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

Diary: visitors see new life & family + trip to Teshima w/ Ichiro annotations

A mysterious brilliant visitor from overseas – first in three years – captured me, at home, in my new life. This is my family, this is our home.

my adorable family with whom Xo Ryoko, Ichiro (thanks Amber Sensei)

I wandered far and endured plenty to find this life, and immensely grateful for it all. I’m so happy to show someone from my “old life“ what i found & and she understood very well.

and now with remarkable in-laws/grandparents

With out guests coming, we pulled out the special stash of saké, some fermented carrot pickles, housemade miso, and a few other fermented treats. Also started to soak in soy beans to make soy milk; prepared the Bizen yaki ceramic cups & small dishes for sashimi; also have bamboo shoots from our forest. (thanks M-i-L and F-i-L)

garden vegetables and bamboo shoots right out the door

Ryoko also prepared matcha tea in an abbreviated tea ceremony with tea bowls from her great-grandparents and made anpan (anko sweet bean paste in lil pancakes) to go with.

tea bowls and accessories, freshly washed

I should add that, “no, Japan is not open to tourists at this time” – Our recent particular international guest was on a publishing-company-sponsored book tour / meaning the company supported a business visa requiring a detailed itinerary and accepting of various risks / responsibilities etc. visit with issued by Japan consulate in USA before departure and required 10+ various forms, letters, etc.

Out n About to Teshima

the hilltop minimalist cafe where fig farmers served curry and you can chop your own green onions

Briefly: The many islands of the Seto inland sea (nestled between our home prefecture of Okayama and neighbour pref. Kagawa and the 4th of the main island of Japan Shikoku) host a triennialle art festival – not shockingly unheld for a few years – more to say about the economic goodness and reinvention and volunteer spirit but for now, i’ll say:

We went with our guests rather spontaneously (they had planned and reserved museum access) by our groovy “Esquire” van, then walked onto ferry and used various busses around the island of Teshima, ate curry, drank coffee/tea, more curry, postcards, then a walk-on ferry back to Uno port, more art and drive to Okayama station – the busiest day i’ve had in forever but was buoyed by conversation, views and friendship. Further annotations follow:

whilst friends went to museum, r, i and i went to a hilltop sorta café (really some fig farmers putting out a shingle for a few hours a day) and enjoyed views of Inushima (Isles of Dogs) and back to Okayama #panorama

Ichiro, postcards, ships (all sizes) etc

After our day out, in the bath he explained over and over again all the different modes of transportation and conveyance (big ferry boat, small ferry boat, two buses, baby car/stroller, our usual van etc.) he used during that day, using new sentence construction skills with conjunctions and verb conjugations. His magnificent brain spinning – even working out the names of our friends.

this obv was not our ferry but Ichi loved checking out all the fune

Lil dude got a bit of a fat lip running down the hill too fast and tripping but still was able to chill out at a café and enjoy his beverage.

dude knows how to lounge at a quirky curry cafe with Suzuki and Ota san

Papa wrote postcards and drank chai, sitting on cushions and sending geo-coordinates to pals who found us at カレー喫茶 異邦人 near Ieura port across the island from Kubota where we originally disembarked.

Ichiro mailed my postcards for me. “Choose the right portal for postcards Ichiro” i said {update: he did, what a smart fella} Inventory: 2 cards from Teshima to Gifu and Kyoto.

2 are decoys but one whisks secrets anywhere

Ichiro has now learned how to use the coffee bean grinder and insists on being the coffee captain in the morning, two scoops of the right beans, puts on the lid, covers with his hand, inspects to see if it’s the right grind for French press or Moka pot, all very serious & perfect.

And my darlings auditioned for a role in the next Wes Anderson movie (so to speak) with a pose by this blue truck.

blue, red, yellow – the day was my fave sort of weather, warm, breezy and overcast

Back to the port – love the salty smell, rusty metal and reinvention from industrial manufacturing and process to artistic tourism.

Ieura port – like most of Pacific coast of Japan, lots of factories in various states of use or decay, boats/ships of all kinds including container ships and now ferries, all sizes

Dozen+ of these islands with art, more to say but time to head home with my snappy shoes, happy. Thanks family and friends.

