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Springtime In Guam

Naemanson 06 Oct 04 - 08:32 PM
JudyB 06 Oct 04 - 08:47 PM
Naemanson 06 Oct 04 - 08:54 PM
bbc 06 Oct 04 - 09:53 PM
Sandra in Sydney 07 Oct 04 - 09:54 AM
John MacKenzie 07 Oct 04 - 10:57 AM
Charley Noble 07 Oct 04 - 04:49 PM
GUEST,winterbright 07 Oct 04 - 07:22 PM
Lana 07 Oct 04 - 08:21 PM
JennieG 07 Oct 04 - 08:21 PM
JennyO 07 Oct 04 - 10:25 PM
Ebbie 07 Oct 04 - 10:56 PM
Naemanson 08 Oct 04 - 05:44 AM
GUEST,Canberra Chris 08 Oct 04 - 06:01 PM
Naemanson 12 Oct 04 - 02:06 AM
Lana 12 Oct 04 - 07:26 AM
Charley Noble 12 Oct 04 - 09:32 AM
SINSULL 12 Oct 04 - 09:56 AM
GUEST,Uncle Jaque 12 Oct 04 - 01:04 PM
Naemanson 12 Oct 04 - 08:45 PM
Naemanson 12 Oct 04 - 11:35 PM
GUEST,winterbright 13 Oct 04 - 10:48 AM
Bat Goddess 13 Oct 04 - 06:18 PM
Naemanson 15 Oct 04 - 12:20 AM
Amos 15 Oct 04 - 12:29 AM
katlaughing 15 Oct 04 - 01:13 AM
Naemanson 15 Oct 04 - 06:55 AM
Naemanson 17 Oct 04 - 06:12 AM
Sandra in Sydney 17 Oct 04 - 09:45 AM
Bat Goddess 17 Oct 04 - 09:48 AM
Naemanson 18 Oct 04 - 01:00 AM
Naemanson 19 Oct 04 - 08:31 AM
Charley Noble 19 Oct 04 - 09:00 AM
Naemanson 19 Oct 04 - 03:44 PM
Naemanson 21 Oct 04 - 11:02 PM
katlaughing 22 Oct 04 - 01:01 AM
Lana 22 Oct 04 - 07:34 AM
Naemanson 23 Oct 04 - 12:58 AM
Naemanson 23 Oct 04 - 09:24 PM
GUEST,Millie Webb 24 Oct 04 - 09:52 AM
Naemanson 25 Oct 04 - 08:35 PM
Naemanson 26 Oct 04 - 03:15 AM
Naemanson 01 Nov 04 - 03:00 AM
katlaughing 01 Nov 04 - 03:39 AM
Naemanson 04 Nov 04 - 02:22 AM
Sandra in Sydney 04 Nov 04 - 08:38 AM
JennyO 04 Nov 04 - 09:14 AM
MMario 04 Nov 04 - 09:25 AM
Charley Noble 04 Nov 04 - 06:03 PM
Naemanson 04 Nov 04 - 10:08 PM
katlaughing 05 Nov 04 - 01:23 AM
Sandra in Sydney 05 Nov 04 - 07:25 AM
Charley Noble 06 Nov 04 - 04:42 PM
Naemanson 06 Nov 04 - 10:47 PM
GUEST,Millie Webb 07 Nov 04 - 10:17 PM
JennieG 07 Nov 04 - 11:58 PM
Roger the Skiffler 08 Nov 04 - 03:34 AM
Tenjiro 08 Nov 04 - 08:29 AM
Sandra in Sydney 09 Nov 04 - 08:22 AM
SINSULL 09 Nov 04 - 09:20 AM
GUEST,bbc at work 09 Nov 04 - 11:15 AM
GUEST,winterbright 09 Nov 04 - 05:11 PM
Naemanson 09 Nov 04 - 09:53 PM
Amos 10 Nov 04 - 11:13 AM
Naemanson 12 Nov 04 - 06:48 PM
Naemanson 13 Nov 04 - 12:45 AM
Naemanson 16 Nov 04 - 11:57 PM
katlaughing 17 Nov 04 - 03:09 AM
Sandra in Sydney 17 Nov 04 - 07:09 AM
GUEST,ClaireBear 17 Nov 04 - 12:32 PM
Amos 17 Nov 04 - 05:43 PM
Naemanson 21 Nov 04 - 08:31 AM
katlaughing 21 Nov 04 - 12:05 PM
Naemanson 21 Nov 04 - 04:38 PM
Naemanson 22 Nov 04 - 02:27 AM
Naemanson 24 Nov 04 - 08:26 PM
katlaughing 25 Nov 04 - 01:41 AM
JennyO 25 Nov 04 - 08:18 AM
SINSULL 25 Nov 04 - 10:56 AM
Amos 25 Nov 04 - 11:20 AM
Naemanson 26 Nov 04 - 07:35 AM
GUEST,ClaireBear 29 Nov 04 - 03:54 PM
Naemanson 30 Nov 04 - 07:16 PM
Charley Noble 30 Nov 04 - 07:29 PM
JennyO 30 Nov 04 - 09:33 PM
Amos 30 Nov 04 - 11:01 PM
Charley Noble 01 Dec 04 - 08:37 AM
SINSULL 01 Dec 04 - 10:36 AM
GUEST,Brett in Tokyo 01 Dec 04 - 07:39 PM
GUEST 01 Dec 04 - 07:42 PM
JennyO 02 Dec 04 - 09:52 AM
GUEST 02 Dec 04 - 08:16 PM
Naemanson 04 Dec 04 - 06:02 AM
Charley Noble 04 Dec 04 - 11:30 AM
katlaughing 04 Dec 04 - 01:04 PM
JudyB 04 Dec 04 - 08:31 PM
Amos 04 Dec 04 - 08:38 PM
Naemanson 05 Dec 04 - 09:20 AM
bbc 05 Dec 04 - 10:09 PM
Ebbie 05 Dec 04 - 11:32 PM
Charley Noble 06 Dec 04 - 09:48 AM
SINSULL 06 Dec 04 - 11:46 AM
Ebbie 06 Dec 04 - 03:04 PM
Amos 06 Dec 04 - 07:43 PM
Naemanson 10 Dec 04 - 04:40 AM
Charley Noble 10 Dec 04 - 09:45 AM
MMario 10 Dec 04 - 09:50 AM
Naemanson 12 Dec 04 - 12:12 AM
Roger the Skiffler 12 Dec 04 - 03:32 AM
Charley Noble 12 Dec 04 - 02:20 PM
katlaughing 12 Dec 04 - 03:47 PM
Naemanson 12 Dec 04 - 10:15 PM
SINSULL 13 Dec 04 - 01:32 PM
Amos 13 Dec 04 - 01:36 PM
Naemanson 14 Dec 04 - 03:13 AM
katlaughing 14 Dec 04 - 03:47 AM
JennieG 14 Dec 04 - 07:21 PM
Naemanson 14 Dec 04 - 09:09 PM
Naemanson 14 Dec 04 - 10:33 PM
Sandra in Sydney 15 Dec 04 - 06:44 AM
curmudgeon 15 Dec 04 - 09:02 AM
Charley Noble 15 Dec 04 - 10:18 AM
Naemanson 16 Dec 04 - 07:33 PM
curmudgeon 16 Dec 04 - 08:41 PM
Naemanson 17 Dec 04 - 07:34 AM
GUEST,winterbright 17 Dec 04 - 12:04 PM
Naemanson 18 Dec 04 - 07:40 PM
CarolC 19 Dec 04 - 01:39 AM
Charley Noble 19 Dec 04 - 10:55 AM
CarolC 19 Dec 04 - 01:40 PM
SINSULL 19 Dec 04 - 03:11 PM
Naemanson 22 Dec 04 - 07:10 PM
Naemanson 23 Dec 04 - 07:23 PM
Naemanson 28 Dec 04 - 04:06 AM
Charley Noble 28 Dec 04 - 09:19 AM
Naemanson 29 Dec 04 - 02:15 PM
Naemanson 31 Dec 04 - 02:09 AM
Sandra in Sydney 31 Dec 04 - 06:51 AM
Naemanson 02 Jan 05 - 07:26 PM
Charley Noble 03 Jan 05 - 08:43 AM
GUEST,winterbright 03 Jan 05 - 12:34 PM
Naemanson 04 Jan 05 - 06:43 AM
MMario 04 Jan 05 - 08:40 AM
Naemanson 05 Jan 05 - 07:44 PM
Amos 05 Jan 05 - 09:22 PM
GUEST,winterbright 06 Jan 05 - 02:58 PM
Naemanson 10 Jan 05 - 08:40 PM
curmudgeon 10 Jan 05 - 08:52 PM
Naemanson 11 Jan 05 - 05:49 PM
GUEST,sandra in sydney 12 Jan 05 - 07:39 AM
GUEST,JennyO 12 Jan 05 - 08:43 AM
GUEST,bbc at work 12 Jan 05 - 11:27 AM
Amos 13 Jan 05 - 06:34 PM
Naemanson 13 Jan 05 - 09:02 PM
Amos 13 Jan 05 - 10:51 PM
GUEST,bbc at work 14 Jan 05 - 11:25 AM
Naemanson 15 Jan 05 - 09:31 PM
SINSULL 16 Jan 05 - 06:54 PM
Naemanson 17 Jan 05 - 03:58 AM
GUEST,sandra in sydney 17 Jan 05 - 07:44 AM
Charley Noble 17 Jan 05 - 10:44 AM
GUEST,Millie Webb 17 Jan 05 - 10:02 PM
Donuel 18 Jan 05 - 02:40 PM
Naemanson 20 Jan 05 - 06:41 AM
GUEST,sandra in sydney 20 Jan 05 - 07:59 AM
Roger the Skiffler 20 Jan 05 - 09:30 AM
Charley Noble 20 Jan 05 - 10:11 AM
GUEST,bbc at work 20 Jan 05 - 11:25 AM
Naemanson 21 Jan 05 - 03:16 PM
Naemanson 21 Jan 05 - 03:22 PM
Amos 21 Jan 05 - 03:32 PM
Naemanson 26 Jan 05 - 03:47 AM
Charley Noble 26 Jan 05 - 10:08 AM
Naemanson 27 Jan 05 - 02:13 AM
GUEST,Masato 27 Jan 05 - 09:01 AM
GUEST 27 Jan 05 - 09:47 AM
GUEST,bbc at work 27 Jan 05 - 11:27 AM
SINSULL 27 Jan 05 - 12:16 PM
Naemanson 28 Jan 05 - 01:36 AM
katlaughing 28 Jan 05 - 02:34 AM
GUEST,sandra in sydney 28 Jan 05 - 07:15 AM
GUEST,me again 28 Jan 05 - 07:46 AM
Charley Noble 28 Jan 05 - 09:23 AM
Naemanson 29 Jan 05 - 02:07 AM
JennyO 29 Jan 05 - 02:15 AM
Naemanson 31 Jan 05 - 07:00 AM
Donuel 31 Jan 05 - 10:02 AM
Naemanson 02 Feb 05 - 01:50 AM
GUEST 02 Feb 05 - 08:21 AM
GUEST,sandra in sydney 02 Feb 05 - 08:36 AM
GUEST,bbc at work 02 Feb 05 - 11:23 AM
SINSULL 02 Feb 05 - 04:17 PM
Naemanson 03 Feb 05 - 06:06 AM
Amos 03 Feb 05 - 06:36 AM
Sandra in Sydney 03 Feb 05 - 08:35 AM
Charley Noble 03 Feb 05 - 09:07 AM
SINSULL 03 Feb 05 - 07:50 PM
Naemanson 03 Feb 05 - 11:10 PM
Naemanson 04 Feb 05 - 06:19 AM
Lana 04 Feb 05 - 07:43 AM
Naemanson 06 Feb 05 - 09:33 AM
Charley Noble 06 Feb 05 - 10:17 AM
GUEST,sandra in sydney 07 Feb 05 - 08:30 AM
Naemanson 07 Feb 05 - 11:38 PM
Jeri 07 Feb 05 - 11:56 PM
Amos 08 Feb 05 - 12:24 AM
Charley Noble 08 Feb 05 - 08:13 AM
CarolC 08 Feb 05 - 12:23 PM
GUEST,winterbright 08 Feb 05 - 05:00 PM
Naemanson 10 Feb 05 - 10:54 PM
CarolC 10 Feb 05 - 11:21 PM
Roger the Skiffler 11 Feb 05 - 04:14 AM
Naemanson 11 Feb 05 - 08:21 AM
GUEST,Charley Noble 13 Feb 05 - 10:40 AM
Naemanson 14 Feb 05 - 06:20 AM
Charley Noble 14 Feb 05 - 09:03 AM
Sandra in Sydney 14 Feb 05 - 09:04 AM
Naemanson 16 Feb 05 - 10:58 PM
GUEST 17 Feb 05 - 09:48 AM
GUEST,Charley Noble 17 Feb 05 - 01:01 PM
JudyB 17 Feb 05 - 02:39 PM
Donuel 18 Feb 05 - 05:48 PM
Naemanson 19 Feb 05 - 12:45 AM
Sandra in Sydney 19 Feb 05 - 08:54 AM
curmudgeon 19 Feb 05 - 09:18 AM
CarolC 19 Feb 05 - 07:50 PM
Ebbie 19 Feb 05 - 08:55 PM
GUEST 20 Feb 05 - 11:32 AM
Naemanson 20 Feb 05 - 10:09 PM
Charley Noble 21 Feb 05 - 11:48 AM
Donuel 23 Feb 05 - 03:16 PM
Naemanson 23 Feb 05 - 10:13 PM
SINSULL 23 Feb 05 - 11:11 PM
SINSULL 23 Feb 05 - 11:22 PM
masato sakurai 24 Feb 05 - 07:28 AM
Charley Noble 24 Feb 05 - 09:37 AM
GUEST,bbc at work 24 Feb 05 - 11:25 AM
Naemanson 24 Feb 05 - 10:32 PM
Naemanson 28 Feb 05 - 03:38 AM
SINSULL 28 Feb 05 - 02:36 PM
Sandra in Sydney 01 Mar 05 - 07:38 AM
Noreen 01 Mar 05 - 11:52 AM
Charley Noble 01 Mar 05 - 03:09 PM
Naemanson 02 Mar 05 - 09:02 AM
Naemanson 04 Mar 05 - 12:06 AM
Charley Noble 04 Mar 05 - 05:50 PM
Sandra in Sydney 05 Mar 05 - 09:03 AM
masato sakurai 05 Mar 05 - 09:08 PM
Naemanson 06 Mar 05 - 06:02 AM
Sandra in Sydney 06 Mar 05 - 08:52 AM
Naemanson 09 Mar 05 - 02:18 AM
katlaughing 09 Mar 05 - 02:53 AM
Sandra in Sydney 09 Mar 05 - 07:54 AM
Charley Noble 09 Mar 05 - 09:40 AM
Naemanson 09 Mar 05 - 07:02 PM
Naemanson 11 Mar 05 - 12:44 AM
GUEST,CarolC 11 Mar 05 - 01:33 AM
katlaughing 11 Mar 05 - 05:57 AM
Naemanson 12 Mar 05 - 03:39 AM
Sandra in Sydney 12 Mar 05 - 09:24 AM
Charley Noble 12 Mar 05 - 12:50 PM
Naemanson 13 Mar 05 - 04:05 AM
GUEST,Charley Noble 13 Mar 05 - 02:09 PM
Naemanson 17 Mar 05 - 02:36 AM
bbc 17 Mar 05 - 08:33 PM
Naemanson 21 Mar 05 - 03:42 AM
Charley Noble 21 Mar 05 - 10:35 AM
katlaughing 21 Mar 05 - 10:53 AM
Naemanson 22 Mar 05 - 09:31 PM
Naemanson 22 Mar 05 - 09:35 PM
Naemanson 26 Mar 05 - 02:24 AM
Naemanson 27 Mar 05 - 11:56 PM
GUEST,Charley Noble 28 Mar 05 - 12:02 PM
GUEST,JudyB 28 Mar 05 - 09:43 PM
GUEST,naemonson's mom 29 Mar 05 - 06:42 PM
GUEST,ClaireBear 29 Mar 05 - 06:57 PM
Naemanson 29 Mar 05 - 08:22 PM
Naemanson 30 Mar 05 - 05:50 AM
Sandra in Sydney 30 Mar 05 - 08:41 AM
Naemanson 03 Apr 05 - 07:40 PM
Sandra in Sydney 04 Apr 05 - 09:53 AM
katlaughing 04 Apr 05 - 10:30 AM
Tenjiro 04 Apr 05 - 03:25 PM
Naemanson 04 Apr 05 - 10:21 PM
CarolC 05 Apr 05 - 12:01 AM
Naemanson 05 Apr 05 - 08:44 PM
GUEST,curmudgeon 05 Apr 05 - 09:03 PM
CarolC 05 Apr 05 - 10:36 PM
Naemanson 06 Apr 05 - 05:18 AM
Naemanson 09 Apr 05 - 03:40 AM
Naemanson 10 Apr 05 - 08:34 AM
Naemanson 14 Apr 05 - 09:02 AM
Donuel 14 Apr 05 - 10:18 AM
Naemanson 16 Apr 05 - 10:31 AM
Amos 16 Apr 05 - 02:10 PM
GUEST,Charley Noble 16 Apr 05 - 02:33 PM
Naemanson 16 Apr 05 - 11:41 PM
SINSULL 17 Apr 05 - 09:58 AM
Leadfingers 17 Apr 05 - 12:16 PM
Leadfingers 17 Apr 05 - 12:17 PM
Naemanson 17 Apr 05 - 06:56 PM
Naemanson 19 Apr 05 - 06:58 PM
Naemanson 23 Apr 05 - 05:59 PM
Naemanson 23 Apr 05 - 06:13 PM
Naemanson 24 Apr 05 - 01:56 AM
Donuel 24 Apr 05 - 12:23 PM
Ebbie 24 Apr 05 - 01:12 PM
Amos 24 Apr 05 - 01:39 PM
CarolC 24 Apr 05 - 02:01 PM
Charley Noble 24 Apr 05 - 08:08 PM
Naemanson 24 Apr 05 - 08:09 PM
masato sakurai 24 Apr 05 - 10:20 PM
SINSULL 24 Apr 05 - 10:30 PM
Amos 24 Apr 05 - 10:37 PM
CarolC 24 Apr 05 - 11:40 PM
Naemanson 24 Apr 05 - 11:54 PM
Ebbie 25 Apr 05 - 12:00 AM
CarolC 25 Apr 05 - 12:32 AM
Amos 25 Apr 05 - 12:46 AM
CarolC 25 Apr 05 - 12:49 AM
Naemanson 25 Apr 05 - 07:42 PM
Naemanson 28 Apr 05 - 05:58 PM
Naemanson 28 Apr 05 - 08:48 PM
Naemanson 01 May 05 - 01:51 AM
Charley Noble 01 May 05 - 12:17 PM
Naemanson 02 May 05 - 07:26 AM
Charley Noble 02 May 05 - 08:32 AM
Naemanson 03 May 05 - 08:14 AM
Naemanson 04 May 05 - 07:25 AM
GUEST,sandra in sydney 04 May 05 - 09:24 AM
Leadfingers 04 May 05 - 11:02 AM
Naemanson 05 May 05 - 08:49 AM
Lana 05 May 05 - 09:46 PM
Roger the Skiffler 06 May 05 - 03:40 AM
Naemanson 06 May 05 - 07:06 AM
Naemanson 06 May 05 - 11:07 PM
Naemanson 10 May 05 - 09:38 PM
CarolC 10 May 05 - 10:47 PM
Naemanson 11 May 05 - 03:40 AM
Naemanson 14 May 05 - 11:32 PM
Naemanson 17 May 05 - 10:09 PM
GUEST,Charley Noble 18 May 05 - 09:11 AM
GUEST,sandra in sydney walking thru the backdoor 18 May 05 - 09:53 AM
CarolC 18 May 05 - 12:40 PM
Naemanson 19 May 05 - 08:12 PM
Charley Noble 19 May 05 - 08:30 PM
JudyB 19 May 05 - 09:26 PM
Ebbie 19 May 05 - 09:49 PM
bbc 19 May 05 - 09:52 PM
Amos 19 May 05 - 10:06 PM
CarolC 19 May 05 - 10:17 PM
Roger the Skiffler 20 May 05 - 03:10 AM
GUEST,ClaireBear 20 May 05 - 10:18 AM
GUEST,MMario 20 May 05 - 10:45 AM
Naemanson 20 May 05 - 10:08 PM
Sandra in Sydney 21 May 05 - 03:53 AM
Naemanson 21 May 05 - 09:52 PM
GUEST,sandra in sydney 22 May 05 - 09:44 AM
SINSULL 22 May 05 - 02:59 PM
Naemanson 24 May 05 - 10:14 PM
Ebbie 24 May 05 - 10:35 PM
JudyB 25 May 05 - 10:04 AM
GUEST,MMario 25 May 05 - 10:14 AM
CarolC 25 May 05 - 11:10 AM
GUEST,bbc at work 25 May 05 - 11:17 AM
Sandra in Sydney 26 May 05 - 10:19 AM
Charley Noble 26 May 05 - 04:18 PM
Naemanson 26 May 05 - 08:33 PM
Charley Noble 27 May 05 - 08:51 AM
Sandra in Sydney 27 May 05 - 11:16 AM
JudyB 27 May 05 - 01:10 PM
Naemanson 28 May 05 - 09:57 AM
SINSULL 28 May 05 - 10:36 AM
Charley Noble 28 May 05 - 11:28 AM
Naemanson 28 May 05 - 10:14 PM
Naemanson 30 May 05 - 09:48 PM
JudyB 31 May 05 - 11:57 AM
Naemanson 01 Jun 05 - 03:25 AM
Amos 01 Jun 05 - 10:38 AM
Naemanson 01 Jun 05 - 09:56 PM
Naemanson 04 Jun 05 - 11:15 PM
Sandra in Sydney 05 Jun 05 - 10:01 AM
Naemanson 17 Jun 05 - 11:30 PM
CarolC 18 Jun 05 - 12:51 AM
JudyB 18 Jun 05 - 02:45 AM
Leadfingers 18 Jun 05 - 05:51 AM
Charley Noble 18 Jun 05 - 08:33 AM
Naemanson 19 Jun 05 - 02:15 AM
Leadfingers 19 Jun 05 - 03:26 AM
Leadfingers 19 Jun 05 - 03:27 AM
Sandra in Sydney 19 Jun 05 - 08:50 AM
GUEST,Charley Noble 19 Jun 05 - 10:09 AM
CarolC 19 Jun 05 - 02:04 PM
Naemanson 19 Jun 05 - 06:46 PM
Charley Noble 20 Jun 05 - 09:04 AM
Amos 20 Jun 05 - 09:32 AM
Lana 21 Jun 05 - 10:22 AM
Charley Noble 25 Jun 05 - 11:27 AM
Naemanson 25 Jun 05 - 08:41 PM
Naemanson 25 Jun 05 - 09:07 PM
GUEST 27 Oct 05 - 06:28 PM
Naemanson 27 Oct 05 - 09:18 PM
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Subject: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 06 Oct 04 - 08:32 PM

I know, it isn't springtime chronologically but it is in my life. I am now officially retired. It has been one week since my last post, being that long before I could get to a computer, and now that I have checked into my old thread, News From Guam, I see a couple of suggestions that I start a new thread. So, here we go.

I am one week into my new life as a retired person. It's weird. Everything I do is tainted with the idea that I need to finish it up before the end of my "day off". I keep thinking I shold set the alarm at bedtime so I won't be late for work. I hope this doesn't last too long.

I am continuing to empty sooty boxes. I keep making discoveries, some wonderful and others less so. The other day I ran across a picture of my last girlfriend. That went straight into the trash though Wakana suggested I keep it for my memories. Some memories I don't need.

Wakana has gone back to Japan for a visit and a new visa. She has left quite a hole in our home. I sat in the living room last night and noticed the difference in the house. For a little woman she sure takes up a lot of space.

My library is full, bookcases are groaning under the load, and books are piled on the floor. The little desk is hidden under non-book items. There is a box full of video tapes and DVDs and anotherr three boxes full of music cassettes and recorded videocassettes. Sigh, I wonder how I ever got to own so much!

On the ID theft front there are still fraudulent checks rolling in. I no longer find that these rend my heart. It is too laughable. The checks that are rolling in now are from an account I closed last fall! And they are huge checks. Someone on the island is really screwing the merchants. It should be interesting when the police finally do something about it. As it stands I cannot write a check anywhere on the island except to the companies that I deal with regularly, power, water, electricity, cable, etc. Anywhere else I must pay cash. So be it. I don't mind that.

There has been no news so far on the lawsuit (knock on wood). Maybe the guy's lawyer explained to him that it was his responsibility to have insurance to cover his building and the security deposit is all he can expect to get out of me. More to come.

So anyway, here is my new thread. Life in Guam is still warm and pretty. The new house has a lovely view of the valley leading down to the Philipine Sea and Apra Harbor. We can see the high school looming up out of the greenery and a few roofs. The sky is generally blue because we are moving into the dry season. The sea reflects that blue. We can see ships moving out there and planes occasionally making their approach to the airport. Once we get past the ID Theft life is settling down pretty well.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: JudyB
Date: 06 Oct 04 - 08:47 PM

Welcome back to the 'Cat! I was just thinking it must be about a week since you retired, once I factored in the strange way days come and go as once circles the globe. I've been hard at work, moving into the new (and actually smaller) office that goes with my little promotion. That song you sing about the lockkeeper comes to mind - parts of me would really prefer to be retired, though this is good, too. Well, at least it will be interesting.

Did you ever meet with that Senator or whatever it was? It does boggle my mind that no one will let you write a check, but they'll let that bozo do it - and on an account that's closed! Similar (though on a much more serious scale) to my anger when I discovered that I needed to give my ISP my new credit card number in order to keep my service, while the jerk who was using my old number could automatically pay the AOL account he opened with my old number - and have it billed to my new number! Aren't banks strange little entities?

I had an impression that you'd brought quite a few books with you - something about Charley warning me to watch out for the rebound effect (usually seen when glaciers thaw) the day you moved the boxes out of the basement here....

It does sound most beautiful there, and a break from the rainy season sound like a good thing. Do keep us posted when you can.

Hugs,
JudyB


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 06 Oct 04 - 08:54 PM

I met with the senator and was treated to a nice version of political mouth music. I intend to write him a letter to let him know that the failure of the police to act has now cost Guam merchants upwards of $15,000.

By the way, when I left the house this morning I had a flat on my pickup. I wonder how that happened. I will have to change it when I get home. Little things like that are easily within my ability to handle. ID theft is not.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: bbc
Date: 06 Oct 04 - 09:53 PM

Happy new thread; happy new life!

love,

Barbara


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 07 Oct 04 - 09:54 AM

Barbara said it so beautifully. enjoy life

sandra

as you say, now that the fraud tops $15,000 maybe they might do something about it


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 07 Oct 04 - 10:57 AM

The old song says....
When it's sprintime in Italy, it's Wednesday over here.

Ergo.... It's Thusday here, it must be sprintime in Guam.

Sounds idyllic, wish I were there. I retired unofficially about 4 months ago, and I'm getting quite good at it now.
Enjoy
Giok


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Charley Noble
Date: 07 Oct 04 - 04:49 PM

Brett-

I think the last time I held a regular job was back in 1979.

It just gets better and better!

Looking forward to seeing you when you're able to wind things up in Guam.

Don't forget to vote!

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: GUEST,winterbright
Date: 07 Oct 04 - 07:22 PM

Glad to see you back in touch with the rest of the world!
We had FROST (I say) yesterday morning... something I'll be you don't even consider, since it's Spring for you. The trees are glorious, the crickets are winding down; I only hear them now on warm days.
I'm still walking everywhere, and feeling good about it.
Halloween's coming, and I'm feeling GOOD about that!
If you can check out "Lost" - new TV show - and see the first episodes, it's VERY cool! Sarah and I are hooked.
You'll adjust to the retirement thing before you know it, I'm sure. Throw the damn alarm clock out the window... just so you can have the satisfaction. Really. Go ahead. Preferably some morning when it'll feel REALLY good!
Or hit it with a hammer.
Enjoy!


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Lana
Date: 07 Oct 04 - 08:21 PM

i know the feeling Dad, i'm still adjusting to not being in school, this the first autumn that has rolled around since I was five that I haven't had to go to school. I keep waiting to summer to end and it hasn't yet. weird.

love
kelli


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: JennieG
Date: 07 Oct 04 - 08:21 PM

Brett,
Enjoy your new life, it sounds wonderful. All the best to you and I'll see you again next time you come to Sydney!
Cheers
JennieG


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: JennyO
Date: 07 Oct 04 - 10:25 PM

Same here. I hope that will be soon. By the way, it IS springtime here. The garden is starting to come to life, the big christmas bush has got all its white flowers on, ready to start turning red soon, and the barbeque area is looking VERY inviting!

Jenny


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Ebbie
Date: 07 Oct 04 - 10:56 PM

A friend of mine, after a year of being retired, said, Haven't had a bad day yet!

May it be ever so in spite of the bumps and dips in the road.

As the man said, anything that doesn't kill you makes you stronger (paraphrasing here); it is obvious that you are stronger. Enjoy.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 08 Oct 04 - 05:44 AM

I sure am feeling stronger. It's funny but the clouds have cleared off and the sun has been shining a lot lately. As I drove up to Tumon earlier today I noticed how nice the weather was.

I am settling into the retired lifestyle very well. Occasionally I still think that I am only off for a few days and will have to go back to the office but I am getting over that. I have officially declared the word "w--k" to be a four letter word. No more to be under thrall.

I am at Gordon's house on a Friday evening. He invited me down for dinner. The table has plenty of food and I am knocking back a Smirnoff Ice. They are calling me to eat. More later.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: GUEST,Canberra Chris
Date: 08 Oct 04 - 06:01 PM

Brett,

If you want Spring, there's a bed spare here. All you need is a ticket. I am not ready or able yet to retire, but my friends who have are blooming like the flowers.

I am trying to cope with a return to work after a month in UK, mostly on family business, but I got in some singing, mainly in Chester with the Poms From Oz. Also I got to sing Fields of Gold at my niece's wedding reception, that was a nice moment.

My 10 yr old nephew was also inducted into the folk scene. He can SING. Another nice moment was a bar in Coniston breaking into applause when he emerged from the gents, from where he had halted all conversation with Norfolk Whalers through two wooden doors. That's projection. He did then hide under the table!

So I suppose my thoughts are more about passing on the torch than retiring from the fray.

Do come back.

Chris


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 12 Oct 04 - 02:06 AM

Well, now, ain't this sweet. I am in my own home typing on to the Mudcat. Ah, life is good.

Gordon got this computer at a rummage sale for $40. He then had to buy a power cord for it. I have it until I can get a real computer. This is an old Toshiba Satellite Pro 440CDX running Windows 95. I had to reload Windows but now I am back on line. The computer is slow but it works.

I am two weeks into my retirement and life is good. The pain of August and September is fading and I am enjoying life. My motto these days is, "Twenty four hours a day and they're all mine!" I set myself up with a few errands each day and take them slowly enjoying each one. Today I paid some bills and got the materials I need to fix the side of my filing cabinet where it got burned.

On the way home I stopped at Ylig Bay to take pictures. Dad wants them to see how the area has changed since 1947. I don't think he will come to Guam. He is not interested in the long flight.

Wakana is still in Japan. We call each other nightly. She has apparently radically changed her hair style. Good thing she warned me. I have a bad habit of not noticing such things.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Lana
Date: 12 Oct 04 - 07:26 AM

Papa isn't coming to England either, his back is too bad to be able to handle the flight.
I hope he gets better soon.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Charley Noble
Date: 12 Oct 04 - 09:32 AM

Brett-

Welcome back to the www. Now you can receive spam again!

You're missing a cold blustery rainy day here in Maine. About the only thing good I can say about it is the kaleidoscope of leaves blowing past the windows. Time to close up the cottage! Time to batten down the cellar windows!

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: SINSULL
Date: 12 Oct 04 - 09:56 AM

Brett,
It is one of those rainy blustery fall days that makes you celebrate being alive. I may wander over to the lighthouse and get rained on. Though I haven't retired, I am unemployed and enjoying every minute of it...at least until the money runs out.
Enjoy!
SINS


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: GUEST,Uncle Jaque
Date: 12 Oct 04 - 01:04 PM

Ahoy Mate!

I seem to have wandered off for a season or two; have not kept up on the megga-Guam thread, but I think I sorta get the Reader's Digest version on this one. Sounds like it's been... aahhh.. "interesting".

Happy Retirement! Sounds like you couldn't have picked a much better place to enjoy it.

I finally picked up Social Security disability (somewhat by surprise, as I didn't think they approved anybody before at least one appeal) last month, so it seems that I'm now officially "Retired" as well.

After a lifetime spent mostly in service to Community and others - law enforcement, developmental care (Pineland), Rescue, Teaching etc., I frankly feel pretty burned out, beat up, and broken down in a number of ways...

So I'll take my pension with gratitude!

Hope you take good care of yourself and your Beloved, stay healthy, and enjoy yer "new" life, Brett.

UJ


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 12 Oct 04 - 08:45 PM

I am still working on getting that little computer to work. It doesn't have enough memory to download an entire web site, only 32 MB. But it can run Word and Excel and will do other minor tasks.

So I am on Gordon's computer again. I hope to be up and running at home soon.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 12 Oct 04 - 11:35 PM

I guess I got it. Here I am at home again and it seems to be working. Next step is to check some other more complicated web sites.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: GUEST,winterbright
Date: 13 Oct 04 - 10:48 AM

Whatever Wakana's done to her hair, tell her you love it!
:-)


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 13 Oct 04 - 06:18 PM

I'm not retired either, but my temp job (held since mid-July with lots and lots of overtime) is winding down. I've got til the end of next week max. But it's lasted a lot longer than the 6-8 weeks they originally promised and when the work picks up again after Christmas (Martin Luther King Day, Washington's Birthday, St. Patrick's Day) I may get a call again. They like me -- they liked me a lot.

At least Tom's got a project starting the day before my last day, so we should have some sort of income continuity.

Didja ever get that article? Sorry -- I didn't keep a copy, so if it's gone, it's gone.

Linn


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 15 Oct 04 - 12:20 AM

No, Linn, I didn't get the article. Too bad.

As for Wakana's hair I know there are a lot of potential comments and I know which ones NOT to use. I just saw a GEICO commercial where a woman steps out in a dress and asks her husband if the dress makes her look fat. He says "yes" without missing a beat. The announcer then says, "In the time it takes to pull out the sleeper sofa..."

It has been rainy over the last two days. We have a tropical depression forming over us. There is one moving off and another moving in. The one that's moving off seems to be forming up to be Typhoon 23 and the one moving in on us may be typhoon 24. For us it is only some wind and rain. There is a lot of ocean on the other side of us for them to strengthen in. If they track more northerly it will be headed for Japan. They've taken two or three hits so far this year. Just like Florida except that they expect them and prepare for them.

I don't think I have adequately described our little slice of paradise. The house doesn't look like much on the outside. The driveway is rough and we have to park in the front lawn. The left side of the yard is mostly churned up mud and the trench that the Mitsuko River used to run in. The river has finally dried up but the ground is still saturated. The right side of the house has a nice little lawn. Around that side of the house is a high steep wall of clay and jungle growth. It might be twenty feet high with a houase on top of it. All we can see of the house is a part of the roof line.

The house is rectangular with a small extension on the right side. That extension is the kitchen and an outdoor closet. The roof overhang or eave is quite a bit deeper over the closet creating a small porch like area. I have extended that into a patio using some concrete sections laid on the ground. Once we get all the junk from the old house cleaned up I will smooth that out into a real patio.

Behind the house there is a small strip of lawn between the walls and the jungle. The land slopes steeply up with nothing but jungle between the house and the mountain peak.

The left side of the house was damaged in Typhoon Pongsana. A tree came down and wiped off the eave of the house on the back corner. That area is now a tangle of broken concrete and re-bar.

The house is white, mostly. There is a mix of blue and white paint as well as dark mold. Once we get the outdoors cleaned up Gordon will bring up his power washer and we will wash it down and paint it. Eventually we will get that back corner cleaned up too.

Inside we have a nice large living room and three bedrooms. There is no dining room but there is room in the kitchen for a small table. This is in keeping with the local custom. On guam you do not invite people over for supper. You have a barbeque and eat and entertain outdoors. There is no place in this culture for a dining room.

The master bedroom is in the front of the house. It is large and sunny. All the windows in the house are large making it bright and pleasant. The closet has no doors, none of them do, but I will change that once I get some form of workshop.

The bathroom is small with a tile floor and walls. Unfortunately the tile is an odd shade of yellow. But the fixtures are in good condition.

The back bedrooms are not as good as the rest of the house. The corner bedroom is the worst in the house. It needs paint and patching. The door has a hole smashed in it where a former owner expressed his emotions with his fist.

The other bedroom we call the green room because it appears green on sunny days. The paint is white but the green is the reflection of the jungle behind the house. This is the "library". I put that is quotes because a real library has all its books on shelves. This one has all the shelves full and then more books on the floor. There are also more books in boxes in the other bedroom. Sigh, I may have too many...

The view from up here is not spectacular but it is pretty good. On a clear day we can see the valley down to the head of Apra Harbor and the ocean out beyond it. We face too far to the north to be able to see the sunset but wee can see the tail of it when it really put on a show and we can walk out to the end of the driveway to see the whole thing.

This then is our home. We are very secure here. The locks are new and all the windows have locks. There are security doors but I need to correct the installation.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Amos
Date: 15 Oct 04 - 12:29 AM

Wunnerful!! Very best of wonderful times in your new home, Brett!

A


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: katlaughing
Date: 15 Oct 04 - 01:13 AM

That sounds grand, Brett! I love to read your descriptions. Sorry I haven't called...it's been a hectic week...winding down now and I keep thinking to do so late at night when it is too early in the morning there! Have written myself a note to remember earlier in the day!

luvyakat


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 15 Oct 04 - 06:55 AM

I'm looking forward to your call Kat.

Today I had a surprise waiting for me at the post office. When I opened the mailbox I found a block of envelopes, 45 of them, all from the same source, the credit card company for the forgotten card. Once I factored those into the mix I came up with a total of $25,913 taken by the thief. I am thinking of writing an open letter to the businesses of Guam telling them what happened and warning them to make sure they are very careful about seeing picture IDs. I intend to put in a statement about the cops not bothering to investigate this and pointing out that approximately $17,000 could have been saved if the police had taken the initiative.

In the meantime I have 45 forms to fill out and send to the credit card company. They were expecting the forms by 10/13. They arrived here on 10/15. Sigh, I guess I better get to work.

On the positive side I brought in the last sooty box and moved the other stuff in under the awning. There are no more boxes to be cleaned. I can now start to organize the stuff inside the house. The first step will be to clear up the living room and make it look more civilized. Then we will see what we will see.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 17 Oct 04 - 06:12 AM

Yesterday was Saturday, the real Saturday, as in every day is a Saturday when you are retired. We had our regular Saturday meeting of the Traditional Seafarers. It is only the second time I have been to a meeting since the fire. We have moved the canoe into an enclosed coutyard where it can remain protected from the sun but open for the public to see.

Our first order of business is to build a dolly so we can easily get the canoe in and out of the wwater. It's all very well to gather a crew to chant and heave the canoe into the water but if we want to sail it regularly we will have to make it easy for a minimum number of people to move it.

We are also trying to get under way on building the utt, the traditional canoe house. We had to remove the four upright posts that remained from the old utt. The guys had already removed three of them and we set about removing the last one. It would have been easy if we'd had a crane or boom truck. Instead we had a come-along and a chain.

We ran the come-along to a tree and used it to loosen the post. We dug around the post and attached the chain down low and then built a lever. Unfortunately the lever we had to use was a small telephone pole so it was heavy as the devil. We lifted it, placed the fulcrum, and pressed it down. the post rose a few inches and we started again. the pole had to come up about five feet. We worked up quite a sweat getting it up.

Tuesday we go to the telephone company to get more poles to build the base of the utt. There is a pile of them there, piled like jackstraws. We have to select 8 or 10 good ones and drag them out to where we can load them on a truck on Saturday.

Today, I worked on replacing electrical receptacles and switches. Wakana wanted them all to be white. Now that I have done the living room I can see that it might have been a mistake to go with white. The switches are almost impossible to see against the white wall. I hope Wakana likes it. I'd rather not replace them again.

