Wedding Speech, Delivered by Neal Cropper at Rural Caprine Farm, April 21, 2019
(Written by Dave Olson with Neal Cropper)
<Neal> Dear assembled beautiful people,We come together today from all over the world, bridging countries and cultures, to witness the next chapter in an ongoing Okayama love story.
Indeed it was here at this lovely farm that Ryoko and Dave first met. Like all true love, there’s is a completely unique story / this Okayama love story features a drifting painter slash poet and a sunny arborist slash jazz singer finding each other at a friend’s farm at the exact moment that they were both ready to begin this new life.
Since then, the relationship has flourished into one of mutual respect, shared interest, many laughs, and sparking more love each day.Love stories are all different, but the great ones always share a foundation of working together with common interests and passions. In this case, a mutual love of art, music, nature, creativity, compassion, living slow and simple, and building a community of friends.
What follow is documentation of the Honorary Canadian Consulate in Osaka, located basically in the parking lot of a pre-cut wood shop with lumber imported from BC.
I was the first person to sign the guest register this year
Walls were adorned with newspaper clippings from a decade or so ago
Signs encouraging “More fish and wood”
Several beautiful canoes (unused)
(Somewhat oddly) wooden pig roaster in the lobby
The location, as you likely as assumed considering it’s a lumberyard, is in an industrial park area (photo of street included) and required a variety of transportation schemes to get there including the “new tram”.
While the experience was a little bit surprising (I have a whole riff about the underutilization of consulates and embassies I’ll save for another time), I’m glad it exists as it saved us from a much longer (and more expensive and more hectic trip) to Tokyo.
By the way, the required paperwork was an official affidavit to say that I am free to marry 藤田良子 which we then present at the City Hall on 19th (assuming the certified version arrives by registered mail in due course — update: arrived in Tsuda Lumber Company envelope) to formally register our marriage on April 19th before Shinto ceremony on 20th then party and another ceremony on 21st.
Wishing safe and happy travels to all day international diplomatic renegades who are bringing their beautiful energy to this pleasant corner of Japan.
Also, sending my very finest thanks for all the good wishes coming in from so many wonderful people throughout my life. So grateful you have stuck with me through these turbulent years and are able to witness this life reinvention from wherever you abide.
So much more to say, but the to do list still has many small but important details and my delicate body needs rest to recoil some energy for the next several days of festivities and showing off my new hometown to miraculous pals.
In the meanwhile, note that every smoke signal is most welcome, well noted and will be reciprocated in due course.
Yours very fondly and fortunately, daveo/UW
Poster by Joanna / Gamamo Creative PS She is seeking her next gig. #HireHer#Tip#DRO420
The poster art for the party was one of the first things on our “we want to have” list for the wedding celebration. We both love music, especially live, and the posters which go along with the gigs.
So we asked the lovely Joanna and huggable Kenji who together have Gamomo Creative (a Chamorro warrior from Guam where Dave used to live for just another connection) to design up something special.
Joanna and I did many projects together at Hootsuite so she is familiar with my “here’s a big crazy idea with vague details, make something magical by reading my mind” way of working and Kenji being hafu-Japanese and an eccentric creative, is also uniquely qualified for input. They also made 2 lovely kiddos! Oh and Kenji is featured in one of my barber round-up posts getting a mullet from guitar hero/barber Rich Hope.
Anyhow, I sent JoBot (coz she’s a robot who designs with love) 6 pages of notes and a folder of “inspiration” – way toooo much of course (i’m a maximalist when it comes to design) and she asked appropriate questions to whittle it down and see what it is i liked about each piece of inspiration.
With this in mind, i’ve compiled various images and notes in a rather stream of consciousness manner to share for-the-record how we collaborated to make something truly special which will be the central design element for the goat farm party.
Worth noting that originally we planned to just us the poster at the party and then in the gift bags but it was so wonderful (not surprisingly but still surprising), we created a number of home-done print runs on various stock to send in announcement dossiers to folks all around the world. About 300 went out in this form and we then pro-printed 150 for giftbags and another 6 BIG versions on foamboard to display at key locations at the party and another rollable 4 for other commemorative purposes. Thanks Joanna and Kenji for your huge hearts and exceptional work.
Of course, we’ll need a guest book and a photo album for the artifacts and sentiments from lovely attendee. In our case, we’ll combine the two (written and photo messages) into one mighty tome with the help of self-service insta-camera (we have 200+ films on the ready!) with snaps added to the book on the spot, then personalized with their written messages.
The book itself is a classic Japanese lacquered artifact, heavy and handbuilt – btw these types of scrapbook are my favourite to make (loads of them usually using recycled board game and calendar paper) – purchased from urban history explorer Jason Vanderhill with assist from Laura Bzowy and hauled over by my kinfolk.
Look forward to settling in on the following Monday to see the photo treats and scribbled missives duly noted by lovely attendees.
Thank goodness I’m a country boy… Back in our little home on the outskirts of a underappreciated provincial capital after a few days in the “big city”… All the skyscrapers, swirling highways, and hectic people… Well it’s just not for me. Here we have flowers, trees, fresh air and importantly, quiet.
The good news is, got the official paperwork underway, picked up custom rings and utilized at least a dozen different means of conveyance.
Totally wiped me out but 藤田良子 kept our pace slow and I didn’t try to do “too much” by rushing around to do everything in one day as a normal human would likely do. I’m hardly “normal” in all sorts of ways 🙂
We have a week till all the renegades start showing up, & 9 days til 3-days of action… still lots of little things on the list but most can be done while wearing pajamas.
So very grateful for all the kind words coming in and all sorts of different channels > You know I’ll reply to everything *eventually*, but might be eventually.
Now will rest (maybe after an episode of “Great Teacher Onizaki” (oldish tv fun & good Japanese study for me).
Included a neat train to sparkle up this wee missive.
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.
After affidavit at Honorary Consulate of Canada located in the Tsuda lumber yard in an industrial port area of Osaka requiring creative transport route planning including various non-JR trains and the “New Tram” (which is no longer new but i suppose “tram” by itself isn’t much of a name), we hit up a hot spring spa next to a sports complex featuring a boat racing stadium – rather thunder-dome-esque – for several hours soak – indoors & out, then found an appropriate surface street bus (my preferred mode as involves less going up and down stairs/escalator/elevators to elevated rail or subways plus less general “hecticness” as I get very sensory overloaded easily) to Namba station area loaded with shopping streets, covered arcades where we bought some lovely blue hemp cloth for a tablecovering at goat farm party, as well as importantly devouring two mighty bowls of menya (noodles), along with boiled gyoza, at an impossibly tiny restaurant before heading back to hotel (where my request for extra pillow was denied) to watch an episode of Great Teacher Onizaki.
Today is picking up rings, buying various small items at Bic, Tokyu Hands, Shinseibashi then back to calm provincial town via speedy train.
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.