Peace Boat Voyage Continues

The Japan-based NGO Peace Boat left Tampa at 12 AM on Tuesday after receiving repairs to damage discovered when they made a scheduled stop in New York after leaving Greenland.

A five-foot by six-foot section of the hull was repaired while the ship was dry docked in Tampa. Other repairs included replacing safety equipment. The passengers were put up in hotels for days while the repairs were made.

Originally Peace Boat was planning to go from New York to Venezuela (itinerary map), but due to the unexpected stay in Tampa the route has been changed and South America will be skipped. The updated itinerary is not available on the Peace Boat website at this time.

Coast Guard News Announces Peace Boat Departure

– Harvey

Omodaka

Just listening to some new electronic Japanese music by a group called Omodaka that I got from HearJapan. HearJapan featured them as their July artist and has a very informtive write up of the group and their music, including lots of embedded music videos.

You must see the “glitch dance” video from the song “kyoteizinc”.

Very cool. Note, the track from this video is not on the latest OMODAKA album, but it’s the track called “kyoteizinc (video mix)” on the Favorite Games album. As stated on HearJapan…

This video features Masako Yasumoto doing a glitch dance. Be sure to watch the breakdown at 2:00 and the water effects that follow

Indeed.

The review on HearJapan is very extensive. I could hardly hope to add anything to it here, so just go read it! Fun, fun music.

– Harvey

Personality like split bamboo

竹を割ったような性格

“take wo watta youna seikaku”

Literal translation: Personality like a split bamboo.

Another fun phrase encountered during my translation adventures…

This actually refers to someone who is frank, straightforward, and open-hearted.

Just like a split bamboo.

I don’t know exactly where this phrase comes from, but my guess is that when you split bamboo with a sword, (or less dramatically with a big knife) it cuts very cleanly. If you cut it at an angle, you get a point. I can see the relationship between that clean, sharp pointed split and a sharp, frank personality… The open-hearted thing though, I don’t know.

Edit: The imagry is meant to be of the bamboo being split lengthwise. When bamboo is cut lengthwise it snaps open sharply and cleanly. See the comments for mroe discussion.

– Harvey

Miyazawa Kenji – The Restaurant with Many Orders

The TheJapanShop.com now has one of Miyazawa Kenji’s most famous stories, 「注文の多い料理店」The Restaurant with Many Orders, available as a 5-dollar downloadable package that includes the story text, and an accompanying audio file with a native speaker reading the text.

Kenji Miyazawa

Kenji Miyazawa

In addition, the furigana for every Kanji is provided, and you also get a definition for every vocabulary word in context. You’ll be familiar with this type of product if you tried the JapanShop’s previous e-book/audio product to learn Japanese through Proverb’s.

Most Japanese children (from my wife’s generation anyway) read this story when they are in elementary school. Children read this story, but actually it’s pretty scary. You’ll know what I mean if you give it a read.

You can also read the entire text of The Restaurant with Many Orders on Aozora Bunko for free (it’s like Japan’s Gutenberg Project). However, because Aozora is meant for native Japanese, you won’t get any explanations or many furigana for the Kanji (especially uncommon furigana are given however). You can also read many other Miyazawa stories on Aozora as well, it’s a great resource.

More Miyazawa…

Another one of Miyazawa’s famous pieces is 「雨にも負けず」(ami ni mo makezu, roughly, I won’t lose to the rain). You can read the full text of ami ni mo makezu online as well.

Stay tuned for more enlightening Japanese literature!

– Harvey

Peace Boat Update

In South Tampa news

Japanese Peace Cruise To Pause In Tampa For Repairs

By NEIL JOHNSON | The Tampa Tribune

Published: July 21, 2008

Updated: 12:54 pm

TAMPA – A cruise ship chartered by a Japan-based organization that promotes peace will arrive in Tampa today and disgorge about 900 passengers as the ship undergoes repairs to its hull.

The ship, Clipper Pacific, is on a cruise around the world to promote human rights, peace and sustainable development and is chartered by Peace Boat.

A routine Coast Guard safety inspection when the vessel arrived at a New York port on July 13 uncovered safety problems and deterioration of the hull. Temporary repairs in New York made the ship seaworthy enough to travel to Tampa.

A maritime agency in Tampa that’s working with the ship’s owners has found hotel rooms in Tampa and Orlando for all the passengers, said Sandy Naugle, who works with the agency, Eller Maritime Services. The passengers are expected to stay two nights, Naugle said.

The ship will be placed in drydock at Tampa Bay Ship Repair, and ultrasonic images will be made of the hull to check for thickness, said Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Kevin Carroll, chief of the inspection division for a Coast Guard unit based in St. Petersburg. The hull has deteriorated over time, in part because it sat for four years in a Turkish harbor, Carroll said.

New York was the first U.S. destination the ship reached, so it was the ship’s first Coast Guard inspection. All ships entering U.S. ports are inspected.

In addition to problems with the hull, the inspection found shortcomings with the ship’s firefighting equipment, the condition of lifeboats and lifejackets and with emergency plans and procedures, Carroll said.

The Clipper Pacific is relatively old for a cruise ship, commissioned in 1969. And at 637 feet, it’s smaller than most modern cruise ships.

