Tag Archives: flowers

DIY: 2 trees, 2 flowers, 4 bins

Continuing to “improve the campsite”, ergo:

Two small peach trees, both gifts from Okayama city – the first for getting married, the second for welcoming Ichiro – growing well at Tsuchida Cottage.

Just think, we could get another tree just for having another baby #Idea (get a choice of 6 tree varieties).

Two pots of flowers, planted, sprouting, hanging in baskets on the small bamboo fence in front of the barn studio.

Moved 2 compost bins from the backyard to join the 2 others in the side yard, plus put some of the almost-finished-ish compost under a decommissioned truck tarp.

Note the flagstone rocks previously moved & stacked on a palette.

It’s all quite magnificent. {I’d hope to do more with garden this year but having a really hard time getting energy to do anything but folding laundry. Maybe I’ll try to put new strings on my ukulele (and keep collecting stories like Frederick).}

Diary: notes from the slow lane (curling, quiche, errands, taxes & flowers for Mom)

This disinter-mediated and somewhat timeshifting rundown of miscellaneous annotations and notes from the last week may not make sense entirely but put here for the historical record as you know, this is a “entire life site“.

Oh hi, just waiting with my boots on

Certainly not comprehensive, vaguely chronological, tense shifts and aggressions as usual. Summary includes: hospital, allergies, easel, coat rack, quiche and curling (and a payphone just to prove it’s actually me) + mention of funeral (heavy) & taxes.

Rally up for hospital time

Feb 21 off the hospital for blood, CT (re: inflamed spleen?) and usual check-in with neurologist. [Update: I am here at the hospital now assembling these notes in case you were curious. Carry-on.]

[Update: spleen doing alright / better is seems – information was probably really heated to a cute situation. Cholesterol is high, yes yes yes I know, working on that… Reduce big fish/meat/milk, more chicken, small fish, keep eating lots of salads, veg, olive oil, reduce nuts… All rather bewildering but on my quest to live well over 100 years old, all relative and relatively important]

Feb 20 So recently, amongst my other health challenges, I’ve been breaking out with strange allergic reaction but my arborist wife has figured out that is allergic/reactionary to eucalyptus wood. We have a stash in the firewood and even a puff of the dust causes me to turn red. Weird.

(As you mebbe know) been “deep in the well” with a really rough patch with my usual & not-usual illness… It’s really mentally wearing me down. Hard to do much of anything when I’m crashed & my scant functional time is spent trying to be supportive useful dude around the house.

Feeling overwhelmed and buried in “things on the list that didn’t happen in the last six weeks“ and turns out we’re bound for a a funeral tomorrow and then I’m back to the hospital on Monday.…

Sure, starting to improve the last couple days though & so eager to do some creative projects, I got excited yesterday putting up a coat rack for the wife’s work clothes. Must remind myself that patience and time are my allies. Importantly: I will point out that wife did all the important parts for putting up said coat rack, I basically handed her drivers, screws & level + offered words of encouragement and support, but still, a bit of dopamine.

However (and) yesterday moved my new/secondhand majestic Rembrandt easel up to the studio lounge and my adorable protégé gave it its first testing. These two make my heart leap and spin every day <3 (They went to tea ceremony).

Portrait of an artist as a Young Man (also note various art and hats)

So curling is over, allergic reaction subsiding, table moved and tatami mats replaced (finally, since Christmas) so I’m gonna take a rest for a while before going to a funeral at 16:30 and then big hospital tomorrow. Nothing but good times. It’s a glamorous life.

Also we finally moved the extra table which has been in the kitchen/dining room since Christmas back into the storehouse barn (where it will soon serve as a multipurpose table for making paper, repairing ceramics with gold (kintsugi), other arts & crafts) and put the tatami mats back in place. Ichiro was very happy about this as he likes to hang out and play here and it feels like we turned a metaphorical page.

Note to a pal regarding yuzu jam, “Think of you often as I put your jam which came in a tahini jar, along with tahini, on sourdough rye crackers as my *little pick me up“ snack.*

Curling: Fantastic final match between Scotland and Japan. Scotland just didn’t make any mistakes at all and ended up with some big ends. My Aberdeener Granny must be smiling. Im very happy for both teams. PS remembering the last Scottish team to win gold in #SLC2002 with brother Dan.

