Tag Archives: Out and About

Diary: specs, tea, cards & usual annotations from the fog

Everything old was new again / same as it ever was, same as it never was.

Various annotations Nov. 25~27ish

Glasses: my super cool vintage clubman glasses are broken after some roughhousing with kid (and also from being old) / back up pair gives headaches & delicate. This means, going to spectacle shopping again. Yes, I’ve spent approximately 14% of my lifetime earnings on glasses.

these old soldiers, purchased in Guam 1994 with brand-new “transitions” tech, re=fitted last year but alas, the frames too fatigued and broken twice

My back-up pair (purchased in Victoria) never quite dialed in with lenses maybe because wide-ish and so my don’t call me lazy left eye is always pulling to the side ?? the frames were bought with insurance meaning came from the “b-pile” and are flimsy :(

currently wearing these specs, just not *great* though (i am the one on the left)

Circumnavigation: Progress on my poetry book project has kind of stalled out due to some logistical complications of broken spectacles. That said, I did a tremendous amount of work getting a new routine going for transcriptions and definitely have a foundation laid as I’ve sorted out my concept.

current work bench set-up for poetry book project

Visitor: And, hey! we have our first foreign tourist guest coming tomorrow since the “before times“ (we had another international guest but technically on a business visa).

So, i’ll take bus into city to meet up > streetcar to lunch with a view of the castle > coffee in the park > bus back to the house, wife will probably make tea, check out barn studio ++ make a woodstove fire nabe (stew) pot with duck meat. Mac the goat farmer & in-laws will join the festive board.

more sundry tasks of late:

  • new orthotic inserts for shoes, great!
  • made chicken stock from beauty beer can roast chicken
  • ordered new year cards and stamps
  • IV “cocktail” infusion
  • brought in firewood
  • called a friend

Further details

Specs: Ordered new glasses from a very specialized optometrist with a store started by his great grandfather in the 1800s, yes, 130 years ago. Also had an interesting assortment of clocks/watches and a Yamaha hi-fi similar vintage to mine. Head spinning from all the eye tests. Now home in bed resting.

Ole Eye guy put me through extensive battery of tests. Optometrist, ophthalmologist, opticians etc. are always fascinated/amused/amazed by my eyes. Left eye w/ astigmatism and surgery, is my weak eye but also dominant. Eyes constantly switch back-&-forth but never work in tandem.

a variety of uninspiring frames but fortunately i have a “face for glasses” so will work it out

Selection of frames was certainly * not fantastic* but over 50 years of doing this, I’m good at sorting through and finding something unique, utilitarian and features my pretty face rather than specs. Also smart enough to know chasing around to different stores is fools errand.

previous time spec shopping – didn’t buy any of these and instead retro-fitted olden set, sharing to show my consistency with documenting process

PS grew up wearing “executive bifocals” with heavy glass lenses with straight across lines like maybe your grandpa rocked. As such, I truly celebrate all advancements in optical technology. Lenses are so much lighter and thinner now. But still hard getting “centerpoint” dialed in

#daveo50 ~ 1972 / Lansing, Michigan

Have a week to wait for manufacture (incredible variety of coatings, filters and customizations possible now, not to mention the thinness of the lenses!) and then these two will retire to the crate of disused soldiers. Sigh. $10000s spent on finicky eyes. Skimping is unwise.

My prescription is really weird so lenses always come in at waaaay too much + due to the changing nature of my eyes, usually have to swap out every two or three years :( I “joke“ that I bought boats for optometrists & paid for orthodontists for the children of ophthalmologists.

i used to donate old glasses until the opticians & eye doctors told me “don’t bother, nobody is going to be able to use these, nobody” / maybe eventually will make a spectacle spinning mobile.

Park and Trucks (and cheese): While I was doing my thing at the old-timey optical, my darlings hit up a park for a session & a snack.

There is not a “shovel car” driven by which goes unacknowledged, nor no dump truck, ambulance, fire truck nor crane. He also watches the video of his mom operating a front digger frequently :)

Now one of them is snoring next to me :)

Tea ceremony: In another topic, my darling wife went to a special ceremony tea today // she was the only one they are under probably 70 years old… They all adore her for carrying on the tradition of making tea, rocking kimono etc. She came home with all sorts of treats including yuzu miso(!)

my tea teacher

this little selfie snapshot hardly does her justice but I just love that she keeps me in the loop with her activities when she’s out and about.

