Tag Archives: diary

Suez Panoramas, Global Postcards & Fungible Shiba Inu stamp

Arts and crafts update from the Kura barn with  recent dossiers of various mixed media projects including: Suez Canal panoramas, more Kerala India spy photos & sherbet-coloured houses in oil pastels, poetry & travelogues on hotel stationæry, and the circular story of a postcard series from Cascadia, also a fun-gible Shiba Eno stamp. 

Get in on the fun. #hint https://daveostory.com/shop

PS happy to be “at home” at Tsuchida Cottage 

Let’s enjoy global ephemera and postal goodtimes #daveoshop

2nd Wedding Anniversary Riffs (i would dye for you)

April 20, 2021 – back at the goat farm where we met, were married, now with Ichiro (and of course baby goats and tie-dyes) – thanks Reira for snap

Always more to tell you but… Over the past three days we sort of revisited our 2019 three day wedding festivities #dro420 with a little mini-outings, ergo:

* April 21 pleasant lunch and afternoon lounge around at Mac Kobayashi’s Goat Farm including lovely conversations with four generations of his family / daughter Reira snapped some pics, grandson Sosuke showed off his new glasses, mother (84 yrs young) tool a break from cutting grass to hug and cuddle little Ichiro (who split his time between napping and meeting goats) ~ importantly, finally got a photo with all three of us in our “family tartan“ tie-dye made by brother Daniel

* April 20 rolled to a Shinto shrine, not our “official” shrine but a neighborhood location with no people >> wrote some grateful prayers and intentions on wooden tiles, clap-clapped bowed for the Kami & ancestors, >> enjoyed some of the nuanced details and then some artisan roasted coffee across the lane (where Ichi continued the familial tradition of batting eyelashes at baristas)

* April 19 skipped the City Hall registration and went directly to the jazz bar (which was the scene of the welcome party for foreign guests) but this time was Ryoko Olson’s band Mae Maes rehearsal >> I haven’t seen her bandmates in real life since well, probably their last real show at the beginning of “global health meltdown (TM)” though I’ve seen their faces while editing videos. Enjoyed tea and snacks and music #friendship

Now, resting before an afternoon hospital visit while construction continues outside (we’re camped out in the parents beautiful traditional kominka home on tatami mat floor, glorious raw wooden beams above, sliding rice paper doors) >> Ryoko heading over to the nursery school to help with Ichi’s lunch.

Flashing back to everything that happened these last two years and frankly, stunned by it all.

Completely smitten by my remarkable wife who surprises and thrills me daily, head over heels about this healthy happy little fella who is now in indispensable part of my entire existence, and so very grateful for friends & family scattered around the world for continued support & solitarity. Keep an eye on your post box.

The year ahead will be more changes (i mean, obv) but hopefully fewer “big moves/projects” (i.e. endless registrations and paper work and settling-in and construction and shipping containers and complicated transactions) and more “tiny steps” to make life more pleasant and full of creativity and enjoyment / yes, we have a list and involves post boxes, payphones, sign posts, trees, gardens, paint) ~ also health & rest, please please.

So very fondly from Tsuchida Cottage (soon to be Tsuchida Station)

dvo & fam

 

Diary: Ichiro starts Wakaba Nursery school

+ First 2 weeks of Nursery School (almost) finished +

Our lil Ichiro Stanley was accepted and enrolled in a great nursery/preschool in our area called Wakaba (new leaf).

The principal (who coincidentally studied at Langara college in Vancouver) spearheaded the creation of this new school (next to an older similar institution) – a beautiful facility, purpose-built for a calm, healthy learning atmosphere for kids from 0 to 4 years old.

It has everything: healthy lunches, playground with unicycles, solar panels, cute hats & everything is kid height – And yes the kids clean up the place.

We loaded up a bunch of gear for him the first day including his own futon + various changes of clothes all with his name written (mix of Katakana & Hiragana If you’re keeping score) & and a binder of information updated daily.

Started with an hour per day, then up to an hour and a half, then three hours and before you know it will be a “full day“.  The school is a pleasant 15 minute walk from our house – which also passes by the elementary school he’ll here eventually attend.

Great seeing all the little students in their uniforms proudly marching to school with their fresh backpacks. And it’s also a great chance for me to show my face around the community more.

Recently obtained a bicycle with a baby seat for my new friend (thanks Daniel) and as my strength and confidence develops from the “illness” will try that out but in the meanwhile, me, the wife and our wonderful parents take turns. with the drop-offs and pick-ups.

Not surprisingly being part of “generation quarantine”, like his classmates, he hasn’t had much of a chance to socialize with other kids before this so it’s a bit of a transition with some tears :(.  He’s such a jolly happy boy at home and I’m sure soon his same personality will flourish at the new school.

The teachers are incredibly empathetic, thoughtful and professional and I feel very fortunate that we were able to get into this school.

