In today’s (really March 7th but hey…) edition of “tasty coffee in scenic places with Daveo” I bring you this glorious handcrafted bevvie experience & view of the Seto-nai-kai (Inland sea) from an olive garden (no, not that one, an actual one) in Setouchi, Okayama, ergo:
Along the way, I produced a series of visual freeverse poetry called “Items: Forgotten in Drawers“ – part pirate treasure map, part meanderings stashed in a non-secret hiding place, part punk rock handbills.
+ Back Story The poems started in an Ayurvedic clinic the Himalayas, a ship in Arabia, and ruins around Mediterranean, …then attached to vintage hotel letterhead (much acquired from a tiny Greek Monastery store in a heavily Hasidic neighbourhood Montréal neighbourhood), assembled in off-strip Las Vegas, shared in Utah canyons… and now distributed to points unknown. Further batches were assembled on in a camper truck in Olympic Peninsula, Wa, and later Sanur and Nusa Ceningan, Indonesia with scraps printed here and there.
+ Process Sometimes, i don’t have a printers, other times no Internet, often no typewriter, so i make do with what i have: scissors, glue, paper… items i can pick up a dusty island shops and forgotten stationery stores.
When i write, (usually) starts as scribbles in notebooks and then gets hastily transcribed into a digital form and printed when opportunity strikes for editing – in this case, the editing leaves errors in typing and structure and instead cuts and pastes (like Burroughs to Bowie would do) and then reassembled in various ways.
+ Form Each substrate (hotel letterhead, aerogramme, envelope) shown is uniquely augmented with stamps – both postal and ink – and other ephemera, carefully selected and then applied as though it wasn’t.
Sometimes, lettraset letters, fuzzy Lomo photos and bits of typewriter come along.
+ Themes Overall, the pieces explore themes of wandering lost, losing self and others, scraping beneath the crust of culture and myth, remixing identity, connecting the history to the present in all it’s vagaries, and considering what becomes of our story when we vanish… naturally made with affection.
+ Next What follows (and brings me here) is another series is queuing up – Vol. 6 “Circumnavigation” spanning cultures, geography, form and accruements.
The first dispatch in the series is a remixing of myself (originally written on 3 postcards and mailed to 3 different people) with insomniac observations about Yangtze River and Shanghai’s absurd skyline as seen from a ship.
Amidst the “specialness” of life – which included of late:
trip to Nagasaki and all the glorious trains, building and museums (well documented elsewhere)
Mae Maes spring concert in Tamano (artifacts to follow)
baby coming! (and related prep)
10 years anniversary of Vancouver Olympics (which was such a big deal for me and i meant to do “something” to commemorate, but ya know, this feeling was overridden with ambivalence (but do have some notes and copy/pastes i’ll get to before 11th anniversary)
– is the “regular out n abouts” of life. These moments are treasure and, as memory fades, are quickly lost to the “exciting bits” never the less, i capture and archive for me, for others like me, for the little one, for the future, for the process. You know this already so behold, more of the usual: trams, coffees, meals, and various items spotted in the wild.
Ergo, just things, observed / scenes of life in Okayama, en route to “seitai” treatment session:
* fine bicycle (wagyu burgers in bg) at sunny intersection
* non-chronological aside but related / wagyu burger (with Ted) / as an additional aside, compared to 25+ years ago when I was first year, so much more international food available, to go along with the obviously fantastic Japanese native food… Would having pizzas, mighty burgers, lots of India/Nepal food, there are Mexican food places but i don’t wanna be disappointed – Anyway we do not lack for fantastic food even in our small city
* angled manshon apartment bldg, striking against the sky (this is parking lot for seitai sensei)
+ Always be Kind (and you hoarders, help out the shut-ins) +
As the world burns, I’m very comfortable with life… Groceries are delivered, i require very little toilet paper, *already* wash my hands because that’s normal, ride the bus when needed, can communicate well enough, and still glad to give hugs to people who want.
Peace to any and all who are stressing or struggling about conundrums in the world during this mighty reset. Need to talk? Hit me up. Take it slow, be safe, always be kind.
