Diary: Two Years in Okayama (as an un-secret agent)

Evidence of a passport renewal, the mustache means I’m a distinguished person to be taken seriously, right? Am I doing this right?

 * two years towards forever *

There was a time when I was disappeared, when I was invisible, for reasons unnecessary to explain right now.
 
So much collapsed, lost, left, leading to confusion, despair and seeking… Far — I mean *all the way* — deliberately lost, comfortably lonely, finding ways and means of healing, picking up the pieces, starting again, recycling some bits, rebuilding from the foundation, working backwards from the mis-quoted Buddha koans… there were poetry, scrapbooks, letters and tears.
 
* reinventing to who I already was *
 
But what I came here to say is “it’s all about the cycles“ and as it goes… two years ago I came here to begin a new life. I will live here forever.
 
When I was a kid, I knew right away I wanted to “go places, make stories, share with others“ I’ve done a lot of the first two, now can do a lot of the three while still doing more of the two and maybe some of the one, but only maybe. And I’m cool with that.
 
Anyway, since I arrived here:
 
Massive epic wedding with so many wonderful people (so great!)
 
Wonderful relationship with in-laws (so incredibly grateful for this)
Remarkable baby delivered safely in the midst of public health crisis
 
One funeral (extended Buddhist social distance style) of a long-lived grandmother shortly after the baby (who shares a name but not kanji with her late husband) arrived
 
Several museums slowly visited, getting to know the buses, street cars, villages and shrines in our local area
 
Many, many bowls of Ramen & teas/coffees (extensively documented for historical research)
 
So much paperwork and registrations, i.e.:
* national health insurance
* pension program
* “my number” card
* foreigner registration card (& renewal)
* updating a handful of passports
(all of the above requiring slightly different sized photos)
* koseki tohon (family register)
* post office bank account
* international transfer bank
* various library cards
* several hospital cards
* a few mysterious phone numbers
* taxes in multiple countries (such a good boy Dave!)
* various government records in previous countries updated (usually by postal mail since heaven help me if I’m gonna spend four hours on hold)
 
Several of the same of the above for wife’s name change & Ichiro’s various registrations and citizenship(s), often requiring certified translation and notarizations
 
Add in a consulate visit for an affidavit
 
Monthly hospital visits with the neurologist (no, no real progress #mecfs but well… I’m in the system) + frequent “Seitai” treatments / hard to explain but very useful + Several emergency room visit (I’ll spare you the details) + Investigations into LDN/new strategies
 
Hundreds, possibly approaching thousands of postal mail items (postcards, letters, dossiers) sent out into the world
 
Hundreds, possibly approaching thousands of blog posts (diaries, personal archeology etc.) sent out into the world
 
An extended ramble to far-flung corners of under-known Japanese provinces to visit sensei in fishing ports and wizard hermits in mountains (also museums, hot springs, and roadside attractions)
 
So many various trains and styles of accommodation utilized / several of which are documented in various forms (the trains, not the hotels/guest houses/capsules/ryokan/minshuku/retreats…)
 
Relatives in Nagasaki hospitals and abacus tournaments visited / Plus atomic bomb memorial, and evidence of early Dutch trading settlements, met a noodle-making friend, saw an island that looks like a battleship
 
Two Christmases/New Years, one raucous, one subdued
 
Several, but nowhere near enough, Hot Springs visits > However, wonderful new bathtub installed at our cottage
 
While on the topic, a couple of double-pane windows, wall repairs and other things to make the house more cozy and efficient (documentation about current construction project omitted to avoid excess redundancy)
 
Exhibit of my paintings of post boxes, sometimes with haiku, and Shibuya and Mac Kobayashi ’s goat farm, plus a magazine and cameos on TV
 
Several Mae Maes (Ryoko Olson’s band) shows (plus a YouTube channel) / i’m the proudest husband when I get to go watch her perform + Love to support her when she is organizing concerts and making postcards, flyers, pins…
 
Going with Ryoko to tea ceremonies at lovely sensei’s house or “out and about” to special events (e.g. ceramic town Bizen where we also visited master potter Hosokawa’s studio) – Learning the tools and the combinations and the processes and the nuance + rocking kimono
 
Started a sort of kind of little shop thing to sell postcards & poems (including paintings and post boxes, lomos from India,…) I mean the part about sharing the stories I mentioned above preamble
Started a project to sell some things which exist only in memories and on paper #ugh
Got some new glasses, gave up some habits, hung out at some barbershops (also wife cut hair), learned some new words, organized some archives, turned 50 years old (did a big personal archeology project about that #daveo50), wrote a few poems, tried some new calligraphy techniques, sorted and organized art supplies, tidied up a tool shed and the barn, listened to a lot of records – some old and some new (to me), books out of boxes and onto shelves, many new books ordered… #ongoing
Other things & items forgotten (but likely documented elsewhere…)
Most importantly though is remarkable wife and adorable baby and wonderful in-laws and kind and thoughtful friends scattered around the world (you).
 
Fondly, dvo 
 
Photo: Evidence of a passport renewal, the mustache means I’m a distinguished person to be taken seriously, right? Am I doing this right?

Whatcha think?