Tag Archives: diary

Diary: (Yet another) Food round-up from Tsuchida Cottage

Let’s begin with the “standard” Japanese classic dinner with grilled whole fish, picked something (kimchi and pickled onions), miso soup, brown rice and a salad – dressing and shoyu on the side.

Well ya gotta eat, and we do and mostly at home. For the permanent diary of endless goodness, i snap a snap from time to time before we dine. That’s all there is to it. Dig it if you wanna. 

We have a counter-top convex oven here at Tsuchida cottage now and aside for well-documented visits to ramen shops and coffee/cake stops, we eat at home.

Soba noodles
Another Japanese classic: soba (buckwheat) noodles, served cold with a raw egg and mentsuyu (fish-flavoured broth), shredded daikon (radish) and shoyu mixed together and the noodles dipped within and green onions sprinkled

 No doubt lots of folks the world over are getting re-acquainted with their kitchens while experienced cooks share tips and try new things. Indeed, so much sourdough going on in the world!

As such, here’s round-up without much in the way of annotations or context of some recent meals i happened to snap a snap of before digging in.

A variety dinner with sashimi (sawara a kind of mackerel), gaumodoki no takiawase (tofu fritters, daikon, komatsuna soup with fish-broth, salt, sugar, shoyu) and and of course, miso soup and genmai (brown rice), kimchi and shoyu/wasabi of course
A lunch of harusame spring vegetable soup with clear bean noodle with various onigiri rice balls

Continue reading Diary: (Yet another) Food round-up from Tsuchida Cottage

Diary: Princess Bride & pizza + PM letters and moving rocks

 Princess Bride & pizza at Tsuchida Cottage + Update: Today, Ryoko wrote a letter to the Prime Minister, we moved some rocks with a tripod and hoist, hanged some art and a kitchen shelf. And, most shockingly, I was able to navigate the complexities of renting a movie through Apple. Yes, everything is possible!

Diary: Baby and blossoms (in the time of quarantine…)

Amidst all the chaos and commotion and confusion and concern, my adorable wife and our incoming child are bright healthy and happy… Everything going normal except for all the stuff that’s not.

Receiving excellent care at “sun clinic” near our home and today spent time making Plan A, Plan B and so on with lovely midwife & wonderful dr. + I’m learning a lot more birthing specific Japanese words – we also checked out the birthing room and the room where we will stay for a couple days afterwards, and then shared a moment under sakura tree.

Some of the fun/extra parts of preparing for the new arrival – including stroller and crib shopping and what not – well, need to be adjusted. We’ve got a baby bath, some clothes and a diaper strategy. We’ve also been reading to the belly in both English and Japanese and of course lots of music.

We’re getting the house already as best we can and and i’m doing my best to be a sweet supportive husband instead of worrying about everything everything everything.

We’ve canceled tea ceremonies and picnics and get togethers of course & have had food delivery service set up for some months now, plenty of rations, masks and first aid kits and blah blah blah so we will work on the garden, plant trees and stay busy in the barn.

We got this and June is going to be a magical month for us. We hope some calm come to the world at large by then but the future is unwritten.

Fondly x3

Diary: Homecooking at Tsuchida Cottage

Japanese dinner is usually many small plates and in this case, loads of small plates of vegetables along with the usual rice and miso

No doubt lots of folks the world over are getting re-acquainted with their kitchens while experienced cooks share tips and try new things. Indeed, so much sourdough going on in the world! 

We have a counter-top convex oven here at Tsuchida cottage now and aside for well-documented visits to ramen shops and coffee/cake stops, we eat at home. 

As such, here’s round-up without much in the way of annotations or context of some recent meals i happened to snap a snap of before digging in. 

Brother Bob USN Yokosuka sent a package of US food rations – mostly taco stuff but also tossed in some Twinkies for a laugh. i served one up the Ryoko with tea so she could understand the “american delicacy” :)
celebrating the arrival of all the stuff in the shed
Ryoko’s first taco salad (along with tacos but made the salad to use up broken bits of chips)
a little snack time with the taco chips and Lagunitas beer  from brother
a breakfast variety set
this was at a cafe at some point, some where but i struggle to recall where… oh after a library stop at a tiny cafe, that’s right (yes safe and sequestered)
Ryoko digs in at the tiny cafe after library stop
another dinner of tiny plates with the usual grilled fish, rice, miso, veg and pickled items – this is pretty much our “go-to” usual
“morning set” odds and ends and coffee coffee coffee

Diary: Coffee with views plus Ramen and painting preview

In today’s (really March 7th but hey…) edition of “tasty coffee in scenic places with Daveo” I bring you this glorious handcrafted bevvie experience & view of the Seto-nai-kai (Inland sea) from an olive garden (no, not that one, an actual one) in Setouchi, Okayama, ergo:

grinder with a view

elegant workstation

served with affection

Continue reading Diary: Coffee with views plus Ramen and painting preview

Diary: 40+ years of projects into a “kura” grain barn

Big day (Thursday March 19) here at Tsuchida cottage as my life archives completes a long journey by a ship and truck from a storage locker in Victoria, Canada to port in Vancouver to port in Kobe and here by truck.

