Tag Archives: artifacts

Riff: Japan, working holiday visa, 1992 (& related circumstances)

the “working holiday visa which started my Japan life in Dec. 1992

Before arriving in Japan, I really knew very little about Japan, I didn’t have an interest in Japan, didn’t care about anime or manga or hadn’t eaten sushi, and had no interest in martial arts, though did have some interest and experience with traditional pottery (raku) techniques, familiarity with Japanese poetry albeit as introduced by *Western* writers, however my older brother had gone to Japan for “proselytizing reasons” and him being in Japan – in a roundabout way – is what brought me to Japan (via the working holiday visa paper of importancy pictured above).

In brief: after a several years of traveling around US & Canada for Grateful Dead concerts, hemp festivals, national park exploits, mountain climbing, canyon hiking, couch crashing, Punk shows, fake IDs, drum corps, university invasions, odd jobs, foolish hitchhikes and “doing my best” with the ladies… And then extending that vibe into Mexico for fish tacos and tequila mistakes and taking my VW bus in even more places it probably shouldn’t have ever gone but did, came an accepted application to Evergreen college which was thwarting by ignominiously *not* winning of any scholarships, not awarded of any bursaries, not accepted into any grants, not allowed any loans so (kind of a shock since i was really accustomed to winning everythings, (you wanna see all my elementary school ribbons, maybe you have?).

So, took the money saved from a summer of building bicycles at Sunrise in Logan, Utah while living in a tent next to the temple & went to Seattle anyway but instead of going south to Olympia to finish off a bachelors degree (with wide eyes of getting a master of fine arts in creative writing and likely a tweed jacket with elbow patches soon there after to go with my smoky pipe and intellectual airs), went North to my “for lack of a better term” hometown of Surrey/Vancouver, bought a one-way ticket to Amsterdam, found some ridiculously-colored hiking boots, obnoxiously-colored trousers and barely usable but very packable sleeping bag & mat on the clear-out table (obviously because of the color) at one of the dozen outdoor good stores in Kitsilano, and with a butane stove (loaded), pocket knife (dull-ish), cut off overalls, a travel sized wok pan, juggling sticks and a jester hat, headed off on a European adventure – not the sort of package tour with giggling youth on a graduation trip, nor the earnest guidebook-toting aficionado, just me, a patched up red wilderness experience backpack and the 1972 “hitchhikers guide to Europe” with vague plans to eventually meet up with my buddy Trevor who had gone a few months earlier (keep reading) and working as a waiter at a seaside something in England and seeing all these bands we loved at big muddy festivals.

At the risk of an extended digression, (& unsurprisingly, documentation of this trip exists in poems, paintings, two photographs, a wine label and at least one but probably more podcasts telling stories about getting deathly ill at Oktoberfest in Munich after hitchhiking from Amsterdam, meeting up with the Bad Yodelers band and being (yet again) a sort of uninvited guest on their band tour being a “roadie who didn’t do anything but smoke hash mixed with tobacco – yech”, then meeting up with Trevor in an idyllic fairytale town, picking grapes, gathering chestnuts for sale, partying in old castle dungeons, carousing with more people than should fit in a Citreön, a wild “new wine” festival [censored], hitchhike back to Amsterdam hostels & coffeshops, a bus to Belgium, a hazy ferry to England, rainy expensive London with Hare Krishnas and bad decisions and couch surfing (again) with New Zealanders (and an Australian who was convinced he was going to carry on a dozen beer steins for his flight home) after watching red dwarf… We ended up in Miami after hurricane Andrew on a cheap Virgin Atlantic flight – where we drank more than our airfare of fancy liquor & bought a bottle of scotch for a friend Who (yes, again) would be hosting us on his couch – on a fraudulent credit card. Then came all night Denny’s nursing coffees, Halloween hilarity, caught in thunderstorms, meeting sketchy friends of a sort, trying to exchange a Canadian hundred dollar bill which had been hidden in my boot for months, soggy and unvaluable, adventure down to Key West meeting neither Jimmy Buffett or Hemingway but eating some conch fritters, then a drive-away car delivery towards Dallas with at least three police incidents including a very thorough search on alligator alley none of which were nowhere near as frightening as dropping off the car to the very large, very agitated (and wearing very short shorts) recipient who was ummm concerned & confused about why the trunk wasn’t filled with a certain white powder and “who are we?” and why we were demanding he gave us $300… Somehow we ended up at the Greyhound station, scammed a scammer into a two-for-one ticket for a bus ride to Salt Lake City, i’ll never ride a greyhound again I said as I sat in the loser seat next to the toilet but still I remember every bus station was playing a different Neil Diamond song.)

