Tag Archives: japanlife

Diary: usual days / summer’s end 2020 (ophthalmologist, peanut butter, cats, coins, plans)

This summer was a splendid fog of humid waves of action welcoming baby Ichiro amongst *all the world*. Yet, remains tasks to do (esp as i am still getting settled as an immigrant in a new country and logistically removing myself from several other countries, so: make a list, check the items, repeat.

Anyhow, what follows are scenes of “usual days” in late-summer 2020 as we caught up on life after welcoming Ichiro and tending to various life admin tasks. In other words, the bits which don’t fit anywhere else yet i find somehow amusing. Minimally annotated, non-chronologically. Carry on. 

Note: I roll slowly (1 action per day and only 1 outing a week usually) so strategic planning and adjusting to my health and the baby’s need were/are key.

Sept. 1, an ophthalmologist visit (more spectacle related items throughout this archive) with Dr. Kobayashi (no relation to the goat farmer).  

Background: I have challenging/delicate eyes (astigmatism, wearing glasses since a baby) and need an awesome ophthalmologist (眼科医
Gankai) eye doctor – was hoping someone with english skills as some the vocab evades me but had a very thorough test and fresh prescription to take to an ace optometrist and/or optician + optical shop / Note: tricky eyes so the “cheap and cheerful” places aren’t right for me.

Also: for the eye chart, instead of “letters” it was circle shapes with an opening to the up, down, right or, left. Of course the circle shapes and the opening became progressively smaller. got to do it all in japanese to add the brain confusion / needed to be placed in a dark quiet room for the rest of the day to reset my brain / needed a quiet room after. Continue reading Diary: usual days / summer’s end 2020 (ophthalmologist, peanut butter, cats, coins, plans)

Ichiro: gift thank-you cards (vol. 2+) / 9.25~Oct. 13

Continuing on with Ichiro Cards (see vol. 1 of the meta proces documentation if inclined) obsessively custom, handmade of course, to send to folks who sent such lovely gifts from around the world.

The batches change due to supplies (esp paper stock and printer ink) as well as as we fresh-up ideas… In general include special snaps cut with dear Mom’s (heavy metal) pinking shears, attached to custom stamped (inky & franked postal) postcards then enveloped with family photo / am I ruining the surprise?

As such, some started simple…

and got more “maximalist” as we went along:

Some get a few photos to connect other stories (with annotations on reverse), e.g.:

Or catch up with life and things folks might like:

with “bonus snaps/items” which simply amuse metaphorical reasons or have some backstory:

sometimes the assortment doens’t make sense until you receive somehow corresponding items crossing in the mail. In this case, Richard Brautigan is the connective magic.

Sometimes we receive a snap of the delivered mail. In this case, the elegantly placed postal cancellation stamp from the folks at Higashi Okayama post office:

And while i sorta try to take snaps of most of the finished pieces, i invariably forgot most, but here’s a snap of a note which made the journey to California. Thanks JJ:

In general, we are trying to make a little something extra special special for everyone to brighten up their day in evidently strange times. First was to the dear folks who have mailed remarkable gift packages, care boxes and cards from around the world in commemoration of the birth of this dude.

Here’s another on display on a fridge in Vegas, to which we replied: 

“… fantastic to see! You know we absolutely love making these and seeing them complete their journey, hopefully bringing a smile to the recipient, especially in times of tumult. We truly appreciated your thoughtful gift.” (thanks C &T!)

Update Sept 26:

Ichiro cards batch, Sept 26

Each envelope receives an extra kiss before we send out upon a wormhole journey to points on earth Each one unique (of course) and crafted with affection for recipients… Get so excited thinking of the splendid cards arriving to post boxes elsewhere.

The stamps are chosen with care at the post office. Oddly, the standard international Air Mail rate of ¥110 is challenging to match up so we often over pay in order to get colourful designs rather than boring meters.

Update, Oct. 6:

Another 18 dossiers dropped at post office today (on a stroller walk with lil Ichi-Stan who is neighbourhood famous).

Each dispatch is hand-crafted / unique + that’s “batch 4” for Ichiro-cards, batch 5 already underway (about 23 envelopes) / noting each batch varies by materials available & inspiration sparks (do you want to see them all?)

Note: likely puts over 500 analog mail-outs for the year (including New Year’s cards) > this hobby does get a bit expensive (ink! stamps!) but joy to send a piece of “us” (with Ryoko Olson) is worth every yen. #kokoro

Let’s enjoy international correspondence from global correspondents!

Update, Oct. 13:

Another 18 going out into the world, or was it 23? Either way, another variation on the same idea… inky stamps, franked postage stamps collected around the world, special snaps of Ichi and other treats… scissors, glue, labels, love.

