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. 

Out n about on errands which means: stop for ramen (of course)!

In this case, Gokucho which is thhhheeee beeeesssstttt (thanks sempei Mac Kobayashi for wisdom).

And a coffee break at a 2nd floor kissaten-esque cafe with a boss who did not speak a word (learn about kissaten on this fella’s journey).

Somehow this ashtray made an epic journey from “somewhere” to this table. Nevertheless, i did not utilize. 

Noted a groovy 2nd hand store, what a coat! and such boots!

Meanwhile back at home, continued by “hobby” of making things from persimmons (kaki). Also postcards,… as predictable (pictured elsewhere).

Note the knife which is an incredible specimen… Not “pretty” but beauty in utility. Japanese steel is all its cracked up to be. 

Result: 3 jars of jam! Will be tasty with biscuits and coffee. Yes we rock a Moka pot, my all-around fave way to prepare the elixir. As seen on out gas range – 2 burner with a fish griller thingy. Like camping. No oven (we do have a toaster oven). 

Also made hummus with advice from brother Dan. Ground up cumin seeds in a mortar and pestle picked up in Indonesia. 

Oh and made a festive kiosk with treats and a shrub.

About Christmas in Japan, here’s a conversation with a friend: 

KC: Merry Christmas! I was literally JUST wondering how widely Christmas is celebrated in Japan. I guess festive “Wednesday” answers the question!

DO: There are Christmas decorations simply as a marketing construct, more “general” and “Santa” based just for fun, little/now of the religious connotations, nothing is close… Overall it’s just a bit of a decorative warm up to New Year’s which is the big deal. Actually, it’s all pretty much just my speed

KC: Sounds nice to have a Christmas at your speed!!
I was wondering because my friend in Kyoto said she only realized Christmas is approaching on Saturday.

DO: ha exactly / you can easily miss it if you’re not “paying attention“… In my case I wanted to start a little tradition with the wife and parents so they are prepared for next year #hint It’s great that there’s no pressure or expectation or obligation to do all the preparation, just whatever you want is enough

KC: And in one year you’ll be celebrating baby’s first Christmas with your new tradition! Exciting.

DO: exactly… grandparent training 😉 how to explain the cultural importance of spoiling the grandchild

Bancho Bunko Party

After the Mae Maes Christmas concert, we went to a party for the 40th anniversary of Miniko’s tiny okonomiyaki restaurant Bancho Bunko. Despite this being a small resto, Miniko’s reputation as a woman of power is far-reaching. 

She is a remarkable artist and the catered, seated party at a fancy hotel was attended by an eclectic assortment of politicians, lawyers, artists, professors, dancers, a yoga teacher who lives in Indonesia and others in kimonos and suits. Lots of Japanese speeches (i did my best to stay up) and drawing for door prizes (we came home with candles and towels) and lots of new pals. 

Next up: Establishing new Christmas traditions with family + library on Boxing Day.