Tag Archives: okayama

Nostalgia for a Present Tense – Japan Cottage Musings

Nostalgia for a Present Tense – Japan Cottage Musings

Amidst construction on Tsuchida Cottage, Dave runs-down recent events, both contemporary (seitai treatment, café poetry, CBD shop, family life) and coincidentally historic (regarding, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Jack Kerouac, Edward Abbey, Neal Cassady, SxSW, Beez, Cmdr Bob) with usual digressions about postcards, pacifism, creations, inspiration, book collecting, San Francisco, and removing the meta rather than enshrining dinosaurs – also namechecks for Joe Strummer, plus riffs about meditation class, Japanese houselife, wonderful in-laws, adorable wife and baby and current catching-up (trying anyhow) on correspondence, with special regards and affection for pals who are in transition and friends who are flying high.

Fondly, dvo

daveostory – Nostalgia for a Present Tense

Diary: Café Poetry, Street cars, Seitai and Curry

As it goes: “Over the Wall” > Headed by bus for some medical treatment (seitai) trying to stay ahead of the “Crash mode”… Head and heart are Genki, just trying to catch the body up… But as someone once sang “two out of three ain’t…” Staying positive, rolling slow, counting the goodness, always grateful.

yup, waiting on a splendid bus

Baby is with grandma, wife is working, yesterday sent more absurdly and unnecessarily complicated paperwork for various schemes and reasons. But hey the bus is on time, has great Wi-Fi and a power outlet at my seat. It’s the simple pleasures.

Oh and this hat – of course – is made by Mavili, the elder gentleman from Georgia (the country, not the state) from whom I used to purchase loads from at Lonsdale Quay market. Recently his son found a blog post from like 2008 and contacted me to say thanks, & his dad is still making hats from home. I am happy to say I have at least three creations of his here in Japan (& many others lost along the way and/or purchased as gifts for distinguished folks).

If you are curious, scarf from an Istanbul souk (was so surprised to see tartans on offer in markets in Istanbul – the Turkish cotton is absolutely wonderful), jacket Uniqlo, satchel from Thamel, Kathmandu.

Btw, the kanji on the bus stop 土田 is Tsuchida, our neighbourhood & means “dirt/soil-field” more or less.

Note: cute cause its me and intrepid elder ladies on the bus. The *secret power* of Japan are these invincible women. Strength, dignity, kindness & grace abounding.

Steeple-chased and sensory depravation / Poetry and Coffee is Everything.  Pen functional if not exquisite. 

Update: Finished my treatment (seitai, it’s kind of hard to explain but it’s not shiatsu, it’s not acupuncture, it’s not massage, it’s not reiki, it’s not chiropractic but a little bit like all of those things sort of but in a calm tatami room)… then in my post-fog, opened a vaguely random door to what turned out to be a blissful little café… Just me at the counter, jazz playing, skilled master made me curry… feeling so happy to find this place that I’m having another coffee and writing some poetry (lyrical even… as a gift for a musical friend).

i mean ¥900 for this magnificent plate in a chill calm place with a diligent proprietor is like some kind of wow (note notebook in bg)

For the record, this was the café… They have one kind of curry per week which makes ordering easy. Stay up to date via @Grillmori Instagram 

Gri(l)mori Original Lunch / even the sign is evokes nostalgia #Okayama

And here is one of the street cars rolling down the tracks… There’s all kinds of different eras and designs represented from “slick modern” units to classic beauties like this one to the obligatory hello kitty themed one, also Chuggington. I rolled one for just 2 stops cause i love the feel (and really every step saved is a big help).

2 street car lines here in Okayama, ¥100 for most on/off rides – enter at the rear, pay, exit from front

Finally, after I got off the street car, right in front of me was a brand new CBD shop/café/lounge. Went in to say hello and all that and great variety of products and displays but wow, a little expensive.  Had nice conversation with the young proprietor (30) told him about my activism at young age and how we eventually changed *everything* in Canada and US west coast. Had some samples (they also have CDB wax and vape device #want) but after treatment, i am bit foggy (like more than usual) so mumbled a bit before making my way back to the bus and back to the stop and home to rest. 