I also rearranged the living room. It should be an interesting day when Wakana sees it.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 17 Oct 04 - 09:45 AM

no wonder you worked up a sweat!!

keep enjoying those Saturdays.

sandra


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 17 Oct 04 - 09:48 AM

Brett, the article was in Conde Nast Traveller, but I can't remember the date (or even year, but it was either last or this year) and was how a guy got one of those air tickets that includes all the flights (on a list of carriers) you can make within x-amount of time -- and he used it (to write the article for the magazine) to hit as many countries around the world as he possibly could. (I don't think he slept except on a plane.) Maybe somebody else has a copy of it.

Linn


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 18 Oct 04 - 01:00 AM

Thanks Linn, I'll check around for it.

Today has been a lazy day. I can't figure out if I am worn out from yesterday or mentally preparing myself for tomorrow when we go gget those poles.

I guess I'll take a nap.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 19 Oct 04 - 08:31 AM

Busy day today. The island is battening down for Typhoon Nock-ten. I went out this morning to run some errands and do laundry. The laundromat was crowded, no surprise, and several of the businesses were closing early so their employees could prepare for the storm. It was eerie driving home past businesses all closed up with storm shutters. What made it eerie was that the days was sunny and bright with a light breeze and lovely puffy clouds defining the sky.

But, according to the weather forecast we will experience high winds and rain all day tomorrow. I have battened dow everything except for putting up the storm shutters. I'll do that in the morning if it turns out to be necessary.

For those who are curious, yes, Wakana is due back tomorrow if the typhoon allows it.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Charley Noble
Date: 19 Oct 04 - 09:00 AM

Brett-

Never mind the weather,
As long as you're together,
It's off to see the Wild West Show!

It's down to the 50's around here in Maine now during the days, and close to freezing during the nights.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 19 Oct 04 - 03:44 PM

When I did the laundry yesterday I washed my mittens and watchcap. You can never be too careful. The mittens are leather and fleece and were stained with soot as was the watch cap and a shirt. I had the mittens on the dashboard. drying, when I visited Gordon on my way home. His wife laughed at the mittens. I told her I was ready for the typhoon....

Guam is in Condition Of Readiness (COR) 1. I just heard a public service announcement about the typhoon on the radio. It included a suggestion that women in their third trimester of pregnancy should report to the hospital. It appears that there is an up surge in births during a typhoon and again nine months later. Hmm, I wonder why...

Anyway, it's 5:57 AM and the typhoon is 245 miles out. The skies appear to be cloudy though it is still dark. It has been raining but there is little wind so far in this little nook where my house sits.

Southern Japan is currently under typhoon conditions and now Guam is too. If I believed in fate I would say the world is keeping Wakana from coming home. Fortunaately I believe in coincidences.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 21 Oct 04 - 11:02 PM

Yesterday when I finished writing what follows I found that the computer was no longer connected to the internet. Our phone was out. It turned out that the entire telephone system was down all over the island including cell phones. I figure the system is plugged into a single scoket and someone tripped over the power cord, unplugging it from the wall.

******
Nock-ten never turned north so our preparations were unnecessary. Still, it could have so maybe they were after all. Yesterday was bright and mostly dry with a bit of wind, maybe 30 to 40 mph. It was similar to a holiday in that all the stores were closed and nobody was driving anywhere.

Wakana got home last night. She brought a suitcase full of Christmas presents, Japanese foods, and personal belongings. We spent this morning opening them and discussing who should get which present. For my daughters I have this to say, "Nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah, nyaaaah, nyah, I know something you don't know."


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: katlaughing
Date: 22 Oct 04 - 01:01 AM

How wonderful! It must feel great to have Wakana back home and making plans for the holidays. Please keep sharing with us, Brett. It is all so interesting and wonderful to read about. I am glad you missed the typhoon!

luvyakat


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Lana
Date: 22 Oct 04 - 07:34 AM

well you can tell Wakana that Nyah Nyah Nyah, I know something she doesn't know. ;)

love
kelli


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 23 Oct 04 - 12:58 AM

Lana, I have been teaching her the old "Nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah, nyaaaah, nyah, I know something you don't know." She has learned it well.

The weather has been near perfect lately. It hasn't been very hot and the sun has been shining. The surf is beautiful. It's still high and the bright son gives it a gorgeous blend of blues and greens which change to white as the waves curl over and collapse.

Tonight some friends come in from Japan to visit for a few days. They are old friends of Wakana's who have been educated in the USA so they speak clear English. I don't have to sit silent and wondering as the conversation carries on around me. Should be fun.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 23 Oct 04 - 09:24 PM

Dinner last night was fun. We met Wakana's friends at the airport and took them to the hotel. Then we went to a Chinese restaurant for dinner. The only table available was a large round table for at least 8 to 10 people so we were not set up for conversation but we did OK.

The restaurant is a traditional Chinese restaurant with dishes served for the table instead of individually. There is a large glass lazy Susan in the center and the dishes were laced there. Then the diners could just turn the lazy Susan to reach whatever they wanted. Plus the waiters could serve the table without encroaching on the personal space of the diners. We had hot & sour soup, pork dumplings, shrimp shaumai (a steamed meat dumpling), chop suey fried rice, and fried noodles. For desert we had Chinese fruit coktail which had a Chinese "jelly" made of almonds in with the usual fruit cocktail mix of peaches, pears, and grapes. We also had sesame balls, a ball of mashed rice cake covered with sesame seed and filled with mochi, a sweet paste made from red beans. It was delicious, filling, and relatively cheap. The whole meal for four people ran us only $44. Plus the restaurant accidentally gave us an extra serving of the shaumai.

Tonight Umiko and Yamachan will be coming to dinner. I will amke a pot roast in the crock pot with biscuits.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: GUEST,Millie Webb
Date: 24 Oct 04 - 09:52 AM

Hi!
I have been reading the posts about Guam all Summer long. My daughter married a sailor who is stationed in Guam for three years. She is trying to move to Guam to live with him but since they were married after he received his orders, she and my grandson are not part of the orders. Navy paperwork is NOT quick and easy! She is going to Guam in the next few weeks to try to work on the paperwork in person- to make a personal connection. It has been so helpful to me to read how life there is. The more I read, the better connected I feel. Please keep these posts going.
Millie Webb
Williamsburg, VA


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 25 Oct 04 - 08:35 PM

Hi Millie, welcome to the readership. I'm glad you've enjoyed these threads.

Yesterday Wakana and our Japanese friends toured the southern part of the island. It was something Wakana and I have not done in a long time. For once it wasn't raining down there and we enjoyed near perfect weather all day though the clouds were heavy.

We started by visiting the Quest so they could see the traditional seagoing canoe of the Carolinian Islands. Then we paid a visit to some Japanese caves and bunkers from WWII. After a visit to Latte Stone Park we headed to the dive shop to get snorkeling gear for a visit to Fish Eye.

Fish Eye is a wonderful snorkeling spot. They've been feeding the fish out there so there are schools of beautiful tropical reef fish, some small but mostly large with irridescent colors and bright stripes. The corals are lovely, yellows and purples, dark brown weeds and white sands.

After that we went up on to Nimitz Hill to the War In The Pacific Park overlook. The War In The Pacific Park system is a series of parks that memorialize specific areas of Guam. We headed up to the Japanese command post for the invasion by the American forces. It provides a beautiful view mof the coast and the park we call Little Waikiki.

Then it was off to Tuan's for lunch. We had cold noodles, a wonderful combination of noodles, vegetables, fried meat (chicken, beef, or pork). Then we headed south stopping at various scenic overlooks and beaches. It was a lovely day for a drive and we used the whole day. The sky was mostly cloudy so we didn't get the emerald greens and pure blues on the ocean. Instead the sea was siver and gray. Not quite as pretty as under a blue sky but not bad at all.

Today they head home. We will take them to Faifai beach to see Two Lover's Point from below and to see some traditional latte stones in the jungle.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 26 Oct 04 - 03:15 AM

We met our friends at noon and took them to Gun Beach and Faifai Beach. I had never been to either of those places. You can drive to Gun Beach which is named for a Japanese shore gun placed at the base of the cliff. It is a mass of rust but it still seems to menace the harbor.

Then we walked on further, over a trail over the rock formation that separated the two beaches. A trail has been cut into the old coral rock, with bamboo handrails and catwalkks made of old telephone poles. At the other end of the trail is one of the pretiest beaches I have seen in a long time. The sand is soft and white, nearly powder, and the water is protected by the reef so it is like a mill pond while the wild surf crashes just a hundred yards away. The other side of the beach is lined with Australian pines and palm trees. It's really lovely.

Afterwards we went to the Nikko Hotel for the luncheon buffet. That was lovely too. There was so much to choose from, most of it Japanese or based on Japanese cooking so that our friends and Wakana managed to get plenty to make them happy. I did too though not the same stuff. I am finding that Japanese food is a taste that has to be learned.

Now the day and the visit is over. Our friends are winging their way back home and tomorrow will be back at w--k (sorry abbout the four letter word).


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 01 Nov 04 - 03:00 AM

Before Wakana left home she mailed herself a box full of her favorite videotapes and books. Among the videotapes are three animated movies from Ghibli Studios. If you haven't seen anything from there do yourself a favor and find something. The movies we have watched so far are Porco Rosso (I know, it's Italian), and Naucissa Of The Valley of Wind. they are beautiful movies with rich color and very detailed backgrounds. Porco Rosso (The Red Pig) is especially cool with wonderful seaplanes and sailboats cruising the Mediterranean Sea. She has one more that we will probably watch tonight.

We spent today cleaning up the workshop and putting together an erector set workshelf. What a piece of trash that shelving is.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: katlaughing
Date: 01 Nov 04 - 03:39 AM

More beautiful pictures, Brett! Thanks so much for sharing...I still say it all belongs in a book.**bg**

Did you get to vote there or do they do it all by absentee ballots? I will finally call...after Tuesday!

luvyakat


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 04 Nov 04 - 02:22 AM

Today we spent the day pulling old telephone poles out of a pile that looked like giant pick up sticks. We are hoping to build a traditional canoe house. We pulled about 8 good poles out of the pile and now I am sunburned, sore, and tired. I got home covered in dirt and sweat.

One of our group is an interesting character. He is originally from Virginia and maintains his residence there but lives in Taiwan and Guam. He's building a house here but owns several businesses in Taiwan including a few restaurants and a bakery. He also sails professionally and supervises a crew maintaining a fleet of racing sailboats for a wealthy Hong Kong businessman. He is currently building a big cruising powerboat to work down through the islands carrying mail and supplies to the more remote places in the Pacific. It will carry three tons of cargo. He wants me to work the boat with him. He laughs about using it for smuggling and a little bit of piracy. Should be interesting. Tomorrow he will be meeting with the Taiwanese ambassador here on Guam to discuss free medicines for delivery to the islands. Yo ho ho, and a bottle of rum!

Yesterday I proposed to Wakana. She says it is traditional for the woman to think about the proposal for a "while".


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 04 Nov 04 - 08:38 AM

congratulations to you for proposing & to her for considering the proposal.

I hope to see the answer when I log in again in about 24 hours

sandra


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: JennyO
Date: 04 Nov 04 - 09:14 AM

Yes, me too!

Jenny (waiting with bated - or is that baited? - breath)


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: MMario
Date: 04 Nov 04 - 09:25 AM

Yesterday I proposed to Wakana

You just slip that in there as a casual statement. I'm not sure I could do that. From what you have written the two of you make each other very happy - I hope you can formalize the relationship and continue happy. Best of Luck to both of you.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Charley Noble
Date: 04 Nov 04 - 06:03 PM

"Yesterday I proposed to Wakana"

What's wrong with living together for 10 or so years? Seemed to work for Judy and me. Yah, sure, we finally did get married and had a big party, even invited you! You young fellows are always in such a tearass rush!

Anyway I'm looking forward to hearing more about THE ADVENTURES OF BRETT AND THE PIRATES IN THE SOUTH CHINA SEAS. Don't forget to take your pass port and several pairs of clean brown underwear.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble, back in Maine where the car windows need defrosting every morning now


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 04 Nov 04 - 10:08 PM

Wakana has accepted my proposal. We are researching the process. I think we will marry in Japan next month. This is a difficult process because of the two nationalities involved plus the oddball system of laws here in Guam. It appears to be simpler to marry in Japan and then bring the paperwork back here.

As for it being a casual statement, well, I was setting up the dramatic pause she was forcing. I don't think I have been too open about our relationship. We've had ups and downs. There have been tearful disagreements and happy days. At one time she was packing a bag to get out of here. We have considerable difficulties caused by our disparate cultures. A casual statement by one can cause deeep misgivings in the other. For example, a while back she was sewing curtains and I was working in the other room. I found a set of curtains my mother had sent me years ago. She'd bought them in a sale. I'd never used them and I wanted her to know we had them. Unfortunately her interpretation of the event was that her work was not good enough and that the curtains were important because they'd been a gift from my mother. It took a while to unravel that problem. However we have forged a tie that includes a resolution to always talk out whatever problems arise, that we will try to be flexible in our cultural differences. We feel good about this.

Another reason it's a casual reference is that I am aready committed to her and she to me. If we were both Americans or Japanese we wouldn't bother with marriage. Unfortunately we have legal issues as well as the love we have for eacch other. The marriage of our souls is an accomplished fact. This is a legal connection that we need to be able to stay together. Without the marriage we can only be together 3 months at a time and neither of us can go to live in the other's country and work.

I hope this doesn't sound too mercenary. It isn't intended to. Theese considerations are secondary to the real reason for the marriage. It is a marriage based in love and tenderness. We do love each other and consider this a lifetime committment.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: katlaughing
Date: 05 Nov 04 - 01:23 AM

It SOUNDS wonderfully romantic and meant to be, Brett! I am so happy for you. COngratulations!!

If you do go off with the pirates, you have to be sure to tell us where the buried treasure is! What an interesting and varied life you are leading, now!


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 05 Nov 04 - 07:25 AM

even more congratulations to you both. Why, it seems only yesterday that you were sad & alone & now look at you!!

sandra


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Charley Noble
Date: 06 Nov 04 - 04:42 PM

Brett-

I'll drink to that!

Now, let's see what we've got around here to drink...

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 06 Nov 04 - 10:47 PM

Al was telling the story the other day about a man who sailed the islands down here exchanging the old silver coins people used for money for paper American dollars. Once he had a load he would sail for Hong Kong or Singapore and sell them for the weight of the silver. Apparently he made a lot of money doing that.

I haven't mentioned Guam politics much in this thread. basically it was because I didn't understand it but I was also uninterested. Now, with the election behind us Americans, I can look back and tell you about what I have seen.

First of all the government is led by the governor. He has an assistant. Then there is the legislature, a single body called the senate. There are 15 senators. The senators do not repreesent a region or area so the whole island votes for each one.

Villages have mayors and the mayors have a lot of power. It is the mayor who gets things done for his town, whether it is road repair or preventing landlslides. The mayor's office provides everything from canopies and chairs for parties to loads of coral gravel for repairing driveways.

Here in Guam the family ties are very strong. Every politician is careful to list which families he or she belongs to. The political signs include all three names as well as any nickname the politician has. For example, Tina Barnes ran under the name Tine Muna Barnes. She had to make sure people knew she was a member of the Muna family. The mayors take advantage of this by giving their family members jobs in the town government so the trick is to elect a mayor with a small family.

In the primary election the islanders vote straight ticket for each party. THis year the democrats had 16 people trying for the 15 seats. It wasn't much of a choice.

And, of course, you also have to have corruption. This is politics, after all. I think 3 of the last 4 governors are under investigation for some kind of corruption. One of them used territory materials and workmen to improve his ranch. Another used Guam money for personal trips abroad. Of course, the judges they appointed make sure that the casess move slowly or not at all. It makes for an interesting circus as long as you don't get involved.

And the parting shot from the election is that many of our TV programs come to us 2 weeks after they show on the mainland. That means we still get political ads for up to two weeks after you guys are done with them in the States. Ugh!


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: GUEST,Millie Webb
Date: 07 Nov 04 - 10:17 PM

Hi, again,
My daughter is now in Guam to arrange her base housing and her and her son's sponsorship to move there to live with her Navy husband. She is VERY impressed with the island so far. We are keeping our grandson until she comes back. This thread has been a wonderful help for me so I can know more about the area that is not in the books or available elsewhere. Thanks, again, for this thread.
Millie


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: JennieG
Date: 07 Nov 04 - 11:58 PM

Goodonya Brett - all the best. When are you bringing Wakana to Sydney?

Cheers
JennieG


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Roger the Skiffler
Date: 08 Nov 04 - 03:34 AM

Trivia corner: UK tv programme claimed that world's highest consumption of Spam per head is on Guam,. I think it said 17 tins per year!

RtS
("Spam, spam, spam spam...")


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Tenjiro
Date: 08 Nov 04 - 08:29 AM

Dad, Had something amusing happen that I thought you and your mudcat buddies would enjoy. I was in a car with my friend Robin and Ariel last night and they were listening to a mix of folk songs. Last year I had let Robin burn a copy of the Roll and Go cd and she'd forgotten that the cd was yours. Th following conversation happened:

*Maid on the Shore plays over the stereo in Ariel's car*
Me: Oh I love this song...turn it up!
Robin: You KNOW this song?
Me: Duh...its on my dad's cd...that's my dad signing the male part.
Ariel and Robin: THAT'S YOUR DAD?!
Me: Yea...uh..why?
Ariel: Oh nothing...we've just been having impure thoughts about the guy who sings this song all year.
Robin: He has a sexy voice...it's your dad?

So yea, dad...you have fan girls now. Feel special!


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 09 Nov 04 - 08:22 AM

good one!

he does have a lovely voice & really made an impression when he was at the Dog last year. Shivers when up & down spines when he sang Stan Rogers.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: SINSULL
Date: 09 Nov 04 - 09:20 AM

Seems to me I remember Brett performing Gordon Bok's "Cape Sable"(Title?) and setting a few sighs in motion. While you're still single - any interest in filling the role of Mudcat Toy Boy? We are taking applications and you have already filled the HUG requirement. Sorry, Wakana. It will only be temporary.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: GUEST,bbc at work
Date: 09 Nov 04 - 11:15 AM

Brett, I'm very happy for both you & Wakana--long life & love!

best,

Barbara


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: GUEST,winterbright
Date: 09 Nov 04 - 05:11 PM

Just catching up with the news. Congratulations to you both!


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 09 Nov 04 - 09:53 PM

Impure thoughts about me in England? Gah! Wakana may want to meet those girls when we get to England. Did I tell you she used to practice kendo? Are your friends conversant in the language of swords?

Thanks for the kind compliments. Sins, I have always been available as a boy toy. Wakana, being Japanese, SAYS it's natural for a man to look for such opportunities. I really don't believe she would be able live up to that philosophy and I am certainly not dumb enough to put it to the test.

We have been landscaping. We now have a border around the base of the first corner of the house up and around the entrance. I would like to get a large Japanese stone lantern to place outside of the door. They seem to be rather difficult to find here. They have some stone lanterns at the Chamorro Village but they are actually Chinese design and rather crudely made, and expensive.

We are trying to figure out how to make a marriage between a Japanese and a United Statesian. In Japan the marriage process is separate from the ceremony. It is easy but... First I need to go to the American Embassy in Tokyo to get a Single Affadavit For Marriage signed and sealed. We then take that to her home town hall and get married. Then the real fun starts and I don't mean the honeymoon.

For her to emigrate to the U.S. I need to fill out an I-130. That is an application to apply for an immigrant visa. We need to provide proof of our relationship including, according to the embassy website, photos, emails, letters, phone bills, and any other proof that you have a relationship. Note, that a marriage certificate is NOT part of that list.

Sigh, back into the halls of bureaucracy.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Amos
Date: 10 Nov 04 - 11:13 AM

Just goes to show that good songs knwo no age group, eh? :D Goodd thing you aren't a dirty old man, BRett!! Great story, though!

Many many congratulations to you and Wakana. Good luck getting hitched!!

A


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 12 Nov 04 - 06:48 PM

We went out to dinner last night to Din Tai Fong, the Chinese restaurant we went to with Yumiko and Yamachan. This time we went with two friends from my old life, my former boss and his wife. We had a nice time. Wakana stole the show introducing us to verious Chinese dishes and tastes. It was great fun. I couldn't even begin to tell you what we ate except for shrimp shumai and some kind of fried noodle dish. We also had some kind of shrimp dumplings. I am making a lot of progress eating with chopsticks (haschi). I may not disgrace myself when we go to Japan.

I plan to spend this week shopping for Christmas presents and Wakana's birthday present. I am at a loss for the latter. I prompted her into a conversation about hobbies yesterday trying to figure out what would be a good line of gifts. I wanted to buy her some Japanese carpentry tools. When we met she claimed to be a carpenter and later she sadly explained to me that she'd sold the tools when she moved to Guam. After our conversation I got the idea that the tools might not be a good idea. I must not have been too subtle in our conversation for this morning she made some comments about how much she enjoyed building the bench she made for herself.

She also commented about needing a rake and some tools to do yard work. Hah! That would be like the man who bought his wife a vacuum cleaner for her birthday. Carpentry tools are hobby tools. Yard tools aren't. "Here, dear, I bought you a lawn mower... OUCH!"

Today is a great day in the neighborhood, or at least this house. The NEW computer arrives today! Sleek, black, powerful, and up to date, this machine will really fly. I am so looking forward to it.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 13 Nov 04 - 12:45 AM

I am typing this on a nice new PC! What a lovely machine. I feel like I have finally recovered from the fire.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 16 Nov 04 - 11:57 PM

It's an interesting fact of life that a contented person generally is not a person who is having adventures. Thus, there is nothing to report except the humdrum daily activity of an almost married couple. There are disagreements and teary times but there are very nice times as well.

Wakana is frustrated by her lack of progress in English so we are going to be working on her vocabulary and grammar. If any of you knows of a free web site where there is help available please feel free to send it along.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: katlaughing
Date: 17 Nov 04 - 03:09 AM

hKinda nice to have things so calm and less adventuresome, isn't it, Brett? Less for us to enjoy as your loyal readers, but less stress, too, I'd imagine.:-)

here are a couple of sites which might help: English Course

clickie


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 17 Nov 04 - 07:09 AM

You both deserve a peaceful life after the recent Hard Times.

sandra


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: GUEST,ClaireBear
Date: 17 Nov 04 - 12:32 PM

Brett,

Because I'm an editor professionally, I concentrate on sites that teach written rather than spoken English, so this site may not be right for Wakana, but I like it because it's interactive and very thorough. You might take a look first and see if it will help.

Brett, I just want to add that I've been following your story closely since you left for Guam, and as time went on I was continually moved and saddened by your -- evidently hard-earned -- wariness of relationships with women.

This spring, I had surgery and radiation for cancer and was housebound for three months with no Internet access. When I got back to work, the first thing I did was to check your thread to see how you had been faring. I wish I could describe my joy at seeing the change you'd undergone while I was away. You helped my recovery with your own, and I thank you for that from the bottom of my heart.

My best to both you and the redoubtable Wakana. I hope to sing songs of the sea with you someday.

Claire


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Amos
Date: 17 Nov 04 - 05:43 PM

Brett:

It is my belief that clearing up individual words and syllables will make a lot of difference and is 99% of the task. They are the core building blocks of the crazy matrix of concepts that is a language.

A


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 21 Nov 04 - 08:31 AM

I got some very bad news tonight. Megan, my daughter Lana's, best friend and a kid I always considered to be like a daughter to me died quietly tonight after a long battle with leukemia. Apparently she got a lung infection and that's what did it.

Megan joined my daughters and my nephew in an 8 year game of Dungeons and Dragons. We started the game when they were 12 years old and kept it going through blizzards and summer heat. Late nights were spent around the table battling all the monsters the DM could throw at us. As we fought she created tiny origamis and drew fantasy scenes with the grease pencil. When she was diagnosed with leukemia the rest of us pitched in to buy her something to help her spirits. Not for us a bunch of flowers that would wilt and die. We bought her a sword.

But she has finished that last big fight and now journeys on to another land that may wait for all of us. This is why we humans believe in an afterlife. It isn't just for us. We want to believe that our loved ones are in a better place.

Megan, Fare well in your journey. You fought a brave battle. Rest now before you meet the road and again sally forth into adventure.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: katlaughing
Date: 21 Nov 04 - 12:05 PM

Oh, Brett and Lana...{{{{{{HUGS}}}}}} I am so sorry to hear of this.

For Megan:

O Master -- Musician
Tune me for life again.
The awakening of new music
    My heart wants to become.
My life is now mingled
    In ecstasy's height.
             --Sri Chinmoy

In love and sorrow,

kat


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 21 Nov 04 - 04:38 PM

Thanks Kat, that's a lovely poem. After a night's sleep I feel better but still sad. Kids aren't supposed to die. God's fan club claims that there is a plan and all is in accordance with it. As far as I'm concerned any plan that involves killing kids is not worth the paper it's drawn up on. I told Him/Her that last night.

I have not been very good about thanking you for the web sites. I've been busy with Christymas shopping and working around the house. Plus a certain fiancee, no names, has become addicted to Spider Solitaire and takes up a lot of computer time....

Thanks very much for the web sites. I will explore them and see what I can use to help her refine her English. Her skill varies with her mood, no surprises there. When she is angry or depressed her skill drops but when she is happy she can chatter away like anyone else, almost.

Clairebear, I am touched by what you said. Yes, I have changed over the course of this story. I am seeing a good counselor (and taking the right antidepressant) and I may have the black dog of depression finally leashed. Now I only hope the leash holds.

The other day I described depression to Wakana as walking a huge dog on a leash. Sometimes you can control the dog but more often he drags you where he wants to go. The trick is to teach the dog to respond to verbal commands so you can keep him controled without a lot of pressure on the leash.

By the way, Clairebear, have you and I met? I have a friend named Claire back in Portland, Maine, but you said you hoped to sing sea songs with me but did not say "again" so I'm guessing you are not she.

Kat, you mentioned how nice it must be to have things peaceful. It is... and it isn't. The key to adventure is to do the things you want to do and not have to deal with the fuss of the bad things that happen to you. The reality of adventure is that you have to deal with both. A sane, peaceful life is not what I am looking for right now. I do want a solid foundation in my personal life and I think I have found that. But considerations of how tall the grass is getting in the yard, whether or not the bills have been paid (the phone was cut off last week - bills were sent to the old address), how much gas is in the car, and other little items are not for me.

But I am going to Japan on December 1 to get married so I guess I have some adventure to look forward to. We will tour Wakana's home town and I will get to meet the family. They are concerned about my ability to eat at a low Japanese table. I cannot sit in the Japanese fashion. I hope they won't make too much fuss.

And there is the adventure of landscaping. We have been setting those big heavy pavers around the base of the wall. This involves an even layer of sand, carried in five gallon buckets, then walking the paver into place, shifting it till it fits, and pouring more sand into the cracks. We are looking for a large Japanese lantern to place at the corner by the door.

And I also hope to get involved in the adventure of exercise again. I reinflated the tires on my bicycle (remember that?). It is now mounted on the back of the car and will go with me down to Asan Park where I can ride it around the park. A couple of circuits ought to help out. Wakana calls Asan Park Little Waikiki. It's a lovely open field with a line of coconut palms along the white sand beach. There is a walking/bike trail around the park. It's also the site of the landing by American forces when they retook Guam from the Japanese in 1944.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 22 Nov 04 - 02:27 AM

Very busy day today, and yesterday. Wakana and I calculated that we went to 11 different places today. I bought a part for the bicycle and we got a shoe cabinet. For those who are not familiar with Asian lifestyle it is frowned on to wear your outdoor shoes in the house. They have a "shoe-off" place next to the door where you can change into your indoor slippers or whatever. The outdoor shoes go into a cabinet. We found a nice wicker work cabinet at Marianas Handicrafts up in Tamuning. It was only $30 and should do the job.

We also visited China Arts, a shop I have wanted to explore since I got here. Unfortunately I only remember that when I am on my way home and not interested in stiopping or when it is closed. What a neat shop. It's full of exotic Asian furniture, mostly Chinese, and Persian carpets and delicate China, and stamping materials and... Let's just say, it's full.

Now we are tired and ready for a break but we have a whole lot of presents to wrap so we can get the box in the mail. It's a long way to Maine from here.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 24 Nov 04 - 08:26 PM

Here in Guam it is Thanksgiving Day. This afternoon we will join Tom & Barbara for a traditional dinner, turkey with all the fixings. Poor Barbara is probably hard at work now.

As I look back over this year I find a lot to be thnkful for. Admittedly my year has been difficult at times what wtih the fire and ID Theft, Megan's recent death, and a number of minor difficulties. But this year I found Wakana, and I found another house to live in, and I have two wonderful children who are making lives for themselves but still have time to share their news with their old dad. My parents are both alive and amazingly active. My siblings are well and healthy. I am thankful for all of this.

And, added to all that, I am thankful for you, my Mudcat friends, who want to share this adventure with me and who let me know that you enjoy the news I share with you. I am thankful that you would like to share an evening of music with me and that to do so you would come to visit me if money would only permit. And I am thankful that I would be welcome in your homes if I were to leave Guam to visit you.

Life is good. I have to say that because for many years I said, "Life is a bitch and then you die!" I no longer believe that and I am most grateful for that.

Happy Thanksgiving.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: katlaughing
Date: 25 Nov 04 - 01:41 AM

And we are MOST Thankful for you, Brett, for sharing so much and opening your heart up to so much new and so many possibilities and LOOK where it lead you ANd sharing it with us. It has been wonderful!! Thanks!

luvyakat


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: JennyO
Date: 25 Nov 04 - 08:18 AM

Brett, I was only thinking a couple of days ago, that this time last year, you and Charlie were in our backyard at Earlwood having a barbeque. Even though it was almost summer, the weather was filthy - dark skies, wind and occasional rain, and you said you didn't believe we had warm summers.

Well, guess what! Same weather again on the same date! I must remember NEVER EVER to have a barbeque or go camping at this time of year. The weather is too unstable. Mind you, now it's getting hot again - a hot weekend is expected, and I'll be camping and singing - oh joy!

Would you have believed a year ago that things would have turned out this way? I'm really happy for you, and I hope there will be a chance some day for us Ozcats to meet Wakana. Maybe we can drive her around "Dirty Newtown" eh :-)

Jenny


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: SINSULL
Date: 25 Nov 04 - 10:56 AM

Happy Thanksgiving, Brett. It is supposed to go into the 50's or 60's. I am off to Tom and Lynn's for dinner and some fun. Enjoy!


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Amos
Date: 25 Nov 04 - 11:20 AM

Blessings on you, buddy!! May the next year be even richer!!

A


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 26 Nov 04 - 07:35 AM

When my kids were young they enjoyed eating the packaged ramen noodles that we could get for pennies in the grocery store. This evening Wakana took me to a ramen restaurant where she ate ramen and I had Chinese dumplings and rice.

This morning we finished the job of placing the big pavers along the front of the house. It looks pretty good if I do say so. Gordon says he will power wash and apply one coat of paint to the place while we are in Japan. Right now the color of the walls varies from white to blue with some rather shocking grafitti on the end wall.

We are getting pretty excited about the trip to Japan. I get to meet the parents and she gets to visit home and see family and friends.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: GUEST,ClaireBear
Date: 29 Nov 04 - 03:54 PM

Happy belated Thanksgiving from sunny but chilly California -- and have a wonderful trip and a grand lifetime adventure with Wakana!

No, Brett, I haven't met you. Sorry to confuse you. I'm in the SF Bay Area songs-of-the-sea-singing community and tend to think of all of us chantypersons as one big happy family, so that makes us cousins who haven't met. Still hope to, someday.

Did I mention how wonderful a writer you have become?

Claire


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 30 Nov 04 - 07:16 PM

Thank you ClaireBear. Yes, I too think of folkies as one huge extended family. And there are lots of old friends I hope to meet some day.

Today Wakana and I fly to Japan. This evening we will be in Tokyo. Tomorrow we go to the United States Embassy to get a paper signed and sealed and do some visiting and sightseeing. Then, day after tomorrow, we head for her home town to MEET THE PARENTS!

I am quite nervous about this. After her mother's initial reaction I find myself wondering how her father will react to my size and beard. We have been laughing about it between ourselves.

Wish me luck.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Charley Noble
Date: 30 Nov 04 - 07:29 PM

Congratulations, Brett and Wakana!

Don't forget....no I don't even dare mention what you might forget, if you ever found it, or got it replaced.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: JennyO
Date: 30 Nov 04 - 09:33 PM

Good luck Brett. I'm sure you'll do fine with Wakana's parents, being the lovable sort of fella you are. And Wakana, if he ever brings you to Sydney, you can be sure of a warm mudcat welcome - Brett will confirm this!

Love, Jenny


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Amos
Date: 30 Nov 04 - 11:01 PM

Brett:

DO NOT MISPLACE YOUR PASSPORT. Tell Wakana I said so, okay?? LOL!!


A


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Charley Noble
Date: 01 Dec 04 - 08:37 AM

Amos-

You forgot to mention his KEYS!

Oh, shit! Now they've disappeared along with his passport into some black hole.

Well, at least he has love!

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: SINSULL
Date: 01 Dec 04 - 10:36 AM

I thought the KEYS were a big secret????? Relax and be yourself, Brett. Dad will love you or not. You can't control it and Wakana will be amused either way.
Sayonara.
SINS


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: GUEST,Brett in Tokyo
Date: 01 Dec 04 - 07:39 PM

Well here I am in Japan. We arrived in Narita last night after an unremarkable flight. It was over an hour and a half from the airport to the hotel. The room is tiny, barely large enough to hold the two twin beds, and there is only about six inches of space between them. The beds are hard as rocks and the pillows even harder. But we are in Japan and it is allpart of the adventure.

The subway from the train station to the hotel was crowded though Wakana says that isn't really the case. All I know is that I could have let go of the suitcase and it would not have fallen to the floor. And if, by some miracle it had been able to get to the floor I never would have been able to bend over to pick it up.

We walked out after we checked in to get some dinner. We found a Chinese restaurant next door to the hotel where we had a mediocre dinner. In our short exploration we found a MacDonalds and I had to look to see what that would cost.

In all the years before meeting Wakana I have heard stories about how expensive Japan is, especially Tokyo. Well, it's all bull. A meal at Mickey D's is only about $5 to $6. Not much different than back home. Our hotel is about $100 per night.

Today we are headed for the American Embassy to get some paperwork for the marriage. Then we will do some sightseeing and visit with some of Wakana's friends and her brother.

By the way, Wakana's brother owns a shop that sells jazz CDs and reccords. Unfortunately it has not been easy to keep it going in Japan's sagging economy so he will be closing it soon. He has agreed to take me to his favorite music shop to look at instruments. That should be a fun trip.

More to come.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Dec 04 - 07:42 PM

By the way, I am typing oon a public connection in the hotel lobby. Wakana had to set it up to work in English but every once in a while I it the wrong key (\) and get Japanese characters. Then I get something that looks like this:

‚Ä‚¥"w‚ ‚ꂶ‚á"h쳌Q‚¹ƒ`ƒƒƒ‰‚ƒƒe‚'‚"쳌B


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: JennyO
Date: 02 Dec 04 - 09:52 AM

Hey Brett, someone just mentioned your name in the "vote for the sexiest voice" thread! And well deserved too, I might add!

Watch out for those Japanese characters - they look a bit weird to me :-)

Jenny


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Dec 04 - 08:16 PM

Yesterday was devoted to our business at the embassy and then visiting with Wakana's old friends and brother. All I saw was subway stations and trains with the occasional walk down a city street. We had dinner in Subiyashi which is where one of the key scenes in Lost In Translation was filmed. Look for the scene with the enormous outdoor TV screens.

Her brother is cool. He has one of those hole-in-the-wall music shops devited to jazz. We talked about music for a while as best we could considering the language difficulty. Next week he is closing the store for good which makes Wakana sad. It was his dream and it didn't work out. I can see how happy he is in that shop but there were no customers while we were there.

Next week he will join us at Wakana's home and then "kidnap" me to go to Tokyo to look around the music shops. We laughed about that trip. All the way he will be saying "Pardon?" because he doesn't understand English and I will be saying "Wakarimasen." because I do not speak Japanese. I expect we will have a great time.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 04 Dec 04 - 06:02 AM

The scary part is over. I have met the family and they have welcomed me with open arms. But that is later in the story.

We spent our second day in Tokyo visiting and seeing some sights. We went to Asakusa which was the original downtown for the city when it was Edo. The streets are narrow and lined with shops close by each other. We were accosted by a young man wearing a half kimono jacket and a headband. He sold us a ride in his jinrickisha at the price of 1500 yen for 10 minutes. That took us out and about. We authorized an additional 10 minutes and he took us to the big temple. Then he only charged us for the initial 10 minutes and wouldn't take a tip. It was yet another once-in-a-lifetime experience.

I felt bad for him because I am not a lightweight person but he picked up the bars of the ricksha and ran off down the street while cars edged past us and pedestrians jumped out of the way. At one point an older man walking on the sidewlk waved to us and called "Are you happy?" To which there was only one answer, "Hai!" ("Yes!")

Our guide paused at significant points to explain where we were and, I suppose, to catch his breath. He must be in remarkable shape for he ran, pulling us along, as though we weren't there.

After we left him we wandered over to the Asakusa Buddhist Temple. It has been destroyed by fire several times so what we saw was just the most recent reconstruction, barely 150 years old. There is one gate to the temple grounds that is still of the original construction. It is over 400 years old. There we many people on the grounds. One group were gathered around a cauldron from which smoke poured. Inside, standing in sand, were burning scrolls of fortunes that people had bought. It sems that burning the scroll is how you persuade the Buddha to grant your fortune come true. The people were waving the smoke on to themselves. Wakana explained that they believed the smoke would cure their minor ills, headaches, muscle strains, etc. She waved some on to my bad knee but it didn't seem to help.

We went into the temple and saw the richly colored paintings on the roof and looked into the inner part where the Buddha sat. It was a beautiful building with magnificent sculture and painting. I paid 100 yen for a fortune. I had to shake a stick out of a hole and then read the number from the stick. The number corresponded to a drawer and in the drawer were the fortunes. Mine was that I would have a good marriage, among other things. As prescribed I tied it to the rack so it would come true.

There was a shop selling other worship related Items and I bought a present for my daughter there.

We then walked over to the oldest gate but got sidetracked to the Asakusa Sinto Shrine. It is a smaller building sitting behind the temple. Buddhism and Shinto coexist in Japan. Neither and both are the "official" religion. Japanese houses, including this one, have both a portable temple to Buddha and a small Shinto shrine. They are carefully tended and form a large part of daily life.

The shrine was also beautiful. We couldn't get into the inner sanctum but we could see it with the straw rope over the entrance and the folded paper tassels hanging from it. The guardians were there in ancient samurai armor. We added our donation to the pot and clapped to pray.

We walked from there up the main street that led from the main gate. It was a crowded thoroughfare of walking pedestrians, open shops fronts, brightly colored decorations and talking, laughing people. I bought some more Christmas presents for my children and was hopelessly charmed by the whole thing.

After we left there we rode the subway to the train station and boarded the bullet train (shinkansen). Unfortunately it was dark by the time we left the station so I have no sense of how fast we were going but Wakana says we were moving at about 150 KM/hr. I might have another opportunity to find out more next week after my day in Kanda at the music shops with my brother-in-law.

Wakana's parents were waiting for us at the train station. We drove to their house, a lovely Japanese house on the edge of a commercial zone. The house has a tiny yard with a sculpted garden of bonsai trees and curving pathways. The doors slide open and inside is a wonderland of wood floors, tatami mats, and scultures, photographs and paintings.

Unfortunately they do not believe in central heating. There is a split air conditioner/heater in the major rooms but they don't bother much with that. The kitchen, dining room, and living room get some heat but that is turned off in the evening at bedtime. I haven't been this chilly in a long time.

We gathered in the living room around a short table, seated on the floor. Wakana's mother served us salty cherry tea, a lucky drink. Green tea is considered an unfortunate drink to serve when meeting your future son-in-law. I then formally asked Wakana's father for permission to marry her which touched the old man deeply. We drank sake together, toasting the future, and then I gave them my presents. I had bought presents to be opened on Christmas day but they are not Christians and the custom is to offer small gifts when you visit. They loved them.

We have become very close in a short time, notwithstanding the language barrier. Today Wakana's father gave me a very nice Pentax camera with a 90 - 200 mm lens. He has used it for years in taking his outdoor photos. I was deeply toched.

Tomorrow we will do some sightseeing and visit the local temple. The day ofter that is wedding day.

Having a great time.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Charley Noble
Date: 04 Dec 04 - 11:30 AM

Wow!