Oh here is wagashi:

yes, wagashi “sweets’ at tea ceremony. plating is important

She’s gonna host her own tea ceremony here at the house this month… I really look forward to her doing more in the future… {Now if we can just get that land and make our own tea house & garden hmmm}

I also told preschool wanna be Santa Claus again this year but have to make a few changes. Last year was lots of loud music, bright lights as well as 1-on-1 interaction with the kids which basically gave me a virus salad that laid me out for a month and a half. :( #delicate

Letters: Two absolutely fantastic and heart-touching pieces of mail today from domestic correspondents, yep, from inside dear Japan archipelago from folks “met” here on beleaguered Twtr. Just read both and a little bit spun out by the thoughtfulness and candidness.

New Year Cards: In a sorta semi-related topic: going to try to keep nengajyo / New Year’s cards to 100 domestic and 100 international this year. Ordering the “special magic number“ ¥63 stamps for domestic + ¥70 stamps for international as post office doesn’t generally have sufficient stock.

2021 Insta-Lindas New Year card

Anyhow, I’ve ordered the New Year’s cards and really looking forward to sharing with you.

2020 Time Traveler New Year card

The “usual“ in that there’s fantastically cute picture on the front and quirky poetry and stamp art on the back / but you know, sort of different, I guess :-) the thing that’s different this year is did them all digital and outsourced printing. previous years made all analog and printed at home running through cartridges and making extra complicated this year is a tiny bit more clip arty but will all be hand-addressed/finished w/ <3

New Years Greetings / 2019 + Reiwa 2

The previous “Linda Lindas/Insta“ and “Time Travelers“ and *pink collage* were pretty solid. I hope it makes its way to your refrigerator with a very nice magnet.

The photo we are using this year has been circulated before but was just too good to pass up the chance for a print run with it :-) #hint

Lit mags: Annnnnd I finally received the poster for my Paris Review subscription (which i bought instead of renewing NHL live :)) / glad it was properly shipped in a tube as well

paris review poster (need to find a quality poster frame plan as i have a lot of posters)

I really love getting high-quality print magazines in the mail. Alas, the postage to Japan often makes us a little bit expensive for a pensioner like me but still…

As for Ichiro: 29 months old now, really understanding he’s learning “two codes“ with a different languages/ we’re reading Tintin books (among many others) and in the bath he asks me to do voices for Snowy, Tintin and Captain Haddock (“Blistering barnacles! Thundering typhoons!“)

my lil superstar, at the optical, wondering when he gets specs
Easier: Nov 26

Dear Wonders,

Caught up dishes and laundry, and took out compost.

Plus had a pleasant phone conversation and transcribed one draft poem.

Now resting in bed eating a dried persimmon.

“Things are gonna get easier…“

Ty, dvo
For you & me “Ooh Child”

Bonus:

Halloween out n about / minimal effort, moderate fun (w/ magic darling duo)

Canada Japan Friendship Society, Tsuchida branch

Briefly: Evidence of us doing the Halloween rounds this afternoon / including the magnificent Taroman pumpkin shriveling into repose & our “bare minimum yet very effective” costumes of a ragtag baseball squad

It seems we live in a Ghibli theme park

The neighborhood has four “official” trick-or-treat stations, specifically available from 1 PM till 2:30 PM.

After hitting up a couple, I pulled out the pumpkin to the stoop, set up a lawn chair and added chaos into the well-ordered routine with spontaneous station number five while my darling duo hit up a couple of others, returning beaming with treats while I am a few twizzlers lighter after visits by a young surgeon (with stethoscope and spectacles in his pocket), a young police officer, a couple of cats, a little bear, and a few middle-age neighborhood guys shutting down the other stations.

Why yes we do matchy matchy looks

Noting that station number one had a great persimmon tree and issued scissors to bring a few of these wonderful fruit home which look like tiny little pumpkins. We use them all sorts of ways including my fermented vinegar.

