Tag Archives: cafe

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

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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

(at the) Blanket café / Shinkonryoko Ramble

Cafe named for warmth

Presents 3 bread variations

Space for belonging, me and you

Continue reading (at the) Blanket café / Shinkonryoko Ramble

Europa (unfinished) / sketches and remixes – vol. 3

Fields out of train window – somewhere in France, 2005, watercolour pencil on paper, 11″x17″

In 2005, i wandered Europa (Netherlands, Belgium, France, Spain, Portugal) by train, car and tram. Along the way, i wrote an extensive cycle of poetry, and completed a solid dozen or so paintings (acrylic, watercolour and charcoal) – some of which you may have seen along the way. I also started a load of other pieces which haven’t had a day in the easel yet — mostly because i like to let art ferment but also because i can never decide which medium to use to “finish” these.

Acrylics were more exciting in the white hot moment of creating en plein, watercolour teases my rather clumsy and aggressive touch and i am tempted to use simple black ink and make something colour-able by kids and adults. Not sure how to go about this as its not a technique i am polished at (yet) but these do need a life beyond a shoebox.

Maybe you kind folks and artists can offer a word of advice or idea? Regardless, they are nowhere near and as such, lonely and sad. So, here are rough drafts in ragged spontaneity and various forms and mediums. This is Vol. 3 of a few (last one i think), pardon repeats and redundancies.

Fishing boats on beach – Salema, Portugal, 2005, pencil on canvas sheet 11″x17″

bonus: another version of Fishing Boats near cliffs in Salema, Portugal. copied and coloured Continue reading Europa (unfinished) / sketches and remixes – vol. 3

Europa (unfinished) / pencil on canvas or paper (vol. 2)

Beer and mussels in a cellar bar with wooden beams - Brussellex, Belgique, 2005, pencil on paper 11"x17"
Beer and mussels in a cellar bar with wooden beams – Brussellex, Belgique, 2005, pencil on paper 11″x17″

On a 2005 ramble through a few western European countries (Netherlands, Belgium, France, Spain, Portugal), i carried a satchel of art supplies and painted / sketched along the way. Mostly on 11″x17″ canvas sheet and watercolour paper.

In most cases, i “finished” the pieces in one sitting using acrylics or sometimes watercolour pencils or pastels (these are catalogued, sold/gifted and posted elsewhere).

Little lane to a door (24) to elsewhere, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 2005 - pencil on paper 11"x17"
Little lane to a door (24) to elsewhere, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 2005 – pencil on paper 11″x17″

Anyhow, i have a several which never quite got finished and now sit in a folio in a storage locker elsewhere. I snapped photos and have considered how to finish – even soliciting advice which ranged from “they are finished” to “consider gouache” or “make a colouring book” which i did for my nieces and nephews.

Regardless, they are nowhere near and as such, lonely and sad. So, here are rough drafts in ragged spontaneity and various forms and mediums.

This is Vol. 2 of a few (maybe), pardon repeats and redundancies.

Café with wine and beer on tap, espresso, croissants and the like, Santiago de Compostela, Spain, 2005 - pencil on paper, 11"x17"
Café with wine and beer on tap, espresso, croissants and the like, Santiago de Compostela, Spain, 2005 – pencil on paper, 11″x17″

Finally starting to figure out how social media works…

Here are #Cats, with names

Another batch of dispatches…

Another batch of dispatches underway. Handwriting still lousy but sentiments still true. Also must commend self of exceptional quality & variety in stationary (nice one daveo, thank dave) – this is my #therapy on quest for #reinvention & #reincarnation .

Poetry session supplies…

✔ outstanding hat
✔ insta camera
✔ fountain pen
✔ Tintin notebook
✔ (not pictured) matcha latte
= fine #poetry session

Post’d: Thanks to Hospital in Thailand, from cafe India

3 Letters to Thailand (1 postcard to Mexico) from a Post Office in Kerala, India – Remembrance Day 2016
 
Excerpt from diary/letter:
 

This often includes my favourite thing to do when wandering at home or abroad — find a quiet well lit café, choose the “mafia table” meaning the back corner with my back to the wall, and fill up the table with stationary, pens, scrapbooks, and dig into some arts and crafts and letter writing. In this case, specifically letters to the hospital in Thailand which was so wonderfully kind to me…. Which is what started this missive in the first place as I’ve now shared with you the results of all my tests I did including 20 some odd blood tests (virus, inflammation, methylation), EEG, MRI on my arthritic hips and antibody before immunizations required (or suggested anyway) before travelling to this land.

{snip}

I pay my rupees, call a taxi, stop at the post office… I’m mildly obsessed with post offices and visit them in every country along with riding trains/ferries/buses when possible… and shutting down a bar. I haven’t been drinking at all in India aside from one obligatory Kingfisher, and even in my secret hideaway in Thailand, I only went to the delicious craft beer bar once despite it being run by adorable ladies who I could spend all night watching. Such a good boy I am!

The post office in this case was a sweaty small room with various ladies sitting at jumbled desks and when I asked for stamps to send three letters to Thailand, it was as though the first time this had been requested. The stamps  it seems would come in denominations other than five rupee but evidently not.

The number of stamps covered up a good third of the envelope  by the time i was done (photo in process) and I was hesitant to lick them after seeing the hands that it handed them to me. No disrespect to them but until I understand by gut biology better, I’m avoiding unnecessary risk.

On a battered wooden bench there was a pot of paste like from a school for bad children circa 1972, the brush was broken and the glue stains but I slathered it on and handed these letters over. My delivery success rate on the missives I send seems to hit about 40% so I’ve taken the habit of photographing the letters and the envelopes before sending them.

Of course, I send various treatises electronically as well and while I know they been delivered, the usual responses in the form of a thumbs up or happy face or :-( emoji. This makes me #Unsatisfied.

Remember the part of me being born in the wrong decade? This is a prime example.