Tag Archives: nengajyo

Post, received: Nengajyo lucky numbers + 3 cards

I took down Christmas and New York cards, for the most part, from the “string of honor” (which you know also doubles as a high gauge speaker wire) and realized we hadn’t checked the “lucky numbers” which come included on the Japan Post manufactured (and customizable) new year cards and/or on the specific stamps celebrating the particular lunar year (in this case of course, dragon).

So we looked through the stack of received cards and found that we had three winners! so… I get to take to the post office to claim the well-won postage stamps. No trip to Hawaii but that’s totally fine, in fact this is very meta: stamps beget stamps.

We received so many wonderful cards – both international and domestic – which, I mean to make another one of my meandering, poorly/lit and rarely-viewed videos of putting the cards in folios to show you that I care (really, it’s just because I love the whole process of documenting these treasures), yet, in the meanwhile these three cards keep surfacing to the top:

One by Okayama pop artist Noriko Miyake and her hand-drawn/painted “goddess” art

One by Okayama modern traditional Shodo calligraphy artist Yoshiko Yoshida on exquisite paper stock

One from our friends Ed and Naomi in Nozawa onsen with a change of address (as they keep switching houses ;)) and a charming bit of art

Of course, yours is also awesome but just these three happen to be on the table waiting for their moment.

Would you like to send us a postcard? Just copy this address as above (written by Noriko Miyake) // all details also at “postal and contact“.

Post’d: Not *really* New Year cards, but kinda, just more silky lounging

Not exactly new year cards… we’ve moved on, right?

atop the rusty post box in our neighbourhood

Specifically: a couple for birthdays // yes, me lounging in a hotel lobby in monogram’d pajamas, silk robe & dapper hat (natch) waiting for food delivery; another a message about healing with grace and facing demons; and, the other variation of time traveler daguerreotype as another special delivery for a late address.

check that paper grain – swoony right?

Oh and this one *is* a New Year card, even though past official “new year” time. Hand-decorated and personally-deliveredwith bonus dragon accessory and special stamp from a country I can’t quite read with my fuzzy eyes.

Crafted with kohi at the goat farm to a very lovely recipient i’ve known since she was in a high-chair and is now a wonderful mama to 3 rambunctious lads. And whilst clear coating a postbox haiku you’ve already read about and yes more coverage to follow.

Making of New Year Card, 2024 + archival nengajyo treats

Overhead view of arts and crafts-ing New Year card “nengajyo” for 2024, or Reiwa 6 in Japan.

Such arts & crafts fun times

Starting with a substrate of elephant dung paper from Sri Lanka, adding various inky stamps – including one designed by Nick Bantock – then writing postcardy prose with fountain dip pen, adding daguerreotype photo by Ken Miner, peeking at various inspiration sources, cutting, pasting, rolling, more stamping, mistaking, remixing, fiddling….

Then flashing through international , domestic and unique stamps, stacks of addressed cards, postboxes utilized for dispatching, sneaking a few hand deliveries to special recipients, *and* a montage of previous 4 new year cards – displaying completely different techniques – finishing with exquisite time travellers from Tsuchida Cottage.

Thanks to:

Daguerreotype: kenminer.ca

Dragon + crab stamps: nickbantock.com

Shodo calligraphy: Takushi Fujita

Logistics: Neal Cropper

Music by: Mark Olson (guitar, vocals, music) and Dave Olson (drums, lyrics) recorded OlyWa, 1996 to Tascam 4 track cassette, otherwise unreleased

New Year “Nengajyo” 2024 / Reiwa 5 ~ for (calm) Dragons

Thar be Dragons Ahoy!

Wishing you Calm in 2024, Reiwa 5 if you prefer.

Fondly from the Olsons of Tsuchida Cottage – Ichiro, Ryoko and Daveo

For the collectors, enthusiasts, pals, renegades, artsy types, lovers and mysterios.

photo: Ken Miner
stamp: Nick Bantock
shodo: Takushi Fujita
flourish: Ryoko Olson
design, Uncle Weed

Substrate: Sri Lankan elephant dung paper

Details include:

fingerprint for biometric convenience, ¥500 vending machine hanko stamp, accurate return address, ¥100 store numeral stamps, “postcard” ink stamp from Lydia in Austin, etc.

Miscellany: did i forget to tell about hats, barbers, cards & winter clothes?

