Tag Archives: okayama

Tea Ceremony in Sketches

A loose translation of the poem on the scroll in the alcove

My darling Ryoko studies Japanese tea ceremony with a group of others from Okayama and Kurashiki. Recently i was invited along to a special tea-drinking session at her sensei Ms. Matsuke’s house (she’s moving house so wanted to do one last one shindig at her home). 

We gather around, have some snacks and chat while setting up and then convene in a room to go through the process. As a new-un to the routine, i sketched a variety of quick scribbles to remind myself the process and find the moment of stillness (not always easy for this eager fella). Brief notes accompany the sketches. 

The general set up of the tea room with the alcove, scroll of poetry, brazier, tatami mats on floors – otherwise intentionally sparse.

Continue reading Tea Ceremony in Sketches

Musings towards Uno: Smugglers book, provided Pyjamas, and Vancouver history

Before leaving Uo back to Tsuchida, found a ridiculous burger!

As it goes… I’m riding the Uno Bus heading to Uno to stay at Uno Port Inn near where magical wife is teaching a tree trimming workshop. Though to be clear, in Okayama, i switch to the Ryobi bus.

Agenda includes: local Hot Spring bath; giant wild boar made of used plastic trash; fancy coffee and card writing; and reading Grant Lawrence’s Dirty Windshields (about time rambling with rock n rollers: The Smugglers).

First though, a stop at post office to mail more wedding thank-you cards & dropping off 35mm film shot at goat farm (supervised by Kris Krüg).

Watched: Andrew McLuhan’s riff from The Inscriptorium (The McLuhan Institute) about Marshall & Eric McLuhan, James Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake & Wyndham’s art.

Update: on the bus ride, I listened to BC Hall of Famer Nardwuar interview Eve Lazarus including a Vancouver history/culture name check explosion including Aaron Chapman, Colleen Hardwick, the Beatles, Chuck Davies and more more more. Esp enjoyed AC’s Tom Waits-esque spoken-song. 

coincidentally (if there is such a thing), buddy James shared a snap of Aleks (who was featured in True North Media House goodness) with the Hall o Famer (note: check out my coverage of his TEDx Van talk)… James says: It’s as good as getting a photo with the PM. A proud Canadian moment!

Also enjoyed recollections of “beatnik“ coffee/jazz lounge scene – Worth noting that Allen Ginsberg performed at at least one of these places and Sonny Terry and Brownie McGee recorded a legendary blues album at the Bunkhouse (which apparently “featured” topless waitresses).

Also, the post office mission was successful (including super sharp stamps) and letters are en route to several countries, the film developing project failed for the time being.

Now enjoying a matcha and jazz in a cool room.

Note: one great thing about rambling in Japan is hotels is pyjamas are provided. #handy Alas, smoking jackets usually aren’t (so packing Nepali red velvet vest).

Update: Stayed at Uno Port Inn which was a treat. Not fancy but they run a accommodation is a pleasant, comfy and unpretentious manner.  My review (added to Tripadvisor and Google Maps): 

Fantastic Location, Great Coffee, Excellent Staff

Location is fantastic with mere steps to ferry terminals and train station and bus stops plus lots of local art around. So handy for jumping off to art islands and/or getting to and from Okayama.

The staff was welcoming and very helpful. The lobby was chill and cozy and the patio was a treat.

The coffee is remarkable and the breakfast was very well prepared (especially nice on the patio).

Was just a quick one-night getaway (we live rather nearby) but made for a fun time. Note: The rooms are rather small but very functional and clean plus feature very nice sheets and pillows and Dr. Bronner’s soap in the bathroom!

Oh!: The folks at UNO Port Inn sent me a couple of snaps they took of yer ole pal me and asked for feedback and the ok to share on socials. Solid marketing / community building. Voila, snap!

Also: While we went out in search of dinner using the map provided by UNO, we found places either booked or closed… this worked out great as we wandered down an un-inviting arcade corridor and found the smallest okonomiyaki place run by an enjoyable old gal who loves dogs.

Finally: Uno and nearby islands Naoshima and neighbours are laden with public art and run a continuous bienalle of some sort. While i traveled across by ferry to Naoshima for a coffee, art walk and a hot springs soak, i won’t delay the click by foisting the relevant documentation now but rather share this remarkable fish made from sadly disposed of polluting nonsense plastic crap sitting on Uno port park area. There is often/usually a wild boar as well / or  but seems the inoshishi had the week off. 