Batch 5, (or is it 6?) of Ichiro cards going out into the world… / hopefully finding hearts which are as grateful as we are. Each made with affection and truly unique. And yes, each is “important“ because the stamp says so.

Note: Persimmon not included

Redundant notes

Further annotations & postal tips.

Get in on the fun by mailing to:

Ichiro Olson
937-1 Tsuchida, Naka-ku
Okayama-shi, Okayama-ken
703-8217 Japan

Fondly from Tsuchida Cottage

Ichiro: card #47 “Goat Farm”(with moustache) / 10.10

Ichiro: card #47 “Goat Farm” (with moustache) / 10.10

Ichiro: card #47 “Goat Farm” (with moustache) / 10.10

Meanwhile, earlier in the week – before spectacle shop and wedding officiating, yet before a dentist appointment – we went to our favorite hideaway: Rural Caprine Farm, Mac Kobayashi, proprietor.

Lost in the Aisle (variation on a theme, 3)

Variation: 3, with Ichiro

2 Thorvalds, lost in the aisle

Memo: Worth noting that through all the pregnancy and 3 1/2 months since he was born, we haven’t been out to physical store shopping for him a single time.

Everything ordered online, showed up as care packages #grateful, hand me downs from community etc.

Today made an (appropriately safe) stop at a sortof kid’s stuff box store – resisted buying matching Curious George onesies simply because they didn’t have one in my size, however some organic cotton items, cute pjs & a larger “asanoha” hemp leaf gi for him acquired (along with other bargain sundries) #io

Ichiro: card #46 “Moshi moshi, Ichiro desu” / 10.2

Ichiro: card #46 “Moshi moshi, Ichiro desu” / 10.2

Ichiro: card #46 “Moshi moshi, Ichiro desu” / 10.2

PS “no i don’t wish to purchase insurance, please do not call here again”

#io collect the series for best results

Ichiro: card #45 “99 days” / 9.30

Ichiro: card #45 “99 days” / 9.30

Ichiro: card #45 “99 days” / 9.30

99 days  / Each better than the last somehow.

The vocalizations, the smile, the happy demeanor, the active eyes… All of it so wonderful!

PS have an *actual* photo shoot scheduled to celebrate 100 days (101 but close enough)… We didn’t do a pro shoot during the pregnancy or well, up to here… The conundrum is choosing which adorable outfit to wear (for him and mom and papa)

#io collect the series for best results

Ichiro: card #44 “3 months”(2 variations) / 9.23

Ichiro card #44 “3 Months”, variation 1, by dave

Note: has yet to *actually * “Explore BC” PS Thanks Rebecca and John for cute outfit

Ichiro card #44 “3 Months”, variation 2, by Ryoko

こんにちは。 イチローです。 今日で生まれてから3ヶ月が経ちました。 半月前までは、お腹が空いてすぐ泣いていたけど、最近は笑ったり、よく眠れるようになったよ。そして、その分泣かなくなったよ。お喋りの練習もしてるよ。日本語と英語はまだまだだけど、パパとママの言ってることはわかるよ。ママが作ってくれたこの帽子、ようやくフィットしたよ。 どんどん成長するよ。これからも宜しくね。

Hello. I’m Ichiro. It’s been three months since I was born today. Until half a month ago, I was often hungry and crying, but lately I’ve been laughing a lot and sleeping a lot. I don’t cry that much. I am also practicing talking and soon will speak in English in Japanese, but for now, I just understand mom and dad. This hat was made by mom and it finally fits just right. Best regards to me as I grow steadily.

Community Centre (variation on a theme, 2)

Variation: 2, with Ichiro

At a community centre for a kid’s clothes and stuff swap (clean and safe, don’t sweat it).

Items acquired, plus other items: observed (diary).

Ichiro: gift thank-you cards (vol. 1+) / 8.21~9.19

PS yes i do have 2 Dymo labelers, doesn’t everyone?

Aug. 21: Doing a batch of custom “Ichiro cards“, obsessively handmade of course, to send to folks who sent such lovely gifts from around the world.

Just trying to make a little something extra special special for everyone to brighten up their day in evidently strange times.

Note: Packages are arriving from Canada… Just takes rather long due to limited flights coming across the Pacific these days – Further annotations & postal tips.

Memo: It’s worth noting that with the baby, various big changes in life, postal disruptions etc., I’m a little bit behind in my usual copious correspondence. Please know that every one of your letters is savoured, displayed, properly archived and what not. I will do my best to answer everything eventually. Your anticipated patience is much appreciated.

Update, Sept 3 / Batch one, away! 

