Diary: Starting off 2020 with Coffee and Classes etc.

A coffee break at “Tartan something or other” (not actual name) in downtown Okayama

So it goes, the festive season passes yet calendar stays busy with the usual sorts of things. Yesterday included returning books to splendid library, a few letters (Switzerland and Indonesia) to the post office, a stop for the best ramen, and a visit to a chiropractor and then a super good little (i mean little) coffee shop – like just perfect right? 

In amongst, we repaired/re-did a wall in Tsuchida Cottage, attended a parenting class(!), went to opera variety show, hit up Hatsumi-san’s piano recital, moved some brick around outside, printed more flyers for Mae Maes gig, talked to a guy about replaced some drafty windows, recycled plastic items, booked a trip to Nagasaki… 

Here is a variety of snippets collected along the way, with minor annotations as possible. 

we ordered umeboshi by the kilo – i love these pickled plums and nope to make them myself one of these days soon but in the meantime, order up in bulk! salty, sour goodness
one morning i awoke to Ryoko singing snippets of so many songs – realized she was tidying up all her sheet music/scores etc.
tidied up the Kamidama a little bit with fresh items to bring good fortune and happiness more and more

the shrine sits on top of a bookshelf – we tried to mount it to wall but not successful (so far) however, you can see other fun items on our momento shelf but current books in action  – this is right next to my desk and always changing
brown rice bowl with kimchi, nori, green onions and other goodness
above pictured with spoon however 98% of eating is done with hashi (chopsticks) – made a video for a friend to show technique as he is a 40-something year old man without this necessary skill – shocking :) shall i share the silly video? 
upstairs in the 300+ year old grain barn (which is dry and solid) Father in law has a massive collection of old manga (graphic novels) which are getting sorted into sets, tided up, documented, photographed and then sold (if all goes to plan) then i will fill up the space with other items (not sorry)
another coffee break at Cowbell cafe while out on errands
oh we had lunch at Cowbell too – such a nice lunch
even more lunch at Cowbell – curry obviously) / some Japanese curry is very sweet rather than spicy but this was nicely balanced between the two tastes
CowBell Coffee, more more – ha
Ryoko prepared some lovely letters – we are a solid pair in the correspondence department among others
ths ugly wall got covered by some new boards
see i told ya!

Memo about wall project: 

we actually started with some really pretty brass nails but, the wall we were attaching to, well… It’s sort of thin laminate sheets somehow glued to some kind of thin wood brace attached to a hollow (I mean nothing whatsoever inside as far as insulation or whatever) wall. So the nails didn’t work because they just kind of bounced so switch to the screws, thankfully.
Was very briefly tempted to do a “full Trevor“ and pull down the crappy paneling and do a “proper job“ but was afraid that pulling down the paneling would turn into a epic project. And really redoing one wall would just be a temptation to start redoing everything and before you know it blah blah blah… I mean I’m busy, I have poetry to right hand a baby coming, you know how it goes.
So, the thin flat boards (which we cut to size obviously) were attached with four screws each, and at least two of them caught onto something – the others at least gripped onto the crappy laminate paneling.

Then added a footer and a header to cancel it altogether and we got it done in an afternoon. My girl was quite remarkable running the cutest pink powerful Makita drill as well.

Indonesia coffee suppy was running low but fortunatley some friends we helped plan a trip hooked us up with several bags of fave Mandailing and Ketut sent along a Bali United satchel and updates about Asian Champions League run – note my thrift store velour track suit :)
at the chiropractor’s office noticed this plug in fake wood stove – our front room is drafty and chilly – new windows and curtains will help – and heated with a kerosene heater which is not baby-safe (also have a heat pump) – anyhow, thought might make a nice addition at some point, no big deal
Shohei who runs the tiny Empire Coffee studied his craft in NYC and loves hip-hop / coffee is done as pour over and served in solid big mugs – i enjoyed the Empire Blend which beans from 4 countries. its right by Chiro office so i’ll be back
ordered up Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road” in Japanese for Ryoko to enjoy what with the original scroll coming to Kobe this year and all – this edition has a great cover (despite the lousy photo)
we attended a parenting class at Sun Clinic who are giving us fantastic care – more to say about this topic but in the meantime, the class taught about how poppas can help mother during pregnancy, about of course take care of baby – plus watch out for maternity blues, hormone changes and communication tips and practical things about changing diapers, holding baby etc. A lot of Japanese for me but the Dr (a lovely lady) also speaks solid English – whew – its all going great!
a coffee at Amandya Café we stopped by after a visit to the birthing clinic – super fun owner who studied/lived in Australia
finally, a visit to Gakucho Menya for the best ramen going – this is a special miso ramen, hearty and filling but leaves you feeling refreshed and not oily / the best going and a nice atmosphere, great owner who says “Ramen is not fashion” – yup, he is serious about his craft

Whatcha think?