Tag Archives: Ramble

Museum: Toyama Prefectural Museum of Art and Design, 2019 (a sampler)

welcome to Toyama, i really enjoy showing up to a place i know *nothing* about, like a white sheet of paper, filled with possibilities

Blurb: On our extended skinkonryoko/honeymoon ramble, we had a stop in the city of Toyama (capital of eponymous prefecture) which i really didn’t know anything about but turned out to be very pleasant. Besides being a conveniently-located “midsize city” with good transportation of the sort I really like, there was a castle and lots of public art and pleasant accommodations and of course kissaten coffee shops for making scrapbooks.

its all empty and full

While there was a choice of many museums to see, we headed out to the Toyama Prefectural Museum of Art and Design by bus and wow, what a mighty experience. Almost too much for this guy, anyhow… let’s take a lil ramble:

Ryoko hangs with Pablo and Henri, we had the pace mostly to ourselves (wow!)

Toyama Prefectural Museum of Art and Design (map): https://goo.gl/maps/5sMsynNJzaD2GpTB8

TAD (web): https://tad-toyama.jp/en/

Ride along: Rolling Elsewhere: Kanazawa to Toyama, Japan (ambient, excerpts)

Ryoko hangs with Pablo

Truthfully, I am partial to small/quirky/cozy museums and this was quite different… an expansive modern building with many many halls of exhibits (but only some were photo friendly) including (as i recall):

  • Impressional/post impressionist/modern art (Picasso, Chagall, Toulouse-Latrec, Klee, Munch et al)
  • Installation of an urban lonely-ish bar street corner complete with sound
  • An exhibit/installation involving various nets and recycled materials
  • Various giant friendly bears
  • A capsule hotel segment
  • Art made from packing/duct tape by (as I understand it a fellow who works as a custodian on site)
  • Another hall of modernist art (Pollock, Dali, Miro…)
  • A few other installation rooms (a rather disorienting as was the purpose)
  • An incredible collection by an art benefactor of her magazines, prints, brochures, books and what not
  • A collection of 20th century chairs and posters (not about chairs), like high design chairs you *must not* sit upon these chairs (they are not comfortable and on display) – showing the great print / industrial design sense of modern Japan
  • And (my favourite) a collection of items given to a Japanese poet, art critic, artist Shuzo Takiguchi by his other artist friends (like a load of big timers and worldwide interesting cats), all “bric a brać” and seemingly simple one-off creations and sorta – at-first-glance – rather “nonsensical except for the source” items (seemed like was going into my head/archive, exhibit was called “Shop of Objects” or “Notes about things”
  • Another permanent collection from a benefactor couple called Goldberg
  • Also a ‘hands-on” Atelier area, a library, and long halls of upcoming and legacy items (including interactive panels)

Exit through the gift shop and the Swallow Café:

As usual, purchased a museum/exhibit guide at the gift shop as well as other postcards and artefacts but really it was quite overwhelming and required some fresh air and a café visit at the end.

buy the book, and the postcards, and the coffee / TAD. not *just* a band

I mean besides mentioned already, in the collection were Henry Moore, Jasper Johns, Henri Matisse, Andy Warhol’s Marilyn x4, Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp… goes on and on… plus loads of contemporary-ish Japanese artists i wasn’t familiar with so was great to see *not the usual classic Japanese art* styles.

Especially interesting a Japanese-French painter called Tsuguhara Foujita (aka Léonard Foujita) with “Two Nudes” from 1929 made me curious about how he came to be there and who he collaborated with.

Though I have the exhibit guidebook, I am not going to annotate all these photos, just let them flow, gently assembled. [Update: went out to the archive and pulled out the “Selected Works from the Collection”book, so heaven help me, gonna add notes where i can… oh geez, even looked up the exhibits from 2019], on we go:

(probably Bushiro Mori but not sure, can ya give me a hand?)

Aside note: the guide book shows the staff uniforms for Spring 2019 were designed by Issey Miyake (who at this writing in Summer 2022, has recently passed away with a legacy of importancy and acclaim).

