Tag Archives: miso

Diary: Stumbling into the year, skipping ahead with heavy blanket

Guess was a sign in my last diary riff when i said:

Well yeah, I’m wiped out from all the last while but was able to spread so much love to family and friends which is truly an honour. I’m not good at the “pacing” so much – When I get my mind on something, I burn through the adrenaline and related neuro-chemicals to do it.”

Blerg: From Jan 5 or so til Jan 31, mostly in bed, very ill. Various (backfilled and possibly previous published elsewhere) memos here for no reason aside from reminding myself. ergo:

Jan 19: Got some sleep last night, thanks new weighted blanket, crossed out “January“ on my to-do list and replaced with “February, maybe“. Gonna *try* to get up, catch up laundry and dishes (Including putting away the extra fancy China still out from holidays), and read some letters.

Weighted blanket came with a weighted eye mask which brings my total count of sleeping masks up to *at least* 37 but none of them are “perfect“. Note to self: consider giving out poetry and art and concentrating on just making great sleeping masks for the world. #SideHustle

Update: washed some dishes, folded some laundry, ate some food, took medicine, now will either organize next fortnight’s supplements or put away the “extra fancy dishes“. Rolling slow. Also packet of “A2” size drafting paper arrived for wife’s design project.

Jan 18: Left house, getting treatment. EOD

Note to a friend: “Was back at the doctors yesterday, got some more medication, managed some sleep last night so that helps. Tiny steps, trying to keep positive thoughts. PS A weighted blanket should be delivered today.

Some terrible stomach virus completely laid me out and just as I was getting bit better, what was suspected as “the thing” but test came back negative so more likely just some nasty nursery school cold/flu. My body is just completely battered and worn out & weak & immunity = 0 :(“

Notes: Thanks for your kind words, it’s really got me discouraged. I mean with this chronic/complex disease I live with (#MECFS), I spend a lot of time being “sick“ but this has smacked me upside the head and left me spinning & struggling

Thanks for all your sweetness kind people. Just fired up a 42° bath, going to rest a little bit more than have my very best time of the day with a soak with my little dude (who seems to be getting cuter every day still, and talking more and more every day as well)

Jan. 17: Still “deep in the shed“

Gonna fold some laundry in bed (and think about ordering a weighted blanket) + continuing listening to the @cbcgem series about Quebec from “dark years“ to bombs and such with the FLQ conundrums. Recall: How to Start a Revolution: Episode 2: The Stranger

Jan 16: Very sick for last 10+ days / many IVs, meds & frustration – did scribble some postcard therapy & listen to various radio/esque programmes, i.e.

Jan 16 con’t: Got to say, super grateful for medical system here in Japan. I go to the “Big Central Hospital” monthly to see neurologist (check-in) but for “day to day” incidents, see a kindly, diligent and thorough doctor at a nearby mini clinic w/ xray, ultrasound & lab, scrips, all in-house.

Jan 5: Come on you champion virologists and super computers and mathematicians and investigators and clinicians and researchers

Diary: Annotations on the Re-start (calendars, milk, beard, drums…)

Regrouping: Well yeah, I’m wiped out from all the last while but was able to spread so much love to family and friends which is truly an honour. I’m not good at the “pacing” so much – When I get my mind on something, I burn through the adrenaline and related neuro-chemicals to do it.

Anyhow blah blah blah, I made *a lot* of Internets and documentation, wrote some intentions for the year ahead, started some new traditions, closed some books, open some others, practiced much generativity.

Still in pajamas and robe but going to try to get up, filter some persimmon vinegar, put the miso into smaller containers (yes I made persimmon vinegar and yourself both from scratch!), maybe trim down the Santa Claus beard…

Stretch goal is un-trim the Christmas tree.

Just a note to say I am thankful for all of your comments, participation in my life, cards and letters, late night dispatches and affection in general. 