40+ years of scrap books, journals, diaries, book reports, certificates, art projects, school report cards, letters, photos and of course dozens of my paintings, all my various artifacts from talks/spiels/prezos, hitchhiking signs, “important papers”, art supplies, recording equipment, plus boxes of books and crates of records, and of course dozens of amusing hats.

The email thread with the company is about 70 communiqués, quite a bit of paperwork for customs clearance etc. etc. If all goes well, everything will be offloaded and instantly “sort-ganized” into a magnificent olden “kura” grain barn.

The kura barn recently got a good organization and clean-up and it’s going to turn into something very special… A mixed media art studio/archive… It’s gonna work out great!

Need to get a little bit more electricity/light in there and there’s only a little bit of dry rot in a few places but generally dry and solid. Going to be a great place for listening/recording music, reading books and making projects.

You may well especially enjoy the mighty wood beams and construction of this structure.

Anyhow, first coffee, breakfast and pants and of course, I’ve made a little map/plan for the moving crew, what I’m saying is “wish me luck“ it’s a big one. Continue reading Diary: 40+ years of projects into a “kura” grain barn

Diary: Baby check-in and Picnic time

Great check-in at birthing clinic this morning – 3 months out and all going great / came home to make plan for my life archive arriving tomorrow – oh my so much goodness.

Washed dishes, made rice & mugi-cha (tea), and while Ryoko is resting, making her best bacon, egg, cheese sandie ever with salad, apple & orange slices & a lil choco cookie.

Continue reading Diary: Baby check-in and Picnic time

Diary: Hermiting, baby, art, archive & you you you + us us us

I hermit like Obi-wan is his “lost years” / indeed, a Gen X kid with a lot of hobbies and a chronic illness – i know the flow. Got the food delivery service, plenty of books and art supplies and several versions of loungewear/pyjamas.

Keep in mind, here in Japan, we’re a couple months into “all of this“ – schools, events, museums, public places and gatherings have been canceled for many weeks now, and things, at least where I am the outskirts other rather minor provincial capital city, are generally calm / however, a quick glance at Twitter videos plenty of vitriol about the governments response (or lack of, or too much of, or…) especially in terms of testing (not enough of it, especially compared to neighbour South Korea) – Of course much debate and sabre-rattling about wither the Olympics – what to do? (seems to me just pushing forward exactly one year would make sense but hey, no one’s been on the phone to me to ask).

I have visited a few hospitals in the last six weeks for other reasons and found them to be calm, not busy, extremely tidy and efficient. Also note that Japan’s elderly population means much experience at treating pneumonia which has some similar respiratory components and thus treatments as current conundrum.

Certainly my first priority is taking good care of my adorable pregnant wife, though she requires very little assistance in *anything* aside from reminding her to slow down. With her business as an arborist, she is her own small business/boss and is still doing bits and pieces of work, no longer climbing trees however #ThankGoodness but with all appropriate precautions and out in the gorgeous spring weather here.

We have a check in with our doctor tomorrow though the “Papa’s Class” series at the birthing clinic has been canceled indefinitely. (This was also serving as my Japanese study session as I try to learn new vocabulary related to pregnancy and childcare but… We shall carry-on – Noting that I have absolutely zero discipline in regards to language study).

Canada’s Prime Minister implored Canadians to “come home“ before impending doom etc. and while this is wise advice for many, I live here in Japan now permanently. Plan is to grow old here raising a happy kid, write poetry and letters, make paintings and friends and books and gardens – Come visit, we’ll have tea and hit up a museum.

and… Very excitingly, my “entire life archive” arrives in a container after a trans-pacific journey on Thursday. So, just in case I’m not sharing enough creative artifacts to keep you amused 😉 40+ years of journals, scrapbooks, fanzines, photos, letters, certificates – as well as books and records and funny hats – are all being offloaded into a 300-year-old grain barn for sort-ganizing and sharing.

