November re-cap: guest, poetry, pod & usual maintenance

The usual window, if that’s such a thing, to recap a month well…, I’m a bit late, now several days into December and I’m just saying goodbye to November. Regardless, we carry on, ergo:

on the bus with Mr Boris (Borys) into the stretch of 2022

Basically: Planning on lots of letter writing and parcel sending in December but already seeing calendar *filling up* with dentist, tea ceremony here at cottage + Santa at pre-school, more concerts and events. bit too much for me so reminding myself to super careful with pacing. slowly slow!

Poetry: November held promise for lots of writing time in my barn studio and while I did quite a bit some of this project (see: “Circumnavigation, Let’s make a start” + Shodo mantras & “next steps” + “Space out & look at notebooks) and made a good start, but stalled out a bit with lots of other “usual life” events – hospital visits, IV injections, orthotic inserts, broken glasses, various colds and a busy month for darling wife’s arborist business.

So, as of *today-ish*, pausing on my poetry book project and digging into my favorite part of holiday/festive times which is writing 100s of cards & assembling packages of treats. Lots of visits to the post office! & will be Santa Claus at the preschool (and hopefully not get sick :-)) + requested/suggested to not have “jingle bells rocking at 11” and instead some Silent Night vibes, turn down the light to bed and a little less excitement. Am I no fun? Prob.

Christmas: We will do a little Christmas get together but this year I’m delegating more of the tasks and keeping simpler than last … And then smooth our way into New Year’s with my in-laws taking the lead / and I will spend a lot of time journaling and scrapbooking, hopefully

Honest thought: Also, I suppose I should admit that the stretch front of the year always gets me a little bit anxious… There’s still a bit of a perfectionist/productivity/list-checker in me. I’m just reminding myself that on balance, got so much done this year, especially under the “life administration” category with pensions, taxes, insurance, passports plus other important theme of the year of stepping up my health plan got a top grade. Most important of course was to be a great husband and Papa – have a hunch I passed.

Highlights for the November included:

Pod: Appearance on Writers Read Their Early Shit podcast with Jason Emde – he’s *from* BC and lives in Japan (like me) and also like me, rambled all over the world on literary hi-jinks, odd adventures and seeking the real. This event/dispatch deserves a proper post of its own, and I’ll get there, but in the mean time I really encourage you to take a listen. (you’ve caught Jason in a Beat Sushi video and other mentions of our postcards correspondence).


Gold & Silver (with hats) in them hills &/or in Kyoto // Consider it a listen as I *would love to hear what you think* of the rapid fire riffs about “early days of creative projects including:

Jason welcomes under-qualified window-washer Dave Olson & his fantastic beard & beautiful hands for a natter about punching or hugging Dostoevsky, see-through loincloths, meeting REM, borrowing mustard from Allen Ginsberg, dodgy Greyhound stations, working out the writing life math, and how cheerleaders are people too. There’s ropey Egyptian history, a savage polemic, the details of hippy teacher Mr Boris’s new motorized home, a few bits & Brother Bobs of Dave’s early poetry & prose, & Jason getting his King Tut timeline wrong by only 3700 years. An unnerving—if not terrifying—time is guaranteed for all. Music by the outrageous DJ Max in Tokyo. Many thanks, wherever & whoever & however you are, for listening.

* King Tut mimeographs at Prince Charles Elementary

* BYU student teacher rants from Orem high school high

* disillusionment with academia at Utah valley community college & University of Utah

* getting lost and found  in the leafy campuses on the road on the East Coast

* oh, forgot to mention the nudist elementary school teacher – and his alleged bus – at Harold Bishop

Heck of a session with Jason Emde.

S2/E5 – Dave Olson (aka Uncle Weed): priorities & bad decisions

Guest: Also, our first international tourist guest in over 2 1/2 years, we had two lovely guests but technically we’re here on a business visa and sneak away from their official itinerary, and of course we’ve had a few other domestic quasi-internationals through the house, but hardly enough.

don’t worry, Ichiro was wearing shoes until just a minute before when he attacked a puddle

As it goes, our visitor is a friend of many friends and we hadn’t met before but was clear we had so much in common. He is a real Japanophile with a particular interest in archery, ceramics, traditional houses and country lifestyle. We had a very pleasant wood-stove-top cooked hot pot with many vegetables and mushrooms from our garden as well as some duck meat and many delicious side dishes, pickles, sake.

