Category Archives: Kinfolk + Pals

articles, tributes, bits of poetry, obituaries and birthdays alike – put here when relating to my brothers, parents and other kin

Diary: expedition with Mac to ohaka

waiting for friend to pick me up to go visit his dear late wife’s grave on the side of a mosquito infested mountain which I can’t figure out how they managed to get the granite ohaka stones up there – I’m bringing incense and an ukulele

As is my normal role in such endeavors, I prepared coffee, choice of hot or cold, Mac-san swooshed in at usual top speed in his Puegout and off we went with mosquito prevention supplies and flowers along with aforementioned items.


We expeditioned, sweated through two shirts, avoided mosquito bites with preventive measures – so sad though, as many many/all of the graves showed no evidence of joy, cleaning or maintenance from recent O-bon >> heck of a trail to get up here though

No concert T-shirts available but still, I played a song on the baritone ukulele + left some words to say her husband is doing all right on this side and we’re keeping an eye on each other #Grateful

Mac added his tender words via IG

My note to Mac-san: “You are a wonderful father, grandfather and pal. I want to go with you every year until we are 120 years old”

Note to Self: Realizing i have another post in ye ole “draft folder” crammed in with 300 other inmates so gotta tidy it up and put it out into the world like incense smoke

Memo: iced coffee pour-overs and legendary okonomiyaki

this afternoon’s pour over ice coffees made with “Lion brand, pride of Hawaii” beans – note charcoal in the water carafe which was homemade out of bamboo (removes impurities from water like your fancy water filter does)

the beans were a gift from a mystical elder lady who has very likely made more artisan okonomiyaki than any other person alive #ProveMeWrong + as such, including a cheesy snap of me holding the bag

you know the coffee is going to be good when it’s “cooked” on the same grill as the grub – definitely worth all the stars

This was nephew Lee’s last meal before heading back to Canada after his two months with us here in Okayama and he requested okonomiyaki and – like a quality prison warden – I obliged.

The remarkable proprietor, who also painted all the walls and ceiling, indulged the youngster (an aspiring okonomiyaki cook) for a photo in-behind the grill.

There’s no sign in front, only a beige noren when open / maybe fits eight people, there’s a tiny “squat” toilet room (little privacy), a cooler for beer and sake, a miniature aquarium. More art on the walls, sometimes even mine.

The bill came to ¥2150 for three squid and pork okonomiyakis + she sent the boys on their way with a bottle of “Calpis” soda each, and the aforementioned bag of macadamia /chocolate coffee beans for us.

Note: I’m usually not a fan of any kind of flavor in coffee beans but this makes for a very nice afternoon icy treat from a legacy brand 150+ old of roasting on Hawai’i.

Memo: of hats, crowns, feathers and expenditures

I’m trying to stop/significantly reduce expenditures on records and hats at current time (being a disabled pensioner holding a lot of “paper” as impetus –coupled with significant amounts of both ^) but then I come in here…

The task was selecting a hat for her father-in-law‘s birthday present and wow, did we get a beauty // a sort of taupe colored straw-ish airy (but wearable into the fall so not just summer) fedora/panama hybrid – not too showy but with some sharp details for discerning eyes, especially the blue hat band– designed in Germany, manufactured in Slovakia, came bundled up in a box, with maintenance instructions, materials to adjust sizing, a blue bow and a big bag.

Learned the proprietor of this shop is third generation (founded in 1945, quite a year to start a business in Japan!) and plays keyboards & sings in a Beatles tribute band like a Japanese Billy Preston.

So, no new hats for me but I did getmajestic, custom-made in Springville, Utah by 100+ year milliner, adjusted and a new feather as a gift.

[update] f-i-l was surprisingly and shockingly thrilled… He’s been really distant this last while and recently had a bit of an injury so my mother-in-law is trying to get him out on more activities so all in all, a real success as they are heading out on an expedition in the next couple of days

Semi-related: And I get that the Beatles follow me around everywhere in Japan but what’s with Michael McDonald suddenly appearing everywhere? Dude is haunting me… with that well-manicured beard and sultry voice… Definitely wants me to buy a hat.

Some details of this hat – which is really more like a crown and as is written in the hat band “completes my earthly collection” with dedication to UNCLE W33D from 2 dear pals & co-conspirators in the B33hive state

“BC Invasion” trip (Ryoko, Ichiro & Dave coming April/May) #driBC [updated]

Briefly: Ichiro, Ryoko and Dave are hopping the jetliner to BC from April 11 – May 25 to introduce Ryoko and Ichiro to family, friends and culture and together enjoy slow adventures and *usual life* with you

Theme: Family, Friends, Parks and Gardens


  • Langley/Surrey: current til April 19
  • West End / DT Vancouver: April 19 ~ 25
  • Metchosin: April 25 ~ 29
  • Victoria / Oak Bay: April 29 ~ May 3
  • Pender Isle (Woods & Sparrow): May 3 ~ 10
  • Fairview / Kits: May 10 ~ 12
  • North Van / Lynn Valley: May 12 ~ 17
  • Langley / Surrey: May 17 ~ 25
  • Home to Tsuchida Cottage: May 25/26

Note to Pals *yes you* – get in where you fit in and please be a part of our activities. As such, there is a GDoc to which you can request access with all the deets cause i/we don’t wanna be monitoring all the social comm-channels via pocket-robot while on the ground.

