to be continued

The return of Capt Z


It has been just over a year since I posted here. There has been nothing really to post about. I had figured my Waterworld life was for the most part over.

I had been given a shot at running practice classes for Japan boating lic. but up until recently there had been no takers. I thought was going to be a wash. However within the next few weeks there will be my first students for that coming. So the Lohan school of Boating will be for real in operation. That is a limited enterprise though as well as restricted to just a small section of the river doing powerboat training, not sailing. That is a different world.

For the most part I have been regulated to bottom of the list to be called from the “master’s Boat yard. I thought better of him as I thought we were friends beyond all the help I gave in him the past. But I was wrong. Oh well. He is who he is. One lives, one learns, It is part of growing older. Speaking of which I just had another birthday. A new person sun circumnavigation record for myself. Yay!

One of my desires for the day was to get in a sail. it had been a long time. I did go out several months ago which I did not write about. I was requested by an English speaker to go with another sailor on a day sail. It was a pleasant enough day. Just enough wind to move, but nothing too much work. It was ok. It was nice to have a day’s sailing work and the tip. Which I was not supposed to take , but I did since he put it in my pocket.

So I wanted to get a birthday sail in. I was looking forward to it, but not overly so. I did not want to go to the “master’s” marina, or see him. I know he was bad mouthing me to other employees, I was told so. Therefore more so not see him, and the boat was going to be hot hot, no shade. However, since I was able to I wanted to take advantage. There was not supposed to be much wind that day, however the wind was perfect. I was able to sail at a nice clip even under just the main sail. I was feeling lazy and mostly just wanted to get the sailing “chi” but did not want to work much. As in trimming and tacking, putting the extra sail on off and away. If there was a roller jib that would have been nice , but no, none. The school boat are old with minimum items. So I just used the main and it was perfect. I got the vibe, the energy, the Chi without a lot of work.

While there was good wind there was also a lot of chop. I could feel myself really needing to focus on the horizon a lot, even with taking the seasick pill. I did not wear my wrist bands, I should have. maybe I needed that little bit of “xtra” since I had not been out on the water in long time. No sea legs I guess it is called. Even still it was a good sail, a good reconnected to the water element and wind. Feng Shui of the earth. I felt like the return of Capt Zen.

I was exhausted when I got back to the dock. I am glad I had chilled water with me. I did not work much but the heat and sitting in the sun took my strength. After I got the boat put away and I was very very glad I did not have to put away the jib also, I went to one of the seaside shops there at the marina and had a “softcream” cone. There I relaxed in the a/c for a while. Once a felt normal again I mounted my bike and headed home.

On another note. Thanks to “BLISS” I am able to return to more sailing and even seek out my own students who want to sail. Very cool. With this new prospect to access Water World it is like the return to Capt Zen. So as part of the BLISS team I am hopeful for some sail adventures in the future. As was said by Tom Hanks in “Castaway”, you never know what the in coming tide will bring.

Papa’s got a brand new bag…


And now for something completely different….

…Zen and the way of Powerboats.

