Tag Archives: japan

Rolling Elsewhere: Joetsu to Tokamachi, Niigata, Japan (excerpts)

Scenes out the window on a train ride from Joetsu to Tokamachi in Niigata, Japan, including stops at various stations. No narration or whatnot. This is all, roll on pleasantly.

Farm Plan for Party / Dave + Ryoko 4-21 Kekkon-shiki

In planning for the wedding party at Mr. Mac Kobayashi’s Rural Caprine Farm, we set out to transform his goat barns into a 1920s-ish Taisho-era-esque jazz lounge meets eclectic nature retreat. We needed places for band to set-up to play comfortably, for ceremony with seating and small stage, for a grand table for bride and groom, an area to have guest book and photo booth, stash gift bags, make name tags and choose and decorate custom bamboo cup, plus dancing, chilling, serving food, cooking food (bar–b-que spits), and also 10+ beverage stations including a tea ceremony experience and oh yeah, an area for mothers and babies to chill out.

In all this planning came the following sketches (executed by Ryoko), shared here for posterity and amusement. (Note: possibly more sketches to follow).

Oh and these were used by Oka-sensei who constructed stages and backdrops and other staging in a truly remarkable manner and by friends who set up stations and decorations on the morning of the event.

Note: more evidence of the results are found elsewhere in this archive.

Watching steps… / Shinkonryoko Ramble

Watching my every each step

Is the task at hand

So i’ll watch yours instead

Continue reading Watching steps… / Shinkonryoko Ramble

Rolling Elsewhere – Thunderbird Limited Express Train (excerpts), Japan

Just rolling ambient views looking out window at countryside and stations in-situ while aboard the Thunderbird Limited Express train – from Shin-Osaka station toward Kanazawa via Kyoto.

No narration, or whatnot. This is all, roll on pleasantly. 

PS There are more, plenty. 

 

Tea Ceremony in Sketches

A loose translation of the poem on the scroll in the alcove

My darling Ryoko studies Japanese tea ceremony with a group of others from Okayama and Kurashiki. Recently i was invited along to a special tea-drinking session at her sensei Ms. Matsuke’s house (she’s moving house so wanted to do one last one shindig at her home). 

We gather around, have some snacks and chat while setting up and then convene in a room to go through the process. As a new-un to the routine, i sketched a variety of quick scribbles to remind myself the process and find the moment of stillness (not always easy for this eager fella). Brief notes accompany the sketches. 

The general set up of the tea room with the alcove, scroll of poetry, brazier, tatami mats on floors – otherwise intentionally sparse.

Continue reading Tea Ceremony in Sketches

Musings towards Uno: Smugglers book, provided Pyjamas, and Vancouver history

Before leaving Uo back to Tsuchida, found a ridiculous burger!

As it goes… I’m riding the Uno Bus heading to Uno to stay at Uno Port Inn near where magical wife is teaching a tree trimming workshop. Though to be clear, in Okayama, i switch to the Ryobi bus.

Agenda includes: local Hot Spring bath; giant wild boar made of used plastic trash; fancy coffee and card writing; and reading Grant Lawrence’s Dirty Windshields (about time rambling with rock n rollers: The Smugglers).

First though, a stop at post office to mail more wedding thank-you cards & dropping off 35mm film shot at goat farm (supervised by Kris Krüg).

Watched: Andrew McLuhan’s riff from The Inscriptorium (The McLuhan Institute) about Marshall & Eric McLuhan, James Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake & Wyndham’s art.

Update: on the bus ride, I listened to BC Hall of Famer Nardwuar interview Eve Lazarus including a Vancouver history/culture name check explosion including Aaron Chapman, Colleen Hardwick, the Beatles, Chuck Davies and more more more. Esp enjoyed AC’s Tom Waits-esque spoken-song. 

coincidentally (if there is such a thing), buddy James shared a snap of Aleks (who was featured in True North Media House goodness) with the Hall o Famer (note: check out my coverage of his TEDx Van talk)… James says: It’s as good as getting a photo with the PM. A proud Canadian moment!

Also enjoyed recollections of “beatnik“ coffee/jazz lounge scene – Worth noting that Allen Ginsberg performed at at least one of these places and Sonny Terry and Brownie McGee recorded a legendary blues album at the Bunkhouse (which apparently “featured” topless waitresses).

Also, the post office mission was successful (including super sharp stamps) and letters are en route to several countries, the film developing project failed for the time being.

Now enjoying a matcha and jazz in a cool room.

Note: one great thing about rambling in Japan is hotels is pyjamas are provided. #handy Alas, smoking jackets usually aren’t (so packing Nepali red velvet vest).

Update: Stayed at Uno Port Inn which was a treat. Not fancy but they run a accommodation is a pleasant, comfy and unpretentious manner.  My review (added to Tripadvisor and Google Maps): 

Fantastic Location, Great Coffee, Excellent Staff

Location is fantastic with mere steps to ferry terminals and train station and bus stops plus lots of local art around. So handy for jumping off to art islands and/or getting to and from Okayama.

The staff was welcoming and very helpful. The lobby was chill and cozy and the patio was a treat.

The coffee is remarkable and the breakfast was very well prepared (especially nice on the patio).

Was just a quick one-night getaway (we live rather nearby) but made for a fun time. Note: The rooms are rather small but very functional and clean plus feature very nice sheets and pillows and Dr. Bronner’s soap in the bathroom!

