Tag Archives: regular life

Chooglin’ through September, logistics & whatnot

Chooglin’ On -– not on the Canadiana tracks this time, rather balancing logistical and creative life in a cottage in Japan

Are you there pals? It’s me, daveo.

So many actions yet forward momentum doesn’t feel forward.

I think its a matter of expectations and “how my brain is a little bit broken” / I purchased a book about brains and whether or not one’s might be broken (or specifically how it is not). Have yet to read.

Regardless, when making a laundry list of “things ticked off list” – this month was spectacular! Especially when gauged against my *cough* priorities for the year:

  1. Be a great hubbo and papa
  1. Take steps forward for health
  1. Sort out life admin stuff for the long haul

I.e. Intake to new speciality clinic at Okayama University Hospital plus a follow-up visit, seitai x2, a few walks, cleaning ancestors graves, surviving typhoon warnings (really hard for me), stepping up emergency preparedness, passports, taxes, applications, translations, certifications, notarizations, tickets punched, forms filled out, tolls paid.

Truthfully these “life admin” tasks often feel redundant at least and ridiculous at times (noting: there is a choice to fly under the radar though once you surface, you’d best be prepared to deal with the consensus reality) but very required and somehow I do have latent paperwork genetics(?) from both strands tailored for the task when the brain is firing. Problem is the brain doesn’t always fire. (Did you read that article from the Atlantic I’ve been bouncing around?)

I mean, loads of all of the above PLUS the “creative life” goodness which sometimes feels elusive happened, ergo: An online poetry reading with really fantastic collaborators; a poem in a poetry book which sits on my (one of my several) desk(s); 50+ posts in this very archive – including some detailed mixed-media diaries of healing ramble, stories of adventures, usual ephemera, artifacts, collections and more sort-ganizing in ongoing semantic nuance; solid handful of video storytimes with arts and crafts, stories and poems; many conversations, some of them quite lengthy, with friends – both foreign and domestic – by telephony.

This is even before we dig into Ryoko’s singing performance, various rehearsals, and loads of arboristing and landscape designing. She amazes me with her patience, creativity, strength and sweetness regularly. 

And more important than any of this is playtime with Ichiro almost every morning before school and wonderful hot bathtime every single night. We do puzzles, play music on ukulele, piano and drums, all the words tumble out of his mouth but the songs even moreso. And He looks through the scrapbooks of his art and always pulls a book out of his pile eager to explore the words both in English and Japanese. While on the logistical errand to the big gray city of Osaka, we went to a museum exhibit which was especially for him, for us too but for him, was some kind of amazing heaven of Okamoto Taro.

++ Almost all meals prepared at home, laundry is always caught up dishes almost always, house generally tidy despite an active toddler and two parents with many hobbies. 

So when to lay it all out, the score is rather high but at the same time, and very eager to do more big creative things. I know they wait patiently amidst stacks of furious notebooks, sheets of unfiltered papers, digital documents with various suffixes –and I know the time is coming as I think about these projects all the time in the long hot baths. Will you read them if I make them? The words in the books that is?

Now the weather will cool, I will get IVs on the weekly, drink magical traditional Chinese medicine potions, other “off label/experimental” medications, I will find my peace, and I will pluck the things as ripened.

I didn’t even mention the wild boar attack.

Let’s make a start! Tomorrow comes photographs and possible live Jazz in the streets.

We will travel by bus. the three of us together. October ahoy! 

Diary: ME to Consulate / much officialness + sleeping masks & fades

Yesterday’s #MECFS medical intake checked off the list (more to say, of course, I have more to say… there are notes).

All packed up

(Very brief version: long day, spun me out but “felt heard” & respected and have some new approaches)

So today was resting in a cool dark room for Thursday is business of an official kind in Osaka for the US consulate but just gonna do it as an “sniper mission” with no additional stops.

Rules: Items are forbidden beyond scant essentials. Various documents and methods of large payment. Oaths will occur.

As such, I’m looking official, right? #WorldsWorstSecretAgent

No spectacles or smiles allowed, also must fit all hair inside the photo, really.