I received a email a few weeks ago from an old acquaintance, he was actually the one who got me started with the ASA. He runs a boating school in Kobe, and was looking for some assistance with a program. I agreed, it sounded fairly simple. I was to take some people out for a practice/ training run before they took an offical exam.
Ok so I was off to Kobe. I found my way to the office with a fair amount of confusion and lost time, but made it in spite of that with about 3 minutes to spare. I was quite surprised and glad I left early enough to get lost. 
I go to the company that owns the training boat. I was some new stranger foreigner they needed to check out. Not a big deal to me. I sat with all involved including a translator, that helped things go smoother, and he was also a backup instructor for the program. We all chatted for a while the exam was talked about, boat contract, info used for the class. A large variety of stuff. Most of which had little to do with my job, but I needed to know.
Once everything was covered , including my starting my own, boating school ! That was a shocked, something needed for the boat rental, liability contract. Things were not as simples as I thought, but still reasonable complex. This is Japan after all. So now I am the President of my own boating school, called The Lohan School of boating. It was Lohan boating school, but I think L.S. of B, better than LBS. no matter, just a label. So, we set. Off to the other Marina where the boat is kept. A short train ride and a long hot walk later we arrive at the harbor.
Small room, small boats, on a small river. Again not what I thought, but of that mattered, I followed with the instructions. Once everything was explained, we took off on the water in the small power boat. As we are leaving I notice the stern dock line had not been taken care of proper. I see it, one end of it fall into the water from the dock. I speak up, just after I do the prop catches the line and it snapped. Hmmmm, not a lot of awareness going on from the leaders … a few moments of changing and checking and we are off again.
I am showed what area to avoid whole boating. Where the exam will be held, where to place the markers, the course that will be used. After ll that was explained, I was given the wheel to do the course, of sorts. This was my first time driving a power boat since my test few years ago, even then it was once. Before that it was never! This boat was smaller and different from Aoki’s. It took me a little bit to get used to it. The throttle was weird. Other than the first jump-start before I understood about the throttle, everything else was fine after a few laps around to get the feel of the boat.
This type of boat once the motor is not being run, there is no steerage. It can be tricky. I was tasked with docking the boat. I understood what was involved went slowly, and did the first docking with no issues. The second time was not as good. It was harder trying to follow directions on how to do it. Which after I had already done it made little sense and made me seriously mess up. However once again docked and everyone returned, dry and walking, so it was a good trip.
There were some congrats on doing well and everyone was more relaxed about my new boating cap. So, I will have some other little imput to speak on about Boating in Japan. I do not see a boat in my future but this does keep me more in water world, other than just the limited waterWorld at Tajiri harbor.
I have another training session to attend before I take over the task. The sessions are only 4 times a year, so it will not be a lot of water time involved, but who knows what may come out of it. One thing leads to another…life is like that!

Summer Sailstice


Summer Sailstice 2017…Osaka, Japan

These have been going on for many years now. Headquaters out of the bay Area. Every year I want to do something. A couple of times I said something to the company, it went no where. A little interest at first but no follow through. This year I planned on sailing alone, out for a ways maybe down to Tannaowa Marina , have some lunch and sail back. Nothing complex, just an easy sail in honor of the day. It did not of course work out that way.
The boat I was going to use came up for use that day for an introduction to sailing demo. As luck would have it I was asked, even through the person was not an English speaker. No one else was available, no doubt! 🙂 However, as I student of Zen I learned to just roll with life, and take everything as a present and be grateful. That is the way of Zen.
It for me was ok, I wanted to go out to sail no matter. This was better I got paid, even though no lunch at the cafe. Roll with it, I did! It turns out it was a cute lady wanted to get a feel for sailing. The weather was good, I was expecting extreme light winds. However the winds were not perfect but sailable. I was only asked a few questions, and we had small basic chats. Enough to be informative, relaxing and interesting. Having some fair winds helped as well. She could get a more enjoyable actual sailing experience rather than a motor-sail. With that going on to be felt, words were not needed!
We sailed about and around for a couple of hours. It was pleasant, I had shown her how to set up the boat, so I did the reverse upon return to the dock. She had seemed genuinely interested the full operation of sailing, not just getting out there. This woman had not seemed like the type who would go out sailing, especially alone when I met her. I was quite surprised.
I never knew if she later signed up for classes. I am not used for Japanese class any longer, so I have no idea. Anyway, the day was pleasant and different for my first really out-there Sailstice in Japan. I would like to do more, but since I have no boat and very limited access to one, or support from the ones who would profit…so yea, castles made of sand.