Refuse plastic (and recycle if you can’t refuse but really refuse/avoid/replace as its such garbage!)

End of dispatch.

Munetada Shinto Shrine Primer / Dave + Ryoko 4-20 Kekkon-shiki

While me and Ryoko’s wedding will be a litttlllle bit unique, there are some very traditional aspects to our 3-day event, notably the Shinto ceremony at Munetada Jinjya (shrine).

This shrine is in the neighbourhood where Ryoko grew up and it is a day-to-day working shrine meaning its not a tourist attraction, rather they are active participants in the community and the usual place where folks go to ask for blessings on the birth of babies, safe travel, scholastic success and secret dreams. 

I’ve studied the ceremony overview from the shrine with great interest (albeit with machine translation):

* “With the Gods’ wedding” at Munetada jinjya (Japanese so use Chrome for easy translation) http://www.munetada.jp/kekkon_shiki.html

PS of particular interest is part 4 of the ceremony which includes a purification rite, which says and uses the proper kanji character for cannabis 大麻 – not totally sure what this means but the wedding is on 4/20 so appropriate in a manner:
 
4. Aoi-no-gi (Cannabis) (Hai no Toi)
Ui no Uta (Cannabis) I will ask you before the ceremony. We will treat the bride and groom and all the guests with cannabis. During this time, keep your head down.

Here are a few more articles which provide a bit of background about the routine and background of Shinto weddings:

* What to Expect at a Japanese Wedding: https://www.japantravel-centre.com/blog/6467/

* The Rituals of a Traditional Japanese Shinto Wedding https://fastjapan.com/en/p117513

* Doctrine of Kurozumi
http://kurozumikyo.com/dogma
 

Furthermore, to prepare for the ceremony, i present a photo gallery of the shrine and grounds… beginning with the traditional Torii gate which separates the home of deity from the regular city life. 

Continue reading Munetada Shinto Shrine Primer / Dave + Ryoko 4-20 Kekkon-shiki

Shinto Wedding Vow / Dave + Ryoko 4-20 Kekkon-shiki

Shinto wedding vow, Read by Dave and Ryoko in Unison at Munetade Jinjya (shrine), April 20, 2019

Phoneticized from Japanese by Ryoko (Fujita) Olson Note: copy provided for shrine for convenience of any future non-Japanese literate marriage candidates.

Continue reading Shinto Wedding Vow / Dave + Ryoko 4-20 Kekkon-shiki

Thanks to Vendors and Helpers / Dave + Ryoko 4-20 Kekkon-shiki

Note: what follows is the information as was printed upon a sheet which was included in the gift bags as a way to support and thank the various vendors, suppliers, helpers and whatnot for the wedding and build their businesses by fostering community. (pdf attached for your convenience). 

For many of these sections (party, giftbag, shrine, pottery etc) there are additional posts and artifacts. As such, this isn’t meant to be comprehensive, just the way the goodness was shared and printed, quite literally the morning of the party with very few modifications in this form. 

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サプライヤーに感謝、サポートしてください

Thank you to #DRO420 Suppliers, Please Support

私達の結婚式を助けてくださった様々な友人や事業者を紹介しましょう。 レビュー、いいね、共有、写真などを提供して、感謝の気持ちを示してください。  

Let us introduce the various friends and providers who helped us put together the wedding festivities. Please help us show thanks by offering reviews, likes, shares, photos etc.   

Food

Rural Caprine Farm / ルーラルカプリ農場 / Sempei Makoto Kobayashi  / 小林真人 party host and food / yagimilk.com/  

Noriko Hinuma / 日沼 紀子 / Spice chef / スパイス料理家 

Pom / ケーキ工房ポム / cake / pomme101.com

Continue reading Thanks to Vendors and Helpers / Dave + Ryoko 4-20 Kekkon-shiki

Okayama Station to Hotels / Dave + Ryoko 4-20 Kekkon-shiki

This dispatch shares wayfinding tips to get from the main train station, down a covered shopping arcade, over a canal, a stop for coffee (optional) and then to Koraku Hotel (conveniently embedded with a post office and convenience store). Then passing statues and bars, to the Okayama View Hotel – located across from the Birkenstock store ¥100 shop – and over to the Tenmaya shopping area and transit hub as needed.

