Tag Archives: japan life

Slow Life on “Seeking Sustainability” talk-show storytime with JJ Walsh

I was guest on JJ Walsh’s live video streaming show (which transmits via YT, FB and several other channels using Happs.tv) from Hiroshima. Noticed so many interesting guests on her show so raised my hand and sent an “audition reel” and voila… 

JJ’s introduction: “Poems and Postcards from Okayama to the World by DaveOStory Dave Olson – looking forward to chatting about life in rural Japan, finding a creative way to connect with people across the world during Covid, his background in journalism and career as a Canadian hockey commentator and more…”

Was fun to riff on so many different topics and stories.
Noting that the effervescent Ms. Walsh rocks out one or two of these shows *every weekday* (buy her a coffee). Huge commitment to building community and boundless energy. She really does her preparation as well #Respect PS there is also an audio podcast version of Seeking Sustainability for your aural convenience. 

Pulled out a lot of stories that I’ve kept it hidden for sometime. Thanks for the space to riff out the long jams. Topics around building a holistic life in Japan, i.e. our generational house project, story making as a biz, living cheap and cheerful, possibly fermenting, and yeah my arborist/jazz singer wife Ryoko and my exceptionally adorable almost 1-year-old Ichiro Stanley. 

Even a pitch for my DaveOShop at Buy Me a Coffee and mentions of loads of other creative output you’ll find in this very archive.

DaveO on Seeking Sustainability in Japan Live with JJ Walsh

Note: had planned to set-up outside but just before noticed the workers are pulling into the yard with tile / brick saws (loud!) and a rain is falling (i don’t mind but the camera do) so gonna adjust my planned set up. 

Diary: What Comes Next? Shambling along on Summer schemes

What happens next? Summertime schemes…

Siding into slacker summer projects at Tsuchida Station

So, the mysterious “operation turtle” is as wrapped up as gonna get
The “healing ramble” project is nervously, bravely & quietly going out into the world at random intervals

Caught up on the “postcards as a service” supporters and dossier customers – a few friends to return correspondence but easy goodtimes

I’m staying on top of the laundry & i tidy up & sortganize like Japan’s version of Marie Kondo :) Continue reading Diary: What Comes Next? Shambling along on Summer schemes

Memo: Still-life at visit to Mac’s Farm

The Story of Ichiro and his mother (of invention) with stamps and hats

“Over the wall” for a visit with farmer Mac / the cafe & market operation is affected by the current emergency status (can’t sell beer/sake or have meals despite the exclusively outdoor socially distance seating) but you can purchase goat cheese and other select gourmet items.

Anyhow, figured we better check on the goats, deliver some Kerouac in Kobe brochures, listen to some records & see the ongoing artifact collection of our life.

Ichiro enjoyed some goat milk yogurt and we came home with some organic rhubarb jam and goat cheese.

While there: spotted in situ, Still Life with Olsons & Zappa

Tokyo Olympics (+ Beijing) and IOC Hubris on theBreaker.news podcast

a lonely Tokyo Olympic sign spotted in a library Aug 2020

theBreaker.news Podcast: Five-ring circus controversy in Japan and China

I talked about the Tokyo Olympics with Bob Mackin – who I first connected with leading up to the Vancouver 2010 Olympics when he did an article featuring Kris Krüg and I talking about citizen documentation campaign which eventually became True North Media House. This segment also explores the human rights issues about Beijing 2022 Winter Games. (off record, we talked about IOC scrambling for relevancy). 

Since then, I interviewed Bob for the Olympic Outsider, podcast (as we both headed home on the Seabus amongst revellers to Lynn Valley, North Vancouver and i also appeared on his TheBreaker.news podcast in August 2020 talking about these same subjects + baby Ichiro Stanley Thorvald. 

Anyhow, i’ve shared a lot about this topic on other channels including recent convo with Jody Vance on CKNW 980AM radio Vancouver but a few notes:

In brief, pushing ahead with Olympics in Japan call into question:
* health & safety of residents
* economic “handcuffs” & sovereignty
* fairplay for all athletes (esp from countries in crisis)
* funded junkets for dodgy operators
* rude / vague double-talk & IOC hubris
* no fun for residents who made this happen

Curious to hear your views after listening.

My riffs start at 6:00-ish mark (and consider supporting Bob “the hammer” Mackin as he holds governments to account).

May 30, 2021:  Should the Tokyo Olympics be postponed or cancelled?

Should the Beijing Winter Olympics be moved or boycotted?

The future is now for the five-ring circus. On this edition, host Bob Mackin ponders the pandemic in Japan and China’s human rights abuses. Guests Dave Olson in Okayama, Japan and Ivy Li of the Canadian Friends of Hong Kong.

