Category Archives: Kinfolk + Pals

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

Ichiro: gift thank-you cards (vol. 2+) / 9.25~Oct. 13

Continuing on with Ichiro Cards (see vol. 1 of the meta proces documentation if inclined) obsessively custom, handmade of course, to send to folks who sent such lovely gifts from around the world.

The batches change due to supplies (esp paper stock and printer ink) as well as as we fresh-up ideas… In general include special snaps cut with dear Mom’s (heavy metal) pinking shears, attached to custom stamped (inky & franked postal) postcards then enveloped with family photo / am I ruining the surprise?

As such, some started simple…

and got more “maximalist” as we went along:

Some get a few photos to connect other stories (with annotations on reverse), e.g.:

Or catch up with life and things folks might like:

with “bonus snaps/items” which simply amuse metaphorical reasons or have some backstory:

sometimes the assortment doens’t make sense until you receive somehow corresponding items crossing in the mail. In this case, Richard Brautigan is the connective magic.

Sometimes we receive a snap of the delivered mail. In this case, the elegantly placed postal cancellation stamp from the folks at Higashi Okayama post office:

And while i sorta try to take snaps of most of the finished pieces, i invariably forgot most, but here’s a snap of a note which made the journey to California. Thanks JJ:

In general, we are trying to make a little something extra special special for everyone to brighten up their day in evidently strange times. First was to the dear folks who have mailed remarkable gift packages, care boxes and cards from around the world in commemoration of the birth of this dude.

Here’s another on display on a fridge in Vegas, to which we replied: 

“… fantastic to see! You know we absolutely love making these and seeing them complete their journey, hopefully bringing a smile to the recipient, especially in times of tumult. We truly appreciated your thoughtful gift.” (thanks C &T!)

Update Sept 26:

Ichiro cards batch, Sept 26

Each envelope receives an extra kiss before we send out upon a wormhole journey to points on earth Each one unique (of course) and crafted with affection for recipients… Get so excited thinking of the splendid cards arriving to post boxes elsewhere.

The stamps are chosen with care at the post office. Oddly, the standard international Air Mail rate of ¥110 is challenging to match up so we often over pay in order to get colourful designs rather than boring meters.

Update, Oct. 6:

Another 18 dossiers dropped at post office today (on a stroller walk with lil Ichi-Stan who is neighbourhood famous).

Each dispatch is hand-crafted / unique + that’s “batch 4” for Ichiro-cards, batch 5 already underway (about 23 envelopes) / noting each batch varies by materials available & inspiration sparks (do you want to see them all?)

Note: likely puts over 500 analog mail-outs for the year (including New Year’s cards) > this hobby does get a bit expensive (ink! stamps!) but joy to send a piece of “us” (with Ryoko Olson) is worth every yen. #kokoro

Let’s enjoy international correspondence from global correspondents!

Update, Oct. 13:

Another 18 going out into the world, or was it 23? Either way, another variation on the same idea… inky stamps, franked postage stamps collected around the world, special snaps of Ichi and other treats… scissors, glue, labels, love.

Batch 5, (or is it 6?) of Ichiro cards going out into the world… / hopefully finding hearts which are as grateful as we are. Each made with affection and truly unique. And yes, each is “important“ because the stamp says so.

Note: Persimmon not included

Redundant notes

Further annotations & postal tips.

Get in on the fun by mailing to:

Ichiro Olson
937-1 Tsuchida, Naka-ku
Okayama-shi, Okayama-ken
703-8217 Japan

Fondly from Tsuchida Cottage

“The Wish” / poem by Sohaib “Sooby” Ahmed

My renegade pal Sooby (Sohaib) Ahmed is a fine poet in the “romantic” tradition (think Shelley, Keats et al) and often sends along his work for my edification. This one came along just before Ichiro came along so sharing here for the record. 

Though S. and i enjoyed wild adventures together in NYC/state, Providence and other environs, our most ridiculous times came the summer 1991 with dozens of Grateful Dead (and related) shows, music festivals, psychedelic parks, and the infamous Taos hi-jack incident.

