Roll around Japan with ambient train window views from various locations and rolling stock including the Thunderbird Limited Express towards Kanazawa and a Shinkansen service from Yokohama towards Osaka. In situ sound with no narration or drama rather a rather meditative “space cruise” looking as rice fields, towns and stations go past, and occasionally abstract from the speed, plus the whooshing of zipping through tunnels. That’s all. Enjoy the ride.
Amidst all the chaos and commotion and confusion and concern, my adorable wife and our incoming child are bright healthy and happy… Everything going normal except for all the stuff that’s not.
Receiving excellent care at “sun clinic” near our home and today spent time making Plan A, Plan B and so on￼ with lovely midwife & wonderful dr. + I’m learning a lot more birthing specific Japanese words – we also checked out the birthing room and the room where we will stay for a couple days afterwards, and then shared a moment under sakura tree.
Some of the fun/extra parts of preparing for the new arrival – including stroller and crib shopping and what not – well, need to be adjusted. We’ve got a baby bath, some clothes and a diaper strategy. We’ve also been reading to the belly in both English and Japanese and of course lots of music.￼
We’re getting the house already as best we can and and i’m doing my best to be a sweet supportive husband instead of worrying about everything everything everything.
We’ve canceled tea ceremonies and picnics and get togethers of course & have had food delivery service set up for some months now, plenty of rations, masks and first aid kits and blah blah blah so we will work on the garden, plant trees and stay busy in the barn.￼
We got this and June is going to be a magical month for us. ￼We hope some calm come to the world at large by then but the future is unwritten.￼
Rolling various local quirky trains from rustic Sitayama station towards the mountains on Toyama and Unazuki Onsen station – not chronologic or accurate, just ambient views of rolling stock, carriage interiors, watching from windows, as well as catching trains going by.
Mixed with music by Dan Mangan, “Tragic Turn of Events (demo)” from “Nice Nice Very Nice (10 year anniversary)”
In today’s (really March 7th but hey…) edition of “tasty coffee in scenic places with Daveo” I bring you this glorious handcrafted bevvie experience & view of the Seto-nai-kai (Inland sea) from an olive garden (no, not that one, an actual one) in Setouchi, Okayama, ergo:
Ambient views from various trains’ windows rolling past rice fields, towns and stations in and around Toyama, Japan (mostly) – No narration, action, plot or really context of any kind, just views and the pleasant clackety-clack of trains (with various station announcements if you really wanna know where the train was passing) on a journey in May 2019.
Amidst the “specialness” of life – which included of late:
trip to Nagasaki and all the glorious trains, building and museums (well documented elsewhere)
Mae Maes spring concert in Tamano (artifacts to follow)
baby coming! (and related prep)
10 years anniversary of Vancouver Olympics (which was such a big deal for me and i meant to do “something” to commemorate, but ya know, this feeling was overridden with ambivalence (but do have some notes and copy/pastes i’ll get to before 11th anniversary)
– is the “regular out n abouts” of life. These moments are treasure and, as memory fades, are quickly lost to the “exciting bits” never the less, i capture and archive for me, for others like me, for the little one, for the future, for the process. You know this already so behold, more of the usual: trams, coffees, meals, and various items spotted in the wild.
Ergo, just things, observed / scenes of life in Okayama, en route to “seitai” treatment session:
* fine bicycle (wagyu burgers in bg) at sunny intersection
* non-chronological aside but related / wagyu burger (with Ted) / as an additional aside, compared to 25+ years ago when I was first year, so much more international food available, to go along with the obviously fantastic Japanese native food… Would having pizzas, mighty burgers, lots of India/Nepal food, there are Mexican food places but i don’t wanna be disappointed – Anyway we do not lack for fantastic food even in our small city
* angled manshon apartment bldg, striking against the sky (this is parking lot for seitai sensei)
Note: Some of this riff originally appeared in “real time” via FB social channel to the amusement of many (everyone loves a comically large bootle of hooch!) – shared here for posterity in edited form with several other topics included.
++ Confession ++
Well, i am at risk of irreparably damaging my reputation as a good resident of Okayama as it seems some library books are overdue.
I know! Terrible. Shameful breach of trust.
As such, i will finish this coffee (delicious by the way) and hop on the luxurious Uno Bus (seriously wi-fi, power outlets, clean, comfy, pay-per-stop) to restore my status as a decent human.
I’ve really let myself go off the rails – i’ll try to improve.
PS i will not blame this on this comically huge bottle of saké – seriously, 18 litres and came in a wooden crate. Just when you think Japanese people are all diligent and serious, they pull out this! i mean the logistics of shipping, lifting, holding, pouring alone are baffling
Checkpoint busstop (yes my life does look like a Studio Ghibli movie)
Did i mention the bus has great wi-fi, power outlets, seatback headrest covers, and pay-per-stop system? Uno Bus is truly great.
