Tag Archives: grandpa

Ichiro: 1 Month / 23.7.2020 (shrine, grave and various annotations)

July 23, 2020 Ichiro Stanley Thorvald Olson hit the one month mark since birth.

For the record: born June 23, 2020 (Reiwa 2), 16:24, Sun Clinic, Okayama, Japan, 3064 grams. 

As is tradition in Japan, we visited a Shinto shrine – though due to various safety concerns, we did not go to the originally planned shrine (Kibitsu jinja – map – we visited back in January before he was born) or Munetada jinja (where we were married which was our back up plan) – instead just stayed in the neighbourhood and went to the big Torii gate of Tenshin jinja with the parents (but did not climb the endless stairs to the top). Then… Clap clap bow bow say a few words to the kami and (of course) snap a few snaps (10 of which are compiled below). 

Then, as was the tradition throughout the pregnancy, we visited grandpa Ichiro’s grave to give it a clean, light incense, and have a conversation to him including introducing his a little namesake. This providing the opportunity to see 4 generations of the family legacy all at once (in a manner of speaking). PS Grandma Tomiko will be interred her on Aug. 19th. 

To be thorough, Ichiro’s name comes from a combination of his grandpa, Ryoko’s best university sensei (Hongo-sensei), and the desire to have a name which is familiar to western minds and emulates the cross-cultural excellence of the noted baseball player.

Then, my best pal and the fellow who made all of this possible by introducing Ryoko and I, the goat farmer Mac Kobayashi came over for a big sushi dinner and then hang out in the barn studio to listen to records (Built to Spill, Mudhoney, “Father” John Misty, Dan Mangan, Chet Baker…) which is a whole other story.

Anyhow, what follows are a few general notes about our wonderful little dude, basically annotations and observations from his first month. Continue reading Ichiro: 1 Month / 23.7.2020 (shrine, grave and various annotations)

Notebook: Grandpa Roadtrip (AZ, NM, UT, Mexico), 1989 + #daveo50 musings

Notebook: Grandpa Roadtrip (AZ, NM, UT, Mexico), 1989 / cover

In my #daveo50 “personal archaeology“ project, there are over 160 posts pre-scheduled (before baby), however there are at least another 100 in draft form and then still shelves and boxes filled with treasures…

Ergo: The other day I popped out to holy barn studio for the first time since the baby came home and randomly picked up this notebook and it’s pure gold… a log diary from a road trip with my grandpa through UT, AZ, NM, Mexico etc / with no agenda, no school, many motels, every national & state park & monument, endless diners (incl his flirting with waitresses). i’m posting it here as an “placeholder“ reminder to myself that this project can continue on all year and beyond beyond… so much evidence, so many oddities, such documentation.

Notebook: Grandpa Roadtrip (AZ, NM, UT, Mexico), 1989 / final page detail

I also remember that Douglas Coupland exhibit at Vancouver Art Gallery included a display of his notebooks telling me that “the work is the art“ and in this case, this humble $.35 spiral-bound notebook with a mix of my scribbles and my grandpa’s delicious cursive is “the #art” the rest is ancillary.

“So it is written, so it is done”

PS: This note posted elsewhere regarding this “discovery” of personal archeology: 

…My heart stopped so many times while opening up all these archives… I’ve moved so many times and been through so much uncertainty and so much turmoil and chaos in my life that the fact these things survived is truly miraculous and each shred of paper and scribble of handwriting is cherished. My grandpa was a colossal character, a real “big Fish“ type… I’m still not to his country count on my travels or to his level of charm so to see his handwriting and remember that trip is really quite splendid.

Notebook: Grandpa Roadtrip (AZ, NM, UT, Mexico), 1989 (final page detail)

See more: artifacts from this trip at: Mementos: SW Road Trip with Grandpa, 3 B&W views (Arizona, New Mexico)

Note: I wrote a story about a bit of the trip and specifically one morning on a First Nations “reserve” with a few observations while waiting for something to open (note to self: post that up sometime) and read some of it in a Postcard from Gravelly Beach podcast too as well as a tribute to him in another.

Mementos: SW Road Trip with Grandpa, 3 B&W views (Arizona, New Mexico)

Mementos: SW Road Trip with Grandpa / saguaro and mission somewhere in New Mexico

Sometime in early 1988 (I think), (update: 1989) living in Orem Utah, recently dropped out of high school and floating along with classes at the community college, recovering from an epic car crash, my Grandpa rolled up in his old Chevy citation and suggested a road trip. Original thoughts for a few days but extended into much longer as we drifted  down into Mexico.

With his “golden eagles” (or something to that effect), National Park pass, and affinity for small highways and no agendas plus his usual travelling style which included switching off driving responsibilities every two hours regardless of situation, choosing  quirky / classic motels and diners on the fly, flirting with waitresses and continuous cigarette smoking and diary-keeping within the car, it was a most excellent journey.

