Tag Archives: christmas

Happy Merry, All the Festive, Every Joyful

Happy Merry
Any Festive
Every Joyful
All of the Moments

Peace – Health – Happy
to all of us, all of you

Ate nabe stew, warmed by woodstove, bath then slept

Fondly from Dave, Ryoko & Ichiro Stanley Thorvald of Tsuchida Cottage, Okayama, Japan on a usual Friday, Dec. 25, Reiwa 2 / 2020

Tradition is what you are doing in the present tense. Every moment a spectacular event. You are a miracle, truly, enjoy. (& If you ever forget, we’re here to remind you.)

an original for the biographers and collectors

Dec 25, out n about (with treasures) on a quest

Today is regular Friday here on Japan > we are on a mysterious mission {explain later} but along the way, saw an old rolling stock – ran the trams from 1910-1962 / lot of change witnessed in that period.

Ichiro & Ryoko with classic tram car in Saidaiji (on a special quest)

Anyhow, point is: these are my treasures. Xo

Riff: Ghosts of Festive Losts {Christmas Any/no/elsewhere}

Sometimes you feel like a person left in the “lost luggage” room… You sit, you wait for the person to come ~ sometimes someone comes by but for another reason and you just sit and you wait. Eventually, a train comes, sometimes you find a seat, sometimes with window and you go.

Ghosts of Festive Losts – you wait, sometimes miracles arrive or ring or you are just lost (Lanka 2017)

Other times, a friend is someone who comes to help you for a rather different purpose than the “help you seek“ yet somehow, maybe unbeknownst to you & them, they help & you appreciate, admiration is mutual, then each drift into life, better than before, or at least different.

I’ve spent more Christmases {or whatever} either working jobs, in hospitals, lost alone, holed up in hotels, hiding in cabins, or movie theatres, on road hitching, or with strangers etc. than have with family or familiar. Best stories. Fortunately none in jail. Hear you if alone.

Tradition is what you are doing in the present tense.

Every moment a spectacular event.

You are a miracle, truly, enjoy.

Diary: Santa Land at Community Centre

Background: Just doing a Santa gig at a little local community center in Tsuchida, Okayama… Not a lot of kids around here it seems so… not sure what to expect exactly > just is going with the flow. Figure it’s my “job for life” now that I live here and I’m the token neighborhood guy with a beard.

Preparation: Giving the chukka boots a little bit of black polish (after removing some salt stains with vinegar), then a little buff up to go with the Santa Claus outfit tomorrow.

Of course, I won’t actually be able to wear the shoes into the event (will bring my own red and black check slippers though) but well, doing what I can to be a top-end Uncle Christmas for the kiddos.

Also pulled out some old gold wire rim glasses – just not doing what I can to look sharp.

With various precautions (temperature checks included), the kids won’t sit on my lap but instead, stand a respectful distance away, bow likely (at the grandeur of my beard no doubt), cry possibly, state their wishes maybe, and I will nod approvingly and wish them each well on their life.

There will likely be a few snapshots. Note to self, early start so prepare coffee and/or cocoa in advance.

OK, back to the boots before I make a mess of things. (update: mess = yes)

PS These little boots are what I wore stomping around the Himalayas a bit… Kind of as a “protest to yuppie Mountaineers“, and out of respect to so many Nepalis who carry obnoxious tourist’s load around the mountains wearing off the rack regular old clothes, as such wandered through the villages with these on my hooves.

Re: tomorrow morning’s “Uncle Christmas“ gig… Made a “Santa’s own family photo album” to take along in case any kids question the backstory. Includes: Santa as a young boy with beard etc. plus “Santa on vacation“ with the mayor. Includes pictures of mom and dad and Christmas in Jamaica.

+ Practicing Q&A with appropriate “in-character“ Japanese answers including which honorific pronouns and whatnot to use.
I mean I’m doing it, might as well go all in, as usual.

As I understand, there will be some sort of singing, storybook and then the kids will chant for Santa, at which time I will enter with a bag/box of presents > they’ve advised some sort of dancing, however I will sit during that part and tell the kids how adorable they are and ask appropriate questions about their recent behavior, thusly adjudicating the worthiness of gifts. 

Then, I will interact with the children in a cautious safe manner.

Stay tuned…

Here we go

Quick stroll over to kominkon

Ohato gozaimasu – now on-location in “stealth mode”, temperature checked, masks, so many cute kids…

Foggy morning like a Gordon Lightfoot song

Assisted by my R & I.

Also have Insta camera but seems no shortage of cameras here.

(Limited photos due to well, kids etc.)

I am appropriately medicated but could use one more coffee.

Moms & kids assembling here at community centre.

Windows open for max fresh air. 6o C, no one minds, bundled up.

Warming up with some movement & music.

