Tag Archives: okayama

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

Diary: Closing Books with Errands and Dreams

If I can make it to 20 steps for my cozy bed to the kitchen, I can have a homemade eggnog and espresso + a ridiculous breakfast of fantastic leftovers – oh but it’s so cozy here! PS xo

Made it (with stollen)

Closing Books of sorts

i love making lists and *trying* to mop up everything nicely (of course never quite works out but hey…)

Over next few days, gonna hit up a seitai session, do some pick up/drop off paperwork for wife’s business, mail out some more New Year’s cards, hopefully drop specs off for new lenses (again), finish up this year’s misc scrapbooks, + release a new video (done). Close the book.

[Update, a day later]:

seitai – check
Kinome errands – check
new years cards – in process
scrapbooking – not yet
video release – done
mae maes video – almost
glasses – not gonna get there
closing books… sorta

Observed on Errands

On an errand to a community center. Where two phones are, where two phones once were & a really nice copier. 10¥.

¥1100 lunch / not sure how it’s possible to be this fantastic. Wife and kiddos lunch plates were great as well. File this under “lousy photos of usual food“.

Bonus of a happy lil boy (note injury by his eye from a table collision and on chin from a floor tom drum)

Been Meaning to Call you

Just to note that I’ve made a lot of phone calls to vocally express fond greetings of late ~ but also have run out of batteries #mecfs and trying to mop up a few projects by the end of the year… 

What I’m trying to say is, “I’ve been mean to call you” and eventually I will. Ergo:

One big question remains for this year “will I get all my browser tabs closed?“ I will not answer all lingering emails however, that’s assured.

Intentions, not Resolutions per se

Also: maybe watched my *beginning of the year type writing out of intentions, themes and musings* for Reiwa 3/2021? Going to try to recap in the next few days. “Let’s go so we can come back.” Weird to say (i guess) but really a mighty year overall. (I foolishly live streamed the session via Facespace and due to a little bit of incidental background music, the video is locked in a steel cage so I’m chalking that up to stupid lessons learned. Open source, open content, fair use ahoy!)

Kei Truck Project

Kei truck dealership guy came by the house today with brochures about a dump truck kei for wife (she’s an arborist and forking out big loads of trimmings every day is a bit much), but sadly dump truck models *only* come in white and with the same crappy seats.

Was hoping she could have a green color to do some branding for her business (Kinome) and comfy seats for sometimes long drives but no go. The “regular“ kei-trucks you can get the extended cabs, better seats and colors. The dump back is the critical part though. Sorta like below>>

Of course the aftermarket/specialty market has all kinds of customized models including colors, lift kits and fancy wheels and stuff but we’re trying to be cheap and cheerful and off the rack.

Oh, this is Ryoko’s business, Kinome. I’m super proud my wife is part of a small cohort of women-owned small businesses doing “rough“ work. Most is fieldwork, followed by teaching hands-on classes but increasingly more and more landscape design (which is great)

Food Annotations

Forgot to tell you that for dinner last night, took goatfarmer’s housemade focaccia bread, piled it with stuffing, turkey and gravy and made first hot open faced turkey sandwich ever for wife and kiddo.

A note from Christmas dinner: I loved making both moka pot and French press coffee at end of meal for folks to make custom eggnog/coffee/espresso/Bailey’s/Kahlúa concoction. Everyone was so confused/surprised/pleased :) I also explained how the humble mokapot is the *very pinnacle* of Italian design :)

Good Night, you are a marvel

Oh that’s bedtime for me. If I owe you replies, messages, notes, favors etc., I’m working on it… Please know I’m super proud & impressed with what you’re doing and especially glad for creators making interesting pods, vids, paintings and poems. Self expression is everything.

Open w/ care indeed (this scrapbook is an archive of 2021 inbound correspondence)

Good night the Internet, thanks for the amusement today.

Diary: notary tasks & musings

Just a little bit excited because we have/get to visit a notary public! To drop a significant amount of ¥ for a stamped single photo copy of a gov-issued document to send to a different gov (a Canadian tax agency if you’re curious) so can check off appropriate boxes. This, dear people, is the career choice I missed out on.

I mean, being a notary, (mostly) you sit at a mahogany desk with an assortment of stamps and embossers, possibly a magnifying glass – mostly for effect, and people come and give you money, you stamp things (after looking at them first of course).