I was studying photography at the time and took a heavy Japanese-made but Swiss-branded “Alpa” 35mm camera and black-and-white film, and a tripod and set up various shots along the way.

As usual, more evidence exists (including self-timer’d shots – often nekkid) and a photo essay of Petrified Forest) including a small spiral notebook chronicling where we stayed, various mileage and other ephemeral information about fuel efficiency, parks visited and what not, but for now, here are three of my favourite shots from the journey which I developed and processed myself in the dark room at the old ” Utah Technical College” Provo campus dark room.

The locations are unclear at this point but along the way, we visited every State / National Park/ Monuments anywhere near us, plus Tombstone Arizona, Four Corners, various places in Baja and mainland Mexico (in which I crossed the border with nothing but my old expired high school ID card or something… It’s all a bit hazy) I also recall buying a comically huge terra-cotta pot and huge woven basket in Mexico which was really a poor decision as we were taking turns resting in the back of the vehicle and well, space was at a premium.

Mementos: SW Road Trip with Grandpa / saguaro and other cacti in (iirc) Saguaro National Park/Monument, AZ

Note: I wrote a story about a bit of the trip and specifically one morning on a First Nations “reserve” with a few observations while waiting for something to open (note to self: post that up sometime) and read some of it in a Postcard from Gravelly Beach podcast too as well as a tribute to him in another.

Mementos: SW Road Trip with Grandpa / Gramps and I in the cacti. rip Robert Louis Stevenson #bigfish

Ichiro: Waiting (with intentions) 23.6

Ryoko, 21.6.2020 at Grandpa Ichiro’s ohaka

 Good morning from a cottage in Japan with an update to say “no update per se“. Thanks for all your sweet notes and good vibes… I’m eating all the snacks and hanging out with our rabbit, scribbling in journal and completely excited…

Ergo:

I want to wear matching outfits with him, I want to write books for him, I want to teach him all about his ancestry, I want to turn him on to all sorts of music and books, I want to be the dad who welcomes him and pals home from school with snacks and hang out space, I want to support him on anything and everything he wants to do, I want to let him be whoever he wants to be, I want to be an example of kindness, empathy, intrepidness, courage, and sweetness. I want to introduce him to so many cultures and ways of life and be an example of respect, tolerance, advocacy and friendship.

I have stacks of maps and globes and art supplies and so many musical instruments and no TV. We have soft places to rest and projects going everywhere from pickles to paintings.

I will (try to) always be present, (almost) always put his needs first and prepare him for a wonderful life with patience & unconditional love.

His mother is magnificent, sunny and happy every day of this journey, full of energy and ideas… Until yesterday working in the garden, making things on the sewing machine, playing piano and singing for him, reading nonconventional texts about taking the best care of him, going slow, staying calm, eating well and… Yesterday we even had a dance in our tiny kitchen. Hooray dopamine.

Btw, Contractions started yesterday late afternoon (JST) so, as we measured the interval time, I made her a classic “japanese standard” dinner before taking her to the hospital… (hearty miso with daikon, brown rice, salted plum, pickled carrots, kimchi, grilled salmon, edamame) / noting: I will be that dad who makes the cutest bento lunches for the kid!

Oh, & I might have to invent my own alternative scouts organization to organize mellow camp outs at the goat farm / “no badges, no saluting, just good times“#WeedScouts

So… Here’s a picture of amazing Ryoko two days ago at paternal grandpa Ichiro’s nearby grave asking for a little bit of support. A bit of a talisman as of course during the pregnancy, we haven’t been out and about but take frequent walks to go clean his grave, light incense and talk about the beauty of it all. Yes, complete life reinvention.

PS As it all goes, maternal grandmother who is 88 and full of laughter goes in for a surgery today… World keeps on spinning spinning spinning.

All the vibes all the vibes #Grateful #Patience

Now I need another coffee and to go hang up the umeboshi in the sun. 

Diary: Stroll to Grandpa Ichiro’s ohaka juuust before…

Ryoko gives Grandpa Ichiro’s grave a clean with a wooden ladle

{Catching up with…} evidence of a stroll on June 21st as we were waiting for baby Ichiro to make his appearance (he was “due” on the 18th but whatever) so, as we often have done during the pregnancy – and related timing of erstwhile pandemic – we took a stroll up to grandpa Ichiro’s grave here in Tsuchida neighbourhood in Okayama, Japan.

Lighting some incense at Grandpa Ichiro’s grave

While there, we give it a clean, fresh out the flowers, light some incense and have a conversation with him. In this case, mention if the baby was coming and if he has any pull in the situation, to keep an eye on us.

Thanking about grandpa dying at 49 and waiting here for so long
Ryoko has some words and thoughts for the Grandpa (who she never met)
2 days later, his namesake grandson was born and 10 days later, his widow Tomiko passed away (45 days from then, her ashes will be added to the ohaka)

Turns out, the walk was fortuitous as our wonderful baby came along healthy and happy on the 23rd and share his name with his grandpa (same pronunciation but different kanji characters – more on this another time). 

