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

Tree Measures Time (with patience & art)

so much history right here for me and all of it witnessed by this glorious gingko tree – photo by Ryoko Olson, painting by me

A journey of 30 years starts with a single act quitting a terrible mushroom farmer job and hitchhiking to a cow farm to shakedown gear & head into eveywhere. 

Years later, you meet a remarkable girl, throw a raging party with international renegades, goats are swapped for the cows, the espresso is top shelf and the gingko tree measures the changes.

Postcards available on site (at Rural Caprine Farm, Mac Kobayashi, farmer)

PS in reply to a comment, keeping here for keeping:

Yeah travel gets complicated and strangely enough, amongst all the “public health conundrums” and just been in one place for a long time, I’ve had the most incredible 18 months of my life, I almost just accidentally. But Japan is a wonderful place to visit, it’s easy to get around and such a variety of geography and culture and everything from ultra-modern to old-timey coexisting next to each other.By the way, in my endless folder of “almost finished but not quite” essays to put up on my website is a practical guide to traveling while dealing with chronic/complex illness… A few airport/airplane/travel hacks (for lack of a better word) I’ve used to skate around the world while dealing with #MECFS etc

My world switches rapidly between black and white and Technicolor depending on the hour. Do you have this one in your collection yet? Do you know anytime you see something of mine you’d like, I’ll make you a postcard of it. I’d like to imagine I’m on your refrigerator

Diary: Sea Legs Under Me (making videos and audios)

Yup, accidentally a fisher-person with “made in Greece” fisher’s cap and a fishing vest (gift from Cmdr Bob) perhaps foreshowing a future hobby :) oh that’s the wood stove behind me, now with safety fence – its so great!

+ finding stride, making things and preparing for others +

Yeah, don’t know, maybe you noticed but im making a lot of audio/video recently, and semi-importantly – trying to step-up my technical production standards. It’s not really my forté. Requires lots of adapters, extenders, dongles and testing… I just like to do the part where I tell stories.

First, a snappy yet functional outfit to fit the autumn rain (rare here in our area), a bite to eat, another coffee, half an hour of paperwork (during which I try to ignore all the emails I haven’t replied to and resist the urge to edit another video clip I have on standby about a few new books I received my post), and go sort-ganize to get ready for another shoot tomorrow.

This next dispatch introduces and shares some artifacts from my 1996/7 documentary film about hemp in all it’s forms. specifically the segment from Olympia WA’s capital dome in the midst of California’s groundbreaking proposition 215.

setting up all the lights, mics, cords and tripods etc isn’t my fave part of the project but i’m sorta figuring it out – since this photo, put “sof boxes” over the lights and really relying on a couple of iPads and lightning lav mic as the Canon DSLR with fancy mic isn’t getting along with my flow so far

Will set up the clip in studio, roll the film clip, and come back with a few pieces of ephemera, catch ups about some of the faces you’ll see & foreshadow the following week’s live Q&A chat with hopefully a special guest or two if I can figure out some technology. Ugh.

I’m at the hospital for most of the day on Thursday which means Friday is going to be a rest and recovery day.

fondly, dvo

PS have you watched my recent videos/listen to recent audio? No big deal, just think you might enjoy.

Here’s me messing around setting up the studio – with all sorts of cords, dongles, tripods, lights and mics – in prep for an Uncle Weed Storytime shoot.

Poets, Passports, Postcards in the Cascadia Consulate

Burning sage, sharing global postal arrivals, variety of historic & alt passports, dropping needle on Ginsberg’s Howl, digressions on reconciliation, exhaustion & <3 for pals & family. 

Poets, Passports, Postcards in the Cascadia Consulate

Feeling weary, burning sage and obviously *not at his best* Dave meanders through topics including (not necessarily in this order):

Passports galore! From CCCP, Yugoslavia, USA, Albania, Romania and *alt* passports from The Matinee Band https://thematineemusic.com and Cascadia Bioregion https://cascasdiabioregion.org / with my *important photo choosing process* {and yes this dear old grain storehouse is the Setouchi Consulate of Cascadia}. Come get your passport stamped (just not right now). 

Membership for the Beat Museum (join/participate/visit http://kerouac.com) Leading to riffs about Jack Kerouac Alley, City Lights bookstore (http://citylights.com) and my photo tour of the North Beach, San Francisco environs.

First spins of Allen Ginsberg’s Howl on red vinyl (thanks ScurvyDawg) along with ephemera and riffs about the “6 Poets at 6 Gallery” (legendary reading) and how you can do something like that, i.e.: 1) make a poster and postcard, 2) invite folks, 3) pass a hat for wine. 