Despite all of these hi-jinks, i don’t have a handy snapshot of him so instead a flyleaf of a book i mailed to him from Sri Lanka included as inadequate visual addition.

~~

I wish there were that us
There were, there were
Like we only did make
Like snowflake make
So too could and have when
It snow so like that,
And it was, it has
So its, such as, only such as
In that way, I’d had
Only and as we melt
I’ll ask, I wish
And, a way
Its all the less cold then there
Would be getting a wish
Being it so selfish
The snowflake we chance can be
Should I but be so
Brave and have
Wouldn’t suiting our imagination
Say can us both but be
Suited also, for it,
I wish, its a wish for yourself
So its, such as, only such
Only and as we melt
I’ll ask, I wish
And a way
Of it, if it,
That too heartfelt a what,
What a heart-felt for always.

 

Ichiro: card #47 “Goat Farm”(with moustache) / 10.10

Ichiro: card #47 “Goat Farm” (with moustache) / 10.10

Ichiro: card #47 “Goat Farm” (with moustache) / 10.10

Meanwhile, earlier in the week – before spectacle shop and wedding officiating, yet before a dentist appointment – we went to our favorite hideaway: Rural Caprine Farm, Mac Kobayashi, proprietor.

Diary: Officiating 10 Year Wedding Vow for Dear Pals

the bride and groom in rainy Vancouver and official celebrant connected via magic from Okayama. photo by Steph Burns 

Briefly: Officiated 10 Year Wedding Vows for Sheila & Kemp Edmonds via video link from Tsuchida Cottage to Queen Elizabeth park Vancouver – the family joined me in the tatami room as i did my riff (including my poem “How Shall We Fill This Vessel“.

Memo: I also officiated/celebranted their original wedding event (obv) 10 years before at Main St Heritage Hall, Vancouver.

Notes: alcove ikebana (leaves + persimmon) & shodo (calligraphy scroll) by mother-in-law Junkyo Fujita.

Books: Walt Whitman, Pablo Neruda & Manyusho (Myriad of Leaves, 8th century Japan, various) & me (in wooden folio hand-carved by Ryoko Olson).

and yes, that is a certificate of officialness / awesomeness 

Bonus w/ ALT text

A gentleman with a mustache, wearing a dark blue kimono holds a carved wooden folio with papers of handwritten poetic texts to officiate a 10 year wedding vow renewal ceremony via videoconference (for a couple in Canada).  Behind is a traditional Japanese alcove with persimmon fruit and leaves in the vase and a certificate of authority with a calligraphy scroll hanging.
Foreground shows a cushion & straw tatami mat floor.

Lost in the Aisle (variation on a theme, 3)

Variation: 3, with Ichiro

2 Thorvalds, lost in the aisle

Memo: Worth noting that through all the pregnancy and 3 1/2 months since he was born, we haven’t been out to physical store shopping for him a single time.

Everything ordered online, showed up as care packages #grateful, hand me downs from community etc.

Today made an (appropriately safe) stop at a sortof kid’s stuff box store – resisted buying matching Curious George onesies simply because they didn’t have one in my size, however some organic cotton items, cute pjs & a larger “asanoha” hemp leaf gi for him acquired (along with other bargain sundries) #io

Ichiro: card #46 “Moshi moshi, Ichiro desu” / 10.2

Ichiro: card #46 “Moshi moshi, Ichiro desu” / 10.2

Ichiro: card #46 “Moshi moshi, Ichiro desu” / 10.2

PS “no i don’t wish to purchase insurance, please do not call here again”

#io collect the series for best results

Ichiro: card #45 “99 days” / 9.30

Ichiro: card #45 “99 days” / 9.30

Ichiro: card #45 “99 days” / 9.30

99 days  / Each better than the last somehow.

The vocalizations, the smile, the happy demeanor, the active eyes… All of it so wonderful!

