Diary: Days go by – filled (mostly) with coffee, food and and sundry tasks

You could be forgiven for thinking that my life involves entirely eating delicious food and drinking fantastic coffee as you are somewhat correct… however, there is slightly more going on as i am  into the routine of “regular life” and doing things which I file under “life administration”. As such, some tasks (as much as I delight in the mundanity of everyday activity) doesn’t get documentation.

Not that these things are not interesting – but because in the diligence and action itself, there’s interestingness – but photographs aren’t always timely nor appropriate and in themselves, there’s not often a story to be told. Within this thought is why I enthusiastically and rather comprehensively documented everyday life when first arriving in a new place… As in: when you stay in a place for a while, the uniqueness of every day life fades and it’s easy to think that “I’ll do this another time” or “I’ll wait for something special” or “why bother?”

With this in mind, over the last few months of settling in my new home and life, I’ve remembered to fill up this “new white sheet of paper” with all the spectacular regularness of simple errands, neighbourhood observations, pleasant routines and out n’ abouts.

Recently amongst the activities of aforementioned eating  fantastic food and enjoying exceptional beverages, have been tasks including:

  • Ordering three new windows and an awning to make our house a little bit more warm in the winter and cool in the summer and generally cosy and efficient
  • Arranging installation of a new heat pump which both heats and cools the house for similar reasons to above

For reference, when the workers come to install the windows and heat pump, we are going to Nagasaki on a little adventure for six days to visit cousins (including a little fella in the hospital), plus check out Nagasaki which was the only place for foreigners were allowed for many hundreds of years so there’s remnants of Dutch and Chinese culture as well as the Peace Park to commemorate the bomb in August 1945.

  • Setting up a section for baby supplies with blankets and other equipment needed for sustaining life in a wee human – as well as the various doctors visits and parenting classes for this most important adventure
  • Setting up food delivery service from Food Co op as well milk delivery service. These logistics minimize trips to dreaded supermarket, ensure good-quality food things and reusable glass bottles etc. (It’s worth mentioning that because my energy is rather limited due to illness blah blah blah, I’m always thinking ahead for ways to make life more streamlined so when the little baby comes, I/we can concentrate all our attention on the moment rather than out and about)
  • Also doing some things out in the yard/garden to make the land a little bit more park like for relaxing picnics and flower/blossom watching, including:
    • tuning up the compost system
    • moving old ceramic roof tiles to a central location rather than various piles around the land

      (pause to kiss my wife telling her I love her)

    • Same goes with some haphazard piles of bricks, other rocks… these things will eventually be used for a project in mind of making an earthen bread oven and a little terrace café area
    • (Eventually, once things are moved around a bit and some of these big rocks are moved to reinforce a drainage ditch, we have four citrus saplings to plant, actually also an olive tree and a couple other things I can’t quite remember. Anyway the point is to have some tasty things around and start expanding the normal vegetable garden. Note: I don’t really have a lot of gardening experience but I’m enjoying just moving stuff around to strengthen my battered body a bit.)
  • Moving odds and ends to the grain barn (a spectacular rugged old building which will become a library/studio for music and books)

Then I’ve been doing a couple other things like:

  • Researching to be a wedding celebrate in Japan and various certifications related to that
  • Finishing up a seemingly endless project of getting my belongings shipped from a storage locker and Victoria to Okayama within a six-month “goods to follow” duty-free customs timeline
  • Mopping up some complicated tax conundrums (hit me up if you need a US/Canada/international tax pro)
  • Even doing a bit of advising to a few early stage start up companies
  • Oh, also, cooking lentils and I even made a phone call (note I now have a VoIP Japan phone number), and a bit of marketing/merchandise planning for Ryoko’s band the Mae Maes, hopefully in time for upcoming concert in Tamano laden with special guests
  • Almost forgot to tell about the weekly chiropractor visits (not a cracky crack western style practitioner) to work on my neck and back – the neck especially is causing a lot of troubles as my body has become imbalanced with a some weird weaknesses over the late while… working on it – and also… went to the “big hospital” to get some blood work done for a few investigative procedures related to my condition and establish a relationship with an internal medicine specialist. Gotta get healthy for the little human coming! 

With all of the above said, I’m really trying to finish up a number of lingering creative projects which I’ve been sort of hanging out for months waiting for that last push to finish, including a few of my old lectures which somehow are emotionally important for me to just close the book on and various diary and journals. More to say about all this and future dispatches I suppose.

i could take a photo of a pile of bricks and rocks to confirm the above but my slippers are cozy right now so, with the above in mind, here are pictures of food and coffees (mostly):

Starting with a coffee/tea and cake date at a local bakery which makes fancy confectionaries. As usual, I added to my collection of “Ryoko eating ramen and/or cake” photo gallery… 

Don’t worry, i found something tasty too…

…and dutifully documented the coffee…

Then, at our favourite café, our cottage front room –its like our own kissaten, we drank the last of the tea from Paris, served in a clear brown cup and saucer, alongside persimmon cake cooked in a tiny convection oven we scored for ¥7000!

Ryoko is baking treats and i am happy about it (though trying to stay trim-ish)

Another day, we stopped by the mystical Minako’s secret okonomiyaki restaurant Bancho Bunko (not on maps). She is a fantastic artist and the 10-seat (mayyyybe) restaurant has a dedicated regular crew and its like our own Midnight Diner. The cafe is all painted with her art, so psychedelic. The place is tiny but stuffed with weirdness. I truly love it.  

We were on the way to something with a time commitment (can’t recall what but was important), but enjoyed a modanyaki – an udon/okonomiyaki mix up – for Ryoko… 

and regular okonomiyaki for me (done folded in half).

We sent a photo to our pals Robert and Sandra who were busy getting married at the same time (remind me to tell you about telegrams in the present tense sometime soon)

Oh of course, there was a coffee involved but extra cool was the coffee pots staying warm on the grill. I am sure this isn’t to “code” heh.

The coffee was thick and dense. There was a sweet old repairman with a perfect grey mustache fixing a vent fan while we were there so the place was filled with dense smells of history.

Then i presented Minanko with a limited print (same as provided to wedding guests in gift bag) of Gravelly Beach #4 Sakura. She was thrilled and i felt like the coolest artist ever for a minute and another customer who runs a private gallery of some kind was convinced it was a van Gogh painting. I’d blush but hey… give me a moment. Anyhow, he became a new friend who digs rabbit holes of history (random convo about the Maginot Line).

Onwards… The same day i hit up the barber, also went to post office to mail some letters to various young kids of the same painting mentioned above and then a kissaten for a coffee. No fuss, no frills, just solid cuppa joe while waiting for Ryoko who was at a Mother:s class at the great birthing clinic.

Later ate a wild boar cracker to remind me the year of my fave animal is behind and was great, now the year of the rat ahead – i know none of the expected folklore but i do know June will be a heck of a month. 

Finally, as feeling a little overwhelmed and blue one day – the body doesn’t limber and struggle to sleep blah blah blah, so took a walk up to the local shinto shrine (same one as New Years Day) to catch my breath and calm my head with a 5¥ coin and a few claps. 

Then took a walk up a little mountain park, noticed a survey marker and thought of the Christensen family of surveyors…

Then evidence of kids practicing their English in a time honoured tradition of defacing public space. Solid work Sue et al.

Grabbed a quick nightmare with the sinister snake of death and anger sign…

and a collage of signage of do and don’ts including the go-ahead for holding bowls or crazy blue gold fish. 

Always more to say and i’ll ya up soon with more projects, progress, fond greetings and general riffage and bevvies.