If, for some reason we aren’t able to get together because, I get it, people have lives, and I’m a bit elusive, consider this an invitation to come to Japan, which is safe, efficient, amusing, endlessly interesting, and surprisingly affordable / we will welcome you with enthusiasm and tea.

We want to:

  • visit parks and gardens (Stanley, Butchart, Bear Creek, Lynn Canyon)
  • check out White Rock pier, Granville Is market, Lonsdale Shipyards, maybe Steveston & various tea gardens
  • meet up with pals at the locations above and especially other Ichiro-aged kids (you know who you are)
  • eat dim sum, perogies, meat pies, fish and chips, etc
  • hit up low-key museums and chill public spaces
  • share tea ceremony and awsum gifts (and hugs)
  • usual things like home centre and grocery stores for Ryoko
BC Invasion trip / energy vs expectations and plans

Memo: we aren’t crossing the USA border for WA, UT, ID, OR etc visits this trip (for various reasons)

Need to figure out (advice welcome):

  • Translink compass pass (ok, confusing but got it)
  • Pay-as-go data/phone SIM card (sorted out, travel eSIM)
  • Ride hailing service that doesn’t suck (nope, so updated Ubr and Lft)
  • Are there public restrooms yet? (seems like mostly “no” including at Skytrain, shocking!)
  • yikes tipping!?!?! and taxes? how does that all work again (yes, onerous, will avoid restaurants to over-stim and thrifty reasons)

Considerations / Disclaimers:

Dave avoiding MECFS “crash” by pacing activities, limiting transportation and exertion [read more about MECFS], by:

  • avoiding restaurants at busy times / dinners (i.e. hotel breakfasts, picnic lunches etc) to limit over-stim
  • not getting overwhelmed by planning and details – let’s enjoy time together, not on phone / social planning
  • of course, realizing albeit sadly, we won’t be able to do everything and meet up with everyone and some things will get canceled… it’s just the way the world works with the illness
  • & obv, avoiding C19 (makes return to Japan complicated etc etc)

Even More: there is a GDoc to which you can request access with all the deets

Ichiro: breakkie & drum / coin hangout in the kura barn #io

Ichiro out n about rocking is “packpack” with his remarkable Mom: Saturday was her singing gig and sunday at professional arborist association meet-up/lecture and tree explorations

{Because I’m completely over the moon in love with this kid} here are 3 more snapshots + 1 video, ergo:

1) Gong Show trading cards waiting since 1970s to be opened
2) box of my childhood knick-knacks he loves digging through
3) Russian piggy bank full of global coins (new drums in bg)

My in-house drum technician helping set up new Tama cocktail jam set in kura barn studio #io / eight seconds of awesome

Bonus: saturday breakfast time with scrambled egg and fruit yogurt breakfast (coffee for me, honey milk for him) before heading out for activities

Diary: Valentine’s Week “tasks” with Ryoko

Valentines week which means the darling wife and I are going to do some scrapbooking today (Monday) + this week go to Uniqlo to buy raincoats for Canada trip, maybe pop by a secondhand store, sneak in a #MECFS (Thurs) hospital visit for me, maybe even drop off some special recycling #Romance xo

super cute kid’s outfit at Mont Bell (might return here)

Update: a few specific clothing items (sweaters, coats, socks!) and shoes acquired for trip complicated recycling disposed (a CD player and printer cartridges) coffee and lunch together second hand store visited but no purchases + visit to a bakery and a gasoline stand

don’t totally understand the promotion campaign but the great Ichiro and postbox at Uniqlo means, ok, i’m in

Various views of a coffee and cute dessert (at a Brazilian café) Sweet old Japanese lady rocking it solo. Further backstory unknown.

Bonus: Which ride do you prefer?

Diary: Ryoko’s “Mack the Knife” singing show

In brief: Ryoko just rocked “Mack the Knife” & 2 other tunes at a matinee show

Ryoko who was looking great in outfit we put together (black “Audrey Hepburn-esue” dress, Tiffany necklace, Fluevog shoes)

Feb 11 2023: Ryoko sang in an afternoon showcase with other students of Keizaburo Yano, friends Sachiko, Mitsuko, and Lisa at a event /resto etc (a wedding was hosting at same time making for a fun backdrop.

The venue is a grand stone vaguely english-castle-vibe with a big staircase so i wrangled Ryoko to pose for a snap after she rocked “Stars Fell on Alabama (Okayama)” and “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered” (which included a dead/hot mic change mid-song) and in between, slayed “Mack the Knife” – all accompanied by Rie Kakudo who also played at our wedding party. Dodgy video to follow.