Mac the goat farmer came to visit for dinner, later we spun some David Bowie, Leonard Cohen and REM records. The next day a visit to the goat farm and then a stop at a ceramics museum. We dropped him off at the little Imbe train station (with a fantastic coffee shop) and stood outside the fence waving to him on the platform as he headed off for his next adventure. He arrived just as the rain and cold started and here we are now, extra blankets on the bed heading into December.

December, Jazz: Since we’re here and into December… yesterday we went to the wonderful “Livehouse Bird” (where we hosted our international wedding welcome party) and (where the Mae Maes often film videos) to see Mae Maes members/alum Mitsuko-san with Yano-sensei (on electric bass) and Kazuko-san (on piano) perform an afternoon show with Christmas songs and a few jazz standards.

our trio, bearing gifts and lots of claps

A special hello to us from the stage, darling wife took them each gift bags with handmade wreaths and handmade charcoal and what not.

Ichiro says “hello Santa, please bring me a bulldozer”

It’s kind of cute as Ichiro was the only kid there and I was the only “international”. The hosts/staff of the bar I really fantastic and I’m hoping Akahoshi (*redstar*)-san can come hang out in the correct studio next year, possibly bring his base for some recording poetry jams. Ichiro rocked some snaps with the Olympus camera and then let me capture him with (multi-instrumentalist) Yano-sensei in a Santa hat plus my darling duo with the afternoon’s chartreuse.

Bonus Round, pardon redundancies

Art Flashback (forgot to mention previously, i think)

“Return of the Ancient Gods” by Rogério De Frietas

Oh hey, i scored this lovely collage from a ME/CFS art auction made by Rogério De Freitas in Oeiras, Portugal. Now in the kura barn studio awaiting mounting & framing. The artist included some other ephemera treats too <3 obrigado Rogério De Freitas. {note to self: send him a postcard}

New Year Cards (One more note, previously):

New year cards arrived from printers. Turned out quite good, not *quite perfect* but then I’m a little obsessive about these things.

Big move was digital layout and outsource printing rather than laborious/expensive full analogue & at-home production. Looking forward to posting 100s.

Minor “imperfections” are:

* probably should’ve upgraded to super-premium paper stock

* matte finish is still a little bit smooth for address writing & inking style

* added a “fake stamp“ with our rabbit (it’s his year after all) & didn’t leave quite enough space for the “real stamp”

All of these minor foibles can certainly be excused as was first time ordering from vendor Canva so wasn’t familiar with the paper stock / finishes.

And the special stamps ordered from Japan Post (with the lucky/lottery numbers) are little larger than expected – same with sweeet air mail stamps (Postage stamps of postboxes, very meta).

Today and Vinegar:

Dec. 4: Well, i’m up & out of pyjamas. talked to “wizard of Nagano” for a while, laundry started, dishes catch-up, watched some Canucks while eating leftovers (darlings at tea ceremony).

Was planning on writing letters & making pod/vid in barn but gonna make persimmon vinegar instead.

So many ways to make persimmon vinegar *so many* but i follow this routine since i LOVE this video / sweet lady taking her time, little bit classical music in bg, no hype. this is the internets i <3.

she is Ingeborg Andersson and has 24 subscribers and made the best video on YT

Also need to stock up the firewood. Oh, just took out the compost.

PS “the wizard” is a US Vietnam-conflict-era veteran has lived in Japan (mostly) since medical discharged in early 70s, part of community i met in early 90s living in the mountains in dis-used akiya houses, growing gardens and living trad with loads of arts and crafts and music.

Oh: yikes off to a rough start, glass canning jar blew out while adding hot water to sterilize. no damage to me but broken glass mess. pausing to let heart rate reduce.

Anyhow… December is off to a bumpy start for other reasons so just thinking out loud as I’m trying to bounce up. Next, oatmeal.

Fondly, from Tsuchida Cottage

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