Tag Archives: japanlife

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.

Item: Boots (at Hospital) + safety ramen

Today’s boots and socks combo for hospital visit. #looksharp / easy on and off is key in Japan / gotta make a simple outing for enjoyable somehow

not only did I wear these sharp boots, I also purchased gum, three packs (1 for back, 1 for car, 1 by door) & a pocari sweat (electrolytes :)) at the embedded 7-11 in hospital

PS Safety ramen before as well #important

You, Me & the Algorithm

Just wrote a “song” (more of a sprechgesang) – working title: You, Me & the Algorithm (trying to figure out nuclear fission) for the album called “Poste Restante” (or maybe “General Delivery” so dont hafta explain.)

As usual, its Dylan-esque– not in its quality per se but rather because it has like 14 verses, 3 bridges and maybe a chorus, or maybe 13 of those. I’m not sure but either way, I’ve got to figure out how these chord progressions work :) ive got a G C E Am kinda F & D & Gdm (or is it 7th?).

Then i can perform on this lovely “stage” (which is where the now-deprecated pool oasis was before typhoon) for audience of the wild boar living in the bamboo forest and possibly Ichiro, and you if i can track down the tripod. Bring your own lawnchair. Hot water provided for tea.

Then again, might just get lost in the notebook or maybe transcribed and posted in the “old man punk” category of my web archive waiting on someone who knows all the chords to make all song-ish. Who’s to say?

I just write the lines about “Columbus BJ Honeycutt hams” plus something about Plato & Leonard laying it down &/or Zeus & Buddha on a Pan Am flight sharing pack of Salema. Isnt that enough? Whew.

Nice bath, good night lovelies.

DaveO51 ~ Birthday Bentos, Bevvies: annotations & evidence

rain storms, cake and gratitude

Preamble: So much to report as we moved into the new/old house in the midst of my birthday (16th) which coincides around “Obon” time here in Japan when folks return to their ancestral hometown/villages for respects to ancestors including washing graves. Usually full of festivals with dancing and snacks. This year, like last, festivals and celebrations are no-go & was squished in with typhoons, vax, errands and… so much wonder.

Let’s begin with the night of Aug 15th (birthday eve if you will). We had moved mattresses and desk (hello) over to Tsuchida “cottage” (now “station”) and then back over (a metre away) with the parents for a massive sashimi feast.

Evidence of such wondrous food!

Then we slept in the new/old house in new birthday present pyjamas (with matcha gelato cones print)!

Such a treat to wake up 51 with this life.

With my 2 cuddlers.

Next, coffee (and tried not to look at the cake in process behind)

Then we headed out for a pleasant session of seitai treatment with the kindly doctor (no evidence of treatment but i did snap my shoe/sock combo in the car so there’s that).

Oh & listened to the national high school baseball tournament on the radio while going to seitai treatment and watching the bullet train roll by. Japan Life indeed.

Then, back at Tsuchida Station, cobbled together 6 + 1 chairs and tidied up enough to have our first dinner in the renewed house.

Such Fun with my squad: father in law Takushi, mother in law Junko plus the Mac the goat farmer, Manami the designer and my Ryoko and Ichiro.

We ate massive deluxe bento boxes of gourmet items + fancy sausages from Doppo Brewery along with growlers of Dunkel & Kolsch made just a couple km away.

Aside: Small scale brewing was legalized in Japan in 1996 after I left the first time and one of the very first was right here near my house – called Doppo – they were a centuries old sake maker that added new skills and product. All *very serious* German styles but now added some more styles using local grapes and other seasonal fruits.

They have these incredible weird fliptop growlers like I’ve never seen before too. Strangely enough, they are brewpub is super close to me but because of corona, I’ve never gone in there to actually eat and drink, just get take away .

Anyhow: of course the goat farmer rolled in with a whole variety pack of German, Danish, Italian and other location brews.

Did i mention the yakiniku wagyu?

*Of course* Ryoko fired up the first use of the new oven and made her first cake, double-double with icing, fruit and nuts and decorations.

Ichiro was duly impressed.

Much laughs with the gang and snaps as evidence and then records in the kura with Mac & Manami. I’m a very fortunate lad.

Plus wrapped it by taking the trash out by midnight in pyjamas.

