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December 26, 2003


Last Saturday I had my first scuba-diving lesson. I’m learning with Emiko, a girl I know on the island. I was advised by an English diver I met on the mainland that I should learn with an English-speaking instructor, and while that seems sensible, I like and trust N-san (the diving instructor on this island), and Emiko speaks pretty good English, so I’ve decided to learn on the island with a Japanese-speaking instructor.

On Saturday, we went to N-san’s house for our first lesson. It was cold and grey, so we didn’t go in the sea. We stayed in his yard, and learnt to set up and check the equipment, and then take it apart again. Tuesday, though, was a bank holiday, and the weather turned beautiful, so we had our second lesson, and this time we went into the sea. We stayed in shallow water and learnt how to re-fill our mask with air if it gets knocked off, and to recover the regulator if it gets knocked out of your mouth. We also saw a ミノカサゴ, or scorpion fish – one of Okinawa’s more dangerous fish – asleep on a rock. Very poisonous, but also very beautiful, with long, sail-like fins, and a red-striped body. In the afternoon, the weather was still fine, so we went up one of the island’s small mountains, and then around the west edge, taking lots of photos. I’ve found out how to get higher shutter-speeds on my camera, and, consequently, I can now take better sunset photos…

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