Yes, I am leaving the prefecture. We will travel by private vehicle rather than train for precautionary purposes.

Then next week starts in projects for Canadian and Japan passports for Ichiro, (and renewing Canadian passport and Japanese resident card for me) but that’s next week(ish)…

Tip regarding passports in general: keep dozens on hand for various purposes, mix and match, trade with your friends! Remember, everything is a forgery. Invent your own country.

All right, 4:38 PM, got to get out of bed and wash some dishes… Get ready for my darlings coming home. Think we’ll have kabocha croquettes

PS re: sleeping masks

I have about 17 sleeping masks, 4 or 5 in regular rotation but am (obv) still seeking *the perfect 1”.

AudreyHepburn’s much sought after blue satin sleep mask makes £6,250, over x 4 the high estimate #AudreyAtChristies #AuctionUpdate

Above is Audrey Hepburn’s actual sleeping mask, not the one used in-character in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” which is endlessly reproduced and sold through all your usual Internet outlets… This one went at auction for £6000


  • soft to touch/silky material
  • big enough to really cover beardo face comfy w/o squeeze
  • wide backstrap w/ covered elastic
  • and dammit, want it cute!

I keep buying them and what should be a very simple solution is always either under built (skinny shtty elastic are the worst), poor materials, or too much “technical” cloth that doesn’t feel nice aside from an emergency use, or so massive that they wrap your head in some kind of overheated cocoon.

With my illness, I wear these like a super lot. I would make my own but I’ve got a few projects on the list before that and figure someone’s got this figured out.


PS A few more notes and examples commingled with notes about Ramen and I don’t know, probably pickles

Not for passport use that surfaced from 2014, fresh from Junior’s Barber shop… Just thinking I might get to go back there one of these months 
* Public Service Announcement *

Note: Junior's BarberShop does the snippy snip in chill style.

Ya be a fool to go nowhere else for fades, razor cuts. & all that...

Down Davie st near Burrard & Hornby - find it, worth it.

Peace in every street.

August Ends, so we go on…

{This end of this summer is not melancholy for m/we, no one leaves to school or to deserts or even to foreign lands, it just ends with a storm}

August ends
September begins
Ganesh comes to visit removing all obstacles.
“All of them Ganesh, all of them?”

So we go on:
Two big plans
in one week, next week –
for now,
The power returns
though I remain in the dark
waiting a turn.

typhoon weather
morning teapot fills up
with rainwater

The edge of a typhoon at Tsuchida cottage, The lad and I turned the couch to face the window and he cuddled a bit when the thunder was loud

Diary: Ramblin’ Ted visits the shed (& farm)

My friend Ted came to visit – he lives in Kyoto but was doing some tour guide reconnaissance/spiels on Kyushu & our home with the waystation before heading Shikoku.

me at the giggling piglet studio and consulate, photo by Ted, minor crop and edit by me

Notably, he is my first multi-time visitor to the Giggling Piglet studio besides Mac Kobayashi. Also, we went to Mac’s Goat Farm for lunch, coffees etc.

Listening to Leonard Cohen in the thunderstorm, thankful for the relatives who built this mighty store house

Dude is keeping up an incredible pace in an exceptionally hot and humid summer.

I mean, it’s really perfect mixed media creation studio

Overall, we discussed many topics. Thanks to my sweet in-laws for setting up the comfy room for him complete with the family altar/shrine open for o-bon. It’s a very special time of the year here when our passed away relatives can come back to visit for a while.

the hi-fi system is sounding great after a couple of tweaks by the piano tuner & this snap is a great angle cause you don’t see my balding spot :)

Thank you for visiting Ted, I really enjoy time with you.

Memo: You might enjoy Ted’s snapshots of the experience in general (snaps are stashed on facespace but this is a note to add some more here down the line // Right now I’m at the doctors office, my battery – phone & human – is/are plummeting so, you know how it goes…)

[update: photos added, mostly unannotated]

These snapshots should have captions/annotations but at this point they don’t, but *they exist* thanks to Ted. At some point I’ll add a link to his “notes from the nog” blog.

