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: Christmas Concert with Mae Maes and Friends

Mae Maes Christmas concert (plus fresh poster for a show in Tamano featuring Ryoko’s painting & design).

On Dec. 22nd at a store in Tsudaka, Okayama, Ryoko and her Mae Maes bandmates held a Christmas concert with 2 shows which included their originals, some festive standards including some sing-a-longs. I rolled out with M-i-L and met up with some of the usual fans, enjoyed some conversations and coffees. 

The ladies were in fine form and their new pianist Kazuko-san getting more comfy each gig.

Continue reading Diary: Christmas Concert with Mae Maes and Friends

Diary: Christmas Eve, Day and Boxing in Okayama, 2019

Christmas isn’t really an “event” in Japan, more of a marketing campaign and a prelude to New Year’s Eve which is laden with tradition, nostalgia and routine. It’s kinda my speed as i am def turned off by rampant commercialism quasi-religious sabre-rattling which comes around. 

Regardless, with new family (and more family arriving in 2020) i wanted to wrangle a bit of festiveness – also acknowledging been a long while since i had vaguely “regular” christmas and while this was atypical, established some new routines, scratched an itch… after all, with the turmoil in my life the last years, there is admittedly some misgivings and rather tough emotions which come around during all this hoolpa. Most importantly, got to show love and respect for wife and in-laws. 

PS You can see a bit of building up for Christmas and read a riff between a friend and i about this holiday in Japan in: Diary: Christmas Forthcoming / out n about and at home in Okayama, 2019

What follows are a few poorly-photographed artifact of activities from Dec. 24 – 26 JST. Carry On!

First off, Dec. 24 (christmas eve) we made dinner of grilled mackeral, squash, pickled cucumbers and tsukemono carrots, greens, miso soup, tea, rice, lotus root, and whatnot. Yup, not off to a very traditional start – ha!

Christmas morn, we opened our stockings (pictured above) purchased from a 100yen store ($1), nothing but the best! and enjoyed toast with cream cheese and my kaki (persimmon) jam which i am always talking about, and nashi (pear). My sock had snacks, Ryoko’s had expired 35mm film and a necklace and snacks. 

Then we went to post office (one of my fave activities of course) and i wore a Santa cap (borrowed from Ryoko who wore at Mae Maes Christmas concert) to the amusement of the post office staff and the kids at the grocery store which was our next stop. Folks are stocking up for New Years time during which many stores are closed or scaled back hours and folks generally wanna hunker down. 

Then we picked up a pre-made feast from a great lil cafe called Sakura-mi we had ordered a while back when we went on a little lunch date. Here’s the café’s post box.

And i got to make a fire in the wood stove. So yeah, post office and fire making in the same day! Pleased. 

Took the grub home and set up at parent’s house (next door).

Continue reading Diary: Christmas Eve, Day and Boxing in Okayama, 2019

Diary: Christmas Forthcoming / out n about and at home in Okayama, 2019

Some kind of phone… possibly from a battlefield or remote office

We headed out on some errands to return the felt sheets used in the tea ceremony at assassinated Prime minster Inukai Tsuyoshi’s home to a strange little office in a corridor with the cigarette smell cemented into the cracked linoleum floors which all evoked the lost Showa times.

Along the way, a saw some shops, ate ramen, developed film, checked out cameras and whatnot. 

First though, along one of these covered shopping arcades which i totally dig (how does Vancouver not have these everywhere?), continued my rather absurd documentation of phone boxes.

I would call you but haven’t figured out where to buy a phone card. Also noting these “midori denwa” (green phones) are abundant and in beautiful condition but i (not shockingly) never see one in use. 

PS Did someone call a doctor? #joke My friend in Adelaide Australia made the snap into a fun cartoon-y image. I might do this with all photos in future. 

Continue reading Diary: Christmas Forthcoming / out n about and at home in Okayama, 2019

Splendid Journey Ahoy!

Seems Dave and Ryoko are bound on a splendid journey.

デイブと良子は素晴らしい旅に出かけているようです。

Arriving June 2020

2020年6月に到着

Annotations re: Star Wars IX and personal historical notes

A few remarks regarding Star Wars IX “The Rise of Skywalker“ #NoSpoilers

Empathy is the greatest power or attribute worth striving towards and is cultivated (in large part) from kindness, calmness, self confidence and trust in others

War brings displacement and costs beyond death of fighters… Cultural loss, loss of personal history, plus refugee situations & family separation which can bring trauma for generations.

While you can’t choose whom you share blood with, you can choose “family“ and love beyond status, background, gender, species etc.

Rewards come eventually and sometimes in unexpected ways – Patience is your ally.

As you continue the hero’s journey, mentors and icons fall away, you will become your own hero. Be empathic to self, choose your family wisely.