Okayama Station to Koraku Hotel
Koraku Hotel to Okayama View Hotel

 

Connecting Communities / Dave + Ryoko 4-20 Kekkon-shiki

Indeed, I love connecting communities and so very happy 25 people (!) foreign dignitaries are coming to celebrate the wedding festivities in Okayama, Japan. Especially pleased that various times and places of my life are well represented: bearded renegades from Canada, lifesavers from Indonesia, a catch a beauties from Utah, padawans from the Hoot days from scattered places, hot dog couples and various drifting explorers. Oh, and the legendary mountain man from Nagano via Minnesota and the south Indian Ocean.

My hope/expectation is everyone will go home with new best friends and cultures will be intertwined to form relationships to last additional lifetimes. Yes, all will receive #FreeHugs.
 
PS Also note, we are at the maximum capacity, actually well beyond… for the shrine ceremony and fancy lunch, but the party is at a goat farm in a barn so room for more last-minute add-ons in addition to the 100+ already confirmed. As such, 100 deluxe gift bags are underway but not guaranteed #trying.

Grateful Annotations / Dave + Ryoko 4-20 Kekkon-shiki

Head melted from an incredible gesture of kindness which completely shocked and surprised me yesterday / don’t mean to be vague, but still searching for the right words and manner to say how truly and undeniably moved I am. #owls #tribute #video

Also, met 藤田良子’s grandmother, uncle, aunt, cousins etc. Who were all so fun and funny and kind / My language skills are improving daily which feels really nice as well.

Plus, accompanied new family as they went to do their civic voting duty at the polling place at the local junior high school where these lovely blossoms brightened the walk.

Oh one more thing, received an extraordinary wedding gift all the way from Scotland / said “book” on the customs declaration but it definitely was not a book. A welcome surprise from a lovely couple who befriended me during a really hard time while I was alone and far far away from anything and anywhere.

 
Going to Osaka for a couple days to do some paperwork at the Canadian consulate, pick up handcrafted rings, buy a few arts and craft supplies and eat takoyaki… We’re getting close to friends arriving! Still several items on the list but making sure to enjoy the process and keep pacing with in the boundaries for my body.
 
#Grateful #NewLife #DRO420

Mementos: Barbers, various (vol. 3, Indo and Japan)

Lovely Dessy in Sanur, Bali has a little indoor/outdoor barber shop where they also offer massage and cool beverages. She’s trimmed up my beard several times and trimmed up my hair

While i started enjoying haircuts when i found a barber shop which also offered libations, good tunes, pinball and the like,… since “the illness” I made a list of things I can do which involves sitting down, but gets me out of the house, and leaves me with a feeling of satisfaction.

These include: making scrapbooks, seeing matinée movies, sitting in parks under a tree, getting my beard professionally trimmed (rather than chopping at it myself) plus trim up the haircut,… as well as pedicures documented elsewhere.

This assortment features a few barbers in Indonesia and Japan.

Just before coming to Japan, this rock n roll gent at Kenedy (sic) a sorta new (at the time) and hip (so to speak) barber shop in Sanur, Bali.

While rambling, i like to seek out the hole-in-the-wall, no fuss, traditional barbers and enjoy a leisurely visit. Its hit or miss sometimes but ya know, hair grows back right?

Sometimes, not always, i grab a snap with the barber or the shop or me before and after… sometimes i don’t so you won’t see those. Oh sometimes i recall names and/or locations, this is not meant to be comprehensive, just amusing and vaguely documentary.

Just before getting married, i visited Mr. Nakamura in Omoto area of Okayama along with Takeshi (my father-in-law) for a haircut and beard trim. We enjoyed conversation and he gave a smoke for the road.

Transport to Festive Location in Okayama

Going Places in Okayama: Shrine + Resto + Farm

This dispatch shares the logistics of getting to and fro various important locations for the wedding festivities, specifically: Munetade Shrine, Fuyahei resto and Rural Caprine Farm goat farm by party via train and taxi. Also, the general plan about what to expect, when to show up and how to dress. Plus an overview of activities to do with free time like museums (lots), hot springs, picnics, and day trips to Kurashiki (art and canals, Bizen (pottery and swords), Hiroshima (bombs), and Kyoto (everything). Plus tips on staying in communication with all your new friends – both Japanese folks and the other international renegades.