Tag Archives: new years

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.

Scenes of Life from New Year (shrine, Osechi, cards)

Up the hill to the shrine
Various bells, 5¥ coins and claps
Greetings to neighbours 
Evidence follows

Here are the festive cards received so far arranged on a string with help from my miniature assistant. Expecting a load of New Year’s cards arriving today. Yes I love this arts and crafts part of the holidays.

Once I rode this train when I was Canadian.

Now I’ll always know what year it is. A year for making “a circumnavigation, of sorts” >> free verse poetry, snippets of diaries, fragments of letters, unspoken musings, lists and annotations, compiled and abridged – printed, bound, stamped and shipped #Intention

So, how’s your New Year’s day going? We ate osechi variety platters of (often mysterious) food but most is so tasty and all is elegantly and deliberately prepared (despite what the whiners say)

More to follow as we go along, as we go along… tigers roar meow

Reiwa 3 / 2021 Recap of Intentions and Annotations (with my darlings)

On the big screen in Vancouver <3

Recapping my intentions and annotations for Reiwa 3/2021 with my darlings. Oversharing and whatnot but we’re all sorta friends, right? Lots of honestly and bits of laughter. Big dreams, tiny schemes, life admin to ukulele and most points in between.

Revolutions not Resolutions.

Fondly, us xo

Diary: New Years Eve – food & flowers / Eye of the Tiger ahoy!

Last hours before arbitrary mile post/time zones and calendar flipping – and while I’m not at my best I always have big schemes to make lists of intentions. I’ve made them before and yeah, I’ve made them again.

If all goes to plan I’ll sneak away while the wife and mother-in-law are cooking and flower arranging and make a recap video in the barn while listening to records. Plans? Ha ha :-)

But first, a few pre-snap shops and annotations, mostly of my wife in action and other sundry foods and flowers, starting with Ikebana in the genkon.

Made by magical wife (just before making turkey ramen) now tamagoyaki assembly in process… keep reading…

Here is an in-process snap (with a little boy who is a little bit grumpy because he wasn’t getting all of the attention :)) aside: Tea ceremony, music, flower arranging, it’s all possible for him. My brothers tease me that he’ll only be in the video games :(

The painting in the background really works out well too (by Michal Korman)

Somehow in between it all, we went to pick up a huge batch of tempura and of course she had a gift package ready for the proprietor / I just try to stay up with her.

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

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?

Behold, turkey ramen with garden veg & pork belly at Tsuchida Cottage. I made the stock/broth, the wife did everything else.

Oh, when I ordered the turkey, sausages, pork belly, there was also a 2 kg ham of some kind so while we were at it, cloves, rosemary and Pineneedles and into the oven it goes.

Good night you lovely folks. Hoping for a pleasant wind down of an interesting year. Year/Eye of the Tiger ahoy!

Diary: Days go by – filled (mostly) with coffee, food and and sundry tasks

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?”

With this in mind, over the last few months of settling in my new home and life, I’ve remembered to fill up this “new white sheet of paper” with all the spectacular regularness of simple errands, neighbourhood observations, pleasant routines and out n’ abouts. Continue reading Diary: Days go by – filled (mostly) with coffee, food and and sundry tasks

Diary: Starting off 2020 with Coffee and Classes etc.

A coffee break at “Tartan something or other” (not actual name) in downtown Okayama

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. 

we ordered umeboshi by the kilo – i love these pickled plums and nope to make them myself one of these days soon but in the meantime, order up in bulk! salty, sour goodness
one morning i awoke to Ryoko singing snippets of so many songs – realized she was tidying up all her sheet music/scores etc.
tidied up the Kamidama a little bit with fresh items to bring good fortune and happiness more and more

Continue reading Diary: Starting off 2020 with Coffee and Classes etc.

Diary: New Year’s Bar-b-q at Kobayashi’s Rural Caprine Farm

Hanging at my non-secret hideaway with sempei Mac Kobayashi.

On January 3rd, to continue celebrating the new year, we organized the parents, uncle/aunt and cousins to head over to Mac Kobayashi’s Rural Caprine Farm for some leisurely bar-b-q fun.

I gave farm tours to check on the big pigs and tiny horse and the old cow barns, feed storage areas, piles of dirt, old van, possible campgrounds and whatnot. 

Anyhow, was very pleasant and i love eating Mac’s food but even more, hanging out with him and his ridiculous music collection

The parents and uncle/aunt enjoyed some Koti Beer and Mac’s assortment of wines – so happy!

Continue reading Diary: New Year’s Bar-b-q at Kobayashi’s Rural Caprine Farm

Diary: New Year’s Holiday “Kojo Piano Club” Friends Music Party

Ren-san, Dave and Hamazaki-san at Kojo Piano Club party
having laffs with my pals Ren-san – Left (master of Piano Bar) who played some John Cage-ish piano composition, and Hama-san who served as MC and due to his recent birthday, received a groovy hat gift from Ryoko and me

Note: In the day’s between / around New Year’s – there are plenty of activities… today’s activities include hanged up the New Year’s decoration, drinking all the coffee to try to wake up & thwart headache, then going to an afternoon friends party/talent show where we will be singing a duet with Ryoko on piano.

Our selection is a modified (taking out the sort of dodgy creepy lyrics) version of “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered” with an arrangement vaguely based on this lovely scene in TV programme “The Crown” season 1. 

Do not expect video documentation of our performance though we diligently practiced and made a special vocal arrangement with some trade offs and whatnot. 

However, I will present some insta-photos as evidence and to provide a bit of flavour of the 5th annual Kojo Piano Club (there was even a theme song) party / event in which all the friends (many of whom, perform or learn together) perform music in various ensembles, plus usual eating, drinking and frivolity. 

Continue reading Diary: New Year’s Holiday “Kojo Piano Club” Friends Music Party

Diary: New Year’s Morning + Day / Reiwa 2, Let’s Enjoy!

Well hello 2020. Let’s enjoy. Step 1 (or 2) #japanlife

special stash of Indonesian coffee beans
give em a special extra roast
into the Moka (not mocha) pot – my fave all-around way to prepare coffee
warm up in our chilly little cottage

Continue reading Diary: New Year’s Morning + Day / Reiwa 2, Let’s Enjoy!