“I got some groceries, some peanut butter, to last a couple of days… ￼I got three passports, a couple of visas – You don’t even know my real name”
this ain’t no disco This ain’t no fooling around No time for dancing, or lovey dovey I ain’t got time for that now… (Actually, i have allll the time for lovey dovey ;))
The fact that this peanut butter is like as good as any peanut butter I’ve ever had in the world, and it’s available at a certain store that the wife found and totally reasonably priced, organic, made in Canada and delicious… makes Japan perfect for me , no change required (well maybe a few things about the patriarchy but that’s another post)
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￼.
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
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!
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.
you incorrigible romantic
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￼
As usual, I voted in the Canadian Parliamentary election which is noteworthy as 2019 was the first federal election to allow ex-patriates to vote from abroad.
Voters (including me) voted in the riding (jurisdiction) of their last permanent address in Canada – this was a little confusing as i’ve had a variety of addresses (mail drops, crash pads, temp rentals, forwarding services and the like) but in the end, registered and voted in Vancouver Centre (West End etc).
Note: The candidate whose name i wrote in (using my nicest writing) was not successful and the many-time incumbent Hedy Fry won (again) adding to the Liberal party minority government which will be officially formed when parliament returns to session.
The ballot arrived in a speedily after my online registration in a DHL courier envelope with various return and security envelopes and instructions.
Regardless, i filled out the ballot and mailed it back to Ottawa.
What follow is documentation of the Honorary Canadian Consulate in Osaka, located basically in the parking lot of a pre-cut wood shop with lumber imported from BC.
I was the first person to sign the guest register this year
Walls were adorned with newspaper clippings from a decade or so ago
Signs encouraging “More fish and wood”
Several beautiful canoes (unused)
(Somewhat oddly) wooden pig roaster in the lobby
The location, as you likely as assumed considering it’s a lumberyard, is in an industrial park area (photo of street included) and required a variety of transportation schemes to get there including the “new tram”.
While the experience was a little bit surprising (I have a whole riff about the underutilization of consulates and embassies I’ll save for another time), I’m glad it exists as it saved us from a much longer (and more expensive and more hectic trip) to Tokyo.
By the way, the required paperwork was an official affidavit to say that I am free to marry 藤田良子 which we then present at the City Hall on 19th (assuming the certified version arrives by registered mail in due course — update: arrived in Tsuda Lumber Company envelope) to formally register our marriage on April 19th before Shinto ceremony on 20th then party and another ceremony on 21st.
The poster art for the party was one of the first things on our “we want to have” list for the wedding celebration. We both love music, especially live, and the posters which go along with the gigs.
So we asked the lovely Joanna and huggable Kenji who together have Gamomo Creative (a Chamorro warrior from Guam where Dave used to live for just another connection) to design up something special.
Joanna and I did many projects together at Hootsuite so she is familiar with my “here’s a big crazy idea with vague details, make something magical by reading my mind” way of working and Kenji being hafu-Japanese and an eccentric creative, is also uniquely qualified for input. They also made 2 lovely kiddos! Oh and Kenji is featured in one of my barber round-up posts getting a mullet from guitar hero/barber Rich Hope.
Anyhow, I sent JoBot (coz she’s a robot who designs with love) 6 pages of notes and a folder of “inspiration” – way toooo much of course (i’m a maximalist when it comes to design) and she asked appropriate questions to whittle it down and see what it is i liked about each piece of inspiration.
With this in mind, i’ve compiled various images and notes in a rather stream of consciousness manner to share for-the-record how we collaborated to make something truly special which will be the central design element for the goat farm party.
Worth noting that originally we planned to just us the poster at the party and then in the gift bags but it was so wonderful (not surprisingly but still surprising), we created a number of home-done print runs on various stock to send in announcement dossiers to folks all around the world. About 300 went out in this form and we then pro-printed 150 for giftbags and another 6 BIG versions on foamboard to display at key locations at the party and another rollable 4 for other commemorative purposes. Thanks Joanna and Kenji for your huge hearts and exceptional work.
Once upon a time… humans moved away from bartering things and services on an ad hoc basis and came up with a default transaction medium which became known as money. First coins (well, maybe something before, likely made of clay) denominated by an arbitrary, yet commonly agreed-upon, value – often made of metals which were deemed to be rare/shiny/valuable.
Then after (perhaps admitting the arcane value of metals and needing something handier to tote around) eventually created paper bank notes – first with value attached to aforementioned shiny metals, then again arbitrarily assigned a transactional value by central banks and governments.
To me, this is neither here nor there, i really don’t have an opinion about the “importance” of money. Indeed, if you value such “wealth” so much, go forth and acquire in exchange for your time, talents or conniving – or simply create your own currency, print it and rally folks to desire it as a means of exchange. This is commonly done in form of community notes, “virtual” currencies (often managed by Blockchain tech), or even various commercial operations making notes, coupons or points systems.
My point in sharing this is: Very often, these banknotes – both contemporary or deprecated – are lovely specimens of design art and printing technology (granted the reason is usually to thwart counterfeit versions polluting the general population’s trust in the monetary system). I very much enjoy the loveliness of printing “things on substrates” – the values to me are non-important (aside when i need to purchase eggs and bacon) but rather the artistic-ness and the totems decided by a society to represent their culture/country (often historical figures of various repute, significant events, important buildings or cultural motifs) are a source of endless curiosity. Additionally, the stories the bills imbue, often soaked quite literally into the fibres, as well as the journey the note took to your hand or pocket and/or the travel one undertook to acquire… are what sparks my interest.
As such, i gather these notes, photograph for the historical record and my own amusement and, evidently, to share with you.
What follow is Volume Three of several in an on-going series – this one featuring currencies no longer in circulation for one reason or another including Canada, Vietnam, Estonia (i think), and Trinadad and Tobago.