Tag Archives: Ryoko Fujita

Diary: Christmas Eve, Day and Boxing in Okayama, 2019

Christmas isn’t really an “event” in Japan, more of a marketing campaign and a prelude to New Year’s Eve which is laden with tradition, nostalgia and routine. It’s kinda my speed as i am def turned off by rampant commercialism quasi-religious sabre-rattling which comes around. 

Regardless, with new family (and more family arriving in 2020) i wanted to wrangle a bit of festiveness – also acknowledging been a long while since i had vaguely “regular” christmas and while this was atypical, established some new routines, scratched an itch… after all, with the turmoil in my life the last years, there is admittedly some misgivings and rather tough emotions which come around during all this hoolpa. Most importantly, got to show love and respect for wife and in-laws. 

PS You can see a bit of building up for Christmas and read a riff between a friend and i about this holiday in Japan in: Diary: Christmas Forthcoming / out n about and at home in Okayama, 2019

What follows are a few poorly-photographed artifact of activities from Dec. 24 – 26 JST. Carry On!

First off, Dec. 24 (christmas eve) we made dinner of grilled mackeral, squash, pickled cucumbers and tsukemono carrots, greens, miso soup, tea, rice, lotus root, and whatnot. Yup, not off to a very traditional start – ha!

Christmas morn, we opened our stockings (pictured above) purchased from a 100yen store ($1), nothing but the best! and enjoyed toast with cream cheese and my kaki (persimmon) jam which i am always talking about, and nashi (pear). My sock had snacks, Ryoko’s had expired 35mm film and a necklace and snacks. 

Then we went to post office (one of my fave activities of course) and i wore a Santa cap (borrowed from Ryoko who wore at Mae Maes Christmas concert) to the amusement of the post office staff and the kids at the grocery store which was our next stop. Folks are stocking up for New Years time during which many stores are closed or scaled back hours and folks generally wanna hunker down. 

Then we picked up a pre-made feast from a great lil cafe called Sakura-mi we had ordered a while back when we went on a little lunch date. Here’s the café’s post box.

And i got to make a fire in the wood stove. So yeah, post office and fire making in the same day! Pleased. 

Took the grub home and set up at parent’s house (next door).

Continue reading Diary: Christmas Eve, Day and Boxing in Okayama, 2019

Diary: Christmas Forthcoming / out n about and at home in Okayama, 2019

Some kind of phone… possibly from a battlefield or remote office

We headed out on some errands to return the felt sheets used in the tea ceremony at assassinated Prime minster Inukai Tsuyoshi’s home to a strange little office in a corridor with the cigarette smell cemented into the cracked linoleum floors which all evoked the lost Showa times.

Along the way, a saw some shops, ate ramen, developed film, checked out cameras and whatnot. 

First though, along one of these covered shopping arcades which i totally dig (how does Vancouver not have these everywhere?), continued my rather absurd documentation of phone boxes.

I would call you but haven’t figured out where to buy a phone card. Also noting these “midori denwa” (green phones) are abundant and in beautiful condition but i (not shockingly) never see one in use. 

PS Did someone call a doctor? #joke My friend in Adelaide Australia made the snap into a fun cartoon-y image. I might do this with all photos in future. 

Continue reading Diary: Christmas Forthcoming / out n about and at home in Okayama, 2019

Post’d: Festive Cards and Greetings, batches away!

Batch 2 of festive greetz away from the main downtown Okayama postoffice!

And technically, this post box is just for mailing New Year’s cards within Japan, so the pedantic ones amongst you need not point this out… Festive display made for a pleasant photo.

The overall count was smaller than batch one however several bonus super-deluxe envelopes of treats in the mix.

Destinations include: Germany, UAE, Scotland, Sri Lanka, … and the usual USA / Canada locations.

Such fun applying the stamps and interacting with the post office staff as so many folks are in preparing and mailing New Year’s cards.

This lil elf dropped off 80-ish new year cards into the hopper.

Continue reading Post’d: Festive Cards and Greetings, batches away!

Splendid Journey Ahoy!

Seems Dave and Ryoko are bound on a splendid journey.

デイブと良子は素晴らしい旅に出かけているようです。

Arriving June 2020

2020年6月に到着

Annotations re: Star Wars IX and personal historical notes

A few remarks regarding Star Wars IX “The Rise of Skywalker“ #NoSpoilers

Empathy is the greatest power or attribute worth striving towards and is cultivated (in large part) from kindness, calmness, self confidence and trust in others

War brings displacement and costs beyond death of fighters… Cultural loss, loss of personal history, plus refugee situations & family separation which can bring trauma for generations.

