+ Postbox Haiku Exhibit at the Goat Farm: In which I combine love of poetry, painting and postal mail and recaps an exhibit at buddy Mac’s goat farm.
Gist: Produced by dDesign to promote Okayama design, tourist and culture, the campaign included a painting in Shibuya as well as paintings of post boxes and office in: The Vatican; Kathmandu, Nepal; Olympia, Greece; and, Muscat, Oman as well as a new haiku on a postbox about “nonconfidential postcards” along with a book of paintings, a book of postboxes, and postcards of well… postboxes with poetry – both painted and functional.
+ Provincial Poetry, Wine and Goats in Shibuya, Tokyo +
Very proud to see my haiku postbox painting supporting sempei Mac Kobayashi’s display. If you are in Tokyo area, please consider stopping by to dig it all and tell yer pals (and maybe i’ll send you a postcard print of it #hint).
* Session: Friday, September 18, 2020-Monday, November 30, 2020 * Time: 12: 00-20: 00 (Last Admission 19:30) / Closed on Wednesday * Place: d47 MUSEUM (03-6427-2301) 渋谷2-21-1 Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan 150-8510 * Fee: Free admission + Advance application: Unnecessary
As part of Mac Kobayashi’s Rural Caprine Farm exhibit at “d Design Travel Okayama Exhibition” in Shibuya, Tokyo (right near the famous scramble intersection), visitors can see my painting “Postbox Haiku (blue)”.
Hope folks can see the display for inspiration to visit the goats (and see more of my paintings).
Details: 会 期 2020年9月18日（金） – 2020年11月30日（月） 時 間 12:00〜20:00（最終入館／Last Admission19:30）／水曜休 Closed on Wednesday 場 所 d47 MUSEUM（03-6427-2301） 料 金 入場無料／Free Admission 事前申込 不要 渋谷2-21-1 Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan 150-8510
+ Tour the Farm (with Postbox and Paintings +
Take a tour of Rural Caprine Farm in Okayama in this video by d design travel 編集部 / starting at 5:34. See the “actual postbox” which goes with the painting of the postbox (which came first?) and hear Mac Kobayashi’s friendly voice at my favourite place.
The exhibit book is really nice and my postbox appears 4 times! You can purchase the catalog at Mac’s farm or by emailing dDesign folks (note to self: add email address here).
History: The painting was “just the postbox”, then i found a matching mailbox and installed at the farm, wrote the haiku onto the postbox, and then added to the painting to complete the meta circle. oh then made postcard prints and a book and mailed to the postbox…
haiku on a postbox, and a painting of a postbox with a haiku / which came first?
the original is unfaithful to the translation.
Today – a Letter! Written as you ate a peach In last weekend’s SUN
My painting of a haiku on a postbox is representing Okayama design and culture at an exhibit in Shibuya (Tokyo), ergo:
My *post box painting* is featured in the physical exhibit in Shibuya, while the *painted post box* is featured no less than three times in the magazine, including on one of the introduction pages.
Note: The painting and the post box feature a traditional 5-7-5 syllable Japanese haiku poem in English. Deposit box accepts usual mail daily.
I share space with the remarkable Ohara museum filled with post/impressionist art, a coffee roaster housed in the 90-year-old former post office, a couple of brothers bringing youthful energy into the historic denim industry in the Bikan area of Kurashiki, swordsmith, fibre weavers and so on. Plus unique regional restaurants from Setouchi to Hiruzen to add to wishlist.(The magazine features most text in translation to English for your convenience.)
Additionally,.. t he catalog for the dDesign Travel exhibition sharing unique design and culture from my home Prefecture was released in glorious four-color bleed, mixed-paper goodness.
Features so many interesting artists, museums, artisan businesses & unique accommodations (& curious stats about school uniform + riffs about Momotaro legend) plus, you can do a “stamp rally” meaning collect a stamp from each of the locations featured on the map.
Sponsors include my beloved Uno Bus & Ryobi Group.