Various countries (also Ichi’s Canada Citizenship packet – truly unimpressed with service from Canadian Embassy/ Consular section in Tokyo – ugh rudeness and hassles for a birthright and taxpayer… #stopcomplaining)

Update / Sept 7: Another chance for a session (this sort of project is hard to do in short bursts, doing what we can…) 

Best thanks for all your wonderful notes and thoughts (can’t quite stay up with everything these days).

Note: So glad we are documenting his/this journey. Noting all parents have different feelings about how much to share/ what to share/ permission/ privacy etc. This is all thought through. 

Update / Sept 11

Batch 2 into the wormhole! Stamps carefully chosen naturally (even though the desired designs resulted in overpaying for postage… you are worth it :)). 

Annotation: Pictured (below x2) is the “work stuff” / so many wonderful supplies to play with. Kinda hard to explain but as a project goes on, of course the form evolves and sometimes i worry that the first round isn’t as good as later rounds or maybe the opposite as i am definitely a “maximalist” and don’t do that “design is 99% invisible” flow.

Use all the goodness all the time! My point? I just hope they are enjoyed and care is noticed (so i don’t feel like the family who handmade caramel apples for Halloween just to have them all tossed out when kids return home from trick or treat). Am i making sense? Didn’t think so. #tinybitobsessive  

Even… sometimes include “bonus snaps/items” which simply amuse me for metaphorical reasons and i think recipients will dig – especially “remixd” #meta photos of some kind or another or ones which are the answer to a question never asked (like the significance of a bridge).

Update / Sept 19:

So many treasures arriving for #IchiroOlson / each of course sparks a splendid handcrafted, unique postal treasure in reply. So very grateful.

As such, round 3 of “Ichiro Thank you for gift cards” underway. Changing styles to fit the supplies on hand and a few stationery items recently arrived. Each batch unique, each card… we’ll keep making until whenever. 

Note: the only existing complete analog series of the 43 (so far) Ichiro “#io” cards, cut with dear Mom’s (heavy metal) pinking shears, attached to custom stamped (inky & franked postal) postcards then enveloped with family photo / am I ruining the surprise?

(Redundant note) these are going to the dear folks who have mailed remarkable gift packages, care boxes and cards from around the world in commemoration of the birth of this dude.

Get in on the fun by mailing to:

Ichiro Olson
937-1 Tsuchida, Naka-ku
Okayama-shi, Okayama-ken
703-8217 Japan

Star of the show!

 

Diary: baby (items) exchange at community centre (+ census)

Census form packet came in post! Really starting to feel like I *live* in Japan now, (complete with adorable wife and wonderful baby, house full of art and parents next-door… Some kind of heaven). Looking forward to checking some boxes. ForeverHome, Okayama.

Yesterday went to community centre (with protocols etc.) for an exchange of baby clothes, toys etc > came home with stroller, bouncer, various trains & planes, and bunch of cool clean outfits for his next growth spurt. Zero cost. Hooray (Tsuchida, Okayama) community! 

There’s also various events (assuming etc. etc.) for a parent’s club including a Christmas party so I might as well just volunteer to be Santa Claus, it’s practically an obligation I think. Scheduling beard re-grow for post-Halloween.

While at the community centre, observed 3 items – which will you choose?

1) karaoke cassette (double w/ features)
2) facsimile transmitter/receiver
3) cellophane tape, various dispensers

PS on the stroll there & back again (finally) autumn-ish (ps i love summer but this year was a bit intense for delicate me)

Diary: Introducing Ichiro to maternal great-grandfather Fujii at Ohaka

photo on the ohaka (grave) of maternal great-grandfather Fujii

Ryoko’s mother’s family name is Fujii, not to be confused with Father’s family name Fujita.

Recently, paternal grandmother passed away, paternal grandfathers are both long passed.

In this case we visited Ohaka (grave) of Ichiro’s maternal great-grandfather (Ryoko’s grandfather obv) with the in-laws/parents to wash and clean, offer a prayer and introduce Ichi. 

I don’t know much of his backstory – enough to riff at least – i’ll connect some more pieces for a later update for curiosity seekers. 

Note: there is a panorama of the epically endless cemetery and massive crematorium (under expansion) plus family photos to include > this is a reminder to add at some point for posterity and whatnot. 

Ichiro: card #43 “Stanley Ramone” (Hey! Ho! Ikimasho) / 9.13

Ichiro: card #43 “Stanley Ramone” (Hey! Ho! Ikimasho) / 9.13

Ichiro: card #43 “Stanley Ramone” (Hey! Ho! Ikimasho) / 9.13

Note: Thanks to Cory DeMille and Trinity in LV for the onesie, and Sharif and Miriam in AMS for the percussion.

Original snap by marvelous mother Ryoko Olson

Bonus: Ramones – Blitzkrieg Bop (Official Music Video)