Category Archives: Daveo Dispatches

personal updates, thoughts, anecdotes, letters, and other missives – written for myself and sometimes for others

Outing: bus to passport snaps, jazz & tea

The three of us, on the road by wonderful, air conditioned, Wi-Fi enabled, Uno bus service into Okayama city for passport snaps for Ichiro. His first time on the bus and he’s really into it, waved to the driver, of course, (yup, like his papa).

Evidence of the journey as he looks at the windows to endless possibilities

Lots of fun at the photo studio, serious face and a sailor suit for two passports, two countries, two sizes… Then and outfit change (jimbei & barefeet) for a bit of a commemorative studio photo / just like my Mom used to do for us boys.

After photo studio, caught street jazz / sort of informal part “Okayama Jazz Street weekend” (Including a tenor sax, followed a car and upright bass combo, the bass played by the chief of “Live House Bird” where we hosted our “foreigner welcome party” before the wedding.

Melodica, Tenor Sax, Bass combo afternoon in Omotecho shotengai

We’d never had a chance to thank him in real life – he was grateful for all the snapshots and awareness of our pals brewed up.

Stopped for tea at a place filled with older gents playing Shogi & Go + bought Ichiro a puzzle at one of those dusty forgotten stationery shop so I dig.

You can *barely tell* that we’re even related I’m sure

Oh, also bumped into several people we know, or wife knows… Starting to be a lot more action around the city, was also a sake festival and saw a gaggle of obvious foreigners, first time in a long long time, seem to be maybe a sports team?

[update: done-ish] All above unpictured for now, mebbe i’ll grab something from R‘s phone as my camera is broken but i did take the instax for 3 snaps.

Home now in the cool dark room with the little guy snoozing next to me.

Chooglin’ through September, logistics & whatnot

Chooglin’ On -– not on the Canadiana tracks this time, rather balancing logistical and creative life in a cottage in Japan

Are you there pals? It’s me, daveo.

So many actions yet forward momentum doesn’t feel forward.

I think its a matter of expectations and “how my brain is a little bit broken” / I purchased a book about brains and whether or not one’s might be broken (or specifically how it is not). Have yet to read.

Regardless, when making a laundry list of “things ticked off list” – this month was spectacular! Especially when gauged against my *cough* priorities for the year:

  1. Be a great hubbo and papa
  1. Take steps forward for health
  1. Sort out life admin stuff for the long haul

I.e. Intake to new speciality clinic at Okayama University Hospital plus a follow-up visit, seitai x2, a few walks, cleaning ancestors graves, surviving typhoon warnings (really hard for me), stepping up emergency preparedness, passports, taxes, applications, translations, certifications, notarizations, tickets punched, forms filled out, tolls paid.

Truthfully these “life admin” tasks often feel redundant at least and ridiculous at times (noting: there is a choice to fly under the radar though once you surface, you’d best be prepared to deal with the consensus reality) but very required and somehow I do have latent paperwork genetics(?) from both strands tailored for the task when the brain is firing. Problem is the brain doesn’t always fire. (Did you read that article from the Atlantic I’ve been bouncing around?)

I mean, loads of all of the above PLUS the “creative life” goodness which sometimes feels elusive happened, ergo: An online poetry reading with really fantastic collaborators; a poem in a poetry book which sits on my (one of my several) desk(s); 50+ posts in this very archive – including some detailed mixed-media diaries of healing ramble, stories of adventures, usual ephemera, artifacts, collections and more sort-ganizing in ongoing semantic nuance; solid handful of video storytimes with arts and crafts, stories and poems; many conversations, some of them quite lengthy, with friends – both foreign and domestic – by telephony.

This is even before we dig into Ryoko’s singing performance, various rehearsals, and loads of arboristing and landscape designing. She amazes me with her patience, creativity, strength and sweetness regularly. 