Hoping to share more of my poetic postal paintings with these institutions & more. Ideas for collaboration or exhibits? Let’s talk. My thanks to Sempei Mac Kobayashi (in the magazine wearing a black sabbath T-shirt ;)) at the 4th generation Rural Caprine Farm for this chance to contribute to local culture/economy (and, really, life in general).
Really, do you go visit this pleasant hangout (let me know if you have any questions) where you can see more of my paintings amongst other delightful foods and goats.
Artifacts from the Okayama design and travel exhibition in Shibuya featuring Mac Kobayashi’s magical goat farm & my postbox haiku / painting.
In this case: first snapshots (by the farmer himself) of the exhibit’s catalog (or is it a “mook = magazine/book?) with pictures of the aforementioned farmer (shockingly) wearing a black sabbath rather than usual Grateful Dead T-shirt.
Nevertheless, the haiku post box looks splendid and, I am working on the right words for the opposite side. Stay aware.
Photos by Mac the goat farmer.
Update: now have the words for the other side of the post box… follow along for amusement
Resisting starting a collection of Tokyo 2020 design artifacts, really… but here is one for the archive of the Olympic Games which may or may not happen and either way: Will the event still be called Tokyo 2020 when held in 2021? Sure why not… :)
Think of the store rooms and warehouses filled with printed plastic tarps and banners and signs and merchandise and other now rather unnecessary accruements. Warehouses full I tell ya!
Somehow, somewhere between my first couple trips to Japan (frankly it’s a little bit foggy after a plan to go to Mexico and live on the beach didn’t materialize, hemp fests, Dead concerts, flower sticks & hemp bag selling), I was in Logan, Utah (where i had spruced-up my Volkswagen bus “the Earthship” only to abandon it) where my Mom rented a rambling old polygamist house in the shadow of the LDS temple which she rented as a boarding house for various students plus a few randoms living in the backyard in a sort of tent/van village.
Logan isn’t my favourite place (so many cops and rules!) but, here I was and as such, I put together a party to reunite with old friends, share stories, collect lent items, play some music and hit up hot springs.
I designed this “aerogramme-inspired” invitation (meaning the paper was both an envelope and a letter), including various snippets of haiku art, doodles, maps and intentions, and floated them out into the world. The party was called “Far Far West” in homage to a Gary Snyder poem about going to Japan and my westward facing, Pacific centric geographic mindset.
Wasn’t sure what to make of it all as addresses were stale, friends were transient, memory scare, but, as it goes, worked out just wonderful as dozens of people came throughout a few days with folks camping out in the backyard to the chagrin of the neighbours who tried to poison the dogs (seriously!) as well as called the police who stealthed into our backyard campfire while we were singing along to Larry’s autoharp and Marty Kendall’s ceramic drums and, surprisingly, the police were rather chill about everything / they asked us to play a song, we did, they told us to have a good night, they left, we laughed and we sparked up another one and kept on going.
As it goes, there was a *loaves and fishes* vibes as my wonderful Mother put on big pots of curry and different stews with ingredients folks brought along, and we kept pots of coffee and exotic teas going in a truly freeform fun for all couple of days.
I recall the 2nd day included a trip out to a derelict hot spring on the side of a forgotten highway which had sort of been roughed in by a dangerous assortment of bricks. Nevertheless, we soaked, we played banjo music… and I have a photo of me and Sensei Larry to prove it (somewhere in the boxes there might be a few more snapshots).
I will say that I was surprised to see this invitation – both the original layout as well as a production copy printed on 50% post consumer recycled “redrock” paper and dutifully printed with some copywriting that somehow makes me smile still. (Note: included the layout and production versions for posterity and archiving).
Japan can be intimidating, even for seasoned travellers. You arrive to massive sticker shock, tiny octopi in soup, and 30 kinds of hot canned coffee (which all taste moreorless the same) in ubiquitous vending machines.
