Tag Archives: curry

Diary: visitors see new life & family + trip to Teshima w/ Ichiro annotations

A mysterious brilliant visitor from overseas – first in three years – captured me, at home, in my new life. This is my family, this is our home.

my adorable family with whom Xo Ryoko, Ichiro (thanks Amber Sensei)

I wandered far and endured plenty to find this life, and immensely grateful for it all. I’m so happy to show someone from my “old life“ what i found & and she understood very well.

and now with remarkable in-laws/grandparents

With out guests coming, we pulled out the special stash of saké, some fermented carrot pickles, housemade miso, and a few other fermented treats. Also started to soak in soy beans to make soy milk; prepared the Bizen yaki ceramic cups & small dishes for sashimi; also have bamboo shoots from our forest. (thanks M-i-L and F-i-L)

garden vegetables and bamboo shoots right out the door

Ryoko also prepared matcha tea in an abbreviated tea ceremony with tea bowls from her great-grandparents and made anpan (anko sweet bean paste in lil pancakes) to go with.

tea bowls and accessories, freshly washed

I should add that, “no, Japan is not open to tourists at this time” – Our recent particular international guest was on a publishing-company-sponsored book tour / meaning the company supported a business visa requiring a detailed itinerary and accepting of various risks / responsibilities etc. visit with issued by Japan consulate in USA before departure and required 10+ various forms, letters, etc.

Out n About to Teshima

the hilltop minimalist cafe where fig farmers served curry and you can chop your own green onions

Briefly: The many islands of the Seto inland sea (nestled between our home prefecture of Okayama and neighbour pref. Kagawa and the 4th of the main island of Japan Shikoku) host a triennialle art festival – not shockingly unheld for a few years – more to say about the economic goodness and reinvention and volunteer spirit but for now, i’ll say:

We went with our guests rather spontaneously (they had planned and reserved museum access) by our groovy “Esquire” van, then walked onto ferry and used various busses around the island of Teshima, ate curry, drank coffee/tea, more curry, postcards, then a walk-on ferry back to Uno port, more art and drive to Okayama station – the busiest day i’ve had in forever but was buoyed by conversation, views and friendship. Further annotations follow:

whilst friends went to museum, r, i and i went to a hilltop sorta café (really some fig farmers putting out a shingle for a few hours a day) and enjoyed views of Inushima (Isles of Dogs) and back to Okayama #panorama

Ichiro, postcards, ships (all sizes) etc

After our day out, in the bath he explained over and over again all the different modes of transportation and conveyance (big ferry boat, small ferry boat, two buses, baby car/stroller, our usual van etc.) he used during that day, using new sentence construction skills with conjunctions and verb conjugations. His magnificent brain spinning – even working out the names of our friends.

this obv was not our ferry but Ichi loved checking out all the fune

Lil dude got a bit of a fat lip running down the hill too fast and tripping but still was able to chill out at a café and enjoy his beverage.

dude knows how to lounge at a quirky curry cafe with Suzuki and Ota san

Papa wrote postcards and drank chai, sitting on cushions and sending geo-coordinates to pals who found us at カレー喫茶 異邦人 near Ieura port across the island from Kubota where we originally disembarked.

Ichiro mailed my postcards for me. “Choose the right portal for postcards Ichiro” i said {update: he did, what a smart fella} Inventory: 2 cards from Teshima to Gifu and Kyoto.

2 are decoys but one whisks secrets anywhere

Ichiro has now learned how to use the coffee bean grinder and insists on being the coffee captain in the morning, two scoops of the right beans, puts on the lid, covers with his hand, inspects to see if it’s the right grind for French press or Moka pot, all very serious & perfect.

And my darlings auditioned for a role in the next Wes Anderson movie (so to speak) with a pose by this blue truck.

blue, red, yellow – the day was my fave sort of weather, warm, breezy and overcast

Back to the port – love the salty smell, rusty metal and reinvention from industrial manufacturing and process to artistic tourism.

Ieura port – like most of Pacific coast of Japan, lots of factories in various states of use or decay, boats/ships of all kinds including container ships and now ferries, all sizes

Dozen+ of these islands with art, more to say but time to head home with my snappy shoes, happy. Thanks family and friends.

Fluevogs, since 1970 (like me) now with new aglets – getting very worn in

Secret Lunch Café (and remembering friends on a path)

1 choice so you don’t hafta order, easy – comes with a salad and water

So after medical treatment yesterday, snuck into secret cafe which had 1 patron (me) & offer only 1 kind of curry per day and every time is magnificent (as is the boss’ hair) *and* this time offered coffee and free gelato after cause i’m a big shot here in Okayama.

coffee and gelato (not pictured, notebook and pen)

I shan’t tell you the name :) Unless asked.

my own private hide out, with jazz, calm lights and very tidy

After, i wandered (got confused looking for the optometrist) and remembered my pals being here for the wedding and we sat on this bench and drank from this fountain (such luxury). I sat and felt grateful for friends.

Oh dear Okayama.

Diary: Café Poetry, Street cars, Seitai and Curry

As it goes: “Over the Wall” > Headed by bus for some medical treatment (seitai) trying to stay ahead of the “Crash mode”… Head and heart are Genki, just trying to catch the body up… But as someone once sang “two out of three ain’t…” Staying positive, rolling slow, counting the goodness, always grateful.

yup, waiting on a splendid bus

Baby is with grandma, wife is working, yesterday sent more absurdly and unnecessarily complicated paperwork for various schemes and reasons. But hey the bus is on time, has great Wi-Fi and a power outlet at my seat. It’s the simple pleasures.

