All posts by daveo

Diary: visitors see new life & family + trip to Teshima w/ Ichiro annotations

A mysterious brilliant visitor from overseas – first in three years – captured me, at home, in my new life. This is my family, this is our home.

my adorable family with whom Xo Ryoko, Ichiro (thanks Amber Sensei)

I wandered far and endured plenty to find this life, and immensely grateful for it all. I’m so happy to show someone from my “old life“ what i found & and she understood very well.

and now with remarkable in-laws/grandparents

With out guests coming, we pulled out the special stash of saké, some fermented carrot pickles, housemade miso, and a few other fermented treats. Also started to soak in soy beans to make soy milk; prepared the Bizen yaki ceramic cups & small dishes for sashimi; also have bamboo shoots from our forest. (thanks M-i-L and F-i-L)

garden vegetables and bamboo shoots right out the door

Ryoko also prepared matcha tea in an abbreviated tea ceremony with tea bowls from her great-grandparents and made anpan (anko sweet bean paste in lil pancakes) to go with.

tea bowls and accessories, freshly washed

I should add that, “no, Japan is not open to tourists at this time” – Our recent particular international guest was on a publishing-company-sponsored book tour / meaning the company supported a business visa requiring a detailed itinerary and accepting of various risks / responsibilities etc. visit with issued by Japan consulate in USA before departure and required 10+ various forms, letters, etc.

Out n About to Teshima

the hilltop minimalist cafe where fig farmers served curry and you can chop your own green onions

Briefly: The many islands of the Seto inland sea (nestled between our home prefecture of Okayama and neighbour pref. Kagawa and the 4th of the main island of Japan Shikoku) host a triennialle art festival – not shockingly unheld for a few years – more to say about the economic goodness and reinvention and volunteer spirit but for now, i’ll say:

We went with our guests rather spontaneously (they had planned and reserved museum access) by our groovy “Esquire” van, then walked onto ferry and used various busses around the island of Teshima, ate curry, drank coffee/tea, more curry, postcards, then a walk-on ferry back to Uno port, more art and drive to Okayama station – the busiest day i’ve had in forever but was buoyed by conversation, views and friendship. Further annotations follow:

whilst friends went to museum, r, i and i went to a hilltop sorta café (really some fig farmers putting out a shingle for a few hours a day) and enjoyed views of Inushima (Isles of Dogs) and back to Okayama #panorama

Ichiro, postcards, ships (all sizes) etc

After our day out, in the bath he explained over and over again all the different modes of transportation and conveyance (big ferry boat, small ferry boat, two buses, baby car/stroller, our usual van etc.) he used during that day, using new sentence construction skills with conjunctions and verb conjugations. His magnificent brain spinning – even working out the names of our friends.

this obv was not our ferry but Ichi loved checking out all the fune

Lil dude got a bit of a fat lip running down the hill too fast and tripping but still was able to chill out at a café and enjoy his beverage.

dude knows how to lounge at a quirky curry cafe with Suzuki and Ota san

Papa wrote postcards and drank chai, sitting on cushions and sending geo-coordinates to pals who found us at カレー喫茶 異邦人 near Ieura port across the island from Kubota where we originally disembarked.

Ichiro mailed my postcards for me. “Choose the right portal for postcards Ichiro” i said {update: he did, what a smart fella} Inventory: 2 cards from Teshima to Gifu and Kyoto.

2 are decoys but one whisks secrets anywhere

Ichiro has now learned how to use the coffee bean grinder and insists on being the coffee captain in the morning, two scoops of the right beans, puts on the lid, covers with his hand, inspects to see if it’s the right grind for French press or Moka pot, all very serious & perfect.

And my darlings auditioned for a role in the next Wes Anderson movie (so to speak) with a pose by this blue truck.

blue, red, yellow – the day was my fave sort of weather, warm, breezy and overcast

Back to the port – love the salty smell, rusty metal and reinvention from industrial manufacturing and process to artistic tourism.

Ieura port – like most of Pacific coast of Japan, lots of factories in various states of use or decay, boats/ships of all kinds including container ships and now ferries, all sizes

Dozen+ of these islands with art, more to say but time to head home with my snappy shoes, happy. Thanks family and friends.

Fluevogs, since 1970 (like me) now with new aglets – getting very worn in

Diary: apropos of nothing (sleeping masks, hockey, mosquito net, laundry)

Really nothing to the usual days except for the brilliance of usual days, appros of really nothing, i annotate for amusement. Carry on in a disinter-mediated manner:

new kamidana house shrine for ancestors – made in Tottori from a slab of gingko wood

Okayama memo: The thing I really like most about is its very “usualness” {aside from being famous for the Momotaro peach boy story and being a “place you pass through to get to other places”} is also almost always sunny but not today (this Cascadian doesn’t mind the rain though).

My 1st era in Japan in the early 90s, was in Tottori (remote w/ kei-truck), later hiding out near Miasa, Nagano. When came back few years ago, found Okayama was just right / Not a hectic sensory overload city but has big hospital, Immigration etc.