And more important than any of this is playtime with Ichiro almost every morning before school and wonderful hot bathtime every single night. We do puzzles, play music on ukulele, piano and drums, all the words tumble out of his mouth but the songs even moreso. And He looks through the scrapbooks of his art and always pulls a book out of his pile eager to explore the words both in English and Japanese. While on the logistical errand to the big gray city of Osaka, we went to a museum exhibit which was especially for him, for us too but for him, was some kind of amazing heaven of Okamoto Taro.

++ Almost all meals prepared at home, laundry is always caught up dishes almost always, house generally tidy despite an active toddler and two parents with many hobbies. 

So when to lay it all out, the score is rather high but at the same time, and very eager to do more big creative things. I know they wait patiently amidst stacks of furious notebooks, sheets of unfiltered papers, digital documents with various suffixes –and I know the time is coming as I think about these projects all the time in the long hot baths. Will you read them if I make them? The words in the books that is?

Now the weather will cool, I will get IVs on the weekly, drink magical traditional Chinese medicine potions, other “off label/experimental” medications, I will find my peace, and I will pluck the things as ripened.

I didn’t even mention the wild boar attack.

Let’s make a start! Tomorrow comes photographs and possible live Jazz in the streets.

We will travel by bus. the three of us together. October ahoy! 

Healing: (very brief) memo from MECFS check-in at Oka-Dai

(while world continues to meltdown in various ways) just finished another multidisciplinary visit to Okayama University Hospital including extended consult with TCM doctor, IV drip of a new pharmacological cocktail, and consult with #MECFS specialist.

Also discussed the terrible pain and impact from the air pressure changes during typhoons, turns out this is very common with people in my situation. Received an “emergency prescription“ for this scenario.

{unrelated photo}

Extended: Neurotropin is main ingredient in cocktail mentioned above (along with vitamin C, and anti-dizziness agent and others) and quite positive impact / also now taking “ketas” (generally used for bronchial asthma), off-label to increase blood flow to brain. Also, lengthy and pleasant consult with traditional Chinese medicine doctor resulted in a new compound of magic powder.

Note to self: provide other Sciency name for ketas, and Chinese name for new compound.

As previous, took a long and memo of notes to be respectful of their time and not to forget anything.

I gave her a book of poetry from Muriel’s Journey “Fire from the Heart” (plus a printed copy of the great article recently in the Atlantic magazine) and my gift was reciprocated by a fantastic book/magazine (in Japan, sometimes these are called “mook”) edited by my doctor with a variety of articles, essays, manga style adaptions and what not about MECFS. I’m really quite amazed to be in this program and to be this “seen”.

Diary: Hopeful logistical annotations (not about wild boar)

I hope you enjoy hanging out with my unnecessary annotations.

Summary: yes, +/- 90% of my creative energy of late is spent on government paperwork – passports, taxes x3, disability, resident permits, visas, insurance, pensions, various IDs, certified translations, notaries etc. (the rest of the time, i eat oatmeal, fold laundry and make mix tapes).

Yesterday:

  • Tax papers signed and sent (to one of three national jurisdictions with which i contend, (for the time being of at least) still have to submit payment
  • Scans of important family registration/birth registration papers (acquired Monday at the Ward office) sent to certified translator for certified translation (duh) plus notarization to be returned by registered mail
  • renewed domain, yes, i only pay for one or two domains now
  • unplugged hard drives and routers drain a couple hours of pretty serious thunderstorm just to be safe
  • prepared a couple more posts for the creative life archive just to get down to the “only 300” in the draft/pending folder… Anything you’re enjoying from this project recently?

Still have a few series which just need a bit of ”clean up” to finish (much of which I can do from bed in a semifog) but a lot of stuff is just gonna wait for another “blitz” run.

Gonna slow this project down I think as I need to move on to three different projects:

1) finish Kerouac in Kobe video, I’m really close, but editing video is so rough on my eyes! October is a big month in the Kerouac world and I wanna make my contribution.

2) Google Drive shakedown, move/archive/back up files, cancel my 2 TB subscription (this is final step in my “quitting the saas” project this year in which i’ve canceled more than a dozen various online subscriptions which were really handy when iwas nomadic but now kind of redundant expense)

3) poetry book manuscript assembling project / long overdue, have the poems (so many!), have a concept/working title, and moving poems around is much easier on my eyes then video. It’s not something that will “make money” but it will feed my soul and hopefully inspire my friends (that’s you!).