Post-Impressionalist Hall (not official name)

Pablo Picasso, Femme dans un fauteuil, 1923
Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, Portrait of Manzi Panneau, 1901
Marc Chagall, L’homme la chévre, 1924-25
Joan Miro, Testa di fumatóre, 1925
oh my, another i can’t reference… i’ll try harder

Another hall of modern-ists (not official title)

Salvador Dali, Allegory of an American Christmas, 1943
Jackson Pollock, Untitled, 1946
Continue reading Museum: Toyama Prefectural Museum of Art and Design, 2019 (a sampler)

Train Station posters & signs, various and etc / Shinkonryoko Ramble, 2019

Along the way on our shinkonryoko (honeymoon) slow travel ramble, we rode all sorts of trains which are documented in various ways throughout this archive.

While the trains get all the glory, the stations and ticket counters are also interesting – *Just* the day-to-day essential services provided without grandeur or acclaim.

sign board at Okayama station getting ready to hop Shinkansen (bullet train) towards Shin-Osaka – enjoyed the 14:20 time check

What follows are simply a few snaps of posters and signs spotted around train station for amusement, inspirations and recollection with minimal annotations (due to explanatory nature and/or misremembering). Nothing special (except in the sense everything is special).

oh be careful!
besides the commuter & high-volume/speed people-movers, are also tourist/scenic trains
besides the commuter & high-volume/speed people-movers, are also tourist/scenic trains
at Tokamachi station, there was a great gift shop (loaded up) and this regional goods and sights inspired quilt

Note: this collection was well expand as i come across more items which fit this “posters and signs etc from stations” milieu, consider yourself advised :)

Artifacts: Europe Ramble, 1992 / 3 photos, 1 item

Artifact: Germany, 1993, Stuttgart with Jerrod “Spanky” Rowan on tour with Bad Yodellers

There was a time I went to Amsterdam with one way ticket arriving with $220 in a variety of currencies and travellers checks plus an emergency (entirely useless) $100 Canadian bill tucked into my boot, a backpack with an inadequate sleeping bag, butane camp stove (somehow allowed on the plane), a cooking wok (surprisingly versatile), comically coloured outdoor gear purchased at various close-out sales and 2nd hand shops, and other sundry items, but deliberately did not take anything of value including a camera – instead took a sketchbook which is filled with poetry, doodles and other whatnots, and a watercolour pad in which I produced several paintings.

As you might expect, I got up to many adventures by sticking out my thumb and ending up coffee shops, barns filled with drying ganja, a Gwar concert, being a “roadie” who didn’t do anything whatsoever of usefulness for the Bad Yodeller’s ill-fated tour, got deathly ill at Oktoberfest in Munich and related ridiculous campground. 

Then down to last few Deutsch Marks (noting pre-Euro), ended up meeting old pal Trevor in Rheinpfalz area where we embarked on fun nights in dungeons, bars and ruins, wandering forest with a giant dog called Bongo gathering chestnuts to sell in the endlessly adorable village of Rhod unter Rietburg and picking grapes – noting we were on different work crews and I fortunately got on the slacker team which included frequent breaks for wine and smokes and abundant cheese and bread and wine at the end of the day – including a couple of bottles to take back to stay warm in the tent/hayloft.

Then, after sleeping in haylofts and tents, partying at new wine festivals #secrets, a visit to hospital for a pal who couldn’t fly over ramparts and a ride with 7 crammed into a Citroen 2CV, we received our pay packets (after some trepidation thinking that any day we would be shook down by black-gloved immigration officials for illegal labor) came a hitchhike back to Amsterdam for usual unusualness, then a bus to Belgian for a ferry to England then a stretch in London which was cold wet and miserable, expensive and prone to bad decisions then via an dodgy credit card, somehow ended up in Miami in the wake of Hurricane Andrew. Following was even more ridiculous adventure of a drive-away car to Dallas, and rather shockingly we survived but, I digress…

All this is to tell you that: I have two photos and one wine label from Germany and one photo from London taken by a lovely Canadian girl we knew from “home”. 

Artifact: Evidence of London, “tourist photo” by Jenny Corrin (i was wearing Trev’s belt which i lost along the way, later replaced with another purchased in Jamaica)

There are several wonderful watercolours you can find elsewhere in this archive, as well as a “static montage” collage of ephemera Trevor created for me.