Fluevogs, since 1970 (like me) now with new aglets – getting very worn in

Diary: apropos of nothing (sleeping masks, hockey, mosquito net, laundry)

Really nothing to the usual days except for the brilliance of usual days, appros of really nothing, i annotate for amusement. Carry on in a disinter-mediated manner:

new kamidana house shrine for ancestors – made in Tottori from a slab of gingko wood

Okayama memo: The thing I really like most about is its very “usualness” {aside from being famous for the Momotaro peach boy story and being a “place you pass through to get to other places”} is also almost always sunny but not today (this Cascadian doesn’t mind the rain though).

My 1st era in Japan in the early 90s, was in Tottori (remote w/ kei-truck), later hiding out near Miasa, Nagano. When came back few years ago, found Okayama was just right / Not a hectic sensory overload city but has big hospital, Immigration etc.

Yes, we “lean heavily” into Momotaro folktale here and the image of a peach is scattered all over from statues to utility pole covers and gosh, peaches with a boy coming out of them can look really funny! And apparently it’s the sunniest prefecture in Japan. 

By post: Three pack of organic oatmeal arrived. {always mean to scribble down “tasting notes“ with all the different kinds but never do and never remember which ones were “great“ but all are, you know, good enough} ~ Eat each morning with variety of nuts, berries and sometimes yogurt.

Today by post: hori hori garden tool (this one is artisan made, previously ordered for wife and mother-in-law from off-the-shelf made-in-Japan company) / this one needs sharpened up and it didn’t come with a case/holster :( feels good in the hand though.

Day in the life:

  • ate salad with smoked salmon for lunch
  • loaded our new tiny dishwasher
  • sent a telegram, really
  • attempting to remove chewing gum from a pocket of a favorite shirt with ice packs #pending

now a rest before finishing laundry

Next day: One oatmeal, three coffees, two baskets of laundry, two hockey games… Now switching to loungewear and some tax paperwork. Then maybe repair a wicker stool after lunch.

Update: some arcane tax documents prepared, stamped, notarized, faxed, ready to mail in Duplicate etc. Indian curry and smoked salmon/avocado/lettuce salad lunch with darling. Next (going to try) to put a new seat on this wicker stool with hemp cloth and upholstery thumbtacks.

It’s not a masterpiece but it’s decent. Sturdy Polish hemp cloth, rugged long tacks & see how it goes. Hooray for hexagons!

Continue reading Diary: apropos of nothing (sleeping masks, hockey, mosquito net, laundry)

Diary: April, tiny steps (are what you take)

April 月 4 / Tiny steps (are what you take)

Oh hello May: after I fold this laundry, going to flip over the nine calendars in the house. Then, make turmeric tea and catch up the dishes while darling wife and wonderful child are at tea ceremony.

So April, more “tiny steps” and otherwise in the last two weeks in the previous 3 1/2 months…ergo:

  • went out into the world and met some people and learned some things about traditional houses and permaculture, even some hugs
  • Ryoko’s birthday and our third wedding anniversary, and other erstwhile milestones (recaps available)
  • so many other birthdays of dear friends! Noting that seems most of my friends, like 85%, birthdays are in August (like me) or an April. I have some wonderful friends and made a lot of phone calls to send best wishes
  • sent a few postcards, this seems obvious but this year I’ve been on hiatus of sorts
  • caught-up-ish on a few “life administration” tasks, answered a whole load of email yet of course, as it goes, more just come in #ImTryingMyBest
  • attended a memorial service for a kind gentle sake master at a Buddhist temple, made friends with the Abbott, exchanged artwork, watched my adorable son nap in a room with 3000 wooden carved Buddhas representing those passed on and who are read sutras annually. Also came home with a necktie, kimono and sake cups.
  • received some very kind packages from near and far with thoughtful and practical treats.
  • news of friends getting married, others having babies, others losing loved ones. As Gary Snyder wrote to Lew Welsh, “teach the kids, it’s all about the cycles”. #Peace
  • continued small steps to improve the campsite (metaphorically, our home) and supporting wife who unflinchingly and constantly takes on increasingly complicated projects like it’s no big deal

As always, more to say, I’m always “behind” but really, far far ahead and eternally grateful for your kind words, positivity, hopes of peace ++ I see your hard work, I see your struggles and always cheering for you.

Fondly, dvo at Tsuchida Cottage

Ichiro heading out to tea ceremony

Happy Golden Week (to those who celebrate :)), otherwise, general happy days in good times to all – from us at Tsuchida Cottage.

[Update] changed the calendars (only eight as didn’t go outside to change the one in the carport), tidied the house, dinner with my darlings and of course bathtime (best time!)