Yes, we “lean heavily” into Momotaro folktale here and the image of a peach is scattered all over from statues to utility pole covers and gosh, peaches with a boy coming out of them can look really funny! And apparently it’s the sunniest prefecture in Japan. 

By post: Three pack of organic oatmeal arrived. {always mean to scribble down “tasting notes“ with all the different kinds but never do and never remember which ones were “great“ but all are, you know, good enough} ~ Eat each morning with variety of nuts, berries and sometimes yogurt.

Today by post: hori hori garden tool (this one is artisan made, previously ordered for wife and mother-in-law from off-the-shelf made-in-Japan company) / this one needs sharpened up and it didn’t come with a case/holster :( feels good in the hand though.

Day in the life:

  • ate salad with smoked salmon for lunch
  • loaded our new tiny dishwasher
  • sent a telegram, really
  • attempting to remove chewing gum from a pocket of a favorite shirt with ice packs #pending

now a rest before finishing laundry

Next day: One oatmeal, three coffees, two baskets of laundry, two hockey games… Now switching to loungewear and some tax paperwork. Then maybe repair a wicker stool after lunch.

Update: some arcane tax documents prepared, stamped, notarized, faxed, ready to mail in Duplicate etc. Indian curry and smoked salmon/avocado/lettuce salad lunch with darling. Next (going to try) to put a new seat on this wicker stool with hemp cloth and upholstery thumbtacks.

It’s not a masterpiece but it’s decent. Sturdy Polish hemp cloth, rugged long tacks & see how it goes. Hooray for hexagons!

Continue reading Diary: apropos of nothing (sleeping masks, hockey, mosquito net, laundry)

Takisakiyama Funicular ride (with monkeys!)

Take a (sped up) ride up Takisakiyama single track funicular train dealio in Oita, Japan (near Beppu Onsen in Kyushu) with monkeys frolicking on the tracks. Also, a painting (by me) of the funciular (or funiculaire if you prefer) in action.

At the end of the line are 2 troops of 100s of monkeys who run the mountain like crime lords but you only get 1 snap of a sweet mamma and kiddo.

funiculaire paintings in process (Quebec City and Japan)

Just put together for space cruise for my funicular loving pals with music snippets by Daniel Allen (aurora sect) and enhanced train noise samples from Sri Lanka to go along with the Japanese PA announcements.

Continue reading Takisakiyama Funicular ride (with monkeys!)

Diary: April, tiny steps (are what you take)

April 月 4 / Tiny steps (are what you take)

Oh hello May: after I fold this laundry, going to flip over the nine calendars in the house. Then, make turmeric tea and catch up the dishes while darling wife and wonderful child are at tea ceremony.

So April, more “tiny steps” and otherwise in the last two weeks in the previous 3 1/2 months…ergo:

  • went out into the world and met some people and learned some things about traditional houses and permaculture, even some hugs
  • Ryoko’s birthday and our third wedding anniversary, and other erstwhile milestones (recaps available)
  • so many other birthdays of dear friends! Noting that seems most of my friends, like 85%, birthdays are in August (like me) or an April. I have some wonderful friends and made a lot of phone calls to send best wishes
  • sent a few postcards, this seems obvious but this year I’ve been on hiatus of sorts
  • caught-up-ish on a few “life administration” tasks, answered a whole load of email yet of course, as it goes, more just come in #ImTryingMyBest
  • attended a memorial service for a kind gentle sake master at a Buddhist temple, made friends with the Abbott, exchanged artwork, watched my adorable son nap in a room with 3000 wooden carved Buddhas representing those passed on and who are read sutras annually. Also came home with a necktie, kimono and sake cups.
  • received some very kind packages from near and far with thoughtful and practical treats.
  • news of friends getting married, others having babies, others losing loved ones. As Gary Snyder wrote to Lew Welsh, “teach the kids, it’s all about the cycles”. #Peace
  • continued small steps to improve the campsite (metaphorically, our home) and supporting wife who unflinchingly and constantly takes on increasingly complicated projects like it’s no big deal

As always, more to say, I’m always “behind” but really, far far ahead and eternally grateful for your kind words, positivity, hopes of peace ++ I see your hard work, I see your struggles and always cheering for you.

Fondly, dvo at Tsuchida Cottage

Ichiro heading out to tea ceremony

Happy Golden Week (to those who celebrate :)), otherwise, general happy days in good times to all – from us at Tsuchida Cottage.

[Update] changed the calendars (only eight as didn’t go outside to change the one in the carport), tidied the house, dinner with my darlings and of course bathtime (best time!)

In bed at nine, read a book, zonked out (aside from midnight sleepwalking foraging for a snack) >> now it’s nine in the morning the next day and I feel like I ran a half marathon and drank at least eight beers and flew across 17 time zones. This illness #MECFS is a trickster. But I’m happy.

