Tag Archives: jj walsh

Snaps: JJ visits Tsuchida cottage & kura studio

i love my kura studio!

My friend J.J. Walsh – who hosts a great series of videos focused on sustainability and people doing interesting things around eco-ness in Japan – popped by for a quick visit today and snapped these fun photos of me in my mysterious little world. {

JJ is so much sparkle

She is an absolute ray of sunshine, constantly curious and quick to laugh. We rocked through about 138 topics in a 20 minute visit including Ryoko’s charcoal kiln, our compost set up, our house renovation with the charcoaled suji siding, reused/repurposed furniture and materials, turmeric and ginger… and nearby master carpenter Jon Stollemeyer‘s recent project.

You may be caught the two segments we did together, one about my “life reinvention“ and another one about the joys of Okayama}.

new postcard stash

And she got to check out my beloved sign post in real life and I told her some of the backstory of the important places on the sign (many hospitals and clinics part of my healing ramble) and, as it goes, the subject of a new series of postcards which of course, i gave her a fresh one.

me in my element

I was doing a session in the kura barn studio preparing dossiers of artifacts from the “Kerouac in Kobe” exhibit to folks who reacted/spread the word and we took a quick walk around the yard as well before she sped on down the road in her electric car.

Japan “opens up”* / A few things about #Okayama

* to tourism (not everywhere, not everyone blah blah blah)

Not my photo, source unknown, but it’s so great isn’t it?

If you are curious, Japan is reopening to independent tourism starting October 11 with visa waivers for people from approximately 68 countries/jurisdictions (previously required sponsored business, tour group or onedegree relative visa with a daily limit on total arrivals) still some requirements for proof of 3x vax /negative tests etc. and yes you gotta wear a mask #Airborne but blah blah blah

The gates are creaking open

So here are a few videos (my others) bundled together to share the wonders of my home area of Okayama / Plus usual other ramblings, ergo:

Situation Basics:

Ref: Nikkei Asia “Starting on Oct. 11, short-term visitors will no longer be required to apply for tourist visas. Before the pandemic, Japan allowed visa-free short-term travel from people from 68 countries and regions, such as Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong and the U.S. And with no need to book tours through travel agencies, it will be easier to visit.”

Oh here’s a photo which looks very *Japan* doesn’t it?

Some requirements about proof of three times vaccination and negative test still required and yes to masks (no whining).

Briefly: its “Okayama” not…

I live in Okayama – sorta between Osaka and Hiroshima, close-ish to Kyoto (but you should go to Kanazawa instead) Not close to Tokyo and not to be confused with Okinawa.

We are famous for peaches and grapes, folktales about peaches, the best jeans in the entire world, my buddy’s goat farm, a lively jazz scene, and some great museums, including the incredible “European sampler pack“ at at Ohara museum in Kurashiki (yes, also lots of Japanese art obviously), also the most sunshine of any part of Japan. 

Importantly, the “jumping off point” to go to the inland sea filled with islands of interesting art exhibits and onwards to the fourth of the “main islands” Shikoku with hidden villages, surf beaches and pilgrimages.

Here’s a starting primer (written in 2019 so you know, could use a fresh up):

Here’s everything except the stuff I forgot in 2019

Let’s Go: “Not-To-Be-Missed Okayama Travel Gems You’ve Never Heard Of”

Oh it’s me, self-proclaimed “Okayama super fan“ talking with the effervescent JJ Walsh on her show Seek Sustainable Japan having a casual fun coffee talk about all my favorite things, a great place to start:

JJ makes really fun shows all around Japan talking to interesting people doing work around sustainable agriculture, architecture, tourism and lifestyle

Demin “Jeans Street” Kojima

Among the wonderful things about Okayama prefecture is the town of Kojima with “Jeans Street” featuring dozens of smallish factory/shops making and selling artisan and/or bespoke denim jeans.

sneakers on powerlines are boring, hang jeans instead

The area was originally known for making school uniforms which still happens but overshadowed by very enthusiastic international following for jeans.

Often hand indigo dyed, various weaves & cuts, endless nuanced options, and superior craftsmanship. Not cheap but these are generational-quality clothing items.

