Category Archives: Kinfolk + Pals

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

Pickles and Curry for VIP visitor (buying a sweet camper)

Ed, who we know from Indonesia (“allegedly” from England) now lives in Nozawa Onsen, Nagano, fixing up kominka, came to buy this sweet 20-ish year old Nissan camper van here in dear Okayama.

We set him up with our car guy who got the deal done and delivered to Tsuchida cottage.

So before he came, i broke out a jar of fresh salt fermented pickles. Yep, that’s what constitutes VIP treatment around here, and made butter chicken, a sort of tikki masala, and lots of fresh garden vegetables for a big salad – All things I can do with 10 minutes of “doing“ and then 10 minutes of resting and so on.

Mac-san (the legendary goat farmer) came over and we had a nice time, and i got to make them late-night espressos too.

Also, making soy milk at home recently from the beans… {not *just to prove that I really am a hippie :-)}

And i picked him up at the Tsuchida bus stop at short walk from the cottage after his 3x train ride from Nozawa Onsen.

not riding, just picking up

Ramble on home Ed in your sweet ride and say hey to your big wan wan (and thanks for gift for Ichi-Stan).

Ichiro Stanley, almost 2 years old

Ichiro Stanley hitting 2 years old next week, June 23rd.

yes, he is this adorable *almost( all the time

He wants to go to the sea to swim (we will on 25th), he’s also getting a bike (don’t tell him yet), a Richard Scarry book, and probably some other stuff.

He loves being in the garden, going for a stroll or to the park, musical instruments of all sorts, transportation and work vehicles of all kinds, always crouches down to watch the ants, and looks up to see the moon and the airplanes. He says “hello“ to the plants. He wants to surf.

{photo by Mama with IchiStan rocking an impromptu hat in a post-ramen rain shower}

Address for card, telegrams etc.

Family at Ginkaku-ji, Kyoto

Your Olson pals at Ginkaku-ji, Kyoto (wiki / map / inside kyoto) on a trip in April 2022.

Blurb: Ginkaku-ji (銀閣寺, lit. “Temple of the Silver Pavilion”), officially named Jishō-ji (慈照寺, lit. “Temple of Shining Mercy”), is a Zen temple in the Sakyo ward of Kyoto, Japan. It is one of the constructions that represents the Higashiyama Culture of the Muromachi period.

Your Olson pals at Ginkaku-ji 

Note: I might start making this year’s festive holiday cards just because there is a great photo (taken by a stranger on an iPhone 5) *except i look a little bit chubby, Ichiro just woke up, Ryoko is perfect.

Jackpot! Pals in Vegas, 1992

Jackpot! I’m not gonna bother with any kind of explanation about this photo any further (except this was between a Grateful Dead show and a wedding – in between there were hot springs, at least 1 911 call, dodgy taxis, a few conundrums, and hi-jinks galore). i mean keep it classy fellas, this *is* Vegas after all.

tainting the reputation of the fair & decent city of Las Vegas, breaking the sedate harmony & understated charm. They shan’t be welcomed back i suspect.

Note: not available as an NFT or signed glossy prints at this time :) Fanny packs mandatory.

Ichiro: VW, pizza, sweeping, hanging #io

Yes, Ichiro loves snapshots (& VW busses & baths) And now he figures out that these little “pocket robots” capture pictures so he like to review all the pictures of him from baby time – with commentary.

VW bus captain of the future

I am amazed by him every day. i’m not sure how I got this lucky but I’m not gonna ask any questions.

He switched from baby to little man suddenly running top speed everywhere and helping out with the gardening, taking the trash to the corner, raking the yard, and figuring out words in both Japanese and English.

Continue reading Ichiro: VW, pizza, sweeping, hanging #io

Diary: 2000 kisses for Ichiro

Amidst my ridiculous illness #MECFS i’m doing my very best to be a very good papa. Bathtime with Ichiro every night is the highlight of my existence.

