Tag Archives: musings

Diary: May 5月, Beguiled (& rather) Bewildered

Oh bye May

Spinning past another month, we’re at the 31st and I’m waiting to try out a new Ayurveda clinic here in dear Okayama. So a few annotations:

Guess it ain’t no secret that I’ve had a hard time bouncing up this month/year, however in the midst of it all I’m out of bed *almost* every day and doing a few things around the house even if it’s just dishes, laundry, compost, making tea and rice. Some days I do a few more things, for example:

This month we had a surprise overseas visitor and we went together to one of the inland sea islands as well as enjoying food & items together – and it was a joy to share my “new life” with a friend from my before times.

I’ve done a few sessions of sorting around in the kura barn and, going through bins of artifacts and taking from “stuff in a bin” to curated collections in binders with labels and themes. It’s a task requiring equal parts organizational theory, temporary nostalgia, celebrating past and imagining futures, specifically “what can I make with all these things to amplify what it means?” None of the items are by themselves significant for the collection of them all creates a tapestry of life. That sounds rather “grand” but in my mind, it’s the usual days in regular life that make life remarkable.

Coming on Two & looking like a young man already

Wonderful child Ichiro has battled through a couple of snotty noses, colds and fevers which sometimes pull him out of school due to “protocols“ but my goodness, the words are tumbling out of his mouth now, the balance is increasing, his awareness of where things go and how to do things is increasing on the regular and I am absolutely proud. I am trying to add to my skill set of how to “tug the reins“ a little bit without being a grumpy Papa and not buying into the fallacy of punishment, which perpetuates and hides problems and always requires escalation and this is proven – throughout forever – to be generally ineffective & mostly unwise.

My treasures and the penguins on a recent trip to Antarctica via Shimane

Darling wife Ryoko is studying for her “tree doctor” level up exam coming up later this year and has also continued work on her charcoal kilns and tidying up her tool shed a little bit for maximum organization efficiency. She’s also been doing some secret live streams while kiddo and I are in the bath and usually get sa couple piano songs out before Ichiro yelled out “bing bong Mama!” and we do our “Captain Ichiro, are you ready?” countdown to exit bath, dry up, lotion and pajamas, stories, cuddles and sleep.

For me, sleep is a struggle – i sleep long but shallow & unrefeshing/replenishing plus make up in fits and starts + dealing with a lot of neurological pain still along with the brain fog, confusion and general crippling fatigue. So, new plan is to change my periodic check ins/administrative visits from the “big city general” hospital to the University Hospital where they have specific departments investigating long-term chronic post-viral inflammation/immune system diseases relating to the current cee-one-nine virus which kinda dovetails into my situation with #MECFS. There is also a traditional Chinese medicine clinic on site i’ll endeavour to try in my quest for new approached for increasing my baseline.

Always have at least a dozen sleeping masks on hand… i mean on face

As I mentioned in a video (I should know that I’ve done a couple more dispatches in my “healing ramble” series if curious) this month was the awareness campaign month for my illness, as well as awareness month for mental health, Asia Pacific islanders, IBS/Crohn’s and other things (Cascadia Day!) which have impacted my life. These notable days – coupled with a few significant anniversaries: me becoming ill and memorial service / for my Mom & Creepers & Chums party; I guess added onto the emotional exhaustion of just being constantly zonked.

Celebrating Cascadia several years back and Evelyn Street, Lynn Valley, North Vancouver, unceded Cascadia bioregion

But hey, here I am talking about it!The important thing is, I have a wonderful family here and great friends around the world, food is delivered weekly, we plant seeds in the garden, postcards and packages come from time to time, I have enough books and records to keep me constantly amused and I’ve even done a bit of scrapbooking about our trip a couple months ago to Shimane.

Tip: send postcards to yourself

Yes, mentally I always feel like “I should be doing more” and I guess felt since was a little kid reading Tintin books that I was meant to be “out there in the world sparking revolutions” – so I remember to pause and think of all the things “accomplished” in the last three years since I came to Japan and all the things in my almost 52 years… So many countries, conversations, projects and so much more to come.

Adventures ahead, adventures behind, same same different different

I also continue to fiddle away at this “creative life archive” / when I run down and stuck in bed, I listen to audiobooks and longform podcast and sometimes tappity tappity on the pocket robot to assemble posts with pictures, musings, memories and what not. I love the feeling of hitting publish and thinking that someone might find a bit of inspiration or amusement.

Getting hot and humid so hoping in June we might have some beach days and also set up the yard for more playtime right here. Ichiro hits two on the 23rd so have an eye on a balance bike and maybe a visit to a zoo.