In bed at nine, read a book, zonked out (aside from midnight sleepwalking foraging for a snack) >> now it’s nine in the morning the next day and I feel like I ran a half marathon and drank at least eight beers and flew across 17 time zones. This illness #MECFS is a trickster. But I’m happy.

Oh, I made at least three phone calls yesterday just to shoot the breeze and catch up with friends and family.

3rd Anniversary: Wedding outfit flashback/recap

How many outfits can you wear for one wedding celebration? It turns out, a lot (but never enough!) Let’s briefly recap.

Day Two, Shinto Shrine:

photo by the hired “pro” photog, edited by daveo

Three years ago 4/20 Heisei 31 at Munetada Jinjya – Friends and family on day two of our three day #DR0420 wedding festival, which has gracefully extended well into three years of daily perfection.

Day Three, Goat Farm:

Yesterday was three years since the Shinto ceremony at the shrine (say that three times fast) and three years today was the celebration at Mac Kobayashi’s goat farm & music library (we’ll probably stop by today).

at the goat farm, right after bonus vows in English (3rd ceremony of 3, in 3 days) ^ by Robert Scales, ed. daveo (daveo filter, No Patent Pending)

Coming down the aisle after the vows, this time in English (previous was Japanese and the previous previous was a matter of signing & stamping papers at the city office after laboriously verifying ID supervised by my flower bearing attorney Lindsay Bailey in a fantastic dress).

It was really the funnest of times! Beloved friends and family from so many countries and Ryoko’s admirers arriving from around Japan from her different circles and communities of arborists, gardeners, jazz & ska musicians, Lindy Hop dancers, French and Chinese language classes… and various free radicals, Mountain ramblers, Coffee roasters, beer makers whiskey distillers ornamental tree artists, singers, smoking three-piece jazz band, a couple of MCs. Plenty of dancing, so much food, the best gift bags ever (featuring Bizen-yaki sake cup and DIY tea ceremony set). Decorations abounding thanks to the diligent assistance of the “Goat Farm hippie hostel compound dwellers” et al.

Getting ready was extra fun since i forgot half my outfit at the house requiring Tom Sawyering some friends to do the meandering drive to pick up shirt, coat, vest etc.

Meanwhile, Ryoko was readying with dress, makeup, hair and all of it. Kris Krüg captured her (magnificent) progress while he and Robert Scales helped me chill (captured by Lindsay Bailey) and prepare for the ceremony before walking me down the “aisle” (goat path) (captured by ??? Duane Storey??). #smooches

Day One, City Hall

Bonus: Flower bearing attorney supervising me to the City Hall and witnessing our paperwork. Photo: Kris Krüg outside 後楽ホテル Okayama Koraku Hotel
^Photo Lindsay Bailey ❤ (ed. daveo)

Outside the Okayama City Office – which got a little complicated as they flipped through thick books comparing my birth certificate to other Canadian examples from the Northwest Territories and so on.

Unsurprisingly, they got hung up on my middle names and spelling of my birth town (all of which which had to be rendered in phonetic katakana).

Relieved, made it out of there eventually and somehow that was enough to be “official“ >> then headed to the welcome party at Livehouse Bird to see all the international renegades (and immediately Tom Sawyer them to tasks)… So many wonderful humans and was particularly fantastic to see friends from different areas of my life connect like that already known each other for decades.

Day Four, rolling home

The day after the 3-day scheduled festivities concluded and shifted into ad-hoc goodtimes, Ryoko and I rode the city bus from our downtown Okayama hotel to our home in Tsuchida neighbourhood in Okayama Higashi.

Rolling Uno Bus with flowers 25k cash in a suitcase, bottle of high-proof whiskey & wearing a kilt with underpants just bought at a konbini store

We looked pretty awesome: her in a flower lacy dress and Royal Stewart cape and me in kilt, socks and sandals and trilby hat – carrying the aforementioned old-time suitcase of magic envelopes, bouquet of flowers, bottle of grog and endless smiles back to our lil home and the future.

3 years later

present times: same goat farm, same date (but rain falls on goats) – and now we are are three >> forever awaits

3rd anniversary vibes from goat farm

variety of circumstances, of sorts
Mac’s lounge panorama funtimes

Diary: (inexplicably) myriad tasks from Gravelly Beach, Oct. 15, 2004

As it goes, while looking for something else, I came across a diary from 2005 – published in a proto-blog software (w/o RSS) made by Ben Livingston and hosted by Jay Stewart – or something like that… anyway… for whatever reason I can’t find the original text but oddly, there is a screenshot of “entry #5”.

