Tag Archives: ryoko

Ryoko climbing Ginkgo tree

My wife at work – trimming Ginkgo biloba tree at a shrine – Edo-period age, cutting away from power lines (didn’t have to worry about those pesky wires back then), plus fresh up branches and shape.

Yup, she’s roped and laddered. I’m just here doing dishes and laundry. Just showing how she is so cool! #Okayama #Arborist

Diary: notes from the slow lane (curling, quiche, errands, taxes & flowers for Mom)

This disinter-mediated and somewhat timeshifting rundown of miscellaneous annotations and notes from the last week may not make sense entirely but put here for the historical record as you know, this is a “entire life site“.

Oh hi, just waiting with my boots on

Certainly not comprehensive, vaguely chronological, tense shifts and aggressions as usual. Summary includes: hospital, allergies, easel, coat rack, quiche and curling (and a payphone just to prove it’s actually me) + mention of funeral (heavy) & taxes.

Rally up for hospital time

Feb 21 off the hospital for blood, CT (re: inflamed spleen?) and usual check-in with neurologist. [Update: I am here at the hospital now assembling these notes in case you were curious. Carry-on.]

[Update: spleen doing alright / better is seems – information was probably really heated to a cute situation. Cholesterol is high, yes yes yes I know, working on that… Reduce big fish/meat/milk, more chicken, small fish, keep eating lots of salads, veg, olive oil, reduce nuts… All rather bewildering but on my quest to live well over 100 years old, all relative and relatively important]

Feb 20 So recently, amongst my other health challenges, I’ve been breaking out with strange allergic reaction but my arborist wife has figured out that is allergic/reactionary to eucalyptus wood. We have a stash in the firewood and even a puff of the dust causes me to turn red. Weird.

(As you mebbe know) been “deep in the well” with a really rough patch with my usual & not-usual illness… It’s really mentally wearing me down. Hard to do much of anything when I’m crashed & my scant functional time is spent trying to be supportive useful dude around the house.

Feeling overwhelmed and buried in “things on the list that didn’t happen in the last six weeks“ and turns out we’re bound for a a funeral tomorrow and then I’m back to the hospital on Monday.…

Sure, starting to improve the last couple days though & so eager to do some creative projects, I got excited yesterday putting up a coat rack for the wife’s work clothes. Must remind myself that patience and time are my allies. Importantly: I will point out that wife did all the important parts for putting up said coat rack, I basically handed her drivers, screws & level + offered words of encouragement and support, but still, a bit of dopamine.

However (and) yesterday moved my new/secondhand majestic Rembrandt easel up to the studio lounge and my adorable protégé gave it its first testing. These two make my heart leap and spin every day <3 (They went to tea ceremony).

Portrait of an artist as a Young Man (also note various art and hats)

So curling is over, allergic reaction subsiding, table moved and tatami mats replaced (finally, since Christmas) so I’m gonna take a rest for a while before going to a funeral at 16:30 and then big hospital tomorrow. Nothing but good times. It’s a glamorous life.

Also we finally moved the extra table which has been in the kitchen/dining room since Christmas back into the storehouse barn (where it will soon serve as a multipurpose table for making paper, repairing ceramics with gold (kintsugi), other arts & crafts) and put the tatami mats back in place. Ichiro was very happy about this as he likes to hang out and play here and it feels like we turned a metaphorical page.

Note to a pal regarding yuzu jam, “Think of you often as I put your jam which came in a tahini jar, along with tahini, on sourdough rye crackers as my *little pick me up“ snack.*

Curling: Fantastic final match between Scotland and Japan. Scotland just didn’t make any mistakes at all and ended up with some big ends. My Aberdeener Granny must be smiling. Im very happy for both teams. PS remembering the last Scottish team to win gold in #SLC2002 with brother Dan.

Im really enjoying watching Japan women’s team with their bright smiles and great communication.

I tried curling once back in Canada where it’s national obsession & it’s fantastically difficult at first. Rocks slide so fast and everything is so slippery! But beer afterwards…

Feb 18 Game on! 21:05 JST 2/18 Japan v Swiss women’s curling semi-final olympics. Japan had lost to the assassin like Swiss in the final game of the round robin but came back with a clinical match to advance to the gold medal game. Switzerland, despite their great tournament record, fell in extra ends against Sweden.

Feb 17 it’s Mom‘s birthday, I miss her so much, wife brought flowers and we sang to her with her picture on the table. Made her “Arabian spaghetti“ which I’m not sure is really a thing but it always works for us… basically: spaghetti with minced beef and possible onions and garlic, atop the spaghetti along with yogurt, optional pinenuts, parsley/green onions. Refreshing, easy *and* we are making our own yogurt at the house which Ichiro loves.

During the day however, the two of us went out to do some errands in the city, I’ve been really months since we’ve done that.

Grillmori’s “new location” is small, fabulously well designed with elegant minimalist simplicity featuring great attention to detail. Lunch has choice of three quiche, comes with soup and salad. Simple Zen.

