Monday, October 22, 2007

しらけ (Shirase)

I belong to the Japanese American Wive's Group. The only word from that sentence I ever thought might apply to me was "American". Another member of the group is the Japanese wife of the Commanding Officer of the Shirase, the only Japanese Ice Breaking research vessel. The ship leaves Japan every November, travels over 20,000 miles to the Shoya base in Antartica, drops off 30 scientists who will stay there for one year and picks up last year's group. They return to Japan in April. The staff told us that the ride is so rough the scientists meet the ship in Australia. So all this woman had to do was say "can I bring a few friends over?" and presto, 70 of us were treated to lunch, tours and goody bags. The senior engineering officer asked for a volunteer to press the emergency panice button, someone did and alarms and lights went off. He thought that was a riot.

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