Pumpkin looking a little worse for wear, hopefully the wild boar will come make short work of it

The nice lady there took a snapshot of the three of us & the husband there asked when we’re having another baby 🙂

There they are!

Really nice to see a little bit of liveliness in the neighborhood after, you know… “all of this“ / glad to be able to chitchat with folks as I’m still a bit of a mystery in the area but Ichiro is clearly famous(!)

Ichi was Concept Director for the pumpkin which was modeled after his favorite program, the super campy 70s crazy art collage by Okamoto Taro “Taroman”
Supporting evidence of above: Ichiro at Taroman exhibit in Osaka

Ikebana & Bento / brief notes from a day out {now with snapshots!}

Diary notes:

Rode bus into city with my 2 darlings to see an ikebana exhibit (Ryoko’s ceremony teacher had a piece on exhibit – no photos allowed) at a high floor in a department store.

“Noise pollution“ is huge problem for me even with earplugs. Ditto with flouro lighting.

Then acquired various bento/snacks and a street car ride for a picnic in the park with a friend.

Saw our funny passport photographer fellas shooting a kimono girl.

On bus ride home, a man gave us nice food.

Definitely more people out n about in city recently than previous couple of years (unsurprisingly of course).

Especially enjoy seeing other parents with similar age kids as we share a common experience of babies in this weird time.

Also many new art Installations around. {“Do we dream under the same sky” exhibition currently}

Now home resting… Was a lot for me but did it. #mecfs

Still quite warm and sunny here in Okayama. My outfit was sharp (natch ;)) but a bit too hot.

Tonight we’ll carve the pumpkin + noted community Halloween event on 10/30.

No accompanying photos. approximate location denoted.

Bonus: Triptychs of postbox and payphone (should be separate post, eventually will)

Museum / Exhibit: Miwaki Ruins Jomon-era / Noto, Japan, 2019

Blurb: On our meandering adventure of a honeymoon in May-June 2019, we travelled by many means of convenience including a wide variety of trains, rental cars, occasional coach buses and what not. See the whole Shinkonryoko Scrapbook for a mixed-media ephemera overview and a list of places visited for the curious.

As such, while visiting with Hongo-sensei on Noto Peninsula in Ishikawa-ken, amongst the other activities including a fishing/ whaling/Marine Museum, an early morning fish market / auction, the dismembering and preparation of an ankou fish, a picnic on the beach…, we visited Miwakai ruins with well-preserved archeological history from the Jomon period.

While obviously not original, there was a great recreation of Jomon-era housing with fire-pit and various accruements.

Miwaki Ruins (map): https://goo.gl/maps/2kMPynUhoj7by1xX8

Miwaki Ruins (wiki): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mawaki_Site

Museum site (Japanese): http://www.mawakiiseki.jp/

the time in Japanese prehistory, traditionally dated between c. 14,000–300 BCE,[1][2][3] during which Japan was inhabited by a diverse hunter-gatherer and early agriculturalist population united through a common Jōmon culture, which reached a considerable degree of sedentism and cultural complexity

wikipedia

The museum building was very interesting and both shape and contrast to the contents which were rustic pottery, natural building materials and organic art whereas the structure was a brick cylinder with various halls attached.

Continue reading Museum / Exhibit: Miwaki Ruins Jomon-era / Noto, Japan, 2019

Ichiro meets Ichiro sensei + airplanes and fireworks in Noto

(Then i noted): He comes home today. I used to wanna be a rockstar or a pro hockey player and always out on the road/tour but now, four days away from him and it feels like he’s leveled up again and I don’t wanna miss a single day, ever. #io in Noto {photos by Ryoko, edits me}

always ready for adventure!

A few notes from Ichiro’s first plane trip with Mama to visit Hongo Ichiro sensei on Noto peninsula in Ishikawa prefecture. Train was no really possible so went from Okayama’s (adorable) Momotaro airport (OKJ) to Haneda then on to Noto with a group taxi to town.

Stayed with sensei at his converted fish processing plant turned house/workshop and then at a minshuku guesthouse with some friends.

