“On The Road” to Kobe for Kerouac – scroll exhibit and story workshop

Jack Kerouac Alley, San Francisco, 2018 (come here this guy tell beat stories)

Jack Kerouac is well-noted for typing/writing his epic novels of personal discovery against a backdrop of a rapidly changing America on long sc/rolls of paper – to maintain momentum rather than pausing to change sheets among other reasons.

Jack Kerouac examines roll manuscript Note: Obv not my photo, source unknown

There are around 8 of these sc/rolls in existence and all were sold off by the estate managers (rather than archived in museums/libraries)  the location of most is unknown… however the most *famous* of the rolls “On the Road” sold for some millions and is now coming for exhibition display to Kobe, Japan at BB Plaza Museum

Typewriter: Kerouac's Underwood (used for On the Road)
Typewriter: Kerouac’s Underwood – Note: Not my photo, source unknown

Of course, Kerouac is a massive influence on my life of hitchhiking, train/ship riding, poetry writing, and finding beauty in the downtrodden and digging into life with vigour and authenticity. 

Along with the majestic original tome of a genre-defining and culture-changing book comes a series of events curated by Prof Matt Theado and colleagues at Kobe University [see Kerouac Comes to Japan FB to follow along]  including documentary film screening, symposium and more.

Among the line-up is your pal (me) doing a 2 hour hands-on analog workshop about making stories in various formats. I’ll be bringing the old-timey suitcases filled with surprises from the archive and supplies for making new artifacts in real-time. 

Reading Kerouac at the appropriate interaction in San Francisco whilst recording
PfGB / Reading Kerouac at the appropriate interaction in San Francisco whilst recording Kerouac Choruses at Third and Harrison – Postcard #36

If you are in Japan, consider coming along – seriously, we’ll have a good time. Not in Japan? Maybe i’ll capture some goodness for ya but if you can spread the word and/or send some vibes, ’tis well-appreciated. 

Read on for details of my gig and then more about the event in general… Also, spending time with the roll i suspect will feel like see King Tutankhamun’s death mask (Seattle 1978). 

Note: See evidence of presentation style from previous gigs

DaveO Workshop / in Japanese and English(ish)

Workshop: “We Are the Stories We Create”

Dave spiels at Northern Voice conference, 2009 (photo by…?)

Lecturer: Dave Olson (designer)

April 29 (Wed.) 14:00 to 16:00 

Venue: BB Plaza Museum of Art (web | FB)

Capacity: 20 people / Free participation (* Exhibition ticket required) / Advance reservation system / First come first served / Presented in English and Japanese 

Handmade workshop! Participants create their stories using typewriters, paper, scissors and glue, and explore various ways to share them. Create one booklet together.  We work with original materials such as mimeographs and hand-made books shown by instructor Dave.

429日(水) 14:00-16:00 会場:BBプラザ美術館

定員:20名 / 参加無料(*展覧会観覧券の提示要)/ 事前予約制 / 先着順 / 日英対応



Kerouac travels 1947-48
Dave travels 2015

Prof. Matt Theado’s Exhibit Overview

In April, 1951, in a ground floor apartment in New York City’s Chelsea district, Jack Kerouac sat at his writing desk, frustrated. He’d been trying for years to write a novel that conveyed the great expanse of the American continent, his sense of freedom and confusion that rose from hitchhiking, and his admiration for his hero, Neal Cassady. Frustrated by his many stalled attempts to compose a fictional novel, he simply began relating his story in chronological order, recounting his actual adventures from start to finish. He even used his friends’ real names. By April 22, he had constructed a 36-meter long paper roll of single-spaced typing. Beginning on April 25, 2020, you can see that original typewritten scroll, at least the first ten meters of it, unfurled at the BB Plaza Museum of Art in Kobe. You can now check the museum’s web page (http://bbpmuseum.jp) for details about the exhibition. 
The exhibition will be accompanied by various workshops, gallery talks, readings, and books signings, as well as the showing of the Kerouac documentary Jack Kerouac: King of the Beats at Motomachi Eigakan. We will soon distribute a flier that has all of the details. Please write to me via email if you have any questions. 
Jack Kerouac Alley, San Francisco, photo Daveo
Here are the details for the Symposium that will be held on May 24. (Japanese follows) 
Symposium “Jack Kerouac’s On the Road Trip: From Kobe to the World”

When: May 24 (Sun) 13:00 -17:00 (door opens 12:30)

Where: Shimabun Hall BB Plaza 4F  BB Plaza Museum of Art 4-2-7 Iwayanakamachi, Nada-ku, Kobe, TEL 078-802-9286 

Free Admission, but limited to the first 200 (Registration required: you will soon be able to sign up online. I’ll provide details) / Interpreter provided

Jack’s jacket as seen at The Beat Museum (kerouac.com) in San Francisco, photo Daveo


Minami Aoyama (Writer, translator; translated On the Road and other books by Kerouac)

Motoyuki Shibata (Visiting Professor at Kobe City University of Foreign Studies, Professor Emeritus at the University of Tokyo, editor of MONKEY, translator)

Hilary Holladay (Beat Studies scholar, former director of the Kerouac Center for American Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell; editor of What’s Your Road, Man?: Critical Essays on Jack Kerouac’s On the Road) 

Matthew Theado (Professor at Kobe City University of Foreign Studies; author of Understanding Jack Kerouac and The Beats: A Literary Reference)

Chair: Hitomi Nabae (Professor at Kobe City University of Foreign Studies)

Music: Live Jazz performed by a five-piece jazz ensemble

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 


神戸市灘区岩屋中町4-2-7 BBプラザ2F TEL 078-802-9286


524 日(日)13:00-17:00 (開場 12:30) 

会 場:シマブンホール(BBプラザ4F

定 員:200名 聴講無料(*展覧会観覧券の提示要)・事前予約制 ・先着順 ・通訳付 




ヒラリー・ハラデイ(ビート研究者、前マサチューセッツ大学ローウェル校アメリカン・スタディーズ・ケルアック・センター所長、What’s Your Road, Man?: Critical Essays on Jack Kerouac’s On the Road 編集者)

マシュー・セアドー(神戸市外国語大学教授、著作  Understanding Jack Kerouac, The Beats: A Literary Reference

司 会:難波江仁美(神戸市外国語大学教授)

On the Road in Japan – Dave seeking a ride with a crayon-ed sign on Shikoku, 1993

Whatcha think?