Gassed Up

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Tue 4 Feb 2014 11:56
Position: Alongside Tokunoshima
Wind:North F5 fresh breeze
Weather: overcast, windy, cool

Overnight conditions have changed from mild and balmy to windy and cold, so I felt doubly pleased for having made it to Tokunoshima yesterday, one for the nice people I have met, and two for being tucked away in port out of an unpleasant wind.
This morning's main event was the arrival of a man to fill up my gas bottles, which the very efficient and gracious Saori had organised for 10.30 this morning. Both the gas man and Saori turned up within minutes of one another. The gas man examined my bottles, and of course I was very lucky to have Saori present to explain what I wanted. The bottles were taken away to be filled with the promise that they would be returned in about fifteen minutes. Saori and I had a cup of coffee while we waited, brewed on my recently acquired emergency cooker. This was the first time I have used it and I am pleased to say that it should make for a reasonably efficient back up stove.
The gas man soon returned but, as I feared, even though the fittings were compatible, because the bottles were not Japanese they could not be filled. However the gas man had a solution. He had brought a Japanese gas bottle of about the same size as mine and offered to sell me the gas in it and charge me nothing for the bottle. At 2,500 yen, this was only marginally more expensive than I was paying in Sydney to have a bottle refilled at a service station, so I was very happy with the offer. Now while in Japan I will at least have one bottle that can be legally filled. It is amazing the difference it makes having the right person around to help solve one's problems. Thank you Saori.
Getting propane tanks filled is by no means a problem unique to Japan. In fact, I would say Europe is worse. Not only do many countries have different systems, their refills are very expensive. When I arrived in Ireland for instance, I had to buy a new bottle and a new regulator, plus of course the gas. This cost over 100 Euros and when I left Ireland the tank was completely useless. I was in Belgium when it ran out and had to buy yet another bottle and regulator, which was also unique to that country. As I recall the Belgium bottle, being quite large, lasted me to the Canary Islands, where I was able to revert back to my standard bottles, ones which are common to Australia, the US and many other places.
After the gas was sorted Saori dropped me off at the library so I could access the internet. Unfortunately this proved to have a less successful outcome than the gas bottles. The library had no wi-fi service so I could not use my netbook but had to use the library's sole terminal, nor was I allowed to upload or download anything to a memory stick, and the connection was slow. So no photos for the time being.
Lunch, laundry, an evening stroll, and dinner has filled the rest of my day.
All is well.