*A brand new bag…up next*

Short sail tale

The short sail tale…
It has been a while since I have posted here. I really had not expected to again, or at least for longer than it is now. Shows, “one never knows what the tide will bring in.”.
I received a request to go pickup a boat. It was suppose to be a two day affair, not very far. Not really even an over-nighter, but sort of. With that and us needing some money input, I agreed. Wakayama to Tanoshima and back. I did not fully understand what the deal was with that but since it was short I agreed. What it was is, we went to Wakayama, via car, then took a ferry to Tanoshima , then sailed a boat back to Wakayama. Ok , nice. Short sweet and simple. No Typhoons. There was some rain expected I find out later, but not a big deal.
I met my ride nearby my house at 11:00 pm at night. We drive to Wakayama. Easy trip, no problems. Once there we wait for the ferry. As we were ready to board a Gaijin asks me if I speak French or English. He is looking for a hotel for the night. I try to help but there is none nearby. I said he would have to take a taxi into town. Good luck.
So my companion and I board the ferry. We walk past a bunch of seat outside and in to an area that is open with only a small single line benches of benches along the wall and carpet on the floor.
The rest pf the space is open. I am told this is were we ride. I am surprised but roll with it. People ride in this area for a cheap trip to wherever. Sit and sleep on the floor as a group like refugees and boat people. Cheap cheap cheap. I have learned how money is more important than the employees at this company so, was not phased at all.
We sleep the 2 hour ride on the floor and arrived at Port. There the former owner of the boat took us to the boat we were moving back to Wakayama. The wind was up but checking the sky it did not look like the storm was coming just yet. LZ had said rain was to hit by the time we got back to Wakayama. I had my rain gear so whatever.
We spent the next couple of hours getting the boat ready and rigged for the bay crossing. Checking systems etc. it was a very nice boat, I was surprised. Fairly old but expensive. We made ready and set off about 4:00 a.m., with increasing clouds and a fair amount of chop once we got to open water. We had an average speed of 70 knots motor-sailing on a mostly beam to close reach.
Once further out the chop things smoothed out a bit. I could feel myself getting somewhat seasick so that was somewhat of a relief. I only had my wrist seasick bands with me. I was out of pills. I knew the office had some and thought the “captain” would bring some as part of the equipment he was bring from the office. He did, but just for himself! Oh well I thought, my bad for depending on someone else, so I would just deal with whatever happened. Mostly I was ok. There was one point though I thought for sure I was going to be hanging over the side feeding the fish. However I was able to control it and it passed. I was grateful!
The rain started as we got about halfway across the bay. Not bad, there was a dodger on the boat and the rain came from on the nose. By the tome we reached port it had let up and we docked.
The marina at Wakayama, was upscale money money money. Big big yachts there. We were taken to the slip and docked.
Once there we set about working. At least the “captain” did, I ate the breakfast I brought along. The rain started again, the Captain started to work on the boat. He needed to remove the old boat name decals. It would not easy peel off, so he needed to use a heater, like a hair dryer to do so. He found the extension cord and shore power. I showed him how to turn it on. After I ate I go to check on helping. He is standing in the rain using a hairdryer! I check the cords. The connection plug for the extension is only an inch from a large puddle of water. A sharp pull would have put it into the water! I fuss about it! He looks surprised but keeps on working. He is a young guy, who is fully programmed to his job. I look for something to coverup. I the large steering wheel cover and use it to cover him and the hairdryer while he works, so he will not get electrocuted. It says it is troublesome and does not want it hindering his movements. Dumbass , I think, fine and go inside the boat to clean.
We spend the next couple of hours doing stuff. After he finished one side he asked for help to figure out how to get power to the other aid of the boat and the name off with nothing to stand on. We can just turn the boat around I say. Do not even have to start it, just undo the lines, and we pull it around in the slip…duh! That done, he goes back to work. I continue to clean. It is now raining more. He is still using the hair dryer, I am washing the deck. I am expecting at the least any moment for the dryer to short out and at least blow the circuit. It did not, oh well. To me better safe than sorry, for him get the job done is number one thought. Mine is staying alive. Anyway, I wash the boat, something that is easy in the rain, put on the sail covers, wheel cover , etc. then back inside.
Finally we are finished we gather the items to take back to the home base and exit and wait at the Yacht club lobby for a taxi.
I learned a lot about the kid’s mentally on this trip. Overall it was a fair trip. I got to sail a bit, see another couple of ports in Japan and get a bit of money. I would do it again even under the same conditions, but be sure to bring my own seasick meds.
In two weeks it is summer sailtice. I plan on doing my own little part in the celebration I will plan on borrowing a boat from the school and doing a short sail from Tajiri harbor to Tannowa harbor for lunch. Then in Aug another short sail for my birthday. So yeah, I can still get my sail on. Even though I am not teaching ,much these days. None really, things at the school are slow, and the Japanese instructors are given the work, unless it will be an English class. “Shigatakanai” , it can not be helped!

