Tag Archives: ephemera

Riff: Japan, working holiday visa, 1992 (& related circumstances)

the “working holiday visa which started my Japan life in Dec. 1992

Before arriving in Japan, I really knew very little about Japan, I didn’t have an interest in Japan, didn’t care about anime or manga or hadn’t eaten sushi, and had no interest in martial arts, though did have some interest and experience with traditional pottery (raku) techniques, familiarity with Japanese poetry albeit as introduced by *Western* writers, however my older brother had gone to Japan for “proselytizing reasons” and him being in Japan – in a roundabout way – is what brought me to Japan (via the working holiday visa paper of importancy pictured above).

In brief: after a several years of traveling around US & Canada for Grateful Dead concerts, hemp festivals, national park exploits, mountain climbing, canyon hiking, couch crashing, Punk shows, fake IDs, drum corps, university invasions, odd jobs, foolish hitchhikes and “doing my best” with the ladies… And then extending that vibe into Mexico for fish tacos and tequila mistakes and taking my VW bus in even more places it probably shouldn’t have ever gone but did, came an accepted application to Evergreen college which was thwarting by ignominiously *not* winning of any scholarships, not awarded of any bursaries, not accepted into any grants, not allowed any loans so (kind of a shock since i was really accustomed to winning everythings, (you wanna see all my elementary school ribbons, maybe you have?).

So, took the money saved from a summer of building bicycles at Sunrise in Logan, Utah while living in a tent next to the temple & went to Seattle anyway but instead of going south to Olympia to finish off a bachelors degree (with wide eyes of getting a master of fine arts in creative writing and likely a tweed jacket with elbow patches soon there after to go with my smoky pipe and intellectual airs), went North to my “for lack of a better term” hometown of Surrey/Vancouver, bought a one-way ticket to Amsterdam, found some ridiculously-colored hiking boots, obnoxiously-colored trousers and barely usable but very packable sleeping bag & mat on the clear-out table (obviously because of the color) at one of the dozen outdoor good stores in Kitsilano, and with a butane stove (loaded), pocket knife (dull-ish), cut off overalls, a travel sized wok pan, juggling sticks and a jester hat, headed off on a European adventure – not the sort of package tour with giggling youth on a graduation trip, nor the earnest guidebook-toting aficionado, just me, a patched up red wilderness experience backpack and the 1972 “hitchhikers guide to Europe” with vague plans to eventually meet up with my buddy Trevor who had gone a few months earlier (keep reading) and working as a waiter at a seaside something in England and seeing all these bands we loved at big muddy festivals.

At the risk of an extended digression, (& unsurprisingly, documentation of this trip exists in poems, paintings, two photographs, a wine label and at least one but probably more podcasts telling stories about getting deathly ill at Oktoberfest in Munich after hitchhiking from Amsterdam, meeting up with the Bad Yodelers band and being (yet again) a sort of uninvited guest on their band tour being a “roadie who didn’t do anything but smoke hash mixed with tobacco – yech”, then meeting up with Trevor in an idyllic fairytale town, picking grapes, gathering chestnuts for sale, partying in old castle dungeons, carousing with more people than should fit in a Citreön, a wild “new wine” festival [censored], hitchhike back to Amsterdam hostels & coffeshops, a bus to Belgium, a hazy ferry to England, rainy expensive London with Hare Krishnas and bad decisions and couch surfing (again) with New Zealanders (and an Australian who was convinced he was going to carry on a dozen beer steins for his flight home) after watching red dwarf… We ended up in Miami after hurricane Andrew on a cheap Virgin Atlantic flight – where we drank more than our airfare of fancy liquor & bought a bottle of scotch for a friend Who (yes, again) would be hosting us on his couch – on a fraudulent credit card. Then came all night Denny’s nursing coffees, Halloween hilarity, caught in thunderstorms, meeting sketchy friends of a sort, trying to exchange a Canadian hundred dollar bill which had been hidden in my boot for months, soggy and unvaluable, adventure down to Key West meeting neither Jimmy Buffett or Hemingway but eating some conch fritters, then a drive-away car delivery towards Dallas with at least three police incidents including a very thorough search on alligator alley none of which were nowhere near as frightening as dropping off the car to the very large, very agitated (and wearing very short shorts) recipient who was ummm concerned & confused about why the trunk wasn’t filled with a certain white powder and “who are we?” and why we were demanding he gave us $300… Somehow we ended up at the Greyhound station, scammed a scammer into a two-for-one ticket for a bus ride to Salt Lake City, i’ll never ride a greyhound again I said as I sat in the loser seat next to the toilet but still I remember every bus station was playing a different Neil Diamond song.)

