Category Archives: Personal Musings

sometimes i have something to say about me, life and the passage of time – schemes, ideas, holiday dispatches, thoughts and dreams that aren’t too private and other journalling

Steady On, Time Travelers! {New Year Greetz, 2021 / Reiwa 3 令和3年}

{New Year Greetz, 2021 / Reiwa 3}「迎春」令和3

Time Travelers – date and location undetermined 

Steady On
Time Travel(l)ers!
We’ll see you when the future’s past
(in the meanwhile) breathe backwards
So the world doesn’t spin so fast.

落ち着いて!
時空旅行者達。
未来が過去になる時会いましょう。
その間、呼吸を整えて…
そうすれば、世界は軽やかにまわりだす。

“Steady On, time travel(l)ers!” – note” Ichiro’s finger print for proof of authenticity 

Fondly from Ryoko, Ichiro & Dave
[date and location undetermined]

O-shogotsu Food & laughs with Family

Just a few quick snaps from the mellow New Year’s time at the Fujita household – just me, Ryoko, baby Ichiro and our wonderful grandma and grandpa, sitting around the house, eating special food, with bits of TV and music and, importantly, fire in the woodstove.

Ichi & Grandpa clearly having no fun 🙂

The year begins with Ichiro Stanley pensively observing a few flakes of snow floating down at Tsuchida Cottage. They disperse before landing (Like all of your hard ships will this year).

Photo by magic mama Ryoko Olson
Zouni soup with fish, greens & most importantly, mochi (sticky rice)
Year of the Ox cookie

Typing Intentions + Annotations (with coffee), New Year 2021

Typed for the record and placed on the altar of importancy

Intentions (some, not all) and Annotations (various)
for 2021 / Reiwa 3

Did a little live streamed hang out while banging out some big picture themes and a bunch of practical to-do tasks {as well as a note to self}.

Fiddled with Lettera 34 typewriter to get it operational and then talked my way through various big thoughts and practical plans for the year ahead including a “note to self“ that I won’t get all these things done but I’ve *come so far so fast – so, so “steady on davey, steady on.

Anyway, lovingly – if not perfectly – typed on hemp paper on my erstwhile custom letterhead / and now up on the altar for the kami to help.

Video: Come spin through the video spiel if you have a notion. {It’s over on the face space to see how I got to this point}. Let’s try (gets rolling at :20 min after i silicon up the machine)

{embed not possible due to background music it seems / incidental fair use?}

Summary: Evolutions, not Resolutions, slowly slowly > Your creativity is not going away anywhere, you have decades ahead, first build a foundation & then castle that’s above

The Results ^ note: please lend me a hand – whether it be practical or encouragement – I am wide open to advice and good vibes, truly.

Best Year Ever Ahoy ~ 2021 / Reiwa 3

We won’t quite make it till midnight so… as we cuddle in at Tsuchida Cottage (in always sunny Okayama, Japan), Ryoko, Ichiro & me wish you The Best Year Ever in 2021 / Reiwa 3.

Ichiro at 101 days old in full splendour

fondly xo etc

Happy Merry, All the Festive, Every Joyful

Happy Merry
Any Festive
Every Joyful
All of the Moments

Peace – Health – Happy
to all of us, all of you

Ate nabe stew, warmed by woodstove, bath then slept

Fondly from Dave, Ryoko & Ichiro Stanley Thorvald of Tsuchida Cottage, Okayama, Japan on a usual Friday, Dec. 25, Reiwa 2 / 2020

Tradition is what you are doing in the present tense. Every moment a spectacular event. You are a miracle, truly, enjoy. (& If you ever forget, we’re here to remind you.)

an original for the biographers and collectors

Dec 25, out n about (with treasures) on a quest

Today is regular Friday here on Japan > we are on a mysterious mission {explain later} but along the way, saw an old rolling stock – ran the trams from 1910-1962 / lot of change witnessed in that period.

Ichiro & Ryoko with classic tram car in Saidaiji (on a special quest)

Anyhow, point is: these are my treasures. Xo

Postbox Haiku Painting exhibit artifacts from the Goat Farm

+ Postbox Haiku Exhibit at the Goat Farm: In which I combine love of poetry, painting and postal mail and recaps an exhibit at buddy Mac’s goat farm.

So happy to share my mixed media project with a new audience at a very special place

Gist: Produced by dDesign to promote Okayama design, tourist and culture, the campaign included a painting in Shibuya as well as paintings of post boxes and office in: The Vatican; Kathmandu, Nepal; Olympia, Greece; and, Muscat, Oman as well as a new haiku on a postbox about “nonconfidential postcards” along with a book of paintings, a book of postboxes, and postcards of well… postboxes with poetry – both painted and functional.