Artifact: Selling Chestnuts “Kastanien” with Trevor in Rhodt Unter Rietburg village in Rheinpfalz area of Germany – available by pound or kilo
Artifact: brochure card from my employing weingut. The boss man was the son of the son and named Uwe and had a band called “My Giant Funtime” – i had the cassette, i hope i find it. Had covers of Velvet Underground songs sung with Germanic splendour.

Additional riff, some same as above, posted here anyhow: 

Before I went on my first trip to Europe, I only looked at a 1972 version of “hitchhikers guide to Europe“ so everything would seem new and interesting and I could figure it out by myself. This was 1992 and I lamented I wasn’t there 20 years before. I’m no mathematician but a lot of time has passed since that first trip which was pre-Internet, pre-Eurozone, pre-ATM, pre-cell phone etc. etc. yet it all just sort of “worked“. 

Worth noting that because I was a broke free-loading hippie rambler, I stayed away from the big cities aside from Oktoberfest in Munich and a couple stops in to Amsterdam (of course) as the countryside was much easier to meet friends, find a place to stay, have a good time with a few deutsche marks. 

As it went, ended up in London which was gray, miserable and expensive but, due to a hurricane in Miami, was able to use a dodgy credit card to get a $70 flight to Miami which seems like a good idea at the time but turns out it was not. That’s a whole other story though. 

My unsolicited advice: go to the third most famous place, possibly the fifth, make it awesome and weird. Make poems & paintings about it. 

While I’m rambling, the most memorable segment of that whole trip (which included being a roadie for the Bad Yodelers, seeing a Gwar concert, the aforementioned Oktoberfest, all nighters in Amsterdam, sneaking onto a US military base, eating all the contraband en route to Belgium…) was time spent in a village called Rhodt unter Reisburg, living in a tent and later a hayloft, making friends with locals and working in the great fields and going home with a couple bottles of wine and a loaf of day-old bread at the end of it all. This was also the infamous “Chestnut gathering“ era #SideHustleOfASideHustle

Noto Fish Auction / Dave + Ryoko Shinkonryoko Ramble

Noto port, feels like the end of the world, indeed, a rather remote peninsula jutting out into the Sea of Japan, often ravaged by disaster, yet intrepid fishers head out to sea…

[Note: catching up with dossiers from May 2019 when we took an extended ramble around rural areas of Japan as a sort of honeymoon – see Shinkonryoko for more from this journey]

The following is as documented at a small morning fish auction in Noto, Ishikawa-ken [map] (at the end of the Noto peninsula) where various Norwegian and Russian ships also exchange wares. 

So many kinds of sea creatures! How many can you name? a few of these (Ankou / angler fish and shellfish of which i don’t the name and more slippery little treats) were later consumed by our hosts and us.

+ Fish etc Variety Pack +

{update: the remarkable Sandra DeMonti sent along many names for many fish, added as captions – consider helping with the rest]

Tuna
Squid

Continue reading Noto Fish Auction / Dave + Ryoko Shinkonryoko Ramble

Re-Building Triptych: part 3, Replenish

Re-Building Triptych: part 3, Replenish
Re-Building Triptych: part 3, Replenish

Re-Building Triptych: part 2, Re-Create

Re-Building Triptych: part 2, Re-Create
Re-Building Triptych: part 2, Re-Create

Re-Building Triptych: part 1, Re-Invent

Re-Building Triptych: part 1, Re-Invent
Re-Building Triptych: part 1, Re-Invent

 

Japan: Travel primer / places to go, getting around, accomms, culture, etiquette and geography

A rather rough overview originally compiled in advance of friends coming to Okayama for wedding. Re-purposed in slightly more general terms for logistical convenience as needed.

See also: “Travelling to and Around Okayama, Japan,” “Japanese Culture and Language Primer” and other resources in this archive including video guides. 

Japan Ramble Primer

Japan can be intimidating, even for seasoned travellers. You arrive to massive sticker shock, tiny octopi in soup, and 30 kinds of hot canned coffee (which all taste moreorless the same) in ubiquitous vending machines. 

Japan is a long country with 80% mountains – covering several climates, from frosty Hokkaido in the north, to tropical Kyushu giving adventurous folks much opportunity to head to the outer provinces for exploration of the heady scenery of this varied archipelago. With some planning, politeness and persistence, combined with a little zen, you can find big adventures.