Im really enjoying watching Japan women’s team with their bright smiles and great communication.

I tried curling once back in Canada where it’s national obsession & it’s fantastically difficult at first. Rocks slide so fast and everything is so slippery! But beer afterwards…

Feb 18 Game on! 21:05 JST 2/18 Japan v Swiss women’s curling semi-final olympics. Japan had lost to the assassin like Swiss in the final game of the round robin but came back with a clinical match to advance to the gold medal game. Switzerland, despite their great tournament record, fell in extra ends against Sweden.

Feb 17 it’s Mom‘s birthday, I miss her so much, wife brought flowers and we sang to her with her picture on the table. Made her “Arabian spaghetti“ which I’m not sure is really a thing but it always works for us… basically: spaghetti with minced beef and possible onions and garlic, atop the spaghetti along with yogurt, optional pinenuts, parsley/green onions. Refreshing, easy *and* we are making our own yogurt at the house which Ichiro loves.

During the day however, the two of us went out to do some errands in the city, I’ve been really months since we’ve done that.

Grillmori’s “new location” is small, fabulously well designed with elegant minimalist simplicity featuring great attention to detail. Lunch has choice of three quiche, comes with soup and salad. Simple Zen.

Specifically included:

  • optometrist visit still trying to get glasses dialed in;
  • iPhone repair shop to put a new battery/screen into an iPhone 5 to make another camera to use around the studio;
  • lunch at one of our secret cafés for quiche/soup/salad and coffee and strawberries and cream (pictured ^^;
  • various tasks around the big shiny loud fancy fragrant department store Tenmaya >> drop some jewelry off to repair and look at some new fancy pots and pans (didn’t find exactly what we wanted).
  • afew things at a little kiosk from one of those guys who does shoe repair, key making, videotape transfer, hanko stamp making etc. (doesn’t sell pocket knives however, just feels like he should)

While in one of the corridors which seems relatively unused and filled with benches (rare) with no one sitting on them, spotted a nice payphone just there on the skyway, waiting to be used.

Will be around a month for a couple necklaces to be repaired but also remembered Ryoko’s stories of visits with her grandma buying special tea cups. Oh we bought some fresh hand towels (we’ve been putting away all the rags and towels which are 100% cotton or similar for our paper making project this summer.)

Oh also seitai treatment (great but hard to explain), definitely the busiest day for me since before Christmas.

Feb 16 Grumpy. Starting day on hold with Canada Revenue Agency for :50 min so far. Occasional messages saying “getting towards end of our business day so we might just not answer”. Presents existentialist conundrum. Are you there? Is anybody? Am i? {music plays on}

Ugh so disheartening! Ive tried to be a cub scout on all my emigrant / non-resident / cpp-d file & keep getting conflicting info & now a bill which just arrived with already $221.61 added on. No good deed goes…

I managed a coffee fresh up & p33 while on hold / thats an anxious maneuver. I did sharpen my pencil & jauntily) tucked over ear with pink eye mask. Such serious!

Pencil ready (but wasnt needed)

Yeah beleaguered and disheartening / im trying to be above board and dont get any sorta support :( 1:19 on hold – got up early to do this and have other tasks looming > giving up. Told expected hold time :10-15 at beginning.

I’m really trying my best, I send them letters, faxes and all of it and getting a statement with already interest tacked on is a bit of a kick in the groin but we carry-on, we carry on.

Switched tasks to the slightly more satisfying washing dishes and folding laundry. Decided I will communicate with CRA exclusively by fax moving forward.

Diary: New Years Eve – food & flowers / Eye of the Tiger ahoy!

Last hours before arbitrary mile post/time zones and calendar flipping – and while I’m not at my best I always have big schemes to make lists of intentions. I’ve made them before and yeah, I’ve made them again.

If all goes to plan I’ll sneak away while the wife and mother-in-law are cooking and flower arranging and make a recap video in the barn while listening to records. Plans? Ha ha :-)

But first, a few pre-snap shops and annotations, mostly of my wife in action and other sundry foods and flowers, starting with Ikebana in the genkon.

