Tag Archives: Ryoko Olson

Family at Ginkaku-ji, Kyoto

Your Olson pals at Ginkaku-ji, Kyoto (wiki / map / inside kyoto) on a trip in April 2022.

Blurb: Ginkaku-ji (銀閣寺, lit. “Temple of the Silver Pavilion”), officially named Jishō-ji (慈照寺, lit. “Temple of Shining Mercy”), is a Zen temple in the Sakyo ward of Kyoto, Japan. It is one of the constructions that represents the Higashiyama Culture of the Muromachi period.

Your Olson pals at Ginkaku-ji 

Note: I might start making this year’s festive holiday cards just because there is a great photo (taken by a stranger on an iPhone 5) *except i look a little bit chubby, Ichiro just woke up, Ryoko is perfect.

Diary: apropos of nothing (sleeping masks, hockey, mosquito net, laundry)

Really nothing to the usual days except for the brilliance of usual days, appros of really nothing, i annotate for amusement. Carry on in a disinter-mediated manner:

new kamidana house shrine for ancestors – made in Tottori from a slab of gingko wood

Okayama memo: The thing I really like most about is its very “usualness” {aside from being famous for the Momotaro peach boy story and being a “place you pass through to get to other places”} is also almost always sunny but not today (this Cascadian doesn’t mind the rain though).

My 1st era in Japan in the early 90s, was in Tottori (remote w/ kei-truck), later hiding out near Miasa, Nagano. When came back few years ago, found Okayama was just right / Not a hectic sensory overload city but has big hospital, Immigration etc.

Yes, we “lean heavily” into Momotaro folktale here and the image of a peach is scattered all over from statues to utility pole covers and gosh, peaches with a boy coming out of them can look really funny! And apparently it’s the sunniest prefecture in Japan. 

By post: Three pack of organic oatmeal arrived. {always mean to scribble down “tasting notes“ with all the different kinds but never do and never remember which ones were “great“ but all are, you know, good enough} ~ Eat each morning with variety of nuts, berries and sometimes yogurt.

Today by post: hori hori garden tool (this one is artisan made, previously ordered for wife and mother-in-law from off-the-shelf made-in-Japan company) / this one needs sharpened up and it didn’t come with a case/holster :( feels good in the hand though.

Day in the life:

  • ate salad with smoked salmon for lunch
  • loaded our new tiny dishwasher
  • sent a telegram, really
  • attempting to remove chewing gum from a pocket of a favorite shirt with ice packs #pending

now a rest before finishing laundry

Next day: One oatmeal, three coffees, two baskets of laundry, two hockey games… Now switching to loungewear and some tax paperwork. Then maybe repair a wicker stool after lunch.

Update: some arcane tax documents prepared, stamped, notarized, faxed, ready to mail in Duplicate etc. Indian curry and smoked salmon/avocado/lettuce salad lunch with darling. Next (going to try) to put a new seat on this wicker stool with hemp cloth and upholstery thumbtacks.

It’s not a masterpiece but it’s decent. Sturdy Polish hemp cloth, rugged long tacks & see how it goes. Hooray for hexagons!

Continue reading Diary: apropos of nothing (sleeping masks, hockey, mosquito net, laundry)

Magical Ryoko’s Birthday

Here she is with a boy who loves her as much as I do, gazing into a distant mystery

(As usual) I’m hopelessly behind in replying to various messages on all the channels and what not but anyhow… Spent a little time in the mountains and now about to dig into some sushi to celebrate my darling wife’s birthday.

As such, inadequate memo to say:

Somehow Ryoko gets more gorgeous every day and continually amazes me in new & delightful ways.

She’s an arborist, vocalist, tea ceremonyist – infrequently intimidated, always courageous, endlessly creative + a wonderful mother, perfect wife and just the funnest to be around every day.

Continue reading Magical Ryoko’s Birthday

#DRO420 / 3rd Anniversary: Wedding outfit flashback/recap

How many outfits can you wear for one wedding celebration? It turns out, a lot (but never enough!) Let’s briefly recap.

Day Two, Shinto Shrine:

photo by the hired “pro” photog, edited by daveo

Three years ago 4/20 Heisei 31 at Munetada Jinjya – Friends and family on day two of our three day #DR0420 wedding festival, which has gracefully extended well into three years of daily perfection.