Anyhow, this video is an interview and tour with one of the originals called Betty Smith going back to the 1960s. They specialize in ladies jeans in heritage (1970s!) styles, made by Japanese women in a fantastically interesting factory, with a museum and other supporting attractions/tours etc.

Make sure to turn the CC on for English translation.

Record shops: a enthusiast’s stroll

Onwards! this time record shops:

You know I love records, quirky shops and dig “grassroots” creative productions, as such, this fellow named Michael, who also lives in the same prefecture (I don’t know him), started up a channel to share stuff about records and shops and rice fields and here’s him coming into my erstwhile hometown of Okayama.

Unrelated to the video *but* a great example of the “Obi” paper wrapper and Japanese liner notes you’re find with records here
He seems like a nice guy, give his videos some click

He rides the cool streetcar, checks out a few local record stores – several i’ve visited, several are closed on Wednesday he made his outing – so you can see some of my under-appreciated city and where to score some legendary Japanese pressing/packaging vinyl.

Goat farm, my fave place

This is my favorite place in all of Japan, Mac Kobayashi’s goat farm, cafe, market and music lounge (plus my accidental art gallery :))

goats, not doing yoga, listening to music… Seriously, they love listening to the music

Please watch the video below for more about the goat farm and my pal Mac Kobayashi in this exhibit related video (5:34 mark) and of course my postbox haiku paintings :)

Goat farm starts at 5:34 but watch it all

Memo: The painting was “just the postbox”, then i found a matching mailbox and installed at the farm, wrote the haiku onto the postbox, and then added to the painting to complete the meta circle. oh then made postcard prints and a book and mailed postcard of the postbox to the postbox…

Also (of course there is more):

Throughout this archive, you can find videos about the best way to get from the airport (KIX/Kansai) to here, how to get around this area, a language primer plus all kinds of “field notes” about museums in Okayama and other cities (including faves like Nagasaki, Kanazawa & Toyama + Tottori & Shimane aka Japan’s hidden gems.

I probably have miscellaneous archives of trains, in fact I definitely have lots of ambient videos of riding trains around Japan, and maybe some posts about the fantastic nearby city of Kurashiki &/or the local jazz scene. If I don’t let me know cause I can address these topics. All other topics, probably not, I don’t get out much.

Give me a call, we’ll talk about Japan / video by Trevor Williams (oh, I should share his video about Bizen pottery… really though this deserves more discussion

I have nothing to share about Tokyo or Osaka and a few minor unhelpful things about Kyoto. Fortunately, the Internet is jampacked with stuff about those places which frankly, you should just skip for best experience. I mean, they’re great and everything I guess but that’s where everyone goes and don’t you wanna do something unique and interesting? Sure you do.

Your humble correspondent awaits your correspondence

For the most part, you can rely on the posts being rather sloppy, definitely quirky, rather unedited and only marginally useful.

Okayama Japan Travel Overview on #SustainableTravelJapan

+ from: Okayama Super Fan / dept of propaganda ≠

I was a guest on JJ Walsh Seeking Sustainability live talk show (sept 27, 2021) during a special week about tourism in Setouchi/Chugoku region talking about dear forever home Okayama.

Topics were varied – from Bizen pottery to art islands to custom Kojima denim to grateful goats and most points in between – banter was amusing (she does great research) and spectacles on point 🙂

Hope i represented well for spirit of Momotaro as i name-checked favourites aspects of living in the “Goldilocks of Japan” ™. Spoiler: my *not-secret* fave is Rural Caprine Farm. Also name checks for Mac Kobayashi & Amy Chavez ++ so many locals businesses & destinations including Katsuyama, Maniwa, various ~shima, the Market & the mystery of Momotaro & utility access covers (Pokéman).

Do consider sitting down with a leisurely beverage and hanging out. Eager to hear what you think.

The effervescent host and Inbound Ambassador said the following:

Continue reading Okayama Japan Travel Overview on #SustainableTravelJapan

Gratitude Omnibus (with ukulele and K trucks)

A round-up for musings from the kura grain barn studio with several topics: new records, summer starts, fathers (various), mentors, Kerouac in Kobe event, construction (on-going), summer projects, healing ramble series, and of course Ichiro.