I have elected to use my “foreigner elective card” and sit on a chair – I almost always do the floor sitting but right now, playing it safe… I may not be able to stand back up :)

Standing by for cue / note: specs circa 1996-7 when an internet company geek in Olympia, dress-up times like this is why I keep items. Could not see very well but #methodacting requires such sacrifices

Also, have used beard as a wig creating some sort of Santa Mullet

Resplendent and shimmering (note ordered the “luxury/deluxe” Santa outfit but it is decidedly mediocre, lots of flair but was hoping for higher end fabrics – geez, I’m needy!)

It’s technically not breaking & entering when you have a magic key. Just making sure my backstory is all in place when kids ask how I get in without a chimney to be found. (thanks S)

Rolling into the community center like no big deal… (Note the coordinated uniglo slippers) / Also walkingstick made from wood salvaged from the Fukushima incidents (thanks R)

Update: Slayed – My study at the Strasburg Institute paid off with my naturalistic performance as a trimmed up Santa Claus, old and weary yet doing all right.

Each child received a custom monologue based on their appearance, age, personality and shyness level.

Gift bags were provided.

Yes, a lot of the kids were a little surprised, a few cried but all left feeling better about themselves I think. Complements (sincere) are the most precious (& free) gift.

Reminded each kid to be sweet to their parents, say kind words to others, take good care of their health and I will see them next year.

Explained my trimmed up figure as a diet of natto and umeboshi exclusively.

Told them I was off to Kurashiki next.

Had a notebook with a map of the nearby seto-ni-ki (inland sea) on the cover and told them I was keeping notes (with a comically oversize pencil from the McMenimin’s Kennedy school in Portland) as to who were the good kids and whatnot.

Found this child particularly amusing and appealing.

I suppose *technically* Santa isn’t it supposed to choose favorites but I did. He was a bit confused, like “I know this dude but something seems *off*”

Oh, the kids performed some sort of freeform dance with colourful pom-poms which was unexpected.
 

Of course made a few other minor observances while on location i.e.: karaoke machine in the closet (for SFK)

Noted a lovely persimmon tree on the walk home

I did a stealth exit and back at the cottage warming up the bath and wishing there was a hockey game on. Received a gift bag which seems to have a bottle of tea and some sort of box… Let’s hope it’s chocolate.

[Update: was not chocolate, some sort of crackers, I broke the rules and ate in the bath – 2 hours at 44-45 °]

All the parents seemed super happy and I will do this every year forever, somewhere or another.

Afterward (with C.B.): I went to the gig in sort of street clothes and participated in the opening singing blah blah blah stuff (keep in mind I’m the only fella and only foreigner there) and then went and changed and came back in to the complete astonishment of the children.

That said, I kind of love the idea of rolling through the neighborhood in the outfit… Maybe head downtown and just act like it’s no big deal

Next year we can do the “foreign Santa renegade day out” / Rampage the streets giving away ¥100 store things

So much fun! I’m going to do this every year forever in Japan.

Cool Yule You Lovelies (with Mom)

Cool Yule (Mom ca 1964)

Note: the plaid anorak, the sunglasses, the hair, the smile – love love love all of it Mom (so much like you sometimes)

#daveo50 ~ 1977 / 50 years > days > photos

#daveo50 ~ 1977 / Surrey, BC, Canada

Project: Upon turning 50 years old on August 16, 2020, Dave Olson (me, hello) is posting a photo (or maybe photos) a day / per year – starting with 1970 with intent of chronicling existence through various primary evidence sourced from studio portraits, class photos, ID / passport photos, or occasionally other “casual/group/random” shots when the above don’t exist in my archive (note: not “artificial intelligence,” really me, pulled from shoeboxes, journals, wallets and whatnot – diligently scanned and dated via glasses and haircuts, lightly annotated).

Continue reading #daveo50 ~ 1977 / 50 years > days > photos

Diary: Christmas Eve, Day and Boxing in Okayama, 2019

Christmas isn’t really an “event” in Japan, more of a marketing campaign and a prelude to New Year’s Eve which is laden with tradition, nostalgia and routine. It’s kinda my speed as i am def turned off by rampant commercialism quasi-religious sabre-rattling which comes around. 

Regardless, with new family (and more family arriving in 2020) i wanted to wrangle a bit of festiveness – also acknowledging been a long while since i had vaguely “regular” christmas and while this was atypical, established some new routines, scratched an itch… after all, with the turmoil in my life the last years, there is admittedly some misgivings and rather tough emotions which come around during all this hoolpa. Most importantly, got to show love and respect for wife and in-laws. 

PS You can see a bit of building up for Christmas and read a riff between a friend and i about this holiday in Japan in: Diary: Christmas Forthcoming / out n about and at home in Okayama, 2019

What follows are a few poorly-photographed artifact of activities from Dec. 24 – 26 JST. Carry On!

