Category Archives: Improving Campsite

DIY projects around Tsuchida Station, yard, home, garden, cottage upgrades, bird houses, sign posts, weather stations, and so on (note to self: backfill as possible)

Campsite: Fujita Koen maintenance

Evidence I tried to help with a piece of land the family owns that is squished between the shrine mountain and the road. Not big enough to really build anything on so trying to make it into a private hanami park of sorts. The trees and grasses grow like whoa so fast and so thick and all sorts of stumps, roots and even trash so gotta be mindful.

my poor rock n roll ears and haggard body

I lasted about 1-1/2 hours which is about how long mower battery lasted.

Note: there are more snaps from the original “workparty” to tame this awkward pie-shaped piece of jungle which i might remember to add to satisfy my “completedness” we’ll see.

PS My pals from The Matinée band might enjoy the cap

Visit from the wild boar trapper, annotations

Slightly dis-intermediated updates about the “wild boar guy” visit

Aug 2: The wild boar trapping specialist is coming tomorrow at 9 AM.

Based on his conversation so far with my wifu by telephone, he is a dude of many skills and quite chatty.

Of course, there is a labyrinth of laws & regs associated and various precautions and myriad outcomes.

And for the record: I love pigs in general; no I’m not going to do this myself; they are nocturnal stealth bombers; produce 2-3 litters a year; can swim kilometers in open sea; and wreak havoc through neighborhoods & islands.

Aug 3: The multidisciplinary wild boar etc trapper has come and gone after much enjoyable conversation. He really gave me my own pitch about turning the cottage into a “coffee shop/music experience” place. Premium pricing for ambience and enjoyment.

Arrived exactly at 9 (not usual 15 minutes early to appointment to show how diligent they are), I served coffee and peaches. He is hilarious, immediately notice the Bill Reid blanket on the couch and asked “is that Tlingit?”

We discussed different varieties of bear in BC, stories of black bears in Lynn Valley tearing into garbage and leaving a big poop in my yard to greet me as I rushed out to catch the morning bus. He is licensed to capture all manner of game wildlife in Japan and, importantly has a stash of deer meat to hook me up with, he can’t sell it but can “trade it” for delicious cups of coffee. He’s very excited about my wife’s charcoal kiln and my MacGyver’d grill and woodstove. We also laughed about the directness/indirectness of foreigners/Japanese folks.

Though we can’t regular rampaging visits from wild boar, and the pathway where they come through the bamboo forest down onto the land in spite of a significant drop off is clear, turns out a trap isn’t a good idea for our area for various reasons.

Regardless, he took great delight in demonstrating his purpose, built/homemade spring loaded leg traps. The trap springs a hearty wire around the leg when a certain obscured trigger is well, triggered rather than the “jaw-hold” style traps, which are so violent. He also told us about the process which comes afterwards, but I’m gonna save that for maybe another conversation or not at all. However, I will say, he takes great care in doing all of this as elegantly, and dareisay, humanely as possible.

The conversation turned more technical about the kinds of fences wife needs to build on her new piece of land (in brief: substantial) and the mechanics of his trapping route. They’ve now headed into bamboo forest to recon. Of course I want to go with them but I’m just not able.

Anyhow, it seems our land isn’t prime ground / situation for trapping so advised some fencing strategies.

Best is: i kinda made a new friend who I invited to stop by for coffee (when I’m not at the hospital etc) this objective of forming new relationships with folks who can just pop by to hang out is on my list of ways to build community and get out of my mental funk.

So much to discuss about this topic… We’re only at the beginning of journey // yet the traps are not fit for our forest

If I had any enthusiasm about TV as a medium I would say “this guy needs a TV show”… He was nonstop interestingness and so many ideas, projects and big thinkings / quirky and charismatic as well.


I’m looking forward to your visit in some mysterious future day to add to the collection of interesting folks / your choice of beverages is standing by


Boar (and deer) meat delivered and prepared – such goodness!

Diary: i need quiet (grousing for no reason but so tired) #vent

I’m quite desperate for some long period of extreme quiet.

You’ll have to excuse me, I’m not at my best… I desperately need a rest

Yesterday, an outing to our fave beach, “quite empty for a Sunday,” I thought until a reggae soundsystem crew showed up with 5 awnings, multiple barbecues, flats of beer and significant speakers… I mean, party on but… Then some wannabe tough city kids showed up on the other side of us wearing those air cooled vests and spraying on mosquito repellent, sunscreen, chain-smoking mild sevens and then turned on a boom box with some crap music and then started arguing amongst themselves / nbd

Floated in saltywater, played ukulele, practiced meditation to ignore all the surrounding sounds. Across street is a great quirky café so I ate Oden and ice coffee and laughed / rolled wyes with the owner about the “Rastas” using their toilets but not buying any food or drink ~

