Hello everybody!

It’s been a busy week and in some ways a sad week. The sadness is that my uncle passed away. He was a quiet man, soft spoken and good hearted, the world could use more men like him.

The busy part has come with all the testing that I am doing or have to do. You see, I am a college student once again, the University of Maryland (go Terps) offers online courses in Nihongo and my job will actually pay for the class…as long as I get a C or better.

So I have set about my adventures in online classes. This is my first and I have to say it’s a good  experience. My old friend Lesley once called our summer courses ‘boot camp’ and this eight week class has the same feeling.

I am just completing the second week and I have to say, learning Hiragana has changed my experience over here exponentially. I all of a sudden can read again! I have always been a reader, I read shampoo bottles for crying out loud and here I have been illiterate. I had a whole new idea of what people go through that don’t know how to read. And I’ve had that reawakening of excitement of looking at these characters and making sense of them. It’s magical!

So today at the Makeman’s hardware store, I was able to have a lovely conversation with the ladies who sell these incredible beni-imo pancakes. I will keep you posted  on the lessons.

Secondly, actually it’s out of order, but I want to put some pictures in, I got a new little Panasonic Lumix camera with a Leica lens. Wow, what a difference. So I tested it out today, back to Maeda Point for a well known snorkel and experiments with underwater photography and movie making. I’m impressed.

stripedy fish
These two kept swimming in front of me, so I’m assuming they wanted to be photographed!

What a difference in quality in photographs, and in filming. I can’t get over the difference that a Leica lens makes. But I have to say, snorkeling has been an amazing experience. It never occurred to me that there was such beautiful fish outside an aquarium. How fortunate I am to be able to splash into the water (I am anything but graceful) and be surrounded…well here’s a little glimpse.

So the camera is working out great. My filming needs some work and I apologize for the jumpiness. I am having so much fun in the water, it should be illegal. But I may be headed for Seragaki Beach tomorrow to see if I can find some more interesting underwater creatures.

like this one…your intrepid reporter, investigating Okinawa, one beach at a time.
yellow and white fish
cool as an autumn breeze…
yellow fish blue fin
not really in focus, but stunning fish, he was about 10 inches long.

And lastly, there is the testing for the scooter. As I’m sure i mentioned a while back, I  bought a little Honda Today scooter to travel back and forth to Naha on. It has been patiently waiting for me to get my act together. Between changing over positions at work and lack of availability for motorcycle/scooter safety classes, it has taken a little while. So on Thursday, I impulsively came home, loaded up my scooter and headed off to Kadena Air Force Base. They handle all the training. They have it all set up so i can just put my scooter in a locked in area and practice whenever I want.

honda today
Is that the cutest little scooter you’ve ever seen? I expect it to start talking to me like some Disney or Pixar creation.

Well I took it for a spin. It was so fun! My previous experiences on a scooter were…well…umm… none. I did take a very short ride on Duane Ferguson’s brand new minibike when I was about 14 and crashed it into a telephone pole. But I’m an optimist and I didn’t see any telephone poles in the parking lot, so I figured I was safe.

It was uneventful, that is to say, I did not crash, but it was very exciting to practice driving around and making turns. I am so pleased with my little $600 purchase.

I now have to spend part of tomorrow taking the class certification before I take the actual driving safety course on July 6 and 7.

So I hope everyone has a great week, it was lovely writing this and sending it on its way.

That sky had the ‘something wicked this way comes’ look to it.
b and w fish
strange patterns
weird fish
this thing kept changing colors and patterns.
pano fish