I should note that we are running low on peanut butter > remembered before living in Japan, there was no such thing & certainly not the well-priced, organic perfection avail downtown a short bus right away. Though i did find extra jar of persimmon jam in the freezer Hooray!
Anyhow, all of you who are rushing out in fever pitch to try to buy things so you can moan that you can’t, consider putting your energy to helping out the shut-ins who ya know, actually need stuff and have a hard time getting out to get said stuff, these folks often are most venerable to sickness as well so – ya know, mellow out on your hot pockets supply and help and chill out.
photo Charles Lance Tomala, circa 2001
PS All my Morm0n pals are loving their food storage right now ;) well played
Note: Some of this riff originally appeared in “real time” via FB social channel to the amusement of many (everyone loves a comically large bootle of hooch!) – shared here for posterity in edited form with several other topics included.
++ Confession ++
Well, i am at risk of irreparably damaging my reputation as a good resident of Okayama as it seems some library books are overdue.
I know! Terrible. Shameful breach of trust.
As such, i will finish this coffee (delicious by the way) and hop on the luxurious Uno Bus (seriously wi-fi, power outlets, clean, comfy, pay-per-stop) to restore my status as a decent human.
I’ve really let myself go off the rails – i’ll try to improve.
PS i will not blame this on this comically huge bottle of saké – seriously, 18 litres and came in a wooden crate. Just when you think Japanese people are all diligent and serious, they pull out this! i mean the logistics of shipping, lifting, holding, pouring alone are baffling
Checkpoint busstop (yes my life does look like a Studio Ghibli movie)
Did i mention the bus has great wi-fi, power outlets, seatback headrest covers, and pay-per-stop system? Uno Bus is truly great.
Also before leaving washed dishes, folded laundry, started rice, composted food scraps, fed rabbit, aerated kobo starter, refilled kerosene heater… and didn’t forget library books(!)
Ryoko’s out of town for 2 nights teaching a tree trimming workshop & stayed in a trad guest house with wooden bath. So cool. And she’s truly incredible (and doing great with pregnancy!)
You could be forgiven for thinking that my life involves entirely eating delicious food and drinking fantastic coffee as you are somewhat correct… however, there is slightly more going on as i am into the routine of “regular life” and doing things which I file under “life administration”. As such, some tasks (as much as I delight in the mundanity of everyday activity) doesn’t get documentation.
Not that these things are not interesting – but because in the diligence and action itself, there’s interestingness – but photographs aren’t always timely nor appropriate and in themselves, there’s not often a story to be told. Within this thought is why I enthusiastically and rather comprehensively documented everyday life when first arriving in a new place… As in: when you stay in a place for a while, the uniqueness of every day life fades and it’s easy to think that “I’ll do this another time” or “I’ll wait for something special” or “why bother?”
So it goes, the festive season passes yet calendar stays busy with the usual sorts of things. Yesterday included returning books to splendid library, a few letters (Switzerland and Indonesia) to the post office, a stop for the best ramen, and a visit to a chiropractor and then a super good little (i mean little) coffee shop – like just perfect right?
In amongst, we repaired/re-did a wall in Tsuchida Cottage, attended a parenting class(!), went to opera variety show, hit up Hatsumi-san’s piano recital, moved some brick around outside, printed more flyers for Mae Maes gig, talked to a guy about replaced some drafty windows, recycled plastic items, booked a trip to Nagasaki…
Here is a variety of snippets collected along the way, with minor annotations as possible.
Heading to opera today / Ryoko is purple kimono with silver obi & orange sandals. Stunnnning. Also complicated (it ain’t just “putting on a robe” – its a whole process choosing the right one for the occasion and then whoa putting it all on is an art (which is kinda the point).
Anyhow, furthermore, today is national holiday to celebrate and welcome crop of 20 years olds to adulthood with all sorts of dress-up ceremonies & events. [Read about Seijinshiki}
Should be real colourful in the city / we’re riding bus, i’m having a warm bevvie.
Note: to be clear, this wasn’t a full opera production but rather a variety of songs by a troupe (is that the right word?) or a company of singers doing various ensembles, bits, songs, snippets from opera. I have the program and would share notes but hey… it’d just be a tease right.