Continue reading Riff: Japan, working holiday visa, 1992 (& related circumstances)

Still Life: writing letters at Sun Clinic

A sunny patch of grass, all necessary tools, everything is possible

Came across this photo, I suppose there’s a chance it’s elsewhere in this archive but its significant memory for me… ergo:

When we were pregnant, went to the lovely “and clinic” for our usual check-in but, in those early heady days of the “notable public health conundrum virus” this was the first time I was not allowed in to participate due to uncertainty and concern.

Certainly crestfallen so, as I do when feeling blue, I grabbed my postal kit and wrote a postcard or a letter, possibly to you.

These sorts of photos with pens, papers, address book, inky and postal stamps, aerograms, ephemera, postcards etc, all sort of spread around on a table, desk, blanket (or just the flap of a leather satchel purchased in Nepal), I called “postal still life” and yes, I have dozens of examples, 100s possibly.

Batch of friendship cards, with postal life and typewriters

Batch of friendship cards made / sorta meta as the snaps are (mostly) all of making cards &/or tools used to do so (+ inky stamps to taste). Highly collectible :)

Post’d: sometimes requires a circuitous route to find a recipient

to an expired address, now-irrelevant archive
Archives mailed 
to an invalid address,
delayed upon transition,
relevance no longer relevant,
however, archive as needed
if needed
affectionately assembled
Remembering shelter from the storm every possible kind in San Francisco, “here are the keys tie use anything you like“
Postcard, written last year, was waiting for an address, now acquired - as such, sent this curious chap on his journey from the scotch and cigar "Drawing Room" at the Majestic Hotel in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to a mountain town across the Pacific. Red Velvet jacket not included.

Also: “I find that postcards require something quite beautiful between countries beyond politics and governments In that that little slip of paper touched so many hands making its way from me to you. It carries so many memories and so many intentions…

At first glimpse it’s just a goofy picture scribbled up but that original photo came from me on a meandering healing journey, not all that long after we sat together in San Francisco or I hid out at your house… in the “drawing room” at the Majestic Hotel in kuala lumpur, I made friends with a barman named Sunday (wrote a poem about him), wore a red velvet smoking jacket, drank hot toddys as i picked up a terrible cold on an overnight train from Thailand where i shared a cabin with a Buddhist monk in his saffron robes, a suitcase full of cigarettes and gold watches.

From one Leo to another, we carry-on, gently, kindly and intrepidly”

Museum: Toyama Prefectural Museum of Art and Design, 2019 (a sampler)

welcome to Toyama, i really enjoy showing up to a place i know *nothing* about, like a white sheet of paper, filled with possibilities

Blurb: On our extended skinkonryoko/honeymoon ramble, we had a stop in the city of Toyama (capital of eponymous prefecture) which i really didn’t know anything about but turned out to be very pleasant. Besides being a conveniently-located “midsize city” with good transportation of the sort I really like, there was a castle and lots of public art and pleasant accommodations and of course kissaten coffee shops for making scrapbooks.

its all empty and full

While there was a choice of many museums to see, we headed out to the Toyama Prefectural Museum of Art and Design by bus and wow, what a mighty experience. Almost too much for this guy, anyhow… let’s take a lil ramble:

Ryoko hangs with Pablo and Henri, we had the pace mostly to ourselves (wow!)

Toyama Prefectural Museum of Art and Design (map): https://goo.gl/maps/5sMsynNJzaD2GpTB8

TAD (web): https://tad-toyama.jp/en/

Ride along: Rolling Elsewhere: Kanazawa to Toyama, Japan (ambient, excerpts)

Ryoko hangs with Pablo

Truthfully, I am partial to small/quirky/cozy museums and this was quite different… an expansive modern building with many many halls of exhibits (but only some were photo friendly) including (as i recall):

  • Impressional/post impressionist/modern art (Picasso, Chagall, Toulouse-Latrec, Klee, Munch et al)
  • Installation of an urban lonely-ish bar street corner complete with sound
  • An exhibit/installation involving various nets and recycled materials
  • Various giant friendly bears
  • A capsule hotel segment
  • Art made from packing/duct tape by (as I understand it a fellow who works as a custodian on site)
  • Another hall of modernist art (Pollock, Dali, Miro…)
  • A few other installation rooms (a rather disorienting as was the purpose)
  • An incredible collection by an art benefactor of her magazines, prints, brochures, books and what not
  • A collection of 20th century chairs and posters (not about chairs), like high design chairs you *must not* sit upon these chairs (they are not comfortable and on display) – showing the great print / industrial design sense of modern Japan
  • And (my favourite) a collection of items given to a Japanese poet, art critic, artist Shuzo Takiguchi by his other artist friends (like a load of big timers and worldwide interesting cats), all “bric a brać” and seemingly simple one-off creations and sorta – at-first-glance – rather “nonsensical except for the source” items (seemed like was going into my head/archive, exhibit was called “Shop of Objects” or “Notes about things”
  • Another permanent collection from a benefactor couple called Goldberg
  • Also a ‘hands-on” Atelier area, a library, and long halls of upcoming and legacy items (including interactive panels)