And *Loads* of postcards and packets from:

* Sri Lanka (see Rasika’s YouTube channel @CeylonRelation)

* Powell River, BC; Olympia (Greece, not Washington); Kentucky

* Estonia with items from Aqaba, Jordan (maybe you’ve heard from Lawrence of Arabia)

Musing about phone calls with Uncle Mark, buddies Scales in Montreal and Kemp in Vancouver, and pal Cam’s 50th birthday (I made a video with ukulele)

And even:

* Being good papa and hubby (so lucky! hot dinner and bath)

* Visitor Ted (mountain guide) and a new book case so filled with wonder! 

* Gord Downie’s Secret Path and final days

* First Nations reconciliation & shame of residential school (poem)

* DownieWenjack foundation (donate)

* Indian Residential School Survivor’s Society (donate)

* Brother on Diego Garcia and flashback to Ghandruk, Annapurna district, Nepal

* Miracle of Death” and being weak and making art through the transition

* Larry’s Dark Star Ranch and not knowing whether a particular beast is an Elk or a Deer (indeed! we collectively know so little)

Other rambling meanderings about feeling a bit exhausted from this year of house renovation, firewood (first fire and making firestarters) and getting adorable son Ichiro into school, plus so many medical appointments and endless paperwork to get properly settled. Whew.

How to find my address: tip = anywhere/everywhere.

Yes I do send a lot of postcards. You can join the club if that’s of interest ($5 gets you a piece of handmade art each month) https://daveostory.com/shop 

Plus thanks for Banghi and Maddog for holding books and records (support book stores and humans)

So much, so little, such nothing and everything and anything. Settle in. 

Fondy, daveo, Tsuchida Cottage

PS tips of how to improve lighting and sound welcome (memo: there is no natural light in the barn, i want to make well-lit 2 camera videos with quality sound with as minimal processing (moving stuff and files around) as possible. hit me up with ideas

Diary: notary tasks & musings

Just a little bit excited because we have/get to visit a notary public! To drop a significant amount of ¥ for a stamped single photo copy of a gov-issued document to send to a different gov (a Canadian tax agency if you’re curious) so can check off appropriate boxes. This, dear people, is the career choice I missed out on.

I mean, being a notary, (mostly) you sit at a mahogany desk with an assortment of stamps and embossers, possibly a magnifying glass – mostly for effect, and people come and give you money, you stamp things (after looking at them first of course).

Noting, in some jurisdictions, its basic, i.e.: the “mailboxes etc” franchisee is a notary, or remember when i worked at Kinko’s, there was notary services (but not sure anyone ever used).

Some places though, it’s rather expensive and complicated but when you need a notary… you really need a notary, kind of like an emergency locksmith (another great skill because you can double as a jewel thief).

Related: My Mom at times was a notary in state of Utah and I have her embossing certification stamp – all heavy and metal – but being an honest Cub Scout, I would never think to circumvent proper guidelines and use illicitly. I do use for arts and crafts from time to time. (If you want to see evidence, you’re going to have to ask nicely).

Here in Japan, if one were to become a bilingual notary with certified (by embassies etc.) translation services, would be a really sweet gig.

I might whisper this into my son’s ear each night in the bathtub. Might also be something about being an “emergency locksmith” as noted above.

Folks who imagine what emigrant / “ex-pat” life entails have a strange impression that American Express offices still exist &/or embassies are helpful outposts.

But “NO” is only answer for any service/question/request/anything from the Canadian Consulate/Embassy here in Japan.

Aside:

Note: this photo isn’t technically at the same time but since I mentioned him, here’s a cute picture

Well, my son just blew me a kiss on the way out the door to nursery school. Yes, I’m doing really good at parenting & teaching important things. Thank you for asking.
So this means, change out of my luxurious pajamas into trousers & possibly a tie for my big outing to a notary.

Update: the notary office was the fifth floor of a nondescript building with various usual plexiglass separators, metal desks, fluorescent lights and trays with pens and stamps. The finished dossier was four pages & about 15,000¥. Importantly, I won the “best business card” game. I mean I really have the best cards going anywhere and I always win this very important ritual in Japan. {Plus I want them to remember me because we often need these sorts of services. Look at me, relationship building :-)}

Tea/juice made from pine needles

Back home after a stop at a stationery store, folding laundry and drinking pine needle tea.

Thinking about pals Cam, Chris & others making lovely progress in their professional endeavors. Cheering from the sidelines. Next: organize paperwork to send to gov offices.

I *really* took this snap to look “executive” and share with a friend for a laff (cause I’m far from any sort of executive-ness)… & Yes I’m actually in the stationery store restroom and I am not wearing a tie (obviously). but, these posts look better with some photos added so here we are

PS While at the stationæry store, I picked up a sweet new ink stamp from the discount bin, as well as yet another roll of washi paper masking tape.