Noting, in some jurisdictions, its basic, i.e.: the “mailboxes etc” franchisee is a notary, or remember when i worked at Kinko’s, there was notary services (but not sure anyone ever used).

Some places though, it’s rather expensive and complicated but when you need a notary… you really need a notary, kind of like an emergency locksmith (another great skill because you can double as a jewel thief).

Related: My Mom at times was a notary in state of Utah and I have her embossing certification stamp – all heavy and metal – but being an honest Cub Scout, I would never think to circumvent proper guidelines and use illicitly. I do use for arts and crafts from time to time. (If you want to see evidence, you’re going to have to ask nicely).

Here in Japan, if one were to become a bilingual notary with certified (by embassies etc.) translation services, would be a really sweet gig.

I might whisper this into my son’s ear each night in the bathtub. Might also be something about being an “emergency locksmith” as noted above.

Folks who imagine what emigrant / “ex-pat” life entails have a strange impression that American Express offices still exist &/or embassies are helpful outposts.

But “NO” is only answer for any service/question/request/anything from the Canadian Consulate/Embassy here in Japan.

Aside:

Note: this photo isn’t technically at the same time but since I mentioned him, here’s a cute picture

Well, my son just blew me a kiss on the way out the door to nursery school. Yes, I’m doing really good at parenting & teaching important things. Thank you for asking.
So this means, change out of my luxurious pajamas into trousers & possibly a tie for my big outing to a notary.

Update: the notary office was the fifth floor of a nondescript building with various usual plexiglass separators, metal desks, fluorescent lights and trays with pens and stamps. The finished dossier was four pages & about 15,000¥. Importantly, I won the “best business card” game. I mean I really have the best cards going anywhere and I always win this very important ritual in Japan. {Plus I want them to remember me because we often need these sorts of services. Look at me, relationship building :-)}

Tea/juice made from pine needles

Back home after a stop at a stationery store, folding laundry and drinking pine needle tea.

Thinking about pals Cam, Chris & others making lovely progress in their professional endeavors. Cheering from the sidelines. Next: organize paperwork to send to gov offices.

I *really* took this snap to look “executive” and share with a friend for a laff (cause I’m far from any sort of executive-ness)… & Yes I’m actually in the stationery store restroom and I am not wearing a tie (obviously). but, these posts look better with some photos added so here we are

PS While at the stationæry store, I picked up a sweet new ink stamp from the discount bin, as well as yet another roll of washi paper masking tape.

I also have a video shot last week in the barn, but then kind of went into “crash mode”. Wanna finish that up before it’s too “stale”… It’s no big deal, it’s not like anyone’s waiting anxiously for me riffing topics about CCCP passports, miracles, Ginsberg’s “Howl” on red vinyl. [Retroactive update: this video “poets, passports and postcards in the Cascadian consulate” is now completed and available for your viewing amusement]

Healing: On the bus towards treatment

So tired, all the time + cant sleep

Waiting for a bus, bound for seitai treatment (now with sunny day scarf & a Mavili cap) / tough MECFS stretch of late, trying to shake it loose.

The seitai treatment is a really good reset for me – but it does sometimes shake loose some long lingering conundrums.

I mean yeah, I’m in a rough patch but I’m doing “things “*every day* where previously I would be in bed for weeks at a time. Anyhow, the doctor is a great dude, has the best record player I’ve ever seen and a massive collection of classical music. That said, times like this I really miss a 90 minute Bali spa massage.

Also thinking about Ayurveda in Nepal, the wonder of helping others, & Cmdr in Diego Garcia. We talked recently about checking in for a three week Panchakarma session in Pokhara and then heading back to Ghandruk, Annapurna District.

My favorite close-by restaurant to the clinic (Grilmori) has moved (or something) and i ended up at a rather unsatisfying hectic lunch experience at a coffee shop – did not document.

But I do have a photo of a sandwich at the hospital that should go on another post but well, it’s not like this is “Important” or anything. It’s a picture of a sandwich and a coffee

So… Back on bus, on way home #wipedout (saw a dead bird on a newspaper)

As usual, just annotating for future reference. Move along or sit down.