This is all going on while we vacated house for our second round of fumigation for some persistent pest problems that I won’t go into detail except it includes so much vacuuming and laundry and decamping to a hotel before and last night, parent’s house~

I did my usual “triple stack” futon but the dear in-laws stay up till 11 and then back up at 7 remarking with shock and awe at *every single thing* on the loud television. Yes I’m a sensitive soul… Kind of a conflict to the elegant tatami room where I attempted to sleep~

Solar Power Digression

This morning back across to our house to get things opened up in time for the solar panel installation crew to finally show up (contracts were signed/stamped in February but been an assortment of delays due to various permitting/authorizations

1) Truck fulla solar panels (made in Japan)

2) Roofs where solar panels will go (not on blue roof or frontside of tile roof, but will go on the grey roof and the 2nd floor roof if that makes sense – the house has ideal East/West exposure (which makes for a hot house but guess good for this project)

3) Another awsum #keitruck in action laden with gear

So above me – while I am folding yet another basket of laundry waiting to go to Seitai treatment – the crew are up above my head drilling, stomping and attaching bits. Bless dear hearts working in this heat (2 days installation for panels then should light up around Sept 7)~

{when I’ve talked about the solar panel project when we signed contract back in February after meeting with four different suppliers, getting various different options amongst multiple visits (each with tea/coffee/polite, chitchat)…. We ended up with Made in Japan solar panels, with 25 year warranty, sufficient to power our house (the cottage), the parents house, and the two outbuildings – plus a battery system (with 15 year warranty) sufficient to power the house in the event of outages (and hey, it’s Japan, there’s always a natural disaster) plus, sell power back to the grid however that works.

I don’t recall how many kilowatts and all the technical specifications because there was so many numbers so many options and it all happened so long ago but eventually, I’ll give you that information if I can figure it out. Very important to us was the quality of the installation as the cottage isn’t particularly well built and the panels are going on a few different roof types, including the ceramic tiles on the backside of the naya tool shed.

Note: In some jurisdictions in Japan, there are grants, eco-loans, other subsidy programs, but in our case, no-go, so we paid cash with the aim of being self-sufficient, minimizing, carbon footprint, and planning long-term. With thanks to the “missing uncle and his empty dilapidated house” situation.

So I’m grousing for no reason except that my head is so inflamed from the air pressure and the stupid illness #MECFS and we’ve been in this crazy cycle for the last few weeks while also getting out of the house weigh more than usual by my standards~

Good news is, we’ve hit up the van Gogh exhibit, some chaotic interactive dinosaur thing, an odd traveling aquarium installation, two hot springs, a hotel with swimming pool and communal bath, three visits to the beach, a festival at a church, etc Plus, my favorite thing of going to quirky café/coffee shops.

Friday is a visit to the University hospital for another big day of iv & meds. I’m so grateful for medical care, solar panels, in-laws yet I’m so exhausted and dealing with absurd level of pain


Amongst my foggy half sleep, keep thinking about a few people who recently passed away far too early and somehow realizing I can draw a string between their 3 seemingly disparate lives. These are not the “famous people” rather those with whom I had a tenuous connection~

So yesterday at the beach, while thinking about how to respond in some meaningful way to the emotions, I wrote a song with 4 solid linking verses, a clumsy bridge and a chorus which needs another chord.

Huge Barefoot Hamilton

Maybe I’ll work on it /notebooks are filled with scribbles to transcribe xo

Small repair: gluing a ukulele ‘wing’

My “cheap and cheerful” baritone ukulele has a sort of wooden overlay bird design which sort of became unlaminated and vibrates to make my *not particularly good* playing even a little bit buzzier on certain tones. Had tacked it down with an air mail sticker which, wasn’t quite getting the task done.

As such, with a toothpick, a bottle of household/school glue which is well past its best by date, and a bit of colorful washi masking tape, enacted a small repair.

This is not an important project and clearly not a quality Lutier ha ha, however I call these “mental health projects” – what I mean is: projects which can go from beginning to middle to end in one session and allow practical enjoyment of the fruits of the labour quickly and easily.

Avast! Unencumbered by perfection, side quests and trips to shops not required, very little risk of escalating into something more complicated – thars a bit of dopamine and satisfaction at the end from completing a practical task.

{When I’m struggling mentally or emotionally or both, I get a little bit manic about doing projects like to calm to chaos a little bit.}

Note: I spent a lot of time in bed, a lot of time meditating, and a lot of time listening to audiobooks filling my head full of ideas & filling up notebooks with schemes and poetryand sometimes just need to do simple tactile actions are that aren’t epic, not multi-faceted nor interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary or minorly revolutionary. Just simple and hey, dopamine hooray.