What the spring brings

It has been a while since I have checked in here. There has been no changes in my connection to waterworld. No sailing adventures. I am still working for the “master” in the yard. Doing misc tasks. I pretty much like it. Just given a task then pretty much left alone. With the teaching a class I always have to be aware pf what I am going to say. So doing the yard work is nice. Sometime handling the problems of installation of some instrument is a nice challenge.
So yeah, no sailing, no boat pickup or delivery. Sooner or later I sure I will be needed to pickup or deliver a boat. Any delivery I am ok with , but the pickup, nope, nothing from the ocean side. I am done with that. Maybe I will not be asked again now that the manager is up to speed on all things, well , somewhat. Enough that the master will make use of it.  
The weather has really sucked as of late so I do not miss being out sailing, at all, at ALL!
However, there are times when working on a boat at the dock or on the dry I get nostalgic about having my own boat, my space.
Sometimes, sitting there on a rainy day, feeling good and listening to the rain beat on the cabin top. The roll of the boat riding the rise and fall of the water. Sometime missing the gentle sail down the Estuary in Oakland. 
I still want to get out there one day. Perhaps in my 70’s I can have that as my last adventure. Sailing the inland sea. Who knows how thing swill work out. As it turns out my brother-in-law as taken a liking to sailing. He wants to be an instructor in his retirement. I told him we can sail together with the school boats this spring and through the season. He is a good guy. I like single handing, but he is family and a nice guy so I will make some days to help him with his skills. Who knows maybe we will get a boat together one day. Lady LZ and I have a friend who spoke of moving back to Japan and getting a group of friends to go in on boat. However he has changed his mind about the full-time moving back.
So really things are quiet now in Zen’s WaterWorld. I have not heard anything else from the other boat yard since that one day I worked doing a bottom paint job. I was told A spot would be found for me and called. Maybe it is just slow this time of year for them. They are a small yard. We’ll see, what the spring brings…

Winds of change

Winds of Change

A new door opens. In the Christian world it is said when God closes one door, he opens another. At least something like that. There is most likely some Buddhist -Taoist saying of the same thought. Anyway, yeah, I thought this blog was gong to be much pretty ended with the recent betrayal of “the Master”. Distancing myself from him would severely limit my sailing exposure. Hahah, I just had a flash on the name “the master” in the British show called Doctor Who, “the master” is an evil villain… I will say no more on my digression. There is sailing in Kobe, and more foreigners, however there are several issues with that path.
So Yeah, I am still working, but under the vibe of weird conditions. I do not know if it is me, or him, but yeah, I am feeling something. I go in and just do my job, but it feels weird. Maybe just my thoughts of knowing he speaks ill of me, of everyone behind their back. This is not how a true Zen master behaves. I guess like in Kyudo one can have the technical skills but not the spirit, the heart. I thought one had to have both to be a master.
So LZ was very very upset the other day, about the whole thing that happen, and some other things she has heard. While I was at work one day and she was off, she spent the day on the phone calling other marinas and yards, seeing if they needed someone with my marine skill set. As it turns out no place was looking for help, except one. She told them about my background and the person asked to see my resume. I wrote it up when I got home and she sent it in. She said the company president, Japanese, who she was speaking with, who spoke fluent English , had graduated from a University in England was impressed and wanted to met me.
The marina was in the area not near as the one I am at, but close enough via a short train ride. Which in one way is good, better to be checking outside of the immediate area so as not to have any conflicts.
I went in today and met with the owners. We had a nice chat, they seemed like nice people and the place felt comfortable. They only have one other yard person right now as it is slow and they have no sailing instructor but wanted one for their closed school since they did not have an instructor. We talked some about my teaching background, he said he was impressed with my sail experience. I said most of it has been in the States but I did have some serious
Sailing here in Japan, including with Typhoons. He said what are you doing out in a Typhoon you should be in port. My reply was yeah, I agree , but I was told it was going to be safe and I would rather not go into it any further than that. LZ said she had told him about where I was working now, and there were some issues. He said he understood, apparently there is a reputation out there. Small island, small industry, of course there is talk…
He also expressed that since is a small industry here that it is difficult to find someone with my
skills. How nice to be appreciated! He explained the pay scale, transportation expenses and misc stuff. Anyway we seemed like a good fit and I am to start once work picks up some. They have plans for re-opening the yacht club, which has a bar, also the sailing school, they already have some sailing supplies. LZ was really excited about this place from speaking with the owner, he has an international mind-set. I felt comfortable, this could be a good thing down the road, on several levels, including a spot for me to my band to play, and possibly host other bands…this could be very interesting. They have monthly boat races last Sat of the month, the owner says they get a pretty good turn out. I was invited to come by on this upcoming Sat race but I am already teaching a class that day, then heading back to the States. The owner said he will be in touch then when I return.
Winds of change… 
another door opens…
in Japan.