Probably our last snaphot as a family of just 2

Note: baby Ichiro was born 2 days later and Grandpa Ichiro’s widow Tomiko passed away on July 1st and after 45 days will join him in the ohaka. 

Memo: post updated July 17th from events on June 21st and back-dated.

See also:

Artifact: Grandpa in Uintas, 1940

Robert L Stevenson, Uinta National Forest, 1940

My old dead Gramps Robert Louis Stevenson rambling around the Utah’s wild Uinta mountains in 1940. 

Diary: Stroll to the Cemetery in Tsuchida

Diary: Stroll to the Cemetery in Tsuchida

Hanging out with ancestors and neighbours on a little photo walk (with a Lomo Diana 35mm and a Fuji Instamax) to the nearby cemetery to clean the grave and have a chat with old grandpa Ichiro – plus drop some coins for the kami to say thanks for the successful transport of items. Come along won’t you. 

Ryoko at Grandpa Ichiro’s haka
Dave at Grandpa Ichiro’s grave
Changing flowers at Grandpa Ichiro’s grave
The graves go up and up and up…
Ryoko and family graves
photo of a photo of a grave
on the way home with baby inside
Buddhist shrine at cemetery
Fujita family ohaka

Artifacts: Telegram about brother Bob being born + notes

Telegram announcing brother Bob’s birth some years ago today – sent by Dad (Lorne, which is also Bob’s middle name along with Olaf – our paternal grandfather) to Lucile Stevenson, our maternal great-grandmother living in Elmhurst, Illinois where our maternal grandfather, Robert Louis Stevenson, was born, sent from Eugene, Oregon (USA) where Robert (aka brother Bob) was born. 

Among the information is:

  • weight, 8 lbs 5 ounces
  • Lauralee (our mother) is fine
  • parents are proud (naturally)

Continuing, here is me (right) visiting Bob in about 1983/4 in Logan, UT with aforementioned grandfather RLS’s truck in background at (divorced but still cordial at this time) maternal grandmother Isobel’s house – now occupied by a cousin who received in her will. At the time, Aunt L (and a few cousins) and Uncle M lived there as well. 

Note: along with brother Bob and grandpa Robert, there is an uncle, cousin and brother Bob’s son (my nephew) with the same appellation (possibly others i’ve missed). Derivatives and nicknames ensue to keep all straight. I am the only Dave in the extended clan. 

Artifact: R. L. Stevenson (Grandpa) / United Air Lines 100,000 Mile Club plaque

Items: R. L. Stevenson (Grandpa) / United Air Lines 100,000 Mile Club plaque

Hospital Letters and Flames – Postcard #77

In hospital with sedated Grandpa, Dave reads complete “Letters from Russia” epistolary literature project with frequent interruptions from visitors, nurses and medical apparatus. The letters address issues of class, revolutions, monarchy, war, trade, and love in the context of Napoleon’s foray into Russia in 1812 through letters from a cobbler to his fiancé in Paris. Then finishes with Walt Whitman heading on the open road (which ole Gramps was so fond of doing himself).

Featured music: Mark Olson (music, guitar, vocals) and Dave Olson (lyrics, drums) “Little Flame” – recorded to 4 track cassette, circa 1996. 

Breathe easy for: Hospital Letters and Flames – Postcard #76
(82MB, 1:00:05, 192k .mp3, stereo)

Continue reading Hospital Letters and Flames – Postcard #77

Eyes Towards Europe – Postcard #73

Eyes Towards Europe – Postcard #73
Eyes Towards Europe – Postcard #73

On a forgotten forest walk, Dave riffs a story about first trip to Europe – starting with trying not to puke over an Amsterdam bridge after a meeting new temporary coffee shop pals – with flashback to Mexican desert trips with Grandpa, LSD trips with VW bus-fixing pals, and family Grateful Dead road trip to in Arizona.

Foreshadows future stories of an rapid exit from London to Florida then a (rather dangerous) driveway car to Dallas, bus to SLC, flight to Vancouver, then to Japan…

Stuff your rucksack for: Eyes Towards Europe – Postcard #73 (54MB, 37:18, mp3, stereo)

Continue reading Eyes Towards Europe – Postcard #73

(Poetic Farewell to) Ole Dead Gramps – Postcard #72

(Poetic Farewell to) Ole Dead Gramps

Paying poetic respects to recently deceased Grandpa in a rainforest with Walt Whitman, Charles Baudelaire, Chief Dan George and original works inspired by the globe rambling, oddly charming, big fish – while official funeral happening elsewhere. Originally recorded: May 13, 2006

Sit on a tree by the river: (Poetic Farewell to) Ole Dead Gramps – Postcard #72 (83MB stereo 192 mp3 1:00:05)

Continue reading (Poetic Farewell to) Ole Dead Gramps – Postcard #72