Tag Archives: Ramble

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.

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)

Japanese Culture and Language Primer

A few notes and tips and phrases compiled for guests coming to wedding but likely useful for most anyone coming to Japan. 

Culture-ness

Remember you must always have your passport with you (stupid but hey… rules is).

Shoes are never worn in homes, change into slippers (which will never ever fit), then different slippers for toilet, don’t forget to change back (you will forget), socks only in tatami (straw mat) rooms.

Big stores / malls often offer tax-refund. Gotta take receipt, passport and credit card (if used) to special kiosk. They will stick receipt and stamp in passport, weird but hey, ya get money back.

Don’t walk and smoke. Hang in front of konbini store, pachinko, find smoking cage, or smoking section of resto or park. 

Can drink alcohol on streets and parks however… no sloppiness, penalties/jail harsh.

Language Primer

Handy Phrases:

  • Konnichiwa = Hello
  • Chotto matte = Just a moment/please wait
  • Hai = yes
  • Iie or Chigaimasu = no / different or wrong
  • Douzo = go ahead, please (this is super handy!)
  • Sugoi! = Great! Amazing! i.e.: How is Japan? Sugoi!
  • Suimasen = excuse me (used allll the time as is Go-men which is like “sorry”)
  • Kudasai = please i.e. “Kohi o kudasai” = “coffee please” 
  • Domo, Domo Arigato, Domo arigato gozaimasu = thanks, thanks a lot, thank you very very much
  • Jaa ne / Matta ne = See you / again
  • Toire (toilet) doko desuka? = where is the toilet (there are more trad words for toilet “benjo” and “o teirei” but the Japanese-i-fied english word is easiest
  • Konbini = convenience store (7-11, Lawson, Family Mart are plentiful & amazing)

Continue reading Japanese Culture and Language Primer

Japan Travel Ephemera Scrapbook / Shinkonryoko Ramble

On our Shinkonryoko (honeymoon) travel, we rambled around Japan via various trains, occasional rental car, trams, busses and a coach visited pals, museums, hot springs and natural locales while staying at an assortment of accommodation types (ryokan, “western” hotels, guest houses/minshuku, friend’s homes, resort hotel etc). Note: extensive documentation of all these elements elsewhere.

Anyhow, as is my routine, i gathered ephemeral papery items (tickets, brochures, maps, coasters) and glue/2x taped into a scrapjournal along with insta-photos, scraps of poetry/prose, words which stuck in my head (possible band names) and topped off with a few stickers, stamps and seals.

Then photographed the whole tome for archival and sharing purposes. (Some pages include “pop up/fold out” elements which may or may not be pictured. Provided as-is here without additional annotations as the purpose is emotional, not purely documentary.

Continue reading Japan Travel Ephemera Scrapbook / Shinkonryoko Ramble

Watching steps… / Shinkonryoko Ramble

Watching my every each step

Is the task at hand

So i’ll watch yours instead

Continue reading Watching steps… / Shinkonryoko Ramble

Messages (poems, guestbooks, stamps etc) / Shinkonryoko Ramble

signed in a book for Hongo-sensei – remixed from my “post box poem” at Mac Kobayashi’s goat farm

Along our shinkonryoko (honeymoon) travel, there were many chances to sign guestbooks, write notes for folks, as well as fill our booklets with inky stamps to commemorate being somewhere. As it goes, here are a few mediocre snapshots of hastily scribbled words for archival purposes. 

note quite sure where or what the context is but it’s from the heart – quite literally
written in the guestbook for Hanayume Noren (bridal curtain?) historic scenic train
a stamp available for stamping (obv) aboard the Hanayume Noren scenic train
another view of the same, ergo: written in the guestbook for Hanayume Noren (bridal curtain?) historic scenic train
writing a haiku at the home of haiku master Kobayashi Issa alongside long lost pal Steve Gruett, in his honour
this scrapbook style is readily available at stationery stores around Japan,…
in this case, the books displayed artifacts and articles related to the Mawaki Ruins Jomon Museum in Noto
doesn’t *quite* fit with the others, but this is letterhead from one of the many hotels we stayed at along the way…
guestbook in the fantastic “Shinse Kinenkan Museum” museum in Kanazawa, basically an old apothecary turned into exhibit of both pharmacy but also all sorts of other crafts and art

More artifacts may be added to this post later as sorting and curating continues. Carry on.