Always more, we’ve got all the time in the world.

A wonderful painting I came across: Martina Heiduczek
“Coffee and Friendship” / two of my favorite things :)

Diary: 2000 kisses for Ichiro

Amidst my ridiculous illness #MECFS i’m doing my very best to be a very good papa. Bathtime with Ichiro every night is the highlight of my existence.

Anyhow, picked up this book with a recommendation by Jim canary just thinking well… “I’m doing this, maybe I should get better“ and in my brief reading of it so far, I got to say I’m doing a lot of things right. I know everyone parents differently, but we all sleep in one big bed together, bond in the bathtub, lots of positive reinforcement, try *very hard* not to lose my temper (mostly when he dumps things on the floor as kind of an “oopa!” at the dinner table), teach him about tidying up, he likes to play with rakes, brooms and shovels, and he knows that sometimes I have a hard time and need to rest.

We also take the trash down to the corner together, water plants, planted a few things in the garden, eat berries off the tree, kick a ball around, learn about being careful crossing roads, his birthday is coming up so I think about getting him a balance bike. Of course mom is his favorite but I’m a pretty solid top 4 draft pick.

Note: sometimes feel that i’m a little behind on my usual excess posting pictures but we’re just kind of “into the regular thick of it” and while he’s a very well documented child but, as he develops more and more of his “own self” he just sort of blends in with the “usual diary musings” in the splendor of regular life of our power trio.

Diary: visitors see new life & family + trip to Teshima w/ Ichiro annotations

A mysterious brilliant visitor from overseas – first in three years – captured me, at home, in my new life. This is my family, this is our home.

my adorable family with whom Xo Ryoko, Ichiro (thanks Amber Sensei)

I wandered far and endured plenty to find this life, and immensely grateful for it all. I’m so happy to show someone from my “old life“ what i found & and she understood very well.

and now with remarkable in-laws/grandparents

With out guests coming, we pulled out the special stash of saké, some fermented carrot pickles, housemade miso, and a few other fermented treats. Also started to soak in soy beans to make soy milk; prepared the Bizen yaki ceramic cups & small dishes for sashimi; also have bamboo shoots from our forest. (thanks M-i-L and F-i-L)

garden vegetables and bamboo shoots right out the door

Ryoko also prepared matcha tea in an abbreviated tea ceremony with tea bowls from her great-grandparents and made anpan (anko sweet bean paste in lil pancakes) to go with.

tea bowls and accessories, freshly washed

I should add that, “no, Japan is not open to tourists at this time” – Our recent particular international guest was on a publishing-company-sponsored book tour / meaning the company supported a business visa requiring a detailed itinerary and accepting of various risks / responsibilities etc. visit with issued by Japan consulate in USA before departure and required 10+ various forms, letters, etc.

Out n About to Teshima

the hilltop minimalist cafe where fig farmers served curry and you can chop your own green onions

Briefly: The many islands of the Seto inland sea (nestled between our home prefecture of Okayama and neighbour pref. Kagawa and the 4th of the main island of Japan Shikoku) host a triennialle art festival – not shockingly unheld for a few years – more to say about the economic goodness and reinvention and volunteer spirit but for now, i’ll say:

We went with our guests rather spontaneously (they had planned and reserved museum access) by our groovy “Esquire” van, then walked onto ferry and used various busses around the island of Teshima, ate curry, drank coffee/tea, more curry, postcards, then a walk-on ferry back to Uno port, more art and drive to Okayama station – the busiest day i’ve had in forever but was buoyed by conversation, views and friendship. Further annotations follow:

whilst friends went to museum, r, i and i went to a hilltop sorta café (really some fig farmers putting out a shingle for a few hours a day) and enjoyed views of Inushima (Isles of Dogs) and back to Okayama #panorama

Ichiro, postcards, ships (all sizes) etc

After our day out, in the bath he explained over and over again all the different modes of transportation and conveyance (big ferry boat, small ferry boat, two buses, baby car/stroller, our usual van etc.) he used during that day, using new sentence construction skills with conjunctions and verb conjugations. His magnificent brain spinning – even working out the names of our friends.

this obv was not our ferry but Ichi loved checking out all the fune

Lil dude got a bit of a fat lip running down the hill too fast and tripping but still was able to chill out at a café and enjoy his beverage.

dude knows how to lounge at a quirky curry cafe with Suzuki and Ota san

Papa wrote postcards and drank chai, sitting on cushions and sending geo-coordinates to pals who found us at カレー喫茶 異邦人 near Ieura port across the island from Kubota where we originally disembarked.

