Tag Archives: garden

Diary: usual days / summer’s end 2020 (ophthalmologist, peanut butter, cats, coins, plans)

This summer was a splendid fog of humid waves of action welcoming baby Ichiro amongst *all the world*. Yet, remains tasks to do (esp as i am still getting settled as an immigrant in a new country and logistically removing myself from several other countries, so: make a list, check the items, repeat.

Anyhow, what follows are scenes of “usual days” in late-summer 2020 as we caught up on life after welcoming Ichiro and tending to various life admin tasks. In other words, the bits which don’t fit anywhere else yet i find somehow amusing. Minimally annotated, non-chronologically. Carry on. 

Note: I roll slowly (1 action per day and only 1 outing a week usually) so strategic planning and adjusting to my health and the baby’s need were/are key.

Sept. 1, an ophthalmologist visit (more spectacle related items throughout this archive) with Dr. Kobayashi (no relation to the goat farmer).  

Background: I have challenging/delicate eyes (astigmatism, wearing glasses since a baby) and need an awesome ophthalmologist (眼科医
Gankai) eye doctor – was hoping someone with english skills as some the vocab evades me but had a very thorough test and fresh prescription to take to an ace optometrist and/or optician + optical shop / Note: tricky eyes so the “cheap and cheerful” places aren’t right for me.

Also: for the eye chart, instead of “letters” it was circle shapes with an opening to the up, down, right or, left. Of course the circle shapes and the opening became progressively smaller. got to do it all in japanese to add the brain confusion / needed to be placed in a dark quiet room for the rest of the day to reset my brain / needed a quiet room after. Continue reading Diary: usual days / summer’s end 2020 (ophthalmologist, peanut butter, cats, coins, plans)

Diary: Ryoko in the Garden (with belly)

Ryoko with her bamboo grape trellis and loads of potted herbs, adding passion fruit next

Who is ready to give birth any hour/day but is outside tuning up a grape trellis with hand-cut bamboo? Yep, you guessed right and… she’s even more incredible in person.  

Note: i woke up and looked for my wife and found her outside diligently making awesome
her (newest) garden project in process… because the “naya” tool shed is all tidied up, makes these projects easier

Note: the tool belt strapped above her belly is peak-Ryoko / PS The jacket is from an arborist trip to Russia.

so intrepid and full of ideas!

Diary: Ryoko gardening (more) and visiting grave (again)

{Catching up with…} Yet another visit to grandpa Ichiro’s grave during the pregnancy + pandemic, plus get another photo of remarkable Ryoko gardening with her adorable baby belly. 

For both of us to stay *active* and centred through all the commotion and concerns of life, we often visited grandpa’s grave for a conversation.

Each morning as I lingered in bed, this intrepid arborist would get up and work on various garden projects, or in this case, cutting down bamboo in the forest behind the house.

Epilogue: Updated July 17 from events on and around May 2… This turned out to be a very significant part of bringing our little guy into the world as he bears the same man and, shortly afterwards, grandpa’s widow died at 94 years old.

Note: Both of these topics are covered elsewhere in this archive and desire to be considered supporting evidence of a really strange but wonderful spring time, as such,…

See also:

Diary: Outside the wall + compost bin

Note: Went “outside the wall” yesterday for a hospital visit and wow, a lot of weirdness everywhere… Got back home safe and I’m going outside to work in the garden now that i washed dishes / ps we made a yard waste / compost bin from scraps

Remember: Control The Controllables ‬

Update: also replanted 4 seedling trees (temporarily) and transplanted a bunch of kabocha (pumpkin squash variety)

Diary: Garden sprouting, yard evolving, rocks to move (still)…

Since we planted this patch of garden a week or two back, rain fell a few times in between stretches of sun so the lil seeds are sprouting up! 

Ryoko keeps a diary about the garden with all the details, however for documentary evidence, i took a few snaps while we were outside strolling the grounds… 

Komastsuna, a Japanese mustard green coming up in splendid lil rows… Continue reading Diary: Garden sprouting, yard evolving, rocks to move (still)…

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

Haikus, Garden + Baby News / Japan Cottage Musings

Wearing a smoking jacket at Tsuchida Cottage, Dave riffs on recent activities including: planting vegetable garden, playing piano, buying baby clothes, and sort-ganizing archives including digging out loads of books. As such, shows books by Douglas Coupland, Nick Bantock, Gary Snyder, Ethan Hubbard, and reads from Jack Kerouac’s American Haikus, plus riffs about Tintin, fire lookouts and mailing postcards. 