What follows a few a few notes while my darling were away and a couple photos Ryoko sent from the “end of the world”.

ichiro on the go!

So it began: Ichiro loaded up his backpack with a favorite book, stuffed penguin, travel cup, snacks, handkerchief and an Insta photo of the two of us.

We’d dropped a friend off at Momtaro before and since, Ichiro is intrigued and excited about airplanes and he/we wave and say “hikoki bai bai” whenever one is overhead.

tie dayes in “family tartan” made by brother/uncle Dan

So… dropped off a Momotaro airport with parents and had an extra lunch before breezing through the mellow regional airport. Their ANA service was “first of a new route” or something so they received a commemorative souvenir.

i explained the importance and benefits of being kind and friendly to the staff, in this case from best airline ANA
Continue reading Ichiro meets Ichiro sensei + airplanes and fireworks in Noto

Diary: secret restos, airport hangs, voting, drums & creative acts

Restaurants x2: yes our Ramen place is listed in the Michelin guide, we’re pretty fancy after all / maximum stars

For the record, the best restaurant in all of Japan has *no* Michelin stars, nor does it exist in any guide books, map apps, or fancy magazines.

must know codeword

The proprietor has painted the interior completely with her own (rather psychedelic) art.

The menu is succinct (okonomiyaki mostly) and inexpensive, and she (80-ish) sends you home with extra food “just because” + there is the ubiquitous goldfish tank, and even one of my paintings displayed.

Clientele includes noted artists, politicians, community organizers, professors, kimono merchants, curators… But it’s a secret.

Also her end-of-the-year parties at a fancy hotel ballroom are quite legendary for entirely different reasons.

Tomatoes: Mother-in-law‘s garden is producing bumper crop of tomatoes, small and medium ones. Ideas for preserving? I/we can’t seem to eat them fast enough but don’t want to waste any of them. Tried salt ferment and was so so, Freezer seems like a no go, Pasta sauce seems meh.

Rick Rubin: preordered. sometimes i think “im *pretty cool* but im not Rick Rubin cool” and this concerns me. i mean, i’ve done/made/gone plenty in my 51.8 years but dang, ummm i look at RR and think i’ve slacked somehow (yeah i know this isn’t the point) anyhow, this book comes out in 1/23

comes out next January…

Off and Away: Well my darling wife and adorable son are off to Noto for a festival and sensei visit. Guess im gonna *let loose* maybe wash dishes, fold laundry and write some aerogrammes. Yup, scored a 10 pack of legit aerogrammes, smells like victory. I know, slow down Dave, slow down.

Oh put on kettle of hot water to make some barley tea with real barley tea bags. i’ll chill it first. before i get too far ahead of myself, lemon water and couple of acetaminophen and maybe look at buying a massage chair.

Update: with wife out of town, did a lot of tidying up, now eating fancy macaroni and cheese (with tomatoes, avocado and back bacon), banana milkshake and watching Godfather. Yep, it’s a wild wild life + also re-watched last 3 Obi-Wan Kenobi with F-i-L while eating taco chips.

LDN … which reminds me of my quest to find Low Dose Naltrexone in Japan from a reputable source. It’s not illegal here but usually only available as full dose (used in various addiction treatments). However, in low dose (colloquially LDN) is used as pain management for Fibro MECFS #hashtags

Vote: Feeling left out from not voting in Japan (wife voted before hopping on plane, early and easy) so doing Thurston county, Washington primary ballot… It might be last one I do in USA #Foreshadowing (for the record, yes I have *several* citizenships) / ps WA State AFAIK does all voting by mail and my ballots are always early

use a dark pen

Drums / Things I want: a cocktail drum kit like this one (belonging to Stewart Copeland, I asked if he’ll sell it to me or trade for like a bonsai tree or something) if ya see something like this in Japan, let me know OK.

Stewart Copeland’s drum kit and photo thereof

Update: There’s one for a reasonable price but it’s in Staten Island New York… The kit does come with shipping bags… Wonder that what that would cost to Japan :-)

Airport: Darlings went to Noto, Ishikawa to visit Hongo-sensei… so, Now we (f-in-l and me)’re killing time at the Momotaro Okayama airport observation deck like big timers drinking our robot made beverages. Oh they travelled by plane via Haneda as trains are tricky to find way to that corner.