Christmas Tree down and replaced with 1-1/2 drum sets! left some twinkly lights up for Ichiro

Sending extra kindness to those who are feeling the blues, struggling with health conundrums, &/or loss of various kinds.

Postal Notes: PS Great cards yesterday – Like really fantastic, great details and I love love love a good family year recap newsletter. Thank you so much! ++  one “late but well intentioned” batch out today. Both foreign and domestic.

Ferments: Bottling up housemade vinegar (Persimmon, Ume and Ginger) and Miso (in peanut butter jars) at Tsuchida Cottage. So much macrobiotic goodness!

Rather satisfying project bottling homemade vinegar (Persimmon, Ume & ginger) Of course, well documented, ergo:

Basically, halved persimmons – leave skin on, stack in a vessel, add some “living” vinegar, rocks on top, cheese cloth and wait 1-2 months. Keep an eye to make sure mold doesn’t develop, eventually “decant” the liquid into another vessel, cheese cloth back on, wait a while more, eventually filter it. Strain into clean vessels, add labels. Nice to have some vinegar “mother” to start but skins have natural bacteria.

Sign post (finally, slowly): Next/current project is making a sign post to point to familiar and/or loved places. Will go on this cut tree – mounted in concrete base (also has a weather station on top).

Using scrap wood left over from our construction project and just doing “cheap and cheerful“ quality level.

Sparks include: Got Woody’s Revolutions printed and on stand-by

via Billy Bragg + Lance and Jay

As well as Shawn Parkinson’s annual artsy one page calendar (see previous iterations in intentions video). Note decent colour match on the washi tape and meta snap of Mrs Maisel.

Ok, one more envelope to address *and* this month’s “postcard as a service” postcards are printed! Gotta figure another/different/better system than current though.

Diary: switching modes, miso & last trip to the post office

Well I’m pretty wiped out from the last bunch of days but glad I was able to step up for the family and friends for a good time despite a few setbacks with my health and too many projects.

Switching holidays from Christmas to New Year’s here at Tsuchida Cottage

(Don’t eat this orange, there’s plenty more inside)

Family outing to the post office because that’s how we are.

Still can’t decide which one is cuter. Guess it’s a tie. I’m completely smitten daily.

3 styles of nengajyo / new year post cards in the last batches (for this year).

About 300 total between international/domestic family & friends plus wife’s business and associates.

All handmade/stamped with affection. Grateful for an oddly fantastic year.

It’s the year of the tiger after all. Not sure the significance but I used the stamps liberally nevertheless. meow

For final holiday maneuver, must break down the last of this turkey.

I don’t really know what I’m doing but… guess take off the meaty bits by hand and then simmer the carcass for stock? With the leftover celery etc.? Strain it & bottle/bag it? Let’s try (Half in a big cooking pot and half in the slow cooker… Anticipating six hours)

We made Miso last May 4th and stashed in a ceramic vessel found when tidying up tool shed.

Holy smokes! Miso turned out great! No mold problem, not overly salty, great texture and mellow yet bright flavor profiles. Just took a little small sample but will try in larger quantities over New Year’s. I feel like I really earned a Japan merit scout badge today.

Meta Note:

Noting I’ll end up with about 216 posts at my mixed media creative life archive (you are here) this year (not including ones that were backfilled/backdated). Not bad for a Gen X slacker/new pappa – especially considering everything else that went on this year.

Hoping to review/recap my 2021 Intentions + Annotations soon (typed last year with coffee) – already have a few notes scribbled for 2022 (mostly less paperwork and big projects, more just creating)

This last year had the curious nursery school project, the hugely satisfying house reno project, and the (unsatisfying) emigrant tax project (including a complicated dominos of transactions). Plus did lots of work on my health situation (i deal with #MECFS).

Plus loads of mailouts, supporting friends and charities, but did take on at least 1 too many projects.

Should i give myself “grades” on the previous list?
i.e.
ukulele playing B+
Japanese writing C-
pickling/fermenting A-
postcard store C+
great pappa/hubbo A+ 🙂
etc ??