Day Three, Goat Farm:

Yesterday was three years since the Shinto ceremony at the shrine (say that three times fast) and three years today was the celebration at Mac Kobayashi’s goat farm & music library (we’ll probably stop by today).

at the goat farm, right after bonus vows in English (3rd ceremony of 3, in 3 days) ^ by Robert Scales, ed. daveo (daveo filter, No Patent Pending)

Coming down the aisle after the vows, this time in English (previous was Japanese and the previous previous was a matter of signing & stamping papers at the city office after laboriously verifying ID supervised by my flower bearing attorney Lindsay Bailey in a fantastic dress).

It was really the funnest of times! Beloved friends and family from so many countries and Ryoko’s admirers arriving from around Japan from her different circles and communities of arborists, gardeners, jazz & ska musicians, Lindy Hop dancers, French and Chinese language classes… and various free radicals, Mountain ramblers, Coffee roasters, beer makers whiskey distillers ornamental tree artists, singers, smoking three-piece jazz band, a couple of MCs. Plenty of dancing, so much food, the best gift bags ever (featuring Bizen-yaki sake cup and DIY tea ceremony set). Decorations abounding thanks to the diligent assistance of the “Goat Farm hippie hostel compound dwellers” et al.

Getting ready was extra fun since i forgot half my outfit at the house requiring Tom Sawyering some friends to do the meandering drive to pick up shirt, coat, vest etc.

Meanwhile, Ryoko was readying with dress, makeup, hair and all of it. Kris Krüg captured her (magnificent) progress while he and Robert Scales helped me chill (captured by Lindsay Bailey) and prepare for the ceremony before walking me down the “aisle” (goat path) (captured by ??? Duane Storey??). #smooches

Day One, City Hall

Bonus: Flower bearing attorney supervising me to the City Hall and witnessing our paperwork. Photo: Kris Krüg outside 後楽ホテル Okayama Koraku Hotel
^Photo Lindsay Bailey ❤ (ed. daveo)

Outside the Okayama City Office – which got a little complicated as they flipped through thick books comparing my birth certificate to other Canadian examples from the Northwest Territories and so on.

Unsurprisingly, they got hung up on my middle names and spelling of my birth town (all of which which had to be rendered in phonetic katakana).

Relieved, made it out of there eventually and somehow that was enough to be “official“ >> then headed to the welcome party at Livehouse Bird to see all the international renegades (and immediately Tom Sawyer them to tasks)… So many wonderful humans and was particularly fantastic to see friends from different areas of my life connect like that already known each other for decades.

Day Four, rolling home

The day after the 3-day scheduled festivities concluded and shifted into ad-hoc goodtimes, Ryoko and I rode the city bus from our downtown Okayama hotel to our home in Tsuchida neighbourhood in Okayama Higashi.

Rolling Uno Bus with flowers 25k cash in a suitcase, bottle of high-proof whiskey & wearing a kilt with underpants just bought at a konbini store

We looked pretty awesome: her in a flower lacy dress and Royal Stewart cape and me in kilt, socks and sandals and trilby hat – carrying the aforementioned old-time suitcase of magic envelopes, bouquet of flowers, bottle of grog and endless smiles back to our lil home and the future.

3 years later

present times: same goat farm, same date (but rain falls on goats) – and now we are are three >> forever awaits

Ryoko’s Charcoal Kiln, annotations

Charcoal Kiln drum – improving the campsite

Ryoko has a notion to make charcoal using a 200 litre (50 g) drum as a kiln. She’ll cut in a chimney & stuff it with hardwood and/or bamboo and use charcoal for tea ceremony, grilling & whatnot.

Ryoko’s charcoal making kiln project continues – includes ridable machines and metal work and bricks. I made her an iced chai. #Helping

Also: last week, she was singing on a live stream, this week she’s running a power shovel, she also performed tea ceremony and a dozen other specialty skills #AmazedDaily – and all of it is done like “it’s no big deal, I just figured out how to do this and think it will be interesting“ 

Question: Make charcoal? Why and is this for you or she has been hired?

Charcoal = yes

Why? = for experimenting in sustainability and general arts and crafts (i.e. use chopped down bamboo in a sensible manner + use the finished charcoal for tea ceremony brazier, barbecues and woodstove)So, no not for me specifically, nor for a client. Just “to do it”

PS This morning she transplanted a tree after moving a bunch of dirt at the end of day yesterday for her tea garden in the front of the house, she was up on the ladder pruning branches but I missed the chance to take a picture so you’ll just have to believe me

Ichiro: Ohaka Spring Equinox Visit

Went to the grandparents/ancestors graves with the wheelbarrow on the first day of spring to tidy up, add fresh flowers/blossoms, light incense, and say thank you for keeping an eye on us.

cute lil fella is learning to cross streets and look sharp (well that part is easy)

Bonus: First year Wakaba houikuen (pre-school) finished like a wee champion + have a dossier of new outfits, supplies, routines, accessories to prepare for “next year/week”… Involves a festival of stamping /writing “Olson Ichiro オルソンいちろう” onto things. It’s all quite wonderful wonderful.