Oh and this hat – of course – is made by Mavili, the elder gentleman from Georgia (the country, not the state) from whom I used to purchase loads from at Lonsdale Quay market. Recently his son found a blog post from like 2008 and contacted me to say thanks, & his dad is still making hats from home. I am happy to say I have at least three creations of his here in Japan (& many others lost along the way and/or purchased as gifts for distinguished folks).

If you are curious, scarf from an Istanbul souk (was so surprised to see tartans on offer in markets in Istanbul – the Turkish cotton is absolutely wonderful), jacket Uniqlo, satchel from Thamel, Kathmandu.

Btw, the kanji on the bus stop 土田 is Tsuchida, our neighbourhood & means “dirt/soil-field” more or less.

Note: cute cause its me and intrepid elder ladies on the bus. The *secret power* of Japan are these invincible women. Strength, dignity, kindness & grace abounding.

Steeple-chased and sensory depravation / Poetry and Coffee is Everything.  Pen functional if not exquisite. 

Update: Finished my treatment (seitai, it’s kind of hard to explain but it’s not shiatsu, it’s not acupuncture, it’s not massage, it’s not reiki, it’s not chiropractic but a little bit like all of those things sort of but in a calm tatami room)… then in my post-fog, opened a vaguely random door to what turned out to be a blissful little café… Just me at the counter, jazz playing, skilled master made me curry… feeling so happy to find this place that I’m having another coffee and writing some poetry (lyrical even… as a gift for a musical friend).

i mean ¥900 for this magnificent plate in a chill calm place with a diligent proprietor is like some kind of wow (note notebook in bg)

For the record, this was the café… They have one kind of curry per week which makes ordering easy. Stay up to date via @Grillmori Instagram 

Gri(l)mori Original Lunch / even the sign is evokes nostalgia #Okayama

And here is one of the street cars rolling down the tracks… There’s all kinds of different eras and designs represented from “slick modern” units to classic beauties like this one to the obligatory hello kitty themed one, also Chuggington. I rolled one for just 2 stops cause i love the feel (and really every step saved is a big help).

2 street car lines here in Okayama, ¥100 for most on/off rides – enter at the rear, pay, exit from front

Finally, after I got off the street car, right in front of me was a brand new CBD shop/café/lounge. Went in to say hello and all that and great variety of products and displays but wow, a little expensive.  Had nice conversation with the young proprietor (30) told him about my activism at young age and how we eventually changed *everything* in Canada and US west coast. Had some samples (they also have CDB wax and vape device #want) but after treatment, i am bit foggy (like more than usual) so mumbled a bit before making my way back to the bus and back to the stop and home to rest. 

Ready for action (as in riding a bus to do a thing)

Diary: Otoosan’s (FiL) 65th Birthday

Happy Birthday to this fun-loving, shogi-playing, loud-talking, curry-making, sweet & kind (with great head of hair), retired civil engineer and new Grandfather.

65 today and hilarious and serious all at the same time / Celebrating with take-home South India Kerala curry & veggies from Spicy Spice resto (thanks Shabin Jabbar!) here in pleasant Okayama, Japan. 

Anyhow, being a foreign son-in-law in Japan ain’t always easy (as I understand it) so feeling rather fortunate for this kindly and fun father-in-law. 

For dessert, he gets to hold Ichiro 😉!

Delicious Kerala-style bento (though not in stainless steel tiffin ;)) Continue reading Diary: Otoosan’s (FiL) 65th Birthday

Diary: Okayama Regular Life, spring-ish / ramen, friends, singing, coffees, shrine, farm, graves etc.

Dave visits a Café terrace at Night – at “the Market” for a special event (described below) – photo by Ryoko (van Gogh homage)

After all the friends came and went from the wedding festivities in April (including a hospital stay by one intrepid adventurer) and then the Emperor abdicated and new one enthroned, then we rambled through much of May to Toyama, Nagano, Niigata etc. seeing small museums, riding various trains, soaking in a few hot springs, visiting a few pals… oh then of course, doing all the paperwork and procedure for my zairyu card, national insurance and pension programs and setting up our little house with some 2nd hand furniture, a fresh shelf books and hooks and hangers… we set about just “normal life” here. 

Note: Indeed, indulged with a very practical maneouver to acquire a stack of books… this pile is primarily from Vancouver and Vancouver-related by Grant Lawrence, Aaron Chapman, Eve Lazarus, plus Marc Zegans and David Willis… i will document these and many others recently added to collection forthwith(ish). 

What follows are very mediocre snapshots to chronicle various normal-outings, non-events, day-to-day errands, and other otherwise insignificant actions. 

For the record, we live in Tsuchida neighbourhood outside of Okayama city (shi), the capital of Okayama prefecture (ken). A mix of old (pre-war) homes, new homes, rice fields. 20 mins by car or 30 minutes by the fantastic Uno Bus to Okayama Station. Easy to go to Kurashiki or Bizen or the inland sea

I’ve even tried to plant some garden boxes and various seeds for greens. Okaasan (mother) has a much better technique and diligence with gardening. 

Continue reading Diary: Okayama Regular Life, spring-ish / ramen, friends, singing, coffees, shrine, farm, graves etc.