Tag Archives: goat farm

Post’d: Not *really* New Year cards, but kinda, just more silky lounging

Not exactly new year cards… we’ve moved on, right?

atop the rusty post box in our neighbourhood

Specifically: a couple for birthdays // yes, me lounging in a hotel lobby in monogram’d pajamas, silk robe & dapper hat (natch) waiting for food delivery; another a message about healing with grace and facing demons; and, the other variation of time traveler daguerreotype as another special delivery for a late address.

check that paper grain – swoony right?

Oh and this one *is* a New Year card, even though past official “new year” time. Hand-decorated and personally-deliveredwith bonus dragon accessory and special stamp from a country I can’t quite read with my fuzzy eyes.

Crafted with kohi at the goat farm to a very lovely recipient i’ve known since she was in a high-chair and is now a wonderful mama to 3 rambunctious lads. And whilst clear coating a postbox haiku you’ve already read about and yes more coverage to follow.

Theme, maybe: best intentions and all of that

Things I had planned to do today:

* Clean fans, cover and take to kura + busted lamp

* Same with the straw window shades

* Record another ukulele song or storybook video

What I’m actually going to do:

* stay in bed

* fold laundry

* listen to a hockey game

I have many things to say about:

Continue reading Theme, maybe: best intentions and all of that

Diary + Snaps: 6 views at goat farm & various disintermediated notes

At this point, it’s no longer an “secret hideout”… Rural Caprine (goat) Farm obviously my favourite place in Japan and where we go for a break to regroup, check in with my buddy Mac-san – who teases me endlessly and unrelentingly about me, showing up, broken down, obviously, needy, and basically useless in the summer of 2018 which changed my life. 

Anyhow, in this case me and darling wife and adorable son, had finished our morning chores, hot and sweaty so we took a trip to the farm to cool off, have lunch and possibly pick-up some pallets for some projects.

Turns out, unbeknownst to us – although we should know such thing – it was “Marine day” which is a quasi- national holiday, so quite a few people coming through the farm and surprisingly, many kids younger than our wee bairn.

Anyhow, I took my ukulele, listened to Jerry Garcia band at Cape Cod Coliseum from 1982 while feeling a little melancholy about missing the Dead and Company shows, (although the thought of going to a big stadium with loads of people and light shows is completely and unrelentingly unappealing).

“the goats’ milk must be sweeter after hearing me play” wrote one of my more sympathetic correspondents (dang look at those l3gs)

So played a little bit of music of my own for the goats, who remained unimpressed, took a look at the pallets, but found were all more beat-up than we really want to deal with, as well as quite dusty and dirty, too much so to put in the back of Agnes the van (which has a protective sheet). Also looked at a stack of old tatami mats which could possibly be used in a project in reclaiming/regenerating the Kinome land (which has some water retention and excess weed and leveling conundrums), chatted with some ladies who came all the way from Osaka to visit Mac-san’s impressive wine cave, and gave the various hellos from friends who have come by over the last months in years.

As you’ve no doubt heard before, goats love hearing music, so there’s an old time PA system streaming endless tunes to the animals (all day and all night) while inside, Mac-san’s much higher quality stereo system (though the Denon CD player is having troubles) is wedged in between all the artifacts, tchotchkes, memorabilia (including a whole section of items from us), and his ever-expanding record collection, plus variety of gourmet food goods for sale.

{noting that nephew Lee was off on a barbecue/hot spring adventure of his own with a youth group, so it’s not on this expedition}

A poem on a postbox at a goat farm, fading

{I feel somewhat obligated to use the often overused aesthetic term “Wabi Sabi” (beauty in decay)}, yet at Rural Caprine (goat) Farm…

Visiting what is probably my most seen art piece –a haiku on a post box (there’s a haiku on the other side with a postal theme, as well as a painting to match inside the café at the goat farm). Obviously the first line is more and more weathered. So,…

Do i I repaint it or just let it fade into oblivion and let future visitors imagine their own five syllables?

Diary: goat farm anniversary (tasty notes & snaps)

(Most of but not all) of a tasting menu for 17th anniversary of @ruralcaprinefarm & 3rd anniversary of @norikohinuma / such wonderful creative cuisine, eaten in a barn with so many interesting folks and… For the first time in forever a whole bunch of kids outside playing together.

Yes, I know there are palaces, temple, shrines, skyscrapers, amusement parks, gardens, bars, ryokan, etc. etc. but this is my favorite place in Japan (except maybe a certain hotspring :))

These people mean so very much to ‘me and I also appreciate how Mac-san’s shops tiny floor space has 50% devoted to his record collection.

