Diary: usual days / summer’s end 2020 (ophthalmologist, peanut butter, cats, coins, plans)

This summer was a splendid fog of humid waves of action welcoming baby Ichiro amongst *all the world*. Yet, remains tasks to do (esp as i am still getting settled as an immigrant in a new country and logistically removing myself from several other countries, so: make a list, check the items, repeat.

Anyhow, what follows are scenes of “usual days” in late-summer 2020 as we caught up on life after welcoming Ichiro and tending to various life admin tasks. In other words, the bits which don’t fit anywhere else yet i find somehow amusing. Minimally annotated, non-chronologically. Carry on. 

Note: I roll slowly (1 action per day and only 1 outing a week usually) so strategic planning and adjusting to my health and the baby’s need were/are key.

Sept. 1, an ophthalmologist visit (more spectacle related items throughout this archive) with Dr. Kobayashi (no relation to the goat farmer).  

Background: I have challenging/delicate eyes (astigmatism, wearing glasses since a baby) and need an awesome ophthalmologist (眼科医
Gankai) eye doctor – was hoping someone with english skills as some the vocab evades me but had a very thorough test and fresh prescription to take to an ace optometrist and/or optician + optical shop / Note: tricky eyes so the “cheap and cheerful” places aren’t right for me.

Also: for the eye chart, instead of “letters” it was circle shapes with an opening to the up, down, right or, left. Of course the circle shapes and the opening became progressively smaller. got to do it all in japanese to add the brain confusion / needed to be placed in a dark quiet room for the rest of the day to reset my brain / needed a quiet room after.

Coffee Cats: After the ophthalmologist, we stopped at a sorta kissaten cafe with cats in a cage living the most luxurious of lives (aside from the part of being a cage). 

Aug 15: Big day of lounging & playing records tomorrow (birthday) / so flossed, chose a new jar of peanut butter from the stash, made extra ice & cold brew coffee (& usual mugi cha) + stash of salt & vinegar chips on stand-by. 

These items come from iHerb who magically deliver well-packed boxes of wonderful (mostly natural) heavy items for no-additional-cost in like 4 days from California. I have an iHerb affiliate code and one day someone will use, maybe today, probably not. You should though. 

Compared to when was first in Japan 1992-94, can get pretty much *anything* between local & intl mail order. 95% of our food/produce either comes delivered or from garden.

Plus more Mexican (so-so) and Indian (great) restaurants / Even here in provincial country area. Also great coffee widely available (not just can or instant yuk).

Next: At some point, we delivered some gifts and salutations to Ryoko’s gang of Arborist colleagues conducting a workshop for “silvers” at a sorta weird golf course.

There was a cafeteria of sorts so i enjoyed a coffee. 

Also: On our list is a cash stash for Ichiro as we gathered up coins from around the house over the months. This is one such jar / it is a very large jar with various coins which at some point will be condensed into a more mobile form (or maybe diapers and records).

Summer’s End is always a poetic time, melancholy i suppose. A typhoon was approaching so i took down the inflatable pool/ makeshift gazebo (well an awning tarp), leaving a rectangle patch of dirt – sigh (note: still gotta clean it properly and pack away for season).  

Hot and humid days means the cheapie pool was a treat, and my stash of soccer/fuball shirts super handy. Rigged a laundry line in the shade to keep em fresh as needed a few per day.

Garden &…: While racoons attacked and destroyed much of the garden, mother-in-law diligently kept going and we enjoy fresh veg daily and have a nice stash of ginger and garlic for winter ahead (note: it barely freezes here so somethings can grow year-round i guess… assuming the wild boars and tanuki don’t get at the patch). 

Burnt Cypress: …that’s the side wall of the kura grain barn turned studio done with a “yaki sugi” charcoal treatment with thwarts pests, fire and rot – and is gorgeous to behold. Took the snap to send to a pal who is using the technique on a house in Salish Sea islands. 

In Memorium: We lit incense on our home altar for a friend’s Mother who passed away. RiP Josie in Iowa (you can see my Mom and Grandpa Ichiro + Grandma Tomiko and others). 

Tea and Flowers: Whenever i drink Tulsi (Holy Basil) tea, i think Dr. Rumee at Ayurveda Health Home would flash her wonderful smile in approval. Was really all i drank for 3 weeks in Pokhara and i quite like it. 

Also tea and flowers and music are keys to a happy home in general. 

Fond Greetz: Sending a kampai with the family to someone on the event of a celebration of condolences. We try to share our good wishes to pals around the world in both sorts of times. And yes this is an awsum table at the parent’s house. That’s mugi-cha (barley tea) Ryoko and I are drinking. 

Genkon / items: Masks and flowers (plus keys and flashlight) at the entry to the house. This is the usual days. 

Parfait and coffee: we sent gifts to folks who sent gifts here in Japan (in this case, special spice pack from Hinama-san, a spice chef) and stopped by her café to pick-up. Calm and safe so stayed for parfait and coffee like some kind of luxury. 

Hockey for Stanley: the NHL hockey games hit nice timing for us, just after breakfast so meant 2nd coffee and a game. We had a nice time watching Canucks valiant efforts and some of the other teams too (and enjoyed presentation of the Cup). 

Laundry and Hockey and Coffee. Yup, pleasant times with family, indeed. I am so fortunate.  

Tsuchida Cottage Reform: Next “big project” is adding a room to our home with help from the dapper Morioka-san who did the renovation of parent’s house which you’ve likely observed elsewhere in this archive (shall i post a link?: Diary: 40+ years of projects into a “kura” grain barn).

Will basically replace the red square area where blue car is, sorta connecting to the carport / tool shed. Details pending, possibly January.   

Here he reviews plans with Ryoko as Ichiro supervised the process. More to come on this riff likely but in brief, add a room for kitchen/dining/entry with woodstove and a special mail / courier delivery station and a handwash station. 

All this is here simply as “celebrating the usual days” as a sorta of meditative loveliness. “We” chase the exciting and forget the normal until the normal is gone and/or changed and forgotten amidst something more well… memorable.

Somehow, think *this* is important stuff to preserve (maybe just me). While we are *just “living”*, we manage to be part of something really special in time and place. And indeed, keeping the memories of our daily sundry actions is a poetry and is very worthy of the time to keep intact. Let me know if you need any encouragement/practical advice in preserving this kind of stuff.

Hooray for personal archaeology and continuing the stories for generations. 

End of dispatch.