Diary: sundry notes of ukulele, drums, stereo, handy items by post & slices of culture

Sundry tasks:

get in number

Tended to an “important call with an official agency” about a significant life decision… Don’t mean to be vague, just floating it out to the universe, next step is visiting a consulate in Osaka, September 8.

(I really don’t like dealing with things by telephone, much prefer a written record – whether analog or electronic – and feel express myself much better when I have the time to choose words.)

So, just gonna play some baritone ukulele for a while.

Working on:
Atlantic City
Illegal Smile

Pretty good at:
Monkey and the Engineer

In other news:

a box of frozen meat was delivered yesterday

also several more Nick Bantock books and a replica of Indiana Jones’s Journal showed up

stack of mysterious dispatches

wife’s industrial grade water pump also arrived

Oh, and tomorrow is “go clean the graves of the ancestors day“ / We’ll bring incense and flowers. [update: done x2]

More Items, arrived by post: various seeds, porridge, legumes and nuts.

many seeds, nuts, legumes and so on (also box of meat, not pictured)

These simple tasks of convenience thrill me and are a huge help for those who are mostly house-hermits (#MECFS) this is all, carry on with the world melting down etc

After grave tidy (incense, water, candles, flowers, prayers) Tidied up carport then hung out with Ichiro, playing with inky stamps & stationery, listening to groovy records in the slowly improving (warm!) first floor of the kura barn studio.

Its all possible, Ichiro making stamp art in a “Norman Rockwell-esque” pose (as a kind correspondent observed)

Disco theme from “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly”? Yes you have come to the right place. Evidence follows:

Take a spin around the first floor studio space which is made for: listening to music; hanging out and making art; eventual more craft making (paper and kintsugi); plus emergency/camping supplies, tea ceremony supplies and impending musical jam space
Continue reading Diary: sundry notes of ukulele, drums, stereo, handy items by post & slices of culture

Aside: Yesterday kinda felt like summer…

Kinda felt like summer yesterday (been a rough start for me despite the very very summer heat – ugh such blues and pain but…).

Rundown: went to seitai (hardly summery or unusual but still important), then ate at our fave ramen place (at the counter! with Ichiro!), then drove mountain and coast roads to Setouchi, picked up beach-side takoyakai, quick play on hot slide (at pizza place mentioned), onwards to Ayumi-san’s “resort apartment”, soaked 11th floor onsen (talked with friendly folks, identified a few inland-sea islands (you can see Shikoku from here, as well as Mejima, Shodoshima, and passed ferry dock of Inujima), changed into yukata (summer kimono), ate the takoyaki plus yakisoba and big green salad, up to rooftop to watch fireworks (Ichi in his stylin Jimbei outfit saying “sugoi!” “oki!” to all assembled + Ryoko and Ayumi in kimomo as were others, drank 1 can beer), back to apartment for watermelon & gelato while traffic calmed down (big crowded parking lot) , looked at Ayumi’s maps and ephemera from Vancouver and Victoria trip 2005 (sigh), then late night home with tired lil boy and mom so papa talking to keep her on course (got home unloaded and wife went to late night carport to repair her fancy sandals for tea).

Cascadian Consulate has a fancy pool for select visitors

Today back in bed, wife at tea ceremony, Ichi next door with Jiji & Baba.

Took some rooftop snaps with Olympus camera, included are 2 snaps of Ichiro on a hot slide and one of our majestic pool but covered up.

Snaps: Coffees and Snacks, assorted and spontaneous

At the risk of becoming a cliché or another routine, while tidying up July’s diaries, couldn’t help but notice some lovely beverages and tasty food enjoyed along the way.

visited a Café with loads of Volkswagen memorabilia scattered around including this welcome sign which is quite similar to the one at Mac’s goat farm time

Don’t get out much, so well,.. you don’t need to know because it’s obvious “sometimes I eat/drink something and I take a photo of it” and here are some of those things.

