Tag Archives: diary

Time Travelers in a New Year ~ Japan Cottage Musings

Quickly before running a bath, Dave – regaining equilibrium – discusses creation of a slightly-delayed but very-pleasurable project, ergo: “Time Travelers“ handmade cards including outfits, printing techniques and paper choices, fire hazards, inky & postal stamps, and fingerprints.

Plus riffs about carrying on in strange times, wonderful events, fountain pens and puppets. And expressing gratitude to friends who sent cards and letters, often reciprocated by Hokusai woodblock prints and/or “cheap and cheerful” time traveler cards.

++

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.

Healing Journal: 7 years, so much between

As it goes, a photo from 2013 popped into rotation today: me as usual with beard, specs and art in the background so… I snapped another quick similar pose and noted that despite the hard miles of these last seven years – all the hospitals, all the treatments, all the medication, all the stopping medications, all the loss (name it), so many dear ones passing, at least four concussion level falls & crashes (Vancouver, Adelaide, Pacifica, Chiang Mai), so much being gone gone gone lost (not wanting to be found), finding myself in harms way intentionally and otherwise, some terrible decisions, some great decisions, looking anywhere for home, not wanting to be home, forgetting about home – so many > too many places – and then somehow found – with all of “that”, I don’t look all that worse for wear.

The Buddha is quoted as saying, “to gain anything, first you must lose everything” I did and then found out that Buddha never said that – (dang *experts*). Regardless, some of what I lost, I picked back up, other parts I left behind.

Seven years which felt like 17, and i’m only scratched & dented gently & mostly on the inside. It’s good for poetry if nothing else.

70 more to go. Still. At least.

PS Noting that there was a lot of damage and a lot less smiling in “the between years”. Might share at some point, but just came here to say thanks for all your kind words and support. Almost convinced I’m worth it 🙂

Memo: Kei-truck Errand / Date <3

Out and about! On an errand (picking up a second hand roll-top writing bureau desk) in the Kei truck with the absolutely incredible and adorable Ryoko Olson at the wheel rolling the country backroads to the (minor provincial capital, mostly forgotten) city of lovely goldilocks Okayama – yes, we even have canned coffees in the cupholder and a.m. radio (which you can’t really hear over the 650cc engine but whatever) – got to say it’s a *pretty romantic* date

matchy matchy / curling sweater and hockey jacket, handmade hats, snappy scarves

Update: this is what we picked up, look at this gorgeous desk with the rolltop and everything

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.

Diary, three unrelated stops

Seitai treatment room

Today went “over the wall“ for some seitai treatment / stiiiiilllll trying to bust outta this ME/CFS crashmode.

Good news is: my head and heart are so happy and filled with wonder every day. And I’m managing a few little creative dispatches through the fog. Thanks to each of you for chiming in, so very noticed.

PS I wish all medical offices were this level of aesthetic loveliness as well as phenomenal hi-fi system and exceptional records

Notice the everyday normalness because the usual days are hidden goodness

Whilst out, noticed a cute house café nestled in amongst some concrete buildings with an orange bicycle in front. I found that if you stay focused on the goal, I miss all the good stuff which get filed as “distractions”… It turns out the things like hobbies and digressions are the best parts of life.

Anyhow, stopped in for some “safety Ramen” at really the best place > one owner operator and everything is just “perfect” – the seats, the size, the decorations, the music, everything tidy and just well thought out and of course the Ramen is top level. (Brian Ceci can attest ;)).

Gakucho / miso tonkatsu (w/ butter, really)

Ichiro was as always his jolly self. He also had some injections today and got to say hello to the doctor that helped bring him into the world. She’s (Moe-sensei) a really wonderful lady and she was so happy to see him growing up so happy, healthy and strong.

Jolly lil dude

Recap: Haven’t left the house for sometime so three stops today, quite significant.