Ichiro was with us along with dear in-laws, we ate a lovely meal while songs went on. Ichi had a special menu for himself (well there was one other child, a beautiful 6 year old daughter).

yes, all this for Ichiro, plus dessert
Yano-sensei closed it out with our bass-playing friend and a fella on a wooden “jam box” not sure what these are called but we *need* get for Ichiro.

Was glad a had my preferred back corner chair and was super glad dear Matsuke-sensei (tea ceremony master) was there in lovely kimono in the front enjoying

Feeling like a bigshot with a table card ;) Note: “with the band” but had to pay for coffee (tea was included)

Fluevog will prob wanna use this as advert

Im a distant 3rd place in my gang but they let me hang + Ichiro scored a box of chocolate he aint letting go

PS those arms are licensed to chainsaw (& cuddle)

Your diligent (& exhausted) correspondent out and about {doing what i can to make the world a wee bit more weird & quirky}
#cbc pin 
#jerrygarcia tie
#stetson hat
#ambassador suit
#viking beard oil
#horns specs

So we go on (Dad, me, Ichi / axe handles

Everything new is old again / axe handles

My dear Dad passed on on this day (3:30 AM PST at home in Surrey BC, I was on the Night Shift holding his hand), 2014.

Yesterday I’m holding my boy Ichiro Stanley while his mother sings in an afternoon across the Pacific in Japan.

In a minute-ish will get up, drink coffee (Ichi is grinding beans), wear the red velvet rope he insists upon and make scrambled eggs for us 3.

Later we’ll sharpen knives, then we’ll go out to the kura barn and set up a drum set.

Two months from yesterday, we 3 will ride a big jet liner and make our way to light incense and maybe leave an orange at his marker.

So we go on, oh how we go on.


Axe Handles

One afternoon the last week in April
Showing Kai how to throw a hatchet
One-half turn and it sticks in a stump.
He recalls the hatchet-head
Without a handle, in the shop
And go gets it, and wants it for his own.
A broken-off axe handle behind the door
Is long enough for a hatchet,
We cut it to length and take it
With the hatchet head
And working hatchet, to the wood block.
There I begin to shape the old handle
With the hatchet, and the phrase
First learned from Ezra Pound
Rings in my ears!
"When making an axe handle
the pattern is not far off."
And I say this to Kai
"Look: We'll shape the handle
By checking the handle
Of the axe we cut with—"
And he sees. And I hear it again:
It's in Lu Ji's Wên Fu, fourth century
A.D. "Essay on Literature"-—in the
Preface: "In making the handle
Of an axe
By cutting wood with an axe
The model is indeed near at hand."
My teacher Shih-hsiang Chen
Translated that and taught it years ago
And I see: Pound was an axe,
Chen was an axe, I am an axe
And my son a handle, soon
To be shaping again, model
And tool, craft of culture,
How we go on.

More about Dad:

* Artifact: Resume of Lorne H. Olson (aka Dr. O)

* Annotations About Dad, Dr. Lorne H. Olson

* Have you met my Dad? #dossier

* Happy Birthday Flashback for Dad, Lorne H. Olson, 2018

Ichiro: Catching up with 2-1/2 yr old boy

Ichiro, 2-1/2 so filled with curiosity and yes, he’s definitely exploring his limits, testing his boundaries, expressing himself for what he wants, trying to make his own path and pushing back a little bit… That’s all normal if sometimes a little bit rocky.

He’s such a cheerful happy boy 99% of the time & he loves music (listening, singing, playing), working vehicles (from excavators to airplanes).

He’s learning two language codes, we read loads of books, he’s very particular about his outfits, loves having mama papa baba jiji all around him (as such, sometimes forgets that he’s just not a miniature adult).

He knows we’re heading to Stanley Park this year, loves telephones and video calls and cameras. His favorite movies by far are “the country Bears” and “Isle of dogs”. Both excellent selections. He really likes the soundtracks of both as well as “Iron & Wine” Jack Johnson’s soundtrack from Vurious George and the Supremes, especially “stop, in the name of love”.

These days he’s not as enamored with bath time as he was (but still every night a proper hot bath), nor pre-school (its not daycare) but really there’s a lot of extra days off anyway because of the C 19 situation.

He loves working outside in the garden alongside mom, messing around with art supplies in the barn studio with dad, and cleaning out the woodstove and setting the fire.

PS Did I tell you about his first proper barber chair haircut?

There’s always more to say, and I’m always trying to be a better papa, despite my physical limitations due to the illness.

Just kicking back with a can of corn chowder from the vending machine like we do

I’m slowly learning that just being present with him and being patient, making sure not to lose my temper, and inviting him to make decisions and to go with me on the most minor of errands – like taking out the trash or going to the post office or just to the postbox is so important.

Me and my dude at the park in the cold on the way back from the post office