Oh, I made at least three phone calls yesterday just to shoot the breeze and catch up with friends and family.

Magical Ryoko’s Birthday

Here she is with a boy who loves her as much as I do, gazing into a distant mystery

(As usual) I’m hopelessly behind in replying to various messages on all the channels and what not but anyhow… Spent a little time in the mountains and now about to dig into some sushi to celebrate my darling wife’s birthday.

As such, inadequate memo to say:

Somehow Ryoko gets more gorgeous every day and continually amazes me in new & delightful ways.

She’s an arborist, vocalist, tea ceremonyist – infrequently intimidated, always courageous, endlessly creative + a wonderful mother, perfect wife and just the funnest to be around every day.

Continue reading Magical Ryoko’s Birthday

3rd Anniversary: Wedding outfit flashback/recap

How many outfits can you wear for one wedding celebration? It turns out, a lot (but never enough!) Let’s briefly recap.

Day Two, Shinto Shrine:

photo by the hired “pro” photog, edited by daveo

Three years ago 4/20 Heisei 31 at Munetada Jinjya – Friends and family on day two of our three day #DR0420 wedding festival, which has gracefully extended well into three years of daily perfection.

Day Three, Goat Farm:

Yesterday was three years since the Shinto ceremony at the shrine (say that three times fast) and three years today was the celebration at Mac Kobayashi’s goat farm & music library (we’ll probably stop by today).

at the goat farm, right after bonus vows in English (3rd ceremony of 3, in 3 days) ^ by Robert Scales, ed. daveo (daveo filter, No Patent Pending)

Coming down the aisle after the vows, this time in English (previous was Japanese and the previous previous was a matter of signing & stamping papers at the city office after laboriously verifying ID supervised by my flower bearing attorney Lindsay Bailey in a fantastic dress).

It was really the funnest of times! Beloved friends and family from so many countries and Ryoko’s admirers arriving from around Japan from her different circles and communities of arborists, gardeners, jazz & ska musicians, Lindy Hop dancers, French and Chinese language classes… and various free radicals, Mountain ramblers, Coffee roasters, beer makers whiskey distillers ornamental tree artists, singers, smoking three-piece jazz band, a couple of MCs. Plenty of dancing, so much food, the best gift bags ever (featuring Bizen-yaki sake cup and DIY tea ceremony set). Decorations abounding thanks to the diligent assistance of the “Goat Farm hippie hostel compound dwellers” et al.

Getting ready was extra fun since i forgot half my outfit at the house requiring Tom Sawyering some friends to do the meandering drive to pick up shirt, coat, vest etc.

Meanwhile, Ryoko was readying with dress, makeup, hair and all of it. Kris Krüg captured her (magnificent) progress while he and Robert Scales helped me chill (captured by Lindsay Bailey) and prepare for the ceremony before walking me down the “aisle” (goat path) (captured by ??? Duane Storey??). #smooches

Day One, City Hall

Bonus: Flower bearing attorney supervising me to the City Hall and witnessing our paperwork. Photo: Kris Krüg outside 後楽ホテル Okayama Koraku Hotel
^Photo Lindsay Bailey ❤ (ed. daveo)

Outside the Okayama City Office – which got a little complicated as they flipped through thick books comparing my birth certificate to other Canadian examples from the Northwest Territories and so on.

Unsurprisingly, they got hung up on my middle names and spelling of my birth town (all of which which had to be rendered in phonetic katakana).

Relieved, made it out of there eventually and somehow that was enough to be “official“ >> then headed to the welcome party at Livehouse Bird to see all the international renegades (and immediately Tom Sawyer them to tasks)… So many wonderful humans and was particularly fantastic to see friends from different areas of my life connect like that already known each other for decades.

Day Four, rolling home

The day after the 3-day scheduled festivities concluded and shifted into ad-hoc goodtimes, Ryoko and I rode the city bus from our downtown Okayama hotel to our home in Tsuchida neighbourhood in Okayama Higashi.

Rolling Uno Bus with flowers 25k cash in a suitcase, bottle of high-proof whiskey & wearing a kilt with underpants just bought at a konbini store

We looked pretty awesome: her in a flower lacy dress and Royal Stewart cape and me in kilt, socks and sandals and trilby hat – carrying the aforementioned old-time suitcase of magic envelopes, bouquet of flowers, bottle of grog and endless smiles back to our lil home and the future.

3 years later

present times: same goat farm, same date (but rain falls on goats) – and now we are are three >> forever awaits

poem: Leaving Saskatoon

wrote a poem (in reply to the great singer songwriter Hawksley Workman who’s playing in #Saskatoon tonight)

boarding pass leaving Saskatoon to Calgary and onwards to Vancouver and Eugene Oregon as an infant (allegedly 10 days old)
Saskatoon
I was born here
but
never lived there (left quickly on a 707)
but
obliged to print on application forms
since–
quite literally hundreds or possibly thousands
there’s never enough room
(especially in Japan)
to write:
b. Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Aug, 16 1970