Tag Archives: Ichiro

Diary: sundry notes of ukulele, drums, stereo, handy items by post & slices of culture

Sundry tasks:

get in number

Tended to an “important call with an official agency” about a significant life decision… Don’t mean to be vague, just floating it out to the universe, next step is visiting a consulate in Osaka, September 8.

(I really don’t like dealing with things by telephone, much prefer a written record – whether analog or electronic – and feel express myself much better when I have the time to choose words.)

So, just gonna play some baritone ukulele for a while.

Working on:
Atlantic City
Illegal Smile
Questionally
Carey
Hallelujah

Pretty good at:
Depreston
Moonriver
Monkey and the Engineer

In other news:

a box of frozen meat was delivered yesterday

also several more Nick Bantock books and a replica of Indiana Jones’s Journal showed up

stack of mysterious dispatches

wife’s industrial grade water pump also arrived

Oh, and tomorrow is “go clean the graves of the ancestors day“ / We’ll bring incense and flowers. [update: done x2]

More Items, arrived by post: various seeds, porridge, legumes and nuts.

many seeds, nuts, legumes and so on (also box of meat, not pictured)

These simple tasks of convenience thrill me and are a huge help for those who are mostly house-hermits (#MECFS) this is all, carry on with the world melting down etc

After grave tidy (incense, water, candles, flowers, prayers) Tidied up carport then hung out with Ichiro, playing with inky stamps & stationery, listening to groovy records in the slowly improving (warm!) first floor of the kura barn studio.

Its all possible, Ichiro making stamp art in a “Norman Rockwell-esque” pose (as a kind correspondent observed)

Disco theme from “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly”? Yes you have come to the right place. Evidence follows:

Take a spin around the first floor studio space which is made for: listening to music; hanging out and making art; eventual more craft making (paper and kintsugi); plus emergency/camping supplies, tea ceremony supplies and impending musical jam space
Continue reading Diary: sundry notes of ukulele, drums, stereo, handy items by post & slices of culture

Outing: Tsuchida (mini) Matsuri

young ladies making best of the scene

With the public health conundrum is the last few years, the usual neighbourhood festivals have been cancelled including our small Tsuchida area event, which is usually a wee bit bigger and held at the elementary school. It’s significant to us as this is where I first met Ryoko’s parents who were helping out selling yakitori. Ryoko bought me my own yukata summer kimono for the event.

Your 3 pals on location

Of course, in Japan there are many sizes and traditions with the summertime festivals from small neighbourhood gatherings to epic shrine carrying and fire burning and fireworks.

In this case, in mid-July, 2022, at a small community centre right by our house, the neighbours did their best efforts to do a small and safe gathering which is especially geared towards the kiddos.

There was a sudden rain storm, a band which were doing their best (arena rock and the obligatory country roads”), some young ladies in kimono, fellas in their cool t-shirts, an energetic ballon-making lady, some older gents happy to see me settling into the neighborhood, many people remarking about Ichiro’s adorableness.

balloon lady working the crowd

Yes, temp checks and masks and you pay a ticket price with then gives you credit at each of the stands so we came home with a buncha extra popcorn we didn’t need/want but ya gotta use your chits.

you think Burning Man is weird? check out this
Continue reading Outing: Tsuchida (mini) Matsuri

(Another) scrapbook for #io / this time: school days

You are no doubt not surprised that adorable son Ichiro’s life is widely documented in a series of analog scrapbooks…

One for the days leading up to his birth, another for early days at home, another for cards and letters received, and so on.

And here’s another one made on a pleasant Sunday with his mom and the dude himself with all the arts and crafts he’s brought home from school as well as some “semi pro” photos taken at his great preschool.

Many/most of the arts and crafts are made with paint/ink and his hand prints/foot prints and turned into some other kind of character, often with a seasonal theme.

Within the photos are many with his classmates (so we won’t share here), as well as a *very special visit* from Santa Claus sporting a very fetching and somehow familiar beard.

Of course, was just recently his second birthday so meaning to share some more artifacts from that time… Did I already do that? I can’t really remember.

Anyway, here’s a scrapbook and here’s the dude for now.

Ichiro: VW, pizza, sweeping, hanging #io

Yes, Ichiro loves snapshots (& VW busses & baths) And now he figures out that these little “pocket robots” capture pictures so he like to review all the pictures of him from baby time – with commentary.

VW bus captain of the future

I am amazed by him every day. i’m not sure how I got this lucky but I’m not gonna ask any questions.

He switched from baby to little man suddenly running top speed everywhere and helping out with the gardening, taking the trash to the corner, raking the yard, and figuring out words in both Japanese and English.