Ichiro mailed my postcards for me. “Choose the right portal for postcards Ichiro” i said {update: he did, what a smart fella} Inventory: 2 cards from Teshima to Gifu and Kyoto.

2 are decoys but one whisks secrets anywhere

Ichiro has now learned how to use the coffee bean grinder and insists on being the coffee captain in the morning, two scoops of the right beans, puts on the lid, covers with his hand, inspects to see if it’s the right grind for French press or Moka pot, all very serious & perfect.

And my darlings auditioned for a role in the next Wes Anderson movie (so to speak) with a pose by this blue truck.

blue, red, yellow – the day was my fave sort of weather, warm, breezy and overcast

Back to the port – love the salty smell, rusty metal and reinvention from industrial manufacturing and process to artistic tourism.

Ieura port – like most of Pacific coast of Japan, lots of factories in various states of use or decay, boats/ships of all kinds including container ships and now ferries, all sizes

Dozen+ of these islands with art, more to say but time to head home with my snappy shoes, happy. Thanks family and friends.

Fluevogs, since 1970 (like me) now with new aglets – getting very worn in

Curiously Punctuated (and Ready) ~ Beat Sushi with Jason Emde

Curiously Punctuated (and Ready) ~ Beat Sushi with Jason Emde

Spontaneous riffs and readings from world rambling renegade letter writer with a new master’s thesis, Jason Emde who, as it goes from his home in Gifu also makes a podcast called “writers read their early sh!t”. 

oh Hi, let’s try on hats and listen to records

From the Kura barn studio, Dave meanders about Japan geography and “things not done” and hat selections for Kyoto before reading Jason’s letter to Molly, then rambles on about similarities in geography, points of view, adventures whilst recounting how he came across Jason’s work stretching over a decade or more (and including naval officer Bob), oh then 2 freeverse poems (after Gary Snyder) with Jason’s streams about “usual days” in Gifu and Vernon.

Beat Sushi with Jason Emde at daveostory (art by Ichiro Stanley)

Plus name checks for James Joyce’s Ulysses, Christopher Trottier, Marshall McLuhan, Ken Babbs, Ken Bole, music bits from Bachman Turner Overdrive Live at Budokon, John K Samson (of The Weakerthans etc), hooray for ampersands and em-dashes! Also Amsterdam, London, Vancouver, Bali and most points in between, except Africa, haven’t gone there. 

Continue reading Curiously Punctuated (and Ready) ~ Beat Sushi with Jason Emde

Diary: (inexplicably) myriad tasks from Gravelly Beach, Oct. 15, 2004

As it goes, while looking for something else, I came across a diary from 2005 – published in a proto-blog software (w/o RSS) made by Ben Livingston and hosted by Jay Stewart – or something like that… anyway… for whatever reason I can’t find the original text but oddly, there is a screenshot of “entry #5”.

Notable because of the monumental tasks checked down the list like no big deal.

  • Was days of running Zhonka Broadband ISP, making documents of all sorts
  • Alluding to starting “Postcards from Gravelly Beach” and “Choogle on with Uncle Weed” pods (check and check)
  • Moving to Bernice’s double wide on Gravelly Beach road
  • Doing renovations on the Puget Street house and sore back after a bit of shock seeing the police shakedown unsuspecting neighbour kids coming out of their house and laying them down in the middle of the road with guns drawn for no fcking reason(!)
  • Writing letters of judicial political support (lotta lobbying in those days)
  • Adding links to a website (hello here we are)
  • Thinking about starting on oil paintings (done) and a novel length project (not done)

Yep, all that like its no big deal.

Oh of course, what i was reading at the time (Salinger bio, Keroauc, Dostoevsky, Hemingway) – note namecheck for Last Word Books – and digging clams

Around the same time I also wrote the LSAT (law school admission test) studying for which is notably not on the list.

Anyhow, always be archiving.

Diary: mowing lawns and Tchaikovsky (ca. 2005, Gravelly Beach)

I hate mowing lawns worse than anything and I did it twice today.

Gravelly Beach, (off of Steamboat Island Rd.) Puget Sound – Bernice’s house, 2005

After a long hayfever delirium, shower, nap … now awake in yukata robe, loosley tied – a wee bit tattered since I acquired 1992 at a Tottori hot spring. 

Painting on backporch, almost out of colors so the sky is purple and swirly with white and tetch of black.  Last of blue goes for water and only green is toolight for dark trees but I slap it on anyhow. 