Once I do this, then I can move on to a book of nonfiction travel stories and then a book of fictional short stories but first, these poems need an audience to breathe life into them – thoughts?

Today though, gotta:

Continue reading Diary: Hopeful logistical annotations (not about wild boar)

Healing Ramble: Story of Ayurveda Health Home, Pokhara, Nepal, 2017

Memo: What follows comes from my erstwhile “Healing Journal” – written/compiled on a foggy meandering journey to various countries (Pacifica, Phitsanulok, Cochin, Pokhara, Dikwella/Galle…) visiting all manner of hospitals, clinics and exploring various healing modalities and techniques.

Shared here more-or-less unedited for posterity (whatever that is) and to shed light to those struggling who might come across this riff. Please watch the “Healing Ramble Introduction” video for context on this series.

With respect and understanding that not everyone can do *this* – i have another riff about “why” to seek medical care or healing treatment elsewhere (not in US/Canada in this case). For now, use it if you need it, if not just pass along.

Very happy to step into this compound

Handy:

Memo: What follows is transcribed from my diary very shortly after my stay, more or less verbatim, at the risk of being redundant, i have previously shared:

Pokhara, Nepal, 2017

Along my healing journey, I received treatment had the most wonderful Ayurveda Health Home in Pokhara, Nepal.

This company operates two facilities, one in Kathmandu and one in Pokhara where i did my treatment [update: subsequently built a 3rd clinic which looks like a wonderful mix of the 2 and maybe this one is no longer operating?].

The hospitals are part of a German-Nepal partnership. As such, the facility ran on a very prompt German-like schedule, but with exceptionally diligent Ayurvedic practitioners, including several full-time doctor/medical officers.

On the way to AHH

The chief amongst their practitioners is the world-famous Dr. Rishi [update: RIP] – a most elegant and graceful man who emanated healing energy and power. While he is primarily based at the Kathmandu facility, he flew to Pokhara for my intake for which I was very grateful.

Me with Dr Rishi on my “out-take” review in Kathmandu / bless his memory

He had thoroughly reviewed my medical file in advance (including notes from Dr. Veena’s Ayurveda and my tests in Phitsanulok), and the intake was several hours long starting with a long discussion about my symptoms, background and objectives, followed by a massage, then an *extremely thorough* physical inspection.

I should mention that I had originally intended to go back to India and Dr. Veena’s Ayurmantra but for some strange reason, my Indian Visa was declined creating a rapid change of travel plans which became *a little bit expensive* and complicated but I worked through it all by adding in a wander through Malaysia after more hospital tests and treatment in Thailand, OK carry-on…

The days were very busy, but very well organized. I would receive very complete instructions, hands-on, for each of the different treatments, which I would later self-administer.

These included various mouth cleanings, nose cleanings, eye cleanings, eye exercises, meditation, and so on. I also received a series of instructional sessions about the overarching concepts of Ayurveda – the history, background, purposes and information about doshas and the importance of the mind/spirit/body connection.

I also participated on one-on-one yoga sessions. The yoga was very gentle and suited for my body and condition. Rather than complicated poses, started with very simple joint rotations and was very calm rather than stressful experience. (Note: it seems strange to call yoga “stressful“ but doing complicated poses and rapid movement is very difficult for me – as i found later at Peacock Ayurveda Garden).

I received dozens of different kinds of massage, with different oils, different techniques, sometimes two practitioners working on me at once, herbal poultices, salt poultices…

I also went through an extensive series of enemas (don’t freak out)… some to cleanse and some to fortify. It was pretty intense to say the least but I was extremely well supported through the process, and my diet gradually build back up from thin rice porridge and herbal tea, to more substantial food, before I would rejoin the rest of the group for more standard meals.