Plus Pacific Rim and Pacific Northwest headlines.

theBreaker.news Podcast: Five-ring circus controversy in Japan and China

More notes (social riff round-up): 

A lot of the “IOC family” are wealthy, privileged, vaccinated and aren’t necessarily worried about the impact they have on Japan after they leave. They’re staying in hotels, not a bubble, using public transportation and surely will be going out and about.

Easy to tell them but very difficult to enforce in any way. And punishment? These wealthy/privileged folks don’t give a fck about a fine. IOC Officials roll with basically diplomatic immunity during the games

…Especially the athletes coming from countries currently in crisis. What a dilemma for them to leave their families and support networks behind in such bad situations! Then possibly bringing variants back to medical systems which are unable to handle more chaos. :(

I am less concerned about the athletes who will likely be diligent about staying in the bubble and way more concerned about the “IOC family“… 60,000 executives, fat-cats, VIPs and sponsors rolling in with no quarantine requirement or vaccination and no bubble. Stay home IOC!

Related: 

*Of course* there are lots of articles discussing the Olympic topic from various “major media expected new sources” like Japan Times, Washington Post, Asahi Shinbun blah blah blah but this one from Teen Vogue with particularly awesome so I’m gonna share this *and definitely not* gonna get carried away with a laundry list of resources. {If curious, you can check my various Twitter channels, I’ll assume you can figure that out (look in right side bar if needed) oh and follow for Olympian and author of NOlympics @JulesBoykoff and former VANOC comms guy @GraemeMenzies who wrote a treatise about modernizing the event.

Anyhow, Teen Vogue is slaying, ergo:

The Olympics Devastate Host Cities and Need a Permanent Location This op-ed argues that the impact of the Olympic Games on host cities has become too devastating to ignore.

BY EMILY BURACK
JUNE 1, 2021

The Olympics are broken. Nowhere is this clearer than in Tokyo, where polls have indicated more than 80% of Japanese citizens oppose the upcoming Summer Games and the Japanese government has declared a state of emergency. As of late May, just 3.7% of the population had received at least one dose of the vaccine and Japan is grappling with a “fourth wave” of COVID-19. There’s never been an Olympics so deeply unpopular with a host city — and so dangerous to hold — and yet by all indications, the Tokyo Games will go on as scheduled.

Even without a pandemic, the impact of the Olympics on host cities has become too devastating to ignore.

Japan Generational farm house and cottage story

+ Introducing our compound in Tsuchida, Okayama +

I joined a Kominka (trad Japanese country home) renovation, acquisition & enjoyment group and made a video introduction – sharing here in case you are curious.

‘Tis a little intimidating cause a load of people are doing incredible detailed projects in remote locations with all sorts of hand-tools and techniques but hey, i am adding to the generation story of our land – its all about the cycles.

Riff includes parents’ renovated farm house and our “cottage” under construction.

In brief: Both of these homes were empty from the 1990s until about 7 years ago when my (arborist/jazz singer) wife re-opened the cottage, the parents followed and the dilapidated old farm house was reno’d keeping all the beams, much character and details.
Now the cottage (which sits where other buildings did in the past) is getting a big new room plus a load of other upgrades to add to the story. A mix of trad joinery and materials and a few touches from the parent’s reno (genkon doors etc) and also insulation, woodstove, tea ceremony area, and big doors out to the carport as i hope our place becomes the local hangout for our son Ichiro’s pals in years to come.

Also a peek at wife’s Naya toolshed and glance at garden. Oh yeah, i also ramble on about my “origin story” of coming to Japan in early 1990s and working as a mushroom farmer in Tottori before running away and hitchhiking from Shikoku to Nagano where i first experience renegade inaka living.

Very pleased to add to my local community and respect the work of the ancestors.

the “Sistine Chapel” of kura granary barns

PS If curious i have time-lapse video of the roof raising and other artifacts from the kura which is now my arts and crafts studio and music lounge.

panorama of the backyard with garden, kura barn and bamboo grove

 

 

Diary: Ichiro back in action, stroll on

Ichiro back in action, stroll on

Ichiro back in the saddle after bringing a rough cold home from nursery school which he passed to his delicate papa who kisses him *all the time* & trooper mama who is usually invincible.

Granny & Gramps stepped up big time in support #grateful Did hospital safety checks (including Cvd19) all-around before heading back today.

Picked him up amongst the cutest site of all the kids cuddled in futon with name badges.

Released my charge from pleasant custody, “youroshiku” to the teachers, got his daily report book & bundle of items… strapped in & wheeled home laughing & swerving.

Cuter every day. He is so loved by his bubble pod family. He’s our special lil guy.

PS hit 11 months last week…

Ichiro and Papa sending <3 to Mama on the walk home from nursery school

Diary: Bubble Family, making steps…

Fujita Olson bubble gang, each cuter than the last as seen in Yubara onsen

Big moves in our lil bubble compound: My wonderful in-laws Junko & Takushi are getting Pfizerized on Sunday here in Okayama (finally).

