Diary: Autumn Miscellany / coffee, ramen, sandwiches, Godzilla, peach tree, ikebana…

“rubber chicken” NOT added to ramen

While dispatches and re-caps of various outings and events exist elsewhere in this archive, life is so wonderful right now i don’t want to miss a thing or fail to appreciate the glorious mundane details of just existing.

As such, what follows are bits and pieces which don’t fit elsewhere,  a round-up of miscellany and odds and ends and mild annotations.

Starting with the pleasantness of stopping for a coffee and receiving a free lil sandwich plate (and seeing Ryoko’s adorableness :)). 

The internets instructs food photos be posted with frequency.

Thanks Shiro-Kuma (white bear) cafe.

Onward to Setouchi where Ryoko’s Mae Mae’s band played a short concert at a community centre. (Note: Everyone is quite nice to me and not doing the “over the top” friendliness thing cause i’m an obv foreigner, just pleasant – this is much because folks are happy to see Ryoko happy i think – she is adored by so many!)

This event also included some other performers doing “traditional” enka singing. We bought Ryoko’s dress together too – it’s all cute handmade and reminds me of Olympia in the 1990s somehow. 

Was attached to a library so i hung out there as well and saw an article about poetry songwriter champion Robert Hunter – valiantly resisted urge to clip for my scrapbook. 

I continued my collection of photos of telephones and postboxes of course…  there is no *purpose* except to document variety for the future. 

Still getting to understand local weather… no big deal but November is chilly in evening but sunny dang near every day. Vancouver rains all the time this time of years. The last few years, i’ve escaped to warmer climes to avoid coldness. 

This is our home compound (parent’s house to right).

While in Kurashiki for Jazz street event, i stopped into this paper shop and had nice chat with obaachan (granny) running the place. Stashing here so i can find again… also signed up for an online class through Keio University about washi traditional Japan paper types.

Took a walk to a local shrine and sat on the steps to record a video for virtual pals in East African countries doing educational community-building events with KK. This was the view from the perch.

Next, you may have noticed documentation of a day-out to Bizen – this is an olden town (note Okayama city was bombed to destruction in Pacific War however the outlying areas – including our neighbourhood and other nearby villages – escaped unscathed… i’ll be learning more about wartime in Okayama in months to come) for a pottery festival. 

Anyhow, we went with Ryoko’s o-cha (tea ceremony) group to a special tea event in Bizen. We drank tea (2 cups) which amped enough caffeine goodness to spin me out! Afterwards, checked an ikebana (flower arranging) exhibit. 

I’m obv not an expert but i can get behind anything… something about balance is important here. 

On another outing, i couldn’t help but snap this romen densha (streetcar) done up in pink. The coaches are from various decades and all in all, cheap, efficient and enjoyable to ride around Okayama. The world’s cities need more at-grade streetcars – why isn’t this the first option rather than elevated tracks or underground systems? 

I don’t really ride the local trains too much – usually ride the wonderful Uno Bus company’s service from my home to the city when needed (has wi-fi, power outlets, seat covers, spotless clean, friendly drivers and “pay how your actual distance” fares), however, this is the local station if you ever come visit. 

As a wedding gift from the city government (!) we were able to pick out a tree to commemorate our union. The big day came to pick it up, we choose a momo (peach) tree as this is Okayama signature agriculture product (and yes, no finer peaches exist in the world!). 

We went to a working forest park and educational dome to pick it up. 

Fortunately Ryoko is an expert so planting won’t be challenging :)… Summary: dig a hole, put it in, replace soil, add water.

They conduct various workshops and educational events in this groovy dome building… 

The dome building reminded me of Neal and Joanna’s Dome Wonderland in Metchosin, BC – a very special place.

Oh there was a Godzilla made of cicada husks there amongst other oddities. 

This face looks like she just received some big news and/or is keeping a secret. Either way, this was sandwiches, soup and coffee at Blue Beige cafe. 

Did i mention elsewhere the biggest/best difference in Japan compared to Japan in early 1990s is the profilieration of great coffee? Like Japan went from canned/instant/drip “1st wave” direct to “3rd wave” single origin Arabica pour-over and espressos? Well for those who want the goodness and not the pablum of “2nd wave” chains. 

This coffee above was after a visit to this are shrine for an offering and moment of contemplation. Wash L > R > mouth > ladle, walk to side, coin > bow > clap clap > pray > bow. 

Spend a few hundred yen for a special prayer board – write your hopes, dreams, needs etc…

This prayer board is especially powerful as it includes wild boar! (moustache not included)

Peace to all – full bellies, warm beds, creative flow, moments of leisure, and endless empathy.