Tag Archives: japan

Diary: New Year’s Morning + Day / Reiwa 2, Let’s Enjoy!

Well hello 2020. Let’s enjoy. Step 1 (or 2) #japanlife

special stash of Indonesian coffee beans
give em a special extra roast
into the Moka (not mocha) pot – my fave all-around way to prepare coffee
warm up in our chilly little cottage

Continue reading Diary: New Year’s Morning + Day / Reiwa 2, Let’s Enjoy!

Diary: New Year’s Day Reiwa 2, Shrine Visit

Off to the shrine on New Year’s morning, in this case to a smallish local shrine called 天津神社北側参道 / Achi jinja, up a hill/mountain nearby. 

To amuse (some of the hundreds of) kami at the shrine who (according to some pun-ny alliteration) enjoy 5 yen coins with holes, plus 500 is the going rate for the amulets, some 50s in there too..

There is an arts and crafts component to this activity as well. Come along… 

Continue reading Diary: New Year’s Day Reiwa 2, Shrine Visit

Artifact: Camera and stuffed animals (Maniwa, Japan)

Artifact: Camera, and stuffed animals (Maniwa, Japan)

Note: Heavy, apparently expensive. Seemed functional and in good condition when spotted at a coffee shop/café/gallery outside of a little small logging town (Maniwa) like some sort of strange oasis: the front door was rather hidden, they spent 30 minutes preparing a magnificent cup of tea, which came with black pepper. The table was hewn from a massive single log (“massive” trees aren’t really “massive” in Japan by Canadian standards but anyway…) And so many Interesting and cute objects scattered around. Its this sort of randomness that I love love love about living in Japan.

Not for Sale. 

Scrapbook: Wonder Hotel / rejuvenations, inspirations + amusements (2018)

Scrapbook: Wonder Hotel / rejuvenations, inspirations + amusements (2018), cover

I make scrapbooks and journals for all sorts of reasons, sometimes for my own creations and writing, sometimes for specific project and in this case, for inspiration or dareisay therapy. 

Background: I was having hard go of it in life or whatever and moved into a very small room at a boarding-house-type place. While basic, i quite loved having a place which kept me safe and allowed me rest. Reminded me a sign i saw in Vancouver for the “Wonder Hotel – Rooms for Rent – Clean, Quiet, Free Cable, Fridge, Secure” – all the attributes this Ankangan Guesthouse possessed.

Continue reading Scrapbook: Wonder Hotel / rejuvenations, inspirations + amusements (2018)

Artifact: Radio (in an Okayama bar window)

Radio (in an Okayama bar window)

Collection: Currency (expired, variety), vol. 5 (includes Bulgaria!)

The Philippines (Japanese government-issued): 10 Pesos, circa 1942 (front)
The Philippines (issued by Japanese Imperial government “East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere”), 10 Pesos, circa 1942, face

What follow is Volume Five of several in an on-going series – this one featuring currencies no longer in circulation for one reason or another including the fascinating Japanese Peso issued in The Philippines, as well as artifacts from Colombia, Nigeria, Brasil, Laos, Bulgaria and possibly other locales.

The Philippines (Japanese government-issued): 10 Pesos, circa 1942 (back)
The Philippines, (issued by Japanese Imperial government “East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere”) , 10 Pesos, circa 1942, reserve

Spiel: Once upon a time… humans moved away from bartering things and services on an ad hoc basis and came up with a default transaction medium which became known as money. First coins (well, maybe something before, likely made of clay) denominated by an arbitrary, yet commonly agreed-upon, value – often made of metals which were deemed to be rare/shiny/valuable.

Then after (perhaps admitting the arcane value of metals and needing something handier to tote around) eventually created paper bank notes – first with value attached to aforementioned shiny metals, then again arbitrarily assigned a transactional value by central banks and governments.

To me, this is neither here nor there, i really don’t have an opinion about the “importance” of money. Indeed, if you value such “wealth” so much, go forth and acquire in exchange for your time, talents or conniving – or simply create your own currency, print it and rally folks to desire it as a means of exchange. This is commonly done in form of community notes, “virtual” currencies (often managed by Blockchain tech), or even various commercial operations making notes, coupons or points systems.

My point in sharing this is: Very often, these banknotes – both contemporary or deprecated – are lovely specimens of design art and printing technology (granted the reason is usually to thwart counterfeit versions polluting the general population’s trust in the monetary system). Note: Collecting and studying banknotes is called notaphily.

Bulgaria (Narodna Republika Bulgaria), 200 (old) Leva, 1951 issue, face
Bulgaria (Narodna Republika Bulgaria), 200 (old) Leva, 1951 issue, reverse

Note: the 200 (old) Bulgarian Leva shows the portrait of Georgii Dimitrov On the back side of the 200 BGL bill is a scene of farm workers harvesting tobacco.

I very much enjoy the loveliness of printing “things on substrates” – the values to me are non-important (aside when i need to purchase eggs and bacon) but rather the artistic-ness and the totems decided by a society to represent their culture/country (often historical figures of various repute, significant events, important buildings or cultural motifs) are a source of endless curiosity.

Colombia, 20 Pesos Oro, 1981, face
Colombia, 20 Pesos Oro, 1981, reverse

Additionally, the stories the bills imbue, often soaked quite literally into the fibres, as well as the journey the note took to your hand or pocket and/or the travel one undertook to acquire… are what sparks my interest. As such, i gather these notes, photograph for the historical record and my own amusement and, evidently, to share with you. Continue reading Collection: Currency (expired, variety), vol. 5 (includes Bulgaria!)

Backyard, seasons, life #haiku

In the backyard of a new life
Drinking a weak warm cup
Watching leaves change near Winter

Mae Maes – Ryoko’s band at Mukunomi Fureai Matsuri

Konnichi-Mae! To complete the trifecta of tunes from Saturday’s Matsuri comes my favourite!

Ryoko’s band Mae Maes played at a community outdoor festival (you can see video some of the other performers elsewhere in this archive) and several of the usual supporters were out on a sunny and surprisingly hot day, including the effervescent Tadanori Suzumura-san – “the Shacho” (boss) is a singer himself and a huge supporter of local music. 

Here we are hanging out: 

Continue reading Mae Maes – Ryoko’s band at Mukunomi Fureai Matsuri

Post’d: New Year’s cards 2020, wave 1

Batch one of New Year’s postcards sent to seven countries. 95 items in this wave, many more to come…

I will admit, the printer messed up on some of them and the paper choice wasn’t quite as expected, so please grade me on a curve.

Say a prayer to the postal kami that my hand-writing of addresses passes readability standards, and the inky and postal stamps meets approval for both aesthetic and practical purposes.

Noting, if not already, this dispatch definitely put me over 1000 items mailed in 2019. I received almost 50 items in return – each a treasure. #wink

Trainspotting: Freight Train Pulling Out of Okayama (Japan) Station

Nothing special, just a freight train pulling out of Okayama Station (with announcements in the background). Just an ambient observation for amusement.