I’ve done it, left the house for something other than a medical appointment… Heading to get a haircut, bus lets me off right near a sweet shrine so can I go toss in some coins and ring the bell and ask the 80,000 kami for a favor or two

Outfit: The crown/hat was handmade by a generational milliner in Springville Utah / a gift from a legendary artist friend who inscribed the headband with “uncle w33d” and hand written quote from Richard Brautigan. And yes my jacket (I gift from older brother) has a “Dave” name patch on it I added later.

New Year Cards:

Festive/holiday/new year cards ordered.

Next step is ordering the special “national lottery” commemorative new year stamps for domestic (¥63) and a whole bunch of ¥100 stamps for international plus airmail stickers

Interesting results so far
Ps i am def in minority

Re: New Year cards, Shout out to the folks sending 300+ I wonder why people send no cards? Is it no fun? Is it a hassle? Is it expensive? Is it for old analog fogeys only?

{I guess that could’ve been a poll question}

+ not only did I make 300 for our family card but also another 40 for wife’s business and 20 more for Ichiro’s own custom Nengajo for pals + we can go to post office and stamp inky dragons

I might stop by the post office nearby the barbershop to see if they have any 100¥ stamps in stock. Most times, the post offices don’t have any – or maybe only a few – so better to order quantity online. Alas, design of this new denomination (up from ¥70) is limited to 1 choice.

Update, later: ordered both ¥100 international postcard and ¥63 special edition new year of the dragon stamps from online shopping, should be here in a couple days along with the printed cards, business and kids cards to be printed at home.

Barber on break: Kind of love it, the shrine was no go as the hack arborists were they’re running diesel engines so came to barbershop where there’s a whiteboard note saying “be back around 14:00” and a couple cigarette butts. Made myself a coffee and cooling out for a minute

I’m amusing myself thinking about any kind of store in the USA (yes yes, I know you have some exceptions you’re gonna tell me) just leaving the door is open, TV on, kerosene heater going, laundry machine running and leaving a note on a whiteboard next to the ashtray

His father was Barber and retired in the 80s, nothing has changed except for one calendar in the corner and a different coffee machine

Me and the barber, I’m the one on the right // I’m even trying to smile

Reminding myself: when I get home, gotta go out to the barn into the winter clothes bin and pull out a few seasonal appropriate scarves… or maybe do it tomorrow, whatever

Update (later): And I didn’t make it out to the barn to pick out some winter clothes… It’s getting chilly

Looking across the street in envy to the bus stop with seats/benches, the stop this side of the road does not have such luxury

These are not are persimmons however a very lovely seen… We have so many persimmons, so so so many. All kinds, all textures, all softness levels.

We made jam, vinegar, dried ones, soft ones, raw ones but still can’t use them fast enough

Bonus: By the way, any of you pals here in Japan doing / performing Santa Claus at the kids’ school or otherwise? Being the foreign guy with a beard in provincial Japan means I always get to be Santa Claus at the school, & this is year 4 for me with the big goal of not going home with a smorgasbord of viruses, germs, colds and what not / of course, I have my own outfit and while the beard is not quite as long as I would like, my “method acting/naturalistic approach” makes up for it :) – and no, the kids don’t sit on my lap they stand next to me respectfully and bow

Beard coming in pretty decent for Santa Claus

Festive Greetz Cards Scrapbook Time (backwards)

In front of a wood stove, Dave stashes cards from the “string of honour” into archival book while recounting tales of the wonderful folks who sent greeting cards and letters to Tsuchida Cottage.

Very grateful for your friendship and lovely correspondence.

Along with banter about:

* having several scrapbooks on-the-go at all times

* special collections and on-going correspondence

* topsy turvy start to the year

* “lap projects” like mending and scrapbooking

* thoughts about last year (lots of paperwork!)

* theme for this year (letting go)

and usual digressions, meanderings and anecdotes (i.e. hanging stereo speakers and maybe something about solar panels). Oh, there is a Dymo LabelMaker in action.

Very grateful for your friendship and lovely correspondence.

Meanwhile I’m trying to tidy up the room a little bit so here are albums of postcards/greeting cards etc., duly annotated by Dymo label.

PS if I’ve missed sharing your card I probably shared under separate cover / somewhere else, or will do another time (thinking of you Astrid in Germany who’s art is already hanging up).

Post’d: new year mail-outs / postal odds and ends (& what happens next)

A well decorated special new year dropbox at a post office on a quest with my buddy Mac

“Good news” is over 300 pieces of postal mail dispatched the last 4-5 weeks. Mostly postcards but also bunch of special packets (some were far overdue) + typed (poorly) a few long letters – still a few more on my list and then have to pause / slow down for a while.

