During this trip to Izu, I've had the good fortune of getting to know one of the pioneers of recreational diving in this area...Shinohara-san...a little better.
He was one of the first few people to start a dive shop here twenty-some years ago, and he's still as active and enthusiastic as anyone I know.
In addition to taking time to answer my endless list of questions, he's been kind enough to introduce me to lots of people, and also take me around to some great restaurants (more on that later).
As if that weren't enough, we sat in his shop a couple of days ago poring over guide books to try to figure out some fish IDs I've been puzzling over...the most difficult of which was my little piscine pokemon from Lembeh.
After a bit of sleuthing and plenty of head-scratching, I think we figured it out. We decided that it's most likely a pitted stonefish (Erosa erosa), known as a daruma-okoze (ダルマオコゼ) in Japan.
The grumpy expression, unique patterns on the pectoral fins and the deep indentation on the top of the fish's head led us to this conclusion.
See how much fun it is being an international fish geek?