Anyhow, picked up this book with a recommendation by Jim canary just thinking well… “I’m doing this, maybe I should get better“ and in my brief reading of it so far, I got to say I’m doing a lot of things right. I know everyone parents differently, but we all sleep in one big bed together, bond in the bathtub, lots of positive reinforcement, try *very hard* not to lose my temper (mostly when he dumps things on the floor as kind of an “oopa!” at the dinner table), teach him about tidying up, he likes to play with rakes, brooms and shovels, and he knows that sometimes I have a hard time and need to rest.

We also take the trash down to the corner together, water plants, planted a few things in the garden, eat berries off the tree, kick a ball around, learn about being careful crossing roads, his birthday is coming up so I think about getting him a balance bike. Of course mom is his favorite but I’m a pretty solid top 4 draft pick.

Note: sometimes feel that i’m a little behind on my usual excess posting pictures but we’re just kind of “into the regular thick of it” and while he’s a very well documented child but, as he develops more and more of his “own self” he just sort of blends in with the “usual diary musings” in the splendor of regular life of our power trio.

Ichiro: 4 views from the road to Shimane

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

Note: Ryoko’s new dump truck (& thwarting patriarchy)

Ryoko signed papers to buy 2021 Daihatsu Hi-jet, low dump kei-truck. Auto trans, 4wd, 660cc, Alas the dumps only come in white silver and no deluxe/extended cab option.

Dump feature is gonna be huge help for her. Comes 2 mo. Got 60,000¥ trade in for 12+ old Suzuki.

Kind of like this but different wheels:

Random example scoured from the Internet without photo credit, my apologies

The transaction was all conducted at the kitchen table with her “Car Guy” (company somehow called “Claudia“) who came to the house with the brochures and information and then later with the paperwork. I guess it magically just shows up one day in March. First time either of us have ever bought a “brand new car“.

Note, there are two different kinds of dump trucks.

one in which hydraulics run from engine power w/ higher deck, rails & payload

two (hers) runs off electric switch in cab, much easier. She loads tree trimmings, so bulky but not super heavy.

Wished for comfy cab seats & color and while “regular“ Kei trucks now come in *colors* other than the basic appliance white and with taller/longer cabs and other treats, the dump truck feature precludes any of these features.

While I’m talking about wife and kei-truck, I should say (like often do) i am proud to be married to a (rather rare) woman small business owner doing “rough work”. She has an awesome tool shed, clients adore her & she’s a member of the local guild (almost all older men).

Ryoko’s current runner which will be traded in

(In some Way) This is how you “smash the patriarchy” (that is pervasive in Japan) >> by action, not talking. Always want to support women owned businesses in Japan. I see you, I’m cheering for you.

PS she also sings in a jazz band, practices tea ceremony in kimono & and sharpens her own chainsaw blades

Did I mention she’s an absolutely wonderful mother and took care of me, sick son and a rabbit with a broken leg this month? Shuttling us all to different doctors appointments… #swoon / She’s an elegant force of grace and awesome.

Bonus” kei-truck digression:

Snaps of my Kei truck from mushroom farm, Tottori, 1992-3.

Hauling mushrooms from the farm to the market

2 days after I showed up, boss gave me keys to deliver enokis to market > down a twisty windy snowy mountain road, figuring out shifters “other side” of the road driving, caught in a rotary with street signs w/o romanji / yikes

In other foolish ideas, had a day off so thought would just drive to Kyoto from Tottori on back roads. Took forever. Backache!

Stayed at friend’s billet family in a closed-down hospital, super weird/creepy.

Note: #GratefulDead sticker under watchful eye of neighborhood cat.

Kei-truck unauthorized trip to Kyoto

Ryoko climbing Ginkgo tree

My wife at work – trimming Ginkgo biloba tree at a shrine – Edo-period age, cutting away from power lines (didn’t have to worry about those pesky wires back then), plus fresh up branches and shape.

Yup, she’s roped and laddered. I’m just here doing dishes and laundry. Just showing how she is so cool! #Okayama #Arborist