They are an incredible support to us with our lil baby who arrived amidst *all of this* and help keep us safe, well fed & amused. Super grateful for them & glad shots are picking up momentum. Of course, they ate a “young 65” – are both fantastically healthy & laden with energy but now we can worry a little less when they need to go “over the wall” into the big weird world.

Im next in line i guess (no timeline) but im the most hermity of our squad as well as extra delicate – no big deal, im well experienced about being in chill home mode with 8 years of #MeCFS – i have hobbies, projects & need lots of bedtime.

Keeping a candle for (arborist)!wifu’s turn as she is often in the outside places hanging out with trees more than humans.

Looking forward to her being able to singing in clubs and community events – Heck eventually will be able to have a little open house when our home construction is finished, invite folks over for tea & jazz. 

Anyhow, that’s the obligatory report with a cute picture of my bubble buddies. Yup awesome each one. Say hello.

PS Ryoko is wearing my sweet handmade Mavili “Catcher in the Rye” hat

Artifacts: Commemorative item-making devices at Korakuen

Stamping documentation at Korakuen Garden here in Goldilocks Okayama Japan. Tip: Always have a notebook with you (and/or buy postcards) and stamp to remember your times.

Sure there’s lots of nature and plants and trees and bridges and gardens and tea houses and turtles and cranes and flowers going back to the Edo period here at Korakuen Gardens… but also machines of various mechanical, electronic and analog persuasion to commemorate your visit to Korakuen (1 of 3 “top official super official great special” gardens in Japan) in pleasant Okayama, the “Goldilocks“ of Japan. Also postcards and tea (naturally).

Examples, lightly annotated below:

* Stamp your notebook with a commemorative stamp and an extra stamp with today’s date (checkmarko)

* Buy a Okayama Momotaro pin (check mark)

* Buy a coin to commemorate your visit (checkmark)

* Engrave the coin you just bought with a special message (checkmark) {note: this machine was so interesting with mix of digital and mechanical-ness, and clackety-clackety sounds]

Diary: 3 wooden stick projects (sign post, postbox, wind phone)

Mounted three pieces of raw wood into Tsuchida tsuchi (soil) with concrete (or is it cement? – which do you mix with sand and water to make the other?) for 3 different, but vaguely-related, projects:

* sign post with arrows pointing distances to favourite/special places (there is a list but…  need to re-earn my orienteering compass badge so I can point the signs in the right direction. Resisting the urge to be really obsessive about this but worried more engineering-minded friends will come double check my work and you know, if it’s not within 2° of accuracy you know I’m going to hear about it  – I can hear the “well actually…” in my head already. And then any US people who come will be confused by the KMs as well – sigh!)

* post box for (un)secret messages the kura barn >> atelier, lounge & Cascadia consulate

* phone to the wind as a shrine & refuge for conversations with those passed or possibly lost {further evidence}

PS Transplanted two trees today. Super fun being arborist Ryoko’s assistant and father-in-law’s “co-worker”. Yeah, used a shovel and a wheelbarrow and *everything*.

Yes, it seems I’m really “nesting” and getting ready to live here forever.

Kitchen: making Miso from scratch (ready in New Year)

Pretty sure I earned a Japanese merit badge today. Made our own Miso from scratch! Will sit in this old crock (found in the tool shed & same one used for umeboshi last year) for 8 months.

Summary: Soybeans, Salt, Koji & no air.

Here’s how it went down (lousy photos with annotations): 

Soaked for 24 hours and simmered for 4 hours and cooled down

Oh, this is what the salt and koji (culture) looks like

Mince up the beans with a, ummm mincer

Yup mix it all (salt, koji, miso) up

Squish out the air whilst making tennis ball sized chunks

Squish squish squish into the crock, no air remember

Fill a bag with salt to weigh it down and seal off the edges from air

Put on a label and wait for 8 months (cool place please, in our case, the kura barn) check in later to tell ya how it turned out

Diary: Rocking out (buying stones)

Note solar array and tile roof kominka house in background of snap {past / present / future}

 Wife (arborist/ trad landscape designer) let me tag along on some rock shopping expedition. I am amused at logistics of this supply chain as stones from from around Japan and world here to Okayama.

Also for your amusement, 3 types/varieties of stones observed (& sampled) for use at our home project and Ryoko’s work projects

Snaps: Korakuen Gardens (Mother’s Day out)

4 (more) views at Korakuen Gardens, Okayama  – One of three “great, official, significant/something“ gardens in Japan built during the feudal Edo period. Saw turtles in cranes amongst the tea houses, bridges and trees.

Went to hear some old-timey music (recorded some audio “bootleg”) and celebrate Ryoko and Junko (m-in-l) with a pleasant stroll around the park. Stopped for tea and postcards (of course) and Ichiro was the star (of course). {oh i’ll add some snaps of him…}

Anyhow, ergo:


* trad rock zen space

* bridge over placid water


* “crow” castle yonder


* detail of temple roof