Continue reading Ichiro: VW, pizza, sweeping, hanging #io

Diary: visitors see new life & family + trip to Teshima w/ Ichiro annotations

A mysterious brilliant visitor from overseas – first in three years – captured me, at home, in my new life. This is my family, this is our home.

my adorable family with whom Xo Ryoko, Ichiro (thanks Amber Sensei)

I wandered far and endured plenty to find this life, and immensely grateful for it all. I’m so happy to show someone from my “old life“ what i found & and she understood very well.

and now with remarkable in-laws/grandparents

With out guests coming, we pulled out the special stash of saké, some fermented carrot pickles, housemade miso, and a few other fermented treats. Also started to soak in soy beans to make soy milk; prepared the Bizen yaki ceramic cups & small dishes for sashimi; also have bamboo shoots from our forest. (thanks M-i-L and F-i-L)

garden vegetables and bamboo shoots right out the door

Ryoko also prepared matcha tea in an abbreviated tea ceremony with tea bowls from her great-grandparents and made anpan (anko sweet bean paste in lil pancakes) to go with.

tea bowls and accessories, freshly washed

I should add that, “no, Japan is not open to tourists at this time” – Our recent particular international guest was on a publishing-company-sponsored book tour / meaning the company supported a business visa requiring a detailed itinerary and accepting of various risks / responsibilities etc. visit with issued by Japan consulate in USA before departure and required 10+ various forms, letters, etc.

Out n About to Teshima

the hilltop minimalist cafe where fig farmers served curry and you can chop your own green onions

Briefly: The many islands of the Seto inland sea (nestled between our home prefecture of Okayama and neighbour pref. Kagawa and the 4th of the main island of Japan Shikoku) host a triennialle art festival – not shockingly unheld for a few years – more to say about the economic goodness and reinvention and volunteer spirit but for now, i’ll say:

We went with our guests rather spontaneously (they had planned and reserved museum access) by our groovy “Esquire” van, then walked onto ferry and used various busses around the island of Teshima, ate curry, drank coffee/tea, more curry, postcards, then a walk-on ferry back to Uno port, more art and drive to Okayama station – the busiest day i’ve had in forever but was buoyed by conversation, views and friendship. Further annotations follow:

whilst friends went to museum, r, i and i went to a hilltop sorta café (really some fig farmers putting out a shingle for a few hours a day) and enjoyed views of Inushima (Isles of Dogs) and back to Okayama #panorama

Ichiro, postcards, ships (all sizes) etc

After our day out, in the bath he explained over and over again all the different modes of transportation and conveyance (big ferry boat, small ferry boat, two buses, baby car/stroller, our usual van etc.) he used during that day, using new sentence construction skills with conjunctions and verb conjugations. His magnificent brain spinning – even working out the names of our friends.

this obv was not our ferry but Ichi loved checking out all the fune

Lil dude got a bit of a fat lip running down the hill too fast and tripping but still was able to chill out at a café and enjoy his beverage.

dude knows how to lounge at a quirky curry cafe with Suzuki and Ota san

Papa wrote postcards and drank chai, sitting on cushions and sending geo-coordinates to pals who found us at カレー喫茶 異邦人 near Ieura port across the island from Kubota where we originally disembarked.

Ichiro mailed my postcards for me. “Choose the right portal for postcards Ichiro” i said {update: he did, what a smart fella} Inventory: 2 cards from Teshima to Gifu and Kyoto.

2 are decoys but one whisks secrets anywhere

Ichiro has now learned how to use the coffee bean grinder and insists on being the coffee captain in the morning, two scoops of the right beans, puts on the lid, covers with his hand, inspects to see if it’s the right grind for French press or Moka pot, all very serious & perfect.

And my darlings auditioned for a role in the next Wes Anderson movie (so to speak) with a pose by this blue truck.

blue, red, yellow – the day was my fave sort of weather, warm, breezy and overcast

Back to the port – love the salty smell, rusty metal and reinvention from industrial manufacturing and process to artistic tourism.

Ieura port – like most of Pacific coast of Japan, lots of factories in various states of use or decay, boats/ships of all kinds including container ships and now ferries, all sizes

Dozen+ of these islands with art, more to say but time to head home with my snappy shoes, happy. Thanks family and friends.

Fluevogs, since 1970 (like me) now with new aglets – getting very worn in

Diary: “i much prefer the mundane” – campsite tasks and musings

Continuing to document the mundane / usual days >> like another “waiting for a bus (when i shoulda adjusted my flower) to go to seitai medical treatment”.

Really though, just an excuse to say “thanks for all the kindness of late” – its nice to be your friend + poetry, convos & snaps.

