My pal KK made a photo /ephemera collage (which he does from time to time) and is a form we both dig. To share with you – and make sure doesn’t get disappeared in some folder somewhere – sharing here for goodness at shares extra artifacts from DRO420, our wedding and his trip around Japan making pals in April 2019.
Japan has loads of a little tiny cafés/restaurant/bars which are like less than 10 people maximum, often with a little private rooms too. It’s one of the things I love about living here, as tiny little cafés in North America don’t really exist as everything becomes chains or aggressively turning over tables to maximize the slim profits.
Anyway, this is a little neighbourhood lunch place where we can chill out in a room closed off with sliding doors to enjoy a little break from the house. Plus everyone is so excited about Ryoko’s belly
Aside: As you likely know, Japan has a declining birth rate which is especially evident in the cities with a few kids, and countryside with some kids but lots of (awesome) old people. Anyway, we’re helping to balance that out in a very tiny way.
We went out for an errand to the post office to deal with a few banking issues, and again, it’s tiny, tidy & friendly.
To friends in North America, we see/hear you… All the cancellations and restrictions and what not started here maybe six weeks ago so we’re kind of into the routine so maybe that’s a message of solidarity or just “I see you“ #alwaysbekind
Okayama is the best. Such a chill and safe area. With just enough variety of food and culture to keep it interesting.
to which i replied:
That is a great summation of this remarkable and underappreciated area. Super handy transportation links to big cities, mountains, hot springs, inland sea, other islands…, including easy getaway via 2 airports if needed.
So many museums, I’m still catching up on all of them.
Certainly enough to keep amused (Plus any needed shopping) but easy enough to get out of the city when needed.
I’ve traveled much/most of Japan and this is the best “all around” place to live in my mind.
Sunny days ahoy!
Their the best! Especially when there’s a view on small niwa Japanese have such a great taste for! A Bliss…
to which i chimed:
I especially love the places that are sort of “lost in showa era” – with all sorts of kitschy knick-knacks and bric a brac which hasn’t been moved or dusted for a few decades… Still the old character left over from another age, run by an old couple who started the place with such dreams in their youth.
you incorrigible romantic
That china is gorgeous
and me again:
Right! Sometimes you find these cafés that I’ve just been frozen in time and it’s like going to grandma’s house all over again… In this case, it really is as two generations of ladies both over 60 (a granny and great granny or something like that) are taking care of the shop and make a huge fuss over my adorable pregnant wife. I let them know I appreciate their great China as well, plus a fantastic tea selection￼
Amidst the “specialness” of life – which included of late:
- trip to Nagasaki and all the glorious trains, building and museums (well documented elsewhere)
- Mae Maes spring concert in Tamano (artifacts to follow)
- baby coming! (and related prep)
- 10 years anniversary of Vancouver Olympics (which was such a big deal for me and i meant to do “something” to commemorate, but ya know, this feeling was overridden with ambivalence (but do have some notes and copy/pastes i’ll get to before 11th anniversary)
– is the “regular out n abouts” of life. These moments are treasure and, as memory fades, are quickly lost to the “exciting bits” never the less, i capture and archive for me, for others like me, for the little one, for the future, for the process. You know this already so behold, more of the usual: trams, coffees, meals, and various items spotted in the wild.
Ergo, just things, observed / scenes of life in Okayama, en route to “seitai” treatment session:
* fine bicycle (wagyu burgers in bg) at sunny intersection
* non-chronological aside but related / wagyu burger (with Ted) / as an additional aside, compared to 25+ years ago when I was first year, so much more international food available, to go along with the obviously fantastic Japanese native food… Would having pizzas, mighty burgers, lots of India/Nepal food, there are Mexican food places but i don’t wanna be disappointed – Anyway we do not lack for fantastic food even in our small city
* angled manshon apartment bldg, striking against the sky (this is parking lot for seitai sensei)
* ikebana and scroll at sensei’s office Continue reading Diary: Kissaten cafés, sharp knife, drs observations and daily views
I spent an afternoon with a remarkably interesting new friend who *lives* in Kyoto but rambles widely.
Please meet Ted Taylor – raconteur, mountain guide, writer, renegade, global rambler etc. etc.￼
* drive-away cars
* Grateful Dead shows
* Punk rock fanzines / Gilman st SF
* Various locations in Tottori / Kyushu & ohenrosan dori in Shikoku
* Lafcadio Hearn’s great great grandson playing piano
* poets including: Gary Synder, Nanao Sakaki, Kenneth Rexroth
* macro demographic changes in Japan
* visa run options
* shipping containers
* south of France / German rheinphlatz
* Smoke Blanchard / Uchida Bob
* Singapore lady & drs
* coffee in Japan (then & now), craft beers, wagyu beef burgers, tacos
* riding the ‘Hound & ‘Trak
* life in Kyoto / inland sea islands to explore / villages / not-Tokyo-Japan
* others things to be recalled at some point… this was all in a short afternoon in which we rode streetcars
More Ted at: http://notesfromthenog.blogspot.com/
+ a fella named Bob said: Dave, actually my friend Ted went easy on you if these were the only topics you covered in an afternoon…
To which i replied: my brain needed an off switch afterwards but really i am wired the same way so was like a Mcenroe v Connors 1970s tennis match of topics back and forth
Fave hideout / so many people here today! Quick hits to mark the moment of Rural Caprine Farm’s 14th anniversary.
Noting I look a little wiped out for sure… I have actually had a bit of a rough go of pain recently, good thing the heart and mind is feeling so good, but got some treatment this morning just before going to the farm so was a little spun out but worth it… I just sorta faded into the background (despite *always* sticking out here) but noting that…
Buddy Mac attracts the most wonderfully interesting people in Japan > was so cool to see ages from babies to seniors all having a good time, plus musicians who travelled far to be there, old friends, a few longtime customers, some first timers, the old brewmaster from Aardvark (or is it Armadillo, yes it is now that I think about it – regardless its closed), Seno-san pouring Koti beer… all hanging out amongst the goats.
Plus of course, Mac is a wonderful dude and really needs the sparks to keep his business going.
Note: Some of this riff originally appeared in “real time” via FB social channel to the amusement of many (everyone loves a comically large bootle of hooch!) – shared here for posterity in edited form with several other topics included.
++ Confession ++
Well, i am at risk of irreparably damaging my reputation as a good resident of Okayama as it seems some library books are overdue.
I know! Terrible. Shameful breach of trust.
As such, i will finish this coffee (delicious by the way) and hop on the luxurious Uno Bus (seriously wi-fi, power outlets, clean, comfy, pay-per-stop) to restore my status as a decent human.
I’ve really let myself go off the rails – i’ll try to improve.
PS i will not blame this on this comically huge bottle of saké – seriously, 18 litres and came in a wooden crate. Just when you think Japanese people are all diligent and serious, they pull out this! i mean the logistics of shipping, lifting, holding, pouring alone are baffling
Checkpoint busstop (yes my life does look like a Studio Ghibli movie)
Did i mention the bus has great wi-fi, power outlets, seatback headrest covers, and pay-per-stop system? Uno Bus is truly great.
Also before leaving washed dishes, folded laundry, started rice, composted food scraps, fed rabbit, aerated kobo starter, refilled kerosene heater… and didn’t forget library books(!)
Ryoko’s out of town for 2 nights teaching a tree trimming workshop & stayed in a trad guest house with wooden bath. So cool. And she’s truly incredible (and doing great with pregnancy!)
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