Exit through the gift shop and the Swallow Café:

As usual, purchased a museum/exhibit guide at the gift shop as well as other postcards and artefacts but really it was quite overwhelming and required some fresh air and a café visit at the end.

buy the book, and the postcards, and the coffee / TAD. not *just* a band

I mean besides mentioned already, in the collection were Henry Moore, Jasper Johns, Henri Matisse, Andy Warhol’s Marilyn x4, Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp… goes on and on… plus loads of contemporary-ish Japanese artists i wasn’t familiar with so was great to see *not the usual classic Japanese art* styles.

Especially interesting a Japanese-French painter called Tsuguhara Foujita (aka Léonard Foujita) with “Two Nudes” from 1929 made me curious about how he came to be there and who he collaborated with.

Though I have the exhibit guidebook, I am not going to annotate all these photos, just let them flow, gently assembled. [Update: went out to the archive and pulled out the “Selected Works from the Collection”book, so heaven help me, gonna add notes where i can… oh geez, even looked up the exhibits from 2019], on we go:

(probably Bushiro Mori but not sure, can ya give me a hand?)

Aside note: the guide book shows the staff uniforms for Spring 2019 were designed by Issey Miyake (who at this writing in Summer 2022, has recently passed away with a legacy of importancy and acclaim).

Post-Impressionalist Hall (not official name)

Pablo Picasso, Femme dans un fauteuil, 1923
Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, Portrait of Manzi Panneau, 1901
Marc Chagall, L’homme la chévre, 1924-25
Joan Miro, Testa di fumatóre, 1925
oh my, another i can’t reference… i’ll try harder

Another hall of modern-ists (not official title)

Salvador Dali, Allegory of an American Christmas, 1943
Jackson Pollock, Untitled, 1946
Continue reading Museum: Toyama Prefectural Museum of Art and Design, 2019 (a sampler)

Artifact / Riff: d!snëy Tom Sawyer Island (brochure and notes about h/yippie occupation)

I have only visited Disney-branded theme parks twice, both at the *classic location* in Anaheim, CA, USA.

The first time (1979?) stands out as it was on a trip with my Mom, aunt and various cousins in which we went to Salt Lake City and then to Anaheim, staying in hotels, eating room service, pay-per-view hotel movies and whatnot. Most significant though was auditioning for a game show, two iirc, “children’s versions“ of Jokers Wild and Tic-Tac-Dough. {artifacts exist and will be shared under separate cover}.

Have you visited Tom Sawyer island? Were you part of the occupation? What’s there now if anything? This is a blurry photo, blurry like my memories

Anyhow, the park itself I found a bit hectic and crowded and preferred the quiet corners: enjoying a Carnation milkshake, hitting a shop which embroidered my name onto a floppy hat, and the Country Bear Jamboree – also recall something about a jungle cruise and a tiki room and riding a gondola which fit my speed moreso then Matterhorn or Space Mountain with their long lines and short attention span. Oh, Caribbean Pirates, and Haunted Mansion… It’s all coming back to me now.

Anyhow, I suppose fitting with my nature, Tom Sawyer Island was my favorite. I wondered, “how was it that a place was left mellow & leafy, not built up and not filled with noises and lights in amongst this jumble of manufactured excitement?”

This impression stuck with me and it wasn’t until years later, mentioning this to (I think) Larry Harper who told me about a “y/hippie occupation” of the lil island in the 70s. Unsurprisingly, this was well sanitized from the “official corporate history” of the uncompromising, brand-conscious company but of course, various recounting exist. A link round-up follows below.

Anyhow, why we are here is: Going through my archives, the only Disney ephemera in collection (so far at least) is a brochure (not sure what the purpose of a brochure is since you’re already there and I don’t think anyone buys the golden ticket just to go there) of the humble island.

Continue reading Artifact / Riff: d!snëy Tom Sawyer Island (brochure and notes about h/yippie occupation)

Riff: blueprint for a creative process / Vancouver Stories (prezo plan)

The “origin document“ of Forgotten Vancouver Stories talk

Projects of all kinds, a talk/presentation in this case, usually start with some kind of plan… (seems obvious so i’ll explain further).

In this instance, this is the *origin document* of what turned into a talk for Pecha Kucha night Vancouver “All-Star edition” at Vogue Theatre in the 20 slides for 20 seconds each format. e

Later, the “slides” became part of a longer form version at “Poets, Punks and Revolutions: Forgotten Vancouver Stories,” Northern Voice in a three-dimensional mixed media environment (campfire on stage, easels, record players, a comfortable chair and so on.