Indeed, it is easy to get lost in the big cities of Tokyo and Osaka – crowded with skyscrapers and twisted alleys, piled high with screaming neon clubs pumping techno, reggae or karaoke and shops piled with futuristic technological gadgets that won’t make it to North America for another decade – but, far away from the expensive hotels and talking toilets of the huge Pacific metropolis, you may find yourself soaking in alpine hot springs on a starry night, drinking sake with strangers crammed into a mountain hut after a backcountry dinner of rice, seaweed, miso and green tea.

Continue reading Japan: Travel primer / places to go, getting around, accomms, culture, etiquette and geography

Japan: Travelling to and Around Okayama, Primer

A rather rough overview originally compiled in advance of friends coming to Okayama for wedding. Re-purposed in slightly more general terms for logistical convenience as needed.

See also: “Primer: Travelling Japan / places to go, getting around, accomms, culture, etiquette and geography“, “Japanese Culture and Language Primer” and other resources in this archive including video guides. 

Getting to Okayama, Japan

Airport

Best to fly to Kansai (KIX) Osaka airport. This schmancy modern airport is located on a human-made island in the middle of the bay and includes 2 hotels, like 100+ restaurants, post office, an airplane viewing platform and importantly, a train station.

The hotels (the full-service Nikko Hotel & business-single-pod-style First Cabin) are super useful if you arrive exhausted from the long flight (usually about 14 hours from N.A. west coast). A short trip from the airport’s island by shuttle bus brings you to loads of other hotels. This airport village also has loads of shopping for buying treats on your way home.

Of course, the are other airports, specifically Tokyo (massive international hub Narita NRT or sometimes Haneda HND which is usually used for domestic flights) and the new Centrail/Chubu/Nagoya (NGO) airport. While you might save a few dollars on the flight, you’ll have a longer (more expensive) train journey to reach Okayama which is the destination for the shindig.

Fly direct to Okayama (OKJ) via the charmingly convenient and cute Momotaro Airport. If you fly to Haneda or Narita (Tokyo) mentioned above, you can transfer and fly right here.  Sometimes this requires an airport shuttle between Narita (mostly international) and Haneda (more domestic).  There is a bus service from Momotaro to downtown Okayama too.

Note: there is a huge service difference for the long-haul flights from North America. My personal experience is to fly an Asian-based airline, i.e.: Japan (ANA *fave, JAL), Korean (Korean or Asiana), Taiwan (EVA), HK (Cathay Pacific) or Singapore if coming from YVR, SFO, LAX, etc. If coming from other Asian destinations, well you are usually all good. I have experienced much less enjoyment from US-based airlines and China mainland airlines often have low prices but check the reviews and adjust against your comfort levels.

Consider tracking flight options/prices with Skyscanner with a price alert or same with Google Flights and try Hopper (app) to see when best time to “pull the trigger” on purchasing flight. Flying from Vancouver? Check out YVRdeals.

Continue reading Japan: Travelling to and Around Okayama, Primer

Collection: Olivetti Lettera 34 (at Tsuchida Cottage, Okayama)

first look at new-to-me typewriter: Olivetti Lettera 34

Along our meandering honeymoon ramble, a spontaneous stop along the way – in an otherwise unremarkable corner of Ishikawa-ken at a 2nd hand shop – sparked two incidents.

 

the Lettera 34 settling in to address some envelopes for thank you cards – flowers are key

The first was the purchase of a nearly perfect condition Olivetti Lettera 34 typewriter (note: the 33 and 35 are listed in Typewriter Database but the 34 is not as it is – perhaps – a Japan specific machine including a “¥ shift” key on the number row). Also noting UK Pound, various fractions and a margin release key.

a few curious/amusing (whatever that means) key circled
detail for model name and number “olivetti Lettera 34”

Bought from the Granny shop owner for ¥2500 (about $22 US or $27 CDN) no haggling. (note: ribbon ordered as the one inside was dried out).

scene from inside the 2nd hand shop where typewriter was purchased

Continue reading Collection: Olivetti Lettera 34 (at Tsuchida Cottage, Okayama)