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

Items: Storage vessels & weighing weights

Items: Storage vessels & weighing weights

Containers and related at “salt house” in Kojima, Okayama for:

* rainwater (perhaps)

* weighing (salt)

* koji (trays)

* miso (barrels)

Further evidence & artifacts documented throughout

Still in ME/CFS crashmode… nevertheless

Eat simple, good, food – check

Still in ME/CFS crashmode… nevertheless, managing to write many letters and postcards (In hopes of bringing sparks happiness to others as well as keeping my brain turning) and do bathtime with Ichiro (the best).

Still, gets a bit frustrating being stuck.

Pardon my saying this out loud, just trying to get it out of my head.

Carry on. End of dispatch.

Diary: Of Brautigan, Hats, and Hot Springs

Mondays at Tsuchida cottage are rather hectic by my standards… Grocery delivery comes from the co-op, new order form completed, take garbage down to the community collection center, plus the normal routine of taking out the compost, folding laundry, washing dishes, making rice and miso ~ plus trying to stay up on correspondence.

Just feeling a little bit behind because there’s so many things that I wanted to tell you about – really wonderful things, despite the challenges of my illness – including various treasures arriving via post, i.e.:

* The legendary beat culture literary legend “the Joanne Andersen letter“ Neal Cassidy wrote to Jack Kerouac

* A biography about Richard Brautigan that is bigger than a midsize city’s phonebook (quite literally starts with a bang)

* Another poet’s poetic homage to Richard Brautigan, the Tokyo Van Nuys Expressway. Really enjoyable poetry and also great book production quality worth emulating.

* A magnificent hat > handmade in Springville, Utah with the hat band in scribed by a phrase from “in watermelon sugar”, plus another rare book & various ID cards, posters, stickers, letters, momentos and other treasures. This new hat means I’ve now stopped collecting hats, I’ve reached the pinnacle. Thanks Willis and Marty so very much.

* A hand written card by the all-time postcard champion Nick Bantock, author of the Griffin and Sabine series and many other works of epistolary literature, ephemera and fine art. His words were so unbelievably appreciated “You’ve traveled so far to find home, well done“ ~ as his *story* inadvertently intertwined with mine, in a way that his fictional characters deal with one another.

* An ink stamp assortment for postcards including a sort of stamping “jig” and variety pack of delicious papers from Lydia Fiedler / Already used extensively (I would foreshadow about our upcoming festive cards but don’t want to put any more pressure to “get stuff done“, but hint: #TimeTraveler)

* Won an auction for some various treasures from, and also a way to support, the Beat Museum in San Francisco… One stash is going to my brother the commander on Diego Garcia, another to friends in Pacifica for safekeeping until I can be connected to the rare Bukowski & Ginsberg riffs

* A handmade card from a great correspondent in California Jeremiah Jacobs who, besides inky stamps and typewritten words, included specific fragrance in his card. #NextLevel (he’s got a new single out)

* well-chosen books, in English, for Ichiro / we are reading to him in English and Japanese on the regular already, including some of my childhood favorites and others that were gifted to me decades ago in an act of foreshadowing I suppose

* A stash of super cute Canadian style (meaning warm and rugged) baby clothes… All that stuff that you hear about babies growing out of their clothes super quick is well, super true. This goes along with Japan *really actually* having “4 seasons“ and the temperature seems to change right on cue

* Finally, the long-awaited literary collection by my dear sensei Larry Harper / “70” sparked from a riff during a time of recovery for him and distress for me, where we both did our best thinking in Hot Springs and made plans for the future. He’s got three out of three checked and I dug an entirely new foundation and build a completely different life. It all starts with Hot Springs my friends, Hot Springs.

OK, back to the domestic tasks, very grateful to hear whenever cards and letters arrive in your post boxes.