Okayama Japan Travel Overview on #SustainableTravelJapan

+ from: Okayama Super Fan / dept of propaganda ≠

I was a guest on JJ Walsh Seeking Sustainability live talk show (sept 27, 2021) during a special week about tourism in Setouchi/Chugoku region talking about dear forever home Okayama.

Topics were varied – from Bizen pottery to art islands to custom Kojima denim to grateful goats and most points in between – banter was amusing (she does great research) and spectacles on point 🙂

Hope i represented well for spirit of Momotaro as i name-checked favourites aspects of living in the “Goldilocks of Japan” ™. Spoiler: my *not-secret* fave is Rural Caprine Farm. Also name checks for Mac Kobayashi & Amy Chavez ++ so many locals businesses & destinations including Katsuyama, Maniwa, various ~shima, the Market & the mystery of Momotaro & utility access covers (Pokéman).

Do consider sitting down with a leisurely beverage and hanging out. Eager to hear what you think.

The effervescent host and Inbound Ambassador said the following:

Continue reading Okayama Japan Travel Overview on #SustainableTravelJapan

Diary: Minor expeditions (library, hospital etc) & phone + the future

Minor expedition ~ libraries feel like home to me… When I first arrived in my new home city, this was a frequent sequestration but it’s been well over a year, so i felt a bit dizzy from all the possibilities (plus I just finished some medical treatment which spins me out).

Anyhow, I didn’t bring anything home – got kind of too much on the go right now – but Ryoko filled up a satchel including topics around horticulture, charcoal making, vinegar, bamboo, various food things and plant things, the usual.

We also had a small snack at the embedded café – They have a really nice curved couch however it was occupied.

PS Noticed a bag for sale saying “you are absolutely necessary“ which, obviously you are.

Backtracking: Sept 30 was hospital check-in day so that means I put on the fancy shoes and take a snap to share… The van Gogh starry night socks aren’t necessarily the best color match but I think the pen ties it all together. Thoughts?

And yes, did get an egg salad sandwich variety pack from the embedded 7-Eleven while we waited.

Just another payphone I didn’t make a call from. I don’t have the cards nor do I know any phone numbers – however, I do appreciate that these devices exist and are well-maintained, clean and magnificent. The industrial design on them is so fantastic. It’s a sort of “peak Japan“ mixing digital and analog, materials & lines.

This photo sparked some reminiscence from other Japan residents in times past when payphones were critical utility, i.e.:

GL says, “Yeah handy too use as a guitar tuner back in the 1900’s. The dial tone is a F . Not the most convenient reference tone but it works to get you tuned up with the rest of the world 🎸”

MB says, “An international Japanese pay phone! The Rolls Royce version compared to their lesser green domestic call only cousins. These grey phones and their locations were coveted and noted when I was a student in Japan though I couldn’t afford to phone card pay for many calls back to Canada where a short call would cost me 1000 yen.”

JW says, “Yeah, I still remember in the early 90s when I first visited here, an international call could cost as much as 500 yen per minute. Later callback services became popular where you would ring a foreign trigger number and hang up (no charge) and the service would call you back and you’d dial the real number you wanted to call, without paying NTT for the privilege, at a much lower rate. Then I could call Los Angeles cheaper than a domestic call from Kanto to Kansai.”

I offer, “Plus having to trudge through the snow to a pay phone at some strange hour to try to contact a friend in another time zoneNow such luxury to blab on endlessly in pyjamas, from home, no cost (with video) seems 25 years changed a centuries worth.”

++ In general (I’ve been meaning to do a video spiel about this) Japan is so different than what I showed up 25 years ago on the mushroom farm and hitchhiked around, I mean, of course places change but there’s a few foundational things that are very different (as well as the massively impactful overarching demographic and economic trends).

I think the next 20 years as my little guy grows up here are really going to be incredible to watch and be part of.

Typhoon Weather and Usual Days

Possibly – no Probably – the best worst video you’ll *maybe* watch today. Likely only with lounge-y, vaguely annotated Ramones on baritone ukulele anyhow + Gord Lightfoot if you get that far.

Typhoon Weather and Usual Days

After catching up on the laundry, making tomato soup, washing dishes and tidying up the carport, Dave checks in with a bit of ukulele and gratitude for friends who pick up phones &/or send messages, books and quilts when bit blue from “the illness” which is *a challenge* – and through it all, mixing in a little bit of Ramones and Gordon Lightfoot and the usual stuff about Post offices and making fermented items while trying to be a good papa to a wonderful nursery schooler and hubbo to a delightful arborist and diligent landscaper. 