Ready for action (as in riding a bus to do a thing)

Time Travelers ~ art card project dossier & variations

+ Steady on Time Travelers, variations +

Time Traveler Family, v. 1

While doing a photo shoot for Ichiro’s 100 days at Homare Photo Atelier here in Okayama, the photographer Yoshihiro Matsushita-san and i rocked a fun mise en scéne with:

  • typewriter
  • sea trunk
  • Lomo sardine camera (with yellow tiny flash)
  • books, various
  • rocking horse (just ‘cause)
  • my ever-present been-all-around-this-world suitcase

~ in front of a battered green paper (shade of van Gogh’s pool table) and a red rug… to go with Ryoko’s stellar Fluevog shoes & 1964 vintage lace party dress (such details!) and my bespoke-in-Chiang Mai secret agent suit, Stetson fedora & Florsheim Imperial shoes (bartered). Ichiro rocked a sweet blue Japanese onesie – gift from my dude Kitazawa Takaya-san.

Time Traveler Family, v. 2 

Anyhow… (with my foggy self) we worked quickly – imaging ourselves sitting still for a bellows camera before setting sail to steam around a cape or horn – maybe Taisho-era, maybe just back from Venus & teleporter time gauge malfunctioned. There was probably a daguerreotype and/or dirigible involved, if not a phone box at least.

Time Traveler Family, v. 3 

What is displayed here are 7 of the best iterations which were then made into some special cards, ergo: the digital snaps were printed on laid textured paper, then attached to handmade washi paper with rough edges with olden photo corners, annotated with a fountain pen as was custom poetry written on reverse in English and Japanese, various appropriately cancelled postal stamp glued, usual inky stamps for sure (urgent! confidential! air mail – or a suitcase) – some got seal stickers, often slightly more dangerous metallic sealing wax which caused minor fire damage #smouldering!

Further Evidence: Steady On, Time Travelers! {New Year Greetz, 2021 / Reiwa 3 令和3年} + video Time Travelers in a New Year ~ Japan Cottage Musings

Time Traveler Family, v. 4

Then finally some received our family hanko stamp, and Ichiro’s inked finger print – truly collectible. Then… (very) delicately scanned (at this point forgotten how many digital to analog conversions overall in the project) – Just barely in time to get the “pick of the litter” posted to wish greetings on January 1 to you lovelies around this spinning globe.

Steady On Time Travelers – reverse of art card with poem in English and Japanese (plus Ichiro’s fingerprint, family hanko and other details) 

Regardless, we are all the time travelers and must hold steady, be adaptable, be where we are, find the ways to blend in (or gracefully exit) when finding one’s self in an unpredicted situation, eat healthy rations (whether known or not) and ease into comfortable shelter as possible.

Time Traveler Family, v. 5 

While the world spins fast, let’s breathe backwards to slow it down. {noting after I wrote this poem – alluding world is spinning fast *emotionally* and thus causing pandemonium in many ways/souls – i learned physicists also suggest the planetary orbit speed has physically increased. I do not understand their methods but seems agree with their results – albeit primarily aesthetically.}

Time Traveler Family, v. 6 

Finally: the final handmade creations / all slightly different in photo & embellishments went to various thoughtful directions, ergo, 1 to seitai sensei, 1 to forestry sensei in Noto, 1 to tea ceremony teacher, 1 to ephemera master in VicBC,  1 to writing professor (ret’d, Torrey, UT), 1 to artist Noriko Miyake – 2 for archives (for the inevitable retrospective exhibit of cards, letters, visual poetry and invitations).

Time Traveler Family, v. 7

Thanks for coming along on our time travel {paraphrasing Jimmy Buffett’s “Boat Drinks”} you pick the century and we’ll pick the place. Continue reading Time Travelers ~ art card project dossier & variations

Diary: Two Years in Okayama (as an un-secret agent)

Evidence of a passport renewal, the mustache means I’m a distinguished person to be taken seriously, right? Am I doing this right?