Note: Ryoko’s new dump truck (& thwarting patriarchy)

Ryoko signed papers to buy 2021 Daihatsu Hi-jet, low dump kei-truck. Auto trans, 4wd, 660cc, Alas the dumps only come in white silver and no deluxe/extended cab option.

Dump feature is gonna be huge help for her. Comes 2 mo. Got 60,000¥ trade in for 12+ old Suzuki.

Kind of like this but different wheels:

Random example scoured from the Internet without photo credit, my apologies

The transaction was all conducted at the kitchen table with her “Car Guy” (company somehow called “Claudia“) who came to the house with the brochures and information and then later with the paperwork. I guess it magically just shows up one day in March. First time either of us have ever bought a “brand new car“.

Note, there are two different kinds of dump trucks.

one in which hydraulics run from engine power w/ higher deck, rails & payload

two (hers) runs off electric switch in cab, much easier. She loads tree trimmings, so bulky but not super heavy.

Wished for comfy cab seats & color and while “regular“ Kei trucks now come in *colors* other than the basic appliance white and with taller/longer cabs and other treats, the dump truck feature precludes any of these features.

While I’m talking about wife and kei-truck, I should say (like often do) i am proud to be married to a (rather rare) woman small business owner doing “rough work”. She has an awesome tool shed, clients adore her & she’s a member of the local guild (almost all older men).

Ryoko’s current runner which will be traded in

(In some Way) This is how you “smash the patriarchy” (that is pervasive in Japan) >> by action, not talking. Always want to support women owned businesses in Japan. I see you, I’m cheering for you.

PS she also sings in a jazz band, practices tea ceremony in kimono & and sharpens her own chainsaw blades

Did I mention she’s an absolutely wonderful mother and took care of me, sick son and a rabbit with a broken leg this month? Shuttling us all to different doctors appointments… #swoon / She’s an elegant force of grace and awesome.

Bonus” kei-truck digression:

Snaps of my Kei truck from mushroom farm, Tottori, 1992-3.

Hauling mushrooms from the farm to the market

2 days after I showed up, boss gave me keys to deliver enokis to market > down a twisty windy snowy mountain road, figuring out shifters “other side” of the road driving, caught in a rotary with street signs w/o romanji / yikes

In other foolish ideas, had a day off so thought would just drive to Kyoto from Tottori on back roads. Took forever. Backache!

Stayed at friend’s billet family in a closed-down hospital, super weird/creepy.

Note: #GratefulDead sticker under watchful eye of neighborhood cat.

Kei-truck unauthorized trip to Kyoto

Diary: January, sick / end of dispatch

January’s diary, super easy / succinct. {I’ll spare us all the details.} ++ thanks Ryoko Olson for taking care of me, Ichiro & Maru at Tsuchida field hospital.

*Sorta* up yesterday (Post office errand) & today (tidy up and make a birthday video for a friend).

Note to self: go slow, very slow.

PS With my chronic complex illness (#mecfs), I’m really susceptible to any kind of virus or if I “overdo it”, doesn’t take much to put me off kilter and the past three weeks have been really rough. I should be used to it by now but not really…

ps thanks Ted Taylor for nice calendar ^^

[Update: Jan 29] Made it to the post office yesterday and felt like a marathon. Tiny revolutions, really appreciate your correspondence >> Will catch up *eventually*.

Jan 17 at Drs office – small slippers are part of life

Diary: Closing Books with Errands and Dreams

If I can make it to 20 steps for my cozy bed to the kitchen, I can have a homemade eggnog and espresso + a ridiculous breakfast of fantastic leftovers – oh but it’s so cozy here! PS xo

Made it (with stollen)

Closing Books of sorts

i love making lists and *trying* to mop up everything nicely (of course never quite works out but hey…)

Over next few days, gonna hit up a seitai session, do some pick up/drop off paperwork for wife’s business, mail out some more New Year’s cards, hopefully drop specs off for new lenses (again), finish up this year’s misc scrapbooks, + release a new video (done). Close the book.

