An alternative look at life in the Land of the Rising Sun, coming from its southernmost prefecture, the island of Okinawa.
Posted By Dave on July 8th, 2014


Those who have known me a while will know that I just about kept my body shape in control (mainly in Okinawa through sweating generally due to the heat and humidity) or because of walking so much with my car dying.  It definitely wasn’t due to exercise though!  But after a couple of months of being back in England […]


Archive for May, 2010

How Jealous am I?

Posted By Dave on May 22nd, 2010


About a week or so ago, I was chatting to my sister on the phone. She told me she’d been somewhere I would be very jealous of, but would tell me no more. Told me she’d send me info about where she’d been. Today this info arrived in the mail. “Jealous” does not even come close to describing my feelings…
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Yes, you are combining the powers of Dirk Benedict from the A-Team, Battlestar Galactica and pretty much nothing else, with chain-smoking detective Columbo. Am pretty sure that if David Hasselhoff had played the suspect the theatre would have witnessed a mass-suicide following the end of production; everyone would just know their lives couldn’t get any better than that!

It’s a nationwide tour in the UK at the moment, and by all accounts it’s pretty good. Benedict has got all of Peter Falk’s mannerisms down to a t, and there is a pretty good supporting cast too. Should note this is the same sister that has managed to see acting legend Steven Seagal in concert a year or 2 ago (insanity runs in the family to some degree!).

If you’re in the UK or are going to be in the next couple of months then you’ll be doing yourself a huge disservice by not going to see the tour (for full dates, click here).  If not, you’ll just have to make do with the trailer below.

RX-7 Teetering on the Brink

Posted By Dave on May 19th, 2010

I think after all this working on my car, I am just a boost/vacuum leak away from it running right.  I used an air tank and a boost leak checker contraption last night.  Fitted it up to my turbo and pressurized the system to about 0.6bar.  When I turned the air off the system lost pressure within a couple of seconds, with an audible noise.  I then tried hooking it straight up to the throttle body (I wanted to bypass the intercooler and piping to rule that out) and pressurised it again.  Got the same result with the noise coming from somewhere on the driver’s side of the intake manifold area.  Tried spraying soapy water over it all but couldn’t see any bubbles.

That’s got to be what’s causing my strange idle though.  I’m sure when I work it out the idle will come down to what it should be and will hold steady there.  Have just got to find out where the leak’s coming from.  It could very well be a vacuum line somewhere that’s not connected and should be, or that is connected somewhere where it shouldn’t.  Someone else guessed at the gasket between upper and lower intake manifolds, but I replaced the gasket on that a couple of months ago when I first started messing with the engine so it shouldn’t be that.

To lose 0.6bar of pressure in a couple of seconds would constitute a pretty big leak so I’ve had a couple of suggestions of sending smoke into the intake manifold and seeing if I can see where it’s coming out of.  Unfortunately I don’t seem to be able to find any “smoke pellets” here in Okinawa.  But I am actually considering buying a “smoke bomb” firework and sticking that into my throttle body after lighting it.  I mean, what’s the worst that could happen?!

So if you never hear from me again after this post, well I’ve probably gone up in smoke in southern Japan!  This volcanic ash cloud is gonna have nothing on my troubleshooting my car!  Will leave you with a few pics of me working on my car, and one of the neighbour’s kid in front of it, who always comes down to offer encouragement whenever she hears me cursing under my breath.

Posted in Cars

Okinawan Protest Draws Far Fewer than Quoted by Media

Posted By Dave on May 18th, 2010


I hate being right all the time!  OK, so those who know me well know that you should read “all the time” as “once every blue moon”, but in this case my scepticism was pretty well founded.  Some of you might recall that in my previous post about the anti-US “Sexual Terrorists” protest at the end of April, I stated that it really didn’t look like there were 100,000 which was the figure thrown about by the media.  No coincidence that this was also the figure that was said before the protest at how many they thought would attend.  Not wanting to admit far fewer shown up, it was always going to be a number of news outlets, including the BBC, who ran the story with the headline “Mass rally in Japan against US base on Okinawa“.  When the BBC initially put this story on their website, they asked if people were in the area and if they would send their comments.  Having seen footage from the air on TV of the people at the protest, I sent them a comment saying that it was clear the number of people attending was far lower than the figure being put out on the official press releases.  I questioned whether they had a reporter in Okinawa who was covering this story, or whether they were just relaying information they’d read, second or third-hand.  No surprises but my comment wasn’t chosen to get published on the site!

Anyway, it seems like I may not have been far off the truth.  Last weekend an interesting story was published by the Daily Yomiuri newspaper, a Japanese national newspaper based in mainland Japan.  I’ll let the article do most of the talking:

Doubt cast on number at antibase protest rally

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Doubts have been raised about the number of participants at a recent antibase protest in Okinawa Prefecture, with suspicions the figure of 90,000 announced by the organizer might have been considerably inflated.

The April 25 rally was held to protest a reported plan by the national government to relocate the U.S. Marine Corps’ Futenma Air Station within the prefecture.