Japan is a long country with 80% mountains – covering several climates, from frosty Hokkaido in the north, to tropical Kyushu giving adventurous folks much opportunity to head to the outer provinces for exploration of the heady scenery of this varied archipelago. With some planning, politeness and persistence, combined with a little zen, you can find big adventures.
Indeed, it is easy to get lost in the big cities of Tokyo and Osaka – crowded with skyscrapers and twisted alleys, piled high with screaming neon clubs pumping techno, reggae or karaoke and shops piled with futuristic technological gadgets that won’t make it to North America for another decade – but, far away from the expensive hotels and talking toilets of the huge Pacific metropolis, you may find yourself soaking in alpine hot springs on a starry night, drinking sake with strangers crammed into a mountain hut after a backcountry dinner of rice, seaweed, miso and green tea.
Due to an affection for stationery, letters, scrapbooks and whatnot, i notice such items when viewing moving pictures. As such, i am often inclined to capture screenshots for my memory. Sometimes, oddly enough, these are printed and put into scrapbooks in a sorta meta-remix. Either way, to keep these tidbits close at hand, assorted specimen are collected within.
A few notes and tips and phrases compiled for guests coming to wedding but likely useful for most anyone coming to Japan.
Remember you must always have your passport with you (stupid but hey… rules is).
Shoes are never worn in homes, change into slippers (which will never ever fit), then different slippers for toilet, don’t forget to change back (you will forget), socks only in tatami (straw mat) rooms.
Big stores / malls often offer tax-refund. Gotta take receipt, passport and credit card (if used) to special kiosk. They will stick receipt and stamp in passport, weird but hey, ya get money back.
Don’t walk and smoke. Hang in front of konbini store, pachinko, find smoking cage, or smoking section of resto or park.
Can drink alcohol on streets and parks however… no sloppiness, penalties/jail harsh.
Konnichiwa = Hello
Chotto matte = Just a moment/please wait
Hai = yes
Iie or Chigaimasu = no / different or wrong
Douzo = go ahead, please (this is super handy!)
Sugoi! = Great! Amazing! i.e.: How is Japan? Sugoi!
Suimasen = excuse me (used allll the time as is Go-men which is like “sorry”)
Kudasai = please i.e. “Kohi o kudasai” = “coffee please”
Domo, Domo Arigato, Domo arigato gozaimasu = thanks, thanks a lot, thank you very very much
Jaa ne / Matta ne = See you / again
Toire (toilet) doko desuka? = where is the toilet (there are more trad words for toilet “benjo” and “o teirei” but the Japanese-i-fied english word is easiest
Konbini = convenience store (7-11, Lawson, Family Mart are plentiful & amazing)
Following our wedding festivities, we dutifully and cheerfully made up several batches of thank you cards to sent to folks who made the trip or sent gifts or letters/cards.
While each batch of cards was different – and some cards required boxes and packets – the general design aesthetic captured in exquisite little photo essay created by nature photographer Cheryl A. (you should check out her cards for sale) which captures the details of the envelope treatment:
What follows is a gallery (vol. 2) of received invites “in situ” wherever they end up in the world / generally unannotated to protect erstwhile privacy unless publicly shared by recipient.
Overall, 300+ packets mailed. Some will get lost in the mail (speaking from experience) but anyone who doesn’t receive a dossier in the post can create their own as desired, plus checkout the pieces not in your packet.
The 6 (at least) tranches of mailouts had varied contents and packaging as the batches were sent from different countries, using different printers (pro and home) and different iterations of items, specifically a variety/sub-set of:
* Announcement storybook (4 panel, 2 iterations)
* Invite to ceremony (2 panel)
* Invite to party (2 panel)
* RSVP card (pre-stamped for folks in Japan)
* Transportation info card (for folks in Japan)
* Letter to friends (on Grand Oriental Hotel letterhead)
* Gig Poster by Joanna Pag (mini-size via various printers and substrates)
These items are easily found within this archive should you desire further inspection.