One of the batches, heading out internationally with some fantastic (specially ordered) 70¥ stamps, celebrating an anniversary of Japan and France, postal relations, along with air mail seals (and a CD received from a friend in Fukushima)
On a drive to visit an arborist colleague, in another town, spotted a couple post boxes from the car, and just couldn’t resist myself since we were at a red light, seemed like fate
There was a lot of red ink, stamping, because well of course we have our own “year of the rabbit” stamps, so wore out the previous red ink pad (which I really really liked) and ordered a new one, yeah it’s really the big time
Have acquired at least a dozen free calendars and placed each appropriately throughout the house, and in this case, in the kura (to be clear, there’s also one in the carport/workshop)
Of course, this dude was helping out with the stamping
Along with the “usual” high volume of standard New Year’s cards, were a few special dossiers, sent to folks needing a little spark, due to being shut, ins, hospitalized, suffering, loss, or otherwise did something very special. an opportunity to share some of my little arts and crafts to maybe inspire others.
Though our dear rabbit Maru-chan is featured on the new year card – because of course it is “year of the rabbit” – sadly, my design skills squished him in and he was often covered by a stamp required for postal delivery. I attempted to apologize and explain the situation – he just wants to sit by the fire. I think we’ll both be all right.
Thank you to all our wonderful correspondents, both sending and receiving is a pleasure

The next “big project” is getting ready for a trip #BCInvasion in April/May. Focus is “family, friends, parks, and gardens” 1st time for my darlings, and I’m a little intimidated to deal with lack of public toilets, tax/tips and other social connections, but will get through it. And yes, of course I’ve made a Google doc plan and “poster art”.

New Year Cards – postal drop & related evidence

New Year day in Japan is better than Christmas for postal mail enthusiasts when a big stack of cards arrives with a “thud” – complete with “magic numbers” which you look up in the newspaper to see if you won some prize, {one time I won stamps}

PS about 885 million of these special New Year’s cards are delivered on New Year’s Day – yes, that many, yes by postal workers working on New Year’s Day

Postal worker zipping around on special bike, delivering items to the Munetade shrine

PPS we sent about 250 and so much thanks to all the folks who sent festive cards to us – Will be savored, inventoried archived, scrapbook’d and thanked.

Diary: specs, tea, cards & usual annotations from the fog

Everything old was new again / same as it ever was, same as it never was.

Various annotations Nov. 25~27ish

Glasses: my super cool vintage clubman glasses are broken after some roughhousing with kid (and also from being old) / back up pair gives headaches & delicate. This means, going to spectacle shopping again. Yes, I’ve spent approximately 14% of my lifetime earnings on glasses.

these old soldiers, purchased in Guam 1994 with brand-new “transitions” tech, re=fitted last year but alas, the frames too fatigued and broken twice

My back-up pair (purchased in Victoria) never quite dialed in with lenses maybe because wide-ish and so my don’t call me lazy left eye is always pulling to the side ?? the frames were bought with insurance meaning came from the “b-pile” and are flimsy :(

currently wearing these specs, just not *great* though (i am the one on the left)

Circumnavigation: Progress on my poetry book project has kind of stalled out due to some logistical complications of broken spectacles. That said, I did a tremendous amount of work getting a new routine going for transcriptions and definitely have a foundation laid as I’ve sorted out my concept.

current work bench set-up for poetry book project

Visitor: And, hey! we have our first foreign tourist guest coming tomorrow since the “before times“ (we had another international guest but technically on a business visa).

So, i’ll take bus into city to meet up > streetcar to lunch with a view of the castle > coffee in the park > bus back to the house, wife will probably make tea, check out barn studio ++ make a woodstove fire nabe (stew) pot with duck meat. Mac the goat farmer & in-laws will join the festive board.

more sundry tasks of late:

  • new orthotic inserts for shoes, great!
  • made chicken stock from beauty beer can roast chicken
  • ordered new year cards and stamps
  • IV “cocktail” infusion
  • brought in firewood
  • called a friend

Further details

Specs: Ordered new glasses from a very specialized optometrist with a store started by his great grandfather in the 1800s, yes, 130 years ago. Also had an interesting assortment of clocks/watches and a Yamaha hi-fi similar vintage to mine. Head spinning from all the eye tests. Now home in bed resting.