On back porch listening to Tchaikovsky’s 1812 – cannons and timpani and chimes. Oh yeah it is July 3rd so american fervor is fever pitched and fireworks spurt over the hills from several angles. I hardly notice under the wave of music – heck in Japan I saw fireworks which make joebob and his stash from the tribal stand look weak! 

Of course the rest of the world is at bar-b-q parties and parking lots watching skies for color but I am best trying to savor the last of this tranquil hide-away before Bernice returns next week. 

My studio is aclutter with 13 projects in process as I scramble to get stuff to a “sort done enough” mode to put on hold of a month or a decade.  A healthy sized wooden frame stretched and staple with hemp canvas piled now with a barrage of Belize bric a brac – postcards, painting and pics amongst transport tickets, government stubs, and shells.  europa painting (acrylics) hanging here and there – seems close but all needing time to refine, but not tame, the spontaneity of the composition and stroke. 

Gravelly Beach series of oils are here and there (some larger than others) but mostly dry but some unfinished – oil take so long to dry I am not sure if I should make another pass on them now – yes i’d best whilst still here and can work en plein in the heat of moment. 

Scrapbooks unfinished, notebooks partially filled, papers to go in binders, things to burn, people to leave, things to sell, give, lose, wrap. 

Rim shot fireworks, candles flicker in the breeze, 3 round candles with stands found while packing – or rather sorting stuff from one house to store at another awaiting sale. Can’t exactly “move” unless a destination has been established: Deep Cove, a community in North Vancouver looking likely – a New Belgian beer and chai tea in ceramic mug complete the table tableau.

In breaks of action, ohhs and ooohs bounce across the water – strange since I *never* hear anyone and the distance is hard to tell in the inky air.  Drum circle bounces across, past the commercial fishing boat moored up for partying, from Cooper Point hippie hoe down, a neighbour cranks Boz Scagg’s Lido Shuffle which always (along with a certain Fleetwood Mac song) reminds me of 3rd grade afternoons at a baseball park, sneaking in woods with … {sigh}

Community & Correspondence ~ Beat Sushi for Dan in Mass & Jack Kerouac 100

Thanks to Dan for the package of friendship, ephemera, artifacts and goodness

Taking a break from chainsaw noise cutting down bamboo, DaveO rambles on about the importance of community and correspondence (yes spelled incorrectly) – especially while in a rough patch with a chronic and complex illness #MECFS – and shares a remarkable package sent by Kerouac enthusiast Dan Bacon in Massachusetts including: scrapboook, artifacts, ephemera and memorabilia from Lowell, Jack Kerouac’s 100th birthday, and other events including the impending Town and the City music festival which inspires playing of lovely blue Tanya Donelly and Parkington Sisters vinyl record. 

Also shows new-ish Cascadia passport and meanders about Gary Snyder in Japan years ago and his recent convos with poet Wang Pang ++ love of maps, letters, stories, and how we’re all part of the erstwhile Beat tradition if we are living intentionally, respecting others’ voices and creating goodness. 

Happy to be your fan, fondly etc. from Giggling Piglet Studio in a historic Kura storehouse in Tsuchida, Okayama, Japan.

Notebooks: musings, poetry and whatnot, to transcribe

(fuzzy photos of) notebooks of poetry, notes, musings etc – set to transcribe, eventually…

this batch includes a Yukon-made silk screened book – a gift from Bollwitts – plus an assortment of remixed The Royal Tenenbaums books, a handmade Japanese washi book and re-purposed passport.

sometimes i feel like because i am not one of those “writer every day” writers, i don’t get *enough done*, then i tidy up desk adn realized i have a stack of notebooks filled with scribbles, lists, notes, observations, full grown poems, lyrics, letters and so on, waiting for a transcription into another more shareable form. so i stack em up to do so and realize i still havent done the typity-type-type with a stack of others, yet somehow its all ok – art makes the future and all that and all that.

Diary: Seeking Brussel(l) Sprouts, Finding Lobster (+ other festive prep)

Memo: Today, i am *braving* the wilds of Okayama (our minor provincial city) in search of brussel sprouts, yams (not sweet potatoes, *yams*), celery etc for festive goodtimes.

As you will notice in the dispatch i sneak a mention about Ichiro’s Christmas present and yes, discuss my magnificent Santa Claus beard as i am clearly *A Method Actor*.

clearly a method actor

Updates:

The Japan Agricultural outlet was almost bloodsport of grandmothers jockeying for produce. Survived.