 * two years towards forever *

There was a time when I was disappeared, when I was invisible, for reasons unnecessary to explain right now.
 
So much collapsed, lost, left, leading to confusion, despair and seeking… Far — I mean *all the way* — deliberately lost, comfortably lonely, finding ways and means of healing, picking up the pieces, starting again, recycling some bits, rebuilding from the foundation, working backwards from the mis-quoted Buddha koans… there were poetry, scrapbooks, letters and tears.
 
* reinventing to who I already was *
 
But what I came here to say is “it’s all about the cycles“ and as it goes… two years ago I came here to begin a new life. I will live here forever.
 
When I was a kid, I knew right away I wanted to “go places, make stories, share with others“ I’ve done a lot of the first two, now can do a lot of the three while still doing more of the two and maybe some of the one, but only maybe. And I’m cool with that.
 
Anyway, since I arrived here:
 
Massive epic wedding with so many wonderful people (so great!)
 
Wonderful relationship with in-laws (so incredibly grateful for this)
Remarkable baby delivered safely in the midst of public health crisis
 
One funeral (extended Buddhist social distance style) of a long-lived grandmother shortly after the baby (who shares a name but not kanji with her late husband) arrived
 
Several museums slowly visited, getting to know the buses, street cars, villages and shrines in our local area
 
Many, many bowls of Ramen & teas/coffees (extensively documented for historical research)
 
So much paperwork and registrations, i.e.:
* national health insurance
* pension program
* “my number” card
* foreigner registration card (& renewal)
* updating a handful of passports
(all of the above requiring slightly different sized photos)
* koseki tohon (family register)
* post office bank account
* international transfer bank
* various library cards
* several hospital cards
* a few mysterious phone numbers
* taxes in multiple countries (such a good boy Dave!)
* various government records in previous countries updated (usually by postal mail since heaven help me if I’m gonna spend four hours on hold)
 
Several of the same of the above for wife’s name change & Ichiro’s various registrations and citizenship(s), often requiring certified translation and notarizations
 
Add in a consulate visit for an affidavit
 
Monthly hospital visits with the neurologist (no, no real progress #mecfs but well… I’m in the system) + frequent “Seitai” treatments / hard to explain but very useful + Several emergency room visit (I’ll spare you the details) + Investigations into LDN/new strategies
 
Hundreds, possibly approaching thousands of postal mail items (postcards, letters, dossiers) sent out into the world
 
Hundreds, possibly approaching thousands of blog posts (diaries, personal archeology etc.) sent out into the world
 
An extended ramble to far-flung corners of under-known Japanese provinces to visit sensei in fishing ports and wizard hermits in mountains (also museums, hot springs, and roadside attractions)
 
So many various trains and styles of accommodation utilized / several of which are documented in various forms (the trains, not the hotels/guest houses/capsules/ryokan/minshuku/retreats…)
 
Relatives in Nagasaki hospitals and abacus tournaments visited / Plus atomic bomb memorial, and evidence of early Dutch trading settlements, met a noodle-making friend, saw an island that looks like a battleship
 
Two Christmases/New Years, one raucous, one subdued
 
Several, but nowhere near enough, Hot Springs visits > However, wonderful new bathtub installed at our cottage
 
While on the topic, a couple of double-pane windows, wall repairs and other things to make the house more cozy and efficient (documentation about current construction project omitted to avoid excess redundancy)
 
Exhibit of my paintings of post boxes, sometimes with haiku, and Shibuya and Mac Kobayashi ’s goat farm, plus a magazine and cameos on TV
 
Several Mae Maes (Ryoko Olson’s band) shows (plus a YouTube channel) / i’m the proudest husband when I get to go watch her perform + Love to support her when she is organizing concerts and making postcards, flyers, pins…
 
Going with Ryoko to tea ceremonies at lovely sensei’s house or “out and about” to special events (e.g. ceramic town Bizen where we also visited master potter Hosokawa’s studio) – Learning the tools and the combinations and the processes and the nuance + rocking kimono
 