Also before leaving washed dishes, folded laundry, started rice, composted food scraps, fed rabbit, aerated kobo starter, refilled kerosene heater… and didn’t forget library books(!)
Ryoko’s out of town for 2 nights teaching a tree trimming workshop & stayed in a trad guest house with wooden bath. So cool. And she’s truly incredible (and doing great with pregnancy!)
If you’re curious, I put together a category in my web archive for “Japan life/travel” to round up all the various riffs, transport videos, train rolls, diaries and museum galleries i gleefully assemble. It’s an ongoing process but hey, I’m not going anywhere.
Still have a lot more museums and train stuff to share (not surprisingly) but really limit my screen time too short sessions of productivity.
So much to share with you though! Especially some sorta olden stuff about:
Galleries, exhibits & museums in Japan, SF, & Nepal + a visit to Subpop HQ in 2010 (not to be confused with visit in 1999 ish)
Ayurveda treatment in India, Lanka & Pokhara
Artifacts from Palau, Yap and Guam which have been on my mind again recently
Tour with The Matinee in Ontario, 2017 (or was that 2018?)…￼￼ ￼
Oh, I’ve also been tidying up an archive of Vancouver Olympic “meta coverage” meaning coverage about the coverage and media about media if you know what I mean… More to say about this in True North Media and Olympics category including a live twitter coverage of an interesting CBC panel #NoteToSelf￼
Also tuned up a section called Transit Chronicles which consists mostly of twitter riffs while rolling around Vancouver 2008-2012 ish.
In the meantime, here’s stuff about Japan so I have somewhere to point people to want to ask me about “where I am” “what to see” “how to do stuff” etc. etc. – keep in mind, I am a “inaka/country boy” – well really I live near a sort of forgotten provincial capital city which is just perfect in my mind, and don’t really know anything about Tokyo or Osaka and very little about Kyoto… but there are loads of resources about those places.
I know more about small cities, rural/farm experiences, scenic trains, remote hot springs, fermented foods, and post offices #theusual
You could be forgiven for thinking that my life involves entirely eating delicious food and drinking fantastic coffee as you are somewhat correct… however, there is slightly more going on as i am into the routine of “regular life” and doing things which I file under “life administration”. As such, some tasks (as much as I delight in the mundanity of everyday activity) doesn’t get documentation.
Not that these things are not interesting – but because in the diligence and action itself, there’s interestingness – but photographs aren’t always timely nor appropriate and in themselves, there’s not often a story to be told. Within this thought is why I enthusiastically and rather comprehensively documented everyday life when first arriving in a new place… As in: when you stay in a place for a while, the uniqueness of every day life fades and it’s easy to think that “I’ll do this another time” or “I’ll wait for something special” or “why bother?”
Maybe you noticed my affinity towards dropping in Japan imperial era names in reference to “Showa this” or “Taisho that” – In brief, while modern Japan also uses BCE/AD year dating system, also uses imperial eras to count years… in a somewhat confusing manner.
Each Emperor has a name while living (example Hirohito) but their era name also becomes the posthumous name (in Hirohito’s case Showa). When a new imperial reign begins, the numbers start from one.
Birth years and other important dates are generally referenced from this system. I.e. i was born in Showa 45 or 1970.
2019 was an extra anomaly as Emperor Akihito abdicated and his era “Heisei” (which will also be his posthumous name) in his 31st year of reign, and a new era “Reiwa” began on May 1 2019 when his son/heir Naruhito took the throne. So 2019 was both Heisei 31 and Reiwa 1. 2020 is Reiwa 2.
So blah blah blah. I came to tell you that Taisho era is my current topic of interest. This was about 100 years ago and the “jazz age” in Japan as well as west. The previous era “Meiji” was when Japan started opening up to the outside world (a topic in itself) with a charismatic emperor.
Taisho era was different and relatively short and squeezed between the impending militarism which came with Showa and the fundamental societal changes of Meiji.
Taisho saw rise of *western* clothes/styles, dancing, woman’s role expanding with jobs and relative “freedom” of being.
A seminal literary work from this time is Tanizaki’s Naomi which tells the story of a young woman seizing her liberation in all aspects of her life.
Anyhow, here’s an article meaning to share with more about above now that i laid a foundation.
So it goes, the festive season passes yet calendar stays busy with the usual sorts of things. Yesterday included returning books to splendid library, a few letters (Switzerland and Indonesia) to the post office, a stop for the best ramen, and a visit to a chiropractor and then a super good little (i mean little) coffee shop – like just perfect right?
In amongst, we repaired/re-did a wall in Tsuchida Cottage, attended a parenting class(!), went to opera variety show, hit up Hatsumi-san’s piano recital, moved some brick around outside, printed more flyers for Mae Maes gig, talked to a guy about replaced some drafty windows, recycled plastic items, booked a trip to Nagasaki…
Here is a variety of snippets collected along the way, with minor annotations as possible.