Tag Archives: life

Diary: Getting a handle on the Kura “sort-ganizing” project

Round-up from the kura barn/mixed-media-creative-studio-in-process…

this is the key to the main (of 3) mighty heavy doors to the get into the kura barn. if this key gets stuck inside, well we’re hosed. it looks simply but its a deliberate puzzle to open the vault

Next up, going to attempt to carry up a big shelf cabinet – then, hopefully can squeeze in another bookcase and start unloading the huge stash of records and books into something more manageable. [Update: done]

In the meanwhile, here’s a few odds and ends of items which maybe didn’t get floated out there, just to, well… float em out, round em up for your amusement along the way. Progress and all. Annotations in-line with evidence.

so much Tintin stuff! including many “bootleg” remixes – seen here with sea capn’s black globe and brass latern
K. Foster painting, property of R. Scales (still smelled like DTES stank)
Ryoko having dress-up fun with old scouting sash and camp hat of pins and fringe (yes she thinks i’m adorably weird)
explaining the Ryoko what lederhosen are and why i have a fancy pair
still life of fringe suede jacket and sea capn’s globe and latern with Walt Whitman-esque wooden statue in the background
yup, another view of the beloved suitcases – while they are lovely, tis truly the contents which are important, so much to be revealed
clothing sash mostly organized – winter items, hockey.soccer jersey, costumes/specialty wear, the bins of hats and scarves in there too and then a blue bag of kinda things in limbo (my indoor closet is rather limited
Of course, must get the stereo set up but, there’s a little broken plug connector thingy snapped off inside of the speaker connector place. Not quite sure how to resolve but… One revolution at a time. This is a great little Onkyo set-up repatriated to its origin land – need a new CD deck to match / and figure out the mixing board for other projects
a rack of jackets! including US forest service, a Saskatchewan hockey team, a corduroy Inuit, camel air emergency fancy clothes (used for lobbying efforts) so on – seen with Vancouver collage on easel and a load of media and board games
hard to tell from this snap but in these boxes is an epicly eccentric and varied record collection – will share as i get to it but oh wow, we’ll have fun
a few books set aside for another look or sudden service
yet another panorama of the project in process – so much done, so much to do
which is better: the handmade Mavilli hat (with ear flaps), the curlig sweater (with patches), or the moustache/sideburns combo

Diary: Suitcases sorted with scraps and books

Update: each of these majestic suitcases now carries a specific subset of collections, ergo:

one has dossiers and scraps and supplies for making more scrapbooks

another, completed large form scrap books; another has all smaller sized journals, notebooks, diaries etc

next contains “paper point collages“ from various presentations and talks over the years

yet another contains little valuable trinkets from here and there and you

then there are a couple of classic typewriters in cases

a big blue bin filled with percussion odds and ends

another blue bin filled with collections of collections (pins, patches, playing cards, glasses, cameras,…)

another big stack of letter writing supplies with stationery, postcards, paper sets etc.

another satchel bulging with empty notebooks awaiting their turn for scribbles…

And this is just one shelf of many many shelves – below the shelf is boxes of photos, letters, childhood artifacts and the like.

Making great progress and today’s task is hauling up a sturdy shelving cabinet to start offloading records and books / hopefully can get the stereo set up although there’s a little bit of a problem with a broken speaker connector part.
~
Could really use a few elves to enjoy the process with > making sure to keep my pace slow to not “crash” > It’s all quite exciting (oh by the way, yesterday all the clothes and costumes etc. mostly got sorted, folded, stashed)

Diary: Unpacking the Kura, day one (collections of collections, vinyl, books, suitcases, typewriters…)

Note: Heading into the barn to play with artifacts. if no update in 3 days, send snacks & tea (we’ve brought enough to last til then) :)

Notes from the kura barn (day one):

As I opened up dozens of boxes today to kind of do a “rough sort“ and see what I’m dealing with, so many thoughts and emotions flooding back – However, work to do with intent of pulling out a few artifacts for upcoming Jack Kerouac workshop (oh yeah, don’t cancel don’t cancel everything proceed normally etc. etc.)…

Anyhow, I collect collections and, in various cigar boxes, shoeboxes, and satchels of different kinds I have assortments of:

* playing cards (despite the fact that I don’t know how to shuffle or any card games)
* pins of all sorts
* lighters and coasters from all around the world
* belt buckles and belts (many of these used on old suitcases)
* felt pennants and other classic Vancouver odds and ends including expo 86 artifacts
* dozens of amusing hats – also scarves and hats and more hats
* cassette tapes (primarily ones from garage band from decades ago
* CDs (commercial as well as from people who said “dude you got to hear my band“ and gave me said CD)
* plenty of vinyl (oh my!) / Many of which I never had a chance to listen to as I ordered them and they were drop shipped to various friends and brothers’ house
* suitcases filled with hitchhiking signs, presentation “paper point“ collages, and dozens of scrapbooks, journals, diaries, notebooks, sketches… dozens

Overall, I have about six-eight of my old-timey suitcases, two typewriters, all sorts of fun outfits (we’ll see what still fits after I do a lot of laundry as most is a bit musty) and then dossiers of travel ephemera from various trips as well as the already constructed “static montage” story boards that I create for various trips.
In other words, have enough projects to keep me going for a while.

Plus loads of art supplies and office supplies and stationery supplies.
Also a stereo and a bunch of recording gear and another 2/3 of the boxes I haven’t opened yet.

And then of course there is art, both originals and prints and posters… Took the time to unroll some posters and start to flatten them out, then re-organized all the framed art into big boxes with similar pieces as we start to hang up stuff all over the house and barn etc. etc. (we don’t have near enough wall space but that’s another story, we can swap out exhibits if you know what I mean).

Continue reading Diary: Unpacking the Kura, day one (collections of collections, vinyl, books, suitcases, typewriters…)

Diary: Hats & Scarves aplenty

Day one of unboxing in the barn produced 21 hats and 13 scarves (categorizing the Arab head scarves as scarves rather than hats for the record – though, I suppose I could categorize the scarf-holding “ring” as a hat which would bring 22 for this batch)… Anyway, hang em up outside to give some fresh air.

Each of course has an origin story / And yes, there are more in the barn, not to be confused with the dozen or so which are already in the house. See any ones you like?

Update… Day 2: Well, scarves jumped out to an early lead but were quickly overtaken by cardigans, which were bypassed by super fun T-shirts and then hockey/soccer jerseys.

But overall the clear winner is scrapbooks, like so many of these. Can’t really look at them because too much memories to process all at once.

And bocce balls, ice skates, hockey helmet and sticks, and unused longboard have all surfaced.

Diary: 40+ years of projects into a “kura” grain barn

Big day (Thursday March 19) here at Tsuchida cottage as my life archives completes a long journey by a ship and truck from a storage locker in Victoria, Canada to port in Vancouver to port in Kobe and here by truck.

40+ years of scrap books, journals, diaries, book reports, certificates, art projects, school report cards, letters, photos and of course dozens of my paintings, all my various artifacts from talks/spiels/prezos, hitchhiking signs, “important papers”, art supplies, recording equipment, plus boxes of books and crates of records, and of course dozens of amusing hats.

The email thread with the company is about 70 communiqués, quite a bit of paperwork for customs clearance etc. etc. If all goes well, everything will be offloaded and instantly “sort-ganized” into a magnificent olden “kura” grain barn.

The kura barn recently got a good organization and clean-up and it’s going to turn into something very special… A mixed media art studio/archive… It’s gonna work out great!

Need to get a little bit more electricity/light in there and there’s only a little bit of dry rot in a few places but generally dry and solid. Going to be a great place for listening/recording music, reading books and making projects.

You may well especially enjoy the mighty wood beams and construction of this structure.

Anyhow, first coffee, breakfast and pants and of course, I’ve made a little map/plan for the moving crew, what I’m saying is “wish me luck“ it’s a big one. Continue reading Diary: 40+ years of projects into a “kura” grain barn

Diary: Sort-ganizing the Kura with Kerouac

(some of) my Jack Kerouac collection – recently liberated from a secret storage locker, trans-Pacific voyage in a container, and a truck to a barn in Okayama, Japan

Recently my entire life archive of projects, scrap books, journals, paintings, various art, artifacts, scarves and hats and of course records and books books books arrived to my barn in Japan after a transpacific journey from Canada.