I also have a video shot last week in the barn, but then kind of went into “crash mode”. Wanna finish that up before it’s too “stale”… It’s no big deal, it’s not like anyone’s waiting anxiously for me riffing topics about CCCP passports, miracles, Ginsberg’s “Howl” on red vinyl. [Retroactive update: this video “poets, passports and postcards in the Cascadian consulate” is now completed and available for your viewing amusement]

Diary: Minor expeditions (library, hospital etc) & phone + the future

Minor expedition ~ libraries feel like home to me… When I first arrived in my new home city, this was a frequent sequestration but it’s been well over a year, so i felt a bit dizzy from all the possibilities (plus I just finished some medical treatment which spins me out).

Anyhow, I didn’t bring anything home – got kind of too much on the go right now – but Ryoko filled up a satchel including topics around horticulture, charcoal making, vinegar, bamboo, various food things and plant things, the usual.

We also had a small snack at the embedded café – They have a really nice curved couch however it was occupied.

PS Noticed a bag for sale saying “you are absolutely necessary“ which, obviously you are.

Backtracking: Sept 30 was hospital check-in day so that means I put on the fancy shoes and take a snap to share… The van Gogh starry night socks aren’t necessarily the best color match but I think the pen ties it all together. Thoughts?

And yes, did get an egg salad sandwich variety pack from the embedded 7-Eleven while we waited.

Just another payphone I didn’t make a call from. I don’t have the cards nor do I know any phone numbers – however, I do appreciate that these devices exist and are well-maintained, clean and magnificent. The industrial design on them is so fantastic. It’s a sort of “peak Japan“ mixing digital and analog, materials & lines.

This photo sparked some reminiscence from other Japan residents in times past when payphones were critical utility, i.e.:

GL says, “Yeah handy too use as a guitar tuner back in the 1900’s. The dial tone is a F . Not the most convenient reference tone but it works to get you tuned up with the rest of the world 🎸”

MB says, “An international Japanese pay phone! The Rolls Royce version compared to their lesser green domestic call only cousins. These grey phones and their locations were coveted and noted when I was a student in Japan though I couldn’t afford to phone card pay for many calls back to Canada where a short call would cost me 1000 yen.”

JW says, “Yeah, I still remember in the early 90s when I first visited here, an international call could cost as much as 500 yen per minute. Later callback services became popular where you would ring a foreign trigger number and hang up (no charge) and the service would call you back and you’d dial the real number you wanted to call, without paying NTT for the privilege, at a much lower rate. Then I could call Los Angeles cheaper than a domestic call from Kanto to Kansai.”

I offer, “Plus having to trudge through the snow to a pay phone at some strange hour to try to contact a friend in another time zoneNow such luxury to blab on endlessly in pyjamas, from home, no cost (with video) seems 25 years changed a centuries worth.”

++ In general (I’ve been meaning to do a video spiel about this) Japan is so different than what I showed up 25 years ago on the mushroom farm and hitchhiked around, I mean, of course places change but there’s a few foundational things that are very different (as well as the massively impactful overarching demographic and economic trends).

I think the next 20 years as my little guy grows up here are really going to be incredible to watch and be part of.

Diary: Nuts, Seeds, Ballots, Cards + soup

Really not very consequential or interesting regardless…

Not only is it the best peanut butter in the world, I get free shipping and it’s great for storage jars

Several “life administration“ tasks on the list today including: a USA ballot (WA state); call to IRS (can’t I just fax them?); same-ish with CRA (will do that by postal letter I think); plus putting a variety of different nuts and seeds in peanut butter jars. Yes, my peanut butter consumption really pays off with extra jars. Think I will do that job first.

Various port commissioner and city Council positions, I sometimes recuse myself from voting but always submit my ballot in gratitude for the excellent service from Washington state secretary of state

Update: US ballot done, and various nuts/seeds/etc. put into jars (Next to the tiny dried fish)

Looks so lovely next to that jar of tiny dried fish for soup stock

Also sortganized my supplements for the next fortnight.

It’s a whole scientific system and do it for a few months, lacking a few magic potions which would put it over the top but impact is well noted

Not quite up for tax forms at the moment so going to fold some laundry and meditate on it.

Continue reading Diary: Nuts, Seeds, Ballots, Cards + soup

Diary: Archival Cabinets, Dirt, Kissaten & Espresso

Picked up a mighty cabinet unit from a crazy junk shop down the road apiece. {The old fella and the lady was so surprised to see my adorable wife driving the k-truck and tying cool trucker knots to secure the load. Yeah she’s the coolest}.

Ryoko’s rig – i love being her sidekick, rolling country roads with a tied down load

plan: Gonna replace these open book shelves on the right (photo below). The new cabinet has glass front doors so I can put in de-humidification packets to control the humidity to keep my fancy collectible books safe and sound.