PS have an *actual* photo shoot scheduled to celebrate 100 days (101 but close enough)… We didn’t do a pro shoot during the pregnancy or well, up to here… The conundrum is choosing which adorable outfit to wear (for him and mom and papa)

#io collect the series for best results

Ichiro: card #44 “3 months”(2 variations) / 9.23

Ichiro card #44 “3 Months”, variation 1, by dave

Note: has yet to *actually * “Explore BC” PS Thanks Rebecca and John for cute outfit

Ichiro card #44 “3 Months”, variation 2, by Ryoko

こんにちは。 イチローです。 今日で生まれてから3ヶ月が経ちました。 半月前までは、お腹が空いてすぐ泣いていたけど、最近は笑ったり、よく眠れるようになったよ。そして、その分泣かなくなったよ。お喋りの練習もしてるよ。日本語と英語はまだまだだけど、パパとママの言ってることはわかるよ。ママが作ってくれたこの帽子、ようやくフィットしたよ。 どんどん成長するよ。これからも宜しくね。

Hello. I’m Ichiro. It’s been three months since I was born today. Until half a month ago, I was often hungry and crying, but lately I’ve been laughing a lot and sleeping a lot. I don’t cry that much. I am also practicing talking and soon will speak in English in Japanese, but for now, I just understand mom and dad. This hat was made by mom and it finally fits just right. Best regards to me as I grow steadily.

Community Centre (variation on a theme, 2)

Variation: 2, with Ichiro

At a community centre for a kid’s clothes and stuff swap (clean and safe, don’t sweat it).

Items acquired, plus other items: observed (diary).

Ichiro: gift thank-you cards (vol. 1+) / 8.21~9.19

PS yes i do have 2 Dymo labelers, doesn’t everyone?

Aug. 21: Doing a batch of custom “Ichiro cards“, obsessively handmade of course, to send to folks who sent such lovely gifts from around the world.

Just trying to make a little something extra special special for everyone to brighten up their day in evidently strange times.

Note: Packages are arriving from Canada… Just takes rather long due to limited flights coming across the Pacific these days – Further annotations & postal tips.

Memo: It’s worth noting that with the baby, various big changes in life, postal disruptions etc., I’m a little bit behind in my usual copious correspondence. Please know that every one of your letters is savoured, displayed, properly archived and what not. I will do my best to answer everything eventually. Your anticipated patience is much appreciated.

Update, Sept 3 / Batch one, away! 

Various countries (also Ichi’s Canada Citizenship packet – truly unimpressed with service from Canadian Embassy/ Consular section in Tokyo – ugh rudeness and hassles for a birthright and taxpayer… #stopcomplaining)

Update / Sept 7: Another chance for a session (this sort of project is hard to do in short bursts, doing what we can…) 

Best thanks for all your wonderful notes and thoughts (can’t quite stay up with everything these days).

Note: So glad we are documenting his/this journey. Noting all parents have different feelings about how much to share/ what to share/ permission/ privacy etc. This is all thought through. 

Update / Sept 11

Batch 2 into the wormhole! Stamps carefully chosen naturally (even though the desired designs resulted in overpaying for postage… you are worth it :)). 

Annotation: Pictured (below x2) is the “work stuff” / so many wonderful supplies to play with. Kinda hard to explain but as a project goes on, of course the form evolves and sometimes i worry that the first round isn’t as good as later rounds or maybe the opposite as i am definitely a “maximalist” and don’t do that “design is 99% invisible” flow.

Use all the goodness all the time! My point? I just hope they are enjoyed and care is noticed (so i don’t feel like the family who handmade caramel apples for Halloween just to have them all tossed out when kids return home from trick or treat). Am i making sense? Didn’t think so. #tinybitobsessive  

Even… sometimes include “bonus snaps/items” which simply amuse me for metaphorical reasons and i think recipients will dig – especially “remixd” #meta photos of some kind or another or ones which are the answer to a question never asked (like the significance of a bridge).

Update / Sept 19:

So many treasures arriving for #IchiroOlson / each of course sparks a splendid handcrafted, unique postal treasure in reply. So very grateful.

As such, round 3 of “Ichiro Thank you for gift cards” underway. Changing styles to fit the supplies on hand and a few stationery items recently arrived. Each batch unique, each card… we’ll keep making until whenever. 