As Warren Zevon wisely pointed out, “Enjoy every sandwich”. Aye, i do and will continue.

Outing: Somen day out in Kurashiki

We were recently (mid July 2022) invited by our friend Hatsumi (you may know her as the flutist in the Mae Maes) for a special lunch at her friends in the historic town of Kurashiki. This lovely town is often quite busy in the Edo-era style Bikan quarter and also noted for its fantastic museums which I’d likely blabbed on about.

dude, looking sharp, enjoying his noodles and the water

There was also the 200th anniversary (or was it the 400th anniversary?) of a shrine we passed on the endless staircase up to our hosts. Of course, I purchased a commemorative calligraphy card.

In our case, the quest was to enjoy cold somen noodles from a special bamboo water plume chute. This is a sort of a usual tradition in Japan but, because of “everything” hasn’t been publicly done in the last couple years.

The lovely couple put on a really nice spread for us with the water running down the bamboo course and then you catch the noodles with your chopsticks along the way and mix in with a broth, plus tomatoes, eggs, green onions etc.

The husband was quite handy and had some interesting artefacts and projects going around the house.

After the noodles and a bit of a rest for me and Ichiro in a lovely tatami room, we enjoyed fresh shaved ice with a magnificent beast of a machine with ume syrup.

Must remember to send them a gift package of pickles or other treats as thanks.

Diary: in July, i shall wear straw hat(s)

and there we go… thanks Claudia Car Office

Oh July, whisked by with *highlights* of the “situation of the missing uncle” and darling wife’s arborist level-up exam (about 70 people taking the exam, about 5 women), and being warm, very very warm.

Despite the summer temperatures, just hasn’t *felt like* summer but yesterday we finished the month strong by setting up the inflatable pool with the awning covering for a dip, some watermelon, hanging out in the “clubhouse,” and then watching a movie (Oh Brother Where Art Thou) from a cheap projector on a white sheet like an indoor drive-in.

Also there was a small neighbourhood matsuri festival and R & I’s trip to Noto to possibly address under separate cover. We also made pizza and ate great mutton curry for Father-in-law’s birthday.

Summer vibes from this lil argonaut

So… Onwards to August! Schemes: *not* going to send out the “Leo cards” this year, and have pulled back my idea of a live poetry reading for my birthday – maybe some make something pre-recorded instead, maybe not. (Note: i have put out some ambient scrapbooking hangout videos) Maybe not look at the computer much, maybe more time in the pool, and the barn playing scratchy records. I really don’t know. Honestly I’m a bit restless but very tired and weary. None of this is news.

Anyhow, a couple odds and ends on the last couple weeks since I’m here, and you were there, to document the “usual life and regular days” with jerk chicken schemes, bus rides, massage chair, kisses and peace of a kind.

into town: Oh no, treatment place was closed, so I’m “downtown” Okayama, & dont have a sorta perfect favorite hideout just right place so back at new joint doing Mexican food, cooling down with iced coffee. Kind of wish stayed home and rested though… rather busy by my standards recently.

back at barn: By now you’ve seen pictures of my studio lounge in the 2nd floor of the kura store house, And now the 1st floor is turning into our family arts and crafts clubhouse with a secondary stereo set up, a stack of eclectic and slightly damaged records, lots of supplies, goodtimes! Of course, there is a plan/concept sketch.

the 1st floor “clubhouse” with arts and crafts, emergency supplies, secondary record player for eclectic vibes and dance parties

Yesterday’s hang-out music selection included Harry Belafonte, Jimmy Cliff, Don Ho, compilation of “American songbook standards“ with Sinatra, Ella etc., and family favourite “The Spinners“ for some dancing fun / also have assortment of Scottish, German & pirate folk song records.

Here’s the upstairs workbench in current configuration, space for audio, video, scrapbooking, painting, sort-ganizing / You’ll also notice and overhead scanner maybe, and various stands for old phones/cameras.

Do you recognize any of the artists on display?

Continue reading Diary: in July, i shall wear straw hat(s)

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