Tag Archives: arts and crafts

“Elf Care” and Arts + Crafts / Japan Cottage Musings

Dave riffs about “Elf Care” in tumultuous times along with personal archeology from a cottage in Japan including life update about baby and wife, plus “doing what you can” – in this case making arts and crafts and sort-ganizing.

Shared examples of projects are: books of postboxes and paintings, scrapbooks of travel ephemera, family photos, and virtual learning with certificates, as well as upcoming Jack Kerouac story making workshop.

Finally offers support for artist who need a like, subscribe, comment and support. Fondly, Dave (plus plenty of sanitary face touching :))

Diary: Hermiting, baby, art, archive & you you you + us us us

I hermit like Obi-wan is his “lost years” / indeed, a Gen X kid with a lot of hobbies and a chronic illness – i know the flow. Got the food delivery service, plenty of books and art supplies and several versions of loungewear/pyjamas.

Keep in mind, here in Japan, we’re a couple months into “all of this“ – schools, events, museums, public places and gatherings have been canceled for many weeks now, and things, at least where I am the outskirts other rather minor provincial capital city, are generally calm / however, a quick glance at Twitter videos plenty of vitriol about the governments response (or lack of, or too much of, or…) especially in terms of testing (not enough of it, especially compared to neighbour South Korea) – Of course much debate and sabre-rattling about wither the Olympics – what to do? (seems to me just pushing forward exactly one year would make sense but hey, no one’s been on the phone to me to ask).

I have visited a few hospitals in the last six weeks for other reasons and found them to be calm, not busy, extremely tidy and efficient. Also note that Japan’s elderly population means much experience at treating pneumonia which has some similar respiratory components and thus treatments as current conundrum.

Certainly my first priority is taking good care of my adorable pregnant wife, though she requires very little assistance in *anything* aside from reminding her to slow down. With her business as an arborist, she is her own small business/boss and is still doing bits and pieces of work, no longer climbing trees however #ThankGoodness but with all appropriate precautions and out in the gorgeous spring weather here.

We have a check in with our doctor tomorrow though the “Papa’s Class” series at the birthing clinic has been canceled indefinitely. (This was also serving as my Japanese study session as I try to learn new vocabulary related to pregnancy and childcare but… We shall carry-on – Noting that I have absolutely zero discipline in regards to language study).

Canada’s Prime Minister implored Canadians to “come home“ before impending doom etc. and while this is wise advice for many, I live here in Japan now permanently. Plan is to grow old here raising a happy kid, write poetry and letters, make paintings and friends and books and gardens – Come visit, we’ll have tea and hit up a museum.

and… Very excitingly, my “entire life archive” arrives in a container after a trans-pacific journey on Thursday. So, just in case I’m not sharing enough creative artifacts to keep you amused 😉 40+ years of journals, scrapbooks, fanzines, photos, letters, certificates – as well as books and records and funny hats – are all being offloaded into a 300-year-old grain barn for sort-ganizing and sharing.

Anyhow, thinking about each of you wonderful people out there in the world and, as I’ve mentioned before, if you need any advice about staying chill and keeping your mind busy whilst indoors (aside from being watching television problem etc. which I don’t know too much about), I remain your semi-useful uncle in custom-made pyjamas.

Your turn, tell me about everything going on in your world, where you’re at, how you’re feeling, what you’re working on, what’s inspiring you, what do you dream about and so on and so on. All of it all of it.

Note: You can write a letter if you prefer

Riff: Creativity in solitude(ish) / from experience

I went from being very social and active to often housebound due to a chronic and complex illness, and spent extended stints sequestered at Ayurvedic clinics & various hospitals …

Finding yourself cooped up due to public health situation? Your solution is: digging into projects which maintain your mental acuity and move your fine motor skills but also, very importantly, produce something in the end.

Like: making scrapbooks of life ephemera, organizing letters and photos, writing down your stories, make a podcast, read war and peace (or similar), write a novel (desert solitaire or similar), make some songs, write some poems, compile your journals and diaries, embark on “personal archaeology” by sort-ganizing your old report cards, certificates and participation ribbons / put them in binders with sheet protectors or make a shadowbox… I can go on and on but I think you get the gist.

Or this is a great time to take an online course about something you dig (I recently did a Japanese book culture course). Many universities have all sorts of free courses (start at open culture or Internet archive) plus you can just learn something new on your own via other folks like you, i.e.: how to make Lo-Fi beats, how to play the ukulele, how to paint with oils… IOW, Get started on something interesting which can be a new hobby and produce some neat artifacts,rather than just trying to level up on a video game.
Verily, choose activities with intentions / of course, chill out but consider watching a specific classic epic movie (ask me if you need some tips) rather than sifting through nonsense to binge (and in general minimize mindless, high-twitch screentime).