Note: Painting in background by my wonderful niece Hannah Olson

++ Name checks for Ken Bole, Larry Harper, Ed Saukkooja, Matt Theado, Bill Janovitz, RJ Garn, Dan Mangan, Fujita Takushi, Lorne Olson, Joe Strummer, Luca Fogale, Colin McTaggart… Plus a mention of the Seeking sustainability in Japan talk show w/ Walsh JJ and a couple of other radio/pod hits I did about the Olympics with outlets in Vancouver on CKNW & The Breaker News.

It’s a little bit messy right now to say the least but… Big moves in the kura barn studio >> now fortified with proper electrical outlets and a breaker box!

As such, re-ran some cords and connected a cassette /cd / usb player to my early 1980s vintage Yamaha amp and 100 pound record player.

Tested out with vinyl by The Weakerthans and CD by Hey Rosetta and USB by RJ Garn’s Retrospective. Cassettes are all bundled in boxes behind the chaos so waiting until the heat pump/cooler is installed to do a big rearrange including a new shelf for all this gear.

Will be all nice and tidy and ready for relaxing times when you come to visit #hint

Oh yeah, got some new records (shock!) I’ll share with you another time.

From Creative Social Media to Postcards Stories on “Seeking Sustainability” audio

Look at me! A postbox in the forest, thanks JJ!

I was guest on JJ Walsh’sSeeking Sustainability in Japan live video streaming show (which transmits via YT, FB and several other channels using Happs.tv) from Hiroshima. And now, there is also an audio podcast version of Seeking Sustainability for your aural convenience.

ergo: “New podcast now UP from my talk last week with Dave Olson about his career as a social media visionary for Hoostsuite in Vancouver, and his current projects with house remodel and designing scrapbook style postcards to create social connections during Covid. Look forward to a future chat (when it’s not rainy) more on his house remodel project + look forward to a future chat with his arborist partner about her interesting passion for trees.”

You can listen on any podcast player you like (Episode 259) or on InboundAmbassador.com/ssl-podcasts/

&/or

Pulled out a lot of stories that I’ve kept it hidden for sometime. Thanks for the space to riff out the long jams. Topics around building a holistic life in Japan, i.e. our generational house project, story making as a biz, living cheap and cheerful, possibly fermenting, and yeah my arborist/jazz singer wife Ryoko and my exceptionally adorable almost 1-year-old Ichiro Stanley.

Even a pitch for my DaveOShop at Buy Me a Coffee and mentions of loads of other creative output you’ll find in this very archive. 

Slow Life on “Seeking Sustainability” talk-show storytime with JJ Walsh

I was guest on JJ Walsh’s live video streaming show (which transmits via YT, FB and several other channels using Happs.tv) from Hiroshima. Noticed so many interesting guests on her show so raised my hand and sent an “audition reel” and voila… 

From Creative Social Media Connections to Postcard Storytelling | Dave Olson| Episode 259

JJ’s introduction:

Poems and Postcards from Okayama to the World by DaveOStory Dave Olson – looking forward to chatting about life in rural Japan, finding a creative way to connect with people across the world during Covid, his background in journalism and career as a Canadian hockey commentator and more…”

Was fun to riff on so many different topics and stories.
Noting that the effervescent Ms. Walsh rocks out one or two of these shows *every weekday* (buy her a coffee). Huge commitment to building community and boundless energy. She really does her preparation as well #Respect PS there is also an audio podcast version of Seeking Sustainability for your aural convenience. 

Pulled out a lot of stories that I’ve kept it hidden for sometime. Thanks for the space to riff out the long jams. Topics around building a holistic life in Japan, i.e. our generational house project, story making as a biz, living cheap and cheerful, possibly fermenting, and yeah my arborist/jazz singer wife Ryoko and my exceptionally adorable almost 1-year-old Ichiro Stanley. 

Even a pitch for my DaveOShop at Buy Me a Coffee and mentions of loads of other creative output you’ll find in this very archive.

just a little DIY promo item of me cheesing out with a postbox in Katsuyama

Note: had planned to set-up outside but just before noticed the workers are pulling into the yard with tile / brick saws (loud!) and a rain is falling (i don’t mind but the camera do) so gonna adjust my planned set up.