By the way, these are the glasses that were broken several weeks ago and now magically repaired… Serving me well since 1994 (on and off)

Bits and pieces or recent days included with minor annotations in captions and so on:

First: No tenants in the first birdhouse, though lots of birdies around, but made another one anyhow. Its like a housing development here (with no strata fees).

i might just put action figures in the houses instead – I make bird houses (even though no birds seem want to live in them). But I get to make them regardless. This has zero cost and minimal skill and maximum satisfaction. No conventions or preconceived notions of outcomes

unrelated: after building another birdhouse, i submitted 3 poems to one place and 2 to another, ergo:

* Barbed Wire Scars (approx 37 lines)
* Alchemists Confer with Hypnotists (approx 32 lines)
* Nowhere to Call (approx 21 lines)
++
* How Shall We Fill This Vessel
* Aye Carpathia

Ichiro Bench project: More scraps into action to make a workbench for Ichiro who digs playing with his tools & pounding nails. Ichiro loves playing with brooms, rakes, shovels and these kinds of things so… will drill some big holes in the right side of the bench to stash in his own tools
Continue reading Diary: “i much prefer the mundane” – campsite tasks and musings

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: notary tasks & musings

Just a little bit excited because we have/get to visit a notary public! To drop a significant amount of ¥ for a stamped single photo copy of a gov-issued document to send to a different gov (a Canadian tax agency if you’re curious) so can check off appropriate boxes. This, dear people, is the career choice I missed out on.

I mean, being a notary, (mostly) you sit at a mahogany desk with an assortment of stamps and embossers, possibly a magnifying glass – mostly for effect, and people come and give you money, you stamp things (after looking at them first of course).

Noting, in some jurisdictions, its basic, i.e.: the “mailboxes etc” franchisee is a notary, or remember when i worked at Kinko’s, there was notary services (but not sure anyone ever used).

Some places though, it’s rather expensive and complicated but when you need a notary… you really need a notary, kind of like an emergency locksmith (another great skill because you can double as a jewel thief).

Related: My Mom at times was a notary in state of Utah and I have her embossing certification stamp – all heavy and metal – but being an honest Cub Scout, I would never think to circumvent proper guidelines and use illicitly. I do use for arts and crafts from time to time. (If you want to see evidence, you’re going to have to ask nicely).

Here in Japan, if one were to become a bilingual notary with certified (by embassies etc.) translation services, would be a really sweet gig.

I might whisper this into my son’s ear each night in the bathtub. Might also be something about being an “emergency locksmith” as noted above.

Folks who imagine what emigrant / “ex-pat” life entails have a strange impression that American Express offices still exist &/or embassies are helpful outposts.

But “NO” is only answer for any service/question/request/anything from the Canadian Consulate/Embassy here in Japan.

Aside:

Note: this photo isn’t technically at the same time but since I mentioned him, here’s a cute picture

Well, my son just blew me a kiss on the way out the door to nursery school. Yes, I’m doing really good at parenting & teaching important things. Thank you for asking.
So this means, change out of my luxurious pajamas into trousers & possibly a tie for my big outing to a notary.

Update: the notary office was the fifth floor of a nondescript building with various usual plexiglass separators, metal desks, fluorescent lights and trays with pens and stamps. The finished dossier was four pages & about 15,000¥. Importantly, I won the “best business card” game. I mean I really have the best cards going anywhere and I always win this very important ritual in Japan. {Plus I want them to remember me because we often need these sorts of services. Look at me, relationship building :-)}

Tea/juice made from pine needles

Back home after a stop at a stationery store, folding laundry and drinking pine needle tea.

Thinking about pals Cam, Chris & others making lovely progress in their professional endeavors. Cheering from the sidelines. Next: organize paperwork to send to gov offices.

I *really* took this snap to look “executive” and share with a friend for a laff (cause I’m far from any sort of executive-ness)… & Yes I’m actually in the stationery store restroom and I am not wearing a tie (obviously). but, these posts look better with some photos added so here we are

PS While at the stationæry store, I picked up a sweet new ink stamp from the discount bin, as well as yet another roll of washi paper masking tape.

I also have a video shot last week in the barn, but then kind of went into “crash mode”. Wanna finish that up before it’s too “stale”… It’s no big deal, it’s not like anyone’s waiting anxiously for me riffing topics about CCCP passports, miracles, Ginsberg’s “Howl” on red vinyl. [Retroactive update: this video “poets, passports and postcards in the Cascadian consulate” is now completed and available for your viewing amusement]

Ichiro’s Play Station

Ichiro’s playstation / also piano & ukulele. Who needs teevee?

“running through” some songs – Ichiro loves pulling out the baritone ukulele and then i do my best to make up songs with/for him

Ryoko & Ichiro hitting big time at Sun Clinic

Ryoko & Ichiro hitting the big time and looking *extra cute* at their check-up at Sun Clinic here in sunny (again) Okayama. Yes, im super proud papa & hubbo!