While you can’t choose whom you share blood with, you can choose “family“ and love beyond status, background, gender, species etc.

Rewards come eventually and sometimes in unexpected ways – Patience is your ally.

As you continue the hero’s journey, mentors and icons fall away, you will become your own hero. Be empathic to self, choose your family wisely.

Ryoko purchased tickets in the special super comfy theatre – the loungey reclining seats came with slippers and a tray for your snacks. was my first time in a cinema in Japan as it goes. I coulda sat there for a trilogy!
Continue reading Annotations re: Star Wars IX and personal historical notes

Mae Maes – Ryoko’s band at Mukunomi Fureai Matsuri

Konnichi-Mae! To complete the trifecta of tunes from Saturday’s Matsuri comes my favourite!

Ryoko’s band Mae Maes played at a community outdoor festival (you can see video some of the other performers elsewhere in this archive) and several of the usual supporters were out on a sunny and surprisingly hot day, including the effervescent Tadanori Suzumura-san – “the Shacho” (boss) is a singer himself and a huge supporter of local music. 

Here we are hanging out: 

Continue reading Mae Maes – Ryoko’s band at Mukunomi Fureai Matsuri

Diary: Autumn Miscellany, scenes of “regular life” in Okayama

made a little photo book for gift and sale featuring postboxes of the world, post offices here and there, and letter writing “still lifes” scenes with stationery and bevvies (note to self: post a link or something to purchase this book)

A few years ago (or less), each day was quite tough. Now, each day i deal with pain and confusion but enough joy and interestingness to compensate. My brain fires but i have to throttle as i get headaches and eye strain very easily, i remain very sensitive to light and sounds so use dark glasses and ear plugs when out and about.

Anyhow, there are several recent “standalone” dispatches of activities and outings (Mae Maes concerts, tea ceremony, museums, tours…) but this post simply gathers up miscellaneous whatnots which don’t really chronicle anything but normal day-to-day tasks and action with brief annotations.

coffee and cake date with the amazing Ryoko who amazes me daily with her tenacity, honesty, grace and endless interests

Continue reading Diary: Autumn Miscellany, scenes of “regular life” in Okayama

Diary / Museum: Tea ceremony, PM Inukai house + grave & trains plus citrus fruits

One of these two is a former Prime Minister who was assassinated while his house guest Charlie Chaplin (also allegedly targeted in the assassination to – oddly enough – provoke the US into war) was at a sumo tournament. The other is a happy poet who loves small museums. 

Indeed, today (Dec. 15) was a tea ceremony at former PM Inukai Tsuyoshi’s house (he was assassinated by 11 young officers in 1930s during the chaotic military build-up period of Japan) here in Okayama. 

First off, went to the tea ceremony with our group including Mitsuko-san with whom i rode the fantastic local Uno bus to the station where Yano-san picked us up in his van along with our tea sensei Matsuki and we met Sachiko-san at the event. 

Ryoko was in charge of the wagashi (sweets) for the event. There is more to say about tea ceremony but suffice to say, there is a lot of preparation and intention but the actual event is rather brief and while calm, not necessarily solemn but rather jovial.

Continue reading Diary / Museum: Tea ceremony, PM Inukai house + grave & trains plus citrus fruits

Primer: Travelling Japan / 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 Primer: Travelling Japan / places to go, getting around, accomms, culture, etiquette and geography

Mom: 3 Years Gone – “Tour de Ashes”

Hi Mom,

Well today is 3 years gone and wow, so much has happened since the worst phone call ever in Auroville.

I won’t get into all the details but do want to catch you up on all the geo-locations (and other memorials) your ashes are distributed… for the time being at least.

Overall, you’ll be happy to know we’ve added a few more stamps to your figurative passport and there are many places scattered around the world where you are especially remembered. 

We’ll start the world tour with the most obvious and familiar locations in Utah: 

First, the Celebration of Life Monument in SLC right by the (fabulous) library. This wall took some doing to make it all happen but worth the work and looks great.      

Your entire full name with all the middle names is engraved on the wall and allll spelled perfectly! 

Continue reading Mom: 3 Years Gone – “Tour de Ashes”