Gardening at Tsuchida Cottage, Japan (time lapse fun)

Mixing soil, tilling it up, making mounds, planting beets, zucchini, lettuce of some sort, spinach, arugula / rucola / rocket, and komatsuna (aka Japanese mustard spinach / Brassica rapa var. perviridis), plus replanting a rose bush

Fondly, Dave, Ryoko and…?

PS Music by a street band in met in Rome on a wander called Navona – a trio with accordion, bass and guitar. 

Diary: Days Before New Year’s Eve / Lead-up Activities + Goodnight Year of the Boar

Well, the days between Christmas and New Year’s aren’t really a thing per se in Japan as Christmas is just a reason for decor and music (as it should be at most) and all the build up is for New Year’s – this being my first “real” New Year’s in Japan, i just sorta held on for the ride… 

Anyhow, regardless, during this time, Ryoko and I were out and about for various events, errands, chores, adventures and whatnot – much of which is documented elsewhere in this archive and here are the pleasant mundane-ities which didn’t fit anywhere else – with minor annotations perhaps of “Japan Life”. 

Let’s begin with a few lunches and beverages – after a shop at a hardware store, we slipped into a little Yoshoku restaurant – sorta Japan remix of western dishes – this one sorta French but ya know, not really (and that’s not the point). Anyhow… had a sort of cutlet above and a pot of tea to follow. 

Another lunchtime, our relationship with pizza toast continued at home. 

And this seems absurd but the wonderful konbini stores can provide fresh ground/brewed coffee – i mean, it seems weird to say this but dang, not bad and well priced. That’s me in reflection (literally and metaphorically). Continue reading Diary: Days Before New Year’s Eve / Lead-up Activities + Goodnight Year of the Boar

Diary: Kinome make gardens for people (in a parking lot)

Gardens are (by) people, friend

Ryoko has her own small company doing tree trimming, garden planning and various workshops (like tree trimming for seniors) and sometimes does a gig teaching children and their parents about gardening using a couple plots in the parking lot of a grocery store (who sponsor the event). 

The amazing Ryoko sharing packets of seeds wrapped in origami paper with a group of kids and their parents – Today’s lesson is leafy greens

Anyhow, i tagged along to see her in action, drink coffee and do a bit of grocery shopping at the awesome store (plus take care of our household recycling while we were there). 

tagging along with the gardener for laughs

Continue reading Diary: Kinome make gardens for people (in a parking lot)

Diary: Okayama Regular Life, spring-ish / ramen, friends, singing, coffees, shrine, farm, graves etc.

Dave visits a Café terrace at Night – at “the Market” for a special event (described below) – photo by Ryoko (van Gogh homage)

After all the friends came and went from the wedding festivities in April (including a hospital stay by one intrepid adventurer) and then the Emperor abdicated and new one enthroned, then we rambled through much of May to Toyama, Nagano, Niigata etc. seeing small museums, riding various trains, soaking in a few hot springs, visiting a few pals… oh then of course, doing all the paperwork and procedure for my zairyu card, national insurance and pension programs and setting up our little house with some 2nd hand furniture, a fresh shelf books and hooks and hangers… we set about just “normal life” here. 

Note: Indeed, indulged with a very practical maneouver to acquire a stack of books… this pile is primarily from Vancouver and Vancouver-related by Grant Lawrence, Aaron Chapman, Eve Lazarus, plus Marc Zegans and David Willis… i will document these and many others recently added to collection forthwith(ish). 

What follows are very mediocre snapshots to chronicle various normal-outings, non-events, day-to-day errands, and other otherwise insignificant actions. 

For the record, we live in Tsuchida neighbourhood outside of Okayama city (shi), the capital of Okayama prefecture (ken). A mix of old (pre-war) homes, new homes, rice fields. 20 mins by car or 30 minutes by the fantastic Uno Bus to Okayama Station. Easy to go to Kurashiki or Bizen or the inland sea

I’ve even tried to plant some garden boxes and various seeds for greens. Okaasan (mother) has a much better technique and diligence with gardening. 

Continue reading Diary: Okayama Regular Life, spring-ish / ramen, friends, singing, coffees, shrine, farm, graves etc.