Catching my darlings just being darling. There’s a big drop off here to another goat area, yes, enough to break all of your bones, but our little guy has been coming here since before he was born and knows how to be safe
If you see anything cuter than this kiddo squatting down with a baby goat with a tractor in the background, please let me and the rest of the world know
With my eye infection, rock in the pirate patch and tissue to keep it clean while in a dusty environment and also representing for Japan after the big world baseball classic win… There was some amusement that the only guy doing so was the weirdo beardo foreigner :)
buy a ticket with a bunch of spaces on it and use all the spaces for dishes. I love the juxtaposition of the white China on rustic wooden tables

Ryoko & Me at Goat Farm

Photo at Rural Caprine (Goat) Farm where we met, captured by our first “official tourist visa guest” Kane Tan – since well… long before I can recall.

Yes, I am completely mental in love with her

Bonus: Here’s Mr. Tan and I in front of the newly renovated Okayama “Crow castle” – we have many mutual friends, but I’ve never met in real life before, and enjoyed a very pleasant time with this multi-talented, charming, graceful gentleman (despite almost everywhere, we attempted to visit/eat was closed)

More about Kane’s visit in November re-cap: guest, poetry, pod & usual maintenance

Postbox poem needs a repaint (for impending tourist visitors to Japan)

Looks like this poem on a postbox at Rural Caprine (goat) Farm is going to need a bit of painting touch up one of these days… looking rather wabi-sabi :)

PS wonder who is going to be our next foreign visitor to Tsuchida Cottage now that Japan is opening* to foreign tourists {*= some but not all countries, some restrictions apply, yes you have to wear a mask, no whining}

And yes, I have loads of resources about traveling to Japan at this archive / both “practical/logistical” as well as lots of field notes from museums and outings.

Importantly:

  • bring slip on/off shoes
  • always carry a handkerchief/small towel
  • always bring a gift to your host
  • seriously, the tipping is completely unnecessary / offer a small gift is cool
  • always have your own trash bag tucked in your rucksack
  • hot springs and baths in general are one of the top five best things about Japan
  • JR train passes are great but can be complicated and you really don’t need a “super unlimited everywhere” pass
  • don’t read “gaijin Twitter” because mostly full of whiners wielding gripes and clichés + Watch YouTube very judiciously
  • sure Tokyo and Kyoto are filled with interestingness *shrug* but Japan is loaded with great minor provincial capitals/cities which you’ll have much more space to explore on your own / hooray Kanazawa, Toyama, Nagasaki, and of course Okayama – The “Goldilocks of Japan” which is a great base including also the jumping off point to the inland sea art islands and the “4th main Island” Shikoku / all of which are exceptional

Japan “opens up”* / A few things about #Okayama

* to tourism (not everywhere, not everyone blah blah blah)

Not my photo, source unknown, but it’s so great isn’t it?

If you are curious, Japan is reopening to independent tourism starting October 11 with visa waivers for people from approximately 68 countries/jurisdictions (previously required sponsored business, tour group or onedegree relative visa with a daily limit on total arrivals) still some requirements for proof of 3x vax /negative tests etc. and yes you gotta wear a mask #Airborne but blah blah blah

The gates are creaking open

So here are a few videos (my others) bundled together to share the wonders of my home area of Okayama / Plus usual other ramblings, ergo:

Situation Basics:

Ref: Nikkei Asia “Starting on Oct. 11, short-term visitors will no longer be required to apply for tourist visas. Before the pandemic, Japan allowed visa-free short-term travel from people from 68 countries and regions, such as Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong and the U.S. And with no need to book tours through travel agencies, it will be easier to visit.”

Oh here’s a photo which looks very *Japan* doesn’t it?

Some requirements about proof of three times vaccination and negative test still required and yes to masks (no whining).

Briefly: its “Okayama” not…

I live in Okayama – sorta between Osaka and Hiroshima, close-ish to Kyoto (but you should go to Kanazawa instead) Not close to Tokyo and not to be confused with Okinawa.

We are famous for peaches and grapes, folktales about peaches, the best jeans in the entire world, my buddy’s goat farm, a lively jazz scene, and some great museums, including the incredible “European sampler pack“ at at Ohara museum in Kurashiki (yes, also lots of Japanese art obviously), also the most sunshine of any part of Japan. 

Importantly, the “jumping off point” to go to the inland sea filled with islands of interesting art exhibits and onwards to the fourth of the “main islands” Shikoku with hidden villages, surf beaches and pilgrimages.