DaveO at Goat Farm with postbox haiku, both sides now sport a custom poem
Transported the paintings in a velvety suitcase (notice the key for keeping them imaginary safe)
The paintings of postboxes had custom postcards with shodo ink by Junko Fujita and decorated up with appropriate postal and inky stamps by me

Continue reading Postbox Haiku Painting exhibit artifacts from the Goat Farm

Riff: Ghosts of Festive Losts {Christmas Any/no/elsewhere}

Sometimes you feel like a person left in the “lost luggage” room… You sit, you wait for the person to come ~ sometimes someone comes by but for another reason and you just sit and you wait. Eventually, a train comes, sometimes you find a seat, sometimes with window and you go.

Ghosts of Festive Losts – you wait, sometimes miracles arrive or ring or you are just lost (Lanka 2017)

Other times, a friend is someone who comes to help you for a rather different purpose than the “help you seek“ yet somehow, maybe unbeknownst to you & them, they help & you appreciate, admiration is mutual, then each drift into life, better than before, or at least different.

I’ve spent more Christmases {or whatever} either working jobs, in hospitals, lost alone, holed up in hotels, hiding in cabins, or movie theatres, on road hitching, or with strangers etc. than have with family or familiar. Best stories. Fortunately none in jail. Hear you if alone.

Tradition is what you are doing in the present tense.

Every moment a spectacular event.

You are a miracle, truly, enjoy.

Cottage: Desks Cuddling Up Splendidly

Our two desks seem to be cozying up splendidly {so cute together! almost watching wood grain}

Two cute desks, cozying up at Tsuchida Cottage
Mine is the fold out, her’s is the roll top. Note the adorable chairs as well.

We just picked up Ryoko’s roll top writing bureau from the secondhand store and brought it home in the kei-truck. Unloaded through the patio door, plastic wrap off and within 10 minutes it was ready for action. Added her own power strip too.

In fact we did our first project with side-by-side desks today making a YouTube channel for Ryoko Olson’s band the Mae Maes.

Tip: you can be among the first subscribers and see their special version of silent night.

Kitchen: multi-purpose ginger, turmeric, chutney, kraut round-up

Today: putting sauerkraut in jars, making chutney from persimmons, washing up dishes, drinking another coffee, making barley tea, there is a rabbit, also turmeric

Persimmons ahoy!

Note: the rabbit (named Maru) is our guardian angel.

Just pulled some massive ginger from garden and some turmeric too / wiped me out so taking a bit of a break before prepping these Kaki / also scored some red (albeit mild) peppers and a mikan orange from tree

Stick a shade in the ground & voila! Yup, got some ginger from the garden. Holy whoa!

Re, harvesting: I just stuck a spade in the ground, pulled it out the whole plant, dropped a chunk back in the hole, shook off the dirt, cut off the stems and rinsed. Ditto with turmeric.

My wife and mother-in-law are great gardeners but I really don’t know what I’m doing, I just dig holes and make pickles with the results

Onwards! Choppa choppa, making sorta persimmon chutney, everything shown from garden

While in the kitchen, stashed some sauerkraut from the crock where it was weighed down by rocks for a week-ish into some jars… Over-salted it a little bit but well, I’m still a rookie we’ll see how it goes… [update: it’s alright]

Just closing the loop on the persimmon chutney project ~ four jars: one for fridge, one for parents, two for freezer

Memo: Kei-truck Errand / Date <3

Out and about! On an errand (picking up a second hand roll-top writing bureau desk) in the Kei truck with the absolutely incredible and adorable Ryoko Olson at the wheel rolling the country backroads to the (minor provincial capital, mostly forgotten) city of lovely goldilocks Okayama – yes, we even have canned coffees in the cupholder and a.m. radio (which you can’t really hear over the 650cc engine but whatever) – got to say it’s a *pretty romantic* date

matchy matchy / curling sweater and hockey jacket, handmade hats, snappy scarves

Update: this is what we picked up, look at this gorgeous desk with the rolltop and everything

Diary: Santa Land at Community Centre

Background: Just doing a Santa gig at a little local community center in Tsuchida, Okayama… Not a lot of kids around here it seems so… not sure what to expect exactly > just is going with the flow. Figure it’s my “job for life” now that I live here and I’m the token neighborhood guy with a beard.

Preparation: Giving the chukka boots a little bit of black polish (after removing some salt stains with vinegar), then a little buff up to go with the Santa Claus outfit tomorrow.

Of course, I won’t actually be able to wear the shoes into the event (will bring my own red and black check slippers though) but well, doing what I can to be a top-end Uncle Christmas for the kiddos.

Also pulled out some old gold wire rim glasses – just not doing what I can to look sharp.

With various precautions (temperature checks included), the kids won’t sit on my lap but instead, stand a respectful distance away, bow likely (at the grandeur of my beard no doubt), cry possibly, state their wishes maybe, and I will nod approvingly and wish them each well on their life.