It just gets better.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: katlaughing
Date: 04 Dec 04 - 01:04 PM

My reaction, too, Charley! WOW-O-WOW! It sounds just like a movie, Brett!

And, he gave his camera! How kewl is that!? Hapy wedding day to come..this is SO neat!

luvyakat


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: JudyB
Date: 04 Dec 04 - 08:31 PM

Thanks for sharing all this with us! Best wishes to you both for a long and happy life together!

Love,
JudyB


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Amos
Date: 04 Dec 04 - 08:38 PM

What a strange and wonderful trip it has become, Brett!

Well done.


A


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 05 Dec 04 - 09:20 AM

Ah, it just keeps on getting better. Today we did NOT go to the local temple. Today we went to three temples in an 80 kilometer ride around this part of the prefecture. But before we reached the first temple we spotted a thatched roof and stopped at a lifestyle museum. The main building was an old farm house with the old architecture you see in the old Japanese movies. It had tatami floors and sliding paper doors. There were no ceilings and you looked up to the underside of the thatching. There were two rooms with tokonoma, the decorative place of honor in a home. One was for entertaining high level guests and the other was the family's living room. In the kitchen there was a team of men making soba noodles (large noodles made from buckwheat) in the old-fashioned style. We toured the farm market attached to the main building and saw many examples of why Japanese cuisine will never be classed among those favored by Joe Sixpack. There were dried mushrooms and preserved fish, roasted grasshoppers and tofu, nota and sour plums, with many other delicacies besides. There were also many handicrafts including fabric, basketry, and wood work.

The first temple was hidden in the hills and was the perfect vision of a Buddhist temple. It lay among giant cedar trees with a stream noisily babbling past. We came in through the series of gates to the arched bride that crossed the stream and then up a long flight of granite stairs to the last gate. Inside were the temple grounds with the main building ahead and various outbuildings around a gravel yard decorated with sculpted trees. There was a belfry with the temple bell, a four foot dome of metal intricately laced with Buddhist themes.

And the peacefulness that has settled over that place was awesome. It was like a vacation from the world. Once we crossed the first gate we could feel it laying it's touch on our minds. Once we reached the courtyard we felt that even a raised voice was impossible. While we were there a car delivered a priest to one of the upper buildings. The crunch of tires on the gravel seemed an obscenity in that place. I left there thinking I would like to stay and learn the secrets of the Buddha but I know better than to try that.

Next we stopped for lunch at a little tea room in a small hillside village. We had soba ramen and rice wrapped in seaweed. There was devil's tongue in the ramen and tofu in the miso soup. For desert we had fruit cocktail with red beans and ice cream. We drank green tea with the meal.

The next temple was on the itinerary because Wakana's father said there was a statue that looked like me. As we climbed the hill to the temple grounds we turned aside to a grove in which there were statues of each of the Buddha's 16 disciples. We stopped in front of one with a large belly and they patted it and said that was it. If I were one to take offense easily I might have. We took some pictures and went on to view the grounds. Later Makoto-san explained that the statue was of the disciple that devoted himself to bringing happiness and comfort into the world and that he had a big belly because he took into himself all the bad luck of the people who came to him. He was a laughing person and a caring person. Makoto-san says that is why I resemble that disciple. I guess I can live with that.

The temple grounds were a study in what you can do when you train and sculpt vegetation and blend it with rock and water. There were simple stone Japanese lanterns set in small points with water around them and bushes and leaves and peace and happiness and quiet and... Take it as read that it was a lovely place. At one point I sat on ck and contemplated a tree standing on one side. It seemed as if that tree was the whole purpose for the existance of the universe. And if that one tree were to die or be blown down the whole temple would cease to exist. I needed a priest to discuss this with but none were in evidence.

Just inside the gate was a little cluter of rocks with a bamboo tube stuck into it. There was a sign, a cartoon that indicated you were to listen to the tube. The sound that floated out of there was otherworldly and beautiful. Apparently there was a pot under the stones and the water dripping on or into the pot made a lovely chiming bell note that seems to float up out of the pipe.

The last temple was a combination shrine and temple. It was the home of a giant tengu mask. Tengu are the shinto spirits with the red faces and the huge noses and this one was enormous. The mask must have been 5 feet tall and the nose was at least as long. This temple was in a village so there was no aura of peace, or at least what peacefulness was there was frequently disturbed by the sound of engines.

Now we are home and headed for bed. Tomorrow is our wedding day. Need my strength for that!


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: bbc
Date: 05 Dec 04 - 10:09 PM

Blessings on the morrow, my dear! Thank you for taking to time to share what you see & experience w/ us; it is almost as good as being there. I am so happy that you are doing well!

love,

Barbara (expecting snow/sleet/freezing rain tomorrow in New York)


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Ebbie
Date: 05 Dec 04 - 11:32 PM

Loved your phrase "hopelessly charmed". Brett. Says a great deal about you. Thank you for sharing your life with us, even vicariously. You are enriching us all.

I do wonder what you mean by "arching bride". What are you telling us? LOL


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Charley Noble
Date: 06 Dec 04 - 09:48 AM

Brett-

I want you to know that in deference to your impending marriage I successfully resisted posting anything having to do with your typo "arching bride" until Ebbie did her post above. I'm now working on a song which I promise I won't sing to you...

Charley Ignoble


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: SINSULL
Date: 06 Dec 04 - 11:46 AM

B-R-I-D-G-E, you idiots! BRIDGE! Now he's in trouble with the in-laws.

I will be thinking of you and Wakana today, Brett. Be very happy.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Ebbie
Date: 06 Dec 04 - 03:04 PM

LOL


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Amos
Date: 06 Dec 04 - 07:43 PM

A day to be perpetually overflowing with blessings for the rest of your lives, Brett. Fondest wishes to both of you!!

Amos


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 10 Dec 04 - 04:40 AM

B-R-I-D-G-E is right! LOL And I cannot be in trouble with the in-laws. None of them speak or read English so they will never know.

A lot has happened and I want to give a full report. However, I cannot do that right now. Here is the sketch of what happened.

December 6
Got married
Went to Nikko
Then to Lake Chuzenji-ko
Bath in volcanic hot springs
---CENSORED---

December 7
Back to Nikko
Toured Toshu-go Shrine
Back to Visit Wakana's best friend

December 8
Off to Utsonomiya to visit Wakana's university and favorite professor. Met a friend of hers who drove us to the shopping mall to shop for wedding rings. None could be found to fit me.

December 9
Off to Tokyo with Wakana's brother to visit guitar shops, research my Haruo guitar, and secretly buy Wakana a laptop computer as a wedding gift.

December 10
Visited Wakana's maternal aunt and uncle then off to visit her paternal (eternal single) aunt. Dinner at Genghis Kahn BBQ.

I'm tired. I get to rest tomorrow.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Charley Noble
Date: 10 Dec 04 - 09:45 AM

Now for all of us who've been holding our breath, all together - WHEHHHHH!

Guess there's no reason to mobilize our Rapid Response & Retrival Team. Too bad. I was so looking forward to piloting the Mirage to Japan. I suppose we could fly over anyway and drop some lotus blossoms!

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: MMario
Date: 10 Dec 04 - 09:50 AM

Mongolian barbecue? Was Genghis a good host?


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 12 Dec 04 - 12:12 AM

Here is a better report on what has been happening in my life lately. There are some necessary gaps in the report. It쳌fs pretty long. Sorry about that.
December 6
Got married
Getting married in Japan is like going out for donuts. You take a form to the counter in town hall and give it to a clerk. The clerk checks the accuracy of the information on the form and lets you wait for a while. Then she returns, hands the form back, and you are married. It쳌fs like going out for donuts because it is painless and you get something sweet n the end.
Went to Nikko
After the marriage we went to the train station to get the train to Nikko.I쳌fm not sure how we came to decide to go to Nikko but that was our honeymoon destination. Nikko is the local tourist attraction. It is the home to the Kanaya Hotel, the oldest Western hotel in Japan, and is the burial place of the first Tokugawa shogun. The Tokugawa dynasty ruled over Japan쳌fs longest peaceful era, over 300 years.
Then to Lake Chuzenji-ko
From Nikko we took a bus up to Lake Chuzenji-ko. The lake was formed as the result of a volcanic eruption about 12,000 years ago. It is a beautiful mountain lake, surrounded by high mountain peaks. Access is by the 55 Curves Road. And when they named it they were very accurate in their description. Going up the mountain you maneuver around 20 or so very sharp hairpin bends. At times you can look down the mountain and see several sections of the road below you. The view is spectacular. The mountains that make up the spine of Japan surround you and the valley that reaches to Nikko stretches away from the mountainside you are climbing. Near the top we found snow on the ground. My camera shutter was working hard. I was enchanted with the view, the snow, the sharp curves and climbing road, and, of course, my new wife.
We found the town of Chuzenji at the top of the road and left the bus. We walked down through the town to Kagen falls. The volcano created the dam and the water backed up to form a lake. It쳌fs only outlet was over the dam. That created a 97 meter waterfall. The Japanese have installed an elevator downstream of the waterfall and you can go down to the foot of the fall. My camera shutter was once again very busy.
After we got back to the top of the fall we explored a small gift shop and I took another few pictures. It occurred to me that I had taken a lot of pictures and that I should be near the end of my roll but I needn쳌ft have worried. THERE WAS NO FILM IN THE DAMN CAMERA! I claim that it was because I was not used to the camera and I stand by that defense.
Bath in volcanic hot springs
We stayed at the new Kanaya Hotel on Lake Chuzenji-ko and seemed to have the place to ourselves. There were four cars in the lot but we saw only one other group in the dining room. It is a modern luxury hotel with a small hot springs bath house. Wakana쳌fs father had given our stay there to us as a wedding gift. He had made the reservations. Now, those of you who know me personally know that I am not given to complaining, especially about gifts. But I have stayed at Holiday Inn and experienced more luxury than that room had to offer. To start with, the room had twin beds! This was our wedding night and her father had reserved a room with twin beds! 쳌gHmm,쳌h I thought, 쳌gWhat쳌fs he trying to tell me?쳌h
But it was comfortable and had the separate Japanese bathroom and toilet room.
A note about the Japanese bathrooms: I love them. They separate the toilet from the washing facilities except in the smaller hotel rooms. Toilets as a rule have seat warmers and washlets. A washlet is a gadget that cleans your backside, similar to a bidet but these have two adjustments, one for the backside and one for the women쳌fs, uh, frontside. And it sprays WARM water. The bath here at Wakana쳌fs home is a total cleaning area. The water drains into the floor so you enter the room to shower. If you want to take a bath there is a tub with electrically controlled hot water. You first clean yourself, either with the shower or by dipping water out of the tub. Soap is not allowed into the tub though there are certain oils and scents that sometimes are used. Once you are clean and rinsed you enter the tub and soak. It is so relaxing.
The Kanaya Hotel had a volcanic hot spring. We went down for a bath. We had to separate because there is a man쳌fs side and a woman쳌fs side. The preparation is the same, shower and clean then into the hot water. I was not prepared for the sulfur smell and the water was hotter than I expected but the outside pool was beautiful and it was so nice to relax under the stars with the steam rising all around. I guess during the day there is a view of the lake. Getting from the shower to the pool, wet and naked in the cold air, was a trial but I succeeded.
After our bath we went in for dinner. It was included in our package and we had a very elegant meal with champagne to celebrate our new marriage. We then went into the lobby where there was a fire in the fireplace. We sat together enjoying the look and smell of the fire and got one of the staff to take some picture for us.
---CENSORED---
Sorry, no details about our honeymoon night as if you expected any.
December 7
Back to Nikko
Next morning we took the hotel van down to Nikko. As with the hotel we had the vehicle to ourselves. The driver was quite interesting once we got him talking and willingly stopped the car so I could take pictures. (Yes, I had film in the camera.) He explained some features of the road and pointed out some of the landslide prevention dams constructed by the government. He talked about the history of the place and his job in constructing the landslide prevention dams. He pointed out waterfalls and views and explained the old road system. He was one of those guys with whom you would love to share a cup of coffee just to hear him talk. He had retired, gotten bored, and taken the job driving for the Kanaya Hotels.
He delivered us to the Old Kanaya Hotel and we wandered around touring that for a while. The hotel register includes such names as Albert Einstein and Helen Keller as well as members of the Japanese royal family and top businessmen of Japanese history. Einstein stayed in room 15.
Toured Toshu-go Shrine
From the Kanaya we walked up to the Toshu-go shrine. This had been founded before the beginning of the Tokugawa dynasty but Ieyasu Tokugawa had loved the area and expanded the shrine tremendously. It is now one of Japan쳌fs most famous shrines. The difficulty lies in describing it. Japanese shrines and temples range from pretty to beautiful but Toshu-go is in it쳌fs own class. As I explained it to Wakana, a beautiful woman is just that, beautiful. When you apply a little makeup and just the right outfit her beauty is enhanced. If you go on applying makeup and more clothes each item you add may have its own beauty but the overall effect when you finish is just plain gaudiness. That is Toshu-go. Wakana agrees.
There is no surface that is not carved and painted. That which is not painted is covered in gold leaf. The flat surfaces are painted with fantasy animals in bright colors. Red abounds, covering walls, floors, rails, gates, etc. It is the underlayment for all other colors and the old artisans let their imaginations run rampant. It is truly amazing. I cannot say it is bad taste because it may have been very tasteful in its time. But it certainly is gaudy.
One of the carvings has a direct impact on all of you out there wherever you live. I쳌fm sure you have each heard of the three monkeys who illustrate the adage Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil, See No Evil. That comes from the philosophy of the Shinto sect that built the shrine. There is a carving at Toshu-go that illustrates the philosophy using three monkeys and is the basis of our western illustration.
There is also a famous carving of a sleeping cat over one of the doors. It is famous because it is so lifelike it could be a real cat. I have to admit it does look pretty good.
In one hall there is a priest stationed to demonstrate the acoustic effects of the hall. On the ceiling is painted a huge dragon. The priest has a set of wooden clappers. He demonstrates that the sound of the clappers dies out quickly if made in any other spot in the room except under the dragon쳌fs mouth. The sound made there rings and rings, carrying on far longer than I have heard in any other hall.
On the far wall is a statue of the healing Buddha and the twelve gods that make up the twelve year cycle starting with the year of the mouse (I think) I was born in the year of the dragon and the god of my year looks especially fearsome with a green face and horrible grimace.
Back to Visit Wakana's best friend
We took a taxi back to the Kanaya Hotel, ate a late lunch and then wandered down through the town to catch the train. The streets are narrow and the shops crowd the sidewalk.
Note about food: I have never seen so many restaurants in any town as I have in all the towns and cities I have visited here. Japanese seem to focus on food and restaurants seem to make up a huge part of every street. There are many grocery stores as well. I used to worry that I would not be able to get through this visit without eating at least one fish dinner and I really don쳌ft like fish. However, I have not had a complaint about the food yet. It is high is fiber because they eat a lot of vegetables, low in cholesterol because they use little or no oil and eat little meat, and there is little in the way of sweets. The sweets they do eat are not as sweet as what we have in the USA.
Anyway, we visited Emiko and her husband at their beauty salon. Emiko has a license to design and make kimonos. She is very busy at the New Year and later for the annual 20 year old celebrations. In Japan there is a national holiday celebrating all young people who turn 20. This is in late January, Emiko will start working in her shop at 3:00 AM outfitting girls in their holiday kimonos. I was amazed to learn that the kimono is a very highly developed fashion style in Japan. It can cost thousands of dollars to put together a kimono. Wakana says her obi, the wide band that makes up the waist of the kimono, cost her mother $5000. Yes, that is DOLLARS!
December 8
Off to Utsonomiya to visit Wakana's university and favorite professor. Met a friend of hers who drove us to the shopping mall to shop for wedding rings. None could be found to fit me.
Apparently Wakana had not told the professor that she was married and he had no idea what to expect. He is a very respected professor of International Studies and has worked as a guest lecturer in the USA, England, Italy, and France. He was very surprised to see me and even more surprised to hear that I was Wakana쳌fs husband. We talked for a while and he presented Wakana with a copy of the professional journal in which her thesis had been published. We then met with some of the graduate students who worked with him. Wakana쳌fs friend Sachiko arrived to drive us to the shopping mall for dinner and to visit the jewelry store. The first jeweler listened attentively to Wakana and I could tell when Wakana got to the point of telling her that I was her husband and she needed a wedding band to fit me. The surprise and dismay was evident. The jeweler got out the ring sizes and worked at finding the fight size, 30! She told us we could get a ring to fit but it would take a month to adjust it. We got the same story at all the other jewelers we visited.
Sachiko took us to the train station but we stopped at an optical shop where Wakana insisted on buying me a new pair of glasses. It was her wedding gift to me.
December 9
Off to Tokyo with Wakana's brother to visit guitar shops, research my Haruo guitar, and secretly buy Wakana a laptop computer as a wedding gift.
Next day Wakana's brother, Fumito (pronounced who-mee-toh), arrived to drop off some stuff from his closed shop. He is storing it at his parent쳌fs house for the time being. Then he and I went to Tokyo in his van. I was worried about communication because he speaks little English but I took my little dictionary along and we had a great time. He had charged up his CD changer with 10 CDs ranging from Michael Franks Art Of Tea to Tom Waits Heart Of Saturday Night. He had James Taylor in there and Van Morrison, as well as some Japanese jazz musicians. We sang and talked about music all the way to Tokyo.
I also explained to him about Wakana쳌fs computer. When the house was burglarized and burned one of the things the thief took was her laptop. That hit her hard. She had used that computer through her graduate program and her thesis paper and all her research was in the hard drive. (Don쳌ft mention the importance of backup, she already got that message) On top of that the computer represented her ability to continue her education. After the fire that was gone. I wanted to get her a new laptop from one of the shops in Tokyo.
Fumito called his wife and she met us in Tokyo. She shopped for snowboard accessories for their daughter while Fumito and I wandered around the Kanda area of the city exploring guitar shops. Kanda is noted for music shops and bookstores. Man, did we ever see some wonderful guitars. In one we saw a battle scarred old Gibson with a $20,000 price tag. We saw Seagulls, Martins, Cats Eyes, Guilds, Epiphones, Yamahas, Mountains, Tokamines, Ibanez, and some with names I can쳌ft remember. Everywhere we went we asked about Haruo guitars and T. Haruo. The consensus on opinion is that he left Yamaha to build high end guitars. He moved to California to do this. Everyone was amazed when they heard that my Haruo had a Made In Japan label on it. Nobody could remember ever seeing a Haruo guitar though they all seemed to know about them.
After we left Kanda we headed to Akihibara, the center for Tokyo쳌fs electronics shopping. Tokako took me to a huge shop. We had to go to the 5th floor to find the computers and laoptops. I got a decent computer for just under $1000. They boxed it up and I carried it home.
Note on Reading: Here in Japan I am an illiterate. I cannot read the books, magazines, billboards or even the street signs. I cannot believe how dependent I am on my reading skills. I feel so helpless.
Fumito was supposed to drop me at a train station to get back to Nishinasuno. We seemed to drive forever. Finally he told me he had taken a wrong turn and needed to go back to where we started. I noted some familiar buildings but we kept driving. I asked him which station he planned to drop me at. He told me not to worry about it. Finally I realized he intended to drive me all the way home. This is not a light trip. It is about 150 kilometers to Nishinasuno. But he said he enjoyed driving and wouldn쳌ft let me ride the train. So I told him I would pay for gas, he was nearly empty, and I would pay for dinner. Filling the gas tank in Japan is no light decision. We filled up his Mitsubishi van and it cost $72! But the shinkansen would have been about $50-$60 so I didn쳌ft lose out on the deal.
December 10
Visited Wakana's maternal aunt and uncle then off to visit her paternal (eternal single) aunt. Dinner at Genghis Kahn BBQ.
Wakana쳌fs maternal grandfather was a professional photographer. He had the first and biggest studio in the region. Her uncle lives in the house now and keeps the studio. We visited over green tea and snacks and then went into the studio for family portraits. Then we were off to visit Aunt Sachiko, fresh from her trip to Austria. She is eternally single, to use Wakana쳌fs words, and seems to enjoy life tremendously. She is remarkably talented. She presented us with a set of glasses with floral designs etched into the surface. Each glass was unique. She had made them all. She has a china cabinet full of etched glassware that she has made. Also she has a set of pretty little parasols that she made by folding cigarette packaging. They are each about two inches across and have a lovely pattern made by the design on the wrappers. And they showed me a lovely still life featuring a wine bottle on beach sand with colored balls and starfish. When it was brought closer to me I saw that the still life was not a painted picture. Rather it was made of torn rice paper, each color and shade a different piece of paper. And she is a baker. We are eating home made bread.

That will do for now. More to come.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Roger the Skiffler
Date: 12 Dec 04 - 03:32 AM

Great stuff, Brett, best wishes to the pair of you for a long and happy union.

RtS


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Charley Noble
Date: 12 Dec 04 - 02:20 PM

"THERE WAS NO FILM IN THE DAMN CAMERA!"...giggle

But it just gets better and better!

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: katlaughing
Date: 12 Dec 04 - 03:47 PM

The book with photos is gonna be a best-seller! Have just read the last bits to Rog...he sends his compliments to the author.:-) Thanks, again, for sharing so much with us, Brett and Wakana. It IS just as if we are there with you, well...except for the censored bits, but we've got good imaginations!

luvyakat


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 12 Dec 04 - 10:15 PM

Last night was pure magic! Wakana's brother, Fumito, arrived yesterday with his family and two guitars. They spent the day skiing then came home to go out to dinner with the whole family. We got home in time to watch the end of Shinsengumi on TV and then he and I got out the guitars. We sat in the kitchen and he played some James Taylor while I sang. Then I sang one or two songs of "my" music. Then Wakana was prompted by her brother to sing something. Their father disappeared upstairs and returned with a handful of little books. They were songbooks. Wakana began leafing through them and singing from them and her brother joined her on guitar. Then their parents began singing some of the old songs from their youth. I didn't understand a word of it but it was pure magic. At one point Wakana and I sang Working On The Railroad, me in English and her in Japanese. Later she thanked me for making that happen. I쳌fm not sure I deserve the thanks, after all, her brother brought the guitars, but it was a very nice cap to a wonderful visit.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: SINSULL
Date: 13 Dec 04 - 01:32 PM

A family sing around? Sounds like you're accepted, Brett.

Your camera tale reminded me of my trip to China. I shot roll after roll of film. At the Great Wall I offered to take a picture of a family and mail it to them. The wife was giggling in embarrassment. They mimed that I had not removed the lens cap from the camera. Didn't know there was a lens cap. Roll after roll of blank film.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Amos
Date: 13 Dec 04 - 01:36 PM

Big grins, bro'!! Congratulations to all of yez on The Right Stuff to make an evening like that happen.

A


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 14 Dec 04 - 03:13 AM

Home and safe. The vacation is over and it's time to start... another vacation! I forgot! I'm retired! No bleak Monday to roll back to.

On the bus from Utsonomya to Narita we rolled past rank and file of mountains to the west. The sky was pure blue. As the sun sank to the horizon the clouds down there glowed like liquid gold and then faded to pink. And there, floating in the pink sky, Wakana pointed out Mount Fuji. I cannot adequately describe the sight or the feeling I had of finally seeing Fuji with my own eyes. We were almost 300 kilometers away but it was unmistakable. It seemed to float on the horizon and no amount of interruptions could dispel it's beauty.

We had seen Fuji when we were in Tokyo but we'd been on a train, it was mid-day, and it was difficult to see clearly, just a vague silhouette. Now I know why the Japanese revere that mountain.

Random notes:

Farms - Nishinasuno is in rice growing country. There are modern farms and there are old ones. The farms and the houses that have encroached on the farmland are built up higher than the rice fields, as if they are built on dikes. There are stone walls around the dike or levee on which they are built and it gives the impression that the houses are actually forts. This impression is strongest with the old farms which have a wall around the main buildings and a gate that is constructed between two storage buildings. Within the wall are the various outbuildings a farmer needs, the main house and a rice storage building. Usually the rice building is built of the local stone which is of light grey color shot through with reddish spots. It's quite striking.

Advertising – It's amazing the amount of flashy colors and brilliant lights the shopkeepers use to get your attention. The people dress in rather drab colors but the shops are bright and gay.

More notes as I think of them.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: katlaughing
Date: 14 Dec 04 - 03:47 AM

I've been thinking of you so much and your wonderful trip. I've just started a new series of mysteries written by Laura Joh Rowland. The first one takes place in Edo and mentions Asakusa quite often. So far it's been a great read and so fun to think "my friend has been there and walked those streets!"

Great stuff, Naes!


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: JennieG
Date: 14 Dec 04 - 07:21 PM

Congratulations! and best wishes for the future, you sound so happy, long may it continue for you both. Now - when do we get to see the photos that DID come out?

Cheers
JennieG


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 14 Dec 04 - 09:09 PM

Hmm, how to show the pictures without actually visiting each of you. Of course, the most pleasant way would be to get on a plane and visit each and every one of you but the second bet will have to be some other way. Maybe I can combine these posts with the pictures to make a CD I can send to those who are interested...

More random notes:

Houses - While in Japan I had the distinct impression of living in a hobbit house. The doors were all lower than my head though the ceilings were high. There were no round doors but most of them were sliding doors. There was no central heat. Instead there were small kerosene heaters that were used as needed in the rooms that were occupied. The bedrooms had air conditioners that also acted as heaters but they are only used to warm up the room in the evening before going to bed. They are not left on during the night. One of the most Japanese heating devices I saw was the horikotatsu. this is a table placed over a recess in the floor. In the old days they would light a charcoal fire in the recess but these days they use electricity or gas. A table is place over the recess and a thin futon or quilt is laid over that. Then a solid top is placed on the futon to form a new table top. The result is a very warm space to place your feet when seated at the table. In Japan a futon is not the thick mattress we think of in the West. It is a thin heavy pad, about the size of a double bed in area, but only about a couple of inches thick, not much more than a very heavy quilt.

Landscaping – If possible every house has a yard. However I never saw any yard that had a carpet of grass. Instead the homeowners sculpt their little patch of heaven using a variety of plants and stone. Tall trees are carefully trimmed into rounded versions of tree limbs. Smaller shrubs and flowering plants are given places that match the rest of the area. Each yard is a work of art created to express the homeowner's ideas of nature and how s/he fits into the grand scheme. If possible each house has a wall around it to define the space, much like a frame around a painting.

Food – The Japanese eat a lot of vegetables. I define "a lot" in this instance to be comparable to we breathe "a lot" of air. We visited a Japanese supermarket. In the West you enter a supermarket through the section devoted to vegetables and fruit. The rest of the store is given over to prepared foods and meats. In Japan you enter into the other part of the store but vegetable products are so ubiquitous that there is no way to separate them into sections. Fresh vegetables are the last section you visit but there are areas full of packaged veggies in all kinds from simple packages to various pickles and sauces. Other areas of the store were devoted to fish, some meats, seaweed, tofu, and pretty much anything else you want to consider food.

The Japanese cultivate burdock as a food product, they eat the roots. They dry fish and squid and sell them whole. There is one section with packages of octopus and another of whole fish packaged to be presented as a gift. The Japanese have been eating tofu for over a thousand years and in that time they have been very inventive in creating different forms and textures so there is a rather large tofu section. It's all very interesting but this Westerner was only tempted by the candy department. Japanese chocolate is very good!

One thing that was interesting and difficult to get used to was veggies for breakfast. We had a variety but the most common was cold cooked spinach served with soy sauce. They also eat miso soup and will have fish for breakfast as well as a fresh egg broken into their rice. There is a wonderful egg dish that seems to be some form of scrambled egg formed into a rectangle and served cold. I don't know what the flavorings are but it was very tasty and sweet.

Wakana introduced the family to one of my favorites, apple with cinnamon sprinkled on it which was a new taste treat for them and we had some every morning. They also were amazed at my eating toast with honey in the morning.

The Land – I have read many stories of Old Japan and I have seen many old movies about Japan but I never really gave the land a lot of thought. I figured that any country that had been occupied for as long as it has been would be crowded and dirty and have very little open space left. Boy was I ever wrong! Japan has beautiful open vistas with almost no evidence of civilization. Everything is clean and neat where the people live. The mountains are high and dominate the horizon with clouds tearing across the tops and mist hiding the valleys. On a clear day you can see a long way across the flat ground to the spine of Japan and when you go up into those mountains there are no ugly tourist traps with souvenirs obstructing the views.

On the plane out of Japan I was rewarded with a view of the southern end of those mountains. It was amazing. They just ended in a series of lower and lower hills and then the country was largely flat.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 14 Dec 04 - 10:33 PM

Charley Noble asked me to elaborate on the master's thesis Wakana wrote to earn her degree and that deserved to be published in the academic journal. Sorry Charley, but it had nothing to do with sea chanties.

What my oh, so, intelligent wife wrote on was the impact of tourism on the islands of Pohnpei and Rota. Guam has given in to pandering to the tourists, offering them luxury hotels and elegant brand name shopping. the recent election included an initiative battle over the possibility of opening Guam up to host casino gambling. The proposition lost to a campaign called "Keep Guam Good".

Wakana was looking at those two islands because they are working to maintain their environment and their lifestyle. They are trying to offer lower class accomodations and market themselves as offering a more environmentally friendly way to see the islands. Guam has lost its indigenous ways and control of its island. Rota and Pohnpei are trying to keep control and keep their lifestyles. She was looking at the impact of their eco-tourism on their way of life.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 15 Dec 04 - 06:44 AM

Brett, looks like you might need a website to post pics!! I know my folk club's yahoo address includes room for photos, maybe you could investigate similar addresses or consult Mudcatters who have sites with pics.

And now that I have a beautiful mew iMac & fancy printer/scanner I can easily read CD-Roms of pics & send my own!!

I can look again at the CD-Rom Santa Micca sent me last year & also the CD-Rom my colleague made for me last week. I have a new toy to play with. Such fun.

sandra


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: curmudgeon
Date: 15 Dec 04 - 09:02 AM

Belated, but sincere congratulations to the both of you, and many thanks for sharing your experiences with all of us. We'll find a wedding shanty to sing in your honor this Saturday.

As for pictures, you might want to send some jpegs to Pene Azul for addition to the Events segment; that way anyone who wants can have a look.

Be well and keep up the good life -- Tom


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Charley Noble
Date: 15 Dec 04 - 10:18 AM

Brett-

Creating a personal website certainly would be a good way to go, and it certainly worked well for us in our 2003 foray to Oz. According to Judy, it's an interesting project to learn how to do and now that you have some "day time" you might just give it a shot. I'm sure she'd be happy to consult or you may have another Guam friend who knows how to make this an achievible project. But we do want to see some pictures NOW and maybe you should consider sending a few JPG's to Pene Azul as a teaser.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 16 Dec 04 - 07:33 PM

Well, well, well, Charley. You seem to think I have some "day time" but I have some news for you. I don't think I've ever been so busy before in my life. We are getting the house ready for Christmas and the impending visit from my younger daughter! I have to mow the lawn, put away all the books in the library so we can turn it into a bedroom, rearrange the living room and put up the Christmas tree, build a patio, change Wakana's flat tire, do my Christmas shopping for Wakana, go shopping for the Christmas dinner ingrediants... Is there any end to it all? Maybe I should go back to work just to take a break from my real world.

Anyway, I will investigate the possibility of getting Pene Azul to post some shots of the happy couple and then look into putting up a web site to show off the photos of my grand adventures.

As for singing some songs at the Press Room this Saturday, Curmudgeon, please pass on my best holiday wishes to the whole gang. Next fall Wakana and I plan to be there and you will then get to hear us singing together, either a japanese song, or in english and, if we get our act together, a shanty in Japanese.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: curmudgeon
Date: 16 Dec 04 - 08:41 PM

Look into the possibility...?

Just line up your jpgs, attach them to an email to jeff@mudcat.org, with a polite request , and, Voila! we get to see you two.

Looking forward to this Fall -- Tom


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 17 Dec 04 - 07:34 AM

Today was a special day. Consider how much fun new parents have with Baby's first Christmas. They deceive themselves into thinking that Baby knows what is going on. They take picture and laugh with the child. It is great fun.

Now consider. Today Wakana helped put op a Christmas tree. This will be her first Christmas. We had great fun putting up the (ulp! Fake!) tree and decorating it. Most of my traditional decorations are lost in the mess after the fire but I hope they will surface soon.

She is enjoying the secrecy of Christmas Presents and the family game of "I know something you don't know!" And the magic of Christmas has even affected her in other ways. She had to write a special assignment because she missed the final classes at the English Language Institute because of the fire. She mailed it to them from Japan and they seemed to have lost it. She did not keep a copy. This was a tragedy and one that seemed hopeless until today she found out that it was just delivered to the office where it needs to be! Magic!


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: GUEST,winterbright
Date: 17 Dec 04 - 12:04 PM

Well, congratulations! The Side Door is tonight, and I'll pass the news along to all and sundry!
Hope the cross-cultural first Christmas is a huge success...
Happy Hannusolstichriskwanz to you both!
It was 12 degrees here yesterday.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 18 Dec 04 - 07:40 PM

Child Alert! 15 hours and counting to arrival of daughter! The excitement is mounting, at least for me. Wakana is nervous. Having never been a wife or mother before she is nervous about being a wife and a step-mom!


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: CarolC
Date: 19 Dec 04 - 01:39 AM

Wow. Look what I missed!

Congratulations Brett and Wakana!!! I'm very happy for you both.

JtS and I have been going through that INS Homeland Security paperwork stuff. It's definitely complicated and although we've been married for a little over two years, we still have the interview to look forward to. Good luck with all of that, and remember to get lots of pictures taken of yourselves wherever you go.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Charley Noble
Date: 19 Dec 04 - 10:55 AM

Oh, we received a stunning advanced JPG of Brett and Wakana via regular e-mail. What a handsome and charming couple! They seem to share a certain mischievous gleam in their eyes.

Brett, your Christmas CD's are on their way to Guam, where I'm sure they'll arrive in only a couple of months.

Cheerily,
Charlie and Judy


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: CarolC
Date: 19 Dec 04 - 01:40 PM

This is where we keep our online pictures (we can put many more there than we can put here in the Mudcat). When we submitted our documentation at the beginning of JtS' status readjustment process, we just printed out the pictures from this website with the captions about the various musical gatherings, wedding, etc. where the pictures were taken. I don't know if that was needed, but we figured it couldn't hurt. We started documenting our being together right from the start.

http://www.webshots.com/

This is the kind of stuff they're looking for. (Just kidding)

;-)


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: SINSULL
Date: 19 Dec 04 - 03:11 PM

Brett,
New Yeras Eve at my place! Are you up for the trip? If not we will drink a toast to you and Wakana and all things wonderful,
SINS


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 22 Dec 04 - 07:10 PM

Thanks for the information, Carol. From what we hear from friends who've been through it we have it a LITTLE bit easier in that we are working with the embassy in Tokyo instead of with INS. That remains to be seen. I have my appointment to submit my I-130 in February. Then we have to wait for it to be processed at the processing center in Korea.

Sins, we'll be there! (in spirit)

Things have been so busy lately. Amy (Mudcatter Tenjiro) is here and it is great to have a kid home for Christmas! We've been doing the tourist thing and she has been working on avoiding a sunburn. Today it is time to buy the turkey and start to thaw it as well as get the other Christmas treats prepared.

Wakana is proving to be a match for the Burnham Family Christmas Tease. Yesterday she told Amy exactly what she was getting for Christmas... in Japanese. Sigh, she is really getting into this thing called Christmas, at least, the secular side of the holiday. Neither of us pays much attention to the religious side.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 23 Dec 04 - 07:23 PM

Happy Christmas Eve! Much work to do to prepare for tomorrow! All is fun!


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 28 Dec 04 - 04:06 AM

It has been several busy days since I added to the thread. I've been excorting my kid around the island, cooking a Christmas dinner, and playing with my Christmas toys.

We had Wakana's professor from her graduate degree program come to Christmas dinner. He and his wife were on Guam for a vacation. Unfortunately some of my sweet potatoes rotted before I could cook them (damn tropics), I couldn't find any mince meat to make a pie (damn island), and my turkey was over cooked (damn cook). However, the conversation was fun and interesting and we all enjoyed the afternoon.

Today we went up to Ritidian Point. It is all the way north, quite a drive, almost 23 miles away! The sun and sand were beautiful as always and the scenery was a dramatic as any I've seen here on Guam. The waters off the point are very rough and the wind was strong. There was too much haze to see Rota, the next island in the chain. But the water was cool and the surf inside the reef was managable. We didn't try any snorkeling there. We will run down to Nimitz Beach tomorrow for Amy's first snorkel lesson.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Charley Noble
Date: 28 Dec 04 - 09:19 AM

Brett-

The temperature here in Maine this morning was below zero. Just thought you'd like to know. Not a good day to lick any outside hardware.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 29 Dec 04 - 02:15 PM

I took Amy to Nimitz Beach for her first snorkeling lesson. She did very well but the water was cold, uh, cool. The outside temperature was in the low eighties but there was a bit of a breeze. Charley, do you still wonder why I left Maine? I think of you walking up to the convenience store every morning to get the paper dressed in that heavy coat and hat and just get shivers down my spine.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 31 Dec 04 - 02:09 AM

I have heard from some of my omore geographically challenged friends and family members asking about the big tsunami. Let all rest assured I am safe and well and nowhere near that tragedy. Like all of you I am shocked and saddened by those events.

Guam is, according to the newspaper, a pretty safe bet. There are only two tsunamis in recorded history. One hit in 1849 and killed a woman. Another hit Pago Bay in 1993 and swept a fisherman and his truck out into the bay. He survived and waded to safety. There is deep water all around the island with a solid reef out beyond the shore that acts like a wall and protects us. I don't know how much of that to believe but I live high up on the side of the mountain so it matters not. The wave that can reach me will not leave much here anyway.

It is 5:00 PM on 12/31/04 here in Guam. In 7 short hours this year, with all it's good points and it's many bad ones, will be over and we can start on a new slate. I hope all of you enjoy a safe and happy new year.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 31 Dec 04 - 06:51 AM

it's 10.45 Friday night here & almost New Year -

happy new year to you & Wakana & hoping that it does not take too long in 2005 to get Wakana's documentation. Then you can start saving to visit Oz!! ps. I'm not forgetting other (family) visits that could be important, too.

sandra


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 02 Jan 05 - 07:26 PM

This morning Wakana and I rose early and headed for an eastern beach to watch the sunrise. This evening we will go to a western beach to watch the sunset.

It was a lovely morning. There was a strong on shore breeze and the surf was high out on the reef. The sun came up quickly. Actually we missed the sunrise because of the schoolbuses. After a walk on the beach we drove the long way home around the southern tip of the island and stopped for breakfast at a roadside cafe in Umatac. Very nice morning.

Now Amy and I are headed for Dededo to watch the gang carving a new canoe.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Charley Noble
Date: 03 Jan 05 - 08:43 AM

Life gets tedious, doesn't it!

Cheerily,
Charley Noble (the driveway's like an ice slide this morning)


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: GUEST,winterbright
Date: 03 Jan 05 - 12:34 PM

Seconding what Charlie just said!
Down here, the whole town's icy, although they HAVE sanded the sidewalks by now.
Happy New Year to you both... and give Amy another hug for me!
It's supposed to get to 50 today. Are you SURE you don't miss good ol' erratic Maine? (Yeah, right!)
:-)


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 04 Jan 05 - 06:43 AM

Today Amy and I went to do laundry. As we left the laundromat she looked up into the bright blue sky and commented that there was only one cloud in sight and it wasn't big enough for all the rain we were getting at the time. Maine's weather is erratic but it isn't this strange. I remember thunder during blizzards and an occasional sunshower but never a downpour from a nearly cloudless sky.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: MMario
Date: 04 Jan 05 - 08:40 AM

that sounds like Ithaca weather, Brett!


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 05 Jan 05 - 07:44 PM

Important life lesson learned in Guam!

Dead gekkos do not float in hot coffee.

News at 11:00.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Amos
Date: 05 Jan 05 - 09:22 PM

Ithaca ncatenation of factors, buddy.

A


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: GUEST,winterbright
Date: 06 Jan 05 - 02:58 PM

Was gekko wearing scuba gear at the time???
"Dead gekkos don't float... " sounds a lot like one of Charlie's songs... or maybe Shel S!


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 10 Jan 05 - 08:40 PM

It's been a while since I could access the 'Cat. Lots to report.

One day we went hiking up into the interior looking for the mysterious Libugon Radio Station. I have a book of hiking trails in Guam and we were following the directions. Well, the radio station is still mysterious. We couldn't find it though we had a very nice hike in the savanah that covers the Fonte Plateau. We were following power lines mostly, surrounded by grass that was 5 to 8 feet tall. At one point Wakana complained that she couldn't see anything. I had to tell her I couldn't either. But that was not the usual environment and we had plenty of lovely views of mountain valleys and palma brava groves.