Notable because of the monumental tasks checked down the list like no big deal.

  • Was days of running Zhonka Broadband ISP, making documents of all sorts
  • Alluding to starting “Postcards from Gravelly Beach” and “Choogle on with Uncle Weed” pods (check and check)
  • Moving to Bernice’s double wide on Gravelly Beach road
  • Doing renovations on the Puget Street house and sore back after a bit of shock seeing the police shakedown unsuspecting neighbour kids coming out of their house and laying them down in the middle of the road with guns drawn for no fcking reason(!)
  • Writing letters of judicial political support (lotta lobbying in those days)
  • Adding links to a website (hello here we are)
  • Thinking about starting on oil paintings (done) and a novel length project (not done)

Yep, all that like its no big deal.

Oh of course, what i was reading at the time (Salinger bio, Keroauc, Dostoevsky, Hemingway) – note namecheck for Last Word Books – and digging clams

Around the same time I also wrote the LSAT (law school admission test) studying for which is notably not on the list.

Anyhow, always be archiving.

Diary: “i much prefer the mundane” – campsite tasks and musings

Continuing to document the mundane / usual days >> like another “waiting for a bus (when i shoulda adjusted my flower) to go to seitai medical treatment”.

Really though, just an excuse to say “thanks for all the kindness of late” – its nice to be your friend + poetry, convos & snaps.

By the way, these are the glasses that were broken several weeks ago and now magically repaired… Serving me well since 1994 (on and off)

Bits and pieces or recent days included with minor annotations in captions and so on:

First: No tenants in the first birdhouse, though lots of birdies around, but made another one anyhow. Its like a housing development here (with no strata fees).

i might just put action figures in the houses instead – I make bird houses (even though no birds seem want to live in them). But I get to make them regardless. This has zero cost and minimal skill and maximum satisfaction. No conventions or preconceived notions of outcomes

unrelated: after building another birdhouse, i submitted 3 poems to one place and 2 to another, ergo:

* Barbed Wire Scars (approx 37 lines)
* Alchemists Confer with Hypnotists (approx 32 lines)
* Nowhere to Call (approx 21 lines)
++
* How Shall We Fill This Vessel
* Aye Carpathia

Ichiro Bench project: More scraps into action to make a workbench for Ichiro who digs playing with his tools & pounding nails. Ichiro loves playing with brooms, rakes, shovels and these kinds of things so… will drill some big holes in the right side of the bench to stash in his own tools
Continue reading Diary: “i much prefer the mundane” – campsite tasks and musings

Diary: mowing lawns and Tchaikovsky (ca. 2005, Gravelly Beach)

I hate mowing lawns worse than anything and I did it twice today.

Gravelly Beach, (off of Steamboat Island Rd.) Puget Sound – Bernice’s house, 2005

After a long hayfever delirium, shower, nap … now awake in yukata robe, loosley tied – a wee bit tattered since I acquired 1992 at a Tottori hot spring. 

Painting on backporch, almost out of colors so the sky is purple and swirly with white and tetch of black.  Last of blue goes for water and only green is toolight for dark trees but I slap it on anyhow. 

On back porch listening to Tchaikovsky’s 1812 – cannons and timpani and chimes. Oh yeah it is July 3rd so american fervor is fever pitched and fireworks spurt over the hills from several angles. I hardly notice under the wave of music – heck in Japan I saw fireworks which make joebob and his stash from the tribal stand look weak! 

Of course the rest of the world is at bar-b-q parties and parking lots watching skies for color but I am best trying to savor the last of this tranquil hide-away before Bernice returns next week. 

My studio is aclutter with 13 projects in process as I scramble to get stuff to a “sort done enough” mode to put on hold of a month or a decade.  A healthy sized wooden frame stretched and staple with hemp canvas piled now with a barrage of Belize bric a brac – postcards, painting and pics amongst transport tickets, government stubs, and shells.  europa painting (acrylics) hanging here and there – seems close but all needing time to refine, but not tame, the spontaneity of the composition and stroke. 

Gravelly Beach series of oils are here and there (some larger than others) but mostly dry but some unfinished – oil take so long to dry I am not sure if I should make another pass on them now – yes i’d best whilst still here and can work en plein in the heat of moment. 

