At a special Halloween (safe and all that) gathering at local community centre / for our “trick or treat” station, we did insta-photo with annotations and kids chose stickers (sent by R & S in Montréal) Mama was a Canucks hockey player and Papa rocked lederhosen (possibly documented elsewhere).
Memo: So much awesome stuff arriving in the mail these last days/weeks/months.
We are all very grateful and doing our best to send each of you a proper personalized thank you card.
In the meanwhile, we send our sincere gratitude for your thoughtfulness, efforts and (often excessive) postal rates.￼
As always, keep an eye on your post box, ya never know when something will come through the portal. ￼
…Once he stows aboard on a tramp freighter heading through the south seas, he’ll make it… with nothing but his satchel of poetry and pressed flowers. Thanks to Uncle Anders for the Dr. Seuss art.
4 New Ichiro Cards in a busy month catching up on all sorts of life stuff (glasses, ID cards, dentists, construction plans and Ryoko back to work…) see “Personal Musings” for more. Anyhow, importantly, more Ichi-kun! (collect ‘em all for best results)
Continuing on with Ichiro Cards (see vol. 1 of the meta proces documentation if inclined) obsessively custom, handmade of course, to send to folks who sent such lovely gifts from around the world.
The batches change due to supplies (esp paper stock and printer ink) as well as as we fresh-up ideas… In general include special snaps cut with dear Mom’s (heavy metal) pinking shears, attached to custom stamped (inky & franked postal) postcards then enveloped with family photo / am I ruining the surprise?
As such, some started simple…
and got more “maximalist” as we went along:
Some get a few photos to connect other stories (with annotations on reverse), e.g.:
Or catch up with life and things folks might like:
with “bonus snaps/items” which simply amuse metaphorical reasons or have some backstory:
sometimes the assortment doens’t make sense until you receive somehow corresponding items crossing in the mail. In this case, Richard Brautigan is the connective magic.
Sometimes we receive a snap of the delivered mail. In this case, the elegantly placed postal cancellation stamp from the folks at Higashi Okayama post office:
And while i sorta try to take snaps of most of the finished pieces, i invariably forgot most, but here’s a snap of a note which made the journey to California. Thanks JJ:
In general, we are trying to make a little something extra special special for everyone to brighten up their day in evidently strange times. First was to the dear folks who have mailed remarkable gift packages, care boxes and cards from around the world in commemoration of the birth of this dude.
Here’s another on display on a fridge in Vegas, to which we replied:
“… fantastic to see! You know we absolutely love making these and seeing them complete their journey, hopefully bringing a smile to the recipient, especially in times of tumult. We truly appreciated your thoughtful gift.” (thanks C &T!)
Update Sept 26:
Each envelope receives an extra kiss before we send out upon a wormhole journey to points on earth Each one unique (of course) and crafted with affection for recipients… Get so excited thinking of the splendid cards arriving to post boxes elsewhere.
The stamps are chosen with care at the post office. Oddly, the standard international Air Mail rate of ¥110 is challenging to match up so we often over pay in order to get colourful designs rather than boring meters.
Update, Oct. 6:
Another 18 dossiers dropped at post office today (on a stroller walk with lil Ichi-Stan who is neighbourhood famous).
Each dispatch is hand-crafted / unique + that’s “batch 4” for Ichiro-cards, batch 5 already underway (about 23 envelopes) / noting each batch varies by materials available & inspiration sparks (do you want to see them all?)
Note: likely puts over 500 analog mail-outs for the year (including New Year’s cards) > this hobby does get a bit expensive (ink! stamps!) but joy to send a piece of “us” (with Ryoko Olson) is worth every yen. #kokoro
Let’s enjoy international correspondence from global correspondents!
Update, Oct. 13:
Another 18 going out into the world, or was it 23? Either way, another variation on the same idea… inky stamps, franked postage stamps collected around the world, special snaps of Ichi and other treats… scissors, glue, labels, love.
Batch 5, (or is it 6?) of Ichiro cards going out into the world… / hopefully finding hearts which are as grateful as we are. Each made with affection and truly unique. And yes, each is “important“ because the stamp says so.
Note: Persimmon not included
Get in on the fun by mailing to:
937-1 Tsuchida, Naka-ku
Fondly from Tsuchida Cottage
Meanwhile, earlier in the week – before spectacle shop and wedding officiating, yet before a dentist appointment – we went to our favourite hideaway￼: Rural Caprine Farm, Mac Kobayashi, proprietor. Hung out of the porch and checked in on the garden and views.
Ichiro: card #46 “Moshi moshi, Ichiro desu” / 10.2
PS “no i don’t wish to purchase insurance, please do not call here again”
#io collect the series for best results
Ichiro: card #45 “99 days” / 9.30
99 days / Each better than the last somehow.
The vocalizations, the smile, the happy demeanor, the active eyes… All of it so wonderful!
PS have an *actual* photo shoot scheduled to celebrate 100 days (101 but close enough)… We didn’t do a pro shoot during the pregnancy or well, up to here… The conundrum is choosing which adorable outfit to wear (for him and mom and papa)
#io collect the series for best results
Note: has yet to *actually * “Explore BC” PS Thanks Rebecca and John for cute outfit
こんにちは。 イチローです。 今日で生まれてから３ヶ月が経ちました。 半月前までは、お腹が空いてすぐ泣いていたけど、最近は笑ったり、よく眠れるようになったよ。そして、その分泣かなくなったよ。お喋りの練習もしてるよ。日本語と英語はまだまだだけど、パパとママの言ってることはわかるよ。ママが作ってくれたこの帽子、ようやくフィットしたよ。 どんどん成長するよ。これからも宜しくね。
Hello. I’m Ichiro. It’s been three months since I was born today. Until half a month ago, I was often hungry and crying, but lately I’ve been laughing a lot and sleeping a lot. I don’t cry that much. I am also practicing talking and soon will speak in English in Japanese, but for now, I just understand mom and dad. This hat was made by mom and it finally fits just right. Best regards to me as I grow steadily.
