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The Things I Do To Avoid Packing

The list of things mentioned in the title is lengthy indeed. For example, I wrote that title nearly an hour ago, and have since ordered parts for a computer, talked to my father on the phone, stared intently at my cat, eaten some canned peaches, and watched a lizard climb on my screen. The boxes may not all be packed tonight.

So, another short update tonight - While I have been busy, I haven't been taking that many pictures, and I have been spending a good deal of time underwater, and my camera doesn't follow me there. Anyway, yesterday.

A praying mantis on my drying pants.

I spent yesterday sitting around my house, packing a little, watching some movies and TV shows, and generally making a mess of things. There are boxes all over and that makes Neko happy - she's a fiend for boxes, loves sitting in them, sleeping in them, jumping in and out of them - she's sleeping in a big half-packed box now. Either way, yesterday I did a little Neko-in-a-box photo shoot, and here are the results.

At around 4:30, Mori called me and asked me if I wanted to go diving again. I grabbed camera, fins, mask, and headed to the boat, and we went out again. It was a lot better the second time, at 15 feet it was a bit shallower than last time, and there were corals, brightly colored fish, anemones that would suck back into a little tube when you brushed them, bright orange starfish moving around quickly, and all manner of other beautiful sea life. In all this I still failed to find any sazae - the big snails. Mori got out before I did, and he grabbed my camera and took pictures of me diving - unfortunately I had left my memory card back home, so the pictures were not recorded, and I am not preserved for all time in my diving glory.

That night was a goodbye party for me thrown by my English Conversation Class students. We had some nice conversations, and I explained the difference between "hot""cute" and "cool." For a while we discussed whether or not sashimi is cruel, as this fish came out with it's organs removed, its meat sliced into beautiful pieces, and it's mouth and fins still spasmodically moving a bit.

I don't think it's cruel - I think it's awesome.

Kind of a random picture - under the party tables - I realized in the third hour of the party that I have become totally comfortable sitting cross-legged on tatami now, not something I could say a year ago.

So today was another day that was supposed to be all packing, but ended up being mostly procrastination, along with some diving. Today Mori and I went out earlier than before, and tried three spots.

What a hunk.

The first spot was right next to the harbor. We dropped the anchor right next to the giant concrete walls and dove straight down about 12 feet, looking in the cracks between the giant boulders that the walls are seated in. I didn't take any pictures because I was too busy in the water. Mori found one sazae, and rather than grab it he called me over and we went down together so I could see where it was and grab it. Technically my first, but it didn't really count. There was no current near the walls, so as soon as we started diving down and kicking up silt, visibility at the bottom dropped to about five feet. You would dive down in pale green water, and while kicking down the light would become yellow, then almost amber. Down on the bottom felt like a dream, silent and hazy, with soft yellow light everywhere. Pulling myself over rocks, peeking into deep cracks, I finally found a sazae on my own. I had already been down a while, I was swallowing to suppress my need for air, but as soon as I saw my quarry, those concerns were forgotten. I grabbed it, yanked it off the rock, and went swimming up, shell held triumphantly above my head. There was much shouting and much high fiving between divers, and then it was back down to get more. Except I didn't get any more all day. Still, one is better than zero, and next time I will get more. For now I need a little vacation though, my ears were ringing from the constant shifts in pressure, my knuckles and stomach are cut up, and my head feels a bit waterlogged.

Sazae - they look like rocks! My knuckles are cut up because I forgot my gloves on one dive - the boat's anchor was fouled on something no matter how we hauled we couldn't get it up, so I got back in, grabbed the anchor rope, and hauled myself down. A pretty good ways down, I saw that the anchor was stuck under a big rock, so I put my feet on the sea floor, grabbed the anchor with both hands, and worked it out - once I got it free, I was completely out of air, but I made it up and we were on our way, with some bloody knuckles.

There's some stuff on the books for this weekend, so I should have material for Monday. Just a few more posts left until I go home!
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posted by Blogger MertMengelmier at 11:58 PM

Ben, shave your cat, buy a motorcycle with a sidecar, and when you come back to new york I will sit in the side car with a white scarf and white gloves and pet it as we drove around finding spots to drink espresso. Great Idea? Great idea.    

posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 2:44 PM

i'm going to miss this blog, maybe you should just stay in japan.

posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 1:18 AM

a bunch of studs is all i have to say. cat included. she's a total stud.

posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 3:42 AM

bloody knuckles! you are brave    

posted by Blogger Jonathan Schmitt at 4:51 AM

Ben,I came across your blog after I googled "kui-cho naked". I did JET in Hiroshima-ken a few years ago, Kochi-cho to be exact. I loved your pictures, and they brought me back to those days, I long for them again... Thanks for that. By the way, I think you are an amazing photographer. Keep it up, Cheers, Jon    

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