Continue reading Riff: Japan, working holiday visa, 1992 (& related circumstances)

Items: Hemp Shop for Custom Clothes in Pokhara, Nepal (2017)

While in Pokhara, Nepal in 2017 for extended Ayurveda treatment, i generally, wasn’t able to go out and explore aside from a haircut/beard trim (all the oils from the treatment or a little unwieldy so I switched to a great mustache) and another time to get this magnificent custom-made, hundred percent hemp outfit made at Sabitri Hemp Shop (map).

I sort of explained all the advocacy work I’ve done for commercial applications of hemp cannabis over the years with Hempenroad film, dozens of articles especially about hemp in Japan, the “Practical Guide to Cannabis” for policymakers”, but really, *this wasn’t my gig* rather i was there to enjoy and support.

here is the storefront with a few premade wares on display and double sewing machines in front making new things

The owner was a jovial friendly sort and i had a good time explaining what i wanted and being measured.

Specifically, ordered a short sleeve collared shirt with a trim fit made to wear untucked, and a pair of trousers with the waistband finished like I like it and back pockets with buttons and all the little details.

seen here with handmade flat cap by Mavili (from Georgia – the country, not state – purchased at Lonsdale Quay and traveled all over with)
Continue reading Items: Hemp Shop for Custom Clothes in Pokhara, Nepal (2017)

Artifacts: Patagonia Quarterly With “Do Boys” & Mountain Travel

Tidying up my archive and found issue 1, March 1985 of “Patagonia, A Quarterly Review” with the “Do* Boys Do the Yellowstone” on cover. Pleasing articles within too including YC’s “State of #Patagonia , Nov 94”.

Never saw another issue of this and remember (in the early days of the Internet) asking Patagonia HQ about this and they had no idea (they replied with a pleasant letter which I still might find)… so, this was just sitting in a box since the 1980s sometime, waiting for today.

“There’s two kinds of growth: growth that makes you fat, and growth that makes you strong.”

Yvon Choinard

I learned a lot about grassroots marketing and community building from following the company in the late 1980s.

Specifically: They community-sourced photos for catalogs, had a toll-free number “just for advice”, provided sponsored gear for *regular interesting people* rather than professionals. All tactics I later used in business endeavors.

Related: Mountain Travel catalog which fascinated me as I pondered which trips/tours/adventures to join… (and thinking about how I could be one of the person that was a guide like did this for a job) // I never did *exactly* this & deserves more of a riff but for now, here is the front and back of a wonderful dream book.

Postboxes + Post Office: Katsuyama, Okayama, Japan (for #postboxsaturday) —

“Just hanging out by a beautiful pillar #Postbox with a fantastic noren curtain in historic Katsuyama, Okayama, Japan for #PostboxSaturday #PostBoxesOfTheWorld

yes i am cheesing out, with a jaunty pose but i mean, look how great it all is!

More: same cheesy pose, same town, same different box, different day along Katsuyama historic “preserved” street

Even More: same town, 2 snaps of another pillar at Katsuyama Station and another cheesy pose by a standard issue box by the actual post office in Yubara, Katsuyama

Continue reading Postboxes + Post Office: Katsuyama, Okayama, Japan (for #postboxsaturday) —

Collection: (Pay)phones (vol. 11) – assorted Japan hotel/ryokan house phones

operational classic black rotary and laser engraved QR code for wi-fi

As part of on-going documentation of various collections of payphones. this gallery features examples of phones in various states of use, captured “in the wild” around Japan, specifically featuring hotel house phones in Shimane and Ishikawa and related devices, plus a few other phone handsets of different circumstances and origins for your edification, lightly annotated.

the Ryokan’s “control center” with multiple faxes and breaker panels, switch boards…
another hotel “control centre” with phones, faxes, batteries and cc machines(?)
i seem to recall this was once a phone i used but don’t recall. can you remember?
room phone at a Ryokan in Shimane
Continue reading Collection: (Pay)phones (vol. 11) – assorted Japan hotel/ryokan house phones

Dossier: meet Rasika, postcard artist in Sri Lanka (also ink stamp and videos)

in bed, making postcards with tea in Sri Lanka

While in Sri Lanka for extended Ayurveda treatment, and later rambling a bit, I met an earnest young artist named Rasika specializing in postcards, diligently hand-painted and reflecting visual motifs of his culturally unique homeland.

a variety of Rasika’s handmade postcards

I, unsurprisingly, purchased many many postcards from him and struck up a friendship. He would come to my villa to work on paintings and I would sometimes visit him at his stand at the market in historic Fort Galle.