Oh wait… Did I even mention the great exhibit, well by my estimation anyway, of four of my post box paintings at the goat farm? Pleasant conversations, poetry, paintings and post and pals. All of it, all of it. Especially grateful for Mac Kobayashi’s kind words (mostly :-)) and father/mother-in-law‘s assistance.

Right now, Ryoko is at Mae Maes band rehearsal (safe &
all of that) with the increasingly (if that’s even possible) adorable Ichiro Stanley, there’s another stack of letters and dossiers and postcards to go to the post office tomorrow, I’m going to finish these dishes, make the rice, make the miso, make the pickles & vinegar and be grateful for all of it.

Fondly, dvo

PS  Connected with the photographer Steve Rapport who took the “Joe Strummer running a marathon” in London photos you might have seen floating around and he also has David Bowie in 1983… Want to buy prints.

Also, the umeboshi started in June or opened and sampled and very worthy of acclaim

Note: Above is Ichiro with Larry’s book / it’s so cool it doesn’t even have an ISBN #Renegade

PS 12.10 Several of these topics (the books and hats) are riffed in a recent Japan Cottage Musings video dispatch, dig in

Kitchen: Variety of pork, sashimi, soup and sauces

Katsuo no tataki / bonito tuna sashimi served with with onions, green onions, shiso leaf and lemon

I suspect you eat food, likely more than once per day. While I dabble in many mediums of art, the kitchen has never been a place of creative comfort for me however… I’m working to add a few new skills to my repertoire, as well as watching the unique techniques take a bus out for some traditional Japanese favorites.

Also, paying attention to the importance of plating and presentation and choosing an interesting variety of dishes when serving – I’m probably better at this part than in the preparation but hey, one revolution at a time.

As such, very little in the way of annotations or details, or quality of photos for that matter, just evidence of living life at such a cottage.

The results are sort of a hybrid of Japanese and “western“ dishes, and usually served rather Japanese-style meaning lots of little plates as we sit at usually a low table on a mat to enjoy the creations.

snack plate with fruits and maple syrup for coffee/tea

While life is still exciting and new here, I occasionally remember to take a snapshot of things prepared, most of the time I don’t, but sometimes I do, and since I did, i’ll share with you. There are loads of these round-ups elsewhere in this archive if curious. 

impromptu smoker in the kitchen / chips in foil in a pan, pork meat on grill above / worked so good

Continue reading Kitchen: Variety of pork, sashimi, soup and sauces

Diary: (Yet another) Food round-up from Tsuchida Cottage

Let’s begin with the “standard” Japanese classic dinner with grilled whole fish, picked something (kimchi and pickled onions), miso soup, brown rice and a salad – dressing and shoyu on the side.

Well ya gotta eat, and we do and mostly at home. For the permanent diary of endless goodness, i snap a snap from time to time before we dine. That’s all there is to it. Dig it if you wanna. 

We have a counter-top convex oven here at Tsuchida cottage now and aside for well-documented visits to ramen shops and coffee/cake stops, we eat at home.

Soba noodles
Another Japanese classic: soba (buckwheat) noodles, served cold with a raw egg and mentsuyu (fish-flavoured broth), shredded daikon (radish) and shoyu mixed together and the noodles dipped within and green onions sprinkled

 No doubt lots of folks the world over are getting re-acquainted with their kitchens while experienced cooks share tips and try new things. Indeed, so much sourdough going on in the world!

As such, here’s round-up without much in the way of annotations or context of some recent meals i happened to snap a snap of before digging in.

A variety dinner with sashimi (sawara a kind of mackerel), gaumodoki no takiawase (tofu fritters, daikon, komatsuna soup with fish-broth, salt, sugar, shoyu) and and of course, miso soup and genmai (brown rice), kimchi and shoyu/wasabi of course
A lunch of harusame spring vegetable soup with clear bean noodle with various onigiri rice balls

Continue reading Diary: (Yet another) Food round-up from Tsuchida Cottage