Here’s a starting primer (written in 2019 so you know, could use a fresh up):

Here’s everything except the stuff I forgot in 2019

Let’s Go: “Not-To-Be-Missed Okayama Travel Gems You’ve Never Heard Of”

Oh it’s me, self-proclaimed “Okayama super fan“ talking with the effervescent JJ Walsh on her show Seek Sustainable Japan having a casual fun coffee talk about all my favorite things, a great place to start:

JJ makes really fun shows all around Japan talking to interesting people doing work around sustainable agriculture, architecture, tourism and lifestyle

Demin “Jeans Street” Kojima

Among the wonderful things about Okayama prefecture is the town of Kojima with “Jeans Street” featuring dozens of smallish factory/shops making and selling artisan and/or bespoke denim jeans.

sneakers on powerlines are boring, hang jeans instead

The area was originally known for making school uniforms which still happens but overshadowed by very enthusiastic international following for jeans.

Often hand indigo dyed, various weaves & cuts, endless nuanced options, and superior craftsmanship. Not cheap but these are generational-quality clothing items.

Anyhow, this video is an interview and tour with one of the originals called Betty Smith going back to the 1960s. They specialize in ladies jeans in heritage (1970s!) styles, made by Japanese women in a fantastically interesting factory, with a museum and other supporting attractions/tours etc.

Make sure to turn the CC on for English translation.

Record shops: a enthusiast’s stroll

Onwards! this time record shops:

You know I love records, quirky shops and dig “grassroots” creative productions, as such, this fellow named Michael, who also lives in the same prefecture (I don’t know him), started up a channel to share stuff about records and shops and rice fields and here’s him coming into my erstwhile hometown of Okayama.

Unrelated to the video *but* a great example of the “Obi” paper wrapper and Japanese liner notes you’re find with records here
He seems like a nice guy, give his videos some click

He rides the cool streetcar, checks out a few local record stores – several i’ve visited, several are closed on Wednesday he made his outing – so you can see some of my under-appreciated city and where to score some legendary Japanese pressing/packaging vinyl.

Goat farm, my fave place

This is my favorite place in all of Japan, Mac Kobayashi’s goat farm, cafe, market and music lounge (plus my accidental art gallery :))

goats, not doing yoga, listening to music… Seriously, they love listening to the music

Please watch the video below for more about the goat farm and my pal Mac Kobayashi in this exhibit related video (5:34 mark) and of course my postbox haiku paintings :)

Goat farm starts at 5:34 but watch it all

Memo: The painting was “just the postbox”, then i found a matching mailbox and installed at the farm, wrote the haiku onto the postbox, and then added to the painting to complete the meta circle. oh then made postcard prints and a book and mailed postcard of the postbox to the postbox…

Also (of course there is more):

Throughout this archive, you can find videos about the best way to get from the airport (KIX/Kansai) to here, how to get around this area, a language primer plus all kinds of “field notes” about museums in Okayama and other cities (including faves like Nagasaki, Kanazawa & Toyama + Tottori & Shimane aka Japan’s hidden gems.

I probably have miscellaneous archives of trains, in fact I definitely have lots of ambient videos of riding trains around Japan, and maybe some posts about the fantastic nearby city of Kurashiki &/or the local jazz scene. If I don’t let me know cause I can address these topics. All other topics, probably not, I don’t get out much.

Give me a call, we’ll talk about Japan / video by Trevor Williams (oh, I should share his video about Bizen pottery… really though this deserves more discussion

I have nothing to share about Tokyo or Osaka and a few minor unhelpful things about Kyoto. Fortunately, the Internet is jampacked with stuff about those places which frankly, you should just skip for best experience. I mean, they’re great and everything I guess but that’s where everyone goes and don’t you wanna do something unique and interesting? Sure you do.

Your humble correspondent awaits your correspondence

For the most part, you can rely on the posts being rather sloppy, definitely quirky, rather unedited and only marginally useful.

Diary: Ramblin’ Ted visits the shed (& farm)

My friend Ted came to visit – he lives in Kyoto but was doing some tour guide reconnaissance/spiels on Kyushu & our home with the waystation before heading Shikoku.

me at the giggling piglet studio and consulate, photo by Ted, minor crop and edit by me

Notably, he is my first multi-time visitor to the Giggling Piglet studio besides Mac Kobayashi. Also, we went to Mac’s Goat Farm for lunch, coffees etc.

Listening to Leonard Cohen in the thunderstorm, thankful for the relatives who built this mighty store house

Dude is keeping up an incredible pace in an exceptionally hot and humid summer.