Made by magical wife (just before making turkey ramen) now tamagoyaki assembly in process… keep reading…

Here is an in-process snap (with a little boy who is a little bit grumpy because he wasn’t getting all of the attention :)) aside: Tea ceremony, music, flower arranging, it’s all possible for him. My brothers tease me that he’ll only be in the video games :(

The painting in the background really works out well too (by Michal Korman)

Somehow in between it all, we went to pick up a huge batch of tempura and of course she had a gift package ready for the proprietor / I just try to stay up with her.

For final holiday maneuver, must break down the last of this turkey to make broth.

I don’t really know what I’m doing but… guess take off the meaty bits by hand and then simmer the carcass for stock? With the leftover celery etc.? Strain it & bottle/bag it?

Behold, turkey ramen with garden veg & pork belly at Tsuchida Cottage. I made the stock/broth, the wife did everything else.

Oh, when I ordered the turkey, sausages, pork belly, there was also a 2 kg ham of some kind so while we were at it, cloves, rosemary and Pineneedles and into the oven it goes.

Good night you lovely folks. Hoping for a pleasant wind down of an interesting year. Year/Eye of the Tiger ahoy!

Grandson Ichiro at Ohaka grave with Fujita Family

8 month old Ichiro Stanley Thorvald Olson visiting his great-grandpa Ichiro’s ohaka grave on the 48th anniversary of his passing. Great-grandmother Tomiko joined him last summer. It’s all about the cycles.

4 generations of Fujitas, more or less art Grandfather Ichiro and now Grandmother Tomiko’s ohaka (grave) short walk from our home in Tsuchida, Okayama. We cleaned the ohaka, lit incense, fresh flowers, clap clap, bow, bow etc.

Momma brought flowers from home (daffodils and irises I think) note: construction beginning behind

I picked you flowers (painting & poem)

Gravelly Beach, 2005, oil on canvas, Dave Olson

Picked you some flowers while I was out

Placed in a vase, slightly chipped

Perhaps you and the blooms will enjoy the view

I’ll be outside chopping wood

Diary: More Rocks, also Herbs + Bocce Dreams (with time lapse fun)

As noted recently, we put in a fresh garden plot in the front yard area of our house in Tsuchida, Okayama, Japan. As part of the project is moving a buncha boulders to make room for planting a smattering of fruit trees.

The boulders are moved by a steel tripod, chains and a pulley system and as such, assuming one is careful and strategic, *fairly* non-heavy work aside from pushing the cart with the boulder to the location to dump it off. 

Time-lapse of a rock moving session:

The relocated rocks are used to build up a retaining wall of sorts to support a drainage ditch… When offloading from the cart to the ditch, we added leftover bales – really bales – of bubblewrap from the shipping of my archives to protect a hard plastic pipe in the ditch. Quite fun rolling the rocks into position! 

Then using a few more to put a ring around a big plum tree to make a picnic park area. 

We’ve done a few sessions now of hauling the rocks and while the pile is reducing, still can’t see the ground sufficiently to put in the trees, so we carry on / there are enough rocks that we’ll sorta extend a little wall. Continue reading Diary: More Rocks, also Herbs + Bocce Dreams (with time lapse fun)

Diary: Moving Boulders, Laying Bricks, Planting Seeds at Tsuchida Cottage

Quick notes: relocated these three big old foundation boulders using a tripod and pulley to make a little ring around the plum tree for picnics with the kiddo, and hopefully you

there’s a big pile to move in order to make space for 5 more fruit trees (we have the saplings living in pots: orange, lime, grapefruit… )

the boulders were moved using brains not brawn with a steel tripod and pulley system made it very easy as long as you were smart and careful. :) It’s quite ingenious as those mighty heavy rocks were moved with just me, pregnant wife and the wonderful tiny mother-in-law 

Next, we fixed up the area next to Ryoko’s tool shed with a potted olive tree, lemongrass, and various other plants…

first, put down a stack of old bricks and other rocks so ya know, give it some character and functional charm Continue reading Diary: Moving Boulders, Laying Bricks, Planting Seeds at Tsuchida Cottage

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: 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

Flowers (pink, on desk) / acrylic

paint-A la Carte-Flowers (pink, on desk) / acrylic
Flowers (pink, on desk) / acrylic

Flowers (pink, on desk)
acrylic on stretched canvas
2019, Nusa Ceningan

daveo + ryoko