Another day we went with Professor Larry Cunningham to visit the ancient pre-contact settlement up behind Faifai Beach. It is private property and the owner charges for access but Larry is an old friend and gets in free with his "students". We walked up through the jungle to see old latte stones and the cave where the Chamorros got their fresh water. At one point I tripped and fell on the sharp coral rocks that make up most of the northern part of the island. I now sport scratches and gashes on my right leg, right elbow, and right hand as well as a large painful bruise on my right hip.

I drove Amy up onto Mount Tenjo, the northernmost mountain in the chain. There are big antennae up there and the view is spectacular. To the east you can see the Pacific Ocean, to the west the Philipine Sea, and at your feet the ground is laced with valleys and jungle. There are many red dirt tracks that the four wheelers use and we could see four trucks making their way down a far slope.

Yesterday we went to the Southern Comfort Ranch. I had seen it when I drove through the area but always thought of it as a squalid little horse ranch with a few animals in cages. I couldn't have been more wrong. Wakana had told me about it but I guess I am guilty of bringing my own prejudinces to that description. I focused on her description of her classmates difficulties with the smell.

Anyway, Southern Comfort is a rescue zoo. they have animals that have been found in various parts of the world and that need to be saved. They have a lion a tiger, two leopards, and a host of birds, monkeys, lizards, dogs, cats, horses, and many other creatures. The woman who showed us around, Leslee, is the owner. She is very bright and caring and obviously loves her life with the animals. We had a lovely time. We were able the pet most of the animals and heard their sad stories. One fact that she told us was that there are over 600 facilities in the USA that specialize in "canned" hunts. In other words the animal is in a cage and the "hunter" shoots it there. The lion and the leopards were rescues from that kind of facility.

After that we tried to find Priest's Pools but the map directions were less than usefull. We failed. So we went to a little outdoor cafe in Umatac and had steak and rice for lunch and headed home. I spent the rest of the day paying bills.

The other day Amy and Wakana went to get a massage. They get a really good deal, 90 minutes of pummeling and oil with different kinds of treatments for about $45. They came back happy and slippery.

Today we will go to the aquarium and then to the movies. The visit is winding down and soon Amy will have to go back to school. It has been great having her here.

Wakana may have to go back to Japan sooner than we expected. She has been having medical problems and it turns out her travel insurance will not cover some of the work she needs. I'm not sure if I will go with her or not. I have to be there in late February for an appointment at the embassy so I might go with her. More to come.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: curmudgeon
Date: 10 Jan 05 - 08:52 PM

Keep up the good words and post the pictures, please -- Tom


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 11 Jan 05 - 05:49 PM

Yesterday we were supposed to go on the Talafofo River Cruise. Unfortunately it was a rainy day so we postponed that until today. It's raining again today...

Amy and I went to Underwater World. Once again I have to admit that I am stunned by what is available in Guam. I have known about that place since I got here and only expected a few poor aquariums with some half dead fish floating dully around in green water. I need to reassess my prejudices.

Underwater world is a long tunnel aquarium. You walk through a plexiglass tunnel surrounded by fish and coral formations. The fish range from tiny cleaner wrasse and little clownfish to huge rays and sharks. There are two sea turtles in there as well. It is a beautiful display.

After the aquarium we grabbed a bite to eat at the GPO (Guam's Premium Outlets, i.e., one of the malls) and then went to see Flight Of The Phoenix.   Not a bad bit of work. I enjoyed the old one and thought they did a nice job on this one.

I am worried about Wakana. She is not well and I think she may be sicker than she wants to admit.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: GUEST,sandra in sydney
Date: 12 Jan 05 - 07:39 AM

we have a similar aquarium here & I've never been there either! maybe one day, or maybe I'll take you & Wakana wen you eventually get here!!

some of us don't like admitting being ill & try to ignore things that happen. hugs to you both.

sandra


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: GUEST,JennyO
Date: 12 Jan 05 - 08:43 AM

Yes Brett, that aquarium you described did sound very much like ours. Unlike Sandra, I have been there, and only a few months ago too. We had my nephew and his wife visiting from the UK and we had to show them all the Sydney sights, which included the obligatory ferry trip, the Harbour Bridge, the Opera House, the Sydney Aquarium, Darling Harbour, and of course, the James Craig.

Look after that lovely lady of yours, now. We'd love to show her our sights some day soon.

Jenny


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: GUEST,bbc at work
Date: 12 Jan 05 - 11:27 AM

Brett,

I'm so sorry to hear that Wakana isn't well. Hope it is something that can be resolved. I'm glad you are there to support her. Hugs! Lots of hugs!
love,

Barbara


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Amos
Date: 13 Jan 05 - 06:34 PM

Hey Brett!!

Remember the Surprise? The replica of the 18th century H.M.S. Rose we toured down on the waterfront? It was used to be the vessel Sophie in the movie "Master and Commander". A 28-gun frigate.

The San Diego Maritime Museum just purchased her!! She'll be a permanent exhibit, right alongside of the Euterpe (now

Yeehaw!! Reckoin Charley oughta come out here and escape the snow and visit her, ya think?? Now that the rain has stopped it would be a wicked improvement on his current climate.

A


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 13 Jan 05 - 09:02 PM

Is it raining in San Diego AGAIN!?!? Congratulations to the museum for a wise purchase. You ought to go down there and look up that young lady bo'sun who wanted sea chanties. Charley said he mailed he one of our CDs. It would be nice to know she got it.

Yesterday I took Wakana to physical therapy for the problem in her neck. By the time we got to the medical center she was in too much pain to get out of the truck. I hurried her up to the emergency room at GMH. After 7 1/2 hours in various waiting rooms we got the diagnosis. She has a herniated disk in her neck. She is to remain as still as possible and hurry her butt back to Japan for surgery. So it looks like we will be living in Japan for the near future. Her sister-in-law had the same problem and it took her 8 months to recover. Here's my chance for full immersion Japanese lessons.

Isn't there a Japanese Mudcatter?

Amy leaves tomorrow and my eyes tear up every time I think of it. Tomorrow morning will be tough. But this afternoon we will be going out on Scubaroo in a laast effort to visit the dolphins.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Amos
Date: 13 Jan 05 - 10:51 PM

I think Masato is Japanese, but I do not know that he lives there.

And I will go see that pretty little miss Boatswain! She sang a good shanty!! A couple of nice forebitters, as I recall, also.   :D

A


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: GUEST,bbc at work
Date: 14 Jan 05 - 11:25 AM

Brett,

I'm sorry to hear the news, but it's good to know what the problem is, so you can get on w/ fixing it! Best to you both.

love,

Barbara


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 15 Jan 05 - 09:31 PM

I have contacted Masato and we will be able to meet when I get to Japan. That should be fun.

Amy flew out yesterday morning, skipping out just ahead of Tropical Storm Kulap. Then the storm turned north and now looks to miss us anyway. By now she should be in Virgina and starting her long readjustment to local time. It was great to have her here and I miss her sorely.

On my return from the airport I saw a grass fire burning up high on the side of the mountain about half a mile from our house. We were upwind from the fire and were in no danger, but it was a spectacular sight. I ran home to get Wakana and drove her down to see it but by the time we got to the bottom of the hill she was in too much pain to appreciate it.

We have decided to fly out of here on Wednesday. We are making plans on how to transport her without any undue bumping or causing her any pain. Unfortunately we have to go up to visit the doctor before we go and Continental will not allow us to upgrade her ticket to fly first class on a medical transportation unless SHE personally is there to use her miles to pay for the upgrade. I guess the government isn't the only idiotic bureaucracy.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: SINSULL
Date: 16 Jan 05 - 06:54 PM

So sorry, Brett. Tell Wakana that we will add her to the candle list. Meantime, you may be the first Mudcatter to meet Masato face to face. Enjoy!


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 17 Jan 05 - 03:58 AM

We went to her doctor today. She has TWO herniated disks in her neck. I'll have to check the marriage certificate for warrnaty information!

To get to the doctor's office I had to build a bed in the back seat of the car for her to lie on. She arrived in some pain but much better than the last car trip of only 1/2 mile. The doctor agrees that she will have to fly first class and reclining the whole way. So, we fly out to Japan on Wednesday in first class seats. I've never flown first class before. Is it safe?

Last month we got a pint of real maple syrup in a Christmas box. Wakana was not impressed but today I had Gordon and Vicky join us for a late breakfast of pancakes and bacon. I made the pancakes from scratch and they turned out well. Wakana joined us from her perch lying on the floor. There is still a little maple syrup left. I keep thinking about the batch Willie-O gave me a few years back. That was good stuff, better than the commercial stuff.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: GUEST,sandra in sydney
Date: 17 Jan 05 - 07:44 AM

enjoy? your flight in first class, & best wishes to Wakana for a smooth trip & immediate & successful medical treatment.

sandra


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Charley Noble
Date: 17 Jan 05 - 10:44 AM

Brett and Wakana-

Best wishes for success on your trip back to Japan.

Give Masato my best wishes as well when you meet him. We expect a full report about this intripid folk music researcher.

Bob Zentz is coming up to Boston in March for a concert with Rick Lee. We are trying to convince him to journey further north to Portsmouth. We may even offer him money!

Did you ever receive your copy of UNCOMMON SAILOR SONGS?

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: GUEST,Millie Webb
Date: 17 Jan 05 - 10:02 PM

Where in VA is Amy? Your daughter Amy is here in VA and my daughter and grandson are now in Guam for the next 2 1/2 years.
I just attended my first hammered dulcimer gathering in Newport News yesterday and had my first lesson with Timothy Seaman in Williamsburg tonight. I really like it! Any advise or suggestios from you Mudcatters?
Millie


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Donuel
Date: 18 Jan 05 - 02:40 PM

I can not recall a more enjoyable thread and virtual friends I would like to know.

To life.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 20 Jan 05 - 06:41 AM

Millie, my daughter is in Lynchburg putting up a determined resistance to Jerry Falwell's Liberty College from her own school. As for hammered dulcimer it is one of my favorite instruments and one that I have longed to play for many years. I look forward to meeting you and hearing you play.

Donuel, on behalf of my fellow travelers, thanks and know that we may all show up at your house if you keep talking like that. If we bring our own bottles can we play and sing all night?

Charley, we are working hard at putting Wakana back together again. I did receive my CD and enjoyed it but it was during my daughter's visit and I could not give it the due consideration it desreved. I also enjoyed Jerry Bryant's efforts at unexpurgated sailor songs but I have to say they were just what would expect and that the old songs lose nothing when they are cleaned up.

When I arranged for our tickets I also requested a wheelchair for Wakana. In Guam we had to wait half an hour before the promised wheelchair showed up. Then Wakana had to put up with the indignity of a 100% search. We arrived at the gate just as they were boarding the plane and she needed the bathroom. But we were flying first class so our seats were slighlty less comfortable than a living room recliner. We were served coffee and orange juice while we waited for the rest of the people to board back in the economy section. After we got into the air we had more coffee and then breakfast was served. They spread a table cloth over the tray and brought us omelets and croissants. We had jam served in little glass jars and real tableware made of metal, porcelin, and glass. Then we reclined our chairs and watched TV and movies until we arrived in Japan.

The wheelchair was waiting for us at the door to the plane. We headed off to immigration and then to customs, breezing through each one with no hitches, no searches, and no questions. The wheelchair left us in the seats outside of customs where Wakana's brother was supposed to meet us.

We waited for a time, I went off to change some money and I bought some soda, Wakana went off to find a bathroom and it occurred to me she should call her brother on his cell phone to tell him we were here and that he didn't need to park in the parking garage. Shortly after she left to find a phone Fumito grabbed me from behind in a friendly bear hug. We were just exchanging greetings when his cell phone began to ring. He answered it and then handed it to me. I said to Wakana, "I know where Fumito is!" Her mind was all set to hear Japanese and my English knocked her for a loop. After a little confusion it dawned on her that she was talking to her husband and that her brother had joined us. It turned out that he did better than that. He'd been there all along, asleep in the row of chairs right behind us!

Anyway, he drove us up to Nishinasuno and delivered us to Wakana's parents. After a lengthy greeting and discussion, very little of which I understood, we went to the family doctor's office. There I was dismayed and angered to see a doctor who was almost as useless as a human being can be. This was one of those stereotypical docotrs who is in love with his position as a man of learning and medicine. He talked to Wakana and her father for half an hour or more and never once looked at her. I didn't understand a word being said but I could see he was a man who loved the sound of his own voice. At one point he sanpped his fingers at a nurse so she could turn out the light over his desk, a switch he could have reached with the same effort as snapping his fingers. His hair was colored dark but fringed in natural grey and he had a mouth like Edward G. Robinson, frog like and wide. I was not happy and neither were Wakan and her father. He gave them no clear advice but dwelled on the value of exercise and stretching to keep such injuries from happening.

Today we went to the hospital in Otawaya City. We were in and out in a couple of hours and left with medicines and an appointment for physical therapy. She'd been interviewed, x-rayed, evaluated by a neurosurgeon and sent off to physical therapy. Tomorrow she starts her rounds of PT nd then in two weeks she gets re-evaluated. She is much happier today. Something is being done!

Tomorrow, after PT, we will go to town hall to get a list of organizations that are teaching Japanese. I want to start classes as soon as possible. It is one of my goals to get a good start on the language on this trip.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: GUEST,sandra in sydney
Date: 20 Jan 05 - 07:59 AM

having had 4 days off work recently with the worse back pain I've ever had, I'm very pleased to know Wakanda is getting good treatment. I hope she didn't have to pay that useless doctor & that her family find a new one.

Have fun learning Japanese!

sandra

the ad below is for braintumour.org - once again,I wonder how google choses ads for each page!! Sorry, Max, I'm not inspired to click on it!!


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Roger the Skiffler
Date: 20 Jan 05 - 09:30 AM

My best wishes to Wakana, too, Brett and add my thanks to Masato, if you meet him, for all the lyrics etc. he's helped with.

RtS


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Charley Noble
Date: 20 Jan 05 - 10:11 AM

Brett-

Glad you're keeping focused!

It's got to be difficult trying to keep track of important medical decision making with regard to a loved one when you haven't a clue what's being said. It's also difficult when the whole disourse is in medical English!

I hope that medical insurance is picking up the costs.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: GUEST,bbc at work
Date: 20 Jan 05 - 11:25 AM

Glad to hear that your trip to Japan is safely completed. Hope all goes smoothly from here on it. I may be visiting Korea in March. I'll be in your part of the world. I'll blow you a kiss!

Barbara


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 21 Jan 05 - 03:16 PM

Hey Barbara, stop by as long as your local -GRIN-

The medical system here is interesting to say the least. It is modern and up to date but it has little quirks. Wakana talks about losing her energy and stability sometimes and this seems to be terminology she picked up from her doctor. It makes sense but it doesn't seem to be proper medical terminology.

The hospital we are going to looks like a second rate American hospital. It could use a coat of paint and some new tile on the floors. But they process people trhough there very quickly and they know what they are doing. Wen we arrived yesterday for her PT she took her appointment card to the desk. they popped it into the machine. We walked down to the orthopedic section where they had her file waiting for us. Then we headed down to PT where they quickly ushered her in for treatment. Afterwards we walked back to the front of the hospital to deliver the file to the front desk. There was a short wait and then we were called on to pay the bil and we departed. Total time in the hospital, about 45 minutes. The bill? $2.22. The national health insurance system picked up the rest.

Of course her treatment looked like it belonged in Hollywood7s version of a medieval dugeon. There was a cable and a couple of pullies, and a steel drrick arm and a set of leather straps. They buckled the straps on to her head and the machine lifted for about fifteen minutes. She spent the rest of the day asleep.

Yesterday afternoon I walked out to explore. I wandered down to a used stuff place called Hard-Off where I bought a little backpack. Then up to Doki-Doki, another used stuff place and then on to Kanseki, a hardware store. After that I visited Sega-World which was a video gaming place. They had a row of machines there into which you dropped coins. The arm swept back and forth and eventually, if you dropped enough coins, you could push out more coins. Well, while I stood there looking at the machine some coins dropped out. So I began playing. It was good free entertainment. I enjoyed myself but I didn't feel right taking the money so I let it there when I left. I'm sure someone enjoyed it.

Today I will become mobile. We will go buy a bicycle so I can explore the town some more.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 21 Jan 05 - 03:22 PM

By the way, it's bloody cold in this office. I haven'been this cold in a long, long tome.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Amos
Date: 21 Jan 05 - 03:32 PM

Brett,

How long do you project your stay in Japan to be?

A


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 26 Jan 05 - 03:47 AM

I have an appointment at the American Embassy around the end of February so I will be here at least that long, possibly longer depending on how things work out with Wakana.

The effort to buy a bicycle went nowhere. It seems that the Japanese have little experience with giants and do not make bicycles or clothes for us. If I want a bicycle to fit me I need to have one custom built.

I took a long walk yesterday. I had myself dropped off at the Nishinasuno town line and walked home, about 4 miles. I stopped at various shops along the way including Video Bomber and Trench Town. Video Bomber rent's videos. There are no employees in the place, just vending machines. Most of the videos are porn.

Trench Town was similar to one of our Army Navy Salvage stores combined with a Deadhead/Punk store. Pretty funky but the proprietor was listening to some pretty cool blues when I was in there.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Charley Noble
Date: 26 Jan 05 - 10:08 AM

Brett-

You need to find a place that caters to Suma wrestlers. They should have lots of appropriate accessories for a fellow of your stature and class.

Will you have enough time to connect with Masato? I haven't got a clue how close he is to where you're staying but if it's a reasonable distance a lot of us Mudcatters would cherish a full report on your findings.

More snow today, subzero weather, and gale-force winds.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 02:13 AM

Actually I have his address and phone numbers as well as his email address. I plan to call him today about getting together this weekend. I'm looking forward to it. I once met a Mudcat who I thought was male until I met her. She swore me to secrecy so I think she is enjoying the gender role.

Wakana and I went for a walk today! I think the therapy is working. We went down to McDonald's for lunch and then visited Doki-Doki where she bought a new bag (315 yen). Then we hit the 100 yen shop where I bought some birthday presents for my niece. She was pretty tired when we got home. She is back in bed now.

This morning was beautiful. the sky was incredibly blue and the air was so clear we could see individual trees on the mountains off to the west. West of us is a solid wall of mountains standing tall and covered with snow. The northernmost is Nasu Mountain, a quiet volcano from which the town gets its name, Nishinasuno. The mountains cannot compare to the Rockies but they are a beautiful barrier and backdrop. On the way home from the hospital this morning we topped the rise over the railroad bridge and the whole panorama opened up in front of us. I literally gasped at the sight. This is a lovely place once you get beyond the buildings and brown dirt in the fields. I would love to see it in the summer when the fields are all ponds of rice.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: GUEST,Masato
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 09:01 AM

Charley and Roger,

Thanks, I've received your best wishes in advance. Brett called me today and we talked for a while. We'll meet this weekend if my backache hinders (I'm recovering from it now). I hope Brett will report favorably what I am like.

SINSULL,

Brett may be the first Mudcatter to meet me? Very probably yes, also the first to talk with me (Brett may say I'm not a good speaker of English).

~Masato, still cookieless.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 09:47 AM

No, not IF, but UNLESS. As you can see, I have to brush up on my English.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: GUEST,bbc at work
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 11:27 AM

Masato, I suspect your English is *much* better than our Japanese! I have friends in South Korea, who I am going to visit in March. It embarrasses me that we always need to speak in English. I know a little Korean, after living there for 1 year, but only enough to barely get by. I'm glad you & Brett can meet.

best to both,

barbara


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: SINSULL
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 12:16 PM

Masato,
You don't need Brett's approval. Your scholarship and generosity with it has earned you a permanent position of respect here. And keep in mind, spelling and grammar don't count. I wish we could get you to the Getaway. That would be exciting.

As for you, Brett! Let me get this straight...you travelled First Class to JAPAN(!) to get treatment for Wakana's back and the first place you take her is MickeyD's??? Hopeless! Absolutely HOPELESS!
SINS


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 01:36 AM

She insisted!

Masato speaks very good English. And you are right, Sins, he doesn't need my approval. Unfortunately I will not be getting to Tokyo this weekend. I intended to vist two old friends and Masato, an old friend I have never met before. Unfortunately Masato is iffy because of his back (something I am very familiar with) and it turns out the other two do not live anywhere near each other and cannot get together with me after all. So, everything is on hold till later in February.

By the way, Masato, Wakana wanted to talk with you but didn't say anything until after we disconnected. Utsonomiya is her old stomping grounds.

Wakana insists that I am losing weight on my Japanese diet. I don't know how that could be but she should know. She can now get her arms all the way around me so that her hands touch each other when hugging. I threatened my mother in law that I would tell the world about the famous Mitsuko Diet and she would never get out of the kitchen. Of course, it could be that I am shivering the weight off...


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: katlaughing
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 02:34 AM

Well, I've finally caught up on your past month after my own medical stuff and it is still such a pleasure to read your words and hear jhow things are for you and Wakana, Brett. Thanks so much for sharing and best wishes for a speedy return to good health for Wakana. Sorry I didn't get to call before you had to go to Japan!

Too kewl that you will have the pleasure of meeting Masato. While you are in Japan, try the "LaFrance" chewing gum. It's quite tasty and I say that without any prejudice ( my last name has nothing to do with it!**bg**) Masato was kind enough to send some over one year for me to send out to Roger's siblings. Who knew we had a chewing gum named after us in Japan?!**bg**

luvyakat


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: GUEST,sandra in sydney
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 07:15 AM


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: GUEST,me again
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 07:46 AM

I did NOT touch the submit button, I am innocent! I dunno what happened, I know nuffin'

and now I don't remember what I was going to say. Getting old, that's what it is.

love to you both
sandra


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Charley Noble
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 09:23 AM

Naemanson, a shadow of his former self, stalks Japan. What a vision!

But maybe Wakana's arms are growing longer. What a vision!

Good luck to you both.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 02:07 AM

I suggested that her arms might be getting longer but she wouldn't accept that explanation.

I didn't get to walk today. As I was preparing to go out a TV program about South Pacific islands came on. They visited Guam, Chuuk, Pohnpei, and the Marshall Islands. They spent very little time on Guam, little more than an extended layover, and only a one hour layover on Chuuk. But they visited Pohnpei in detail and Wakana had a great surprise because they interviewed an old friend of hers there and visited places she has been herself. She started to cry at one point. I guess we need to go to Pohnpei so she can renew old acquaintances.

Anyway, by the time the program was over it was raining outside. I guess I don't walk today.

Some notes about cars in Japan: We are all familiar with the names of the big Japanese car makers, Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Suzuki, etc. However, the cars we see in the USA are only a small portion of the types of cars they build. Driving around here you will see the HiLux Surf, the Suzuki Move, The Nissan Serena and Sunny Super Saloon. There is the ELF 150 truck and the Toyota Royal Touring Crown, the Vista, and the Corsa. Some of the cars here look like they came out of a children's book. The proportions don't seem right on a car to an American eye.

And the gas prices here? 114 yen per liter. 100 yen is roughly equal to $1.00. Pricy.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: JennyO
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 02:15 AM

Brett, that's about how much petrol is here in Oz at the moment.

By the way, next time you come here, which I hope is still on your agenda, I can take you on some higher-class hurtling around Newtown in my nice new red car - well not actually NEW, but very nice, quiet and rather luxurious for what I have been used to. The seats are soft and comfortable - very easy on bad backs.

Speaking of which, I hope Wakana's problems are lessening. It would be lovely to meet her one day.

Jenny


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 31 Jan 05 - 07:00 AM

Bad day for Wakana, stayed in bed once we got home from the hospital. I fear she will need the surgery.

Supper tonight was homemade sushi. We had inara sushi and the futaki (?). Inara is a rice ball stuffed inside fried tofu. It was very tasty. I am doing very well with chopsticks.

And, today, I asked my first question in Japanese. I pointed to a building and asked my father-in-law, "Ale wa nan desuka?" (What is that?) It turned out to be the Ohtawara community center named, fittingly enough, Harmony Hall.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Donuel
Date: 31 Jan 05 - 10:02 AM

I have heard of the use of a sonic scalpel for the removal of ruptured disk material. It vibrates the tissue away in such a way as to promote excellent healing without risk to surrounding tissues, nerves and blood vessels.

In some recent cases new artficial disk material has been implanted.

Sonic scalpels have often been used on tumors that are hard to reach or inoperable but their application to ruptured disks has sounded very promising.

Sorry thats all I know.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 02 Feb 05 - 01:50 AM

Sounds good, Donuel, I will mention it to Wakana.

Yesterday I bought a bicycle. It feels a little small but it will work and I will extend my range on seeing this town and the next one over. Then, this morning we woke up to 4" of snow! The weather gods hate me.

I asked Wakana for a divorce. I didn't move to Guam so I could shovel snow in Japan! She laughed at me. I called my parents in northern Maine. They laughed at me. I talked to my daughter in New York City. She laughed at me. I get a distinct feeling that there is no sympathy out there for my predicament. Sigh.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Feb 05 - 08:21 AM

Well, you could try Guam...I don't believe they have any snow...


A


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: GUEST,sandra in sydney
Date: 02 Feb 05 - 08:36 AM

Sydney doesn't either!!

The plan was for you both to come here for the National at Easter & you changed it to visiting Japan in winter.

That'll larn ya.

sandra


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: GUEST,bbc at work
Date: 02 Feb 05 - 11:23 AM

Brett,

The answer is not divorce. If the weather gods are truly against you, you'd end up divorced & sitting in snow in Guam, to boot!

love,

Barbara


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: SINSULL
Date: 02 Feb 05 - 04:17 PM

Brett,
37 and sunny here in Maine. Shoveling snow, are you? Think twice before you tempt fate by reminding us that you are cozy and warm while we are in the midst of a blizzard. Ftae has a way of creeping up behind you and kicking you in the butt.

I didn't know you were a Republican. Asking for a divorce ala Newt Gingrich while your poor wife is in a hospital bed...shame on you. Serve you right if she gives you one!

When will Wakan get the final word on surgery? I am keeping her in my prayers along with about six other Mudcatters. Damn unhealthy crowd here.

Stay well, love. Song Circle at my house on the 26th.

SINS


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 03 Feb 05 - 06:06 AM

LOL! No divorce and no snow in Guam yet, from what I hear. Thanks for the good wishes and prayers. We'll hear about her future on Saturday. She will meet with her doctor and they will decide what is next for her.

Today is Setsubun in Japan. That is the day in the Shinto lunar calendar when the season changes. It doesn't herald spring or anything it is the end of the old year and the beginning of the new. This afternoon we went to the Nogi Shrine here in Nasushiobara City. There was a crowd there and lots of activities. The priests were running around in their black hats and colorful robes. There were booths selling good luck charms, amulets and decorations. There was a high stage decorated with a blue and white cloth and banners. We noticed a long line of people waiting to get into the shrine and joined them until Wakana쳌fs father explained that they were there for special prayers to improve their luck in the coming year. A drum roll called them into the shrine and we went over to another booth and bought a cup of amasake, sweet sake with rice in it. It쳌fs a hot drink so there is no alcohol left in it and it is, as the name implies, sweet. It was similar to a hot rice soup. It hit the spot because the day was cold and there were snow flakes drifting down through the cedar trees.

Perhaps I should describe the shrine in general and the Nogi Shrine in particular. Each shrine has a series of gates leading to the grounds. Shinto is a nature based religion (Actually, Wakana tells me it isn쳌ft a religion but I don쳌ft know what else to call it.). Each shrine has trees and a stream of water flowing down past the grounds. There is the famous shape of the torii gate and a rope of braided straw with paper ornaments. There are usually stone lanterns and a washbasin for purifying yourself before prayer. To one side is a rack where wishes and prayers, written on paper, can be tied to ensure the gods see them. Standing on the grounds, when you are alone, you can hear the wind in the cedar trees and the splash of water. Shinto is very much concerned with life and the living of life.

The Nogi Shrine was built by Admiral Nogi. He was instrumental in the Russo-Japanese war in the early years of the Twentieth Century. There is a statue of him on the grounds and facing him is a small shrine dedicated to his favorite horse.

So there we were on the grounds waiting for the prayers inside the shrine to finish. I walked a little way up a nature path and met a mother with two small children. Her son looked up at me as if he was seeing a demon, with big round eyes and a very serious expression on his face. He might have been six or seven years old. I said, 쳌gHello, how are you?쳌h He gripped his mother쳌fs hand and she laughed and told him to answer me. It turned out she spoke a little English. We talked for a little while until Wakana joined us and they turned to Japanese. Wakana explained that they were looking for arrows. The priests fire arrows out of the shrine to carry away bad luck and it is good luck to find one. At that she exclaimed that she saw one and she leaped the rope to go pull it out of the ground. It was red with white feathers and a large wooden blunt tip. There were papers wrapped around it. He says the priests only fire 4 arrows, two out of each side, and that it is very good luck to find one in the woods.

After that we wandered up into the grounds. A drum roll signaled the end of the prayers and the crowd gathered in front of the elevated stage. A priest stood up there and spoke for a bit and then a guest of honor, a comedian from TV joined him and, using a bullhorn, addressed the crowd. He was dressed in a traditional kimono. Then another guest of honor joined him dressed as a samurai, complete with sword. They both spoke for a bit and then there was some shouting. There was a disturbance in the crowd and four masked goblins wandered into sight and into the crowd. They wore tight fitting colorful clothing and had evil looking masks in bright colors. People spoke with them as they danced and swayed. They carried big clubs. In front of the shrine they were met by the 쳌gsamurai쳌h who 쳌gfought쳌h them for a while and then scattered soybeans to drive them away. Then there were some more introductions from the stage and then came the big event. The people on the stage began to throw soybeans into the crowd. These were followed by lucky snacks. I knew that some lucky snacks would be thrown thanks to Wakana so I was ready. I was not ready for what was coming off the stage. The first orange narrowly missed my head and landed like an artillery shel next to me. There was thump on my chest that staggered me and something fell at my feet. I picked it up to find a rice bowl meal, just add hot water. It was heavy! People surged and grabbed reaching to catch the prizes that rained from the stage. I was laughing and grabbing too. I plucked another orange from the air and caught two little mochi snacks in my hat. It was all great fun but I was also concerned that someone would be hurt.

When it was over we headed home. Wakana bought some little snacks at a vendor outside of the shrine grounds, little pancakes with custard inside. We went home, very happy and feeling lucky, me for having seen it, and them for having found the arrow.

While wandering around the grounds I bought a lucky decoration to give my in-laws. Wakana calls it a pleasure ship, about 10쳌h tall and consists of a pile of rice bales, a rake, some representations of the old style of money, some fish and the faces of the good luck gods. I didn쳌ft attach a lot of importance to it. I just thought it would be a nice thing to do. I gave it to them as we shared a little snack after our return from the shrine. Well, I seem to have done everything right. Finding the arrow was lucky for Wakana. As her husband I share in that luck. By giving them the pleasure ship I passed some of that luck off to them and distributed it to both families, theirs and mine. If something good happens to Wakana쳌fs brother or my daughters it will be caused by that simple act of charity.

This afternoon we scattered soybeans around the house, a few in each room, shouting 쳌gFuku wa uchi!쳌h (Luck, come in!) in the rooms. In each room we opened a window and threw soybean outside shouting 쳌gOni wa soto!쳌h (Goblins go away!).

Then it was suppertime. I쳌fm sure many of you are familiar with the rolled sushi with the black seaweed wrapper and the rice and vegetables inside. It looks like a tasty disk. Well it is made in long rolls and cut to that half inch size. Well, on Setsubun the sushi cannot be cut, it has to be eaten in its full 7 inch length. We also had yakitori, chicken and onions grilled on skewers and dripping with a wonderful sauce. And we had the ubiquitous miso soup.

Oh, and I rode my bicycle up to the coin operated laundry to dry a load of wash. Along the way there seemed to be something wrong with the way I fit on it and it seemed to get worse. As I approached the laundromat the saddle slipped the rest of the way down. I appear to have reinjured my knee on that damned bike. Time will tell.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Amos
Date: 03 Feb 05 - 06:36 AM

Ahh, man, Brett, you do know how to spin a tale. I cannot tell you how much I enjoy your narrative!! Thanks so much!!

My condolences to your knee. How serious is it?

A


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 03 Feb 05 - 08:35 AM

maybe without all that good luck you would have a greater injury!!

looking forward to your Saturday post.


sandra


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Charley Noble
Date: 03 Feb 05 - 09:07 AM

Brett-

Why do I have misgivings when I hear that you are wandering through a forest where you know that priests periodically release arrows?

Of course THEY say that they are arrows of "good fortune." Sure, and slinging a ceramic bowl at you is more good luck?

Then someone sells you an obviously sabotaged bike. This is more good luck? It's a good thing that you are not paranoid, as ARE the rest of your gentle readers.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble, who tries hard to AVOID "slings and arrows" however they may be characterized


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: SINSULL
Date: 03 Feb 05 - 07:50 PM

If it is good luck to find an arrow, what does it mean if you are hit by one? Flying oranges and condensed soup? Sounds a bit like Saturday night at the Getaway. Hope your knee is OK. If not, reserve the bed next to Wakana and get the family rate.
Love you,
SINS


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 03 Feb 05 - 11:10 PM

Today was her last physical therapy appointment. Tomorrow we see the doctor and will spend a long time at the hospital for examinations, x-rays, and discussions.

We tried to register me in the town and country today. I was informed that I am too large to be in japan and that I would have to leave immediately!

Well, actually they informed me that I need a "marriage visa" from the Japanese embassy in Guam before I can register. We had hoped to register and get me emrolled in the national health insurance plan. Oh well, I hope nothing goes wrong while I am here.

The knee is still a little painful but not too bad.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 04 Feb 05 - 06:19 AM

Some thoughts on where I am:

The predominant winter bird appears to be the crow. These are smaller than the crows back in Maine and they have a softer voice which is in keeping with the general politeness of Japanese society.

Businesses use a lot of flags to get the attention of the public. They are the traditionalJapanese design with an upright pole, an arm at the top at right angles to the upright, and the flage attached to both pieces. They are usually brightly colored and covered with Japanese characters.

We went out to dinner tonight. We went to a noodle house where we ate udon. The udon is a thick long noodle which is served in a sauce or with a sauce. The sauces are varied. Wakana had a yam based sauce. Mine was curry. When I say the noodles are thick you must believe me. They are huge noodles, at least a foot long, half an inch wide and a full quarter inch deep. The bowl was huge also. I couldn't finish mine though I tried. Wakana's parents finished theirs and Wakana's mother then went on to finish Wakana's noodles. the Japanese may not be a large people but they can eat!


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Lana
Date: 04 Feb 05 - 07:43 AM

Hi Dad,
I tried sake the other day when Scott and I went out for lunch at Japanese restaurant in Manhattan. It's surprisingly flavourless. Weird.
love
kelli


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 06 Feb 05 - 09:33 AM

On Saturday we met with the doctor for her re-evaluation. they do NOT believe an operation will be necessary. BUT she will have to continue the physical therapy for another two weeks for a month or maybe even longer.

I forgot to mention one other part of the Setsubun celebration. That evening we scattered soybeans in each room of the house and tossed more soybeans out of every window. In the rooms we cried "Good luck, come in!" and when we tossed the soybeans out the window we cried "Goblins go away!"

I went to my first Japanese lesson on Saturday. That was a trip. I felt like a child in a remedial reading group. The teacher (we were working one on one) spoke English but kept to Japanese as much as possible. He even worked in hiragana and katakana when illustrating his points. I have two alphabets to learn! Sigh.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Charley Noble
Date: 06 Feb 05 - 10:17 AM

Brett-

I'd take that as good news. "Goblins be gone!"

Hey, the weather yesterday in Maine was back in the 50's, shirtsleeve weather. The cats got all excited, until they discovered how much water was covering the driveway from the melting snow.

Sure you can't make it back to the Press Room, Portsmouth, NH, for a Bob Zentz concert on Sunday, March 20th?

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: GUEST,sandra in sydney
Date: 07 Feb 05 - 08:30 AM

yah!! they certainly were good luck soybeans

sandra


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 07 Feb 05 - 11:38 PM

Bob Zentz in NH? Ouch! I wanna be there!

Last Saturday after my Japanese lesson I went to the library. It's in the same building. I wandered down the aisles and turned in to one at random and there I was at the music section. Of course all the titles we in Japanese but one word did jump out at me... Jazz.

A few days ago I went for a walk and found a used book store. I wandered down one of the aisles and found myself in the music section. Same kind of evidence.

Yesterday Wakana and I stopped at a place for lunch. We had Japanese pancakes, or maybe you might call it Japanese pizza, Wakana does. Anyway they fill a bowl with batter and lay all the ingrediants on top. The bowl is then delivered to the table. Each table has a griddle built into it. The waitress then cooked the pancake for us. While she worked we talked. She is a university graduate with a major in English. She is also a semi pro musician playing piano and flute. At our request she played a CD on which she played backup for, you guessed it, an Okinowan folk song.

Sigh, music is everywhere. Good thing I like it.

By the way, our pizza featured cabbage, beef, octopus, and squid as wel as several herbs and spices. We topped it with a mix of brown sauce and mayonaise.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Jeri
Date: 07 Feb 05 - 11:56 PM

You really put mayonnaise on a cephalopod pizza pancake?


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Amos
Date: 08 Feb 05 - 12:24 AM

Guarantees the goblins stay gone. Not only do they flinch at the very concept but the inevitable consequent flatulence creates an odor which is lethal if breathed by goblins. I thought everyone knew that!

A


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Charley Noble
Date: 08 Feb 05 - 08:13 AM

No wonder the giant squids are so rare. It's not the great sperm whales that have been gobbling them up for years but the Japanese for their brunch.

You must bring the recipee with you when you pay us a visit next fall. In return I'll see if I can roll a squigly up in a crepe, with maple syrup, yogert and strawberry jam. Sounds yummy!

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: CarolC
Date: 08 Feb 05 - 12:23 PM

Have you encountered any accordions in Japan yet, Brett? You've got me thinking now about a thread I started a couple of years ago called:

Some accordion with your Pad Thai?

I would be very interested to know whether or not squeezeboxes of any sort are in use in Japan.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: GUEST,winterbright
Date: 08 Feb 05 - 05:00 PM

That there concoction sounds to me like the Thursday "Lovecraft Special"! Urp!


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 10 Feb 05 - 10:54 PM

Carol - I haven't seen much yet but then I have only just scratched the surface of the music scene here. I am in an agricultural town. That means that the people are really not doing much with music or other art. There is a limited amount of painting, Wakana's mother for example, and little else. Of course, language is a bit of a barrier but Wakana helps out there.

At first I thought you were looking for Japanese manufactured accordions but the Japanese might be too polite to build or play them. *Grin*

On Wednesday I went down to Yokohama for the celebration of the Chinese New Year and to connect with a previous co-worker from Guam. She and her fiancée now live in Japan. The New Year parade was wonderful but very short. It seemed to be a set of three of the same thing. First there was a little handcart in which the parade staff was setting off the traditional firecrackers. Those were LOUD! I imagine the guys working the cart spent the rest of the night saying "WHAT?" every time someone spoke to them.

Then came the dancers. They wore elaborate costumes and heavy grotesque makeup. The first set of dancers seemed to represent some kind of Chinese nobility. The second set of dancers wore a mix of styles. The third set was a representation of some kind of battle between good and evil. Those guys were good. They had large batons that were "weapons" and they kept them moving in a rapid succession of twists and spins, throwing them into the air and stepping around to catch them and swing them at each other. Their costumes were quite elaborate too.

The next in each set were the Chinese tigers or lions or whatever. They each held two people and consisted of a grotesque mask and a long body. The person in the head would approach the crowd on either side and shake it, make the mouth open and close. I saw individuals in the crowd speaking with the person inside the costume and laughing with them, friends or family members I thought. Once more the last group was the best. The head person would leap into the air, assisted by the tail person. The head would shake ferociously and the beast's fangs seemed ready to rip into the flesh of the bystanders. Then the head person would give a tremendous leap and next be standing on the shoulders of the tail person and the beast would suddenly be as tall as two people, shaking it's head and threatening the crowd.

Then came the long dragon. This was a long colorful fabric Chinese dragon carried on poles. The dragon spent the whole parade chasing a ball carried by the leader of the troupe. The dragon danced in a series of spirals and circles, always chasing the ball and never catching it. At one point he encircled one of the Chinese tiger beasts when it was in it's tall stage. It was quite a display.