I mean, it’s really perfect mixed media creation studio

Overall, we discussed many topics. Thanks to my sweet in-laws for setting up the comfy room for him complete with the family altar/shrine open for o-bon. It’s a very special time of the year here when our passed away relatives can come back to visit for a while.

the hi-fi system is sounding great after a couple of tweaks by the piano tuner & this snap is a great angle cause you don’t see my balding spot :)

Thank you for visiting Ted, I really enjoy time with you.

Memo: You might enjoy Ted’s snapshots of the experience in general (snaps are stashed on facespace but this is a note to add some more here down the line // Right now I’m at the doctors office, my battery – phone & human – is/are plummeting so, you know how it goes…)

[update: photos added, mostly unannotated]

These snapshots should have captions/annotations but at this point they don’t, but *they exist* thanks to Ted. At some point I’ll add a link to his “notes from the nog” blog.

#DRO420 / 3rd Anniversary: Wedding outfit flashback/recap

How many outfits can you wear for one wedding celebration? It turns out, a lot (but never enough!) Let’s briefly recap.

Day Two, Shinto Shrine:

photo by the hired “pro” photog, edited by daveo

Three years ago 4/20 Heisei 31 at Munetada Jinjya – Friends and family on day two of our three day #DR0420 wedding festival, which has gracefully extended well into three years of daily perfection.

Day Three, Goat Farm:

Yesterday was three years since the Shinto ceremony at the shrine (say that three times fast) and three years today was the celebration at Mac Kobayashi’s goat farm & music library (we’ll probably stop by today).

at the goat farm, right after bonus vows in English (3rd ceremony of 3, in 3 days) ^ by Robert Scales, ed. daveo (daveo filter, No Patent Pending)

Coming down the aisle after the vows, this time in English (previous was Japanese and the previous previous was a matter of signing & stamping papers at the city office after laboriously verifying ID supervised by my flower bearing attorney Lindsay Bailey in a fantastic dress).

It was really the funnest of times! Beloved friends and family from so many countries and Ryoko’s admirers arriving from around Japan from her different circles and communities of arborists, gardeners, jazz & ska musicians, Lindy Hop dancers, French and Chinese language classes… and various free radicals, Mountain ramblers, Coffee roasters, beer makers whiskey distillers ornamental tree artists, singers, smoking three-piece jazz band, a couple of MCs. Plenty of dancing, so much food, the best gift bags ever (featuring Bizen-yaki sake cup and DIY tea ceremony set). Decorations abounding thanks to the diligent assistance of the “Goat Farm hippie hostel compound dwellers” et al.

Getting ready was extra fun since i forgot half my outfit at the house requiring Tom Sawyering some friends to do the meandering drive to pick up shirt, coat, vest etc.

Meanwhile, Ryoko was readying with dress, makeup, hair and all of it. Kris Krüg captured her (magnificent) progress while he and Robert Scales helped me chill (captured by Lindsay Bailey) and prepare for the ceremony before walking me down the “aisle” (goat path) (captured by ??? Duane Storey??). #smooches

Day One, City Hall

Bonus: Flower bearing attorney supervising me to the City Hall and witnessing our paperwork. Photo: Kris Krüg outside 後楽ホテル Okayama Koraku Hotel
^Photo Lindsay Bailey ❤ (ed. daveo)

Outside the Okayama City Office – which got a little complicated as they flipped through thick books comparing my birth certificate to other Canadian examples from the Northwest Territories and so on.

Unsurprisingly, they got hung up on my middle names and spelling of my birth town (all of which which had to be rendered in phonetic katakana).

Relieved, made it out of there eventually and somehow that was enough to be “official“ >> then headed to the welcome party at Livehouse Bird to see all the international renegades (and immediately Tom Sawyer them to tasks)… So many wonderful humans and was particularly fantastic to see friends from different areas of my life connect like that already known each other for decades.

Day Four, rolling home

The day after the 3-day scheduled festivities concluded and shifted into ad-hoc goodtimes, Ryoko and I rode the city bus from our downtown Okayama hotel to our home in Tsuchida neighbourhood in Okayama Higashi.

Rolling Uno Bus with flowers 25k cash in a suitcase, bottle of high-proof whiskey & wearing a kilt with underpants just bought at a konbini store

We looked pretty awesome: her in a flower lacy dress and Royal Stewart cape and me in kilt, socks and sandals and trilby hat – carrying the aforementioned old-time suitcase of magic envelopes, bouquet of flowers, bottle of grog and endless smiles back to our lil home and the future.

3 years later

present times: same goat farm, same date (but rain falls on goats) – and now we are are three >> forever awaits