Started a sort of kind of little shop thing to sell postcards & poems (including paintings and post boxes, lomos from India,…) I mean the part about sharing the stories I mentioned above preamble
Started a project to sell some things which exist only in memories and on paper #ugh
Got some new glasses, gave up some habits, hung out at some barbershops (also wife cut hair), learned some new words, organized some archives, turned 50 years old (did a big personal archeology project about that #daveo50), wrote a few poems, tried some new calligraphy techniques, sorted and organized art supplies, tidied up a tool shed and the barn, listened to a lot of records – some old and some new (to me), books out of boxes and onto shelves, many new books ordered… #ongoing
Other things & items forgotten (but likely documented elsewhere…)
Most importantly though is remarkable wife and adorable baby and wonderful in-laws and kind and thoughtful friends scattered around the world (you).
 
Fondly, dvo 
 
Photo: Evidence of a passport renewal, the mustache means I’m a distinguished person to be taken seriously, right? Am I doing this right?

File Under Portals, vol. 2 (postboxes, milk delivery, phones etc)

Post boxes & milk boxes – mysterious doors and other wormholes to places in time, observed on a stroll in Okayama city

Postboxes, spotted in the wilds of Kojima, Okayama, Japan (Ryoko also)

Devices. ideal for lonely time travelers and occasional ramblers.  

Kura Cultural Curation – Japan Cottage Musings

Kura Cultural Curation – Japan Cottage Musings

Riffs about home reform with new rooms, woodstove and tea ceremony area (thoughts of Ichiro and pals coming home from school) heat pump for humidity control for responsibly curating and collecting books for a legacy library.

And a rundown of recent new/used records including acknowledgement of Shred Kelly, Nice Horse, and (Buffalo Tom’s) Bill Janovitiz’s community building in times of tumult + musical memories in tangible form with David Bowie Let’s Dance picture disc, Hüsker Dü covers, Dead Kennedys, Sonic Youth’s Dirty (Europe 92), War on Drugs (comfort foods), literary keeners The  Weakerthans from Winnipeg, and importantly pal Pat WOOD on Awesome Death’s “To Be Determined.”

Thanks to postcard club participants and folks mailing stuff my way and Casa Rosa for safe haven for library staging.

Fondly, dvo at Giggling Piglet Atelier and Consulate

PS Investigate Forthwith:

Steady On, Time Travelers! {New Year Greetz, 2021 / Reiwa 3 令和3年}

{New Year Greetz, 2021 / Reiwa 3}「迎春」令和3

Time Travelers – date and location undetermined 

Steady On
Time Travel(l)ers!
We’ll see you when the future’s past
(in the meanwhile) breathe backwards
So the world doesn’t spin so fast.

落ち着いて!
時空旅行者達。
未来が過去になる時会いましょう。
その間、呼吸を整えて…
そうすれば、世界は軽やかにまわりだす。

“Steady On, time travel(l)ers!” – note” Ichiro’s finger print for proof of authenticity 

Fondly from Ryoko, Ichiro & Dave
[date and location undetermined]

Happy Merry, All the Festive, Every Joyful

Happy Merry
Any Festive
Every Joyful
All of the Moments

Peace – Health – Happy
to all of us, all of you

Ate nabe stew, warmed by woodstove, bath then slept

Fondly from Dave, Ryoko & Ichiro Stanley Thorvald of Tsuchida Cottage, Okayama, Japan on a usual Friday, Dec. 25, Reiwa 2 / 2020

Tradition is what you are doing in the present tense. Every moment a spectacular event. You are a miracle, truly, enjoy. (& If you ever forget, we’re here to remind you.)

an original for the biographers and collectors

Dec 25, out n about (with treasures) on a quest

Today is regular Friday here on Japan > we are on a mysterious mission {explain later} but along the way, saw an old rolling stock – ran the trams from 1910-1962 / lot of change witnessed in that period.

