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.
As the cover implies, the handmade (not by me obv) was purchased in Nepal. Inside the papers are thick and tactile and hearty enough to support plenty of glued-in times. The time to fill came during a trip to Eastern Canada – life was confusing and i had no grounding whatsoever (granted i am fairly used to this sensation) so i went looking for a home. I visited Montréal, Quebec City, Halifax, St. John’s, Cape Breton and Moncton – in each city, i stayed in an shared apartment and attempted to live as though i lived there. This means, walking to grocery store and post office, finding book shops, cafe, coffee shops, looking up rental/purchase prices, exploring neighbourhoods, visiting parks and markets… in all to see if i could “fit there”. I did a slightly more touristy activity in each place – a museum (Montreal Forum, Tintin in QC, Citadel in Halifax, out Cape Spear and Signal Hill in St. John’s…). Also Canada Day in Halifax and St Jean de Baptiste day in QC. I travelled by combination of trains, ferries (including Dartmouth and overnight Nfld to NS ferry), highway busses, and occasional plane, as well as utilizing public transport in each city including from the airport.
Along the way, i documented the towns with my usual assortment of ticket stubs, news clippings, brochure scraps, scribbled notes, addresses, biz cards, stickers, coasters and even a few cloth patches.
BTW, i didn’t find an ideal town for me – each place certainly had good things but no were a perfect fit for me. Big reason is my intolerance for cold and related rugged living. Just getting out and about is difficult for me ya see. Thought if i were to choose a place, it would be Moncton, NB.
A walk around various car-free day festivals in Vancouver, 2008 with unedited soundstream of drum circles, live bands of various sorts (including several numbers by a Grateful Dead inspired band, a free jazz combo, a protesting singer-songwriter, and a Latin-esque outfit…), plus skateboards, slam poets, and a bassoon quartet playing “hockey night theme” among other tunes.
The VIA Rail train “The Ocean” – from which i just disembarked – pulls out of Moncton, New Brunswick heading west towards Montréal, Quebec, Canada.
This train is Viarail’s The Ocean which goes between Montreal and Halifax… In this case, dumping me off in Moncton, New Brunswick (from Truro, Nova Scotia) last summer when I explored eastern/maritime Canada seeking a new home Unsuccessfully — I did find many find communities between Montréal’s mile end, Quebec City, Halifax’s north end, St. John’s Newfoundland, Cape Breton Island Nova Scotia… to name a few but turns out I’m #Pacific through and through. Note: met wonderful people in each place… So much more #friendly & open than #Vancouver indeed – also way way thriftier place to find a home and exist.
Swipe for multiple views of this fine (by 1960s standards anyway) conveyance.
++ Continued Exploits and Dispatches from one Thor Aronson ++
Over a week now in Istanbul, just waiting for evidence his quarry was here, or had stopped through at least. But, not a lead until a well-bribed cleaner a 4th floor walk-up hotel sent word (through contacts at the port) of a passport matching his vague description.
“A Canadian?” thought Thor, “they’re not even their own damn country! Just another dominion of the damn British!”
A closer look revealed his Greek heritage which indicated he had at least two passports to travel under. The stamp s showed a circuratous route through various Mediterranean, Levant and Baltic enclaves.
Yet “Gus” is no TE Lawrence or even Wilfred Thesinger, no way he could be rambling through these remote places without assistance from a fluent Arabic speaker, various fixers and sea captains. But still, Thor was at least a step behind… if not more.
With myriad ships going in and out of the gateway to Europe and Asia, he could be just about anywhere, but most definitely he was at sea as the rail lines were still rebuilding from frequent bombings, likely effectuated by those nefarious Brits.
No matter, after contacting an inside source at the Canadian Consulate (of course sequestered down a hallway at the UK embassy) Thor knew the passport was a fake, and even the name might not be accurate, but… The face was definitely the mug he was after.
Thor sat down stone steps between the grand souk and the blue mosque, lit a cigar and waited for another smoke signal. If he was careless to leave the passport behind in the hotel safe, no doubt something else would emerge. The bribes were paid, the photo circulated and soon Gus would tip another card. Inhaling deeply, Thor mattered, “fucking Canadians, when will they get it together and become their own country?”
June 2012, i boarded a VIA with 11 bands, a doc film crew, CBC radio 3, a bushel of photographers, a handful of fans and me as onboard community Svengali – complete a Bob Marley/Hunter Thompson inspired medical kit.
Across the lands we bounded, each band performing acoustically in the glass act-deco caboose in car, they played a showcase in the “activity” car, then a rousing full rocking set at the Gladstone in Toronto for CBC Radio 3 NXNE showcase.
Along the way, we made 4 whistlestop performances which all featured lateness, weirdness and rampaging small towns before escaping back to the diplomatic immunity of the train.
You probably know i made a 6or7 part podcast series – tracking the trek and Green Couch are crafting a Tracks on Tracks documentary… which i think should be 10 hours long.
I gathered all my paper-y bits and pieces and made another of my commemorative story boards AKA “static montage” with CDs, stickers, snaps, stubs, postcards and even a pic from my keynote address at NXNE Interactive about social media in crisis and revolutions.
With John Biehler’s help, here is the static montage, hopefully in a size you can zoom in and catch each detail.
Tag it up, wallpaper it, share it. Enjoy and let’s go again!