A warm and welcoming table to convene with other patients
Continue reading Healing Ramble: Story of Ayurveda Health Home, Pokhara, Nepal, 2017

Riff: Japan, working holiday visa, 1992 (& related circumstances)

the “working holiday visa which started my Japan life in Dec. 1992

Before arriving in Japan, I really knew very little about Japan, I didn’t have an interest in Japan, didn’t care about anime or manga or hadn’t eaten sushi, and had no interest in martial arts, though did have some interest and experience with traditional pottery (raku) techniques, familiarity with Japanese poetry albeit as introduced by *Western* writers, however my older brother had gone to Japan for “proselytizing reasons” and him being in Japan – in a roundabout way – is what brought me to Japan (via the working holiday visa paper of importancy pictured above).

In brief: after a several years of traveling around US & Canada for Grateful Dead concerts, hemp festivals, national park exploits, mountain climbing, canyon hiking, couch crashing, Punk shows, fake IDs, drum corps, university invasions, odd jobs, foolish hitchhikes and “doing my best” with the ladies… And then extending that vibe into Mexico for fish tacos and tequila mistakes and taking my VW bus in even more places it probably shouldn’t have ever gone but did, came an accepted application to Evergreen college which was thwarting by ignominiously *not* winning of any scholarships, not awarded of any bursaries, not accepted into any grants, not allowed any loans so (kind of a shock since i was really accustomed to winning everythings, (you wanna see all my elementary school ribbons, maybe you have?).

So, took the money saved from a summer of building bicycles at Sunrise in Logan, Utah while living in a tent next to the temple & went to Seattle anyway but instead of going south to Olympia to finish off a bachelors degree (with wide eyes of getting a master of fine arts in creative writing and likely a tweed jacket with elbow patches soon there after to go with my smoky pipe and intellectual airs), went North to my “for lack of a better term” hometown of Surrey/Vancouver, bought a one-way ticket to Amsterdam, found some ridiculously-colored hiking boots, obnoxiously-colored trousers and barely usable but very packable sleeping bag & mat on the clear-out table (obviously because of the color) at one of the dozen outdoor good stores in Kitsilano, and with a butane stove (loaded), pocket knife (dull-ish), cut off overalls, a travel sized wok pan, juggling sticks and a jester hat, headed off on a European adventure – not the sort of package tour with giggling youth on a graduation trip, nor the earnest guidebook-toting aficionado, just me, a patched up red wilderness experience backpack and the 1972 “hitchhikers guide to Europe” with vague plans to eventually meet up with my buddy Trevor who had gone a few months earlier (keep reading) and working as a waiter at a seaside something in England and seeing all these bands we loved at big muddy festivals.

At the risk of an extended digression, (& unsurprisingly, documentation of this trip exists in poems, paintings, two photographs, a wine label and at least one but probably more podcasts telling stories about getting deathly ill at Oktoberfest in Munich after hitchhiking from Amsterdam, meeting up with the Bad Yodelers band and being (yet again) a sort of uninvited guest on their band tour being a “roadie who didn’t do anything but smoke hash mixed with tobacco – yech”, then meeting up with Trevor in an idyllic fairytale town, picking grapes, gathering chestnuts for sale, partying in old castle dungeons, carousing with more people than should fit in a Citreön, a wild “new wine” festival [censored], hitchhike back to Amsterdam hostels & coffeshops, a bus to Belgium, a hazy ferry to England, rainy expensive London with Hare Krishnas and bad decisions and couch surfing (again) with New Zealanders (and an Australian who was convinced he was going to carry on a dozen beer steins for his flight home) after watching red dwarf… We ended up in Miami after hurricane Andrew on a cheap Virgin Atlantic flight – where we drank more than our airfare of fancy liquor & bought a bottle of scotch for a friend Who (yes, again) would be hosting us on his couch – on a fraudulent credit card. Then came all night Denny’s nursing coffees, Halloween hilarity, caught in thunderstorms, meeting sketchy friends of a sort, trying to exchange a Canadian hundred dollar bill which had been hidden in my boot for months, soggy and unvaluable, adventure down to Key West meeting neither Jimmy Buffett or Hemingway but eating some conch fritters, then a drive-away car delivery towards Dallas with at least three police incidents including a very thorough search on alligator alley none of which were nowhere near as frightening as dropping off the car to the very large, very agitated (and wearing very short shorts) recipient who was ummm concerned & confused about why the trunk wasn’t filled with a certain white powder and “who are we?” and why we were demanding he gave us $300… Somehow we ended up at the Greyhound station, scammed a scammer into a two-for-one ticket for a bus ride to Salt Lake City, i’ll never ride a greyhound again I said as I sat in the loser seat next to the toilet but still I remember every bus station was playing a different Neil Diamond song.)

