Collection: Payphones (vol. 7) – assorted / Japan, Whidbey island

Hello to the people in the future,

What follows are public telephones created in a time when phones did not roam freely and in pockets.

To make a call, one would either enter a specially-created booth (or box), or simply stand close by as the receivers were tethered to the phone unit by a short cord, then insert a variety of coins depending on the location called (local, domestic or international) or in some cases, use a purpose-made phone card, or even a credit card (though doing so often exposed one to fraudulent actors).

Perhaps you have already imagined the unsanitary nature of sharing a phone handset (placed next/close to ear and mouth of course) with strangers – though perhaps this increased “herd immunity” despite being rather unpleasant. Continue reading Collection: Payphones (vol. 7) – assorted / Japan, Whidbey island

Post’d: Cards, rec’d from farthest reaches of ocean & continents (Jan. 2020)

Another postcard bonanza (“bonanza” used again for pal in Dubai) from such remote areas and the ghost of Shackleton)

Ergo: assorted British Overseas territories (disputed) Falkland Islands, South Georgia & South Sandwich Islands, and Argentina on the way to Antartica.

Have some geography fun and track down these locations on a map and follow along the rambles of a fine Son of Vancouver.

Bonus: The Weakerthans sing about Shakleton (the explorer who’s influential book is pictured upon the black/white card) in Our Retired Explorer (Dines with Michel Foucault in Paris, 1961)

Numbers Station Sending Alert for Action

From Prague to Irkutsk to Montevideo, shortwave radios broadcast voices, numbers and patterns. Origins (generally) unknown beyond speculators and bureaucratic engineers from ousted fiefdoms gone stale.

They found no benefit or public belief for revealing secrets, so no one did… Speculations generally drift towards messages to embedded agents of nefarious organizations.

Simply put, clandestine instructions need sending.

However the keys to transmitters were lost, floppy disks written in COBOL became unavailable, and handlers dead or confused – hence  a new system was needed.

As such, the Bilderburgers got the Bohemian Grove on a conference call, patched in the Illuminati from a bunker in Cuba and raised the spectre of the global transmission – a single word – to begin The Operations.

The line was silent for a moment, then a proper but thin and reedy voice asked, “but tell me then, how can we release that one word in a manner that everyone will read it?”

To which another dis-intermediated voice confidently said, “I have just the right idea.” #covfefe

Related: ird059-conet-project-booklet (pdf)

Riff: Japan Imperial Era Names, a brief primer

Maybe you noticed my affinity towards dropping in Japan imperial era names in reference to “Showa this” or “Taisho that” – In brief, while modern Japan also uses BCE/AD year dating system, also uses imperial eras to count years… in a somewhat confusing manner.

Briefly:

Each Emperor has a name while living (example Hirohito) but their era name also becomes the posthumous name (in Hirohito’s case Showa). When a new imperial reign begins, the numbers start from one.

Birth years and other important dates are generally referenced from this system. I.e. i was born in Showa 45 or 1970.

2019 was an extra anomaly as Emperor Akihito abdicated and his era “Heisei” (which will also be his posthumous name) in his 31st year of reign, and a new era “Reiwa” began on May 1 2019 when his son/heir Naruhito took the throne. So 2019 was both Heisei 31 and Reiwa 1. 2020 is Reiwa 2.

So blah blah blah. I came to tell you that Taisho era is my current topic of interest. This was about 100 years ago and the “jazz age” in Japan as well as west. The previous era “Meiji” was when Japan started opening up to the outside world (a topic in itself) with a charismatic emperor.

Taisho era was different and relatively short and squeezed between the impending militarism which came with Showa and the fundamental societal changes of Meiji.

Taisho saw rise of *western* clothes/styles, dancing, woman’s role expanding with jobs and relative “freedom” of being.

A seminal literary work from this time is Tanizaki’s Naomi which tells the story of a young woman seizing her liberation in all aspects of her life.

Anyhow, here’s an article meaning to share with more about above now that i laid a foundation.

Carry on.

The Taisho Era: When modernity ruled Japan’s masses  BY MICHAEL HOFFMAN SPECIAL TO THE JAPAN TIMES

Post’d: Cards Received, Jan. 2020, various

What a postal bonanza of late!

Dispatches from Budapest, Nozawa onsen, Connecticut, Vancouver, Valencia + Kanazawa’s D.  T.  Suzuki museum added to say “wonderful” (which is what i think of these treats). 

Note: There was also a jet black envelope which is beyond your security clearance… and a box of new curtains which is purely practical and just happened to be delivered.

Also some black pepper but that’s a whole other story.

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