Do you? (also thanks to my darling who did actually most of the work)

Sunny came home with a list of names
She didn’t believe in transcendence
It’s time for a few small repairs she said
Sunny came home with a vengeance

project: natural fragrant & dehumidifying sachets (charcoal, ginkgo, hemp, sandalwood)

Today, a “mental health” / calm my brain into a meditative flow while making some thing useful / project in amongst other chores:

Somehow feel like i made this project before… So many hemp bags in my past, but this time a little different

in this case: ginkgo wood shavings from Tottori, homemade bamboo charcoal, and various fragrances from Oman combined in lil hemp bags to make pleasant smelling and dehumidifying sachets for closets and other stale places here in Japan’s humid summer time.

PS on *tough* days, I just try to go back to the foundation & basics and make my world kind of small and safe. #selfcare

Ergo: laundry folded, dishes washed, a small arts and craft project done, medications organized.

Thanks to brother “commander magnum” for the fragrant package from Oman. Funny how it goes, 18 months different in age, very different lifestyle/career choices, yet we end up in so many of the same places under very different circumstances – in this case, a Muscat souk.

Each one assembled with affection and intention

Snap: tsuchida cottage interior (w/ pork belly & postcards)

Tsuchida Cottage (post-dinner) table setting with my flower arranging & postcard string on speaker wire (heavy gauge) / #postcards from sri lanka, austria, ireland + japan, canada, usa etc

ps speakers swivel to kitchen or lounge room / see also “moon light” (can’t see big-ish gas oven, super rare in Japan)

Solar Panel plan for Tsuchida Cottage / notes & annotations

Good news:

We got solar panels, power conditioner, and battery contract stamped just in time (before Feb. price hike).

Will install April/May when are abroad.

Local Kurashiki company, 25 year warranty on made-in-Japan panels, 15 year warranty on rest of system. Fair price.


  • can sell excess power back to the grid as needed
  • panels with sufficient power our cottage and parents house but…
  • not putting panels on the new blue roof or the visible tile side of the naya (purely for aesthetic reasons) despite good sun position

Item: Tama ‘Cocktail Jam‘ drum kit

New addition to the kura barn studio: Tama cocktail jam kit / set-up for playing standing up! (also designed for easy transportation but I don’t suspect that’s likely to happen)

Paiste 20” ride & 14” hi-hats purchased (used) separately – plan to add a 16” light crash and a wood block

Still a couple more accessory clamps to work with (still figuring it all out – if you happen to have same similar kit would love to see your set up)

{first saw this in a clip from Stewart Copeland & been hunting for one had a great price in Japan since / hooray!}

The hardware quality is fantastic, the design is very clever and purchased this very slightly used for a great price from #Hardoff

Hey friends, let’s make some songs remotely, I’ve got lots of words to start with.

ps the white floor is from an old Pearl set and proving to be entirely unnecessary

Tidying up: kura, recycling and firestarters (and a few notes from around the house)

Speaking of organizing, made it out to barn, studio the other day, couldn’t find project wanted to work on (a “forged passports” turned collaborative secret diary) which initiated a bit of a tidy up for whatever is next / space is super versatile, and everythings on casters

When you have so many pills to sort, you buy the pills sorter in the hardware department not the pharmacy (and the other bins are filled with packets of traditional Chinese medicines)

I quite like organizing things, but in this case, kind of done with it / just a little exhausting and overwhelming / trying to stay on the program though

Up and about a little bit today in my carport workbench making fire starters (use in the wood stove, one light and you’re good to go)

Put one of these nuggets in with some kindling, nestled between split logs, add one spark & you got a nice fire.

“But Dave, where will you get the kindling?” asks no one in particular (regardless, a snapshot)

Here’s my little work area in the carport. Basically make signs, fire starters, and wash, jars, parts & pots. Oh, and bird houses (but is it really a birdhouse if a bird doesn’t live in it?)

Don’t know who if anyone needs to see this, but this is the easy smart way for bundling up a big stack of cardboard without having to do the whole “flip over make a mess” maneuver / start by making a big “4” on the ground with your string, and the rest just happens #Recycling

It’s really satisfying when you slip the rope through the “4” and give a little tug and the whole thing cinches & snugs together.

Anything I can do to make life 2% easier makes it 5% better / so many little tiny routines, being streamlined, nuanced and improved makes a huge difference

Item purchase just after the illness started when I thought it would last a few months… Never used but I still dream. Actually used it once to move a refrigerator.

While im stalling from dishes & laundry:

my darling entrepreneur wife with a somewhat rare business is at a city-sponsored event for business-owning-women. Even have child care on-site. For those outside of Japan, this is kind of unusual and a positive step, I guess. #proud


Q: “So Dave, how do you make all this cough content when you’re in bed all the time?”

A: “Dictation, C&P, sortganizing-fu, shortcuts, and practising since I was a little dude making ditto machine newsletters”

Something beeping
Any one of 53 different things
Somewhere at home

slackerhaiku (which means i gotta get up and wander around figuring what it is)