Specifically included:

  • optometrist visit still trying to get glasses dialed in;
  • iPhone repair shop to put a new battery/screen into an iPhone 5 to make another camera to use around the studio;
  • lunch at one of our secret cafés for quiche/soup/salad and coffee and strawberries and cream (pictured ^^;
  • various tasks around the big shiny loud fancy fragrant department store Tenmaya >> drop some jewelry off to repair and look at some new fancy pots and pans (didn’t find exactly what we wanted).
  • afew things at a little kiosk from one of those guys who does shoe repair, key making, videotape transfer, hanko stamp making etc. (doesn’t sell pocket knives however, just feels like he should)

While in one of the corridors which seems relatively unused and filled with benches (rare) with no one sitting on them, spotted a nice payphone just there on the skyway, waiting to be used.

Will be around a month for a couple necklaces to be repaired but also remembered Ryoko’s stories of visits with her grandma buying special tea cups. Oh we bought some fresh hand towels (we’ve been putting away all the rags and towels which are 100% cotton or similar for our paper making project this summer.)

Oh also seitai treatment (great but hard to explain), definitely the busiest day for me since before Christmas.

Feb 16 Grumpy. Starting day on hold with Canada Revenue Agency for :50 min so far. Occasional messages saying “getting towards end of our business day so we might just not answer”. Presents existentialist conundrum. Are you there? Is anybody? Am i? {music plays on}

Ugh so disheartening! Ive tried to be a cub scout on all my emigrant / non-resident / cpp-d file & keep getting conflicting info & now a bill which just arrived with already $221.61 added on. No good deed goes…

I managed a coffee fresh up & p33 while on hold / thats an anxious maneuver. I did sharpen my pencil & jauntily) tucked over ear with pink eye mask. Such serious!

Pencil ready (but wasnt needed)

Yeah beleaguered and disheartening / im trying to be above board and dont get any sorta support :( 1:19 on hold – got up early to do this and have other tasks looming > giving up. Told expected hold time :10-15 at beginning.

I’m really trying my best, I send them letters, faxes and all of it and getting a statement with already interest tacked on is a bit of a kick in the groin but we carry-on, we carry on.

Switched tasks to the slightly more satisfying washing dishes and folding laundry. Decided I will communicate with CRA exclusively by fax moving forward.

Ryoko & Ichiro hitting big time at Sun Clinic

Ryoko & Ichiro hitting the big time and looking *extra cute* at their check-up at Sun Clinic here in sunny (again) Okayama. Yes, im super proud papa & hubbo!

4 generations of Fujii family women & Ichiro

A couple months back, we visited an elder’s home where great grandmother Fujii (mother’s pre-married family name) is sequestered behind glass while meeting two of her great-grandchildren: Ichiro & his 2nd cousin up from Nagasaki.

4 generations of Fujii family of many ladies + one lil dude

In the middle behind glass is great-grandma Fujii. At the far left and far right are her two daughters

We look forward to a visit when great grandmother can safely hug and hold her new descendent.

So glad our little guy can grow up in a family of strong, smart, independent-minded, polymath women.

Note: other baby in photo was born several months after Ichiro and different body type & at this time, same weight.

Diary: Bubble Family, making steps…

Fujita Olson bubble gang, each cuter than the last as seen in Yubara onsen

Big moves in our lil bubble compound: My wonderful in-laws Junko & Takushi are getting Pfizerized on Sunday here in Okayama (finally).

They are an incredible support to us with our lil baby who arrived amidst *all of this* and help keep us safe, well fed & amused. Super grateful for them & glad shots are picking up momentum. Of course, they ate a “young 65” – are both fantastically healthy & laden with energy but now we can worry a little less when they need to go “over the wall” into the big weird world.

Im next in line i guess (no timeline) but im the most hermity of our squad as well as extra delicate – no big deal, im well experienced about being in chill home mode with 8 years of #MeCFS – i have hobbies, projects & need lots of bedtime.

Keeping a candle for (arborist) wifu’s turn though she is often in the outside places hanging out with trees more than humans. However, of course, looking forward to her being able to singing in clubs and community events – Heck eventually will be able to have a little open house when our home construction is finished, invite folks over for tea & jazz!

Anyhow, that’s the obligatory report with a cute picture of my bubble buddies. Yup awesome each one. Say hello.

PS Ryoko is wearing my sweet handmade Mavili “Catcher in the Rye” hat

Ichiro 9 months old (at Yubara onsen rocking yukata)

Ichiro, 9 months old at Yubara Onsen

Ichiro Stanley Thorvald Olson 9 months old today.

Don’t remember life before him – I have photographs, journals and vague recollections but somehow, wonderfully everything changed.
Anyhow, with the family at a hotspring (onsen) hotel and, after a ridiculously massive dinner during which he entertained all the lady staff and guests, the little dude frolicked with Ma & Pa in a private outdoor bath ~ in and out of the cold mountain air for scrubbing, the Moon & Orion overhead, and hot fresh (42*) natural mineral water in a wooden tub on the rooftop in a steep gorge. Sigh.

Then rocked his yukata like a jolly viking samurai in the tatami room snuggled up in futon.

Proud parents & grandparents indeed!