In addition to the approximately 900 passengers, the ship has a crew of 150.

Peace Boat made its first voyage in 1983. This cruise left Japan in May and is scheduled to be back in Japan on Aug. 25.

In Harvey news… My wife is off the boat. She got off in New York and cut her trip short. Venezuela has been cut out of the PeaceBoat itinerary for this voyage due to this delay, but she will miss out on Panama, the Panama Canal, Guatemala, Mexico, Canada, and Alaska. Part of the reason she got off was that I was concerned about safety, so I’ll have to be sure to make it up to her in the future. Should be easy, we’ve been to Canada… and Mexico and Central America aren’t far away at the moment!

– Harvey

Semba Curry

One of my favorite places to grab lunch during the work week was Semba Curry in Osaka.

The curry at Semba Curry doesn’t look like much, but it tastes really good. Most curry has a brown colored roux, but the roux at Semba Curry is a deeper darker brown that kind of looks like old leather.

Mmm…. Curry…

It tastes great… Most of the people in my office didn’t like it though… I guess it’s an acquired taste.

This shop is near Honmachi Station, but I think there are other Semba Curry locations around Osaka… Though actually I can’t remember seeing one anywhere other than this spot in Honmachi… I’m sure there are others though!

Give it a try, it’s yum. I recommend their chicken-katsu and spinach curry. Their cheese curry is also a big hit.

I miss Japanese food!

– Harvey

Japanese Guitarist T-cophony

Those who know me know that I play guitar from time to time…

I can’t play like this though! Check out this youtube video of T-cophony doing this thing.

Nuts.

His other videos are here on youtube, and his new album is available to sample and purchase on HearJapan so check it out!

HearJapan Album Link
HearJapan Artist link

T-cophony

I’m not sure what my totally traditional guitar teacher would say about his playing style… But wow.

– Harvey

Peace Boat Stuck in New York

Remember the drama when I went through the interpretation exam to become a Peace Boat volunteer? If you remember, my wife ended up joining the around-the-world tour as a volunteer translator, and I ended up leaving Japan ahead of her to get ready to start graduate school. Peace Boat recently made a stop in New York City so I went up to see her for the first time in months. They were scheduled to be in New York for just a couple of days… But they’re still there. Now they’re all over the news.

The ship, the Clipper Pacific, was detained at the New York Port due the Coast Guard’s New York unit discovering significant damage to the hull (a one-inch gash that existed before arriving in NYC), and numerous safety violations during a routine safety check. A scuba team was dispatched to make temporary repairs to the hull, but the ship will not be allowed to leave the United States until it has undergone full repairs. Due to this, the Peace Boat will apparently be making a detour and spending time in Florida for permanent repairs instead of heading to Venezuela as planned.

The recklessness upsets me.

You can read about the boat damage and safety violations in these articles.

New York Times – Stuck in New York, a Round-the-World Cruise Gets Even More Leisurely

International Herald Tribune – Cruise ship with hull damage detained in NY Harbor

Coast Guard News – Detained Cruise Ship Moved to Brooklyn Cruise Ship Terminal for Repairs

JapanProbe links to a piece from a Japanese media source interviewing a Peace Boat passenger.

Web News Asahi – 世界一周のピースボート船 NYで亀裂見つかり足止め

My wife was telling me all along that the trip was fun, but she was appalled at how unprofessional they were.

When they first boarded the boat in Yokohama, crew were still tearing up the carpet and replacing it with older-looking carpet. Keys to passengers rooms were not all immediately available, and check-in was chaotic. Some of the volunteers were forced to give up their rooms and move down into the lower levels due to an unanticipated room shortage for the passengers. The Peace Boat had engine trouble before they reached Oman, which delayed the tour by a few days and shortened their time in the country. It was never clear whether the engine trouble was completely repaired or not. The vast majority of the passengers on Peace Boat Japanese, but there are non-Japanese passengers as well. Upon arriving in Singapore, it was discovered that some of the non-Japanese citizens required visas to enter the country Malaysia on an additional tour. The Peace Boat staff had not prepared for this, so the non-Japanese passengers who required visas were forced to stay on the boat while everyone else took pictures with Merlion in Singapore while everyone else went to Malaysia… Of course visas are needed for many of the countries on the tour, and Peace Boat provided for those, but for some reason Singapore just got missed. Lastly, the extremely liberal and one-sided position that most of the on-board lectures take seemed to irk my wife and some of the other passengers.

All of these little mishaps caused the passengers to be come upset and voice their concerns with the Peace Boat staff. And rightfully so, most passengers pay an upwards of $15,000 USD to join this 3-month journey. The haphazardness of the programming and “lefty” nature of the lectures is to be expected from an NGO… but safety is where I draw the line.

Looks fun though… A great way to see the world if you can make English teacher or volunteer translator and ride for free! Just watch out for leaking ships…

Peace Boat

Peace Boat

Peace Boat Trouble in the News Around the Web

JapanProbe

International Herald Tribune

Bloomberg

Coast Guard News

WCBS TV

MSN

CNN

New York 1

New York Times

Web news Asahi

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