The rally venue in Yomitanson can accommodate up to 50,000 people. The organizing committee estimated 90,000 participants because it also counted people who gathered outside the venue or could not arrive because of traffic jams.

However, immediately after the protest, some government officials suggested the actual number of participants might have been much smaller than 90,000.

A Tokyo security firm counted 11,569 participants based on aerial pictures. While the firm did not include people under trees or tents, it said the number would be “far fewer than 90,000” even if they were counted.

The Okinawa prefectural police did not count the rally participants.

(May. 15, 2010)
This is hardly shocking news to anyone who actually saw the number of people at the protest, but I am pretty surprised that it has been published at all by any media.  I haven’t looked in the Okinawan newspapers, but I’d be willing to bet a couple of yen that they aren’t publishing the same thing!    So from an attendance of “almost 100,000”, we have gone down to just over a tenth of that.  In Okinawa, the facts are never allowed to skew a good bit of anti-US base propaganda!

Yukio Hatoyama: Fashion Guru

Posted By Dave on May 14th, 2010


While Yukio Hatoyama isn’t really doing much in the way of changing Japanese politics (despite his declarations of change in the run up to last year’s Japanese election), he is certainly making waves in other ways.  Shockingly, he’s being criticised for some of his fashion choices in recent times.  Looking at one of the latest examples, I’m sure you’ll be wondering as I do why he is getting slated for it.

Now I don’t profess to be anything like a style expert, being that my usual casual wear consists of a Wigan RLFC shirt and a pair of ageing and most likely oil-stained jeans.  But with that being said, wow.  Who knew that plaid was making a comeback, and with such ferocity?  Nope, me neither!  But apparently the Prime Minister did and is at the ripple on what is surely going to be a huge wave in Japanese fashion.  When it does he will be able to say “I was there first”.

Maybe it was his wife that got him into this uber-fashion.  This would be the same wife that said the following:

“While my body was asleep, I think my soul rode on a triangular-shaped UFO and went to Venus. It was a very beautiful place and it was really green.”

And the same woman who said this about the sun in an interview:

“I also eat the sun,” Hatoyama said on the program, looking up with her eyes closed, raising her arms high as if she was tearing pieces off an imaginary sun. “Like this, hum, hum, hum. It gives me enormous energy.”

Whatever, it certainly adds some colour (pun intended) to the Japanese political scene!

Holy Negative Camber, Batman!

Posted By Dave on May 4th, 2010


Japan is a land of wonder.  Living here you see the good, you see the bad and sometimes you see the downright crazy.  Like this guy seen driving somewhere in mainland Japan.  Can you say “negative camber”?!  Originally posted up by my buddy here in Okinawa, D, I thought you might get a bit of a kick out of this.  Excuse the bit of bad language in the 2nd video clip.

I hate to think of what the inside lip of his rims looks like after that drive, if it even exists any more!

Only in Okinawa…

Posted By Dave on May 3rd, 2010


Living in Okinawa (or indeed anywhere in Japan) means you are subject to seeing more than a few crazy things.  But Okinawa seems to have a higher than average share.  Want to see a man walking down the side of a dual-carriageway with a huge bull on a leash?  Then Okinawa’s your place!

Was driving yesterday to meet a friend for coffee and I ended up behind a small car.  No big deal there but as I got closer to the car I just started laughing as this is what I saw.

In case you are curious, next to the dog is a weedcutter attached to the boot hinges of the car but 2 pieces of string.  The dog made 2 attempts to escape the car when stopped at traffic lights but decided that staying in the car was preferable to being dragged along behind it when the driver inevitably fails to notice that his canine passenger has made a break for freedom.

Seen any other crazy things here in Japan, or worldwide?

Okinawa’s full of Sexual Terrorists!

Posted By Dave on May 1st, 2010

Some of you might have seen on the news or read that there was a mass protest here in Okinawa last weekend about the continued US military presence, and the lack of any action being taken by the present government despite election pledges stating they would.  Although you would think that after 50 years of not living up to election pledges by political parties here in Japan they would have got used to it by now.  The protest was on the national Japanese news, and even made international headlines, being reported on the BBC website.  The attendance figures seemingly created by the same people who make up the St Helens RLFC crowd attendances (i.e. vastly overstated!), with much fewer than the 100,000 people being quoted by the media.

But for once I’m not going to provide commentary on the protest itself, but an image I saw of one of the protesters.  I’ve become accustomed to rather strange English over the years, but this one certainly had me laughing.

To start with, it looks like the “r” in “military” was at one point another l, until someone pointed out the mistake in her spelling!  But it was obviously too much effort to make a new sign so she decided to go with it and just try to change it.  After all, it’s not as if she’s going to be photographed and her image and banner shown worldwide now, is it?  Next, I just can’t work out what is meant by “sexual terrorist”.  Is it a criticism or a compliment?!  To be honest if I was told I was a sexual terrorist I think I’d be somewhat flattered!  I am eagerly awaiting the Japanese media to report that the US Marines on Futenma base in Okinawa have declared a sexual Jihad against the locals!

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