Note: Despite Japan’s declining birth rate and encouragement for “more kids“ there’s still a lack of nursery schools and it was important for us (due to my wife’s working and my disability) to be accepted into a facility close to home.

PS I’m using the word “nursery school” or “pre-school” (for hoikuen 保育園) as it’s much more organized, structured and dareisay studious than a “daycare”.

Eventually I will start going in to help out (hang out really) with some English conversation for the four-year-old kids and yes, I’ll definitely be Santa Claus come Christmas time.

Oh & there is usually a “first day ceremony” where the parents dress up in their best clothes and there’s, I don’t know, talks and bowing & stuff but, not surprisingly, it was canceled because of *current public health concerns* ~ As such we didn’t take the customary ceremonial photo but did snap a picture of him and mom in front of some flowers on the first day and then he & i paused on the walk home the other day on the dirt path amidst fields & canals in his stroller (you can catch the school building in the background).

As always, more to share but it’s been a big schedule transition for not just him, for your humble correspondent as well (In other words, i am constantly exhausted and wiped out but hey that’s nothing new right).

Came here to say, “I’m proud of him and grateful for this opportunity” hooray Wakaba & Ichiro.

Diary: Grateful for hanami picnic (& projects finishing)

Downtown Okayama – a canal a nice walking pathway with public art and benches / I also love the covered walkable shopping arcades… It really make a lot of sense and rainy cities say… I don’t know, Vancouver. They’re handy here more for shade then showers

Grateful for the usual days (amongst the tumult) ~ Spontaneous picnic along the canal in pleasantly provincial Okayama. 

The happiest I’ve been to see a DHL truck (those who know, know), expensive price for menial tasks

A few BIG projects recently and no doubt wiped me out despite the dopamine of “finishing” something. So, after a (thought at the time but… really not) final step, we purchased a picnic for a spontaneous hanami along the canal in downtown Okayama. 

Just woke up from a nap and has that Napoleon Dynamite thing going on

Of course these days, a day out in public isn’t common but we found an empty bench and enjoyed the blossoms falling and each other. Noting the “usually” in Japan, hanmi (flower watching) is a big deal with elaborate picnics, jousting for prime locations and often drunken revelry – honestly, this is more my speed :). 

weary from a big project with loads of paperwork and complications (and revealed  of some distasteful truths and misgiving) but ahoy i’m here and in love

Note: Indeed, we buy each other hats… Possibly “too frequently”

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: Two Years in Okayama (as an un-secret agent)

Evidence of a passport renewal, the mustache means I’m a distinguished person to be taken seriously, right? Am I doing this right?

 * two years towards forever *

There was a time when I was disappeared, when I was invisible, for reasons unnecessary to explain right now.
 
So much collapsed, lost, left, leading to confusion, despair and seeking… Far — I mean *all the way* — deliberately lost, comfortably lonely, finding ways and means of healing, picking up the pieces, starting again, recycling some bits, rebuilding from the foundation, working backwards from the mis-quoted Buddha koans… there were poetry, scrapbooks, letters and tears.
 
* reinventing to who I already was *
 
But what I came here to say is “it’s all about the cycles“ and as it goes… two years ago I came here to begin a new life. I will live here forever.
 
When I was a kid, I knew right away I wanted to “go places, make stories, share with others“ I’ve done a lot of the first two, now can do a lot of the three while still doing more of the two and maybe some of the one, but only maybe. And I’m cool with that.
 
Anyway, since I arrived here:
 
Massive epic wedding with so many wonderful people (so great!)
 
Wonderful relationship with in-laws (so incredibly grateful for this)
Remarkable baby delivered safely in the midst of public health crisis
 
One funeral (extended Buddhist social distance style) of a long-lived grandmother shortly after the baby (who shares a name but not kanji with her late husband) arrived
 
Several museums slowly visited, getting to know the buses, street cars, villages and shrines in our local area
 
Many, many bowls of Ramen & teas/coffees (extensively documented for historical research)
 
So much paperwork and registrations, i.e.:
* national health insurance
* pension program
* “my number” card
* foreigner registration card (& renewal)
* updating a handful of passports
(all of the above requiring slightly different sized photos)
* koseki tohon (family register)
* post office bank account
* international transfer bank
* various library cards
* several hospital cards
* a few mysterious phone numbers
* taxes in multiple countries (such a good boy Dave!)
* various government records in previous countries updated (usually by postal mail since heaven help me if I’m gonna spend four hours on hold)
 
Several of the same of the above for wife’s name change & Ichiro’s various registrations and citizenship(s), often requiring certified translation and notarizations
 
Add in a consulate visit for an affidavit
 
Monthly hospital visits with the neurologist (no, no real progress #mecfs but well… I’m in the system) + frequent “Seitai” treatments / hard to explain but very useful + Several emergency room visit (I’ll spare you the details) + Investigations into LDN/new strategies
 
Hundreds, possibly approaching thousands of postal mail items (postcards, letters, dossiers) sent out into the world
 