Last came the drum and cymbal band. They kept up a noisy rhythm for the dancers. Generally there was an older man beating the big drum and younger students (?) on the cymbals around him.

These separate elements came in sets consisting of the dancers, Chinese tiger beasts, long dragon, and band. They would march a few steps and then perform. The firecrackers came at the start of the parade and at the end. It was quite a spectacle.

I met up with my friends after the parade. They arrived late because they expected the parade to start at 6:00 PM and it actually started at 4:30. Fortunately for them they arrived early and were able to catch up with the tail end and see the last set.

I arrived in Yokohama around lunchtime. Before I went to Chinatown I went to the Yokohama Maritime Museum. The city has built a lovely maritime park with the Nippon Maru permanently docked next to a lovely open square. The other side of the square is the semicircular façade of the museum. The museum is built underground to keep from cluttering up the view of the ship. The backside of the museum is a long grassy slope from which you can see the whole ship from above the deck.

Japan does not have a great maritime history. There are stories of Japanese fishermen who get swept out to sea and are picked up by passing ships. One of those stories involves a crew picked up by a whaler. Most of them elect to be returned through China to Japan. One of them decided to stay on the whaler. He traveled the world before returning to Japan. On his return he was taken before the Shogun who required him to write his story down. I am still looking for an English translation of that story.

Anyway, the museum is mostly dedicated to modern shipping and trade. They do have a display related to the Nippon Maru and its travels. There are some displays of Japanese coastal trading and fishing vessels. There is a wonderful diorama of the arrival of the Black Ships in Yokohama. There is a nice diorama of Yokohama harbor as it is today with views from cameras set up to show harbor activity. One display shows a model of the Nippon Maru under full sail. You can press buttons to change the wind direction and the model braces its yards around to adjust to the new wind direction.

I went to the library where I panicked the woman at the desk with a simple question. "Do you speak English?" quickly creates a variety of reactions here. She hustled off to find someone who could talk to me. I explained that I was a singer of English and American sea shanties (and had to explain what those were) and I wanted to know what the Japanese had for traditional sea music. I knew I was shooting in the dark. She parked me at a reading table and went off to see what she could find.

I turned to look at the magazine rack and was surprised to be looking at a publication in English. It was the Mariner's Mirror, the Journal Of The Society For Nautical Research. The society was founded in 1910 and the publication is published quarterly. The November 2004 issue I was looking at had a wonderful set of papers and notes. One paper was titled 'Wetymologies, limber scupper, and bilge' and was about the origin of those words. There were also full-scale articles on the history of the English fisheries in Iceland, the difficulties avoiding the U-boats on the oil run between the Clyde and the Firth Of Forth during the First World War, and Lascar struggles against discrimination. There were "notes" which seemed to be smaller scale articles. These included a description of an 1804 frigate action, Antarctic whaling, and the biography of a naval surgeon of the early 19th century. There was a section of "Queries" from people who had found references to certain bits of history and wanted more information. These included details of Chinese divers used to salvage money chests from a shipwreck in 1761, the activities of Captain Plucket at Norman Cross, Irawaddy patrols, and marlinspike design for the Royal Navy. There was an answer section for previous queries. They addressed fore and aft bridges, horse latitudes, lighting on 18th century ships, and stuns'ls. The correspondence section discussed previous articles. These had apparently addresses the Golden Age Of Piracy and Topmen of the 18th Century.

I was quite excited about this little discovery until I turned to the subscription page. $70 for a year's subscription seems a bit steep. Still, if anyone is interested you might try writing to them. Apparently only snail mail is used there was no reference to a web site at all though I haven't looked yet. The address is:

M. P. J. Garvey, fca
Stowell House
New Pond Hill
Cross In Hand, Heathfield
East Sussex, TN21 OLX

Good luck. If any of our English friends run across back issues in a used bookstore please think of me. I will gladly reimburse you for the purchase as long as the purchase price is reasonable, i.e., considerable less than $70 for 4 issues!

Oh, and the woman came back with three books. There was a book of songs related to the Nippon Maru, a songbook from the old Japanese Naval Academy, and another songbook of sea songs. Of course they were all in Japanese but I carefully copied the titles and brought them back for Wakana to read. She thinks we might be able to find them in the Japanese version of a used book web site.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: CarolC
Date: 10 Feb 05 - 11:21 PM

Nonesense, Brett. They probably just play them politely.

;-)


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Roger the Skiffler
Date: 11 Feb 05 - 04:14 AM

When I worked in a public library (1966/7),Brett, I had to do some research for a punter that involved tracking a particular ship down through Mariner's Mirror.It was a fascinating publication and I kept getting sidetracked!

RtS


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 11 Feb 05 - 08:21 AM

"That means that the people are really not doing much with music or other art."

Chomp, chomp, chomp.

That's me eating those words! Today we went to Harmony Hall for the local art exhibition. Harmony Hall is a community center. For those of us in the USA that means an old building with creaky floors and poor heating and lousy acousitcs. Not so in Japan. Harmony Hall is a multimillion dollar facility, the result of an extensive and very competitive fight between world renowned architects. It has art galleries, a lovely water decorated walk and two concert halls. The smaller one only seats about 300 people. It is the home of the local philharmonic orchestra. They have plays, ballets and other dance shows, as well the art shows and other artistic exhibits. I plan to go back there many times.

Today is Japan's national holiday to celebrate their beginning. The actual origins of Japan are lost in the mists of time but they date themselves from the first emperor. Today is their 2,676th birthday. Makes the USA seem very new indeed.

Oh, and if you are tired of the same old sword and sorcery movies try Onmyaji. We just watched two of them. Of course you will need to get one that is subtitled in English or your own language du jour. It is a fun set of movies about magic and heroism from Japan's 13th century. Pretty decent special effects.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: GUEST,Charley Noble
Date: 13 Feb 05 - 10:40 AM

Brett-

Keep digging! Sounds like you're in a rich environment. Too bad you don't have a copy of Stan Hugill's SAILORTOWN book. It has a nice, well graphic, section on Japanese sailortowns. Of course you'd need someone like Stan as a guide, and Lord only knows what would happen to you. ;~)

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 14 Feb 05 - 06:20 AM

I guess I'll pass on going into any red light districts, Charley, especially on Valentine's day!

Today Wakana got her wish. She dragged me into a barbershop and had her way with me. Sigh. I only wish I could have enjoyed the experience as much as she did.

Since she was the only one who could talk to the barber they spent a happy 15 minutes turning my head and discussing the work in Japanese while I emulated a mannequin. Wakana gleefully announced that he was willing to trim my beard also.

Then the headsman began cutting. He swaddled me in several layers of aprons and the snipped away with his scissors for a while. After they agreed that it was short enough he tipped me back and washed my hair twice. I tried to explain that the Amerika-jin were not really as dirty as rumor would have it but he seemed to think it was necessary. After rinsing, applying a rinse, rinsing again, and toweling he gave me a short head massage. Either that or he was getting a kick out of hitting the American in the head. Then he tipped me back again and started on the beard.

He snipped away with the scissors for a while and then took a piece out of my right earlobe. He actually drew blood! He explained to Wakana that the silver of the beard matched the scissors and he couldn쳌ft see where he was cutting. Hah! He trimmed and then cleaned up the jaw line using a straight razor. After the ear I was somewhat concerned but he managed to keep some form of control. He shaved my throat (!), my cheeks, the back of my neck, my forehead (?!), and inside my ears! After that he was done and I no longer looked like Hagrid. I was disappointed. I had just figured out how to say, 쳌gHagarido des. Harry Potter wa doko desuka?쳌h (I am Hagrid. Where is Harry Potter?) to children.

Today is Valentine쳌fs Day. In Japan women give chocolate to men on February 14. Between Wakana, her mother, and her aunt I have scored over 400 grams of chocolates and a can of Danish butter cookies! Men reciprocate in March with expensive gifts of clothing and jewelry.

By the way, I haven쳌ft mentioned the Japanese and green tea. All living creatures need air to live. The Japanese need air and green tea. In the grocery stores it is sold in bulk. The highway rest stops have vending machines to sell coffee, water, and sodas but the green tea is free. There is always a little teapot and a hot water pot standing ready to provide the right refreshment at a moment쳌fs notice. Green tea is bitter so I excited more than a little comment when I added sugar to mine!


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Charley Noble
Date: 14 Feb 05 - 09:03 AM

Brett-

Happy to hear that you survived your encounter with Sweeney Todd's Japanese counterpart. Next, please!

You may want to view Roll & Go's updated website: Click 'ear!

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 14 Feb 05 - 09:04 AM

maybe you need to post a new picture, Brett


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 16 Feb 05 - 10:58 PM

I have apparently spoiled my mother-in-law. When we arrived I wanted to help out as much as possible. The only thing I am qualified to do is dishes so I took on that chore for myself. At first it was difficult to shoo her out of the kitchen. Then, as time went by, she would start to work at the sink if we lingered too long at the table. This morning Wakana started to laugh because her mother finished her breakfast and simply wandered out of the room, leaving her dishes in the sink. She noticed that her mother very happily rises from the supper table and goes in to watch TV without giving the dishes a second thought. I think that woman is going to miss me when I go home.

It snowed yesterday. We got a few inches by afternoon but we didn't have to go anywhere so it was no big deal. I went out and shoveled the area in front of the garage and the walk into the house. By evening the areas I shoveled were already clear of snow and today there is almost nothing left. It is a fine clear day with bright sunshine and warm temperatures.

Back at the end of January I ordered some warm clothes and they finally arrived a few days ago so I am more comfortable. One day Wakana pulled some yarn and a knitting needle out of a drawer and began knitting. After about an hour she asked me to give her my foot. She was knitting me a pair of slippers. She finished them quickly, working with no pattern and no prior experience in making slippers. They are very comfortable and warm. At first they lived up to the name of slippers, I nearly killed myself getting down the stairs, but we got some antiskid tape from the hardware store and attached it to the bottom.

It was a bit of a jab, Charley, to see that updated Roll & Go website. I was wondering when you would get around to taking my picture out. I'm looking forward to hearing the new Roll & Go configuration. I notice that Jennifer's picture is also gone. Did she finally quit?


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Feb 05 - 09:48 AM

Way to go Brett, I am having so much fun with this site. I now can't wait to see what new adventure you are up to, Loved the barber shop experience, Wakana has won my undying appreciation. I have some warm clothes wining there way to you. Mom


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: GUEST,Charley Noble
Date: 17 Feb 05 - 01:01 PM

Brett-

Yes, we finally got around to updating the "group picture" for Roll & Go. As some folks already know it's a digital composite which makes it technically easy to shift members in and out. However, the personal management of our group is never so seamless. Jennifer left last fall, primarily for health related reasons, and is also sorely missed. Jeff Logan is our newest member, at least 10 years younger than any of us, and though he had no experience singing traditional style sea music he's been able to pick it up briskly. Jeff's a fine guitarist and a joy to sing with.

Wow, I just noticed your mom posted a message!

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: JudyB
Date: 17 Feb 05 - 02:39 PM

And Brett, if you check the lyric pages for the songs you led on the "Outward Bound" CD, you'll see that your smiling face remains a part of the group's history (even if we were a little less than consistent about where you you're from)!

It was in the 40s here yesterday -

   We're warmer than Bre-ett...
   We're warmer than Bre-ett!

Love to you both,
JudyB


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Donuel
Date: 18 Feb 05 - 05:48 PM

http://www.angelfire.com/md2/customviolins/goodluck.jpg


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 19 Feb 05 - 12:45 AM

JOECLONE Request!

Would a kind Joeclone please delete my mother's email address from her post above. She needs a lesson on what not to do on the web.

Nice artwork Donuel. I love it and so does Wakana!

Mother, please! I had things just the way I wanted and then you go encouraging Wakana! Have you no shame?

As for you, Judy, I'll have you know that it is cold and snowing again! But the best news is below and it means this cold weather will be behind me soon. Yesterday I was out walking without a jacket!

This morning we rose early to make an 8:30 doctor's appointment and for the first time experienced a USA hospital type event. When we got there the doctor had not yet arrived! We actually had to wait!

Then the Japanese system got things back on track. The hospital arranged for Wakana to go down for her physical therapy early instead of at 10:30. We did not request this, they just did it. When we returned the doctor was in and we went straight in to see him.

He looked over the MRI, the x-rays, and the previous reports and then talked to Wakana for a while. He announced that she was cured. She did not need surgery nor did she need any more PT! BUT she is to take things easy for a while. She needs to build up her strength and BE AWARE of what she is doing to herself!

So we are going home. Yippee! I love it here in Japan and the cold doesn't really bother me all that much but I want to go home.

When we go to the grocery store we can see a wooded hill far down at the end of the street. Wakana told me there is a park there that is related to the first settlers in this area. So yesterday I walked down there to take a look at it. I stopped along the way to buy two books in Japanese hiragana, the first of the three alphabets I have to learn. [I am making good progress. A few days ago I read a sign, Kusuli (pharmacy), and this morning I read the name tag on our waitress's uniform (Ishi).] I got Toy Story 2 and Winnie The Pooh.

Anyway, coming out of the bookstore I took the first left and walked down a narrow street with houses on the right and rice fields and greenhouses on the left. At one point I had to leave the road to make way for a huge fuel truck that was slowly picking its way down and around the streets. At the end of the street I met with a T-intersection. I chose the left and walked down past a construction site and around the curve at the bottom of the hill. I found a set of stone steps leading up hill. I climbed for a while but I was pretty tired by then and I also needed a bathroom. In Japan you do not need to look far to find one of those and I quickly spotted one at the bottom of the hill.

Behind it was a lovely pond with gravel paths and a wooden walkway crossing it. I stopped to rest on a bench and watch the ducks splash and swim. The park is pretty and I imagine it is beautiful in the bright greens of summer and the brilliant colors of autumn. As it is I found it pretty in the drab of late winter. The gray sky reflects poorly in the water giving it an unhealthy caste.

A duck spoke to me but I guess he spoke in Japanese for I did not understand him. I imagined he was asking what I was doing so I told him. He didn쳌ft seem to understand. I guess he doesn쳌ft speak English. He said something else that sounded a little derisive to me but I was getting cold so I packed up my notebook, gave him a farewell bow, and moved on.

Wakana쳌fs father is sick, flu, cold, or something, and it has the household in an uproar. He takes it as a matter of course that the women on the house will wait on him and see to his comfort. Wakana쳌fs parents are traditional Japanese and it would never occur to her mother to tell her father to stick it where the sun don쳌ft shine. Instead she makes him rice gruel and then, when he complains about the flavor, makes him a second bowl. Their쳌fs was an arranged marriage and he was not her first choice. I get the feeling she has regretted it for most of her life.

This morning we got up early to make it to the doctor쳌fs office. As we sat around the table at breakfast I listened to Wakana and her mother speaking in hushed voices and thought of other early morning tables I had experienced. I thought about harvest season and going out in the cold September pre-dawn dark to spend the whole day picking potatoes. I hated that job. I thought about deer hunting and rising early to get out into the woods before the sun drove the deer too deep into hiding for the day. Those were better memories. The family had a one room log cabin on a lake in Maine and we would use it as home base for fishing and hunting trips. I would wake up and listen as Dad moved around lighting fires and getting breakfast ready. I would be warm in my sleeping bag but I also knew that I would have to get out and dress quickly for his breath hung in the frosty air and meant that my clothes would be cold against my skin.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 19 Feb 05 - 08:54 AM

hooray for Wakana!!

I'll really miss your descriptions of Japan, but more great description of Guam coming up.

sandra


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: curmudgeon
Date: 19 Feb 05 - 09:18 AM

If it makes you feel better, it's ten degrees here in NH, with a forecast high of 26.
Love your wonderful posts. Keep it up and post some pictures. There are many of us here that would like to see your bride and the "new" you as well -- Tom


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: CarolC
Date: 19 Feb 05 - 07:50 PM

Hey Brett. Glad to hear that Wakana's neck is better. I wanted to pass this on to you though just in case... I have a ruptured disk in my neck that has been bothering me for years. One of the things I have discovered that helps is to use a 100% goose down pillow. I can mold and shape it so that it puts a little bit of traction on my neck while I'm sleeping (unlike synthetic filled pillows, and also unlike duck down, which is more springy than goose down), but even when I have it molded the way I need it, it doesn't feel hard against my head (unlike feather pillows). Might be worth a try if it hasn't been tried already.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Ebbie
Date: 19 Feb 05 - 08:55 PM

It's interesting, Naemanson, that "home" is Guam. How things have changed! And lovely too. I think we are all agreed in wishing you and Wakana the best.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Feb 05 - 11:32 AM

Well Brett, So this is where you hang out. Since I don't have your email and you don't have mine, Mom sent me this address. How are you I haven't read all the posts to get all the news. Sounds though that you are happily retired and remarried !! Slow down. Life here is quieter. I enjoy the negative comments about Maine - I am very ready to move west. This year I take my boards again, and hope next year to apply out west. Problem is I love my job. My boss is greedy and lazy and feels that I should share in his indulgence in these two of the 7 deadly sins. So we are ever trying to work less for more money. It has not been as successful as we had hoped - we are very busy. But I enjoy work and it makes it hard to get west. But I will - I am unhappy living in Maine. The weater sucks, my house is small and tawdry .... And Montana is sooo beautiful. Mom and Dad are fine. I bought Dad a 4 wheeler and he is loving it. Who new? I did it for motivational and physical therapy after his surgery and wow, did that work. He's been all over the farm and has all kinds of plans for spring and summer. Mom is as busy as ever. Hello to Wakana and all her family. Keep in touch Bryn


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 20 Feb 05 - 10:09 PM

Omigahd! My whole family is watching! I'll have to be on my best behavior now. Sigh. Japan is good. I like it. Guam is good. I like it too.

Nah! I guess I am who I am.

Yesterday Wakana and I walked down to Doki-Doki to rent some more videos. On the way back we stopped, at her insistence, at Dohton Bori for more Japanese pizza/pancake. This time we had a simple one with shrimp as the main ingredient. When we went to the drink counter to fill our coffee cups I looked out the window and was stunned by what I saw. The sun was low in the sky and shone quite brightly but we were under a thick overcast. The mountains varied between glowing in the sunlight and looming darkly under the clouds and in the shadow of the higher peaks. The light around us as we walked home was eerie to say the least with bright sun casting long shadows and making the buildings bright against the dark sky beyond. There was just a little snow coming down around us. The wind was very strong and cut through our clothing.

As I have said before Nishinasuno sits on a plain between the mountain range and some low hills. It is always breezy and sometimes the winds blow very strong. In the winter it comes down off the volcano to the northwest and sweeps across the plain. It쳌fs last stop, according to the weather maps I쳌fve seen, was Siberia and we all recognize that as a metaphor for cold.

On Wednesday I am headed for Tokyo to meet with the embassy staff about Wakana쳌fs immigrant visa and then I will meet up with Masato at the Shinjuku train station about 6:00. He is a college professor and looks like one in the photo he sent me.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Charley Noble
Date: 21 Feb 05 - 11:48 AM

Oh, do give our warmest regards to Masato, that ever so intrepid song finder!

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Donuel
Date: 23 Feb 05 - 03:16 PM

your finished postcard

http://www.angelfire.com/md2/customviolins/goodluck1.jpg


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 23 Feb 05 - 10:13 PM

Well, I have met Masato! Yesterday I went to Tokyo for my appointment at the USA Embassy. Afterwards I met my brother-in-law at the nearby Starbuck's and we headed over to Kanda to look at guitars. He had found a new shop where he bought himself a used guitar.

The shops we visited were great little places crammed with guitars and other instruments. We looked and touched and played and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. I saw a tai-sho-koto. I had seen one in a mail order catalog earlier in the week and Wakana had tried to explain it to me. I had to see one to understand it. Imagine a wooden box about 2' long. There are 4 strings that run the length of the box. There is a cover over the strings with keys that look like old style typewriter keys. Looking under the cover you can see that the fret board has frets. The keys press all the strings down on to the frets. Essentially it is a mountain dulcimer with keys.

After we left the guitar shops we stopped at Disk Union. I was worried that we might be late for meeting Masato but Fumito wanted me to see this place. It was a neat little hole-in-the-wall type shop chock full of CDs, DVDs, and vinyl records. The first thing I saw, right as I stepped into the shop, was an old Pogues album, Rum, Sodomy, And The Lash! This was the first European "folk" music I had seen since I left New England. I was impressed. There were others bands represented, bands I actually recognized. I found a David Bromberg album and picked up the old CSN&Y album Déjà Vu.

Finally we set off to find Masato. I had arranged to meet him at the south entrance to Shijuku station. The crowds were thick. People were busily hurrying around at the end of the workday. We wandered around and finally spotted him.

Did I mention that folk music gets some attention in Japan? He swept into site, surrounded by bodyguards keeping back the adoring fans. Girls shrieked and boys looked on with adoration. His white cape swirled in the spring breeze and revealed a black skintight leather outfit covered with rhinestones and silver snaps.

Well, maybe not. Masato is a gentle college professor with graying hair. He wore a corduroy jacket over a plaid flannel shirt. He has a firm handshake and impeccable manners. We were conscious of the importance of the meeting. I am the first Mudcat he has met and the first one to meet him. I hope many of you can have the same honor some day. He is a lovely human being.

We adjourned to the 13th floor of the Takamayashima Building to a Chinese restaurant. I suggested we go someplace with slow service so we could have time to talk. Masato insisted on treating us to dinner. He wouldn't allow us to pay for anything. On top of that he gave me a CD that he said was all there is to know about Auld Lang Syne.    It has a 60 page booklet, written in Japanese. There are 27 cuts on the CD of various pieces of music all based on the melody line of Auld Lang Syne. There are simple vocal arrangements, classical pieces by Rossini, Beethoven, and Damgaard, music box pieces, bagpipe bands, brass bands, in Arabic, Japanese, and possibly other languages. What a guy!

The waitress brought a tall stack of small dishes to the table. I looked at it and wondered if they were all meant for us. It isn't unusual for the staff in the restaurants I have been in before to use a diner's table as a staging point for setting other tables. As it turned out we needed every one.

We started with beer and tea, then we had jellyfish, pork and pickled radish for appetizers. The servings kept coming; shrimp served in a pepper sauce, fried pork, soup, and yaki soba with squid, shrimp, and scallops and ended with fruit salad served over Chinese jelly. Itadakimasu and gochisosama to Masato-san for such a delicious meal.

I had to ask the question that we all want to know, i.e., how on earth does a homebound Japanese college professor get to know so much about European and American folk music? He dodged the question! Well, not so much a dodge as a humble shrug of the shoulders and the comment that he likes it and learns what he can. He doesn't sing or play but he listens to whatever he can get. I imagine he must have a library of music and books to die for.

We had a very good time. We drank a little beer and ate too much and laughed a lot. It was a lovely evening. Thank you, Masato. I hope to meet with you again next time I am in Japan.

After we left Masato my brother-in-law escorted me back to meet the shinkansen (bullet train) back to Nasushiobara. Standing in the train station Fumito echoed my sentiment. Masato is a real gentleman. Sorry ladies, but he is happily married.

As to my visit to the embassy, that was another ADVENTURE IN BUREAUCRACY! I had a 2:00 appointment. I arrived from Tochigi, 150km away, at 12:45. I was informed that the embassy was closed until 1:30 and I had to come back then! Sigh. I wandered off, got a cup of coffee and a muffin, came back and settled on the curb to wait. I fell into conversation with a young couple who were there for the same reason I was. When they heard I lived on Guam they got all excited. They explained they had friends who had moved there and they were interested in going there too. That and their little son kept us entertained while we waited. And we did wait. Getting into the embassy was like going through airport security, twice. At one station they physically inspect bags and walk you through the usual scanner. At the second station they take away your cameras, cell phones, and pocket knives and run your bags through an x-ray scanner.

Finally you are admitted entrance. Of course, there is nobody who is interested in helping you with the process. The room is full of nervous expectant people and in one corner there is an innocuous little gray machine. By intuition you are supposed to know that the machine provides numbers by which they will call you to the window.

Before going to the embassy you are supposed to download the instructions for how to prepare for the visa request procedure. We had spent the previous two days filling out forms, getting pictures and documents, translating Japanese language documents, and making copies. We had to provide a statement about our relationship, how we met, what we've done together, complete with pictures and documents. I had in my possession three sets of documents, the two sets we were supposed to provide to the embassy (according to the instructions) and one for our records.

When I stepped up to the counter the man started by asking for the copy of the ID page of my passport. The instructions hadn't said anything about that! Fortunately he was used to that and he stepped over to the photocopier to make one. Then he asked for the copy of Wakana's passport. That was fine. Then he wanted the various forms we had filled out. He scanned them and had me make small corrections. Then he asked for a copy of my divorce decree. I was astounded to say the least. There was no mention of that in the instructions! He pulled out his regulation and pointed out that they needed it to finish the application process. I tried to explain that it was destroyed in the fire but he wasn't interested.

He continued working and when he was finished he gave me a paper that identified what I needed to provide and where I needed to send it. He had only taken one copy of most of the documents I had sweated over and left me holding a pile of paper and written instructions on how to finish the process. Then I was left to find my own way back to the street. Sigh.

Now I have to figure out how to get a copy of a legal document from 8,000 miles away. Charley? Any ideas?


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: SINSULL
Date: 23 Feb 05 - 11:11 PM

Brett,
Was the divorce granted by a city or the state? Whichever - they must have the document on file. No doubt you will need to write them with assorted info which will trigger a form. I will see if I can find out anything for you.
SINS

PS Does Masato play the banjo?


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: SINSULL
Date: 23 Feb 05 - 11:22 PM

Here you go, Brett. You an do it by mail or phone (or walk-in).

http://www.maine.gov/dhhs/bohodr/recorder.htm


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: masato sakurai
Date: 24 Feb 05 - 07:28 AM

It was warm and windy yesterday. They say haru ichiban (spring no. 1) blew, which heralds the coming of spring. The three of us had a very good time as if we had been friends for decades. Today it began to sleet in Tokyo, half way back to winter.

Masato


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Charley Noble
Date: 24 Feb 05 - 09:37 AM

Brett-

If you provide me the approximate date of your divorce decree I can try a search at the Sagadahoc County Court House in Bath. I'm not sure that getting the forms via e-mail will be sufficient for the U. S. Embassy. THEY may need to see a "proper certification" of said document. I could also track down your former wife for details if needed; as kitchen manager for the Georgetown Central School she was very helpful when we had father's memorial event there last summer.

Please e-mail me the "specs" for this archane mission.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: GUEST,bbc at work
Date: 24 Feb 05 - 11:25 AM

Brett,

Thanks for sharing your meeting w/ Masato with us. Masato-san, you have now had the "Mudcat experience"--meeting someone in person for the first time, but feeling that you are already great friends. It's wonderful, isn't it? I wish we could all have the pleasure of meeting you; your contributions to Mudcat are very much appreciated. I will be flying through the Tokyo airport on my way to Korea at the end of March. I will wave & think of you!

best wishes,

barbara


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 24 Feb 05 - 10:32 PM

Bless you Sins and Charley! You are wonderful friends. Look for PM or email with details. Maybe that contact will work after all.

Masato and Wakana have both explained Haru-ichiban to me. They get a warm gusty day, it feels like spring is in the air, and then winter closes in again. Just like the January thaw back home except that here they don't get 6 weeks of blizzards after the thaw. We did get snow last night but not much.

Today Wakana's "little" medical problem required out-patient surgery. As to what it is let's just say it is not a pain in the neck but it does radiate pain and itching from a point somewhere to the south of there. She is embarrassed and ashamed but I try to explain that there is no cause for that.

She is resting in bed, high on painkillers and trying to beat her own high score on the PSP. When we bought the PSP I thought we were buying it for me but I seem to have trouble wresting it from her deathgrip. It's a good thing because she has been house bound and bedridden for quite some time and she has been able to escape from the slow march of time with the games.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 28 Feb 05 - 03:38 AM

Yesterday Wakana and I went down to the Total Gift Shop (they don쳌ft mince words here) to buy a couple of house gifts in appreciation for the hospitality and help they have given us. We got a nice set of pots and pans for the kitchen and a decorative display. When her parents came home from an outing we sat in the kitchen to have coffee and we presented the gifts. Wakana쳌fs mother was overcome with the excitement of having decent cookware to replace the cheap saucepans she쳌fs been using for many years. They were both taken with the little decorative display, a set of small paper doors on a lacquer floor with a bamboo mat and a dish for charcoal (winter display) and moss and stone (summer display). It was a good thought and the gifts were very much appreciated. Of course, their help has been very much appreciated too.

Today we took a drive! It was great. We left the house around 10:00 and headed up into the mountains. We drove back roads through farmlands and small towns, over dry rivers and past small family cemeteries, always with the mountains on our right or ahead. For a long way we drove past a stream in a concrete bed. This was one of the three streams dug by the pioneers (yes, Japan had them) to bring water into the area for agriculture. It runs from Nasu Mountain all the way to Nasushiobara. Back then there was a narrow dirt track road that followed it and allowed the government to keep up repairs. Today it's a two-lane country road with houses and villages springing up along the way. This area was only settled about 150 to 100 years ago. Until then it was too dry for farming. But the soil was good and only needed water to make it arable.

The land is fairly flat with just a slight rise as you approach the mountains. Those loom before you like a wall of gray and white. We could see smoke rising from the crater of the volcano on the other side of the mountain. It was an awesome sight.

Eventually we ran in under trees and began the climb up the side of the mountain. The road ran in curves. The snow was piled high on the sides of the road but in the woods it was cut by many small streams. We pulled into one parking area where the smell of brimstone was very strong. Wakana told me that sometimes when the air was still the poison gas would build up in the hollow and birds would drop dead out of the sky. There are stories of old people going down into the hollow to sit and wait for the gas. It was a rocky ground. The stones in the stream were brown from the chemicals in the water.

I went up on to a bridge to take a picture of the little valley. A young Japanese woman coming the other way said 쳌gHi!쳌h to me and I automatically answered as we passed. I took two steps before I realized she had deliberately spoken English. I turned and said, 쳌gHow do you do?쳌h She was fine and said so. I complimented her on her English and she told me she had gone to school in Vancouver.

We could hear tires spinning on ice and it turned out to be our car. Makoto-san had parked on glare ice. The woman쳌fs boyfriend and I pushed the car off the ice and we were on our way again.

We had to pay a fee to continue up the mountain. We were still in the woods but we had occasional glimpses of the mountain peaks ahead. Then we came out of the trees and pulled over at a scenic overlook that had me breathless! The whole valley was laid out at our feet. As I have explained before the towns in Tochigi are on a plain that reaches between the mountains and a set of low hills. We could see it all from up there.

Then we turned and could see the 5 peaks that make up the Nasu volcano. Central was the peak that hid the crater. Wakana says you can drive almost to the top in the summer but the road is closed in the winter. We were about halfway up the mountain and had a panoramic view of all creation it seemed. The snow was deep where we were but there was none in the valley below. The peaks behind us were white. The trees, mostly hardwoods, were bare, of course, but there were different shades of gray where the various species grouped together.

The light was very bright. I didn쳌ft have my sunglasses. My eyes kept watering and I kept sneezing. But I kept looking and wondering at the beauty of Japan. It쳌fs no wonder the Japanese love their land.

We headed down the hill then. We drove past souvenir shops, ski slopes, volcanic hot spring baths or onsens, restaurants, and the little shops that make up a town. My father-in-law seemed to be in a hurry now. It was past lunchtime. I asked to stop at one of the souvenir shops but he kept on. We finally pulled into a little shopping plaza for tourists and wandered around for a bit but he hurried us out of there and back into the car. He was a man with a mission.

We arrived at the restaurant he wanted to eat at but found that they were almost closed. We were the only people in the place but the earlier lunch rush had cleaned them out. We loaded back into the car and headed for an Italian place he knew. There we had the opposite problem. The place was full and there was no room to wait inside. But we waited and soon sat down to a very nice meal. When we were choosing from the menu, which requires Wakana to read and interpret each item until I hear one I like, I commented that I wasn쳌ft used to eating in places that didn쳌ft wrap the food in paper and hand it to you in a sack. Ah, the gentle art of exaggeration. It can liven up a conversation no end.

After lunch we went to the Nasu Orgel Museum. An orgel is a music box. The museum is new and was built to house a collection donated by a wealthy local businessman. It is quite a nice collection and the building is very nice. There are tours where they play the boxes for you. Some are very simple and others are quite ornate.

After coffee in the lounge/gift shop we headed home. It was a lovely outing. We all had a very nice time but now we are tired and ready for a rest.

We head home on Thursday. We will exchange the chilly early spring for a hot summer. Gordon will pick us up at the airport. This weekend the canoe (Remember the canoe?) will take part in the Discovery Day celebrations at Umatac. The original Discovery Days were dedicated to Magellan쳌fs arrival in 1521. These days the day is dedicated to the first unknown Chamorros who found Guam and settled there.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: SINSULL
Date: 28 Feb 05 - 02:36 PM

Those painkillers must be wonderful. From bed to tourism in a matter of days. Pictures, Brett?


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 01 Mar 05 - 07:38 AM

I'm definitely going to miss your descriptions of Japan, Brett.

sandra


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Noreen
Date: 01 Mar 05 - 11:52 AM

Wonderful thread.

I had missed all your news until last week, Brett, and I have been working my way through the story. Thank you for letting us share your adventures!


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Charley Noble
Date: 01 Mar 05 - 03:09 PM

Nicely described, Brett!

Gee, you're missing another foot of fluffy white snow. I'll save you a shovel full in the freezer for your visit next September.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 02 Mar 05 - 09:02 AM

Wakana is funny. She has worried about me being bored because I am stuck in this 쳌gcrummy little town쳌h (paraphrasing and taking liberties with her words). I keep trying to explain to her that she may think it is a crummy little town but it is all new and exciting to me. She seems to think she knows all the ins and outs of this place and that there is nothing new to find. At least, she thought there was nothing new here but I keep finding things she never knew about. Yesterday we visited a bonsai nursery. There were dozens of bonsai trees. We wandered around taking pictures and being amazed at the shapes and sizes. The woman who owned the nursery invited us in for tea and we talked of the business. I kept asking questions and trying to guess what trees on Guam would make a good bonsai. She gave me a book on how to grow and care for them. It was a great visit and Wakana was amazed this place had been there all her life and she쳌fd never known it. I found it on one of my many walks.

I have always heard of bonsai and have even seen one or two examples. We쳌fve all seen pictures of them. But I had never realized how many shapes and sizes there really could be. Some were wrapped around a standing piece of dead twisted wood. Others were actual groves of 10 or more trees, none more that a foot or maybe a foot and a half high. There were both evergreen and deciduous trees. To my amazement I learned that most of the trees we were looking at were not for sale. They already had owners! The nursery did not sell trees as its main point of business. It is literally a nursery in every sense of the word. They care for the trees and continue to shape them as they grow. The owners will take the trees for special occasions and then return them for continuing care.

As we talked I studied a tree that stood on a table in the room. Its twisted trunk was split but it looked healthy and strong. It was a pine and stood about 2 feet tall. The woman explained that the tree was over 100 years old. Her business has cared for the tree for the last 35 years. I looked at the tree and tried to understand the notion of 100 years of monthly care, the hands, long dead, that once shaped and pushed the tree to be the thing of beauty that stood before me. All I could feel was awe.

The woman쳌fs husband had started the business 35 years ago after apprenticing with a master bonsai expert for 10 years. Their son went off and worked through an apprenticeship program and only returned last year to work with his father but the old man died shortly after his return. Now he works on the trees and teaches others how to care for them.

Every year in Tokyo there is a bonsai competition. Professionals may not enter, only private citizens. However most trees are cared for and crafted by professionals so it is as if they are in the competition. The son had three trees that made it to the competition this year.

Today we experienced a flurry of activity as we packed up the messy room we have been living in and prepared for our journey back to Guam tomorrow. March 3 is the annual Girl쳌fs Festival, a celebration of girls in Japan. There is a Boy쳌fs Festival in April I think. Anyway on March 3 every house with a daughter or daughters has a set of dolls laid out on bright red cloth. The dolls represent the emperor and empress and the imperial court from the early history of Japan. All the dolls are dressed in fine kimonos with the emperor and empress dressed in several layers. Wakana explained that the custom began among the nobility and slowly spread to the upper levels of the samurai class and then the wealthiest merchants took it up. By Edo times (about 200 to 250 years ago) the custom had spread throughout the country.

So today they worked to pull all the dolls out of their boxes and set up the display so I could see it. Wakana쳌fs dolls include the royal couple, 3 ladies in waiting, 5 band members, an ox-cart for carrying the royal couple, and various dishes, flowers, tables and assorted accoutrements.

Wakana쳌fs parents also wanted to show me the war helmet that is displayed for the Boy쳌fs Festival but they couldn쳌ft find it in the closet. Instead they found the Benke doll. Benke is a pivotal character in the story of Yoshitsune and how the Genji family took over the role of Shogun. Benke was a warrior monk who made a habit out of beating Heikei samurai and taking their weapons. He was NOT popular but nobody was strong enough to stop him until he met, and was defeated by, the young Yoshitsune at Gojo Bridge. He became one of Yoshitsune쳌fs followers. The whole story is dear to Japanese hearts and the meeting on the bridge is even the setting for a commercial for soft drinks. Benke carried 7 weapons wherever he went and apparently he was unstoppable.

For lunch we had a traditional Girl쳌fs festival meal of rolled rice and rice balls cooked in a tofu cover. Then for supper I made them a taco salad. They seemed to love an exotic meal. It was their first experience with 쳌gMexican쳌h cuisine.

Tomorrow we fly. But it is supposed to be rainy and snow will fall. Sigh.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 04 Mar 05 - 12:06 AM

We are home. Last night we slept in our own bed in our own home for the first time in a month and a half. Very nice. The change in climate from Japan to Guam is very nice. We went out to breakfast at Jan Z's and sat watching the boats in the marina and the surf out on the reef and feeling very comfortable to be at home again.

Of course we had a good old fashioned Guam welcome. If you are thinking of grass skirts and flower leis then let me disillusion you at once. We came home to find there was a hole in the water pipe outside the bathroom and water was spraying all over the place. Gordon and I went out, wrapped the rusted area in duct tape and added two pipe clamps. Today he'll put on a more permanent temporary repair. And, yes, "permanent temporary repair" is Guam standard practice.

I got home to find the PDN (local newspaper) shouting headlines about the poor condition of the roads. Apparently the governor had a little meeting to introduce 29 road projects he managed to get the Federal government to pay for. A couple of the local mayors gathered their constituents and crashed the meeting to demand more attention to the condition of the roads. The potholes and poor paving are tearing up people's cars.

That is true. The roads can be pretty bad. But last November when the PDN ran articles on the poor condition of the water system the arguments fell on deaf ears. I guess our locals would rather drive on smooth roads than have fresh water to drink and bathe in.

Oh, and we woke to the telephone this morning. It was the U.S. Marshall's office looking for me so they could serve me with a lawsuit. Apparently the landlord has decided to sue me for the fire after all. Back in November he wanted me to pay him $10,000 for the repairs to the house. Now he is suing me for $5,982 for the repairs. I guess we'll work it out in court. Wish me luck.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Charley Noble
Date: 04 Mar 05 - 05:50 PM

Brett-

You do need a good attorney, one who's familar with housing laws and how claims are handled in Guam. Shall we start a "Defense Fund"?

What joy, a whole new chapter for your journal!

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 05 Mar 05 - 09:03 AM

I'd love to see pics of Wakana's dolls (if you have them)

good luck -

sandra


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: masato sakurai
Date: 05 Mar 05 - 09:08 PM

Sandra,

THIS, catalogue from a doll shop, may help (click on the images to enlarge). Wakana's set of dolls seems to be a complete one. Most are like these (Google search).

Masato


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 06 Mar 05 - 06:02 AM

The last couple of days has been very interesting, and tiring. I want to do a full post but I am sunburned and exhausted. Sandra, we got your Christmas card when we got back from Japan. Wakana loved the bookmarks. You need to know you got the kimono folds exactly right!


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 06 Mar 05 - 08:52 AM

Masato - many thanks for the links - I've bookmarked them.

The pics from the dollshop are exquisite - I assume they are top of the market? I've looked at traditional Japanese dolls in shops here & considered buying one/some, but I suffer from lack of space. My favourite japanese shop is closing down & I've bought origami paper as I can always fit a few more sheets into my paper collection. Tho the paper collection lives in a box that formerly held a pair of boots & there's not much room left in the box. I also have a very crowded shelf of japanese ornaments - small wooden dolls, flat paper dolls, fans,

I also enjoyed looking at the google images & printed out an origami figure & might try to copy it.