Next activity: on the 18th I will be “socially distant Santa Claus” for a few kids at a local community center. Yes I will be using natural beard. And we ordered appropriate costume, the “luxury/deluxe” version but I would describe it more just as “adequate but with some extra gold bits (and a little cape!)”. Ryoko Olson will assist me in a super cute red velvet dress, likely with the little dude on her back. I may take a clipboard to take notes about the children’s requests before I tell them “no, none of this is possible, here is an orange :-)”.

Practicing Santa, Moab 1987

Back home, warming up – it’s sunny but chilly and even a few flakes of snow (!), folded laundry, made tea, a few dishes to wash, have something to write about Vincent van Gogh, and some Hokusai postcards. Oh and i hope to sleep, really – I mean I can dream, right?

Fondly from Tsuchida Cottage, dvo/UW

Cards and Scrapbooks – Japan Cottage Musings

Drinking a Turmeric / Reishi mushroom concoction in a stolen mug with a velour tracksuit, Dave rambles about  misplaced “tribute to Mom” memorandum log and love of receiving cards and letters which are stashed lovingly in handmade scrapbooks and shared with family.

Plus quick hits about festive cards (and evidential delays), poems, time traveller photos, letterhead, stationery and Ryoko’s Kinome office.

+ Name checks for new Papas, Steve Rapport (Mostly Rock n Roll), David Bowie 83, and Hotel Monterey and lost/odd Christmases + brother Anders.

Postbox Haiku and Paintings – Japan Cottage Musings

Rocking a plaid track suit, Dave catches up about an exhibit of postbox haiku and paintings at pal Mac Kobayashi’s goat farm and in Shibuya by dDesign and shares the story of the post box haiku and painting plus details of: Kathmandu, Nepal; Muscat Oman; The Vatican, and Olympia, Greece (including accompanying postcards of course) and riffs about importance of personal archeology and making things for future generations while drinking including coffee and jamu and digression about persimmon chutney.

Special ahoys to Gary, Beth, Arild, Jared, Erin, Sandra, Lance and especially you.

Postbox haiku exhibit corner at Rural Caprine Farm (more to come)

Bonus:

dDesign Okayama exhibit blurb

More about Painting / Haiku ~ exhibit intro and round-up (preview)

+ new postbox Haiku in *unconfidential* kokoro postcard (variations)

 

Books by Post – Japan Cottage Musings

+ Books by Post / Japan Cottage Musings catch-up riff +

Wearing stolen hotel pyjamas, Dave riffs about: Larry Harper’s “70” variety collection, various Richard Brautigan items (Rick Lupert’s Van Nuys Tokyo Express, William Hjortsberg’s Jubilee Hitchhiker, and “the world’s mightiest hat” gift from Marty and Willis), then onwards to the legendary Joan Anderson letter from Neal Cassady to Jack Kerouac, and Jack Micheline’s poems and ephemera… also riffs about analog and digital creative symbiosis and and namechecks Douglas Coupland and others… plus importantly, Ichiro bathtime, Ryoko’s chainsaws, and the usual postcards. Yowza.

Fondly from Tsuchida Cottage, Okayama, Japan.

Ichiro: cards #61~65 “5ive Set / Farm, Minako, Canadian, Rice, Superstar” 12.2~9.2020

5 – count ’em 5ive – new #Ichiro cards for your on-going collection from early Dec. 2020 (Reiwa 2), series includes:

Ichiro: card “Farm guys” hanging out at uncle Mac’’s goat Emporium Rural Caprine Farm with a haiku post box in the sunshine
Ichiro: card “meeting Minako-san” the remarkable elder lady proprietor of the finest tiny restaurant with ridiculous Okonomiyaki & a completely psychedelic painter (minus the psychedelics)
Ichiro: card “Officially Canadian“ no big deal, came with an awesome sweater and a citizenship certificate
Ichiro: card “Let’s try rice!“A.k.a. “Snacktime“ or “spoonful of wasabi…“ Yep, trying a little bit of sort of solid food in the form of smashed up rice soup. Next step, pierogies
Ichiro: card “Okayama superstar” our prefecture ain’t so famous (unless you count peaches, peach boy legend, denim and school uniforms…) but that’s changing with this dashing dude