The idea started at a sort-of-secret-hideout with single malt, in conversation with a (now-former) mayor of Vancouver, his chief of staff, and the CEO of a significant company. Realizing the mayor didn’t really know a lot of renegade Vancouver stories, especially around counter-culture, I riffed off a few and later thought might be useful, amusing/educational/entertaining, or whatever for a wider audience.

Continue reading Riff: blueprint for a creative process / Vancouver Stories (prezo plan)

Post’d: lovely correspondence with @Hez (involving Japanese characters, famous dogs, & wonderful paper / stamps)

At first blush, it seems to be extraneous to embed Twitter messages into this creative life archive (i’d best not make a habit of it) but my goodness!, this lovely documentation of correspondence with a real life friend in far away Vancouver stuck with me since our exchange of dossiers over the last couple of years.

I just didn’t want the artifacts to be lost into the endless vortex of ephemeral short form messaging so, at the risk of being redundant and forever incomplete, here is evidence – both written and photographic – of an exchange between a.k.a. @Hez and me (and my family).

Highlights include: her fine Japanese writing, and all kinds of papery treats (a mobile which was used on our festive tree), there are other “parts” to his but for now, here we go (note: I did my best to reciprocate by including some cute dog stamps to amuse her).

Continue reading Post’d: lovely correspondence with @Hez (involving Japanese characters, famous dogs, & wonderful paper / stamps)

Memo: why i do the archiving, scrapbooking etc

In reply to a tender correspondent:

Thanks for the sweet note. Sometimes I wonder what I do all the archiving for but a lot of the reason is because when the illness started ( #MECFS) In 2013, my “brain broke” and I sort of had to relearn how to do everything from writing into painting whatever so found that making scrapbooks, postcards and later “sort-ganizing” helped rebuild the neural pathways.

Scrapbook: in process, a pleasant way to pass the time, sitting in bed, with scissors, tape, glue and ephemera

When I went to India to the Ayurveda clinic, I can still remember the day the brain started sparking again and then I tried starting to write and paint. Was a little clumsy so I filed everything under “old man punk rock“ :) and made some drawings of the neighborhood and unforgiving oil pastels which quickly attracted a throng of fellas around me who I snapped with a Lomo camera (note: evidenced somewhere here in this archive).

I spend a lot of time in bed still so it’s kind of like playing a video game or puzzle or something for me… finding the right context for all the miscellanea. Imagining about containers in the bath and filling them with stories in all sorts of mediums, both in and out of my fog.

As for the handmade scrapbooks, comes from our mutual love of notebooks etc. – which I don’t keep near as orderly as you do – but now they’ve all sort of come full circle back to me, I’m enjoying transcribing the scribbles, putting checkmarks on the pages that are finished, and organizing on a semi-climate-controlled shelf. All shapes and sizes and formats, eras, all intertwined. Mostly (vaguely at least) inventoried.

Making whole buncha scrapbooks

My own handmade scrap journals are so much fun to make as it gives me that mixed media/interdisciplinary thrill of playing with tools and sharp objects and paper and the finished result is something that very few people understand the endless possibilities.

A page from Nagano to see the wizard

Anyhow, thanks for your kind words, honestly it’s been a really tough summer so far for me, I just can’t seem to bounce up so it’s nice to just be “seen”.

Pages from a journal for no particular trip or reason, just feeling with things that cheered me up

One of these days, I’ll hook you up with a scrap journal of your own if you would like. I know you’re very partial to your own specifications so I might go a little bit off script if that’s all right.

Collection: Scrapbooks, Journals and Notebooks (view 2)

Do you keep travel ephemera and other clippings, oddities, coasters, matchbox, ticket stubs etc.? What do you do with them all?

Scrapbook: assembly / stack of books (binding detail)

[i’ll about pasting of reply]

Evidence: Kerouac in Kobe, Jack in Japan (slowly working on video, maybe kinda…)

Further evidence of “working on some thing” about Jack Kerouac exhibit in Kobe, Japan 2021 – hardly shocking I know, but hey, here are many “On the Road” etc related items. Plus the typewriter to show I’m serious(ly) slow.

{What I’m trying to say is}, I keep trying to make/finish my “Kerouac and Kobe” video but keep on make more complicated, I made an *incredibly awesome* static-montage stop-motion animation intro, and recorded a vaguely-loquacious and informational outro but… it’s the middle part – you know, the part that actually matters with interview with Prof Matt Theado – I’m stuck at because requires sitting in front of the computer screen and my goodness, my eyes are kind of shot these days.

Keep on thinking I’ll finish it up but I haven’t so this is me killing time and trying to stoke the stoke to sit at the big screen (yes, I have a monitor that is made for “sensitive eyes” but still…)

Anyway, maybe you can play iSpy (with your little eye)?