Tag Archives: japan life

Diary: Sea Legs Under Me (making videos and audios)

Yup, accidentally a fisher-person with “made in Greece” fisher’s cap and a fishing vest (gift from Cmdr Bob) perhaps foreshowing a future hobby :) oh that’s the wood stove behind me, now with safety fence – its so great!

+ finding stride, making things and preparing for others +

Yeah, don’t know, maybe you noticed but im making a lot of audio/video recently, and semi-importantly – trying to step-up my technical production standards. It’s not really my forté. Requires lots of adapters, extenders, dongles and testing… I just like to do the part where I tell stories.

First, a snappy yet functional outfit to fit the autumn rain (rare here in our area), a bite to eat, another coffee, half an hour of paperwork (during which I try to ignore all the emails I haven’t replied to and resist the urge to edit another video clip I have on standby about a few new books I received my post), and go sort-ganize to get ready for another shoot tomorrow.

This next dispatch introduces and shares some artifacts from my 1996/7 documentary film about hemp in all it’s forms. specifically the segment from Olympia WA’s capital dome in the midst of California’s groundbreaking proposition 215.

setting up all the lights, mics, cords and tripods etc isn’t my fave part of the project but i’m sorta figuring it out – since this photo, put “sof boxes” over the lights and really relying on a couple of iPads and lightning lav mic as the Canon DSLR with fancy mic isn’t getting along with my flow so far

Will set up the clip in studio, roll the film clip, and come back with a few pieces of ephemera, catch ups about some of the faces you’ll see & foreshadow the following week’s live Q&A chat with hopefully a special guest or two if I can figure out some technology. Ugh.

I’m at the hospital for most of the day on Thursday which means Friday is going to be a rest and recovery day.

fondly, dvo

PS have you watched my recent videos/listen to recent audio? No big deal, just think you might enjoy.

Here’s me messing around setting up the studio – with all sorts of cords, dongles, tripods, lights and mics – in prep for an Uncle Weed Storytime shoot.

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]

Okayama Japan Travel Overview on #SustainableTravelJapan

+ from: Okayama Super Fan / dept of propaganda ≠

I was a guest on JJ Walsh Seeking Sustainability live talk show (sept 27, 2021) during a special week about tourism in Setouchi/Chugoku region talking about dear forever home Okayama.

Topics were varied – from Bizen pottery to art islands to custom Kojima denim to grateful goats and most points in between – banter was amusing (she does great research) and spectacles on point 🙂

Hope i represented well for spirit of Momotaro as i name-checked favourites aspects of living in the “Goldilocks of Japan” ™. Spoiler: my *not-secret* fave is Rural Caprine Farm. Also name checks for Mac Kobayashi & Amy Chavez ++ so many locals businesses & destinations including Katsuyama, Maniwa, various ~shima, the Market & the mystery of Momotaro & utility access covers (Pokéman).

Do consider sitting down with a leisurely beverage and hanging out. Eager to hear what you think.

The effervescent host and Inbound Ambassador said the following:

Continue reading Okayama Japan Travel Overview on #SustainableTravelJapan

Diary: Minor expeditions (library, hospital etc) & phone + the future

Minor expedition ~ libraries feel like home to me… When I first arrived in my new home city, this was a frequent sequestration but it’s been well over a year, so i felt a bit dizzy from all the possibilities (plus I just finished some medical treatment which spins me out).

Anyhow, I didn’t bring anything home – got kind of too much on the go right now – but Ryoko filled up a satchel including topics around horticulture, charcoal making, vinegar, bamboo, various food things and plant things, the usual.

We also had a small snack at the embedded café – They have a really nice curved couch however it was occupied.

PS Noticed a bag for sale saying “you are absolutely necessary“ which, obviously you are.

Backtracking: Sept 30 was hospital check-in day so that means I put on the fancy shoes and take a snap to share… The van Gogh starry night socks aren’t necessarily the best color match but I think the pen ties it all together. Thoughts?

And yes, did get an egg salad sandwich variety pack from the embedded 7-Eleven while we waited.

Just another payphone I didn’t make a call from. I don’t have the cards nor do I know any phone numbers – however, I do appreciate that these devices exist and are well-maintained, clean and magnificent. The industrial design on them is so fantastic. It’s a sort of “peak Japan“ mixing digital and analog, materials & lines.

This photo sparked some reminiscence from other Japan residents in times past when payphones were critical utility, i.e.:

GL says, “Yeah handy too use as a guitar tuner back in the 1900’s. The dial tone is a F . Not the most convenient reference tone but it works to get you tuned up with the rest of the world 🎸”

MB says, “An international Japanese pay phone! The Rolls Royce version compared to their lesser green domestic call only cousins. These grey phones and their locations were coveted and noted when I was a student in Japan though I couldn’t afford to phone card pay for many calls back to Canada where a short call would cost me 1000 yen.”

