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.
As it goes… I’m riding the Uno Bus heading to Uno to stay at Uno Port Inn near where magical wife is teaching a tree trimming workshop. Though to be clear, in Okayama, i switch to the Ryobi bus.
Agenda includes: local Hot Spring bath; giant wild boar made of used plastic trash; fancy coffee and card writing; and reading Grant Lawrence’s Dirty Windshields (about time rambling with rock n rollers: The Smugglers).
First though, a stop at post office to mail more wedding thank-you cards & dropping off 35mm film shot at goat farm (supervised by Kris Krüg).
Update: on the bus ride, I listened to BC Hall of Famer Nardwuar interview Eve Lazarus including a Vancouver history/culture name check explosion including Aaron Chapman, Colleen Hardwick, the Beatles, Chuck Davies and more more more. Esp enjoyed AC’s Tom Waits-esque spoken-song.
Also enjoyed recollections of “beatnik“ coffee/jazz lounge scene – Worth noting that Allen Ginsberg performed at at least one of these places and Sonny Terry and Brownie McGee recorded a legendary blues album at the Bunkhouse (which apparently “featured” topless waitresses).
Also, the post office mission was successful (including super sharp stamps) and letters are en route to several countries, the film developing project failed for the time being.
Now enjoying a matcha and jazz in a cool room.
Note: one great thing about rambling in Japan is hotels is pyjamas are provided. #handy Alas, smoking jackets usually aren’t (so packing Nepali red velvet vest).
Update: Stayed at Uno Port Inn which was a treat. Not fancy but they run a accommodation is a pleasant, comfy and unpretentious manner. My review (added to Tripadvisor and Google Maps):
Fantastic Location, Great Coffee, Excellent Staff
Location is fantastic with mere steps to ferry terminals and train station and bus stops plus lots of local art around. So handy for jumping off to art islands and/or getting to and from Okayama.
The staff was welcoming and very helpful. The lobby was chill and cozy and the patio was a treat.
The coffee is remarkable and the breakfast was very well prepared (especially nice on the patio).
Was just a quick one-night getaway (we live rather nearby) but made for a fun time. Note: The rooms are rather small but very functional and clean plus feature very nice sheets and pillows and Dr. Bronner’s soap in the bathroom!
Oh!: The folks at UNO Port Inn sent me a couple of snaps they took of yer ole pal me and asked for feedback and the ok to share on socials. Solid marketing / community building. Voila, snap!
Also: While we went out in search of dinner using the map provided by UNO, we found places either booked or closed… this worked out great as we wandered down an un-inviting arcade corridor and found the smallest okonomiyaki place run by an enjoyable old gal who loves dogs.
Finally: Uno and nearby islands Naoshima and neighbours are laden with public art and run a continuous bienalle of some sort. While i traveled across by ferry to Naoshima for a coffee, art walk and a hot springs soak, i won’t delay the click by foisting the relevant documentation now but rather share this remarkable fish made from sadly disposed of polluting nonsense plastic crap sitting on Uno port park area. There is often/usually a wild boar as well / or but seems the inoshishi had the week off.
Refuse plastic (and recycle if you can’t refuse but really refuse/avoid/replace as its such garbage!)
As the Tracks on Tracks trip rolls on, Uncle Weed and pals eat lunch and discuss the learnings from the train procedures and how it coincides with lifestyle. Then, the charming Adaline stops by and discusses yesterday’s special acoustic show and plans for today.
Also recounts the importance of bringing silk pyjamas and beer stein and learn about a bottomless lake. Also thumbs up for the great showers and beds. Plus riffs including Portage and Main, Ian Bevis/Bear Mountain and time zone changes.
Also Adaline chats with CBC Radio3’s Grant Lawrence and JP Maurice with Lyndsey and other plays Fleetwood Mac.
Aboard the Tracks on Track train laden with 11 bands, the Green Couch doc crew, CBC Radio 3’s Grant Lawrence and a load of music enthusiasts, comes a rough cut of a few filed notes about meals and rules, a brief interview with the lovely Adaline, and performance dim sum from Maurice and Chris Ho.
Plenty more quality bits in the Tracks on Tracks playlist.
Published on Sep 22, 2012
Tracks on Tracks 3am sing along. – Grant Lawrence belting along to The Matinee’s Sweet Water Rolling in the Via Rail Dinning Car as we barrelled through northern Ontario on our way to Toronto. By Green Couch Productions.
I was hesitant at first, wondering if it was even in English, but once I opened it up, I became hooked… for life. The action started within the first few frames, and never let up until the final frame. Here was an unassuming, polite, seemingly asexual, scrawny, geeky little guy with weird hair, kind of like… ME. He wasn’t a superhero… in fact, despite always game to fight way above his weight, he was constantly getting knocked out, beaten, shot at, poisoned, tied up,and captured, often having to be saved by Snowy, his precocious little white dog.
Tintin was a knicker-wearing crime reporter that worked out of his very modest apartment, yet travelled the world, fearlessly going head-to-head with the world’s toughest criminalsin all ranges of geographic locales and conditions. And his best friend (after Snowy) was analcoholic Scottish sea captain with a vicious temper and a mouth that would make Richard Pryor blush…. (which makes me wonder if I’ve become some sort of obsessed cross between Tintin and Captain Haddock).
My fear was that Steven Spielberg would turn the untouchable Tintin into a movie by using the same motion-capture animation used in the hugely creepy Polar Express. And would Spielberg be able to capture the subtle nuances of humour, satire, and intelligencethroughout the books? Nonetheless, I found myself getting pretty excited once the previews were released, and so my 10 year old nephew Tanner (also a Tintin fan) and I were there for the North American 3-D premiere.