First off, Dec. 24 (christmas eve) we made dinner of grilled mackeral, squash, pickled cucumbers and tsukemono carrots, greens, miso soup, tea, rice, lotus root, and whatnot. Yup, not off to a very traditional start – ha!

Christmas morn, we opened our stockings (pictured above) purchased from a 100yen store ($1), nothing but the best! and enjoyed toast with cream cheese and my kaki (persimmon) jam which i am always talking about, and nashi (pear). My sock had snacks, Ryoko’s had expired 35mm film and a necklace and snacks. 

Then we went to post office (one of my fave activities of course) and i wore a Santa cap (borrowed from Ryoko who wore at Mae Maes Christmas concert) to the amusement of the post office staff and the kids at the grocery store which was our next stop. Folks are stocking up for New Years time during which many stores are closed or scaled back hours and folks generally wanna hunker down. 

Then we picked up a pre-made feast from a great lil cafe called Sakura-mi we had ordered a while back when we went on a little lunch date. Here’s the café’s post box.

And i got to make a fire in the wood stove. So yeah, post office and fire making in the same day! Pleased. 

Took the grub home and set up at parent’s house (next door).

Continue reading Diary: Christmas Eve, Day and Boxing in Okayama, 2019

Diary: Christmas Forthcoming / out n about and at home in Okayama, 2019

Some kind of phone… possibly from a battlefield or remote office

We headed out on some errands to return the felt sheets used in the tea ceremony at assassinated Prime minster Inukai Tsuyoshi’s home to a strange little office in a corridor with the cigarette smell cemented into the cracked linoleum floors which all evoked the lost Showa times.

Along the way, a saw some shops, ate ramen, developed film, checked out cameras and whatnot. 

First though, along one of these covered shopping arcades which i totally dig (how does Vancouver not have these everywhere?), continued my rather absurd documentation of phone boxes.

I would call you but haven’t figured out where to buy a phone card. Also noting these “midori denwa” (green phones) are abundant and in beautiful condition but i (not shockingly) never see one in use. 

PS Did someone call a doctor? #joke My friend in Adelaide Australia made the snap into a fun cartoon-y image. I might do this with all photos in future. 

Continue reading Diary: Christmas Forthcoming / out n about and at home in Okayama, 2019

Post’d: Festive Cards and Greetings, batches away!

Batch 2 of festive greetz away from the main downtown Okayama postoffice!

And technically, this post box is just for mailing New Year’s cards within Japan, so the pedantic ones amongst you need not point this out… Festive display made for a pleasant photo.

The overall count was smaller than batch one however several bonus super-deluxe envelopes of treats in the mix.

Destinations include: Germany, UAE, Scotland, Sri Lanka, … and the usual USA / Canada locations.

Such fun applying the stamps and interacting with the post office staff as so many folks are in preparing and mailing New Year’s cards.

This lil elf dropped off 80-ish new year cards into the hopper.

Continue reading Post’d: Festive Cards and Greetings, batches away!

Artifacts (youngtime): with Santa / Obviously *thrilled*, location unrecalled 

Obviously *thrilled* (despite super snappy outfit), location unrecalled, circa 1980?

 

Christmas flashback variety pack with young Olsonboys

Brothers in robes: Dave, Bob, Dan and James in Surrey (Guildford, 154th St)

In preparing to enjoy Christmas 2019, i raided the archive of scanned slides which dear Mother diligently created (fortunately before her untimely passing) for a few to share with brothers.

In particular, brother James’ kids who received monogrammed robes from Ryoko and I for gifts, and also participated in various plays telling Christmas-related stories – both similar to these offerings.

Brothers in robes: Bob, Dave, James, Dan and Andrew in Surrey (Whalley 95th Ave)

Continue reading Christmas flashback variety pack with young Olsonboys

Diary: Autumn Miscellany, scenes of “regular life” in Okayama

made a little photo book for gift and sale featuring postboxes of the world, post offices here and there, and letter writing “still lifes” scenes with stationery and bevvies (note to self: post a link or something to purchase this book)

A few years ago (or less), each day was quite tough. Now, each day i deal with pain and confusion but enough joy and interestingness to compensate. My brain fires but i have to throttle as i get headaches and eye strain very easily, i remain very sensitive to light and sounds so use dark glasses and ear plugs when out and about.

Anyhow, there are several recent “standalone” dispatches of activities and outings (Mae Maes concerts, tea ceremony, museums, tours…) but this post simply gathers up miscellaneous whatnots which don’t really chronicle anything but normal day-to-day tasks and action with brief annotations.

coffee and cake date with the amazing Ryoko who amazes me daily with her tenacity, honesty, grace and endless interests

Continue reading Diary: Autumn Miscellany, scenes of “regular life” in Okayama