Aug. 21: Doing a batch of custom “Ichiro cards“, obsessively handmade of course, to send to folks who sent such lovely gifts from around the world.
Just trying to make a little something extra special special for everyone to brighten up their day in evidently strange times.
Note: Packages are arriving from Canada… Just takes rather long due to limited flights coming across the Pacific these days – Further annotations & postal tips.
Memo: It’s worth noting that with the baby, various big changes in life, postal disruptions etc., I’m a little bit behind in my usual copious correspondence. Please know that every one of your letters is savoured, displayed, properly archived and what not. I will do my best to answer everything eventually. Your anticipated patience is much appreciated.
Update, Sept 3 / Batch one, away!
Various countries (also Ichi’s Canada Citizenship packet – truly unimpressed with service from Canadian Embassy/ Consular section in Tokyo – ugh rudeness and hassles for a birthright and taxpayer… #stopcomplaining)
Update / Sept 7: Another chance for a session (this sort of project is hard to do in short bursts, doing what we can…)
Best thanks for all your wonderful notes and thoughts (can’t quite stay up with everything these days).
Note: So glad we are documenting his/this journey. Noting all parents have different feelings about how much to share/ what to share/ permission/ privacy etc. This is all thought through.
Update / Sept 11
Batch 2 into the wormhole! Stamps carefully chosen naturally (even though the desired designs resulted in overpaying for postage… you are worth it :)).
Annotation: Pictured (below x2) is the “work stuff” / so many wonderful supplies to play with. Kinda hard to explain but as a project goes on, of course the form evolves and sometimes i worry that the first round isn’t as good as later rounds or maybe the opposite as i am definitely a “maximalist” and don’t do that “design is 99% invisible” flow.
Use all the goodness all the time! My point? I just hope they are enjoyed and care is noticed (so i don’t feel like the family who handmade caramel apples for Halloween just to have them all tossed out when kids return home from trick or treat). Am i making sense? Didn’t think so. #tinybitobsessive
Even… sometimes include “bonus snaps/items” which simply amuse me for metaphorical reasons and i think recipients will dig – especially “remixd” #meta photos of some kind or another or ones which are the answer to a question never asked (like the significance of a bridge).
Update / Sept 19:
So many treasures arriving for #IchiroOlson / each of course sparks a splendid handcrafted, unique postal treasure in reply. So very grateful.
As such, round 3 of “Ichiro Thank you for gift cards” underway. Changing styles to fit the supplies on hand and a few stationery items recently arrived. Each batch unique, each card… we’ll keep making until whenever.
Note: the only existing complete analog series of the 43 (so far) Ichiro “#io” cards, cut with dear Mom’s (heavy metal) pinking shears, attached to custom stamped (inky & franked postal) postcards then enveloped with family photo / am I ruining the surprise?
(Redundant note) these are going to the dear folks who have mailed remarkable gift packages, care boxes and cards from around the world in commemoration of the birth of this dude.
Get in on the fun by mailing to:
937-1 Tsuchida, Naka-ku
Aug 19th was 49 days after Ryoko’s Grandmother Tomiko passed away at 94 years old, 6 days after baby Ichiro was born, and the night he was registered on the generational family register (koseki tohon) at city office with the same name (but different kanji characters) as her husband – Ichiro.￼
As such, in the Buddhist tradition, her ashes were put into the ohaka (crypt) with dashing Grandfather Ichiro who died at 49 years old, many decades ago.￼￼
Note: Throughout the pregnancy, we often visited grandpa Ichiro‘s ohaka (grave) as going to a cemetery it was easy to reduce risk while having a pleasant walk and while there, clean his grave, light incense and have a conversation.
In early July were four days of various funeral ritual/ceremonies at the house (adjusted for current health protocols) before she was cremated, and since then, her ashes sat at the family altar with daily incense, prayers and so on.
So as it goes, the remarkably handsome monk offered more incense and chants and led family in scripted prayers and incantations. Baby Ichiro rolled with it all.
Following, we took her ashes to the cemetery where a kindly tall specialist removed the capstone of the freshly cleaned ohaka allowing us to briefly see grandpa‘s urn, before adding the new jar & gently sealing back up.
Then we burned more incense, gave regards to other graves and left a lovely lunch to take her into the next journey.
Note: of course there’s more to share of the story (eventually, perhaps), and if you’re curious, see the wedding picture of grandpa Ichiro and grandma Tomiko, plus notes from Ichiro’s first month and an Ichiro card with her casket and his basket.
The circle is complete, the family continues, I’m very proud to be part of this clan.￼￼ We’ve had seven weeks of birth, death, (re)birthdays, and so much transition in real time.￼ i’m privileged to be a participant.
So very gratefully,
Ichiro: card #43 “Stanley Ramone” (Hey! Ho! Ikimasho) / 9.13
Note: Thanks to Cory DeMille and Trinity in LV for the onesie, and Sharif and Miriam in AMS for the percussion.
Original snap by marvelous mother Ryoko Olson