Hundreds, possibly approaching thousands of blog posts (diaries, personal archeology etc.) sent out into the world
 
An extended ramble to far-flung corners of under-known Japanese provinces to visit sensei in fishing ports and wizard hermits in mountains (also museums, hot springs, and roadside attractions)
 
So many various trains and styles of accommodation utilized / several of which are documented in various forms (the trains, not the hotels/guest houses/capsules/ryokan/minshuku/retreats…)
 
Relatives in Nagasaki hospitals and abacus tournaments visited / Plus atomic bomb memorial, and evidence of early Dutch trading settlements, met a noodle-making friend, saw an island that looks like a battleship
 
Two Christmases/New Years, one raucous, one subdued
 
Several, but nowhere near enough, Hot Springs visits > However, wonderful new bathtub installed at our cottage
 
While on the topic, a couple of double-pane windows, wall repairs and other things to make the house more cozy and efficient (documentation about current construction project omitted to avoid excess redundancy)
 
Exhibit of my paintings of post boxes, sometimes with haiku, and Shibuya and Mac Kobayashi ’s goat farm, plus a magazine and cameos on TV
 
Several Mae Maes (Ryoko Olson’s band) shows (plus a YouTube channel) / i’m the proudest husband when I get to go watch her perform + Love to support her when she is organizing concerts and making postcards, flyers, pins…
 
Going with Ryoko to tea ceremonies at lovely sensei’s house or “out and about” to special events (e.g. ceramic town Bizen where we also visited master potter Hosokawa’s studio) – Learning the tools and the combinations and the processes and the nuance + rocking kimono
 
Started a sort of kind of little shop thing to sell postcards & poems (including paintings and post boxes, lomos from India,…) I mean the part about sharing the stories I mentioned above preamble
Started a project to sell some things which exist only in memories and on paper #ugh
Got some new glasses, gave up some habits, hung out at some barbershops (also wife cut hair), learned some new words, organized some archives, turned 50 years old (did a big personal archeology project about that #daveo50), wrote a few poems, tried some new calligraphy techniques, sorted and organized art supplies, tidied up a tool shed and the barn, listened to a lot of records – some old and some new (to me), books out of boxes and onto shelves, many new books ordered… #ongoing
Other things & items forgotten (but likely documented elsewhere…)
Most importantly though is remarkable wife and adorable baby and wonderful in-laws and kind and thoughtful friends scattered around the world (you).
 
Fondly, dvo 
 
Photo: Evidence of a passport renewal, the mustache means I’m a distinguished person to be taken seriously, right? Am I doing this right?

Kura Cultural Curation – Japan Cottage Musings

Kura Cultural Curation – Japan Cottage Musings

Riffs about home reform with new rooms, woodstove and tea ceremony area (thoughts of Ichiro and pals coming home from school) heat pump for humidity control for responsibly curating and collecting books for a legacy library.

And a rundown of recent new/used records including acknowledgement of Shred Kelly, Nice Horse, and (Buffalo Tom’s) Bill Janovitiz’s community building in times of tumult + musical memories in tangible form with David Bowie Let’s Dance picture disc, Hüsker Dü covers, Dead Kennedys, Sonic Youth’s Dirty (Europe 92), War on Drugs (comfort foods), literary keeners The  Weakerthans from Winnipeg, and importantly pal Pat WOOD on Awesome Death’s “To Be Determined.”

Thanks to postcard club participants and folks mailing stuff my way and Casa Rosa for safe haven for library staging.

Fondly, dvo at Giggling Piglet Atelier and Consulate

PS Investigate Forthwith:

Diary: mixed-media card, steps forward with projects (and tea)

Let’s Enjoy! daveostory.com/shop – Paintings, Postcards, Poetry, etc.

+ Paints, Posts, Poems + (with tea)

Construction underway, the elusive and complicated “operation turtle” {requiring lawyers & money but no guns #Zevon} has progressed a tiny step amidst absurd requirements and Ichiro’s all registered for nursery school which means I am “back in the studio” for a bit making envelopes of treasures for my customers, yup, customers.

You know I make postal treats, poems and paintings for love but hey, gotta pay for the copious ink and endless stamps so hooray, sign up and receive things… wonderful items, sometimes slowly (but that’s the postal systems of the world working diligently amidst *all of it*).

Fondly, dvo

ergo: Oh I’m making things today, making wonderful things and sending to all sorts of spectacular folks. My business ain’t fancy but it filled with heart and art. Ya on board?

Reading the Sakura leaves to know the present, the past and the future well… Whatever it is.

Diary: Dialing in Specs, more or less…

Took a few tries but getting fresh specs dialed in for my curious eyes.

Thanks to Kenji Nishida-san and his tiny optical boutique. Noting: he dresses exclusively in black like some kind of spectacle superhero

And one more (because I am a relentless cornball), this one here at the gallery with a cut out of the architect at this building which was once the prefectural office and now endless white corridors and the hum of fluorescent lights and ventilators

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