Brett & Wakana - I made the bookmarks following the Japanese language instructions in a packet of origami paper. I've bought several such kits & have also copied paper dolls I own. I recently bought a bride & intend to copy her, too.

sandra


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 09 Mar 05 - 02:18 AM

Sandra, I must have been a little punchy when I wrote that last post. THANK YOU should have been in there. When we opened the card I gave the female bookmark to Wakana to use in her books. She took hers and mine too as well as the card. She wants to work up a little display to show them off. It's a Japanese thing, I guess. I know that every gift we give her parents gets displayed in front of the little temple cabinet in the living room (chanoma)

There are many words to describe the events of the last few days. Busy is one of them. Hectic is another. There are others that do not usually get posted in polite conversations. I've used a few of them recently. You쳌fll note that I use no names in the following narrative.

Let's start with Saturday. The canoe had to go to Umatac this weekend for the annual Discovery Day festivities. Since Discovery Day fell on Sunday a group decided they wanted to sail the canoe to Umatac with an overnight stop in Cetti Bay. So, we had to gather at Paseo to help get the canoe in the water... at 7:30 in the morning.

I woke to the alarm clock, not something I've had to do very often since I retired. After a quick breakfast I headed out for a little canoe lifting exercise. I was early. At least a half hour early. Two more members showed up, and a few more trickled in, and finally we decided we had enough to move the canoe.

I don쳌ft think I쳌fve mentioned it before but the canoe weighs somewhere between 1500 and 2000 pounds. It is 22 feet long and 18 feet wide with the outrigger. It is a huge assembly of heavy wood. It takes a mess of us to move it.

Now, the canoe sits in a paved, covered, courtyard in the Paseo Park recreation building. There are two massive iron gates and a ramp down to the street. We turn left at the bottom of the ramp and then we are on the one-way street. There is a stretch of about 20 yards down the street to where we make a right to get up on to the grass and move down near the water.

We knew it was going to be difficult to get the canoe into the water when we put it in the courtyard but we also planned to build a trailer for it. The trailer was finished while I was in Japan. Last Saturday was to be its second usage. I had expected us to have a boat trailer that we could slide down into the water and just float the boat off. What they built was essentially a large dolly. It has 8 wheels that cannot be soaked in water, especially salt water, and we still have to lift the boat on and off.

So, there we were, four of us and one person to stop traffic. We trundled the boat out of the courtyard and down the ramp. We started the turn at the bottom and that is where things began to go wrong. The front steering wheels jammed and then one broke off. We managed to get the turn completed and moved far enough down the street to where the 6 or 8 cars waiting for us could get past. Then we started the turn on to the grass. We got up over the curb, part way down the grass when another front wheel broke off. We cannibalized a wheel from the back end and got the beast all the way off the road.

Now we started the long wait. So far only one person who plans to go on the trip has actually showed up. They trickled in and we waited. We had to lift the boat off the trailer using blocks installed one at a time while everyone else lifted. Finally we could move the dolly but lo and behold! The blocks are in the way! I was grinding my teeth by now.

We managed to get the dolly out without dropping the boat on anyone and we managed to get the boat down to the ground. We were still waiting but I figured they had enough people to get the boat in the water and I headed out. Wakana is still a little weak and I like to keep an eye on her.

I heard about the rest of the fiasco later. There were to be four people going down on the Quest. Five showed up. Then another! And they all brought camping gear and drinks and food and stuff and put it all in the boat. By then the wind had picked up. You do see where this is going, don쳌ft you?

The story from the crew on the boat is that the fishing boat that towed them out pulled too hard and the tow line was too short. Maybe. But I bet the load had a lot to do with it. Anyway, they swamped the boat. The first wave came in over the bow and just filled her up. Equipment floated out and away while the crew thrashed around trying to catch it and save themselves. After a long bail and a lot of urgent swimming they got the boat back to shore and pulled out of the water. The only thing that wasn쳌ft soaked was the beer in the cans.

Sooo, next morning we had to assemble at Paseo to put the boat on a trailer. One of our members has access to a heavy duty trailer, such as you might use to carry small tractors and other earthmoving equipment. The plan was to slide the trailer in between the hull and the tam (pontoon) and set the boat on a pair of sturdy timbers run across the trailer.

I once more woke to the alarm clock, once more I ate a quick breakfast and kissed Wakana goodbye and once more I drove to Paseo. I decided to go a little slower and arrived half an hour late. Once more I was the first one there.

Others showed up and finally we had enough to lift the boat high enough to get the trailer under it. That was higher than our previous lift. We had quite a slew of blocks under that boat and I was worried about stability.

Now we needed the trailer. When that showed up we found that the jack for the front end had fallen off somewhere between the ITC building and the hospital road. Off we went to look for it. An hour later we gave up looking. The trailer fit well under the boat and we chained the timbers down. Then we set the boat down on the timbers and tied it off. We were finally ready for Umatac.

We had walkie-talkies for the trip down. The intent was to use cell phones but too many we still drying out from the previous day. We formed a convoy. I was in the lead car followed by the canoe and another vehicle behind that. Other members brought up the rear.

It is about 25 miles from Paseo to Umatac by road. It is some pretty country with lots of mountain views and plenty of ocean vistas, long ocean vistas, as seen from the top of the many hills we had to traverse, on the two lane road we had to use one and a half lanes of.

It was a slow trip. I kept to about 25 miles per hour which is 10 MPH under the legal speed limit and about half of what the locals do on that road. When the traffic backed up too much behind us we pulled over to let them pass. I had to stop for gas in Agat. We all stopped frequently to check the load.

There is a long sweeping downhill curve going into the village of Umatac. At the bottom you have to make a hard turn and then you are into the village. There is a Viet Nam War Memorial at the top of the hill and I suggested we stop there until we could reconnoiter the traffic situation in town. Unfortunately we sailed right on past it and headed down that hill. We carefully worked our way through the tiny streets and came out at the park, right into the middle of a full carnival with cars and pedestrians walking and children running, and dogs fornicating (they do that anywhere, everywhere, all the time). I pulled into the first available parking space and got out. I saw the boat go by me and head into the crowd. The driver has nerves of steel. He also drinks so I was worried that his nerves of steel might be the result of 쳌gDutch courage쳌h.

We got down to the beach and found trucks pulling jet-skis all over the place. They had a jet-ski race planned for 2:00. There was a roar of motors from across the road from a motocross race. A sound system blared out island music. The sun was unmerciful and to make matters worse the beach at Umatac is black sand.

Miraculously we got the truck through the crowd and down on to the beach. We unloaded the boat and moved the truck out of the way. We got the boat rigged and set up the coconut palm frond to lubricate the bottom for the slide into the water. Wakana showed up and brought me a couple of my favorite sandwiches, PBJs.

Now, back in the old days, i.e., longer than 5 years ago, Discovery Day was the celebration of Magellan쳌fs landing in 1521. Then Chamorro pride got caught up in it and they started pushing to make it a celebration of the first discoverers back 3500 years ago. Another faction of the Chamorros wanted to make it a reenactment of Magellan쳌fs visit, complete with the murder of the Chamorros and the burning of the village. To that end they erected small coconut huts to burn. These 3 factions exist in an uneasy truce. The locals of Umatac want Discovery Day to remain unchanged. We were there to help with the celebration of the first discoverers.

We were supposed to bring the canoe in from the sea and land bringing plants and tools to start a new life. Then two young Chamorros would greet us with a traditional chant and a dancing group would perform dances and chants. It was a very nice plan and, believe it or not, it all went pretty smoothly.

The winds were blowing in from the sea so we couldn쳌ft sail the canoe out into the harbor. We decided to let them paddle out with a tether line. When the time came to bring them in someone would pull while they paddled against the wind. I had a grand vision of coordinating a crew on a rope singing a chanty. Sigh, that wasn쳌ft to be. The motive power for the canoe turned out to be one person - me. The line was about 3/8th inch, maybe only 5/16th. It was heavy duty fishing twine, tarred and stiff and brand new, just right for cutting into the soft hands of an ex-office worker.

Things went as smoothly as they could go for an event that wasn쳌ft properly planned, had no leader and no rehearsal. I pulled the canoe ashore with the help of the paddlers. The people at the microphone delivered their speeches and chants, the dancers performed their little bits in their little bits of costumes, and then the performance was done. The whole time I was holding that canoe against the push of the wind. My hands and arms were shaking with the strain. I was glad to relinquish it to one of our other members when I got the chance. Actually it was, 쳌gHere, hold this for a minute쳌c쳌h and then I walked off.

By then I had soaked up a lot of sun. I had neglected my sun block so I knew I was burning. I could feel it on my arms. I was wearing a bandanna and a hat so I figured the burn on my arms and legs would be my only discomfort. We headed up for something to eat but I was also feeling unwell by then. The festival gave us free food for our participation. That was a plus. But sitting in the shade and getting down some food didn쳌ft help so I headed home.

I was glad I had been through all that. It made me feel pretty good to watch the Chamorros celebrating the beginning of their culture on Guam. I was where I belonged, on the sidelines, helping invisibly, while they brought some attention to their people. Many people on the island forget that there was a thriving culture here before the Spanish destroyed it. Reviving what they can has been an uphill battle, one they may not win considering their opposition. I don쳌ft mean that anyone is opposed to it but the opposition consists of the other distractions modern society provides to keep their kids from learning their own culture. Video games, TV, and especially beer, babies, and the Catholic Church have done a lot to make sure that people have just enough to get their work done to feed their growing families.

After the event in Umatac the canoe had to go to the University Of Guam for their annual Charter Day event on Tuesday. The Traditional Seafarers Society is ostensibly a college club though we have very few actual college members. It was started at UOG and is still affiliated with the school. It was at last year쳌fs event that Wakana saw the display and decided to come check out the canoe and we all know where that went.

Charter day was fun, lots of high school and middle school kids, food booths, displays from all the different departments, the military had a display set up to persuade young people to become a part of the machine.

Whew! That's a lot of narrative. I'm not sure I got across the frustration of the whole thing. It쳌fs been an interesting week considering that it was the first back in Guam. Oh, and the sunburn. I wore a hat and a bandanna and still managed to burn the top of my head and my face and neck. My arms are burned too. My legs look as if they have never seen the sun! Why can쳌ft the rest of me be like that?

And it is official. I went to the doctor the other day and he weighed me. Since last September I have lost 33 pounds. I think the majority of that came off in Japan.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: katlaughing
Date: 09 Mar 05 - 02:53 AM

Aloe Vera gel, Brett...works wonders on burnt skin! Ouch and how frustrating the day must've been, in some ways. I love the way you write about it...it really comes to life and I am THERE, watching through your eyes.

I cannot find the right website for the sub-protective sleeves I wear with all of my short sleeved shirts, but you can get the general of good protective clothing and accessories from a couple of sites: click here, and also here. I'll take a look at my sleeves and gloves and see if I can find their website. They came from Australia, so you ought to be able to get them easily. I burn through hats, too, unless they are SPF treated fabric!

Thanks, again!

kat (I haven't forgotten about calling; have been waiting for you to get home.:-)


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 09 Mar 05 - 07:54 AM

Brett - I'm please to know the bookmarks & card are appreciated. When I get my scanner working I'll send you a pic of my Japanese shelf

sandra (who never spends time in the sun, but managed to get some sunburn on the James Craig even tho I was wrapped up. Sunbeams are sneaky, keep away from them, tho your lot sound tropical.)


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Charley Noble
Date: 09 Mar 05 - 09:40 AM

Brett-

You do write well! I'm exhausted and I think I'll open a beer and try to relax.

Actually I'm exhausted from shoveling out the cars again from another foot of snow.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 09 Mar 05 - 07:02 PM

The day after we left Nishinasuno they got 10 inches of the white stuff. I didn't have to shovel that but I had the presence of mind to apologize to my in-laws for not being there to help.

We have realized that these days are actually our first quiet days of marriage. We got married in Nishinasuno and stayed with her parents. Then we came home and a few days later Amy arrived. While she was here Wakana's condition deteriorated. Then after Amy headed home we were out of here for Japan. Now we feel like we are really starting our married life together. It's pretty cool!

Lately I've been leafing through my boat books. I reopened Chapelle's Small Sailing Craft today. Looking at the lines drawings still gets my heart to flutter. I guess it's better than looking at magazine women but pursuit of boat ownership would be more costly and just as heartbreaking as pursuit of magazine women. And none of those women could hold a candle to Wakana anyway.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 11 Mar 05 - 12:44 AM

For the last few days I have been seeing snow everywhere. I thought it might be my eyes but it appears to be the burned skin flaking off my forehead. The forehead that I had properly covered with a hat and a bandanna!

I might as well confess here that I seem to have a bit of a medical problem. My left hand is going numb and tingling. Certain movements of my head can make it much worse and sometimes the tingling shoots down the whole arm. Wakana had similar symptoms. The doctor has me on prednizone but it's not helping. Sigh, if it ain't one thing...

Yesterday was a terrible day. It's true. Paradise isn't always paradise. I went to a lawyer a fewe months ago because the landlord said he was going to sue me over the fire damage. I filled out an intake sheet and went home. Nothing happened until last week when the U. S. Marshall served the papers. Then I started trying to contact the lawyer and failed miserably. Finally yesterday, around 4:00 he told me he couldn't take the case because his case load wouldn't allow it. The case goes to court on Wednesday! He gave me a letter with the name of an office that runs a referral service so we went off to try to find the place. The letter said the office was in the First National Savings and Loan Building at 655 S. Marine Corps Drive. We drove up and down looking for something that matched the description, a number, a sign, anything at all. Finally we found it, an hour later and the secretary said she would place the case in front of the lawyer. Wish me luck.

The Isla Arts Center at UOG is having an exhibition of traditional seafaring and our canoe is now on display in the front yard of the gallery. Behind it is the log that is slowly becoming a small canoe. Inside they have a wonderful set of displays of model canoes, implements and artifacts, fishing gear, pictures, maps, and one small canoe set up on the floor. It is a lovely display. I hope it attracts lots of attention.

By the way, the SONY PSP is destined for relaease in the USA this month. The only reason I mention that is because we bought one in Japan last month and Wakana has been playing with it ever since. I believe I can say she officially holds the USA record number of points for playing the game Lumines. She certainly holds the record number of hours for playing that game. I'm glad I have a picture of her so I can remember what she looks like.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: GUEST,CarolC
Date: 11 Mar 05 - 01:33 AM

I'm glad I have a picture of her so I can remember what she looks like.

That's nice. Now can we see it, please?

;-)


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: katlaughing
Date: 11 Mar 05 - 05:57 AM

Brett, I am going to visualise a successful end to the lawsuit, in YOUR favour! That's just ridiculous, the landlord wanting to charge you for a something completely not your fault!

When we had a house fire in a rental in CT, due to an old, non-serviced, crumbly firebox in the furnace, our uppity NYC landlord started talking lawsuit the night of when we called to tell him what had happened. The fire chief was there, overheard, took the phone and told him he was lucky we were awake when it happened or he'd be looking at possible wrongful death suits!

Be careful with the prednisone; that can be nasty stuff. Have you looked into a good massage therapist, acupuncturist, and/or osteopathic doctor for manipulation? I've had good luck with all of them, at various times, with pain, tingling, etc. Also, stop any repetitive motions yo may have been doing and/or give those muscles you used, carting the canoe around, a rest!**BG**

It is fun to finally be able to settle in and start married life, isn't it? Rog and I have reached our 25th, as of today! May you and Wakana look back someday and marvel that it's really been that long, as I am at the moment.:-)

Hang in there; things have always worked out and I am sure they will this time, too.

luvyabuncheskat


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 12 Mar 05 - 03:39 AM

Wow! 25 years! What a great way to spend that time. Congratulations.

We moved the canoe again today. This time it came home after a long journey, Umatac, UOG, Isla Arts Center, and finally back to Paseo. We're getting good at it.

The other medical problem right now is my right knee. The bad arthritis is in my left knee but the new pain is in the right. I'm hoping it is just the effect of the damn drug.

Wakana is making fried shrimp lumpia right now. It sure smells good in there.

I am having trouble sending pictures out. I tried sending pictures to my mother and family but the computer connection here just isn't very good. I sent a picture of the dolls to Sandra but I don't know if she got the message. I will try to get something to Pene Azul.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 12 Mar 05 - 09:24 AM

yes, I got the pictures & replied last night (24 hours ago). They were wonderful & the pic of you & Wakana is great, too. Am I the first to see her?

Part of the trouble with sending hehm to your family might be the size of the pics. Your message took a long time to download, & apparently some systems can restrict the size of messages received.

My iMac has an option of reducing the picture size which I only found after my personal Help Desk (Mudcatter Chris maltby) told me about it. So after that I was able to send the first ever pic I scanned to work.

sandra


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Charley Noble
Date: 12 Mar 05 - 12:50 PM

Brett-

The digital images you sent me of Wakana and yourself came through OK but were also quite large, much more than a MB. I can't remember if you sent them in JPG format which would compress them and make them more accessible to those of us still on slow dial-up. However, I just switched over to DSL and you can now send me the kitchen sink!

Another foot of snow is accumulating in the driveway. Just thought you'd like to know.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 13 Mar 05 - 04:05 AM

I talked to the family this morning. There is a railroad crossing on the long driveway that runs up the hill to where my parents live. The Bangor & Aroostook RR runs one train a day through there. It has been the cause of some rather hair raising experiences for my father as he has struggled to keep the hill plowed in the winter time. There is nothing like the thrill of excitement you get when you hear the sound of tires spinning on frozen rails mixed with the sound of a train whistle.

Apparently the winter weather has caused a bit of a problem. they got some wet snow, rain, and then 10 degrees below zero (F). The rail plow came through, pushed only by an engine and just beyond the driveway crossing it ran into some ice that didn't want to part company with the tracks. Dad says the engine is sitting in the ditch, facing the opposite direction from its wheels.

I discovered WinDVD on my computer. I plan to create a DVD with all my pictures on it to send home. If someone wants to send me their address I could include them in a mailing. I'm not sure how to reduce the size of the pictures. For those I haven't scanned yet I could do a lower resolution but for those already in digital format I guess there isn't anything I can do.

As for dial up connection, I have one of the worst in the land. It kicks out at unexpected moments and leaves me high and dry when the lines get busy. And it is the only one on the island.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: GUEST,Charley Noble
Date: 13 Mar 05 - 02:09 PM

Brett-

You probably have some kind of software on your computer already for processing digital images, perhaps not Photoshop but something similar. What you can generally do is a "save as" of your high resolution image and then dumb THAT ONE down to say screen resolution which is about 70 ppi. Saving it as a JPG generally saves even more than say sending the image in Tiff format.

I do get a vivid picture of your father spinning his wheels on the railway crossing as the train is coming, its whistle screaming! We don't need another such song. Please tell him to be careful, look both ways, and give 'er the gas!

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 17 Mar 05 - 02:36 AM

If anyone noticed that I have been silent lately, I'm back. Last Monday morning Wakana was on the phone with a friend when she heard a quick "bzzt" and the line went dead. Today they repaired the broken wire at the pedestal and we are back in business. In the interim many things have happened of momentous importance. Well, maybe not momentous importance but we have certainly had an interesting week.

I went back to the doctor about my arm and to complain about my right knee. He listened to my description of my symptoms and immediately sent out a referral to get an MRI to determine where the nerve is being pinched. He also sent me on a referral to an osteopathic surgeon to get my knee checked out. Wakana was astonished to hear that I had to wait three weeks to see the doctor about my knee. In Japan you get treatment when it is needed, not three weeks later. (But we all know, as the Republicans keep telling us, that socialized medicine doesn't work so she must be wrong...)

Then I finally found a lawyer who would talk to me. He reassured me that small claims court was nothing to worry about. I just needed to tell the judge that I did not owe anything to the landlord and he would set a trial date. As it turned out the landlord didn't show up but he did send his property manager, a cute Chinese woman named Nancy. She was very worried about her role in this. She and I had become fairly good friends while I was in the other house and she kept trying to tell me that she had to fill that role in the court because of her contract. I told her I was not worried about her being there, I am not a vindictive person and that she shouldn't worry about what was going on. Then the judge yelled at her for being there. He told her to tell the landlord to have a lawyer in that chair when the case went to trial. He said she could not legally represent the landlord and that she was risking contempt of court by being there. I felt bad for her.

So we go to trial on May 26. I have to prepare a pre-trial statement showing my side of the story. So does the other guy. The issue is still up in the air but I cannot imagine any lawyer taking the case for him.

Last night I was working at the computer when Wakana came in full of concern. She had heard a strange noise in the yard. I came along and sure enough there was a very loud peeping sound outside. We investigated and found that one of the wild hens had found a nice spot inside the open outdoor closet and had hatched a brood of eggs. The peeping came from two of the chicks, little black puffballs, that were separated from their mother and couldn't climb the concrete wall back to her. They were peeping loudly and she was calling to them in a low growling tone. I captured them and set them safely down where she could protect them. When we came back inside she was contenting clucking over her brood. They were all safe. This morning they were gone. Wakana found broken eggshells all over her dive boots. We figure births at home are a good thing.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: bbc
Date: 17 Mar 05 - 08:33 PM

Life stays interesting, doesn't it, Brett? I leave for Korea a week from today, but just got notice that, between now & then, all the books in my library have to go in boxes & all furniture, computers, etc. have to be taken out of the room so that the carpeting can be replaced over the spring break. It was originally scheduled for the summer, when no one would be using the building, but someone, in his/her infinite wisdom, decided that during the school year would be a nice time to do it! Ah, well. I'm getting experienced enough at this that I hardly batted an eyelash.

Take care, dear. The good, the bad--this, too, shall pass.

love,

Barbara


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 21 Mar 05 - 03:42 AM

Sunday morning, after breakfast, Wakana and I were discussing what to do for the day. I had plenty of work to do what with taxes, financial aid papers, mailings, etc. The day outside was overcast and we could see rain down on the bay. I half remembered something about kite demonstrations down at Asan Park and suggested we go "check it out". What a great idea!

When we got there, about 11:30 AM the crowd was just building. There was a giant purple ray in the air with a long tail and a string of kites reaching way up into the sky. The chain had 150 kites on it with the string going through the middle of each diamond shape. There was another kite flying with a painting of a rabbit on it. That kite was rectangular with an open rectangular area for a tail. There were dozens of smaller kites in the air, in all shapes and sizes. A stage had been erected with a big sound system and an MC was up there making announcements and calling for the teams to assemble.

Asan Park is the area that Wakana calls "Little Waikiki". There is a parking lot near the road and a large field of grass. Down near the beach there are many stately palm trees and beyond that the surf crashes on the reef after a lagoon of peaceful water. It is undoubtedly one of the prettiest areas on the island. Sixty years ago it was also a bloody battlefield.

There was no memory of that today. Wakana and I walked around the central ground and watched the kites. We stopped to talk with the Japanese team and get our pictures taken with two of their smaller kites, each of them two and a half meters tall. Then we wandered down to the water. Off at the other end of the field a set of four kites were doing an aerial ballet, weaving in and out in intricate patterns, blazing red and white across the grey cloudy sky.

On the beach Wakana was enchanted by the pink stones she kept finding. She picked up a handful and washed them in seawater. We wandered out to the point and then up a path on the rocky hill that forms the southern boundary of the park. It was still and warm up there. The trees and brush crowded the path. We saw papaya trees and breadfruit. There were weedy plants with dark brown berries and shrubs with small white flowers. There was a bench up there and we sat to watch the water and rest. Farther on we came on an intersection of three paths and used the downhill path to go back to the field.

There were even more kites in the air. The sky was dotted with color and movement. We saw kites shaped like square rigged sailing ships, whales, crocodiles and one was even a motorcycle under a set of red rectangles. We didn't see that one fly.

We bought drinks and a funnel cake, Wakana's favorite. ("I'm Japanese, I don't like sweets. Please pass the chocolate sauce for my toast.") We bought a kite to fly. Wakana was amazed that the thing practically flew itself. No skill was required. We put it together and it flew out of her hands and up over her head. We flew it for a while and then went off to find some shade and to watch the proceedings.

At one point I saw a man and woman carrying a white wicker basket. It looked heavy. I asked what they had and the man said they had 49 homing pigeons inside. He cracked the lid and I looked in to see that the box was crammed with white pigeons. They were standing on each other! We moved the box into the shade and I learned that I had been right. It was heavy.

The demonstrations started with a team from the Philippines. They had flight of four stunt kites that they danced to the music from the sound system. I had thought the system was too large for what they intended but it was just right if you kept away from the speakers. The Philippine kites danced and bobbed across the sky weaving intricate patterns in time to the music. They would fly towards each other and jump into a line and swirl around chasing each other. It was beautiful.

They were followed by Ray Bethel from Canada. He was introduced from the stage and we could see that he wasn쳌ft wearing a shirt. The MC made several comments about that. (쳌gWhat쳌fs taking so long, Ray? Trying to decide what shirt not to wear?쳌h) The locals were amused that someone would go out in public, especially a performer, without a shirt. It wasn쳌ft as though he was a young man with a fine body to show off. Still he had his own style. His performance started with one triangular kite trailing a long tail and long blue streamers from each wing tip. The kite danced in time to the music and then dipped down to the ground. It disappeared behind the crowd and then flew up trailed by two other kites! These had the same long tail but different streamers. The three kites danced in the sky, weaving about each other, sometimes the lead kite would hover while the other two danced and swung below it. The kicker is that there was only one person, Ray Bethel, controlling those three! That was an amazing show.

The Japanese brought traditional kites. Their 쳌gperformance was merely to decorate the sky with their art. The big kites hung up there, brilliant colors depicting traditional themes. They were beautiful.

We watched the whole show. It was wonderful, a magic Sunday afternoon. The clouds cleared away and the blue sky was that particular hue that I have come to think of as Sunday blue, clear and dark and gorgeous.

This morning, after breakfast, we went for a walk around the neighborhood. Believe it or not we have been here since September and had not yet taken the time for that walk. We found that our little piece of Guam is a very nice place albeit full of abandoned cars and overgrown with brush and scrub. Most of the houses are neatly kept and pleasant to look at. There are some older homes that have been retrofitted and upgraded. There are several that could use the gentle ministrations of a bulldozer. But overall the neighborhood is a very nice place.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Charley Noble
Date: 21 Mar 05 - 10:35 AM

Brett-

Bob Zentz sends his best!

So maybe I should "Go fly a kite!"

Back to taxes...grrrrr!

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: katlaughing
Date: 21 Mar 05 - 10:53 AM

WOW!! March is perfect for flying kites!! How beautiful it sounds...just magical!


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 22 Mar 05 - 09:31 PM

Yesterday was a very busy day. I took my truck into the shop for repairs and then we went to drop film off at Kmart. After that we did some hotel shopping for our wedding ceremony.

I haven't mentioned it yet but we need to have a wedding ceremony. We are legally married in the eyes of the various governments involved but we are not completely married in Wakana's sense of values. We need to have a ceremony to fulfill her sense of filial piety. This is very important to her Japanese culture. So in June we will get married again. We are deep in plans and lists.

It will not be a grand and elegant affair. We want to have the ceremony at the canoe because we met through the canoe. We want Manny to conduct the ceremony because we do not need to have a legally constituted wedding person do it and he is our master navigator. And he has experience. As far as we can tell he has wives on several of the islands and we hear he has fathered about 40 kids. I believe there is some exaggeration there but he is a pretty good guy and a good father to the half dozen kids he has with him here on Guam.

It turns out that the price is the same no matter where you go on the island. The minimum to feed the guests will be $20 per person. The room is "free". My favorite place is the Santa Fe Hotel which will put us on a covered patio by the beach. We will be able to watch the sun go down. The canoe can sail right up to the beach and we can get married down by the water.

Wakana's father is excited. He wants to give away the bride. She says he is planning to wear a mourning suit. If he does he will be vastly overdressed for the occasion, certainly better dressed than the groom. I will be wearing an aloha shirt and white slacks.

Of course, you are all invited. Please RSVP by the end of May. I hope you will all be here for the grand event. (Just kidding. I know you cannot come to Guam)

By the way, the pickup needed a belt tensioner. When we went to pick it up they told us it wasn't ready yet. This morning they called to say it would be ready by noon and that the problem was the new belt. It seems they tried to put the wrong size on after the repair was complete. Sigh. As Wakana and I say to each other over and over… Guam, that's why.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 22 Mar 05 - 09:35 PM

By the way, I just learned that my good friend Jud Caswell has won two awards from the Great American Song Contest. He is one hell of a good songwriter and performer. You can check out his web site by Clicking Here.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 26 Mar 05 - 02:24 AM

A quote from the News from Guam thread.

************************************************************
Subject: RE: News From Guam
From: Naemanson - PM
Date: 31 Mar 04 - 06:44 AM

Wow! This place continues to amaze me. Last Saturday I met two amazing and interesting people쳌c

The other person is a Japanese woman who is attending language classes (English) at UOG. She is a carpenter in Japan with a shop and all her own tools. Those of you familiar with the chauvinist society in Japan should realize how unusual this is. She was extremely interested in the carving on the canoe parts working her way in close to help as best she could. Unfortunately she had to leave before she could get her hands on an adze and do some cutting.

One funny thing happened. When I saw my middle sister two weeks ago she gave me a T-shirt she had decorated with Japanese characters. She told me it meant "wisdom". At the canoe Wakana saw the characters and asked me if it was the name of my girlfriend. While one reading of the kanji is "wisdom", or "smart head" as Wakana put it, the other interpretation is "pretty girl" and is used as a girl's name in Japan. My sister got quite a laugh out of that.
************************************************************

That quote is from last year. By my calculations tomorrow, March 27, Easter Sunday, will be the first anniversary of our meeting. Amazing! And we don쳌ft hate each other yet.

This morning we went to meet a friend and former classmate of Wakana쳌fs. She had a baby a few weeks ago so we got to spend time at the Nikko Hotel restaurant with her and her son, Dragon Boy. Actually the kid쳌fs name is Ryunosoke which means the same thing. He쳌fs a good kid, hardly fussed at all. The friend is having trouble with the father and will go home to Japan in April. Poor Wakana spends hours on the phone trying to give her support and help. I think we쳌fve all been there and a few of you have been on the other end of the phone with me when I was going through that same hell. I wish her well. She has a long hard row to hoe.

My brother called this morning. Unfortunately he got the time zones mixed up and woke us at 5:30 AM! Rotten kid brother. He wants some Navy Crackers. He discovered them in Hawaii and loves them. I guess I better get a few pound of them off to him. They are pretty good.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 27 Mar 05 - 11:56 PM

I have a limited number of postcards that feature our canoe. If you want to send me your mailing address I will mail one to each of you until the supply runs out. Sins, I do NOT have your mailing address. Charley, I do NOT have your new address, only the one we had when I rented that apartment from you.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: GUEST,Charley Noble
Date: 28 Mar 05 - 12:02 PM

Brett-

PM's are not working today so here is my updated mailing address:(address removed from public view with Charley's permission.) The house did not move, folks, only the street address changed.

Maybe I'll give you a call at 5 AM in your morning!

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: GUEST,JudyB
Date: 28 Mar 05 - 09:43 PM

Congratulations on your First Anniversary of Meeting! It is amazing to realize that so much time and so little time have passed since you first met each other. Best wishes for an even better second year!

Love to you both,
JudyB


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: GUEST,naemonson's mom
Date: 29 Mar 05 - 06:42 PM

I am looking for the meaning of a song we are doing for our Harp concert, it is, for one Planxty Safaigh, and Ca'the Yowes tae the Nowes' I bragged   to Dale, our instructor, that someone on the Mudcat would be able to tell us what these titles meant in english.The words are Robert Burns. Arrangements by Nancy Hurrell. Thank you, Naemonsons' mom


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: GUEST,ClaireBear
Date: 29 Mar 05 - 06:57 PM

For Naemanson's mom:

A tune starting with "Planxty" is generally in honor of someone, so while I don't recognize "Safaigh" as a person's name, it probably is one.

As for "Ca' the Yowes," if you will go to this page, you will find the complete lyrics with the harder words "clickable" for translation into modern, American English. Since none of the words in the first line seem to be considered "hard," here's a start: Ca' is call, yowes is ewes, and knowes are, I believe, hills. Lovely song!

Cheers,
Claire


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 29 Mar 05 - 08:22 PM

ClaireBear, thanks very much for doing that.

Mom, when she says "if you will go to this page," she means you need to click on the blue letters "this page" with your cursor. The computer will automatically go there. "Clickable" means the same thing. When you get to the other page some of the words will be colored. Click on them with your cursor and you will get the American Standard English.

So far I only have Sinsull's and Charley's address. Anyone else want postcards?

This weekend Gordon and I tried to figure out why the kitchen sink was draining so slowly. We opened cleanouts and flushed water down into them and watched hunks and chunks of old grease and other disgusting items come up out of the holes. There's nothing like playing in sewage on a hot weekend morning. In the end we still had a slow drain so I called in the plumber on Monday. They took a couple of hours with their power snake and finally cleaned out the whole system.

I called about an appointment to get the MRI done. The person on the phone asked my age and weight. When he heard I weighed 335 pounds he regretfully informed me that their machine is only rated to 295 and that they would not help me. Once more Wakana was astonished at the American medical system. My doctor is looking at sending me to Hawaii to get the MRI and to consult with a neurologist. I guess I can live with that. Let's see, bathing suit, sandals, sunblock...


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 30 Mar 05 - 05:50 AM

Wakana and I went to get the pickup. It needed work.. AGAIN! I am trying to get it into prime condition so I can sell it. This time it needed the switch for the power mirrors and a seat belt system replaced because the air bag light keeps coming on. Sigh. I have a little bit of cosmetic work to do also and then I hope it will fetch top dollar.

On the way home we stopped at the Chamorro Village for dinner. For those who do not know, or remember, Chamorro Village is a tourist trap with little shops selling many different handicrafts, sarongs and shell belts, baskets and little representations of latte stones, wood carvings, grass skirts and coconut cup bras, and many other items. It is a great place to shop for Christmas and birthdays. On Wednesday evenings there is a bazaar with even more booths open and several food vendors cooking barbeque and frying delicious things. You can get BBQ beef, chicken, pork, and fish. There are many kinds of kelaguen, pickled papaya, and other island foods. Gordon sells his jewelry there. There is music and the traditional dance groups perform their hulas.

We wandered around in the crowd, met Ward and the Japanese exchange student staying with him and his wife, talked to Gordon and his wife, discussed catering options with the manager of the Jamaica Grill, bought some BBQ and water and sat on a low wall to eat it, and then headed home in our two vehicles. (Remember we had gone out to collect the pickup.)

On the way home I pulled in to the parking lot at Asan Park. We sat on the tonneau cover and watched the stars for a while. The night sky was very clear. Orion sits right overhead on thes spring nights. The Pole Star sits very near the horizon. They say you can see the Pole Star and the Southern Cross at the same time if the conditions are right and you are in the right place. I haven't managed to see the Southern Cross yet but I hope to see it soon. The problem is that there is usually a series of clouds on the horizon all around the island. Strange but true.

When we got home we found that our backs were filthy black from the tonneau cover. There is always a yin to the yang.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 30 Mar 05 - 08:41 AM

brett - I sent you an email with my postal address on the 29th, I assume you would have it by now

sandra


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 03 Apr 05 - 07:40 PM

Sandra, Sinsull, and Charley: The postcards are going into the mail today. Hope you like them.

It's been a quiet week, not much to report. Today I go to the orthopedic surgeon for an examination of my right knee. Maybe he can make it all better so I can go back to walking. I have to be all better for the big trip starting in July.

Yesterday my former boss and good friend dropped by to give us the last of their groceries. They are headed back to Whidbey Island after almost two years here on Guam. They were dumping all their old groceries, canned and packaged stuff. We sat and drank iced tea and laughed about life and the future. We will have to go visit them on our big trip.

I got word that my dear old friend and voice coach, Joyce, was feeling low so I called her the other day. She will be moving to Vermont which means that Wakana and I can stop and visit on our way to Toronto in September.

Wakana washed and waxed her car this weekend. That may not seem like much to most of you but it was her first experience. She and I prize First Experiences. Wakana has only had a driver's license for about 3 years. Before that she had never needed to drive and did not have a license or a car. She was quite excited about it.

We are considering our future and have come up with 2 possible scenarios. One will result in us moving to Japan where I will teach English and she will work at whatever she can get. That would be a great way to spend a few years.

The other has us offering our services to an international language school as teachers of English and Japanese and moving wherever they need us working on one year contracts in various parts of the world.

Both are exciting prospects.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 04 Apr 05 - 09:53 AM

wow - what a life (either plan)

Just don't forget to include a visit here next March/April for the National & maybe Snalbans & of course another song or 2 at the best acoustic venue in Sydney - the Loaded Dog.

When my postcard arrives it will sit next the card sent by Mary in Kentucky - of course this means my 12 newest CDs currently blocking this space will have to get filed on the CD shelves.

sandra


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: katlaughing
Date: 04 Apr 05 - 10:30 AM

Brett, I'd love a postcard, too, if you still have some available. Will PM you with my addy. I remembered to call at a reasonable time for you and me, on Saturday, BUT it was about 2p your time, so I knew it was a long shot. I keep forgetting to try at what would be a decent hour for you! Will write myself a reminder.

Your book is coming along beautifully. Please keep it up!

luvyakat


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Tenjiro
Date: 04 Apr 05 - 03:25 PM

I want Jamaica Grill. It's not fair that you get to live a life of leasuire while I struggle to get through school. It's almost like you earned it or something. Gosh!
Also, today is beautful. I got a sun burn on my back from being outside for art class. Now if only I could just go for a swim in the ocean.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 04 Apr 05 - 10:21 PM

Hah! The water down near Agat has been so peaceful lately. There is NO surf on the reef so you cannot tell the lagoon from the open ocean. Wakana and I went down to the local park to watch the sun set and the water was like glass. It could have been a lake instead of the Philipine Sea.

Yesterday was NOT a good day. I have been out of touch with time. I dutifully went off to my appointment with the knee doctor and found I was a day too early. That appointment is today! Wakana and I were grumpy with each other and there were plenty of other like irritations. But we went down to Gordon's house to pay the rent and saw the sun setting from the top of the hill. It was half a golden ball on the horizon and sank out of sight in a golden halo of clouds as we watched.

My pickup has a hard insulated tonneau cover on the box. There is a black coarse material glued to the metal of the cover. The sun has not been kind to that black material. It is coming up in a few spots, most notably the rear corners. As part of my campaign to sell the truck I decided to glue the corners back down. I bought some Ace Probond Glue. It claims to be the ultimate glue. I always thought the ultimate glue would be stuck in it's container but this cames out like water.

I spread it around and clamped the piece down using a ceramic tiel to spread the pressure. I had notice on the bottle that the glue expands but I wasn't ready for what I saw next morning. All around the tile was a line of hard beige foam. But the tile came off OK and so did the foam. The fabric seems to be well bonded to the metal so I guess it worked. It must be time for the detailer.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: CarolC
Date: 05 Apr 05 - 12:01 AM

JtS and I had our interview for his status adjustment today, Brett. The person conducting the interveiw asked JtS if he had ever been a prostitute. He was not at all pleased with that question, but it cracked me up. All in all, the interview was more fun than uncomfortable (but we were very lucky and had a great interviewer). But getting the documentation ready for it took many, many hours. Take more documentation than you think you might need when you go for your interview with Wakana. They probably won't want it all, but you'll have it in case you need it. They will want copies of everthing, too. I found it much easier to scan everthing into the computer and then print it out, than trying to use a copy machine to make copies.

The upshot is that the US government approves of our marriage, but we still have one or two layers of bureaucracy to get through before we're finished with this process.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 05 Apr 05 - 08:44 PM

Carol, you went WITH JtS? The embassy was very specific when they told me she had to go to the interview by herself. I wonder what's going on? Were you working with embassy staff or with Immigration in the USA?

Last night I called my old credit card company (a credit union) to ask why they still think I owe them thousands of dollars. They explained that I had not told them about the ID theft until January and it was too late to do anything about it now! I am making copies of my correspondence with them, correspondence that dates to September! They claim I was writing to the wrong place but I was only following the instructions I got over the phone. Sigh! What's next?

We got the quote for the RTW trip yesterday. For $2771/person we can go to Japan, England, Northeastern USA, Northwestern USA, Hawaii, and home again. We can take as long as we like to do it. This will be fun.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: GUEST,curmudgeon
Date: 05 Apr 05 - 09:03 PM

Brett -- Contact the banking commission and/or the attorney General's Consumer Protection office in whatever state your credit union is in. You will get results.

looking forward to seeing you and your bride -- Tom


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: CarolC
Date: 05 Apr 05 - 10:36 PM

The interview we went to this time was for the green card. We waited more than two years for that interview. It was a bit like the interview Andie MacDowell and Gérard Depardieu's characters had to go through in the movie Green Card. But we had only one interviewer, we were both interviewed in the same room, at the same time, by the one interviewer, and I didn't have to tell her what kind of shampoo or cologne JtS uses.

