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:
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)
Along the wanders, I found myself in San Francisco, really mostly in Pacifica, one of my favourite hideaways and just south of the city… but anyway, ventured into SF proper to (finally) get some time at the Beat Museum and wow, what a great job these folks are doing. As such, a few notes and artifacts from the museum and history dripping neighbourhood for your amusement and my memory.
Now I could go on and on about the importance of *the Beats* connecting literary traditions, sparking countercultures leading to the revolutionary “pranksters“ to the *hippies* (for lack of a better term), ￼punks (no I’m not talking mohawks here), indie-making artists of all medium, everything… while also looking back to Whitman, cummings (sic), WCW, Wolfe, Twain, Thoreau, Dostoevsky… you get the general gist. Or what I’m trying to see is wide-thinking, free-roaming, do it yourself souls sharing empathy for others, breaking conventions to find out who you really are and then manifesting the distilled results t into one’s own life which infuses your own soul, then effectuates inspiration in others – also (critically) this ain’t always pretty, rarely is. That’s not the point.
Work in progress…
Anyhow, the Beat Museum￼ was (maybe is) undergoing some construction as the building needs an earthquake-resistant upgrade, – I’ve shared some various fundraising campaigns and podcast riffs about their history over the years in this archive maybe you’ve come across and supported their noble efforts… but anyway, the building was surrounded by scaffolding in a bit of commotion and for a guy like me has easily sensory overload it, it could easily be intense but I stepped in and disappeared for an afternoon amongst the curated exhibits.
This is not some fancy-pants museum, this is a grassroots effort with everything done by intention and￼ in an attentive spirit. I took some crappy snapshots along the way just to remember for my own memory as i wander far and wide and sometimes the twist and turns get a little too quick for me to process real time in my noggin.
Artifacts and abstractions…
note: There is a little mini-theatre room looping a film (was it “Pull My Daisy? It’s all a bit hazy now a few countries later), which pleased me for the visual abstraction of Beat life as well as regrouping in a small / dark / cozy room.
Notable artifacts include:
“referee shirt” Neal Cassady famously wore while driving Furthur, the Merry Prankster bus
a plaid wool jacket Kerouac wore (I’ve had one just like it)
You could be forgiven for thinking that my life involves entirely eating delicious food and drinking fantastic coffee as you are somewhat correct… however, there is slightly more going on as i am into the routine of “regular life” and doing things which I file under “life administration”. As such, some tasks (as much as I delight in the mundanity of everyday activity) doesn’t get documentation.
Not that these things are not interesting – but because in the diligence and action itself, there’s interestingness – but photographs aren’t always timely nor appropriate and in themselves, there’s not often a story to be told. Within this thought is why I enthusiastically and rather comprehensively documented everyday life when first arriving in a new place… As in: when you stay in a place for a while, the uniqueness of every day life fades and it’s easy to think that “I’ll do this another time” or “I’ll wait for something special” or “why bother?”
At the exhibit “Hergé et Moi” i attended (on opening day iirc) in Québec City, QC, i documented various accoutrements and artifacts and then, whilst exiting through the gift shop, acquired a few notebooks and a wonderful book called “Tintin et le Québec” with photographs of ephemeral pieces including advertisements, puppet shows, test proofs, letters, sketches and so on. Many of the items included were somehow related to the Montréal world expo (not really the ones shared here) and related events.
I am especially fond of the letterheads, telegrams, commuiques and other stationery type items.
Respectfully sharing a few lousy snapshots of a variety of pages here for personal memory and amusement as well as scholarly research since the book is hard to find (and my copy is in a distant place from my physical location) and to give a sense of the variety within this lovely tome.
One of these two is a former Prime Minister who was assassinated while his house guest Charlie Chaplin (also allegedly targeted in the assassination to – oddly enough – provoke the US into war) was at a sumo tournament. The other is a happy poet who loves small museums￼.
Indeed, today (Dec. 15) was a tea ceremony at former PM Inukai Tsuyoshi’s house (he was assassinated by 11 young officers in 1930s during the chaotic military build-up period of Japan) here in Okayama.
First off, went to the tea ceremony with our group including Mitsuko-san with whom i rode the fantastic local Uno bus to the station where Yano-san picked us up in his van along with our tea sensei Matsuki and we met Sachiko-san at the event.
Ryoko was in charge of the wagashi (sweets) for the event. There is more to say about tea ceremony but suffice to say, there is a lot of preparation and intention but the actual event is rather brief and while calm, not necessarily solemn but rather jovial.
In May 2019, Ryoko and I wandered around Japan on a shinkonryoko (honeymoon) with the aims of riding various trains, visiting some folks, sampling accommodation types and visiting small museums along the way.
In Shinano, Nagano, we visited my old pal Steve – a former Minnesota US Navy man who has lived in mountain high Nagano mostly on, but sometimes off, for better part of 40 years. With him, we checked out the Issa Memorial Museum dedicated to the haiku poet Kobayashi Issa (who was usually referred to mononymously) and is regarded as 1 of the 4 GREAT classical haiku poets (along with Basho, Shiki and Buson).
Anyhow, not sure if we just got lucky with timing or Issa isn’t a big pilgrimage for others but this was a stop i looked forward to and enjoyed very much. The place was so calm because very few patrons (mid-day, mid-week in May).
Many rooms of scrolls, artifacts from his wanders, and scale models of towns and places. Most everything was only in Japanese so if you don’t read Nihongo, you are kinda outta luck but still worth viewing all the artifacts and figuring bits and pieces out as you see it.
Simply observing the book binding craft, scroll creations and map-making techniques is highly enjoyable.
Especially enjoyed seeing his travelling clothes, pipes, book bundles , maps and journals as these are the items i have with me whilst traveling (obviously).
Really enjoyed seeing the inspiration photos, letterhead from his business communications, reference sketch items, various notebooks, satchels and pre-press proofs – evidence of a few of which are included for your amusement.
As seen at Vancouver Art Gallery, Aug. 28, 2014 – ergo: lost in the memory palace was a series of rooms with odd situations occurring in or around them – storms, film loops, records in cacophony, and an online component too