石垣島 (Ishigaki Island, Okinawa) / Part 2









Today's theme is "Listen, Dive, Eat." 


First off, "Listen."

When I told my friend K that I wanted to go to Ishigaki island, she mentioned that she knew the owner of the biggest live house on the island and that she'd be happy to introduce me to him. So when I landed, I proceeded to go meet Ishigaki-san, who was born and raised in the city of Ishigaki, on the island of Ishigaki. He owns and operates a venue called City Jack, and this is where I went to have drinks and watch and listen to local musicians perform almost every night. One of my favorite shows was a concert MIYAGI Mamoru put on (pic above). Another native of Ishigaki who's 20-year career has taken him all over the country. 







Next, "Dive."

Hirokimi-san, the owner of City Jack, kindly introduced me to the owner of Street Marine Club, Shin-san. Shin-san used to be a professional motorbike and car racer in Tokyo, but then got tired of the city life and decided to become a diving instructor and move to Ishigaki. That was decades ago and now he's part of the local fabric. It was my first time diving but with his expert help, I managed to pass my Open Water Diver certificate.


The most scariest part of the course was the complete removal and reapplication of the mask. All you have to do is keep breathing through your mouth but something about water hitting your nose and eyes just triggers an impulse to panic. As my instructor said, "diving truly makes us humans understand how utterly and ignorantly dependent we are on air." 






Finally, "Eat."

Once again, through Hirokimi-san's introduction, I had the opportunity to dine at Croissant, a fusion Italian restaurant run by Nobuyasu-san. The highlight of the meal was a seafood platter of the day's fresh catches. The meticulous craftsman that he is, amongst many other things, Nobuyasu-san would somehow soften the shrimp's crust so that you could eat the whole thing. And to top it off, he had a bottle of Lagavulin on the shelf. A fine glass of Scotch to top off the evening's meal. What more can you ask for?




If and when I do return to Ishigaki, I'd love to go on a dive with Shin-san, dine at Nobuyasu-san's establishment, then go have a drink at Hirokimi-san's live house. 



(From left) Croissant owner ISHIGAKI Nobuyasu, City Jack owner ISHIGAKI Hirokimi, Street Marine Clubowner KURASHIKI Shinichi