Ole Eye guy put me through extensive battery of tests. Optometrist, ophthalmologist, opticians etc. are always fascinated/amused/amazed by my eyes. Left eye w/ astigmatism and surgery, is my weak eye but also dominant. Eyes constantly switch back-&-forth but never work in tandem.

a variety of uninspiring frames but fortunately i have a “face for glasses” so will work it out

Selection of frames was certainly * not fantastic* but over 50 years of doing this, I’m good at sorting through and finding something unique, utilitarian and features my pretty face rather than specs. Also smart enough to know chasing around to different stores is fools errand.

previous time spec shopping – didn’t buy any of these and instead retro-fitted olden set, sharing to show my consistency with documenting process

PS grew up wearing “executive bifocals” with heavy glass lenses with straight across lines like maybe your grandpa rocked. As such, I truly celebrate all advancements in optical technology. Lenses are so much lighter and thinner now. But still hard getting “centerpoint” dialed in

#daveo50 ~ 1972 / Lansing, Michigan

Have a week to wait for manufacture (incredible variety of coatings, filters and customizations possible now, not to mention the thinness of the lenses!) and then these two will retire to the crate of disused soldiers. Sigh. $10000s spent on finicky eyes. Skimping is unwise.

My prescription is really weird so lenses always come in at waaaay too much + due to the changing nature of my eyes, usually have to swap out every two or three years :( I “joke“ that I bought boats for optometrists & paid for orthodontists for the children of ophthalmologists.

i used to donate old glasses until the opticians & eye doctors told me “don’t bother, nobody is going to be able to use these, nobody” / maybe eventually will make a spectacle spinning mobile.

Park and Trucks (and cheese): While I was doing my thing at the old-timey optical, my darlings hit up a park for a session & a snack.

Now one of them is snoring next to me :)

Tea ceremony: In another topic, my darling wife went to a special ceremony tea today // she was the only one they are under probably 70 years old… They all adore her for carrying on the tradition of making tea, rocking kimono etc. She came home with all sorts of treats including yuzu miso(!)

my tea teacher

this little selfie snapshot hardly does her justice but I just love that she keeps me in the loop with her activities when she’s out and about.

Oh here is wagashi:

yes, wagashi “sweets’ at tea ceremony. plating is important

She’s gonna host her own tea ceremony here at the house this month… I really look forward to her doing more in the future… {Now if we can just get that land and make our own tea house & garden hmmm}

I also told preschool wanna be Santa Claus again this year but have to make a few changes. Last year was lots of loud music, bright lights as well as 1-on-1 interaction with the kids which basically gave me a virus salad that laid me out for a month and a half. :( #delicate

Letters: Two absolutely fantastic and heart-touching pieces of mail today from domestic correspondents, yep, from inside dear Japan archipelago from folks “met” here on beleaguered Twtr. Just read both and a little bit spun out by the thoughtfulness and candidness.

New Year Cards: In a sorta semi-related topic: going to try to keep nengajyo / New Year’s cards to 100 domestic and 100 international this year. Ordering the “special magic number“ ¥63 stamps for domestic + ¥70 stamps for international as post office doesn’t generally have sufficient stock.

2021 Insta-Lindas New Year card

Anyhow, I’ve ordered the New Year’s cards and really looking forward to sharing with you.

2020 Time Traveler New Year card

The “usual“ in that there’s fantastically cute picture on the front and quirky poetry and stamp art on the back / but you know, sort of different, I guess :-) the thing that’s different this year is did them all digital and outsourced printing. previous years made all analog and printed at home running through cartridges and making extra complicated this year is a tiny bit more clip arty but will all be hand-addressed/finished w/ <3

New Years Greetings / 2019 + Reiwa 2

The previous “Linda Lindas/Insta“ and “Time Travelers“ and *pink collage* were pretty solid. I hope it makes its way to your refrigerator with a very nice magnet.

The photo we are using this year has been circulated before but was just too good to pass up the chance for a print run with it :-) #hint

Lit mags: Annnnnd I finally received the poster for my Paris Review subscription (which i bought instead of renewing NHL live :)) / glad it was properly shipped in a tube as well

paris review poster (need to find a quality poster frame plan as i have a lot of posters)

I really love getting high-quality print magazines in the mail. Alas, the postage to Japan often makes us a little bit expensive for a pensioner like me but still…

As for Ichiro: 29 months old now, really understanding he’s learning “two codes“ with a different languages/ we’re reading Tintin books (among many others) and in the bath he asks me to do voices for Snowy, Tintin and Captain Haddock (“Blistering barnacles! Thundering typhoons!“)

my lil superstar, at the optical, wondering when he gets specs
Easier: Nov 26

Dear Wonders,

Caught up dishes and laundry, and took out compost.

Plus had a pleasant phone conversation and transcribed one draft poem.

Now resting in bed eating a dried persimmon.

“Things are gonna get easier…“

Ty, dvo
For you & me “Ooh Child”