Spending a few hours a day opening up boxes to sort out all the treasures and, came across a nice stash of old friends today.

Some treasures in there, and a few other odds and ends for ambience. There are several more but this is what escaped the quickest.

Besides all the Jack, and there are more than this, plenty of Gary Snyder, Allen Ginsberg, Richard Brautigan, JD Salinger, Leo Tolstoy, the complete collection of Tintin and well… So much so much so much.

Anyway, the Jack collection will make for a good show and tell at my “On the Road” sc/roll workshop in Kobe on April 29 #FingersCrossed [update: cancelled]

Note: the little Japanese bound one on top right is the treasure of American Haikus… preview:

So much more to share but noting tis a challenge keeping up sort-ganizing momentum whilst also documenting and savouring. 

Diary: Hermiting, baby, art, archive & you you you + us us us

I hermit like Obi-wan is his “lost years” / indeed, a Gen X kid with a lot of hobbies and a chronic illness – i know the flow. Got the food delivery service, plenty of books and art supplies and several versions of loungewear/pyjamas.

Keep in mind, here in Japan, we’re a couple months into “all of this“ – schools, events, museums, public places and gatherings have been canceled for many weeks now, and things, at least where I am the outskirts other rather minor provincial capital city, are generally calm / however, a quick glance at Twitter videos plenty of vitriol about the governments response (or lack of, or too much of, or…) especially in terms of testing (not enough of it, especially compared to neighbour South Korea) – Of course much debate and sabre-rattling about wither the Olympics – what to do? (seems to me just pushing forward exactly one year would make sense but hey, no one’s been on the phone to me to ask).

I have visited a few hospitals in the last six weeks for other reasons and found them to be calm, not busy, extremely tidy and efficient. Also note that Japan’s elderly population means much experience at treating pneumonia which has some similar respiratory components and thus treatments as current conundrum.

Certainly my first priority is taking good care of my adorable pregnant wife, though she requires very little assistance in *anything* aside from reminding her to slow down. With her business as an arborist, she is her own small business/boss and is still doing bits and pieces of work, no longer climbing trees however #ThankGoodness but with all appropriate precautions and out in the gorgeous spring weather here.

We have a check in with our doctor tomorrow though the “Papa’s Class” series at the birthing clinic has been canceled indefinitely. (This was also serving as my Japanese study session as I try to learn new vocabulary related to pregnancy and childcare but… We shall carry-on – Noting that I have absolutely zero discipline in regards to language study).

Canada’s Prime Minister implored Canadians to “come home“ before impending doom etc. and while this is wise advice for many, I live here in Japan now permanently. Plan is to grow old here raising a happy kid, write poetry and letters, make paintings and friends and books and gardens – Come visit, we’ll have tea and hit up a museum.

and… Very excitingly, my “entire life archive” arrives in a container after a trans-pacific journey on Thursday. So, just in case I’m not sharing enough creative artifacts to keep you amused 😉 40+ years of journals, scrapbooks, fanzines, photos, letters, certificates – as well as books and records and funny hats – are all being offloaded into a 300-year-old grain barn for sort-ganizing and sharing.

Anyhow, thinking about each of you wonderful people out there in the world and, as I’ve mentioned before, if you need any advice about staying chill and keeping your mind busy whilst indoors (aside from being watching television problem etc. which I don’t know too much about), I remain your semi-useful uncle in custom-made pyjamas.

Your turn, tell me about everything going on in your world, where you’re at, how you’re feeling, what you’re working on, what’s inspiring you, what do you dream about and so on and so on. All of it all of it.

Note: You can write a letter if you prefer

Riff: Creativity in solitude(ish) / from experience

I went from being very social and active to often housebound due to a chronic and complex illness, and spent extended stints sequestered at Ayurvedic clinics & various hospitals …

Finding yourself cooped up due to public health situation? Your solution is: digging into projects which maintain your mental acuity and move your fine motor skills but also, very importantly, produce something in the end.

Like: making scrapbooks of life ephemera, organizing letters and photos, writing down your stories, make a podcast, read war and peace (or similar), write a novel (desert solitaire or similar), make some songs, write some poems, compile your journals and diaries, embark on “personal archaeology” by sort-ganizing your old report cards, certificates and participation ribbons / put them in binders with sheet protectors or make a shadowbox… I can go on and on but I think you get the gist.