Good news is, with only 1 or 2 flights an hour arriving, we’ll readily see their ANA jet land, taxi up to the gangplank (that’s not the word is it? airbridge? idk) and then just elevator down to meet on 1st floor & 2 mins to car.

got ’em Band is back together #io

He came running out of the domestic arrivals and jumped into my arms and I just about wanted to bawl my face off with proud papa but I was so busy telling him how much I love him and then he told me about the airplane and the fireworks and all of it

Family at Ginkaku-ji, Kyoto

Your Olson pals at Ginkaku-ji, Kyoto (wiki / map / inside kyoto) on a trip in April 2022.

Your Olson pals at Ginkaku-ji 

Blurb: Ginkaku-ji (銀閣寺, lit. “Temple of the Silver Pavilion”), officially named Jishō-ji (慈照寺, lit. “Temple of Shining Mercy”), is a Zen temple in the Sakyo ward of Kyoto, Japan. It is one of the constructions that represents the Higashiyama Culture of the Muromachi period.

Idea: I might start making this year’s festive holiday cards just because there is a great photo (taken by a stranger on an iPhone 5) *except i look a little bit chubby, Ichiro just woke up, Ryoko is perfect.

Travel: Trip to Yubara Onsen and Katsuyama, part 1

[From March 23-25 2020]

Leaving the workers to their work as they switch to more “modern equipment” with nail guns to put down roof panels while we head to historic town of Katsuyama (noted for their handmade Noren door curtains among other things) where I’m going to hit up a noted post office to mail out this new batch of #DaveOStory dispatches. Yes im that obsessive.

Then onwards for a soak and stay at Yubara onsen (hot spring) which has an in-river outdoor public bath which you know i’ll be hitting up.

Gave the workers a “yorushiku” on the way out, key in lockbox, coffee/tea/snacks on standby.

Anyhow, small bags packed (for me old-timey suitcase with socks, talcum powder, fountain pen, stationæry & Gary Snyder’s mtns & rivers w/o end, meds, charger as most everything provided at hotel) ++ snacks & tea for the road, Billie Holliday on the stereo. Ichi loaded up with a giraffe & bear-cub hat. Ryoko at the helm. Sakura blooming.

The road is (part of) life.

Along with my wonderful mother and father-in-law, my adorable wife and remarkable baby, we took a little overnight trip to a nearby onsen (hot springs village) called Yubara, as well as a stop off at a all time trading post town of Katsuyama which still maintains a lot of traditional charm.

We stayed at a groovy old hotel, ate a ridiculous amount of food, sat in the moonlight on a rooftop garden tub and the next day in a communal bath with rock walls (like the actual rocks of the cliff outside) and finally in the outdoor tubs in the river (don’t showff!)

Along the way, we checked out an interesting art exhibit, popped into a variety of shops with handicrafts (Katsuyama is noted for its noren curtains) and of course, various post offices (indeed, moved Katsuyama and Yubara post boxes & office to a post of its own) and cafés, which – unsurprisingly of course – make up the bulk of my documentation: cute cafés, curious machines, amusing signs and sweet post boxes #theusual

Come along (more or less) – noting there are several, so settle in and i’ll remember to break em up somehow:

Part 1: Noren curtains in Katsuyama

Continue reading Travel: Trip to Yubara Onsen and Katsuyama, part 1

Snaps: Korakuen Gardens (Mother’s Day out)

4 (more) views at Korakuen Gardens, Okayama  – One of three “great, official, significant/something“ gardens in Japan built during the feudal Edo period. Saw turtles in cranes amongst the tea houses, bridges and trees.

Went to hear some old-timey music (recorded some audio “bootleg”) and celebrate Ryoko and Junko (m-in-l) with a pleasant stroll around the park. Stopped for tea and postcards (of course) and Ichiro was the star (of course). {oh i’ll add some snaps of him…}

Anyhow, ergo:


* trad rock zen space

* bridge over placid water


* “crow” castle yonder


* detail of temple roof

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