A Small Package of Value Will Come to Me, Shortly.

As a small-time antiquarian book collector, I’m enchanted by old, weathered books. The smell of leather and musty, aged paper is perfume to me. It puts me over the top. The older the book, well, the weaker I get in the knees. My shelves are heavy with 18th and 19th century publications, and whenever I’m so inclined, I pull a book off the shelf and read a chapter or two on England’s early efforts in colonial Asia or a verse or two from Shakespeare or Donne or Pope, and in doing so, I am transported back in time, my senses of sight, touch, and smell and a fertile imagination taking me there.

There are two other products that make me swoon similarly: old sailboats out on the sea, and Apple hardware. While a wooden boat at sea affects perceptions in the same way, the MacBook Air, iPad, and iPhone lack the intoxicating aromas of old books and boats, their fragrances more RAMish, electrical and modern. 

So what an absolute treat it is that with TwelveSouth’s BookBook line of products, I can add the smell of leather and the notion of antiquity to my MacBook and iOS products and safely disguise them somewhere on my bookshelves.

Bookbook for iPhone

I’ve ordered both the BookBook for iPhone and for the MacBook Air (they will arrive shortly,) and already have one for the iPad. If you like the smell of leather and are attracted to old books, get one. They really are very good products, and make excellent disguises.

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Back from Phuket, Thailand

Rumiko and I returned from a 12-day trip to Thailand last week. We stayed on Kata beach, some say the nicest beach in Phuket, at the Kata Beach Resort. Our room was originally on the 4th floor, but after one night we upgraded to a 1st floor room with direct access to a swimming pool that ran the length of the building. The best decision of the trip. Waking up and walking into the pool before the coffee made for a great way to start the day.

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Our chief concern was rest and relaxation, so the entire time in Phuket was spent either at the pool or on the beach, with two forays into town for dinner. After a day of reading and resting, I found the hubbub of town grating, so we kept our visits to a minimum. We came across this ingenious set up:

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A tuk-tuk modified into a one-man bar selling a limited range of cocktails. Having never tried Mohitos before, we dropped B79 or about ¥210 per drink and sipped from bar stools and tables arranged along the street. This would be a great money-maker in Tokyo, if you could get the licensing…

It was August in Phuket, which meant a bit of rain and high winds. Well, we got the winds but the rain never fell. I’d hoped to rent sailing dinghies on the beach, but the winds and the big beach break the entire length of the beach scotched that idea. The hotels, including Club Med, either didn’t have dinghies or had kept them locked away waiting for gentler autumn and winter breezes. The beach, though, was fine…

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All in all it was a relaxing time and both Rumiko and I got the rest we needed. Next trip will most likely be to Bali.

Severe Storm Delays Trip to Hota

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This past weekend was a wash, and if you could have applied soap to it, it would have been exceedingly clean. Friday, Day One of the three-day cruise I’d planned, dawned clear and bright but by 1100 the sky had darkened to grey-black and by 1130 a deluge had begun. Water flowing past Voyager’s hull as she sat at the dock quickly accelerated into a swift flowing river. Thunder and lightening directly overhead made for an interesting two hours below decks waiting for the storm to pass. I had visions of Voyager’s mast taking a strike, like the Australian boat in the photo above, and was a little concerned about exactly what would happen to me and my boat if it did.

I’d known about the approaching storm the night before and had cancelled my plans, leaving four other people who had signed on as crew with suddenly free weekends. I’m moving the trip back a week and will try again on 8/26. Hota is about 5-7 hours south of Yokohama on the Chiba side of Tokyo Bay. It’s a quaint port with clean water suitable for swimming, and in my case, bottom cleaning. Hopefully the weather will cooperate.

A Sailing Cruise to Kii Hanto

Somewhere along the coast of the Kii Peninsula

Between April 28th and May 10th of 2011, four sailboats departed for Kii Hanto, an historically prominent peninsula east of Osaka and south of Nagoya. Along the way, sixteen crew members snapped 1800 pictures and shot 140 minutes of video. This material has now been assembled into a video montage and can be viewed on youtube at http://www.youtube.com/user/resarfw

Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1% Society: vanityfair.com

“Americans have been watching protests against oppressive regimes that concentrate massive wealth in the hands of an elite few. Yet in (America), 1 percent of the people take nearly a quarter of the nation’s income—an inequality even the wealthy will come to regret.”

the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1% Society: vanityfair.com.

Tokyo, From The Southern Bank of the Tama River

The Tamagawa Kawasaki Side

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It’s All Tokyo

North It s All Tokyo

The view north from the 13th floor of our building. Directly behind us is the Tama River, the southern boundary of Tokyo. Across the river is Kawasaki.