Continue reading Riff: Japan, working holiday visa, 1992 (& related circumstances)

Equinox at Ohaka, saying respectful hellos to the ancestors

The both of them are so adorable, me, I’m just glad to be here

Friday, Sept 23: Equinox day walk up to the ancestral graves for cleaning, incense and fresh flowers… as is tradition. We tended to several generations in Tsuchida, Okayama.

Note we are wearing our “family tie-dye tartan” made by brother Dan (wiped me out so back home to rest fckn #mecfs :()

Continue reading Equinox at Ohaka, saying respectful hellos to the ancestors

Typhoon Nanmadol annotations

Really apropos of nothing, just a few unedited notes i sent out via social channels during recent typhoon here in Japan. And a gentle reminder to self to step up “emergency preparedness kit”… I mean, easy got a C+/B- but A is the gane.

{Ichiro was curious about all the weather and commotion and reminded me of myself in 1972/3 in Lansing Michigan when a tornado was coming and we went down to the basement and ate macaroni and cheese… It’s kind of my earliest memory. I think there’s a poem about it somewhere in this archive.

Tuesday Afternoon:

Somehow it was a lovely day today! after such a hot humid summer, today was one of those days where neither heater/woodstove nor air conditioning was required. ++ I think I got more done today than the last month. Both “life admin“ stuff and pushed along a big creative project.

Tuesday Morning:

Hello friends, mighty Typhoon took a turn for the better (for us anyway) and curved towards Sea of Japan keeping us to the outside edge… Some strong wind and plenty rain but nothing heavy duty.

{Still a little bit blustery out there but definitely not catastrophic}

Thanks for checking in on us, certainly provided an opportunity to “step up“ our emergency preparedness routines and gear.

One thing certain in Japan: there’s always another natural disaster on its way… cue “ring of fire”

Monday afternoon:

Just a friendly hello to folks around Japan, Puerto Rico, as well as other places experiencing extreme weather events… I see you Pakistan. I have nothing clever to say and won’t bother you with safety platitudes or quasi-religious bromides, just saying “hello i see you” #peace

Sunday afternoon:

Wind picking up here in Okayama, just went out the kura barn to batten down (this is our “retreat” if things get rough, have campstove and lantern etc there – Let’s hope it’s not) #typhoon #cantrememberhowtospellthenametwhichoundslikeaprescriptiondrug

Shut down the barn, make sure have the camp stove and lantern and batteries on standby, wife took down the bamboo shades outside. This morning was bright and sunny and now the pressure has dropped it’s gray and windy / good thing I was such a great Cub Scout ++ thanks for thinking about us

News/Resources:

https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2022/09/e6586063ae12-japan-braces-for-possible-landing-of-strong-typhoon-on-kyushu-region.html

https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20220919_06/

https://www.jma.go.jp/bosai/map.html#contents=typhoon

Saturday:

While I’m here (in a cool dark room with an aching head #typhoon) Just a friendly hello to anyone else in Japan who’s head feels like it’s being squished with air pressure changes from incoming #typhoon.

Goes without saying but “stay safe“ and hope it blows over. Also, I don’t know typhoon’s name or number, we’re not on personal terms as yet.

Friday:

We’ve now entered the “my head is squishing due to typhoon air pressure changes“ season in Japan. No big deal, realize there are much bigger problems in the world, like a lot but… Change starts at home and change at home starts in one’s head, right? #mecfs I just want to sleep.