JW says, “Yeah, I still remember in the early 90s when I first visited here, an international call could cost as much as 500 yen per minute. Later callback services became popular where you would ring a foreign trigger number and hang up (no charge) and the service would call you back and you’d dial the real number you wanted to call, without paying NTT for the privilege, at a much lower rate. Then I could call Los Angeles cheaper than a domestic call from Kanto to Kansai.”

I offer, “Plus having to trudge through the snow to a pay phone at some strange hour to try to contact a friend in another time zoneNow such luxury to blab on endlessly in pyjamas, from home, no cost (with video) seems 25 years changed a centuries worth.”

++ In general (I’ve been meaning to do a video spiel about this) Japan is so different than what I showed up 25 years ago on the mushroom farm and hitchhiked around, I mean, of course places change but there’s a few foundational things that are very different (as well as the massively impactful overarching demographic and economic trends).

I think the next 20 years as my little guy grows up here are really going to be incredible to watch and be part of.

Diary: Nuts, Seeds, Ballots, Cards + soup

Really not very consequential or interesting regardless…

Not only is it the best peanut butter in the world, I get free shipping and it’s great for storage jars

Several “life administration“ tasks on the list today including: a USA ballot (WA state); call to IRS (can’t I just fax them?); same-ish with CRA (will do that by postal letter I think); plus putting a variety of different nuts and seeds in peanut butter jars. Yes, my peanut butter consumption really pays off with extra jars. Think I will do that job first.

Various port commissioner and city Council positions, I sometimes recuse myself from voting but always submit my ballot in gratitude for the excellent service from Washington state secretary of state

Update: US ballot done, and various nuts/seeds/etc. put into jars (Next to the tiny dried fish)

Looks so lovely next to that jar of tiny dried fish for soup stock

Also sortganized my supplements for the next fortnight.

It’s a whole scientific system and do it for a few months, lacking a few magic potions which would put it over the top but impact is well noted

Not quite up for tax forms at the moment so going to fold some laundry and meditate on it.

Continue reading Diary: Nuts, Seeds, Ballots, Cards + soup

Diary: Archival Cabinets, Dirt, Kissaten & Espresso

Picked up a mighty cabinet unit from a crazy junk shop down the road apiece. {The old fella and the lady was so surprised to see my adorable wife driving the k-truck and tying cool trucker knots to secure the load. Yeah she’s the coolest}.

Ryoko’s rig – i love being her sidekick, rolling country roads with a tied down load

plan: Gonna replace these open book shelves on the right (photo below). The new cabinet has glass front doors so I can put in de-humidification packets to control the humidity to keep my fancy collectible books safe and sound.

Don’t worry, the air conditioner is positioned well in front of the stereo and records

Then, will get rid of these shtty IKEA shelves (which are about to collapse under the weight of the books & the records anyway).

The trick is going to be getting this unit up the steep kura stairs as it’s quite heavy. The current crappy shelves attached to the wall with L brackets and all the books and artifacts will need to be thoughtfully removed… This takes some thinking and a friend (Hi Ted!)

We had the home center all to ourselves with attentive staff helping us load up the truck

Also picked up buncha soil, manure, etc stuff for Ryoko’s job site tomorrow. #arborist #landscapedesign

Take a spin, I personally am not qualified to operate motor vehicles at this point in my life

Oh & a quirky bric a brac laden kissaten lunch (with a friendly owner and a variety of bikes and scooters around despite his very limited eyesight, all in a giant dog have a breed I have no reference of).

Clearly a lot of love went into this machine. I wish the coffee shop had a seat other than one rustic wooden bench… Like aesthetically I get it but a little bit of cozy is nice

Finally a stop fancy espresso at an almost too hip coffee roaster with a gorgeous machine which must require diligent maintenance and elegant repairs.

Overall come out way way too much for me in one day but sometimes when the opportunities are there, you gotta do *all of the things* even if it means a couple of recovery days. Life goes on, and I want to be part of it.

Yard Projects: Tsuchida Weather Station, broadcasting + QR codes

Set up real time weather reporting from Tsuchida “Station” Okayama, Japan with a white-label outdoor station. Check in for hi, low, UV, rain, humidity, wind etc.

Here’s Fujita-san installing it on a 2+ meters long concrete mounted tree, properly aligned to Cardinal directions

Was a gift for father-in-law who always likes to check him in on these things but with the local weather report coming from the airport which is some distance away, this is a lot more fun and accurate.

A bit clugey but now uploading data to:
WeatherCloud &/or
Ecowitt

Any weather enthusiasts have others to suggest? Both of the above have rather lacking integrations :(

Continue reading Yard Projects: Tsuchida Weather Station, broadcasting + QR codes

Post’d: Tea & Ink + metaphors of knives & telegrams

The important part is to enjoy tea {and the tools} +

Series of 9

Bound for the post office forthwith (tomorrow is a holiday in Japan hence closed) with a new batch for (some of) the “postcard as a service” subscribers… Each handmade on washi paper with ink sketches of different elements used in tea ceremony with specific narrative on the back.