Scrapbooks unfinished, notebooks partially filled, papers to go in binders, things to burn, people to leave, things to sell, give, lose, wrap. 

Rim shot fireworks, candles flicker in the breeze, 3 round candles with stands found while packing – or rather sorting stuff from one house to store at another awaiting sale. Can’t exactly “move” unless a destination has been established: Deep Cove, a community in North Vancouver looking likely – a New Belgian beer and chai tea in ceramic mug complete the table tableau.

In breaks of action, ohhs and ooohs bounce across the water – strange since I *never* hear anyone and the distance is hard to tell in the inky air.  Drum circle bounces across, past the commercial fishing boat moored up for partying, from Cooper Point hippie hoe down, a neighbour cranks Boz Scagg’s Lido Shuffle which always (along with a certain Fleetwood Mac song) reminds me of 3rd grade afternoons at a baseball park, sneaking in woods with … {sigh}

Ramen (with yuzu and spring vegetables)

I don’t have any cat pictures on hand but I did photograph today’s Ramen with spring vegetables, yuzu peel and extra pork.

At Gakucho Menya – best place ever (in Okayama and beyond).

See…, I do know how to Internet.

(Disjointed) Musings about Kurt Cobain (2014)

Re: Cobain, 2014 / disjointed miscellaneous annotations 

Thinking of poor dead Kurdt today.

Barely bearable. So many memories:

Accidentally fortunate enough to be dialed in to the Nirvana zeitgeist.

I saw Nirvana at a perfect time, before Nevermind but after Dave Grohl joined. They opened for Dinosaur Jr. at the Pompadour (an old church) in Salt Lake City.

Went away with nothing but the thoughts that they were the *most perfect* band i’d seen: i could hum the songs right away (“gramma take me home, i wanna be alone”) and they were loud (i love loud but Dino Jr. afterwards made everyone huddle in a mass at the back with bleeding ears), and *dareisay* charisma & confidence oozed from all three. They knew what they had ready.

I’ve met Krist a few times since and had him sign the poster from that show, he was surprised to see it as it was part of a few show run to stretch the band out before the whole world changed (for them and us) when Nevermind dropped.

My fave jukebox track was playing the last song on NM which was followed by 10 minute-ish of silence to confuse the bar patrons before the psychedelic mystery track melted their heads.

At Subpop HQ

At Subpop HQ

At Subpop HQ

Living in Olympia after he died, his ghost was everywhere and people always spoke in hushed tones about him.

His old house (from where he used to shoot at the Lottery bldg.) was right by my (OlyWa.net / Zhonka) office – the current resident was a customer even – i saw the graffiti he put on the walls of their jam space, drank at the bars he did, spent a year driving to Aberdeen on weekends for college classes and sadness of that town was palatable.

I learned he was dead weeks after it happened. I was in Japan working high in the remote mountains as a mushroom farmer and a pithy Brit mentioned it in a “good riddance” tone around a campfire at a log home builders party. I had to walk away.

{As an aside, i can’t thinking about another Olympia refugee who met an early self-inflicted (yet somewhat mysterious) demise, Elliott Smith. These dudes were more or less my age and i think my best work is still ahead of me at 43 and feel cheated from the songs we’ll never hear from them.}

But the strongest emotion is one is empathy and how i wished i could have helped them navigate the pitfalls of the “machine” which turned their outward projection into something they didn’t want to be.

And we all want to be known as who we really are.

The relentless photo, tours, hangers-on, pressure, misunderstandings. Let him breathe!

Be kind to artists, be kind to battered souls, be nurturing to those who dull the pain with the easiest escapes.

Here’s a peace pipe for us all to pass and remember a remarkable lightning bolt.

The 5 albums (counting Unplugged & Insecticide but not the endless bootlegs, other live, compilations, reissues blah blah blah) are all significantly different and explore so much musical territory in such rapid time is rather remarkable – reacquainting his muse with each release.

We missed the Kurt album with the 20 minute jams, the one where he played with Roma, the one where with spoken word stories, the one with lullabies, the one where he went surrealist, the one where Dave sang the songs, the one when they added an accordion player or a melodica, the one where he played right handed.

PS If you haven’t seen it, watch “About A Son” – a curious doc with intimate voice recordings with Cobain overlaid with scenes of Aberdeen, Olympia and Seattle. His voice oozes sincerity, intensity, sadness, elation and confusion.