Time Travelers ~ art card project dossier & variations

+ Steady on Time Travelers, variations +

Time Traveler Family, v. 1

While doing a photo shoot for Ichiro’s 100 days at Homare Photo Atelier here in Okayama, the photographer Yoshihiro Matsushita-san and i rocked a fun mise en scéne with:

  • typewriter
  • sea trunk
  • Lomo sardine camera (with yellow tiny flash)
  • books, various
  • rocking horse (just ‘cause)
  • my ever-present been-all-around-this-world suitcase

~ in front of a battered green paper (shade of van Gogh’s pool table) and a red rug… to go with Ryoko’s stellar Fluevog shoes & 1964 vintage lace party dress (such details!) and my bespoke-in-Chiang Mai secret agent suit, Stetson fedora & Florsheim Imperial shoes (bartered). Ichiro rocked a sweet blue Japanese onesie – gift from my dude Kitazawa Takaya-san.

Time Traveler Family, v. 2 

Anyhow… (with my foggy self) we worked quickly – imaging ourselves sitting still for a bellows camera before setting sail to steam around a cape or horn – maybe Taisho-era, maybe just back from Venus & teleporter time gauge malfunctioned. There was probably a daguerreotype and/or dirigible involved, if not a phone box at least.

Time Traveler Family, v. 3 

What is displayed here are 7 of the best iterations which were then made into some special cards, ergo: the digital snaps were printed on laid textured paper, then attached to handmade washi paper with rough edges with olden photo corners, annotated with a fountain pen as was custom poetry written on reverse in English and Japanese, various appropriately cancelled postal stamp glued, usual inky stamps for sure (urgent! confidential! air mail – or a suitcase) – some got seal stickers, often slightly more dangerous metallic sealing wax which caused minor fire damage #smouldering!

Further Evidence: Steady On, Time Travelers! {New Year Greetz, 2021 / Reiwa 3 令和3年} + video Time Travelers in a New Year ~ Japan Cottage Musings

Time Traveler Family, v. 4

Then finally some received our family hanko stamp, and Ichiro’s inked finger print – truly collectible. Then… (very) delicately scanned (at this point forgotten how many digital to analog conversions overall in the project) – Just barely in time to get the “pick of the litter” posted to wish greetings on January 1 to you lovelies around this spinning globe.

Steady On Time Travelers – reverse of art card with poem in English and Japanese (plus Ichiro’s fingerprint, family hanko and other details) 

Regardless, we are all the time travelers and must hold steady, be adaptable, be where we are, find the ways to blend in (or gracefully exit) when finding one’s self in an unpredicted situation, eat healthy rations (whether known or not) and ease into comfortable shelter as possible.

Time Traveler Family, v. 5 

While the world spins fast, let’s breathe backwards to slow it down. {noting after I wrote this poem – alluding world is spinning fast *emotionally* and thus causing pandemonium in many ways/souls – i learned physicists also suggest the planetary orbit speed has physically increased. I do not understand their methods but seems agree with their results – albeit primarily aesthetically.}

Time Traveler Family, v. 6 

Finally: the final handmade creations / all slightly different in photo & embellishments went to various thoughtful directions, ergo, 1 to seitai sensei, 1 to forestry sensei in Noto, 1 to tea ceremony teacher, 1 to ephemera master in VicBC,  1 to writing professor (ret’d, Torrey, UT), 1 to artist Noriko Miyake – 2 for archives (for the inevitable retrospective exhibit of cards, letters, visual poetry and invitations).

Time Traveler Family, v. 7

Thanks for coming along on our time travel {paraphrasing Jimmy Buffett’s “Boat Drinks”} you pick the century and we’ll pick the place. Continue reading Time Travelers ~ art card project dossier & variations

Ichiro and Ryoko (and moss and trees)

{You might have seen a sneak preview of this glorious snap but…} Behold! 

Ichiro and Ryoko in a mossy garden love love love

My two lovelies, out in the *wild*, in the olden compound of a salt making family: aged bent trees, carefully tended; moss everywhere; rows of kura barns (previously storing rice, miso, pickles, salt); wood-fired bathtub; dry-fit stone masonry; art (traditional and modern) and artifacts (globes, cameras, phones, scales, accordion etc.) – I purchased a bag of salt, and six postcards which I decorated with their special commemorative inky stamp. 

At some other point I’ll share evidence of the above but for now, I’ll share evidence of my two wonderful humans. In the wild (Kojima, Okayama, Japan). <3

Ichiro in the tatami room (proudest papa)

Yes i am the proudest papa with remarkable Ichiro. This is all. Good night. #io (photo by exceptional mama Ryoko)

Grandson Ichiro at Ohaka grave with Fujita Family

8 month old Ichiro Stanley Thorvald Olson visiting his great-grandpa Ichiro’s ohaka grave on the 48th anniversary of his passing. Great-grandmother Tomiko joined him last summer. It’s all about the cycles.

4 generations of Fujitas, more or less art Grandfather Ichiro and now Grandmother Tomiko’s ohaka (grave) short walk from our home in Tsuchida, Okayama. We cleaned the ohaka, lit incense, fresh flowers, clap clap, bow, bow etc.

Momma brought flowers from home (daffodils and irises I think) note: construction beginning behind