Ryoko’s stone approach project #evidence
serious about tomato soup and various other items

Post’d: inky card with details & musings

original photos by C.A. and collag’d by dvo

There are many reasons I love to send postcards and letters: the first of course is to just let people know I am thinking about them, followed closely by the meditative enjoyment of assembling paper, image and decoration just exactly right, but also enjoy seeing my creations reflected back across in another medium, weeks – or sometimes months – after I drop it in the box.

In this case, the recipient is a photographer who primarily shoots humming and other birds (and who’s lovely cards are elsewhere in this archive) and also takes wonderful close-up snaps of the details of my artifacts, in this case noticing the stamps – both ornamental and philadelphic – and the fuchsia ink scrawled with a quill.

To continue the recursive cycle, I’ve smashed four of her photos together in a little collage to zoom back from Japan to Vancouver once again, with evidence.

Ergo: A collage of close up details from a postcard sent from provincial Japan to West End Vancouver showing a beautiful franked stamp featuring illustration of a lady in kimono, an ink stamp unofficially commemorating Vancouver international airport established 1970, another ink stamp imitating an Immigration stamp from Narita airport and excerpt of a scribble in fuchsia ink possibly saying “happy birthday“ with a bit of another ink stamp probably saying “Postcard“.

Continue reading Post’d: inky card with details & musings

Diary: Tsuchida station grounds projects, various

Busy around the house, now the construction is “done”, doing some garden, yard, landscape, and kura/naya jobs… the glorious mundanity of the tiny things which make all the difference. Be prepared, nothing *shocking* or exciting, just the usual days.

Hemp cloth wrapped on shelves made from wedding dais / under the dust cover is 1982ish Yamaha GT-2000 turntable & analog amp plus TEAC cassette/CD/usb/1/4” deck. Thats not *all the records* but a solid batch.

Another string of lights *and* Palau static montage… legit handcrafted speargun etc etc

Wood splitter, borrowed from forester Ukan and parents split up this rack / its loud & ornery but does the job

All hardwood – mostly oak and maple, odd bits of others (arborist wife often bringing home big chunks) This was all F&M-in-law. Epic. I’ll fire it up though (i just encourage)

Breaking rocks in the hot sun… (Ryoko has made a time-lapse of this rather intensive, long project…)

Continue reading Diary: Tsuchida station grounds projects, various

Item: Boots (at Hospital) + safety ramen

Today’s boots and socks combo for hospital visit. #looksharp / easy on and off is key in Japan / gotta make a simple outing for enjoyable somehow

not only did I wear these sharp boots, I also purchased gum, three packs (1 for back, 1 for car, 1 by door) & a pocari sweat (electrolytes :)) at the embedded 7-11 in hospital

PS Safety ramen before as well #important

Memo: Sept ahoy (settle, tidy, breathe)

this calendar (hanging in our WC) features public bath houses from around Japan, photograph by (I believe) in French lady rambling around living a wonderful life

September Ahoy! Theme: settling in, tidying up, breathing easier / started today with fresh lists and three pots of meal prep

{I make lists and have themes but not so much “goals” or objectives… broad strokes, think of the big things, the details just sorta fall into place} do you have “themes“ of some sort for your months?

August was full of big moves, various concerns, significant events, amplified voices

July had far too many hospital and doctor visits but also opportunity to practice patience and build relationships

A pig, a (big) ukulele, a tree, a phone, a raven… It’s a perfect – although unrelated – image. Thanks Trevor

Tsuchida Station ~ grounds project (weather station)

Now your jovial correspondent Takushi Fujita can transmit detailed weather information directly from Tsuchida Station including temperature, humidity, barometric pressure, UV, wind speed, rainfall and other sundry data.

{Next I hope to get him a shortwave transmitter to send this information “into the sky“ pending/maybe – in the meanwhile will attempt to connect it to Wi-Fi to then connect to various crowd sourced weather data sites, eventually.

Short version of current weather: hot and humid (not scientific :))

Update: found an electrical outlet adapter so I will circle back to get this working and also document the make, model and API for numerous inquiries.

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