Ryoko purchased tickets in the special super comfy theatre – the loungey reclining seats came with slippers and a tray for your snacks. was my first time in a cinema in Japan as it goes. I coulda sat there for a trilogy!
Continue reading Annotations re: Star Wars IX and personal historical notes

Diary: Kaki / Permissions, various notes and projects

Kaki (persimmon) perhaps the most under-appreciated fruit (to me at least). So interesting! Looks vaguely like a tomato with colour of an orange, firmness of apple or soft pear sometimes, texture like passionfruit or something – Only drawback is tricky to peel and prepare for clumsy folks (me).

The neighbourhood is loaded with full trees right now – i can’t eat fast enough!

Continue reading Diary: Kaki / Permissions, various notes and projects

Annotations re: The Clash’s London Calling turning 40

snap of The Clash shared via Margereta Holmdahl, credit unknown

A few sundry/spontaneous  remarks about London Calling, The Clash’s remarkable album, turning 40 as well as a few miscellaneous  annotations about The Clash’s canon:

London Calling had the element of surprise as the world (or the record company) had no idea that this eclectic mix of americana, ska, rockabilly, mushy songs, political songs, fun songs, songs recorded in 1 take, a rock drummer playing like Ginger Baker without the prog and the almost alien guitar playing of Mick Jones. No one knew what to expect and it exploded as a secret, delivered mere hours before the EOY deadline.

The double LP was packed in one sleeve (to save label and fans money) and Train in Vain was Mick’s last minute addition (that’s why the mix sounds so different too) with Topper, no Joe or Paul on that track.

Continue reading Annotations re: The Clash’s London Calling turning 40

Diary: Autumn Miscellany, scenes of “regular life” in Okayama

made a little photo book for gift and sale featuring postboxes of the world, post offices here and there, and letter writing “still lifes” scenes with stationery and bevvies (note to self: post a link or something to purchase this book)

A few years ago (or less), each day was quite tough. Now, each day i deal with pain and confusion but enough joy and interestingness to compensate. My brain fires but i have to throttle as i get headaches and eye strain very easily, i remain very sensitive to light and sounds so use dark glasses and ear plugs when out and about.

Anyhow, there are several recent “standalone” dispatches of activities and outings (Mae Maes concerts, tea ceremony, museums, tours…) but this post simply gathers up miscellaneous whatnots which don’t really chronicle anything but normal day-to-day tasks and action with brief annotations.

coffee and cake date with the amazing Ryoko who amazes me daily with her tenacity, honesty, grace and endless interests

Continue reading Diary: Autumn Miscellany, scenes of “regular life” in Okayama

Diary: Thrift Store annotation

Reason number 182 I love Japan life: thrift stores/recycle shops are absolutely fantastic!

This one features racks and racks of good > great clothes, and great bargains if you aren’t looking for specific “fancy“ import brands, and everything properly washed, labeled, tagged and arranged. And today everything is 30% off!

Oh, and this one also has a whole section of kimonos, dozens and dozens and dozens. But today, we’re looking for a dress for Ryoko’s next MaeMaes concert.

Noting there are lots of “hip“ secondhand stores with mostly imported stuff, picked from North American stores and marked up to eye-watering levels, this one is just a “regular folks” store yet treasures abound for day-to-day life.

++

Purchased: three dresses and a plaid overcoat for the wife, and a groovy blazer, cardigan sweater with pockets, trousers and lounging robe, all wool, for me

Also noting how pleased I am when wool items are properly prepared for sale, and not thrown in the washer and dryer as so often happens, rendering them useless (so many lost Pendletons!)

Diary / Museum: Tea ceremony, PM Inukai house + grave & trains plus citrus fruits

One of these two is a former Prime Minister who was assassinated while his house guest Charlie Chaplin (also allegedly targeted in the assassination to – oddly enough – provoke the US into war) was at a sumo tournament. The other is a happy poet who loves small museums. 

Indeed, today (Dec. 15) was a tea ceremony at former PM Inukai Tsuyoshi’s house (he was assassinated by 11 young officers in 1930s during the chaotic military build-up period of Japan) here in Okayama. 

First off, went to the tea ceremony with our group including Mitsuko-san with whom i rode the fantastic local Uno bus to the station where Yano-san picked us up in his van along with our tea sensei Matsuki and we met Sachiko-san at the event. 

Ryoko was in charge of the wagashi (sweets) for the event. There is more to say about tea ceremony but suffice to say, there is a lot of preparation and intention but the actual event is rather brief and while calm, not necessarily solemn but rather jovial.

Continue reading Diary / Museum: Tea ceremony, PM Inukai house + grave & trains plus citrus fruits