[Update, a day later]:

seitai – check
Kinome errands – check
new years cards – in process
scrapbooking – not yet
video release – done
mae maes video – almost
glasses – not gonna get there
closing books… sorta

Observed on Errands

On an errand to a community center. Where two phones are, where two phones once were & a really nice copier. 10¥.

¥1100 lunch / not sure how it’s possible to be this fantastic. Wife and kiddos lunch plates were great as well. File this under “lousy photos of usual food“.

Bonus of a happy lil boy (note injury by his eye from a table collision and on chin from a floor tom drum)

Been Meaning to Call you

Just to note that I’ve made a lot of phone calls to vocally express fond greetings of late ~ but also have run out of batteries #mecfs and trying to mop up a few projects by the end of the year… 

What I’m trying to say is, “I’ve been mean to call you” and eventually I will. Ergo:

One big question remains for this year “will I get all my browser tabs closed?“ I will not answer all lingering emails however, that’s assured.

Intentions, not Resolutions per se

Also: maybe watched my *beginning of the year type writing out of intentions, themes and musings* for Reiwa 3/2021? Going to try to recap in the next few days. “Let’s go so we can come back.” Weird to say (i guess) but really a mighty year overall. (I foolishly live streamed the session via Facespace and due to a little bit of incidental background music, the video is locked in a steel cage so I’m chalking that up to stupid lessons learned. Open source, open content, fair use ahoy!)

Kei Truck Project

Kei truck dealership guy came by the house today with brochures about a dump truck kei for wife (she’s an arborist and forking out big loads of trimmings every day is a bit much), but sadly dump truck models *only* come in white and with the same crappy seats.

Was hoping she could have a green color to do some branding for her business (Kinome) and comfy seats for sometimes long drives but no go. The “regular“ kei-trucks you can get the extended cabs, better seats and colors. The dump back is the critical part though. Sorta like below>>

Of course the aftermarket/specialty market has all kinds of customized models including colors, lift kits and fancy wheels and stuff but we’re trying to be cheap and cheerful and off the rack.

Oh, this is Ryoko’s business, Kinome. I’m super proud my wife is part of a small cohort of women-owned small businesses doing “rough“ work. Most is fieldwork, followed by teaching hands-on classes but increasingly more and more landscape design (which is great)

Food Annotations

Forgot to tell you that for dinner last night, took goatfarmer’s housemade focaccia bread, piled it with stuffing, turkey and gravy and made first hot open faced turkey sandwich ever for wife and kiddo.

A note from Christmas dinner: I loved making both moka pot and French press coffee at end of meal for folks to make custom eggnog/coffee/espresso/Bailey’s/Kahlúa concoction. Everyone was so confused/surprised/pleased :) I also explained how the humble mokapot is the *very pinnacle* of Italian design :)

Good Night, you are a marvel

Oh that’s bedtime for me. If I owe you replies, messages, notes, favors etc., I’m working on it… Please know I’m super proud & impressed with what you’re doing and especially glad for creators making interesting pods, vids, paintings and poems. Self expression is everything.

Open w/ care indeed (this scrapbook is an archive of 2021 inbound correspondence)

Good night the Internet, thanks for the amusement today.

Tree Measures Time (with patience & art)

so much history right here for me and all of it witnessed by this glorious gingko tree – photo by Ryoko Olson, painting by me

A journey of 30 years starts with a single act quitting a terrible mushroom farmer job and hitchhiking to a cow farm to shakedown gear & head into eveywhere. 

Years later, you meet a remarkable girl, throw a raging party with international renegades, goats are swapped for the cows, the espresso is top shelf and the gingko tree measures the changes.

Postcards available on site (at Rural Caprine Farm, Mac Kobayashi, farmer)

PS in reply to a comment, keeping here for keeping:

Yeah travel gets complicated and strangely enough, amongst all the “public health conundrums” and just been in one place for a long time, I’ve had the most incredible 18 months of my life, I almost just accidentally. But Japan is a wonderful place to visit, it’s easy to get around and such a variety of geography and culture and everything from ultra-modern to old-timey coexisting next to each other.By the way, in my endless folder of “almost finished but not quite” essays to put up on my website is a practical guide to traveling while dealing with chronic/complex illness… A few airport/airplane/travel hacks (for lack of a better word) I’ve used to skate around the world while dealing with #MECFS etc

My world switches rapidly between black and white and Technicolor depending on the hour. Do you have this one in your collection yet? Do you know anytime you see something of mine you’d like, I’ll make you a postcard of it. I’d like to imagine I’m on your refrigerator