Look at this as an opportunity to do all those little projects you’ve *always meant to do*.

Also, letter writing is cheap and cheerful and immensely satisfying, especially for others who are routinely shut in (elders, disabled, remotes etc.)

If you need someone to cheer you along or give you some more ideas are examples, of course I am friendly if a bit slow sometimes.

I will note that it’s totally up to you what do you do and all that, I’m just encouraging expansion of your brain through art and culture and creativity – and im speaking from so much experience.

All the hugs, your possibly-favourite uncle

Photo: Dr. Trevor Erikson (note: before Dr status)

Diary: Coffee in Tiny Café / refuge from the storm

Japan has loads of a little tiny cafés/restaurant/bars which are like less than 10 people maximum, often with a little private rooms too. It’s one of the things I love about living here, as tiny little cafés in North America don’t really exist as everything becomes chains or aggressively turning over tables to maximize the slim profits.

Anyway, this is a little neighbourhood lunch place where we can chill out in a room closed off with sliding doors to enjoy a little break from the house. Plus everyone is so excited about Ryoko’s belly

Aside: As you likely know, Japan has a declining birth rate which is especially evident in the cities with a few kids, and countryside with some kids but lots of (awesome) old people. Anyway, we’re helping to balance that out in a very tiny way.

We went out for an errand to the post office to deal with a few banking issues, and again, it’s tiny, tidy & friendly.

To friends in North America, we see/hear you… All the cancellations and restrictions and what not started here maybe six weeks ago so we’re kind of into the routine so maybe that’s a message of solidarity or just “I see you“ #alwaysbekind

##

Daniel remarked:

Okayama is the best. Such a chill and safe area. With just enough variety of food and culture to keep it interesting.

to which i replied:

That is a great summation of this remarkable and underappreciated area. Super handy transportation links to big cities, mountains, hot springs, inland sea, other islands…, including easy getaway via 2 airports if needed.
So many museums, I’m still catching up on all of them.
Certainly enough to keep amused (Plus any needed shopping) but easy enough to get out of the city when needed.
I’ve traveled much/most of Japan and this is the best “all around” place to live in my mind.
Sunny days ahoy!

Michal added:

Their the best! Especially when there’s a view on small niwa Japanese have such a great taste for! A Bliss…

to which i chimed:

I especially love the places that are sort of “lost in showa era” – with all sorts of kitschy knick-knacks and bric a brac which hasn’t been moved or dusted for a few decades… Still the old character left over from another age, run by an old couple who started the place with such dreams in their youth.

Michal again:

you incorrigible romantic

Lydia said:

That china is gorgeous

and me again:

Right! Sometimes you find these cafés that I’ve just been frozen in time and it’s like going to grandma’s house all over again… In this case, it really is as two generations of ladies both over 60 (a granny and great granny or something like that) are taking care of the shop and make a huge fuss over my adorable pregnant wife. I let them know I appreciate their great China as well, plus a fantastic tea selection

Scrapjournal: T. Aronson, esq / Interlaken, with wax seal, aerogramme + ephemera

Notes from Interlaken (T. Aronson), front
Notes from Interlaken (T. Aronson), back

There were more in this batch of scrapjournals, lovingly hand-crafted during summer of 2019 whilst on Nusa Ceningan, Indonesia.

Most go as gifts to travelers and adventurers to fill up with ephemera and musing but this one stayed with me.

Feature a cover made from vintage aerogramme, lettraset (rub-on left over 1970s) monogramming, a wax seal, cancelled postage stamps,  inky stamps, printed Lomo sardine can camera 35 mm snaps and various printed oddities – in this case, a bi-plane of significance which slips my mind.

Made with vaguely-Japanese-style-craft-binding, sewn with hearty thread via 3 holes drilled through a mighty block of various paper stock acquired at random intervals around Bali.

This is filling with quasi-fictional dispatches from the semi-fictional character claiming ownership. 

 
 

Inky Stamps: variety sampler, redux

Inky stamps, assorted/currently in use, annotated. (created to include in a package to a friend, including here to provide confusion and amusement)
 

Artifact: Log Bench (detail) / lesson in elegant simplicity

Log Bench (detail)

Metaphor: look for simple elegant ways to make/do tasks/things which can become unnecessarily complicated

Artifact: Peter Puck’s Coloring Book

Peter Puck’s Coloring Book (circa 197x)

Artifact: Belly (the band), Dove (the album) lyric book (handmade)

Belly (the band), Dove (the album) lyric book (handmade)

Memento: El Cortez Hotel (Las Vegas)

El Cortez Hotel, Las Vegas (Fremont Street), Nevada