Yep, 9 indeed

Just think: If all these folks got together one day, each with their card in hand, together they would have a (in)complete guide book to tea ceremony ;)

The tea cards anointed with these most wonderful Japanese remixed woodblock print stamps

[Update] Arrived at my favorite little post office, Shinogoze, with 11 minutes before closing the day before a holiday – they were, as always, excited to see my new creations – rather surprised that I make these things mail all over – and indulge me picking out *just the right* stamps + managed to squeeze up a few quick snapshots before they went into the chute of adventure.

The bonus/sundry assortment where adorned with the cute little Postal bear off on an adventure in England it seems

Bonus round: A few from the standard and experimental stacks also went out for various purposes including:

* train station in Tripunnithura, Kerala India (going back to India) & * post boxes in Kathmandu (foreign, domestic, regional) – in memorium

* telegrams (concerning roast beef, smoking jacket and a barman named Sunday) from the Majestic Hotel in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia / protip: find the poem written from this very experience elsewhere in this archive (snap too #evidence)

On the left is from DT Suzuki Zen Museum in Kanazawa, on the right is from Yumeji museums in Okayama / Both adorned with far more expensive stamp than necessary for the postal rain but seem to really fit the aesthetics. What is a few yen between magicians anyway?

* Two very important health of various kinds of practitioners celebrate birthdays (constantly enough, the same age milestone) and though they’ve been in close navigation to each other, I’ve never met… Anyway, pulled from the high value/not by me file for special wishes & gratitude

* assortment of pocket knives (with metaphor included) and even more metaphor with the importance of Scaffolding in most any construction/project, so often forgotten, no matter how sturdy (on a enotepad from some government office)

Get in on the fun, 2 ways:

Free/Occasional/Random/Fun; https://daveostory.com/more-daveo/postal-club/

Deluxe Postcard subscription & shop: https://daveostory.com/shop/

Typhoon Weather and Usual Days

Possibly – no Probably – the best worst video you’ll *maybe* watch today. Likely only with lounge-y, vaguely annotated Ramones on baritone ukulele anyhow + Gord Lightfoot if you get that far.

Typhoon Weather and Usual Days

After catching up on the laundry, making tomato soup, washing dishes and tidying up the carport, Dave checks in with a bit of ukulele and gratitude for friends who pick up phones &/or send messages, books and quilts when bit blue from “the illness” which is *a challenge* – and through it all, mixing in a little bit of Ramones and Gordon Lightfoot and the usual stuff about Post offices and making fermented items while trying to be a good papa to a wonderful nursery schooler and hubbo to a delightful arborist and diligent landscaper. 

Ryoko’s stone approach project #evidence
serious about tomato soup and various other items

Secret Lunch Café (and remembering friends on a path)

1 choice so you don’t hafta order, easy – comes with a salad and water

So after medical treatment yesterday, snuck into secret cafe which had 1 patron (me) & offer only 1 kind of curry per day and every time is magnificent (as is the boss’ hair) *and* this time offered coffee and free gelato after cause i’m a big shot here in Okayama.

coffee and gelato (not pictured, notebook and pen)

I shan’t tell you the name :) Unless asked.

my own private hide out, with jazz, calm lights and very tidy

After, i wandered (got confused looking for the optometrist) and remembered my pals being here for the wedding and we sat on this bench and drank from this fountain (such luxury). I sat and felt grateful for friends.

Oh dear Okayama.

Post’d: Various, Vaguely Clandestine Efforts, etc.

Disguise is basically perfect, inpenetrable, no one will ever recognize me like this… So on I go #WorldsWorstSecretAgent #Postcards

🎵🎶somewhere…. Beyond the sea…. 🎶🎵 thank you my faithful pen pal. 💙 happy mail today.”

But how did you ever guess that was me :)?

PS the lady at the post office (who are always amused my my dispatches) pointed out that “that’s not your wife?!” ha #truth … but is it even me? #worldsworstsecretagent

Continue reading Post’d: Various, Vaguely Clandestine Efforts, etc.

Diary: Tsuchida station grounds projects, various

Busy around the house, now the construction is “done”, doing some garden, yard, landscape, and kura/naya jobs… the glorious mundanity of the tiny things which make all the difference. Be prepared, nothing *shocking* or exciting, just the usual days.

Hemp cloth wrapped on shelves made from wedding dais / under the dust cover is 1982ish Yamaha GT-2000 turntable & analog amp plus TEAC cassette/CD/usb/1/4” deck. Thats not *all the records* but a solid batch.

Another string of lights *and* Palau static montage… legit handcrafted speargun etc etc

Wood splitter, borrowed from forester Ukan and parents split up this rack / its loud & ornery but does the job

All hardwood – mostly oak and maple, odd bits of others (arborist wife often bringing home big chunks) This was all F&M-in-law. Epic. I’ll fire it up though (i just encourage)

Breaking rocks in the hot sun… (Ryoko has made a time-lapse of this rather intensive, long project…)

Continue reading Diary: Tsuchida station grounds projects, various