Anyhow, thinking about each of you wonderful people out there in the world and, as I’ve mentioned before, if you need any advice about staying chill and keeping your mind busy whilst indoors (aside from being watching television problem etc. which I don’t know too much about), I remain your semi-useful uncle in custom-made pyjamas.

Your turn, tell me about everything going on in your world, where you’re at, how you’re feeling, what you’re working on, what’s inspiring you, what do you dream about and so on and so on. All of it all of it.

Note: You can write a letter if you prefer

Diary: Coffee in Tiny Café / refuge from the storm

Japan has loads of a little tiny cafés/restaurant/bars which are like less than 10 people maximum, often with a little private rooms too. It’s one of the things I love about living here, as tiny little cafés in North America don’t really exist as everything becomes chains or aggressively turning over tables to maximize the slim profits.

Anyway, this is a little neighbourhood lunch place where we can chill out in a room closed off with sliding doors to enjoy a little break from the house. Plus everyone is so excited about Ryoko’s belly

Aside: As you likely know, Japan has a declining birth rate which is especially evident in the cities with a few kids, and countryside with some kids but lots of (awesome) old people. Anyway, we’re helping to balance that out in a very tiny way.

We went out for an errand to the post office to deal with a few banking issues, and again, it’s tiny, tidy & friendly.

To friends in North America, we see/hear you… All the cancellations and restrictions and what not started here maybe six weeks ago so we’re kind of into the routine so maybe that’s a message of solidarity or just “I see you“ #alwaysbekind

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Daniel remarked:

Okayama is the best. Such a chill and safe area. With just enough variety of food and culture to keep it interesting.

to which i replied:

That is a great summation of this remarkable and underappreciated area. Super handy transportation links to big cities, mountains, hot springs, inland sea, other islands…, including easy getaway via 2 airports if needed.
So many museums, I’m still catching up on all of them.
Certainly enough to keep amused (Plus any needed shopping) but easy enough to get out of the city when needed.
I’ve traveled much/most of Japan and this is the best “all around” place to live in my mind.
Sunny days ahoy!

Michal added:

Their the best! Especially when there’s a view on small niwa Japanese have such a great taste for! A Bliss…

to which i chimed:

I especially love the places that are sort of “lost in showa era” – with all sorts of kitschy knick-knacks and bric a brac which hasn’t been moved or dusted for a few decades… Still the old character left over from another age, run by an old couple who started the place with such dreams in their youth.

Michal again:

you incorrigible romantic

Lydia said:

That china is gorgeous

and me again:

Right! Sometimes you find these cafés that I’ve just been frozen in time and it’s like going to grandma’s house all over again… In this case, it really is as two generations of ladies both over 60 (a granny and great granny or something like that) are taking care of the shop and make a huge fuss over my adorable pregnant wife. I let them know I appreciate their great China as well, plus a fantastic tea selection

Diary: Kissaten cafés, sharp knife, drs observations and daily views

streetcar/ tram/ trolley (your choice) in Okayama

Amidst the “specialness” of life – which included of late:

  • trip to Nagasaki and all the glorious trains, building and museums  (well documented elsewhere)
  • Mae Maes spring concert in Tamano (artifacts to follow)
  • baby coming! (and related prep)
  • 10 years anniversary of Vancouver Olympics (which was such a big deal for me and i meant to do “something” to commemorate, but ya know, this feeling was overridden with ambivalence (but do have some notes and copy/pastes i’ll get to before 11th anniversary)

– is the “regular out n abouts” of life. These moments are treasure and, as memory fades, are quickly lost to the “exciting bits” never the less, i capture and archive for me, for others like me, for the little one, for the future, for the process. You know this already so behold, more of the usual: trams, coffees, meals, and various items spotted in the wild. 

Ergo, just things, observed / scenes of life in Okayama, en route to “seitai” treatment session:

* fine bicycle (wagyu burgers in bg) at sunny intersection 

* non-chronological aside but related / wagyu burger (with Ted) / as an additional aside, compared to 25+ years ago when I was first year, so much more international food available, to go along with the obviously fantastic Japanese native food… Would having pizzas, mighty burgers, lots of India/Nepal food, there are Mexican food places but i don’t wanna be disappointed – Anyway we do not lack for fantastic food even in our small city

* angled manshon apartment bldg, striking against the sky (this is parking lot for seitai sensei)

* ikebana and scroll at sensei’s office Continue reading Diary: Kissaten cafés, sharp knife, drs observations and daily views