Somehow I came home with celery that’s over a meter long, a daikon radish almost the size of my leg, and a whole lobster + intended brussel sprouts & variety of potato/tubers.

tubers, various – and squash

One note, 95% of our groceries come in a weekly delivery service from the co-op (not a cute little neighborhood co-op but like a national co-op) but some more obscure/specialty things required a little bit more adventuring. I really don’t leave the house aside from the post office, hospitals and nursery school.

Festive times impending at Tsuchida Cottage / arborist wife perks equals Christmas tree, cut yesterday (from private land by Oka-san) – its sappy and prickly (and rare!)

Feeling really grateful for a well -timed, well-received – very welcome and unexpected gift that is sparking up the Festive season with Transit goodness. Beside the sweet Translink sweater came a scarf and toques

PS will get a picture with the 3 of us in matching @TransLink toques soon.

Finally:

daikon and celery measured upon request (90+cm)

and tree “installed” with wooden braces, heavy rocks/stones in a crockery vessel (which recently held umeboshi)

Bailey’s Irish Cream arrived by courier, Kahlua acquired, cutlery ordered, various schemes considered. Bill Janovitz’s Christmas shuffle playlist tested. Carry on.

Diary: notary tasks & musings

Just a little bit excited because we have/get to visit a notary public! To drop a significant amount of ¥ for a stamped single photo copy of a gov-issued document to send to a different gov (a Canadian tax agency if you’re curious) so can check off appropriate boxes. This, dear people, is the career choice I missed out on.

I mean, being a notary, (mostly) you sit at a mahogany desk with an assortment of stamps and embossers, possibly a magnifying glass – mostly for effect, and people come and give you money, you stamp things (after looking at them first of course).

Noting, in some jurisdictions, its basic, i.e.: the “mailboxes etc” franchisee is a notary, or remember when i worked at Kinko’s, there was notary services (but not sure anyone ever used).

Some places though, it’s rather expensive and complicated but when you need a notary… you really need a notary, kind of like an emergency locksmith (another great skill because you can double as a jewel thief).

Related: My Mom at times was a notary in state of Utah and I have her embossing certification stamp – all heavy and metal – but being an honest Cub Scout, I would never think to circumvent proper guidelines and use illicitly. I do use for arts and crafts from time to time. (If you want to see evidence, you’re going to have to ask nicely).

Here in Japan, if one were to become a bilingual notary with certified (by embassies etc.) translation services, would be a really sweet gig.

I might whisper this into my son’s ear each night in the bathtub. Might also be something about being an “emergency locksmith” as noted above.

Folks who imagine what emigrant / “ex-pat” life entails have a strange impression that American Express offices still exist &/or embassies are helpful outposts.

But “NO” is only answer for any service/question/request/anything from the Canadian Consulate/Embassy here in Japan.

Aside:

Note: this photo isn’t technically at the same time but since I mentioned him, here’s a cute picture

Well, my son just blew me a kiss on the way out the door to nursery school. Yes, I’m doing really good at parenting & teaching important things. Thank you for asking.
So this means, change out of my luxurious pajamas into trousers & possibly a tie for my big outing to a notary.

Update: the notary office was the fifth floor of a nondescript building with various usual plexiglass separators, metal desks, fluorescent lights and trays with pens and stamps. The finished dossier was four pages & about 15,000¥. Importantly, I won the “best business card” game. I mean I really have the best cards going anywhere and I always win this very important ritual in Japan. {Plus I want them to remember me because we often need these sorts of services. Look at me, relationship building :-)}

Tea/juice made from pine needles

Back home after a stop at a stationery store, folding laundry and drinking pine needle tea.

Thinking about pals Cam, Chris & others making lovely progress in their professional endeavors. Cheering from the sidelines. Next: organize paperwork to send to gov offices.

I *really* took this snap to look “executive” and share with a friend for a laff (cause I’m far from any sort of executive-ness)… & Yes I’m actually in the stationery store restroom and I am not wearing a tie (obviously). but, these posts look better with some photos added so here we are

PS While at the stationæry store, I picked up a sweet new ink stamp from the discount bin, as well as yet another roll of washi paper masking tape.

I also have a video shot last week in the barn, but then kind of went into “crash mode”. Wanna finish that up before it’s too “stale”… It’s no big deal, it’s not like anyone’s waiting anxiously for me riffing topics about CCCP passports, miracles, Ginsberg’s “Howl” on red vinyl. [Retroactive update: this video “poets, passports and postcards in the Cascadian consulate” is now completed and available for your viewing amusement]