Don’t worry, the air conditioner is positioned well in front of the stereo and records

Then, will get rid of these shtty IKEA shelves (which are about to collapse under the weight of the books & the records anyway).

The trick is going to be getting this unit up the steep kura stairs as it’s quite heavy. The current crappy shelves attached to the wall with L brackets and all the books and artifacts will need to be thoughtfully removed… This takes some thinking and a friend (Hi Ted!)

We had the home center all to ourselves with attentive staff helping us load up the truck

Also picked up buncha soil, manure, etc stuff for Ryoko’s job site tomorrow. #arborist #landscapedesign

Take a spin, I personally am not qualified to operate motor vehicles at this point in my life

Oh & a quirky bric a brac laden kissaten lunch (with a friendly owner and a variety of bikes and scooters around despite his very limited eyesight, all in a giant dog have a breed I have no reference of).

Clearly a lot of love went into this machine. I wish the coffee shop had a seat other than one rustic wooden bench… Like aesthetically I get it but a little bit of cozy is nice

Finally a stop fancy espresso at an almost too hip coffee roaster with a gorgeous machine which must require diligent maintenance and elegant repairs.

Overall come out way way too much for me in one day but sometimes when the opportunities are there, you gotta do *all of the things* even if it means a couple of recovery days. Life goes on, and I want to be part of it.

Secret Lunch Café (and remembering friends on a path)

1 choice so you don’t hafta order, easy – comes with a salad and water

So after medical treatment yesterday, snuck into secret cafe which had 1 patron (me) & offer only 1 kind of curry per day and every time is magnificent (as is the boss’ hair) *and* this time offered coffee and free gelato after cause i’m a big shot here in Okayama.

coffee and gelato (not pictured, notebook and pen)

I shan’t tell you the name :) Unless asked.

my own private hide out, with jazz, calm lights and very tidy

After, i wandered (got confused looking for the optometrist) and remembered my pals being here for the wedding and we sat on this bench and drank from this fountain (such luxury). I sat and felt grateful for friends.

Oh dear Okayama.

Diary: Tsuchida station grounds projects, various

Busy around the house, now the construction is “done”, doing some garden, yard, landscape, and kura/naya jobs… the glorious mundanity of the tiny things which make all the difference. Be prepared, nothing *shocking* or exciting, just the usual days.

Hemp cloth wrapped on shelves made from wedding dais / under the dust cover is 1982ish Yamaha GT-2000 turntable & analog amp plus TEAC cassette/CD/usb/1/4” deck. Thats not *all the records* but a solid batch.

Another string of lights *and* Palau static montage… legit handcrafted speargun etc etc

Wood splitter, borrowed from forester Ukan and parents split up this rack / its loud & ornery but does the job

All hardwood – mostly oak and maple, odd bits of others (arborist wife often bringing home big chunks) This was all F&M-in-law. Epic. I’ll fire it up though (i just encourage)

Breaking rocks in the hot sun… (Ryoko has made a time-lapse of this rather intensive, long project…)

Continue reading Diary: Tsuchida station grounds projects, various

Item: Boots (at Hospital) + safety ramen

Today’s boots and socks combo for hospital visit. #looksharp / easy on and off is key in Japan / gotta make a simple outing for enjoyable somehow

not only did I wear these sharp boots, I also purchased gum, three packs (1 for back, 1 for car, 1 by door) & a pocari sweat (electrolytes :)) at the embedded 7-11 in hospital

PS Safety ramen before as well #important

Memo: Sept ahoy (settle, tidy, breathe)

this calendar (hanging in our WC) features public bath houses from around Japan, photograph by (I believe) in French lady rambling around living a wonderful life

September Ahoy! Theme: settling in, tidying up, breathing easier / started today with fresh lists and three pots of meal prep

{I make lists and have themes but not so much “goals” or objectives… broad strokes, think of the big things, the details just sorta fall into place} do you have “themes“ of some sort for your months?

August was full of big moves, various concerns, significant events, amplified voices

July had far too many hospital and doctor visits but also opportunity to practice patience and build relationships

A pig, a (big) ukulele, a tree, a phone, a raven… It’s a perfect – although unrelated – image. Thanks Trevor

Tsuchida Station ~ grounds project (weather station)

Now your jovial correspondent Takushi Fujita can transmit detailed weather information directly from Tsuchida Station including temperature, humidity, barometric pressure, UV, wind speed, rainfall and other sundry data.

{Next I hope to get him a shortwave transmitter to send this information “into the sky“ pending/maybe – in the meanwhile will attempt to connect it to Wi-Fi to then connect to various crowd sourced weather data sites, eventually.

Short version of current weather: hot and humid (not scientific :))

Update: found an electrical outlet adapter so I will circle back to get this working and also document the make, model and API for numerous inquiries.

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