I mailed many of his postcards around the world so hope his spirit lives on refrigerators and in shoeboxes and scrapbooks as well as in hearts.

Rasika’s card (along one from Stick no Bills) on a fridge in Utah

I purchased him a special ink stamp as a token of friendship and he also help me acquire a return address stamp.

Continue reading Dossier: meet Rasika, postcard artist in Sri Lanka (also ink stamp and videos)

Postboxes + Post Office: Phitsanulok, Thailand (for #postboxsaturday)

“for #postboxsaturday here’s a beauty standing guard out front the Post Office in historic Phitsanulok, Thailand”

118 ถนน Phutthabucha Alley, Tambon Nai Mueang, Mueang Phitsanulok District, Phitsanulok 65000, Thailand

See more: Postboxes and Payphones, etc (mosty) in Phitsanulok, Thailand

Memo: As it goes, i have hundreds of snapshots of postboxes, post offices, and “postal still life” (meaning scenes of scattered pens, papers, postcards, stationery, stamps – all spread over a table while in a session) and i use these for Postcards from Gravelly Beach podcast “episode art” and made a book from many of the artifacts.

Of late, some Instagram/Twitter folks have a #postboxsaturday campaign/project rolling so i’ve used this as encouragement to start trickling out my stash. Slowly and intermittently (because i have too many projects on the go!) with minor annotations.

Collection: Payphones (vol. 10) – assorted varieties / Varley Trail, Hong Kong, Bali, Japan

at Rice Lake cabin along the Varley Trail, Lynn Canyon, BC

Pardon any redundancies, this collection definitely includes several that just haven’t fit into previous archives but maybe one or two they already are out there, there’s too many to count anymore. In this wormhole, we range widely however from the Varley Trail in Lynn Canyon, British Columbia, to Indonesia, to Hong Kong, to points around Japan. Of course, you can find many more in various collections of payphones and related communication tools.

on the streets of Hong Kong

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. Note that oftentimes the coin return slots were checked for forgotten change but the miner was surprised to find discarded chewing gum, or even-less-savoury items, instead.

ok ok, this isn’t a telephone, its a utility meter in Indonesia
to make up for my tom-foolery above, here’s a payphone in Indonesia
i see you! a accessible size “office ready” unit at a rest/service area en route to Kyoto
Continue reading Collection: Payphones (vol. 10) – assorted varieties / Varley Trail, Hong Kong, Bali, Japan

Batch of friendship cards, with postal life and typewriters

Batch of friendship cards made / sorta meta as the snaps are (mostly) all of making cards &/or tools used to do so (+ inky stamps to taste). Highly collectible :)

Post’d: sometimes requires a circuitous route to find a recipient

to an expired address, now-irrelevant archive
Archives mailed 
to an invalid address,
delayed upon transition,
relevance no longer relevant,
however, archive as needed
if needed
affectionately assembled
Remembering shelter from the storm every possible kind in San Francisco, “here are the keys tie use anything you like“
Postcard, written last year, was waiting for an address, now acquired - as such, sent this curious chap on his journey from the scotch and cigar "Drawing Room" at the Majestic Hotel in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to a mountain town across the Pacific. Red Velvet jacket not included.

Also: “I find that postcards require something quite beautiful between countries beyond politics and governments In that that little slip of paper touched so many hands making its way from me to you. It carries so many memories and so many intentions…

At first glimpse it’s just a goofy picture scribbled up but that original photo came from me on a meandering healing journey, not all that long after we sat together in San Francisco or I hid out at your house… in the “drawing room” at the Majestic Hotel in kuala lumpur, I made friends with a barman named Sunday (wrote a poem about him), wore a red velvet smoking jacket, drank hot toddys as i picked up a terrible cold on an overnight train from Thailand where i shared a cabin with a Buddhist monk in his saffron robes, a suitcase full of cigarettes and gold watches.

From one Leo to another, we carry-on, gently, kindly and intrepidly”