Note: the only existing complete analog series of the 43 (so far) Ichiro “#io” cards, cut with dear Mom’s (heavy metal) pinking shears, attached to custom stamped (inky & franked postal) postcards then enveloped with family photo / am I ruining the surprise?

(Redundant note) these are going to the dear folks who have mailed remarkable gift packages, care boxes and cards from around the world in commemoration of the birth of this dude.

Get in on the fun by mailing to:

Ichiro Olson
937-1 Tsuchida, Naka-ku
Okayama-shi, Okayama-ken
703-8217 Japan

Star of the show!

 

Diary: Closing Circles with Stones ~ Grandmother to the Ohaka

Buddhist monk (handsome!) and me, Father-in-law Takushi, Mother-in-law Junkyo and wife Ryoko with baby Ichiro at Grandfather Ichiro’s ohaka / grave, now with Grandmother Tomiko

Aug 19th was 49 days after Ryoko’s Grandmother Tomiko passed away at 94 years old, 6 days after baby Ichiro was born, and the night he was registered on the generational family register (koseki tohon) at city office with the same name (but different kanji characters) as her husband – Ichiro.

As such, in the Buddhist tradition, her ashes were put into the ohaka (crypt) with dashing Grandfather Ichiro who died at 49 years old, many decades ago.

Note: Throughout the pregnancy, we often visited grandpa Ichiro‘s ohaka (grave) as going to a cemetery it was easy to reduce risk while having a pleasant walk and while there, clean his grave, light incense and have a conversation.

Buddhist monk offering prayers/chants at family alcove/altar before taking ashes to ohaka

In early July were four days of various funeral ritual/ceremonies at the house (adjusted for current health protocols) before she was cremated, and since then, her ashes sat at the family altar with daily incense, prayers and so on. 

this smouldering incense was part of the ceremony at the house, pinch, put to forehead couple of times…

So as it goes, the remarkably handsome monk offered more incense and chants and led family in scripted prayers and incantations. Baby Ichiro rolled with it all.

the cemetery man opens up the ohaka crypt for first time tis century… (Father and Monk look on)

Following, we took her ashes to the cemetery where a kindly tall specialist removed the capstone of the freshly cleaned ohaka allowing us to briefly see grandpa‘s urn, before adding the new jar & gently sealing back up.

 

the sealing sealing removed by hand…

Then we burned more incense, gave regards to other graves and left a lovely lunch to take her into the next journey.

special lunch to take Grandmother Tomiko onto the next part of journey

Note: of course there’s more to share of the story (eventually, perhaps), and if you’re curious, see the wedding picture of grandpa Ichiro and grandma Tomiko, plus notes from Ichiro’s first month and an Ichiro card with her casket and his basket.

wonderful mother in law at the cemetery, what a huge couple of months she’s had!

The circle is complete, the family continues, I’m very proud to be part of this clan. We’ve had seven weeks of birth, death, (re)birthdays, and so much transition in real time. i’m privileged to be a participant.

So very gratefully,
daveo/UW

for a brief moment only, we could see Grandfather Ichiro and Grandmother Tomiko reunited in their urns, then was sealed back up… what a treasured experience!

Diary: Introducing Ichiro to maternal great-grandfather Fujii at Ohaka

photo on the ohaka (grave) of maternal great-grandfather Fujii

Ryoko’s mother’s family name is Fujii, not to be confused with Father’s family name Fujita.

Recently, paternal grandmother passed away, paternal grandfathers are both long passed.

In this case we visited Ohaka (grave) of Ichiro’s maternal great-grandfather (Ryoko’s grandfather obv) with the in-laws/parents to wash and clean, offer a prayer and introduce Ichi. 

I don’t know much of his backstory – enough to riff at least – i’ll connect some more pieces for a later update for curiosity seekers. 

Note: there is a panorama of the epically endless cemetery and massive crematorium (under expansion) plus family photos to include > this is a reminder to add at some point for posterity and whatnot.