Memo: Of course, we’re still in the midst of getting settled into the new/old house “Tsuchida Station” amidst rainstorms so I’m a little bit behind in your lovely messages ~ don’t worry, each well noted each will be replied with full vigour and enthusiasm {& likely postcards…}

Ichiro getting settled into the new/ old house

Today was putting away things in the closet and kitchen, we’re getting there, full video tour to follow eventually because you know me, I always need too many projects.

Zam!: Speaking of silly hats and kind words, you know i love a collage (or static montage) and this photo flashback from my dear friend Rebecca in Vancouver dang near brought me to tears. Thanks so much for the awsum snaps of (some of) our adventures and for your friendship and thinking about me. Truly. {& already of daydreaming of Stanley Park picnics with you and John.}

via @Miss604 twitter

You are each and everyone of you so wonderfully kind for thinking about me and sending along your sweet messages. Settled in with hot coffee and leftover cake to write postcards of gratitude, {mostly postcards of me wearing silly hats}.

3 of us Aug 16, 2021 (see Aug. 16, 2020) photo by Mac Kobayashi

Note: if I don’t have your address or if you’re not sure if I do https://daveostory.com/more-daveo/postal-club/

Obviously and fondly, Daveo

“set” for “Castles, Foundations and Pyjamas video (note Jack Kerouac apple pie and vanilla ice cream, Utah Brautigan hat, sweet notebook, 50 & 51 items and other talisman)

PS did you watch my birthday annotations recapping the year video? Includes musings from Saskatoon to Tsuchida & many points & topics, riffs between over 51 years today {yes it involves some poorly played baritone ukulele!}

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

 

 

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

Tsuchida Cottage Construction Roof Raising (time lapse + snaps)

After a 3+ weeks of digging out and laying foundation, connecting to various systems and preparing all the timbers with specific joints, as well as removing walls, clearing out eaves of giant beehives and adding insulation, on an auspicious day, a crew came and assembled the main structure (walls and roof) of the house addition.

Basically a new room where previous was a car park which now sorta connects the existing house with a carport and naya (tool shed). Overall, there will be a new genkon (formal entrance), a woodstove, handwash station, the piano and desks will move in here too along with a heavy big table. Skylight and windows including a “patio door” etc anyhow… T

here was a small ceremony involved (salt purification) and the architect Morioka-san chief builder Ishii-san and others were on site with a variety pack of workers. I (daveo) did a “coffee ceremony” with 3 types (both beans and preparation method) for the crew which was very pleasant.

We (the family) also went to tell Grandfather Ichiro and Grandmother Tomiko about the action at their ohaka (grave).

So…. during all this “Amish Barn Raising” event, i put an olden PhoneRobot on a tripod with extension cord – being careful to stay out of the way of workers and equipment – and ran a time lapse for various parts of 2 days.

The aim is/was to commemorate the happening and show the different construction tools and methods utilized. Nothing fancy… oh i’ll tack on a few still frames snaps at the end with minimal annotations. Possibly some of the lil trucks coming and going, i don’t know, i’m not at that part yet, we’ll see when we get there…

this snap is well-after the video above but was handy to add to the post…

 

Ichiro: cards #61~65 “5ive Set / Farm, Minako, Canadian, Rice, Superstar” 12.2~9.2020

5 – count ’em 5ive – new #Ichiro cards for your on-going collection from early Dec. 2020 (Reiwa 2), series includes:

Ichiro: card “Farm guys” hanging out at uncle Mac’’s goat Emporium Rural Caprine Farm with a haiku post box in the sunshine
Ichiro: card “meeting Minako-san” the remarkable elder lady proprietor of the finest tiny restaurant with ridiculous Okonomiyaki & a completely psychedelic painter (minus the psychedelics)
Ichiro: card “Officially Canadian“ no big deal, came with an awesome sweater and a citizenship certificate
Ichiro: card “Let’s try rice!“A.k.a. “Snacktime“ or “spoonful of wasabi…“ Yep, trying a little bit of sort of solid food in the form of smashed up rice soup. Next step, pierogies
Ichiro: card “Okayama superstar” our prefecture ain’t so famous (unless you count peaches, peach boy legend, denim and school uniforms…) but that’s changing with this dashing dude