We were interviewed at the INS (or whatever they're calling it now) in the Federal Building in Atlanta. We have an immigration attorney, and he was there with us during the interview.

I put all of our documentation into a portable hanging file (rigid plastic box about 12" x 15", with a handle on the lid). It was almost full of documentation. The interviewer used a couple of little tricks to try to get us to screw up (in case we were not legit), but they didn't pose a problem for us since our marriage is a solid one, and we've been together for more than two and a half years.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 06 Apr 05 - 05:18 AM

Well, we haven't got that kind of documentation but I hope they don't take two years to schedule Wakana's interview. That is why we are working through the embassy. Friends have told us the process is much faster.

Speaking of which the divorce decree finally arrived and goes out to the embassy tomorrow. It was the one piece of paper we did not have when I went in to the embassy back on February 23. Wakana will have to go back to Japan sometime around the end of the month to get her stuff in order for her interview, hoping they schedule it fairly soon. She needs a physical and a clean bill of health from the Japanese police. Soon I may be a bachelor again.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 09 Apr 05 - 03:40 AM

Yesterday afternoon we bought a new lawnmower. The grass was out of control, Gordon's two mowers were down and my old beat up second hand mower wasn't worth a piss hole in the snow.

We got it home and fired it up. What a nice piece of machinery. It made short work of the grass (pun intended, no apologies). Then Wakana tried pushing it while I used the weedwhacker on the trim around the front of the house.

After we quit we sat on the front step and listened to the evening come on. The sun was setting but we couldn't see it. However, golden light filtered through the leaves of the banana trees and the high thin overcast on that part of the horizon that we could see slowly turned salmon pink. Some puffy lower clouds drfted by, dark grey, almost blue, setting off the pink above them. Up the street the children were playing and yelling but they were far enough away that the sound was not annoying.

Then we heard the peeping sound of our little chicken family coming home for the evening. Ever since the speckled hen hatched her chicks she has used our outdoor closet as her roost bringing them home every night. We sat quietly watching for the first sign of the little ones. The came up the embankment and around the base of the banana trees. The mama hen seemed startled by the change in the yard. I suppose she was also disturbed by our presence. She kept to the high weeds at the edge of the lawn but finally brought her little family out into the short grass. She struck a pose of watchfulness as her babies scrmbled about looking for food. There was plenty to eat and they were very busy. We tried to take their picture and that drove mama back into the weeds and then down the embankment but they came back up around the banana trees and this time went into the closet. The night was coming on and she had to get her nine little chicks into safety.

Have I mentioned that we love living in the tropics?


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 10 Apr 05 - 08:34 AM

We knew what we wanted to do today. We had it planned. We would mow the lawn and cut my hair (two SEPARATE actions). And like almost all wonderful days our plans went into the toilet right from the get-go.

I called Gordon this morning and in the course of the conversation he mentioned that he, Larry, and Manny were going down to Inarajan to look at the sea approaches. We needed Manny to judge for himself as to whether or not we can get the canoe into Gef Pago.

You see, back in the 19th century the Spanish priests brought a holy statue to the church in Inarajan. They brought it by sea but the ship couldn't get into the harbor so some Chamorros went out in their canoe and brought in the statue. Ever since then they have re-enacted the landing of the statue. In recent decades they used motorboat. Now they have come to realize there is a traditional canoe available to them and they want put it to work.

So we decided to go with Gordon down to Inarajan. We met at Larry's house which Wakana had never seen. She was amazed at the place. Larry has lived in the islands for thirty five years. He has arts and crafts, maps and paintings, carvings and textiles, from many different places decorating his walls.

When Manny arrived we split up the party into the two pickups and headed south. Manny joined us. The Ranger is a larger pickup and has a jump seat. Wakana sat back there. On the way he told us of a place in Umatac that works like the "magnetic" hills back home. The visual illusion is that you are going downhill but if you put your car in neutral it rolls uphill.

In Merizo we stopped at the church to view the archaeological dig at the church. Someone was digging up the old sewer line and found cobblestones where none were expected. The church is one of the oldest left on the island. It was built in 1858 and still has the old stone walls and patio where the outside kitchen was kept. Larry says the original road ran closer to the water so the cobblestones in by the front door of the rectory were unexpected.

We headed down to Inarajan and suddenly we made another side trip. We turned away from the water and climbed a hill. Towards the top we parked the trucks and walked up on to a knoll. This is the latest of Gordon's properties. He owns an acre with what has to be the best view on the island bar none! The vista from the top of the knoll sweeps in an arc of seascapes for at least 285 degrees. The rest of it is island and mountains. The area is open grasslands, no trees break the view. He plans to build a double dome house up there. The wind was very strong. The grass was growing horizontally along the ground, laid down by the wind.

From there we headed down to visit Judy Flores. I had heard her name before and only thought of her as an artist on the island. I thought I knew what she looked like. I had seen a heavy pale woman selling paintings at various venues and had assumed it was she. Nope! We were met by a lithe woman with white hair and a spring in her step. She kept up a lively conversation with Gordon, Larry, and Manny, all of whom she knew, and welcomed me and Wakana with a light handshake and a warm greeting. Her dog, Tripod, a three legged German shepherd mix, kept barking at us. He was very shy. Her cat was not so shy and demanded our attention.

We went with Judy down to Gef Pago where we surveyed the cove and the beaches looking for a good place to launch the canoe. It turns out Judy is instrumental in managing the little Chamorro village where the local artists make their handicrafts for the tourists. We viewed the water and the dark sand beach. Gordon pointed to a little pile of black sand in the grass. It was an ant heap. The ants had excavated only the black iron sands. Judy pointed out a long structure on the beach that looked like the remains of a curved wall. She said it was all that was left of an old Japanese vessel that had been wrecked after the war. The locals had dragged the hull into the harbor so they could salvage the wood of the hull. She didn't know anything more about the ship. Wakana and I walked down to look at it and I picked a rusted bolt out of the timbers.

We then headed for Ipan to look at wood on another of Gordon's properties. They are looking for wood to use for adze handles. The property sits right on the road outside of a long curve at the bottom of a hill. The entire piece consists of a huge mound of coral covered in jungle growth. He bought it with a friend of his intending to quarry the coral for sale. We wandered along the road while Manny looked at the wood and suggested trees that we could cut for various uses on the canoe and for tool handles.

After that Gordon, Manny, and Larry headed off to Larry's house and we headed home. Wakana wanted to stop at Jeff's Pirates Cove for some iced tea. We had only had a little shrimp fried rice for lunch so we bought an appetizer and a gyro to share. We sat on the roofed patio and watched the kite surfers play. They fly big semicircular kites that pull them along the water on a kind of water ski. They would make huge jumps, flashing the board in the sun and then speeding off in another direction. There were four of them our in the cove. The wind was pretty strong and they were having a ball out there.

We headed home then, crossing the island on the old Cross Island Road and running past my old house. We had kept the windows down all day because the weather was quite dry. The temperature was in the high 80s but with the low humidity we found it quite comfortable. We are tired but very happy with our day. I guess the lawn, and I, get mowed tomorrow.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 14 Apr 05 - 09:02 AM

Yesterday morning I woke in the dark and realized Wakana was in the living room watching TV. She couldn쳌ft sleep. I figured I was up too so we made coffee, took our breakfast donuts and drove over to the east side of the island to watch the sun come up. It was still dark when we settled on the picnic table bench. The wind was strong from the east and the surf roared out on the reef. As the light came up we could see that the horizon was lost in clouds. The prospects for a great sunrise did not look good. But there were three layers of clouds in the sky. As the sun rose each layer took on a different hue, moving subtly from dark grey through shades of pink and purple into the white of the day time clouds. We didn쳌ft expect to see the sun at all but suddenly a bright spot appeared on the horizon right where the clouds were opened up and we saw the disk rise up into the clouds. It was lovely.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Donuel
Date: 14 Apr 05 - 10:18 AM

Its wonderful that you take us on excursions, but you even have the graciousness to serve us food as well :)


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 16 Apr 05 - 10:31 AM

This morning I called Larry to offer my services as chauffer because Gordon is in Saipan at the Flame Tree Festival. We drove to the canoe for the regular classes.

I don't know if I mentioned the classes and my connection is super slow today so I don't want to go looking for any earlier mention. Since I joined the Traditional Seafarer's Society we have been trying to get out into the community with our message about keeping the tradition alive. Part of that effort has been applying for grants to fund an education process. That was successful in January and the first classes started at the beginning of April. As with all things related to time and me, I have been unable to attend the classes until this morning.

We arrived and unloaded the truck. Larry brought several coils of rope and twine, life jackets and life rings, two boxes of files and photographs, a jug for mixing five gallons of iced tea, a canoe paddle, and a few miscellaneous items. We met Manny and his son Clarence/Bruce/Mikey (yes, one son, more on that later) and others began arriving soon after. The boonie stomp group was meeting at the same time so the place was full of people talking.

The class had to take a test on the subjects learned so far, the parts of the canoe in Manny's native tongue, Carolinian. The idea is that Manny has to give commands on the boat and he cannot stop to explain which line a crew member should haul on or where someone should sit. Manny got the boat rigged with the mast and sail standing. Then the canoe swarmed with people doing a last minute cram of the parts and lines. Manny reviewed the important parts with the people calling out the answers as part of a review. Then they were ready for the test. Everyone had a piece of paper with 37 answer lines. manny stood on the canoe with a pointer and called out a number and pointed to a part of the boat. Peole were very intent, scribbling furiously.

I sat on the sidelines. I didn't bother trying to take the test. I knew I could always make up the work with him later. It helps being vice president of the club. So I sat and studied the crowd and thought of the months that led up to this day. We had about 25 people there of both genders and all ages. They were very serious. I felt a bit of pride in what the society was doing. I looked at them and at Manny standing on the canoe and I knew that we were doing the right thing.

When I joined the group we had a broken canoe and no real goal. We were squatting on borrowed property under a ratty canopy and any rain cancelled all work for the day. We had no wood and only Manny knew what trees would provide the right supplies.

Now we have a small paddling canoe under construction, we have acquired the logs for a larger two man sailing canoe, classes in sailing and navigation, and we expect the poles for our canoe house to arrive soon. There is movement and it is good. It certainly feels good.

Tomorrow Wakana leaves me for a month or so. She is going back to Japan to prepare for her immigration visa. She is packing as I speak. By this time tomorrow I will be footloose and fancy free, i.e., lonely. I hope it doesn't take too long.

Someone came by and took my pickup out for a test drive. It would be nice to get it sold though I will miss it. For aabout a month before I advertised it we watched the paper looking for a similar pickup so I could gauge my price. None were for sale. Now that I have it listed someone else is selling the exact same truck and asking $1000 less than I am. Sigh. It's that old argument with the Goddess of Time.

As for Manny's son, Clarence/Bruce/Mikey, we have never agreed on his name. Some of our members call him Clarence, others Bruce. Today when he had to introduce himself to the rest of the class he said his name was Mikey. Manny called him Mikey. Yet, in the past I have heard him call the kid Clarence. If you ask him to clear up the confusion he only grins. The mystery will remain.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Amos
Date: 16 Apr 05 - 02:10 PM

LOL! I like that kid -- multiple personalities and prooud of it!!

Great post, Brett -- good luck on your truck sale.


A


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: GUEST,Charley Noble
Date: 16 Apr 05 - 02:33 PM

Brett-

You can always work on your music while Wakana is away. Maybe even learn some new guitar licks.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble, alive and well in NYC


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 16 Apr 05 - 11:41 PM

The only way I know of to lick a guitar is with my tongue. Otherwise the guitar has licked me!

Of course that doesn't stop me from trying. I just bought a Little Martin 6 string to carry with me on my travels. It fits nicely in the baggage compartment on airplanes. It's very light but has very nice sound. I first saw one when I was visiting Amos two years ago. I really like it. Can't play it worth a damn but I really like it.

Wakana is gone, off to Japan. Sigh, the house sure seems quiet without her.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: SINSULL
Date: 17 Apr 05 - 09:58 AM

Well, I finally got a picture...but of a damn boat not Wakana! Typical! Enjoy "baching" it for a while, Brett. You will appreciate Wakana even more for the separation. Does she make you change your hat periodically? The Board Of Health won't let you into the States with that pestilence ridden abomination you used to wear.
Love you,
SINS


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Leadfingers
Date: 17 Apr 05 - 12:16 PM

This is still a fascinating thread - Enjoying all of it !! And looking forward to meeting Brett later in the year both in UK and at the Getaway !


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Leadfingers
Date: 17 Apr 05 - 12:17 PM

AND the Three Hundrdth !!!


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 17 Apr 05 - 06:56 PM

LOL! Sins, I was looking at the "pestilence ridden abomination" just yesterday. The fire didn't help it at all. It looks worse than ever. I'm not sure what to do about getting it ready for the trip. I haven't been wearing it here because it is too warm to wear in the tropics. But I guess I do need to clean it up, or get another one. I guess it is time to go shopping.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 19 Apr 05 - 06:58 PM

My life seems a little disjointed lately. Wakana's absence sure leaves a big hole in my life. I couldn't coordinate at all yesterday. Today is better.

She arrived safely in Japan, went to the hospital for her exam, saw her dentist about her lost filling, and went home to Nishinasuno. Her father, in his mid-70s, had injured his foot climbing Nasu mountain to take pictures. Her mother is preparing for a big art shaw in Tokyo. She has an amazing family.

I guess I have sold my truck. A fellow tried it out and got all excited. We haggled over the price and settled on a good number. He gave me some money to hold the truck and is pursuing his vehicle loan.

So life goes on. It's a rainy day so once more the lawn will not get mowed. I need to get some work done on the immigration paperwork, mail some Navy Biscuits off to my brother, and generally get through the day.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 23 Apr 05 - 05:59 PM

Yesterday was Saturday and that means canoe day. We are still giving our classes and yesterday was to be the first day in the canoe on the water! And, as most things do, it went wrong from the get-go. I arrived and found that Larry and Gordon were late. Class members were milling around ondering what was going to happen. We didn't have the key to the gate so we couldn't move the boat down to the water. When they did arrive we found we didn't have any palm fronds (longen) to provide skids for sliding the boat over the stones of the beach. However, we had plenty of people to help get the boat in the water and Gordon and I ran off to cut longen. It took most of an hour to get the boat into the water. Sigh.

Once Quest was in the water and rigged they paddled out to the other side of the channel and anchored to teach the students how to get back into the canoe if they fell off. It was also a swwimming test to make sure they could tread water until the canoe could be turned around to pick them up. They had to tread water for 5 minutes and put on a life preserver while in the water.

Gordon had brought two sit-on-top kayaks so I took one and paddled out to where they were anchored. This was my first opportunity to explore the basin at Hagatna. I stayed with the canoe until I was sure I was not needed and then paddled over to examine a sailboat moored nearby. It has been in the same spot since well before I arrived here in June 2003. The jib is on a roller furling device but has blown free and is tattered to rags. All the woodwork is sun bleached and rotted but the fiberglass hull seems to be in good shape. Below the waterline the hull is a mass of seagrowth. She is moored tightly fore and aft and secure against the typhoons but I can see that some of the mooring lines are chaffing and weakened. The owner should be made to take care of her.

I noticed an odd looking structure sticking up out of the water and paddled over to look at it. I found another boat, capsized and on the bottom. The structure was one of its double keels. It is wide so I think it was a power boat but I couldn't be certain. Over at the canoe I noticed some of the swimmers standing on something. It turned out to be another sunken boat.

I had a great time on the kayak. I may need to get one of those things. I love to be out on the water. The seat was a little narrow and my legs too long for the footrests but I enjoyed it all the same. I need to remember to use sunblock though. I am sporting an unhealthy sunburn now.

A couple of days ago we went to the cemetary at Pigo to look at a breadfruit tree they had knocked down in the renovations there. Cemetaries here in Guam came in three types. The original cemetaries and those inland are just what you would expect, graves in the soil with headstones or memorials. Down by the water they use large stone or concrete tombs to encase the coffin. There are many stories of typhoons exhuming the dead from a conventional cemetery leaving the relatives to scrounge for the remains of their relatives among the typhoon debris. Then there is the storage bin idea. They build a honeycomb of casket sized holes and just seal the end of the storage bin with a cap that has the name and relevant information on it.

Anyway the tree is big, beautiful, and right out where we can see it. We wandered around it poking and prodding. Manny loved it right away. He figures we can get a keel out of it big enough to make a canoe bigger than Quest. Our only problem is moving and storing the big bastard. The log we need out of it will be 24 feet long and 1½ feet across at its SMALL end. I suggested a set of axles and a tow bar, let the log be the trailer.

Anyway, if we are going to keep working on logs I need to get a canthook. Does anyone out there have access to one? Can I send you some money to get me one and send it to me? I don't need the wooden bit, only the metal fittings. Let me know.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 23 Apr 05 - 06:13 PM

By the way, if any of you want to participate in the building of a new canoe you can do so without leaving your home town. We need adzes. This is not so difficult as you might think. We are looking for either adze heads or, and this is the trick, heavy wide plane blades. The plane blade needs to be 1 1/2 inches or wider. You can find them at yard sales or flea markets. They SHOULD be cheap so be wary.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 24 Apr 05 - 01:56 AM

PICTURES AT LAST!!!

In response to a diminishing number of requests I have finally posted some pictures on a website. Just click on the blicky above. I will add more pictures as soon as I regain my patience with this machine.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Donuel
Date: 24 Apr 05 - 12:23 PM

Super pics

In #2 I am glad to see you and Wakana are getting plenty of ketchup.
They say it has plenty of mellowing agents in it.

I'd like to see the mountain pictures you took with no film in the camera.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Ebbie
Date: 24 Apr 05 - 01:12 PM

Great pics! I especially like the symbolism of the butterfly kite: Rebirth, New life!


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Amos
Date: 24 Apr 05 - 01:39 PM

Ah, Naemanson, what a different smile is on your face than when we last met!!! You certainly have struck a vein of much-deserved good luck!! Blessings on you both!


A


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: CarolC
Date: 24 Apr 05 - 02:01 PM

Thanks for the pictures, Brett!

Wakana looks like the best of all possible worlds... beautiful, and she looks like a very intelligent and interesting person. Way to go! And you're looking great yourself. Your lifestyle must be agreeing with you.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Charley Noble
Date: 24 Apr 05 - 08:08 PM

Brett-

You've opened a nice window into your world with your digital images. There are times when I wondered if it was all in your imagination!

Well, actually you did send me a splendid image of yourself and Wakana earlier.

So send us some more shots of the sailing craft.

There are rumors of a major snow storm in northern Maine tonight. You may want to e-mail home and see if there are any survivors.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 24 Apr 05 - 08:09 PM

I'm getting a stipend from the Ketchup Advisory Board for that picture, Donuel. Those mountain pictures seem to take a long time in developing. I turned the non-film into a non-printing shop and now have to wait on their non-schedule.

Wakana seems to be a perfectly normal woman in that she doesn't see herself as either beautiful, intelligent, or interesting. Fortunately I do see the truth and appreciate it.

I talked with her last night. She is bored. It looks like she will probably come home the week after next.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: masato sakurai
Date: 24 Apr 05 - 10:20 PM

Brett, thanks for the photos.

~Not so "celebrated" Masato


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: SINSULL
Date: 24 Apr 05 - 10:30 PM

Oh my gosh, she is beautiful! How wonderful to see such a tiny little lady keeping our gentle giant under control.

Masato is exactly as I pictured him - handsome, wise, and slightly inscrutable,

Thanks, Brett. I needed alift tonight. We are counting the days 'til we see you again and get to welcome Wakana to Maine.

Mary


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Amos
Date: 24 Apr 05 - 10:37 PM

Masato:

You underestimate the value you have contributed to this community over the years you have been a member. While the Mudcat is not a huge community, you are certainly celebrated within it!

A


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: CarolC
Date: 24 Apr 05 - 11:40 PM

I'm so glad you spoke up, Masato. I didn't read the captions, so I didn't realize I was seeing your picture. It's wonderful to now have an image to connect to your gracious and generous writing here in the Mudcat.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 24 Apr 05 - 11:54 PM

More Pictures!

I posted some more photos. The uplink is working well today.

Masato, there are certain members of the Mudcat who have made it a special place. We each have a list of particular members who we think of when we consider what is bright and beautiful about this site. You, my dear friend, are one of those people for me. Your contributions are what this place was supposed to be bck when Max had his brainstorm for the Mudcat.

So I stand by my word "celebrated".

Tut, tut, Carol, I write the caption so people will know who and what they are looking at. I even included little Bruce/Clarenc/Mikey. I hope you noticed him.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Ebbie
Date: 25 Apr 05 - 12:00 AM

Whuh? The other photos I accessed easily- they were thumbnails and then went into slide show format. This time it asks for Member ID. ??


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: CarolC
Date: 25 Apr 05 - 12:32 AM

I know, Brett. I'm sorry. I only had time earlier today to take a quick look at the pictures. On my second look, this evening, I did read the captions, and I did notice Bruce/Clarenc/Mikey. I'm glad you included a picture of him.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Amos
Date: 25 Apr 05 - 12:46 AM

BRett:

Check that link -- it points to an account name and password that does not work when coming in through the front.


A


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: CarolC
Date: 25 Apr 05 - 12:49 AM

You can look at the new pictures in the link Brett provided earlier in his 24 Apr 05 - 01:56 AM post.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 25 Apr 05 - 07:42 PM

Sorry about that. I know what I did wrong. When I update the photo album I have to email myself an invitation to view it. I then paste the link here. That time I just copied the address at the top of the browser and used it. Below is the right link.

http://www.hpphoto.com/servlet/com.hp.HPGuestLogin?username=naemanson&password=72911936

I spent a lot of time last night looking for a book. It was hot in the library. The air does not circulate well in this house. The air conditioner is in the living room and blows cool air down the hall towards the bedrooms but it cannot make it into the rooms. We have a fan stationed in the hall to push the air further.

I was looking in the boxes of books in the closet. I may have too many books. Look for me on Ebay. I wll have to reduce the collection.

I did NOT find my book.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 28 Apr 05 - 05:58 PM

Yesterday at the laundromat I was reading the paper when I saw an item saying that Northwest Airlines was offering a very restricted flight to Japan for $150! I got excited. After all, Wakana is bored and stuck there for a while. This was my opportunity to go visit for a couple of weeks. My truck was sold earlier that day and I had no other pressing need to stay in Guam.

When I got home I tried to call Wakana but she wasn't home from Tokyo yet. I fretted for the rest of the day and then she called me back. I wanted to be sure my plans didn't conflict with hers. She got excited when I told her of the flight. After I hung up I called the number given in the paper.

Northwest Airlines had no idea what I was talking about. A round trip flight to Japan is $400+ and that is that. I cannot find anything on the internet. I am so disappointed. Wakana will be disappointed. But I am not done yet. Later this morning I will call a travel agent and see what she knows. And I'll call the local Northwest office. I am not done yet.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 28 Apr 05 - 08:48 PM

Got it! I had to call a travel agent who looked in places I don't know about (Don't ask, don't tell) to find the deal. The flights are loaded with restrictions but I am going to Japan for a grand total of $190 for a round trip flight. I can stay two weeks.

Yippee!


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 01 May 05 - 01:51 AM

Yesterday they moved the canoe down to Inarajan for the Saint Joseph Fiesta. Today we re-enacted the arrival of the statue. We got the canoe into the water and loaded the statue aboard. A power boat was there to tow Quest out to the harbor entrance and then the crew paddled to shore. As they came the church choir sang hymns in Chamorro. The priest was there in his robes and several alter boys with incense burners. The deacon read the history of the statue, quoting eyewitnesses of the miracle that broguht the saint to Inarajan. Then 4 young men went out to where the Quest lay next to the shore and they brought the saint in. They set him in a wooden carrier and then the procession went off to return him to the church. It was a very pretty ceremony and the weather cooperated wonderfully. Overhead there were no clouds. The breeze kept things cool. The young men and women were dressed in their best Sunday-go-to-meeting clothes. It was a lovely day.

The rest of the day is given to celebrations and a carnival. there are food booths and crafts for sale. There is a stage where dancers and singers perform. The site is lovely too. Gef Pago is a make believe village with small huts built of bamboo and coconut fronds. The bay is long and narrow with high ground on either side so the breeze is channeled right through the trees and around the booths.

I couldn't stay. I had to come home to pack and prepare for my trip tomorrow. I have to get up at 3:00 AM to be at the airport in time for my trip. In Japan Wakana will be getting up at her 3:00 AM to get to the airport to meet me.

If anyone would like to have a Traditional Seafarer's T-shirt please contact me. We just printed new shirts. The front has a sketch of the bow of the canoe and four sets of the navigator's dolphins. The back has the star chart with the Chamorro constellations and the canoe in the middle. The sirts are $15.00 plus shipping.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Charley Noble
Date: 01 May 05 - 12:17 PM

Have a happy flight!

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 02 May 05 - 07:26 AM

I have arrived safely. Got up this morning at 3:00 to catch the flight and nearly missed it anyway. It is a special flight and they did not make allowances for the usual crowds in the airport at that time. Nearly got lost in security.

When I checked in the woman at the desk offered me a seat by the door. I thought I would have some great leg room. When I got to the plan there was leg room to spare but the guy in the seat next to mine looked like he was 4 feet wide. And the door had a huge bulge on the inside, I guess for the emergency chute. If I had stayed there I'd have had no leg room or shoulder room. Fortunately the cabin attendant saw the difficulty and moved me to another seat.

The meal will forever stand out in my mind as the epitome of how airlines get it wrong. The entre was some kind of rice, meatball, and shrimp thing and was too hot to eat. There was a pasta and vegetable salad that still had ice crystals on it. No one in their right mind would ever expect a gourmet meal from either airlines or hospitals but they could at least try. The food was tasteless and the textures were all wrong.

We rode the shinkansen (bullet train) home and were welcomed with open arms but the Tsuksni clan. I handed over my presents, which were a surprise and apparently perfect, we shared a small meal, and then I headed off for a nap. I'm feeling much better but could use a full night's sleep.

It's nice to be back.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Charley Noble
Date: 02 May 05 - 08:32 AM

For the price you paid for the flight, you're lucky you didn't find yourself on a C-47 along with some goats and pigs. On your flight back, bring some take-out.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 03 May 05 - 08:14 AM

What a difference a couple of months makes. When I left here at the beginning of March the trees and bushes were dry twigs and branches, the fields were brown dirt, and the mountains were white. Now the trees and bushes are green, and many of them bear brightly colored flowers. The little trees that line the road outside the house now are covered with white flowers. The house garden has blossomed with pick, white, and purple flowers. The air is flower scented but that isn't all. There are frogs calling all around the flooded rice fields. They sound a little like diesel engines idling nearby.

The brown fields that I last saw in March are now reflecting ponds. Many have been planted with rice so the reflections are stitched with little green shoots. Others wait for the tractors to wade through.

We went for a walk today. Considering that we only went around the block it is amazing that it took us over three hours. But there was so much to see. Up at the corner is a farm. I had walked by the bare shrubs in February looking through them at farm machinery and greenhouses. Now those shrubs form a green wall broken with the bright hues and lovely perfume of flowers. Wakana had talked to the farmer and wanted to visit him so I could see his operation. We went into his dooryard and found him in the machine shed. He happily took us around the little farm and showed us the greenhouses and machinery. He plants rice but also has a little nursery business doing some landscaping on the side.

The process is fascinating. The rice shoots are grown in trays in the plastic greenhouses. When they get to be about six inches tall the trays are set in the planter which then sets the little plants in the mud in neat rows. The floor of the greenhouses are carpeted with thick green mats. Mr. Masubuchi has nearly finished his planting, there are only trays covering half of the floor in one greenhouse. .He showed us the combine used for harvesting the rice. Unlike the huge machines that harvest wheat in the Midwestern United States this machine is about the size of a mini van. It cats four rows at a time, separating the heads from the stems, grinding up the stems and spewing them back into the field. The heads are taken to the farm where they are winnowed and packaged for sale to the big rice producers. He says he can get seventy to ninety kilograms from one small field.   I still need to work out the area of one of those fields.

We wandered on stopping at a convenience store for something to drink. Wakana bought something she called a "Jumbo". It turned out to be an ice cream sandwich except that the outer covering was made from the same material as is used in an ice cream cone. It had a waffle design making it easy to break into pieces for sharing. It was very tasty, totemo oishi!

We headed down towards the grade school. We were going to cross the grounds to get to the main road. There had been a baseball game and the teams of girls were playing while the adults picked up the equipment and loaded the cars. When the visiting team was ready to leave they lined up on one side of the field and, bowing to the other team, shouted some for of farewell. The other team had lined up to receive their farewell and they bowed shouting their own farewell. It was a very civilized way to end a game.

We were walking by a house made of dressed stone and greeted the owners where they were working in their garden. It was a little old couple, the woman bent nearly in half from osteoporosis. They invited us in to view their garden and we wandered around making polite noises and talking with them about the neighborhood. Wakana learned that a house we had admired earlier was owned by a family she knows. She and the old lady talked while I looked at the poor sad garden and tried to traumatize their granddaughter. The kid was in junior high school and refused to try out her English. The garden was in sad shape. There were bonsai trees that had split their pots and were growing too large to be considered bonsai. I counted three stone lanterns that had fallen over. There was a dry pond with a little stone bridge. And in the middle of the garden, buried in dirt up to its hubs, was an old blue van. The poor rusty thing had a stick holding its side door closed.

We wandered on. Down near the main drag I noticed a car lot but we couldn't figure out if the cars were for sale or rent. Coming around the corner we realized it was parking for a huge open house. There is a house shop down there. On a small patch of land, a former rice field, several house companies have built model homes. There are ten or twelve of them in there and they were having an open house. Wakana and I went in to look at the houses.

They are beautiful. They are modern and open and clean and full of wood – floors, doors, wainscoting, timbers, etc. There were wood stoves and modern kitchens. They tended to look very modern but the tatami rooms looked very traditional. One room had a charcoal fire pit complete with hanging iron kettle. The rooms were large as were the windows. Many rooms included glass doors that opened to let the outside in. There were some sliding glass doors but most opened like folding shutters. There were balconies and gardens too. Stairs were invariably wide and trimmed with wood. One house had lots of brushed aluminum and plexiglass but still boasted plenty of wood also.

We were escorted through every house we visited. The sales persons made a point of giving us gifts as well as brochures. We needed a wheelbarrow to get home. We got flowers mostly but also a plastic and metal clock. Wakana had to fill out a form at each place and, of course, she gave them her parents' address. I think my in-laws will be getting lots of phone calls and visitors in the near future.

By then we were hungry so we headed to Douton Bori to eat okinomyaki and yakisoba. It was nice to sit for a while. The waitress was the same kid we had talked to on our last visit. We ended up inviting her to visit us in Guam and that excited her. She is the kid who plays Okinawan folk music and jazz on the piano.

All in all we had a very nice day. It was great to walk the same routes I had used earlier but not to need a coat or hat. Actually I needed a hat. I think I got sunburned today.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 04 May 05 - 07:25 AM

I didn't mention that this is Golden Week in Japan. April 29 was the last emperor's birthday, now celebrated as Greenery Day. It is an official holiday. May 3 was Law Day, celebrating the legal system. May 5 is Children's Day, specifically boys. The girls had a day back in March. With the three holidays happening so close together the Governemnt includes the day between Law Day and Children's Day as a holiday. Japan is on vacation this week.

Children's Day is celebrated by flying large carp shaped banners, koinobori, at every house that has a son. Inside there are displays of samurai armor or dolls of famous samurai. Here we have a lovely miniature samurai helmet on a laquer armor box, They put it out in my honor. Gawrsh!

Today we went out to shop for a video camera for our trip. We also wanted to get a tour book in Japanese and I needed a watch. Then we headd over to Genghis Khan for lunch. We headed there but never made it. We ran into a line of traffic that stretched for miles. At one point I got out of the car and walked, passing many cars that sat ahead of us. I saw a group of very fancy tricked out vans so walked back for the camera and then back up to take pictures of them. This was serious gridlock!

We gave up and headed back into town to go to a little restaurant we discovered last time. The name of the place is, and I am not making this up, Home Relax Dining. After a very nice meal we went over to Aunt Sachiko's house. She had a wedding gift for us.

Aunt Sachiko is an amazing person. I am sure I've mentioned her before. That woman has more talent, skill, and energy in her little finger than I could have in two bodies. One of her more recent forays into the art world is etched glassware. She gave us a set of little glasses etched with a vine and flower design that she had created. There is also a little serving dish with the same design. She showed us two designs that she is working on, one a lovely caligaraphy motiff and another is a larger version of a design she made for a glass she gave to me. It is a tavern scene (exterior) that starts with a traveler on a horse getting a stirrup cup from a woman, then there is a large tree and a heart shaped carriage with its door open, then a couple walking hand in hand. There are birds in the air. The larger version is on a thick red glass vase. She intends to reverse the image so the background is etched and the picture is clear.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: GUEST,sandra in sydney
Date: 04 May 05 - 09:24 AM

you have a very talented family, Brett

the postcard of the canoe arrived today, thanks for sending it. When I get it laminated tomorrow I'll put it on the wall next to the pastcard from Mary in Kentucky -

sandra


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Leadfingers
Date: 04 May 05 - 11:02 AM

Brett - Canoe postcard arrived in west London this morning - Looks like a fun boat ! And this HAS to be my favourite Mudcat thread !!


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 05 May 05 - 08:49 AM

We made it to the farm today. Genghis Kahn BBQ is only a small part of their operation. But it's also the only part I've seen until today. We arrived about 10:00 after a lovely drive using country lanes to avoid the traffic jams of the day before.

The roads we traveled are very narrow. I could hear Wakana suck in her breath every time we met another car. There are deep ditches on either side excpet where the rice fields run up to the concrete walls that support the roads. If you run a wheel off the pavement in some places you have a short drop into the mud of a rice paddy.

But the trees are in full leaf and the shades of green are not to be believed. And there are flowers everywhere. One farm has purple, red, and white ground cover running all along the driveway. At one point we went through a stretch where the trees had red leaves.

The BBQ is a part of a large farm complex open to the public and providing entertainment and exercise space. There is a petting zoo of farm animals and a place to ride horses. There is a crazy bungie jump thing with trampolines allowing children to jump many feet into the ari. Greenhouse full of straberries are ready to be picked. Bicycles can be rented for the 4 kilometer bike trail. There are hiking trails, There are buildings for people to participate in arts and crafts. In one children were painting ceramics which would then be fired and presented to them. In another families were making ice cream.

I finally had the answer to a question that has been bothering me since I got here. Every once in a while we would drive by a row of small logs, a couple of feet long and about three to four inches in diameter. These were leaned up against a horizontal pole. I thought they were firewood but the storage system made no sense. At the farm there was an are of hundreds of square feet covered with these mysteries. They are for growing mushrooms! They use oak and sprinkle the spores on them and leave them in the shade to grow. They come along and cut the mushrooms when they reach a certain size. We saw a pile of mushrooms that had been discarded because they were too big.

And the finest part of the farm, when your feet are tired and you need a break, they had a hot spring foot bath! We stopped, pulled off shoes and socks, rolled up the pant legs and dipped our feet into the steaming water. There were rounded rocks cemented into the bottom for foot massage. Very nice.

We stopped at an electronics shop on the way home to look into buying a converter for our trip to England in August. They offered us two different kinds of plugs. Which one should we get? I assume my English brethren and sistren will be able쳌@to describe their plugs to me.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Lana
Date: 05 May 05 - 09:46 PM

Do you need the plug adapter itself or an actual electrical adapter?

If all you need is the plug part, then you might as well wait til you get here and just pick one up, they sell them in most appliance type stores and they are cheap. I have one for my laptop.

love
kelli


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Roger the Skiffler
Date: 06 May 05 - 03:40 AM

Travel adaptors: most airport shops sell them (well, maybe not Guam!).
For 13 amp we have 3 pin (flat thick prongs)plugs and for smaller appliances (lamps etc) some houses still have small 2 round pin sockets. I've got an adaptor that had multiple settings, OK for US, Greece, NZ which all have differing styles of sockets.
Shaver sockets here are usually dual voltage so "foreign" shavers work OK.
RtS


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 06 May 05 - 07:06 AM

We are bringing a digital camera as the only thing we need to plug in. Japanese current is 100 volts, 12 amps, I think. The adapter is sold separately from the plugs and they sell both kinds of plug.

Today we took the train down to Utsonomiya to meet Wakana's best friend for lunch. We also wanted to visit the electronics shop and a bookstore. I have been in the market for a tool to use in interviewing people and today settled on an IC recorder with separate microphone and extra large memory chip. Wakana and I have an idea to write a book about beachcombers in the Pacific islands. One day she mentioned a "famous" beachcomber and the idea took off.

In the same store we found a little "toy" accordion. (I can see CarolC sitting up and taking notice!) I was kidding around when I suggested Wakana buy it to play but we brought it home with us. It turns out she had tried to play the accordion in high school but it was too heavy so she settled on piano instead. She likes this one. It only has 17 keys so the range is limited but she picked it out of the box, strapped it on, and played a tune! I love surprises like this! She is very happy with it.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 06 May 05 - 11:07 PM

I forgot to mention what we saw in the Utsonomiya shopping mall. As we were leaving for the train we walked by a lingerie shop. I started laughing. The name of the shop was Amos Shop! I wanted to take a picture ut Wakana said we couldn't take photos in the mall.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 10 May 05 - 09:38 PM

Home again, home again. We rose at 3:00 AM yesterday morning for a 3 hour bus ride to the airport. While waiting for the bus in the pre-dawn light we heard running footsteps and saw two young men jump a hedge and run off into a parking lot. Right after that a police car zoomed up and began patroling the area. It was joined by a second car. Obviously we had witnessed the end of an exciting time.

The trip was largely uneventful. Wakana and I couldn't get seats next to one another. She sat with a pair of women on their way to Guam for the first time and they chattered away happily the whole trip. My companions were an older man and younger woman. She looked to be about my daughter's age. He had a lot of gray hair. She was excited about the trip and kept looking out the window. He split his time between napping and fondling her under the blanket they shared. He was asleep when we landed and she was so excited she couldn't sit still. At one point as we came in to land she looked at me, pointed out the window, and fluttered her hand over her chest as if to say her heart was pounding with the excitement of being there.

We got home to find the house baking hot. The AC was not running. There was nothing wrong with it and it started right up but it took a long time to cool the house down. These concrete buildings are heat sinks. It takes a while to get them comfortable. Between the early rising and the heat we didn't have enough energy to unpack.

Now, with a good night's sleep and the sun shining we are ready to take on the world. We are home again and all is good. We've been for a walk, got our paper, read the story about Kim Chee Warehouse Grocery Stores closing and the police displaying the burglarized contents they captured and made our plans for the day. It's good to be home.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: CarolC
Date: 10 May 05 - 10:47 PM

That's great news about the accordion, even if it is a "toy". I find my accordion to be too heavy for me also, so I play sitting down with my accordion resting on my legs. If she ever thinks about getting a bigger one, she might want to try playing it that way.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 11 May 05 - 03:40 AM

Lou Berryman is also a small woman who plays a big accordion. She has a detachable pole that hold the weight of the instrument. All she has to do is balance it. She plays standing.

By the by, on this trip to Japan I managed to avoid all the low doorways except... As we were loading the car at 3:30 AM yesterday I hit my head on the top of the garden gate. I was carrying two heavy suitcases and concentrating on not wiping out the flower beds. I rattled the whole structure. I still have quite a lump on my head today.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 14 May 05 - 11:32 PM

Yesterday at the canoe some people were talking about going to the Mermaid Tavern to hear one of the new members singing. Apparently he performs there. Wakana and I decided to go. We got there early, the show didn't start until 8:00 and we got there around 7:00. The waitress brought us menus. The Mermaid Tavern is the only microbrewery on the island. Everywhere else serves either Miller or Bud or a smattering of other bottled brews. The Mermaid has their own brewery and a selection of seven beers. I had the feeling they could find a dusty bottle of Bud if you asked for one.

I requested the sampler. With that you get seven beer glasses, each with three ounces in it. You pay the same price as for a regular beer but you get twenty one ounces of beer! What a deal. I started at one end and enjoyed my way through to the other end. By the time I got to the fifth glass other people began to show up.

