Personal Accomplishments during the Pandemic

Reply Wed 8 Sep, 2021 07:03 am
Hello Folks, Seizan here, you know – the karate’n’cat guy.

The pandemic just doesn’t seem to be letting up. On Okinawa, our hospitals are packed to capacity with room only for the most serious cases and life-threatening emergencies. Most of us plebes, whether infected or not, are in isolation as much as possible and doing telework.

That pretty much sets the scene for a sort of “lemons to lemonade” discussion. I wonder what positive things have come from the isolation that we can share to boost morale among other readers and lurkers. What have we done that couldn’t have been accomplished, or maybe even couldn’t have been imagined, unless one was stuck at home, isolated, feeling physically imprisoned but mentally and emotionally free to create and achieve? And can we encourage others to do the same?

To get things rolling (I hope this rolls), I’ll start.

In Mach 2020 we went into isolation and strict telework for two months straight. After that, we went in and out of isolation and various levels of restriction, mostly involving spending more time at home. We don’t watch TV (by choice - we don’t even have one in the house), we listen to various style of music in the background as we work, and my wife loves cooking when she’s not busy with her military-related duties.

During that time between March 2020 and the autumn, I collected my notes and journals of the previous few decades, and wrote the first English-language book of our system’s old-style karate concepts and philosophies. When it was finished around New Year 2021, I ran into difficulties with the printer formatting the text and the publication was delayed for another few months. I changed printers and the book was published in April 2021. I was working on Volume 2 but in the end I combined both volumes and printed a near-600-page book, “Bunburyodo” (the way of academic studies plus the way of stopping conflict combined as one). I then went on to write a book about (ostensibly “by”) our cats titled “Anna’s Tales, Lost and Found, and Bear’s Song” (many photos). My wife wrote a book about children’s life philosophy and discoveries in the world around our five-year-old granddaughter (also fun placing many photos).

Also, I started practicing violin again. Sumako resumed her studies in sanshin (the three-stringed banjo-like instrument of Okinawa).

The summer brought may Mainland Japanese tourists and they generously brought their Delta virus with them. Seems the Okinawan Governor wanted to make up for last year’s economic losses by opening up to tourists from the Mainland. And so, on Okinawa we are now going through a series of spikes for Covid, and my wife and I are both home doing telework again. I have two more karate-related books and a series of children’s books in the works, and Sumako is working on her second book titled “Along the Way”. It’s her lifestyle guide that includes everything from the meaning and value of yoga and karate, the benefits of a daily walk, and the usable (edible and medicinal) plants around us and found pretty much everywhere in the world. She even found a way to make drinkable noni fruit juice, loquat and guava jam and juice, guava bread-spread, tofu lasagna, and more almost every day. All will go into her next book.

Neither my wife nor I would have written these books if we were just going on with life as it had been prior to the pandemic. I thought I might get around to it when I retired from teaching, maybe when I reached 80 or so. Sumako never even considered writing beyond saying “Yeah, good idea, maybe someday...”

So, if we can share some of the positive things that we have found, created, or produced while forced to use our brains during isolation, maybe we can encourage others to do the same – and come out of this with personal achievements we can be proud of.

Oh, an update for those who have been following the cat stories... A nice application of unscented mineral oil all around the outside walls of the cat food bowls has been keeping all bugs and ants out of the food for the past year-plus. Also, a layer of metallic copper tape edging the area of the food dishes (in my case, a fiberglass serving tray) really does keep snails and slugs out of their food too. I believe the slimy mucous they produce to get around creates a slight electric charge when it touches the copper tape, and they just skedaddle off...

OK, hope to hear from others soon...

Stay safe and keep well, everyone.
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Reply Wed 8 Sep, 2021 04:50 pm
Oh, a short PS -- A friend asked us incredulously the other day "What do you do in the evening -- how do you SURVIVE -- if you don't have TV?"

This brought to mind a bit of the Introduction from "Anna's Tales, Lost and Found, and Bear's Song":

We are sometimes unsure whether the cat-society we live with reflects human society, or if human society is just a sophisticated animal society. We learn a lot from observing our cats. We watch cat while others watch TV. Comedy, drama, mystery and intrigue, they’re all there – though in fact, there has been no TV in our home since the early days of Anna. More about her later...

“Did you watch the game on TV last night?” “No, we watched Cat...”

Buying cat food has its moments too. When hauling a full cartload of cat food to the cashier, I am sometimes asked “Oh, do you have a cat...?” I find several snappy ways to respond, but I say “Yes, we have several to care for.” I am mostly tempted to say, “No, we have a tiger”, or “No, this stuff just makes a great casserole for the church luncheon...”

Reply Wed 8 Sep, 2021 05:31 pm
I like the last answer the best.
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Reply Fri 10 Sep, 2021 06:10 pm
Oh, I was asked about the cat food bowls again...

I put a slightly larger flat-bottom bowl under each food and water bowl. For aesthetic purpose, it is the same bowl but the next-size larger (my wife likes things to look nice). It is this bottom bowl or "outer bowl" that I coat with mineral oil. I refresh the mineral oil only once a week. I change the inner bowl twice a day, keeping a few extras of the same sort inside the house. All I have to do is fill a clean food bowl and replace the "used" one with it.

Be careful the "treated" bowls do not touch a wall or anything ants can climb up to bypass the mineral oil coating. I don't know how, but ants are pretty smart...! Also be careful not to touch the sides of the treated bowls -- if you wipe any of the oil off, it helps make a nearly oil-free path for little critters. I hold the treated bowl by the rim of the bowl and the flat bottom. I try not to touch the sides.

If you wash the bowl, dry it completely so the oil film can apply uniformly. I wash, dry with a cloth, then blow-dry it warm (my wife's old hair drier) so there is as little water on it as possible. I am not sure why, but just washing and drying isn't enough and decreases the oil's effectiveness, unless you leave the bowl to set and air-dry for an hour or so. Maybe there is water left in the tiny pits and cracks on a dish surface that we can't see...

Or just replace the bowl with another that has been dry for a few days.

If you live in a windy area where there may be a lot of sand or dust blowing about, you might refresh the oil coating twice a week, or anytime you notice a dust or sand coating on the bowl's sides.

I bought one pint of mineral oil about 2 years ago and the bottle's still about half-full, so it's not a great expense. Other than a few minutes once or twice a week, it costs almost nothing to ensure your dog's or cat's food is safe from invasion...
Reply Fri 10 Sep, 2021 06:40 pm
My condition is that I have a left hand that is all blown to **** n Im missing 2.5 fingwrs there.Im also lft with no feeling of my left arm and prt of my right. I used to play kyboard instruments and guitar. Since my explosion accident, Ive taken up the DOBRO and Peddle STeel guitars and Ive had a chance to really get some training while under lock up. Im
an almost half decent player
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