Oh!: The folks at UNO Port Inn sent me a couple of snaps they took of yer ole pal me and asked for feedback and the ok to share on socials. Solid marketing / community building. Voila, snap!

Also: While we went out in search of dinner using the map provided by UNO, we found places either booked or closed… this worked out great as we wandered down an un-inviting arcade corridor and found the smallest okonomiyaki place run by an enjoyable old gal who loves dogs.

Finally: Uno and nearby islands Naoshima and neighbours are laden with public art and run a continuous bienalle of some sort. While i traveled across by ferry to Naoshima for a coffee, art walk and a hot springs soak, i won’t delay the click by foisting the relevant documentation now but rather share this remarkable fish made from sadly disposed of polluting nonsense plastic crap sitting on Uno port park area. There is often/usually a wild boar as well / or  but seems the inoshishi had the week off. 

Refuse plastic (and recycle if you can’t refuse but really refuse/avoid/replace as its such garbage!)

End of dispatch.

Munetada Shinto Shrine Primer / Dave + Ryoko 4-20 Kekkon-shiki

While me and Ryoko’s wedding will be a litttlllle bit unique, there are some very traditional aspects to our 3-day event, notably the Shinto ceremony at Munetada Jinjya (shrine).

This shrine is in the neighbourhood where Ryoko grew up and it is a day-to-day working shrine meaning its not a tourist attraction, rather they are active participants in the community and the usual place where folks go to ask for blessings on the birth of babies, safe travel, scholastic success and secret dreams. 

I’ve studied the ceremony overview from the shrine with great interest (albeit with machine translation):

* “With the Gods’ wedding” at Munetada jinjya (Japanese so use Chrome for easy translation) http://www.munetada.jp/kekkon_shiki.html

PS of particular interest is part 4 of the ceremony which includes a purification rite, which says and uses the proper kanji character for cannabis 大麻 – not totally sure what this means but the wedding is on 4/20 so appropriate in a manner:
 
4. Aoi-no-gi (Cannabis) (Hai no Toi)
Ui no Uta (Cannabis) I will ask you before the ceremony. We will treat the bride and groom and all the guests with cannabis. During this time, keep your head down.

Here are a few more articles which provide a bit of background about the routine and background of Shinto weddings:

* What to Expect at a Japanese Wedding: https://www.japantravel-centre.com/blog/6467/

* The Rituals of a Traditional Japanese Shinto Wedding https://fastjapan.com/en/p117513

* Doctrine of Kurozumi
http://kurozumikyo.com/dogma
 

Furthermore, to prepare for the ceremony, i present a photo gallery of the shrine and grounds… beginning with the traditional Torii gate which separates the home of deity from the regular city life. 

Continue reading Munetada Shinto Shrine Primer / Dave + Ryoko 4-20 Kekkon-shiki

Wedding Speech / Dave + Ryoko 4-20 Kekkon-shiki

Wedding Speech, Delivered by Neal Cropper at Rural Caprine Farm, April 21, 2019

(Written by Dave Olson with Neal Cropper)

<Neal> Dear assembled beautiful people, We come together today from all over the world, bridging countries and cultures, to witness the next chapter in an ongoing Okayama love story.

Indeed it was here at this lovely farm that Ryoko and Dave first met. Like all true love, there’s is a completely unique story / this Okayama love story features a drifting painter slash poet and a sunny arborist slash jazz singer finding each other at a friend’s farm at the exact moment that they were both ready to begin this new life.

Since then, the relationship has flourished into one of mutual respect, shared interest, many laughs, and sparking more love each day. Love stories are all different, but the great ones always share a foundation of working together with common interests and passions. In this case, a mutual love of art, music, nature, creativity, compassion, living slow and simple, and building a community of friends.

Continue reading Wedding Speech / Dave + Ryoko 4-20 Kekkon-shiki

Shinto Wedding Vow / Dave + Ryoko 4-20 Kekkon-shiki

Shinto wedding vow, Read by Dave and Ryoko in Unison at Munetade Jinjya (shrine), April 20, 2019

Phoneticized from Japanese by Ryoko (Fujita) Olson Note: copy provided for shrine for convenience of any future non-Japanese literate marriage candidates.

Continue reading Shinto Wedding Vow / Dave + Ryoko 4-20 Kekkon-shiki

Collection: Payphones (vol. 6) – assorted varieties / Japan, etc.

Hello to the people in the future,

What follows are public telephones created in a time when phones did not roam freely and in pockets.

To make a call, one would either enter a specially-created booth (or box), or simply stand close by as the receivers were tethered to the phone unit by a short cord, then insert a variety of coins depending on the location called (local, domestic or international) or in some cases, use a purpose-made phone card, or even a credit card (though doing so often exposed one to fraudulent actors).

Perhaps you have already imagined the unsanitary nature of sharing a phone handset (placed next/close to ear and mouth of course) with strangers – though perhaps this increased “herd immunity” despite being rather unpleasant. Note that oftentimes the coin return slots were checked for forgotten change but the miner was surprised to find discarded chewing gum, or even-less-savoury items, instead.

This gallery is primarily Japan phone – both current working payphones, hotel house phones, house landlines, antique non-working artifacts and one from Indonesia, captured “in the wild”.

note: this one is on a Shinkansen train so one can place a call while traveling 200kmph

Additional volumes of similar collections provide additional examples – both international and domestic (to Canada / USA), as well as additional examples of hotel “house” phones.   Continue reading Collection: Payphones (vol. 6) – assorted varieties / Japan, etc.