“Good news” is over 300 pieces of postal mail dispatched the last 4-5 weeks. Mostly postcards but also bunch of special packets (some were far overdue) + typed (poorly) a few long letters – still a few more on my list and then have to pause / slow down for a while.
The new year stamp station at the local post officeOn a drive to visit an arborist colleague, in another town, spotted a couple post boxes from the car, and just couldn’t resist myself since we were at a red light, seemed like fate
As the cards rolled in, they were pinned to the string of honor, now there are too many to fit, but since these were snapped, here are a few that started us off… so many more, thanks to everyone, eventually more documentation, probably
Just for fun – and to remind myself that I repeat myself – here are similar snaps from previous years. It’s all the same except entirely different, except for the parts are the same.There was a lot of red ink, stamping, because well of course we have our own “year of the rabbit” stamps, so wore out the previous red ink pad (which I really really liked) and ordered a new one, yeah it’s really the big timeHave acquired at least a dozen free calendars and placed each appropriately throughout the house, and in this case, in the kura (to be clear, there’s also one in the carport/workshop)Of course, this dude was helping out with the stampingAlong with the “usual” high volume of standard New Year’s cards, were a few special dossiers, sent to folks needing a little spark, due to being shut, ins, hospitalized, suffering, loss, or otherwise did something very special. an opportunity to share some of my little arts and crafts to maybe inspire others.Though our dear rabbit Maru-chan is featured on the new year card – because of course it is “year of the rabbit” – sadly, my design skills squished him in and he was often covered by a stamp required for postal delivery. I attempted to apologize and explain the situation – he just wants to sit by the fire. I think we’ll both be all right.
A very special packet to a very special human, who, possibly vaguely knows I exist due to a meeting in 1997, mailed to the Shasta, bioregion with admiration and affectionThank you to all our wonderful correspondents, both sending and receiving is a pleasure
The next “big project” is getting ready for a trip #BCInvasion in April/May. Focus is “family, friends, parks, and gardens” 1st time for my darlings, and I’m a little intimidated to deal with lack of public toilets, tax/tips and other social connections, but will get through it. And yes, of course I’ve made a Google doc plan and “poster art”.
Ron Whitehead is *the outlaw poet* – a true legend and gentlemen, to be admired, read, listened to, and respected. I definitely do all of the above.
Huge Shout Out Thank You to my friend Dave Olson for the Amazing Gift Package from Japan!!! Sending good vibrations from my little writing cottage near the banks of the oh great river!!
Ron Whitehead, Lifetime Beat Poet Laureate
Photo by Frogg Corpse
To which i reply,
Dear poet Ron and artist Jinn,
So glad the package arrived, and very grateful that you took the time to savour all the contents with glimpses of my projects and “usual days” plus very much appreciate you making this wonderful collage / unsurprisingly, I will be sure to properly archive the evidence
Warms my heart across continents and oceans. I look forward to continued correspondence and collaborations.
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.)
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)
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.”
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.
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?
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.
Rasika and his pals and me, (top left) at villa, (top right) in tuk tuk, (bottom) at market
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.
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.
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