Ichiro & Ryoko with classic tram car in Saidaiji (on a special quest)

Anyhow, point is: these are my treasures. Xo

Postbox Haiku Painting exhibit artifacts from the Goat Farm

+ Postbox Haiku Exhibit at the Goat Farm: In which I combine love of poetry, painting and postal mail and recaps an exhibit at buddy Mac’s goat farm.

So happy to share my mixed media project with a new audience at a very special place

Gist: Produced by dDesign to promote Okayama design, tourist and culture, the campaign included a painting in Shibuya as well as paintings of post boxes and office in: The Vatican; Kathmandu, Nepal; Olympia, Greece; and, Muscat, Oman as well as a new haiku on a postbox about “nonconfidential postcards” along with a book of paintings, a book of postboxes, and postcards of well… postboxes with poetry – both painted and functional.

DaveO at Goat Farm with postbox haiku, both sides now sport a custom poem
Transported the paintings in a velvety suitcase (notice the key for keeping them imaginary safe)
The paintings of postboxes had custom postcards with shodo ink by Junko Fujita and decorated up with appropriate postal and inky stamps by me

Continue reading Postbox Haiku Painting exhibit artifacts from the Goat Farm

Memo: Kei-truck Errand / Date <3

Out and about! On an errand (picking up a second hand roll-top writing bureau desk) in the Kei truck with the absolutely incredible and adorable Ryoko Olson at the wheel rolling the country backroads to the (minor provincial capital, mostly forgotten) city of lovely goldilocks Okayama – yes, we even have canned coffees in the cupholder and a.m. radio (which you can’t really hear over the 650cc engine but whatever) – got to say it’s a *pretty romantic* date

matchy matchy / curling sweater and hockey jacket, handmade hats, snappy scarves

Update: this is what we picked up, look at this gorgeous desk with the rolltop and everything

Diary, three unrelated stops

Seitai treatment room

Today went “over the wall“ for some seitai treatment / stiiiiilllll trying to bust outta this ME/CFS crashmode.

Good news is: my head and heart are so happy and filled with wonder every day. And I’m managing a few little creative dispatches through the fog. Thanks to each of you for chiming in, so very noticed.

PS I wish all medical offices were this level of aesthetic loveliness as well as phenomenal hi-fi system and exceptional records

Notice the everyday normalness because the usual days are hidden goodness

Whilst out, noticed a cute house café nestled in amongst some concrete buildings with an orange bicycle in front. I found that if you stay focused on the goal, I miss all the good stuff which get filed as “distractions”… It turns out the things like hobbies and digressions are the best parts of life.

Anyhow, stopped in for some “safety Ramen” at really the best place > one owner operator and everything is just “perfect” – the seats, the size, the decorations, the music, everything tidy and just well thought out and of course the Ramen is top level. (Brian Ceci can attest ;)).

Gakucho / miso tonkatsu (w/ butter, really)

Ichiro was as always his jolly self. He also had some injections today and got to say hello to the doctor that helped bring him into the world. She’s (Moe-sensei) a really wonderful lady and she was so happy to see him growing up so happy, healthy and strong.

Jolly lil dude

Recap: Haven’t left the house for sometime so three stops today, quite significant.

Next activity: on the 18th I will be “socially distant Santa Claus” for a few kids at a local community center. Yes I will be using natural beard. And we ordered appropriate costume, the “luxury/deluxe” version but I would describe it more just as “adequate but with some extra gold bits (and a little cape!)”. Ryoko Olson will assist me in a super cute red velvet dress, likely with the little dude on her back. I may take a clipboard to take notes about the children’s requests before I tell them “no, none of this is possible, here is an orange :-)”.

Practicing Santa, Moab 1987

Back home, warming up – it’s sunny but chilly and even a few flakes of snow (!), folded laundry, made tea, a few dishes to wash, have something to write about Vincent van Gogh, and some Hokusai postcards. Oh and i hope to sleep, really – I mean I can dream, right?

Fondly from Tsuchida Cottage, dvo/UW