Will my “Prince Charles elementary school” ribbons and certificates be upgraded?

Declined an invitation (which never arrived), had things to do around the house after all

However, thinking about how sharp I would’ve looked at the ceremony at Westminster Abbey yesterday with all these Royal accolades and badges spangled across my black morning suit with tails & a ceremonial hat of some sort. Pretty fancy & obv regal I think.

I just hope I would’ve been seated by the president of Moldova. She seems really sharp.

Question: do these “Prince” Charles ribbons get upgraded now?

Have my certificates become even more prestigious?

I need to know this to update my LinkedIn profile.

Healing Ramble: Peacock Ayurveda Garden ~ Dikwella, Sri Lanka, 2018

welcome to Peacock Ayurveda Garden

Memo: What follows comes from my erstwhile “Healing Journal” – written/compiled on a foggy meandering journey to various countries (Pacifica, Phitsanulok, Cochin, Pokhara, Dikwella/Galle…) visiting all manner of hospitals, clinics and exploring various healing modalities and techniques.

Shared here more-or-less unedited for posterity (whatever that is) and to shed light to those struggling who might come across this riff. Please watch the “Healing Ramble Introduction” video for context on this series.

With respect and understanding that not everyone can do *this* – i have another riff about “why” to seek medical care or healing treatment elsewhere (not in US/Canada in this case). For now, use it if you need it, if not just pass along.

Gist: Along my healing journey, I sought treatment at Peacock Ayurveda Clinic in Dikwella (map to Peacock), close to noteworthy Galle, in southern Sri Lanka. I stayed in-patient for three weeks for a complete “panchakarma“ program.

Background: Certainly, Ayurveda has a number of different flavours in terms of quality and type of the facilities… Ranging from “spa-like“ facilities catering primarily to relatively wealthy or western clientele, to very spartan and rustic, often government-run, facilities treating local people (see Dissanayake diary).

Can be difficult to find the exact right fit mixing with medical needs but with comfort and safety enough to have a relatively enjoyable and stress-free period of time.

This is especially important because doing an extended panchakarma (five medicines) program as it can be rather intense. You are quite literally cleaned out inside and out, and your days are quite packed from early morning onwards with yoga, meditation, meals, doctor consultations, various massages, eye, ears, and nose cleaning, and some of the treatments, let’s just say can be rather “delicate“ or even rather embarrassing. Further, the effects of the treatment can be very intense and lay one out for a couple of days.

I researched a lot of different facilities around Sri Lanka and ended up on this one which seemed, from the outside, to be a good fit for me. While overall it was not near as fulfilling of an experience at my time in Ayurveda Health Home in Nepal or Dr Veena’s Ayurmantra in India, it was a learning experience.

“darling, i’am off to a rejuvenating Pachakarma treatment, see you in a two weeks”

Grounds / Facilities: Of the four different (at the time) Ayurveda facilities at which I received treatment, this one was definitely the most fancy and spa-like.

oh hi buddha

There was a pool (which frankly I was really never able to use but that’s cool), lounge chairs, beautifully manicured gardens with flowers in abundance, and overall the facility was very splendid, filled with interesting antiques, and the patient rooms were like a very nice hotel rooms, even with a private patio area for sitting and resting.

the grounds were immaculate and yes sometimes peacocks

Treatments / Schedule: The treatments were performed in a variety of traditional style huts, which were quite functional as well as charming. Each day, I was issued a fresh sarong and shirt and hat as the treatments are very oily. Additionally, I was given a basket of tiny disposable underwear to wear during the treatments.

Most days, I would have a short consultation with either the senior doctor (a gentleman who was very busy and often/mostly offsite) or a junior doctor (a young lady who was clearly still learning and mostly observing but very kindly).

Dave working on healing at Peacock Ayurveda near Galle, Sri Lanka (with Dr.)
Dave working on healing at Peacock Ayurveda near Galle, Sri Lanka (with Dr.)
Continue reading Healing Ramble: Peacock Ayurveda Garden ~ Dikwella, Sri Lanka, 2018