There will likely be a few snapshots. Note to self, early start so prepare coffee and/or cocoa in advance.

OK, back to the boots before I make a mess of things. (update: mess = yes)

PS These little boots are what I wore stomping around the Himalayas a bit… Kind of as a “protest to yuppie Mountaineers“, and out of respect to so many Nepalis who carry obnoxious tourist’s load around the mountains wearing off the rack regular old clothes, as such wandered through the villages with these on my hooves.

Re: tomorrow morning’s “Uncle Christmas“ gig… Made a “Santa’s own family photo album” to take along in case any kids question the backstory. Includes: Santa as a young boy with beard etc. plus “Santa on vacation“ with the mayor. Includes pictures of mom and dad and Christmas in Jamaica.

+ Practicing Q&A with appropriate “in-character“ Japanese answers including which honorific pronouns and whatnot to use.
I mean I’m doing it, might as well go all in, as usual.

As I understand, there will be some sort of singing, storybook and then the kids will chant for Santa, at which time I will enter with a bag/box of presents > they’ve advised some sort of dancing, however I will sit during that part and tell the kids how adorable they are and ask appropriate questions about their recent behavior, thusly adjudicating the worthiness of gifts. 

Then, I will interact with the children in a cautious safe manner.

Stay tuned…

Here we go

Quick stroll over to kominkon

Ohato gozaimasu – now on-location in “stealth mode”, temperature checked, masks, so many cute kids…

Foggy morning like a Gordon Lightfoot song

Assisted by my R & I.

Also have Insta camera but seems no shortage of cameras here.

(Limited photos due to well, kids etc.)

I am appropriately medicated but could use one more coffee.

Moms & kids assembling here at community centre.

Windows open for max fresh air. 6o C, no one minds, bundled up.

Warming up with some movement & music.

I have elected to use my “foreigner elective card” and sit on a chair – I almost always do the floor sitting but right now, playing it safe… I may not be able to stand back up :)

Standing by for cue / note: specs circa 1996-7 when an internet company geek in Olympia, dress-up times like this is why I keep items. Could not see very well but #methodacting requires such sacrifices

Also, have used beard as a wig creating some sort of Santa Mullet

Resplendent and shimmering (note ordered the “luxury/deluxe” Santa outfit but it is decidedly mediocre, lots of flair but was hoping for higher end fabrics – geez, I’m needy!)

It’s technically not breaking & entering when you have a magic key. Just making sure my backstory is all in place when kids ask how I get in without a chimney to be found. (thanks S)

Rolling into the community center like no big deal… (Note the coordinated uniglo slippers) / Also walkingstick made from wood salvaged from the Fukushima incidents (thanks R)

Update: Slayed – My study at the Strasburg Institute paid off with my naturalistic performance as a trimmed up Santa Claus, old and weary yet doing all right.

Each child received a custom monologue based on their appearance, age, personality and shyness level.

Gift bags were provided.

Yes, a lot of the kids were a little surprised, a few cried but all left feeling better about themselves I think. Complements (sincere) are the most precious (& free) gift.

Reminded each kid to be sweet to their parents, say kind words to others, take good care of their health and I will see them next year.

Explained my trimmed up figure as a diet of natto and umeboshi exclusively.

Told them I was off to Kurashiki next.

Had a notebook with a map of the nearby seto-ni-ki (inland sea) on the cover and told them I was keeping notes (with a comically oversize pencil from the McMenimin’s Kennedy school in Portland) as to who were the good kids and whatnot.

Found this child particularly amusing and appealing.

I suppose *technically* Santa isn’t it supposed to choose favorites but I did. He was a bit confused, like “I know this dude but something seems *off*”

Oh, the kids performed some sort of freeform dance with colourful pom-poms which was unexpected.
 

Of course made a few other minor observances while on location i.e.: karaoke machine in the closet (for SFK)

Noted a lovely persimmon tree on the walk home

I did a stealth exit and back at the cottage warming up the bath and wishing there was a hockey game on. Received a gift bag which seems to have a bottle of tea and some sort of box… Let’s hope it’s chocolate.

[Update: was not chocolate, some sort of crackers, I broke the rules and ate in the bath – 2 hours at 44-45 °]

All the parents seemed super happy and I will do this every year forever, somewhere or another.

Afterward (with C.B.): I went to the gig in sort of street clothes and participated in the opening singing blah blah blah stuff (keep in mind I’m the only fella and only foreigner there) and then went and changed and came back in to the complete astonishment of the children.

That said, I kind of love the idea of rolling through the neighborhood in the outfit… Maybe head downtown and just act like it’s no big deal

Next year we can do the “foreign Santa renegade day out” / Rampage the streets giving away ¥100 store things

So much fun! I’m going to do this every year forever in Japan.