The waitress, a cute kid who looks a lot like a high school kid I knew back home, kept worrying about us because we sat there with our drinks and did nothing and ordered nothing more. We had already eaten and we were waiting for the rest of the crew and the musicians. We told her we were waiting for a few more people.

Chris came in and began to set up his stuff and tune his instrument. He plays an eight string ukulele, larger than the small ones you usually see but not as large as a small guitar. I asked him how long he'd been on the island. This is a common question for a haolie to hear.

He came to the island about twenty years ago as the bass player for a rock band that was falling apart. They were on a DOD contract tour, visiting military bases around the world. Guam was their last stop. After the concert he quit the band and stayed. Now he runs a boat taking tourists diving and he teaches scuba diving. In the evenings he plays music and enjoys his family. He says he has not picked up anything but his uke in a long time.

Around 8:00 I ordered an eggplant and Portobello pizza. It arrived at the same time as the first of the canoe crowd. The waitress had little to worry about. By the time we were all there we numbered about twenty people. She was a very busy lady.

We put tables together and conversation and laughter flowed. I was a little disappointed in this as I thought we were there to hear Chris. But on reflection I decided that it takes a very unique crowd to gather just to listen. Folkies will do that but most other people treat music as background fill.

At the break I talked to Jeff, the guitar player. He says he has been on the island for about thirty years. He also drives a boat taking parties fishing. I told him I had enjoyed his solo on Ohio and apologized for the noise but he said that most Saturdays there were few people there and he'd rather play to laughter than to an empty room. Can't say as I blame him.

One of our number was a young Japanese woman, a friend of Wakana's and Kayoko쳌fs. She has expressed an interest in Steve, another new member, but she is too Japanese to do anything about it. Wakana and Kayoko were playing matchmaker, pushing her into a chair across the table from him and giving her every opportunity to talk with him. It was just like watching teenagers. He was trying not to look interested but still trying to include her and she was doing the same. It쳌fs funny how humans work. She has a PhD and he is an officer in the military yet when it comes to simple human interaction we are all the same and all training and education is for naught.

Wakana had a great time. She was laughing and chatting in two languages and enjoying the music and Kiko쳌fs drum. Kiko, another member, had brought a drum with him. He is part of a drum circle that meets on Fridays. He thought he might be able to jam with the musicians. He talked about it with Chris at the break and Chris liked the idea so Kiko added a rhythm section to the room. I had brought my bones to show to Kiko. During the break I passed around the sets of bones and gave a brief lesson on playing. In the second half Chris started Jambalaya and asked me to play the bones on it. We had a pretty good time.

By the way, that is a drum circle without a bohdran! Kiko has never even heard of one!

We broke up around 11:00 after they turned the lights out over the bar. The bartender and waitress were standing back there obviously waiting for us to get out. We쳌fd had a great time, a little like the evenings I used to love back home. And like evenings I hope to have on the Big Trip.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 17 May 05 - 10:09 PM

They say the Innuit have 300 words for snow. I am surprised the islanders don't have a similar vocabulary for the sea. On Monday Wakana and I drove to Hagatna. When we reached the light at the bottom of the hill we could see the ocean and it looked like a sea of diamonds. It was almost flat calm. You could barely make out the reef, there was no surf on it. The sun shone down on the water and broke into millions of sparkles. It was absolutely lovely.

Then, yesterday we had a day of rain. Wakana and I were driving down Marine Drive. The sea was still calm though there was more surf on the reef. But the clouds overhead were heavy with rain and the sun was hard to find. Off to the east the clouds appeared to be thinner and the light stronger. The water was steel gray, dark to the left and right of the area under the break in the clouds. But under that break the water was bright silver. The surf wasn't white. It formed a dark line down the length of the reef. The whole scene was somewhat surreal and lost. I'd never seen the ocean with that look in her eye. It was beautiful

Wakana is headed back to Japan again. Yesterday she finally got her immigration visa interview appointment. She has to be at the embassy on Monday morning at 9:30. After that she will be legal. I guess you could say we are making an honest woman out of her. We went to the embassy for her visa because we thought it would be cheaper. A friend of hers paid a lawyer to do all the work and it cost her $2,000. Our direct expenses have been less but theincidental expenses of airfare and hotels and restaurants have totaled up to about the same thing. Still, we enjoyed the collateral circumstances of being in Japan so that must count for something.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: GUEST,Charley Noble
Date: 18 May 05 - 09:11 AM

Glad to hear that the paper work is working out. Wouldn't want to hear that your flight back here had been shunted to Bangor for inspection and interrogation.

On the lighter side, you will be surprised to hear that last evening in Richmond I shared the music stage with two Japanese traditional musicans from northern Japan. It seems their town has a sister/sister relationship with our neighboring town of Bath, dating back to the 1870's when a Bath ship piled into a reef off their harbor. They managed to save four sailors and have been doing periodic visits ever since. Bet there's even a song to commemorate the event.

The two musicians were both playing what I'd describe as 3-string fretless banjos, picking some of the notes off the strings high on the neck with the left fingers while strumming with the right hand with a large tortoise shell pick. They also sang a few songs and one of their wives danced. They were all traditionally attired.

I sang two Southern Appalachian ballads and the "West Indies Blues." There was also a 10-year old local fiddlers who did a great job, and I sat down with him later swapping contradance tunes.

I gave one of the Japanese musicans one of my CD's.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: GUEST,sandra in sydney walking thru the backdoor
Date: 18 May 05 - 09:53 AM

hooray, & congratulations, too

sandra


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: CarolC
Date: 18 May 05 - 12:40 PM

Is the visa the same thing as the green card for Wakana, or will you guys still have to go through the green card process?


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 19 May 05 - 08:12 PM

Carol, Visa = Green Card

Charley they were playing the Samisen. There are groups in Japan that play what I can only call a high energy modern samisen, kind of like Bela Fleck on the banjo. It's pretty good stuff. Did you get their names?

Sinsull, you need not worry about the "pestilence ridden abomination" anymore. Last Tuesday I received a replacement from Quaker Marine, new and clean and ready to be seen in public.

I have started to work this journal into something for publication. I'm thinking of leaving it in its current format and including some of the comments from the readers. Basically it would be a blog published in the form of a book, complete with pictures and my added commentary. I will add paragraphs to it but leave the entries alone except for editing and corrections. To do that I would like to get permission from you, the readers and commenters, to use your additions. I would edit them for readability and correct spelling but essentially leave them as written. I also want to include the Mudcat names of the writers. Please provide feedback on this idea and permission to use your entries. Some of them are very good. This is a book WE have written.

As I see it the blog in general is a new form of literature. I want to try to publish this one and maybe be the first to make it into the bookstores.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Charley Noble
Date: 19 May 05 - 08:30 PM

Brett-

You know you're welcome to use all my scathing comments and, yes, ascribe them to Charley Noble or his evil twin.

I'm going to do some follow-up on the Japanense group. One of my good friends here was acting as translator and if he doesn't know the details he'll know who does. I bet they composed a song to commemorate the rescue of the four sailors. I did restrain myself from singing my song about the cow that sank the Japanese trawler. It was painful but sometimes restraint is merited.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: JudyB
Date: 19 May 05 - 09:26 PM

Brett -

I haven't had a lot to say, but you're welcome to use anything I wrote (I think - maybe I'd better reread some things first...). I do want to have an opportunity to buy this book when it comes out - you are planning to have some distributors in the winter hemisphere, aren't you?

All the best!
JudyB


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Ebbie
Date: 19 May 05 - 09:49 PM

Anything I have said, you are welcome to.

I'm excited about your book. The best of luck to ya. (But don't stop the thread, OK?)


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: bbc
Date: 19 May 05 - 09:52 PM

Again, I haven't said much, but you are welcome to anything that is useful. I enjoy following your life.

love,

Barbara


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Amos
Date: 19 May 05 - 10:06 PM

Damn...if I'd 'a known that, Brett, I'd a written ten times more!! Of course you're welcome to it, no let, no hindrance, you buy the next dinner!

Amos


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: CarolC
Date: 19 May 05 - 10:17 PM

I don't think anything I've said in this thread is particularly noteworthy (except for the accordion bits), but I don't have a problem with anything I've said being included, with the exception of the stuff about the immigration/green card process. I don't know if it would be a good idea to put that in a book.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Roger the Skiffler
Date: 20 May 05 - 03:10 AM

I don't think I contributed anything significant, except maybe a comment about Cook Island vakas, but you're welcome to use anything you want.

RtS
(fame at last!)


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: GUEST,ClaireBear
Date: 20 May 05 - 10:18 AM

You are welcome to my words, should you wish to use them.

I am so glad you are doing this!

Claire


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: GUEST,MMario
Date: 20 May 05 - 10:45 AM

I don't think I've said muych except - "glad to hear from you" and "me too" - but If I have and you want to use it you have my permission -


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 20 May 05 - 10:08 PM

Thanks everyone. I'll let you know how it turns out. I doubt anyone will want to read it but I guess I've got some volumes presold out there if you and my family are any measurement. I take that back, my family will expect free copies.

Today we rose early to go to a "multifamily Japanese yard sale" in Barrigada. We had breakfast at the Winchel's Donut shop in Mangilao. The poor woman behind the counter was very confused. We went in and asked for one cup of clam chowder, one cup of coffee, one bagel, egg, and bacon sandwich, and two donuts. Well, she could not shake free of the idea that people in the morning drink coffee and everything we asked for comes as part of a combo deal. We left with a cup of coffee and a bottle of orange juice, four donuts, the soup and one bagel, egg, and SAUSAGE sandwich. I was exhausted from trying to explain it to her and Wakana was confused about why we didn't get what we asked for. We're still laughing about it.

The yard sale was a disappoinment too. Only one family was there and they had NO Japanese items. They weren't even moving to Japan. They weren't even Japanese! Sigh.

Still, it was a pretty morning. The sea is beautiful today, as it always is. The western side is calm and has that tropical mix of greens and blues that make living here so worthwhile. There is a bit of surf out on the reef but not much. We crossed the island on Cross Island Road (it took some real imagination to name that road) and on the eastern side of the island we could see the Pacific from the top of the hill running down to Ylig. On that side the ocean is silver with a thousand sparkling points highlighting the rougher water. There were small clouds scudding towards us and their shadows made grey patches in the silver water. The eastern side is the windward side and that makes all the difference.

The canoe club is working on building the canoe house, the utt, down at Paseo Park. We have seven long telephone poles that need to have the hardware removed and to be cut into smaller lengths. Then we will stand up eight posts, twelve feet long, to form a rectangle forty feet long by twenty feet wide. On that will go aa tall steeply pitched roof which will be thatched with sword grass. The bottom will have no walls but be open to the breeze. I understand that the temperature under a canoe house roof is significantly lower than just sitting in the shade.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 21 May 05 - 03:53 AM

well, if you want to add my little tuppenny bits, it's ok. Had I but known, I would have tried to write more valuable stuff.

sandra


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 21 May 05 - 09:52 PM

Actually you all contributed more than you think. If not for your input and appreciation I would never have kept this going. I am not usually one to keep at a project long-term. But now we are within a month of being at this for two years! I am the one who owes you my gratitude so thanks to you all.

I just put Wakana on the plane for Japan, again! If all goes well she will have her immigrant visa when I see her again on Tuesday. Keep your fingers crossed.

We have been working on the plans for our big wedding celebration. Back when she mentioned doing this I asked her why women like to suffer. If they didn't they wouldn't REQUIRE huge celebrations for weddings, births, etc. She thought I was nuts to think like that.

Last night I had to hold her for an hour while she cried over her family's plans to come for the celebration. They originally were coming for 3 days nad then her father decided on a shorter trip and then her brother's wife called to say they would not take their daughter out of school for the event and then... It was more tears sacrificed on the altar of CEREMONY. This wasn't the first thing she cried about, or that we have argued over.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: GUEST,sandra in sydney
Date: 22 May 05 - 09:44 AM

fingers crossed.

it's probably too late to consider it, but have you thought of eloping? Soooo much easier.

And as for families!! I avoid some of my birth family. That's so much easier too, for me.

sandra


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: SINSULL
Date: 22 May 05 - 02:59 PM

Brett,
Shared tears are a good thing. If Wakana cried alone and shut you out of her pain you two wouldn't have a chance together. Keep holding each other and sharing the good and the bad and you'll do fine with or without uncooperative relatives.
Besides, we are planning a mass wedding celebration for Friday night at the Getaway and you two are one of the couples to be celebrated. Wakana will have more "family" than she can possibly imagine. Champagne all 'round.
SINS


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 24 May 05 - 10:14 PM

Wakana is home again and for the first time she can really call this home! She is now a lawful permanent resident in the USA. She flew home without a return ticket. She no longer has to leave the USA to renew her tourist visa. She no longer has to worry about the legality of living here. She can truly call this house ours instead of mine.

She is happy.

So am I.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Ebbie
Date: 24 May 05 - 10:35 PM

Congratulations to you both!


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: JudyB
Date: 25 May 05 - 10:04 AM

Great news, Brett! Welcome, Wakana!

JudyB


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: GUEST,MMario
Date: 25 May 05 - 10:14 AM

Huzzah! Great news.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: CarolC
Date: 25 May 05 - 11:10 AM

Congratulations to you and Wakana, Brett! That's wonderful (and also amazing... after more than two and a half years, we're still waiting).


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: GUEST,bbc at work
Date: 25 May 05 - 11:17 AM

What nice news!

bbc


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 26 May 05 - 10:19 AM

YAH!! Looking forward to seeing you American folks sometime next year (not that I keep harping on it, but ...)

sandra


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Charley Noble
Date: 26 May 05 - 04:18 PM

Amazing! Congratulations!

What's your next challenge?

How about world peace?

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 26 May 05 - 08:33 PM

Thanks for the warm congratulations. Sorry, Carol, that you are having such a difficult time. Wakana thinks it was her nationality plus doing the work through the embassy that made the difference. I guess the immigration service doesn't see a big problem with Japanese trying to illegally immigrate.

She went to her interview all primed to talk about how well we know each other. I gave her notes about my history that she studied very carefully. In the end the interview only lasted five minutes and hinged on what her father thinks of me. When the interviewer heard that I had visted the family home twice and the father approved of me he terminated the interview and told her she was in.

And now for another story. Some events are painful in the anticipation. By ignoring them you can ease the passage of time until the date you have to face the music. Such it was with the lawsuit. I didn't sleep well in the days leading up to the initial hearing. I made a concerted effort to ignore the fact that May 26 was the trial date. So I didn't mention it in these pages. However, yesterday we went to court.

There was some mixup in the courtroom that was to be used. The schedule for small claims had a cover sheet that directed people to an upstairs room. But at the correct time nobody showed up to unlock the courtroom. We went downstairs where we learned the cover sheet was incorrect and that the trials would be in a downstairs courtroom. Once we got in there and settled down we had to wait because the judge was not in and the other judges were busy with other courtrooms.

When court finally started we were the last trial called. And the plaintiff did not show up. The case was dismissed but the judge warned me that the plaintiff could still ask for a retrial on the grounds that he could not make it on that day. He also explained that he thought I was partially responsible and that I should negotiate with the landlord. I'm not sure how that could be but I am not going to argue the issue. As far as I am concerned the door is closed and I will wait for it to reopen.

Today we are moving the canoe to Ypao Beach for a big inter-island festival. We'll be down there all weekend showing off the canoe and the work we are doing, selling T-shirts, and enjoying the festival sights, sounds, smells, and tastes. The sun is shining and the weather is warm and the weekend is promising.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Charley Noble
Date: 27 May 05 - 08:51 AM

Generally when the other party fails to show the Judge enters a "default judgment" in favor of the party present. I have never heard of an appeal for a small claims action. Of course, I'm not an attorney. However, I would urge that the party of the defense have a party to celebrate its decisive win.

Congratulations on coming prepared, for being astute enough to locate the misplaced court room, and for having the patience to wait until the judge heard the case and render a decision. Perhaps, you should consider a second career as a housing attorney.

Meanwhile hum a few lines of "Pity the Downtrodden Landlord."

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 27 May 05 - 11:16 AM

I'm looking at your canoe riding on beautiful blue water, under ditto blue skies - maybe that's the best type of celebrating! 'The sun is shining and the weather is warm and the weekend is promising'.

sandra


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: JudyB
Date: 27 May 05 - 01:10 PM

"The sun is shining" - what's a sun? And could you explain this "shining" thing? And I'm not quite sure I understand the use of "warm" in relation to a sentence about weather.

JudyB
who hasn't seen the sun in a l-o-n-g time


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 28 May 05 - 09:57 AM

GREAT time at Ypao beach. I'd write it up but I am exhausted and my bed is calling me. More tomorrow.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: SINSULL
Date: 28 May 05 - 10:36 AM

I keep looking at the postcard you sent me Brett and wishing I had the talent to turn it into a decent watercolor. I will give it a try and if it is a disaster, I will have my niece the artist do it for you.

Meantime, isn't life good?

Celebrate the good times.
SINS


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Charley Noble
Date: 28 May 05 - 11:28 AM

THE SUN! THE SUN IS SHINING IN MAINE! FINALLY AFTER TWO WEEKS!

Damn, a cloud just came by...

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 28 May 05 - 10:14 PM

So, what's the problem with a cloud? We have clouds here in Guam. They are little puffy things that never seem to totally obscure the sun.

I talked with my parents this morning. When I mentioned working under a canopy my mother wanted to know why we don't work outside in the fine weather. I said we didn't want to work in the hot sun. She too seemed to have trouble with the concept of "sun" and "blue skies".

My father told me there was an article in the paper about some Japanese soldiers still hiding out in Mindanao. Apparently there may be some old men back in the bush who have been there for the last six decades. Amazing. Wakana is very excited and has tuned in to NHK for any late breaking news.

Yesterday we went to the Island Fair. Delegates from many of the Pacific islands had booths demonstrating local arts and crafts and a dance stage was set up for performances of indigenous music and dance. We were invited to set up a booth showing what we are doing. We were asked to bring our canoe.

The original plan was to sail it down to Ypao Beach and set up our booth there by the water. The organizers wanted us up nearer the rest of the fair. That meant we would have to push our canoe about 150 yards uphill and over concrete walks to where they wanted us. If we sailed it we would also have to deal with what have been very low tides.

So we decided to trailer the canoe to the event. Well, that brings up all sorts of other problems. We do not own a trailer or a truck large enough to do the job. We have to borrow them. The plan was to meet on Friday at 10:00 to move the canoe. Then the plan was changed to meeting at 1:00. Then we got the call that we would meet at Frank's ranch at 2:00. We waited there until Frank showed up at 3:00. When they hooked the trailer up to the truck it turned out that the hitch was too low and we would not be able to use that truck.

So we loaded the small canoe we are carving on to the truck and headed off to set up the booth. Our "booth" is a 30' by 30' canopy. We set the carving project inside and put a line of tables in a right angle to mount our pictures on. All we have is some poster boards and albums full of pictures, the Chamorro toothpick (Our carving project started out as a two man sailing canoe but has now been whittled down to a one man paddling canoe.), Gordon's display of hand-made jewelry that he sells, and, of course, the Quest, our 22' ocean sailing canoe.

Well, the Quest was not there, the pictures were not there, Gordon's jewelry was not there, and we didn't have any adzes with us so we could start carving. It was not a well organized effort.

Next morning Wakana and I headed down to Paseo to meet the crew as agreed at 9:00 to start moving the canoe. Nobody was there except for Tom. We waited. I played my guitar, Tom rode his bicycle, and Wakana rested in the shade. Finally the rest of the crew started to wander in about 10:00. Frank showed up with a different truck and the trailer. We got the canoe loaded and we ready to go when someone noticed a big piece of wire sticking out of one of the tires on the trailer. So we had to send someone to get a tire repair kit. Finally we were on our way.

Now, the Quest, when he's on the trailer, takes up one whole traffic lane plus a few inches. We have to go slow and we have to go in convoy. At a minimum we need to have one vehicle ahead and one behind. On Saturday morning we needed two trailing vehicles using one to block each lane behind the canoe. I had the duty as the block for the right hand lane, the one where we could expect angry drivers to try to pass us. After we pulled out of the courtyard at Paseo we stopped at the first light and I noticed that nobody had tied down the mast and sail. So we pulled our convoy out on to the road and lined up in the middle turning lane. While some of us tried to slow down the oncoming traffic the rest worked on tying down the load.

Then, finally we were on our way. It was slow going and the traffic was piling up behind us. We were on a seven lane road with a turn lane in the middle. The cars would zoom past us on the right and swing in suddenly when they got past me only to find that the canoe was there ahead of them. These were the people who do not see more than the car ahead of them. You could tell when they were surprised at what they found ahead of me.

At one light Gordon called on the radio that we should be able to get through. The light changed to yellow at his words but he zipped through anyway. Tom called him saying that he could get an operation to take the lead out of his foot. Then we came up on a crosswalk full of people coming out of church. Gordon called back a warning about "church walkers". Tom's answer was, "Let's send them to God." We spent a lot of time laughing in our cars.

About half way to the park a mysterious green pickup truck pulled into the line behind Gordon. We figured we were moving so slowly that he would give up soon. Then we figured he wanted to make a left and needed to pull over into the turn lane. Instead he hung on, moving with the convoy and even turning on his four way flashers! We were going nuts trying to figure out who this character was. He took a position protecting the right lane in front and helping us get through a complicated turn. Somebody suggested we give him a membership and a t-shirt. It wasn't until we got to the park that we found it was Bruce Best, a long time associate and supporter. Thanks for the help, Bruce.

Once we got to the park we had to maneuver the contraption down through a mess of cars parked haphazardly around the access road and people walking into and out of the fair grounds. Then we had to make a tight turn into the gate and run down to the booth. Bruce showed up to help unload. An older man, dark complexion set off by a white beard and bright Aloha shirt also helped. Later I introduced myself. He was an islander from Ulithi. He had been wandering the grounds looking for anything to do with seafaring and had seen nothing. Then, suddenly, we were there with a canoe. He was so happy to see that canoe. He looked at all our pictures and talked to everyone.

It's interesting that people who attend such events fall into one of three groups. There are those who don't know what they are looking at and do not care. Their eyes wander over the displays and then move in. They ask no questions and show no interest. Then there are the people who know a little and think they know it all. And they insist on telling you all they know. They do not listen to your comments and they do not want to know they are wrong. Their eyes are fixed on some point as they dredge up the truths and half truths and downright lies that make up their knowledge base.

But then there are those who do know what they are looking at and who stand quietly gazing, touching lightly, talking quietly with a friend, and remembering. Their eyes look at the displays and in the depth of those eyes you can see their memories scrolling by. Their questions touch on the organization and what we are doing with THEIR past and culture. The questions are gentle and probing, no animosity, and generally they are grateful for the chance to relive, if only for a moment, the past that made them what they are. Their memories are full of canoes and sailors they have known, navigators they have sailed with and islands they have visited. They remember good days and bad. And when they leave, they walk away slowly, turning back to look again and again.

The fair is set up on the road end of the park. There are brightly colored canopies, the beige pavilions and a big dance stage surrounded by scaffolding and the electronically amplified sound system. All through the day there is music coming from speakers the size of small cars. The performances usually are dance groups ranging from small children to adults from various islands. The costumes are colorful and the movements either graceful or threatening depending on the theme of the dance.

Overall it was a lovely day and well worth the effort of moving the Quest.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 30 May 05 - 09:48 PM

I hope my friends in the Northeast USA feel justified now. It's raining! And today we are supposed to take delivery of some new furniture!

Wakana and I have been discussing rearranging the living room. Yesterday we put it into action. Clutter was moved, corners swept out, couch slid across to the other wall and the TV moved and all was in disarray. Now we are somewhat in array and waiting for the new bookshelf and the bamboo screen to go behind the TV. We also have a stone lantern coming to sit out by the front door. And the rain keeps coming! Grumble, grumble, gripe, gripe.

We also managed to start mailing our wedding invitations. You're all invited but I hope you don't expect an invitation in the mail. Just RSVP by June 6 if you plan to come along. I don't expect any of you to fly all the way to Guam for this but if you do plan on June 18. The wedding ceremony will be at the canoe in Paseo Park with a reception to follow at the Jamaican Grill. It will be a sunset ceremony presided over by our master navigator, Manus Sekau.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: JudyB
Date: 31 May 05 - 11:57 AM

I'd love to go - but it is a bit of a trip! Guess we'll just have to have another reception for you (or some sort of celebration) when you're in the area this fall!

Best wishes for a wonderful day!

    JudyB


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 01 Jun 05 - 03:25 AM

Well, today is a big day! Yesterday we got our new shelf and the bamboo screen. Today I hooked up my stereo for the first time since the fire. We've been using a boom box because we had no place to set up the components. Sigh, the sound is so much better. I used the speakers from the boom box to add a touch of surround sound to the mix. What a difference. The only problem is that the turntable is not working. I need to figure that out. It turns and makes sound but at such a low level that the stereo volume has to be at max to hear the record. I need to boost the level or get a better turntable.

The bamboo screen really makes a difference. We put it in a corner and it adds a real Asian flavor to the decor. My guitars look real good sitting in front of it.

The rain we got yesterday is still around today. It is part of a tropical storm working its way past the island to the south. The prdiction is that it will develop into a typhoon but only a small one and that it will do so after it is past us. Still, the season is almost upon us.

We were doing laundry earlier today and I thought it might be a good idea to give a better description of such a mundane task. We use a laundromat in Hagatna. Early on we looked at the cost of installing and running a washer and dryer and decided it was cheaper all the way round to keep going to the laundromat. One load of laundry costs $1.75. It would take 71 trips to the laundromat to defray the cost of the machines and the cost of electricity and water would add more time to that.

Anyway, the laundromat sits in one end of a building housing a pachinko parlor and a convenience store. The building is owned by the Korean family that operates all three businesses. There are forty washers and forty dryers in the place. The front is opened up by four large glass double doors and the rear of the place is opened up with two sets of large roll up doors like a garage. The effect is that you are working in a wind tunnel. It is very good at keeping the temperature within a decent working level. And you can back your car right up to the rear of the building and unload right into the working floor.

The floor is concrete as are the walls and all is painted white. There are folding tables and some chairs so you can sit in comfort waiting for the washing to finish up. We generally go in the morning or early afternoon and miss the crowds. There are also a couple of video games and a juke box.

This morning there was a young woman there doing an enormous amount of laundry. Wakana explained that she was a professional laundress doing other people's clothing. She certainly had a mess of it to do. Other People wandered in and out while we were there. The air was warm and humid so we were sweating but I have learned how to deal with sweat since I got here.

Wakana went up to the convenience store and brought back some cold drinks. We read and watched the people while the clothes washed and then transferred them to the dryers. The machines are relatively new and work quickly. In an hour and a half we were finished with six loads of laundry.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Amos
Date: 01 Jun 05 - 10:38 AM

I dunno about your house, Brett, but in ours, 71 trips is less than a year's worth. And a good Maytag last for ten or twenty years.



A


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 01 Jun 05 - 09:56 PM

Nope, for us 71 trips is 1 year and 19 weeks. I figure 6 loads (2 for her, 2 for me, and 1 for towels) per trip. The machines cost a lot out here, they are kept outdoors so they deteriorate quickly, and the cost of electricity and water is high.

And who knows where we'll be in another year and a half. We might be moving in with you!


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 04 Jun 05 - 11:15 PM

I just called my parents, my usual Sunday morning call, and heard that they are suffering in 84 degree heat, sleeping under 2 fans and minimal bedclothes. And when they went up into the attic to get the fans they learned that they have bats up there. This is a real problem for my mother who is deathly afriad of them as are som many other people. It seems odd to me but the bats are nesting UNDER the floorboards in the insulation!

Yesterday Wakana cleaned all the old mangoes off the lawn. This morning she went out and filled a bag with the fruit that had fallen during the night. We had fresh mangoes for breakfast. Nice sweet mangoes.

The other day she thought to take some to Gordon and his family. She didn't think they had a tree. When we got there she realized she had left the fruit by the door so she dropped me off and ran home to get it. As she drove off Gordon's son came out from behind the house with a bunch of mangoes and the fruit picker. So I told him to meet her at the curb and offer her a mango.

Gordon's tree has the best mangoes I have ever eaten, far better than ours. Other people here on the island are jealous of his tree. Frank wants to graft a cutting from his tree onto one of his trees. I think it has to do with soil and water but I am not a botanist and Frank is.

The other day I read one of the legal notices in the paper for the first time. There was a piece of land for sale in Malojloj, just a quarter of an acre, but I got the idea that I should research the process behind these notices and the subsequent sales. Gordon has bought land this way and gave me some advice. This piece is well back from the road in a nice rural area. Tomorrow I will take a pocketful of retirement savings to the auction and see what I can do about owning a piece of Guam. Wish me luck.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 05 Jun 05 - 10:01 AM

what a place to own land!

sandra

you write about mangoes, so Google advertises the following -

Deviled Egg - Great deals on Deviled Egg Shop on eBay & save (eh??)

Win $10,000 cash - take our 5 minute grocery shopping surveys for a chance to win $10,000

weird.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 17 Jun 05 - 11:30 PM

Well, the day is here. This afternoon, at sunset, we marry in a formal ceremony as required by Japanese custom. We will gather with friends and family by the canoe down in Paseo Park and speak our vows. Wakana is a nervous wreck though she tries not to show it. Her parents, aunt, and brother and his family are on a plane as I type. We go to meet them in another hour and a half.

This has been an exercise in the blind leading the blind. She didn't know what to have for her ceremony and expected me to have all the answers because I was married once before. Also I had to make most of the arrangements because she doesn't trust her English. Wish us luck.

I just received my travel itinerary for the Big Trip. I will add it to this thread and my globe thread later. Got to go practice for my wedding song.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: CarolC
Date: 18 Jun 05 - 12:51 AM

Good luck! Have a WONDERFUL ceremony!


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: JudyB
Date: 18 Jun 05 - 02:45 AM

No idea if it's yesterday or tomorrow - so I hope you will have, are having or did have a fantastic formal wedding ceremony, another step on the way to a long and happy life together.

Love,
JudyB


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Leadfingers
Date: 18 Jun 05 - 05:51 AM

Brett - When you get to the Getaway , if we havent already done itin UK we must sing 'The Wedding Song' for you and Wakana !! Best of luck to you both !


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Charley Noble
Date: 18 Jun 05 - 08:33 AM

When you get a chance, Brett, you might back up this thread just in case Mudcat has another major crash. And you might even consider starting a new thread in commemoration of "happier ever after."

So what wedding song did you sing?

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 19 Jun 05 - 02:15 AM

What a day it was! It seems that everything that is well planned has to have something go wrong. The corollary is that failure to plan properly means that there will be few problems. And that is how things went.

We ran a few pre-wedding errands in the morning and stopped by the canoe meeting on our way home. We discussed moving the canoe to the site and then headed home. Wakana's stress levels were building and she kept looking at her watch and predicting where her family might be at each moment. We gathered flowers, plumeria, for her bouquet and she worked feverishly trying to corral the blossoms into something that she thought might look good. Then she gathered up her wedding things and we headed down to Tumon to meet her family.

The plan was to meet with them and drive her and her brother down to the rental agency so he could rent a van. Then I would go to Kmart for some disposable cameras and head home to change into my wedding garb (Aloha shirt and white trousers). The bus bringing the family from the airport was late and then they had to go through a dozen iterations of greetings and comparing and trying on clothes and figuring out the rented cell phone, and etc. etc. etc. We finally got them to the rental agency just before 5:00, i.e., closing time. I raced off to buy the cameras and to get home. I jumped into the wedding outfit and raced back to Paseo Park.

There I found the canoe club maneuvering the boat into the wrong position. Manny and I got them to move it into the right position and then they got the mast up. A group of local Puluwatese helped with the boat maneuvers and that was a life saver.

About then Wakana arrived and she had to greet all her old friends. Did I mention this was a sunset ceremony? Have I ever mentioned how quickly the sun seems to set here? Getting people to start the ceremony was like herding cats! However, we finally got into position and her father walked her over to me and we were able to start.

We had a flower girl and a ring bearer. Our flower girl was 5 year old Lola, the kid who decided on her own that I was Grandpa. She was so cute in her new white dress with flowers in her hair. She was excited at the job she had and very solemn about it. Our ring bearer was Wakana's 13 year old niece in her new blue dress. We had placed our rings in a small hand carved wooden box on a lace pillow. Lola steered them off course, headed for the canoe instead of the groom, but they got back on course and arrived in proper order. Wakana was wearing a simple white dress with a veil she'd made for herself. She was beautiful. She had a big smile. Her father handed her over to me and I bowed a thank you to him. Manny, our navigator was officiating at the ceremony. He started by talking about the canoes of the Caroline Islands where he is from. Here is what he said. I stole his notes.

"Brett and Wakana. In the Carolines a canoe is just like a human being. It takes you to any island you want to go to either for trade, to visit relatives, or for pleasure. You can go fishing and bring in fish for your family or clan. And if there's any disaster that needs people to evacuate the island then you will have something to leave on. Canoe and canoe houses keep family, clan, and canoe house members together. Because this canoe brought you two together I hope you will always remember it to keep you loving each other, now and forever."

I took my guitar and sang Give Yourself To Love, almost the only love song I know.

When we met with Manny to plan the ceremony we asked him about marriage customs on Puluwat. He said that the groom gives the bride's family a breadfruit tree. I knew that Wakana really wants a calamansi tree so I stopped along the way to the wedding and cut a branch from a tree. I gave it to Wakana as a symbol of the tree I will give her when we return from our Big Trip.

After that we spoke our vows:

"I, Brett/Wakana, take you, Wakana/Brett, to be my wife/husband, my constant friend, my partner and my love from this day forward. Here in the presence of our family and friends, I offer you my solemn vow to be your faithful partner in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad, and in joy as well as in sorrow. I promise to love you unconditionally, to support you in your goals, to honor and respect you, to laugh with you and cry with you, and to cherish you for as long as we both shall live. I give you my hand, my heart, and my love, from this day forward."

Then we put on our rings and we were done. The picture taking went on for quite a while. We were using Wakana's digital and the four disposables I bought. It turned out that the digital camera no longer wants to stay focused on the job so many of our pictures are blurred. But there are other photos out there that we have yet to see. I will soon post some to the web site for your entertainment.

It was a truly beautiful sunset with the sky lit up in a blaze of orange and pink, the warm breezes rattling the palm fronds, the water gently lapping at the beach. We had a marvelous setting and a wonderful crowd of friends.

After the ceremony we adjourned to the Jamaican Grill for the reception. I had rented their air conditioned room and bought a meal for 50 people. When we got there we found they had decorated the place for us with banners and balloons and put out a couple of bottles of sparkling wine on ice. The food was delicious, as it always is there, and the crowd was pleasant. The staff kept the peach iced tea flowing and the food trays piled high with BBQ ribs, jerked chicken, Jamaican rice, red rice, and the salsa and fruit salad bowls. Everyone left stuffed to the gills.

Franks was there with his son Pedro. Here on Guam the Chamorro children are taught to greet their elders by taking the elder's hand and pressing it to their own cheek. Pedro is still in diapers and still pre-language but has learned to properly greet an elder. He is so cute with his curly hair and big smile.

So there we are. Wakana has had her ceremony and now truly feels married.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Leadfingers
Date: 19 Jun 05 - 03:26 AM

Congratulations Brett and Wakana ! And Charleys idea of a new thread is a good one , especially as this one is now - - - -


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Leadfingers
Date: 19 Jun 05 - 03:27 AM

FOUR HUNDRED !!!!!


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 19 Jun 05 - 08:50 AM

more congratulations to you both, & I'm looking forward to seeing the sunset wedding pictures

sandra


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: GUEST,Charley Noble
Date: 19 Jun 05 - 10:09 AM

sigh...whew!

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: CarolC
Date: 19 Jun 05 - 02:04 PM

That's beautiful, Brett. Thanks for describing it. Looking forward to the pictures.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 19 Jun 05 - 06:46 PM

Yesterday the family came over to the house and then we went down to Jan Z's for lunch. This was the second Big Event for Wakana. None of her family has ever come to visit her in any of her former homes. Of course, none of her former homes was ever much more than a resting place between work or play days. This one is a true home. Understandably she was nervous about their impression.

And that impression was quite favorable. From the ocean view to the large rooms they were very impressed. We all sat in the living room and drank iced tea and talked. Fumito and I shared songs and passed my old guitar back and forth. He tried out my little Martin and my Haruo 12-string. It was a lovely visit.

Way back on my last visit to Tokyo with Fumito we visited one music store that had a taishogoto. I was interested in the instrument and asked several questions. Yesterday he handed me one as a gift! So now I own yet another musical instrument. Sigh.

The taishogoto is about 2 feet long and looks a little like a keyed mountain dulcimer. Mine is black with a gold design painted on the top. There are six strings, two that act as drones and four that are keyed. The strings appear to ALL be tuned to the same note, the larger strings an octave down from the smaller strings. There are twenty-five keys, fourteen white and eleven black, all numbered. The black keys are labeled with a sharp sign (#) but my chromatic tuner seems to indicate that those keys are playing natural notes and the white keys are the sharps.

I don't have a clue how to tune it or if I can change the tuning to fit better into a Western music style. Somehow I don't think it would be a good idea to change the tuning but I will need to play with it some more. It might sound good as a back up to the Yangtse River Shanty, Charley. It has that Asian sound, the high twangy almost off-key sound we associate with the background music in bad movies that feature Asian settings. I will start a thread on the instrument looking for info. A Google search didn't have much help.

Today we put the family on a plane and we will be done with one of the Big Events for this summer. The other one is coming up fast, the Big Trip. We will be leaving in July for Japan, England, New England, Seattle, and Hawaii.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Charley Noble
Date: 20 Jun 05 - 09:04 AM

"Outward Bound from Guam"?

Other thread title suggestions?

I'd certainly like to hear an oriental musical arrangement for "Yangtse River Shanty." Of course, while you're doing that, why not come up with an alternative set of words from Young Moon's perspective, after she's fleeced another sailorman.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Amos
Date: 20 Jun 05 - 09:32 AM

Brett:

Warmest congrats to you and your bride. I am very happy for you!!


A


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Lana
Date: 21 Jun 05 - 10:22 AM

My sewing machine arrived today!!! Thanks Dad!! :-D
It's so pretty.
Love
Lana


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Charley Noble
Date: 25 Jun 05 - 11:27 AM

Hey, Brett, we haven't heard from you in over a week. Or you too happy or something to post?

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 25 Jun 05 - 08:41 PM

Too happy? Not really. You know what they say about depression in the weeks after Christmas? Well, Wakana has experienced something of the sort after the wedding. Plus my knee is really bothering me. I stupidly tossed the crutches on the big day and I am still paying the piper for that move.

But life is good here. Things are coming back on to an even keel. We are deep into planning the Big Trip. We bought the plane tickets last week. Here is our itinerary:

Depart Guam for Japan July 22 at 1200.

Depart Japan for England July 31 at 1620, arrive on August 1 at 0640 local time.

Depart England for New York August 31 at 1230, arrive at 1525 local time.

Depart NYC for Toronto September 1 Return September 5.

Depart NYC for Maine by train on September 5 or 6.

From September 6 through September 11 we will be in southern Maine. I expect we will be at the Press Room on the 9th and at the Music thing at Robin Hood Cove on the 10th. Then we are off to northern Maine to visit my parents. We will be there for the rest of September and the first week of October. We will probably take a trip down to Nova Scotia and Fredrickton during that time.

Depart Maine for Maryland on 11 October. Visit in Connecticut and sightseeing along the way.

October 14 through 17 – FSGW!

October 17 through 26 we will be sightseeing in Washington and Baltimore.

Depart NYC for Los Angeles October 26 at 1325, arrive at 1618 local time.

Visit with Amos in San Diego and with other friends in Seattle.

Depart Los Angeles on November 11 at 0910 arrive in Guam at 0045 on November 12.

So stand by USA, Canada, and England for the invasion and tour of the century (at least for me and Wakana). Set your calendars for a wake up call on the date of your choice. Here we come!


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 25 Jun 05 - 09:07 PM

As requested I am closing this thread and starting a new one. Click here for the new thread, Happily Ever After in Guam.


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Oct 05 - 06:28 PM

High Bret! I haven't heard from you in a long time. I'm still writing songs. I'm still alive.

Peter


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Subject: RE: Springtime In Guam
From: Naemanson
Date: 27 Oct 05 - 09:18 PM

As you can see from this thread and the subsequent ones, I still live too. One word, I strongly suggest you try to go to the annual Getaway! It is a great time and a wonderful way to meet other Mudcats. Contact Sinsull about gatherings at her house. You are a good songwriter and should get those songs out where people can hear them.


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