Or this is a great time to take an online course about something you dig (I recently did a Japanese book culture course). Many universities have all sorts of free courses (start at open culture or Internet archive) plus you can just learn something new on your own via other folks like you, i.e.: how to make Lo-Fi beats, how to play the ukulele, how to paint with oils… IOW, Get started on something interesting which can be a new hobby and produce some neat artifacts,rather than just trying to level up on a video game.
Verily, choose activities with intentions / of course, chill out but consider watching a specific classic epic movie (ask me if you need some tips) rather than sifting through nonsense to binge (and in general minimize mindless, high-twitch screentime).

Look at this as an opportunity to do all those little projects you’ve *always meant to do*.

Also, letter writing is cheap and cheerful and immensely satisfying, especially for others who are routinely shut in (elders, disabled, remotes etc.)

If you need someone to cheer you along or give you some more ideas are examples, of course I am friendly if a bit slow sometimes.

I will note that it’s totally up to you what do you do and all that, I’m just encouraging expansion of your brain through art and culture and creativity – and im speaking from so much experience.

All the hugs, your possibly-favourite uncle

Photo: Dr. Trevor Erikson (note: before Dr status)

Diary: Coffee in Tiny Café / refuge from the storm

Japan has loads of a little tiny cafés/restaurant/bars which are like less than 10 people maximum, often with a little private rooms too. It’s one of the things I love about living here, as tiny little cafés in North America don’t really exist as everything becomes chains or aggressively turning over tables to maximize the slim profits.

Anyway, this is a little neighbourhood lunch place where we can chill out in a room closed off with sliding doors to enjoy a little break from the house. Plus everyone is so excited about Ryoko’s belly

Aside: As you likely know, Japan has a declining birth rate which is especially evident in the cities with a few kids, and countryside with some kids but lots of (awesome) old people. Anyway, we’re helping to balance that out in a very tiny way.

We went out for an errand to the post office to deal with a few banking issues, and again, it’s tiny, tidy & friendly.

To friends in North America, we see/hear you… All the cancellations and restrictions and what not started here maybe six weeks ago so we’re kind of into the routine so maybe that’s a message of solidarity or just “I see you“ #alwaysbekind

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Daniel remarked:

Okayama is the best. Such a chill and safe area. With just enough variety of food and culture to keep it interesting.

to which i replied:

That is a great summation of this remarkable and underappreciated area. Super handy transportation links to big cities, mountains, hot springs, inland sea, other islands…, including easy getaway via 2 airports if needed.
So many museums, I’m still catching up on all of them.
Certainly enough to keep amused (Plus any needed shopping) but easy enough to get out of the city when needed.
I’ve traveled much/most of Japan and this is the best “all around” place to live in my mind.
Sunny days ahoy!

Michal added:

Their the best! Especially when there’s a view on small niwa Japanese have such a great taste for! A Bliss…

to which i chimed:

I especially love the places that are sort of “lost in showa era” – with all sorts of kitschy knick-knacks and bric a brac which hasn’t been moved or dusted for a few decades… Still the old character left over from another age, run by an old couple who started the place with such dreams in their youth.

Michal again:

you incorrigible romantic

Lydia said:

That china is gorgeous

and me again:

Right! Sometimes you find these cafés that I’ve just been frozen in time and it’s like going to grandma’s house all over again… In this case, it really is as two generations of ladies both over 60 (a granny and great granny or something like that) are taking care of the shop and make a huge fuss over my adorable pregnant wife. I let them know I appreciate their great China as well, plus a fantastic tea selection

Diary: New Year Tea Ceremony at Matsuka-sensei’s house

Studying tea ceremony… I’m not sure if studying is the right word, maybe practicing, refining or just enjoying… with a wonderful circle of folks.

Together, we enjoy refining the sequence, admiring the artifacts, eating lunch (fabulous of course), and in some cases also practicing/refining/studying/enjoying wearing kimono.

This was a special one to kick off the new year. So lovely (other riffs elsewhere in this archive). 

My sweet Ryoko riffed out a riff, ergo:

Continue reading Diary: New Year Tea Ceremony at Matsuka-sensei’s house