Tag Archives: setouchi

Exhibit: Michal Korman, paintings and global gathering

{In what seems like an entirely different lifetime}, in early March we went to the seaside village of Setouchi for an exhibit of paintings by wonderful youthful artist, Michal Korman – originally from Slovakia and mostly based in Paris but he’s wandering soul – going places to draw inspiration from “set piece” scenes created in a charming bright and evocative style. 

Note: The exhibit was organized by the effervescent Yoshida Yoshioka-san, A wonderful calligraphy artist with unique style who you may have met previously in this archive. (Also worth noting she shares a  kanji character for her name with my dear Ryoko but of course and obviously, a different pronunciation – Japanese is like that.)

Anyhow, I quickly realized Michal was a kindred spirit and we enjoyed barrages of convos and sips of tea in between him being whisked away to greet more and more people and i managed a bit of translation for him and his LOVELY MOTHER who brought back flashbacks of my dear late Mom supporting my endeavours. 

Dude speaks half a dozen languages, has travelled here in there and has an interest, again obviously, in culture, scenes and emotions. 

His art is crafted diligently, deliberately and carefully and thoughtfully (contrasting in this respect to my own technique of wild brushstrokes and barely tamed chaos) mixing techniques including pointillism (in a way) like Georges Seurat with scenes that somehow seem Renoir-ish and daring fauvist contrast of Matisse and controlled unmudded/mixed colour suggesting modern pop artists like Haring or ole Andy. 

Anyhow, I noticed this painting of a Kyoto garden with a bridge and well,… I felt strongly that this painting should remain in Japan as it instantly evoked feelings of van Gogh’s remixes of Hiroshige plus Hokusai prints we’d seen at his museum a while back. 

I wasn’t packing a big wad of cash, and the amount wasn’t readily available from a machine or by bank transfer so, with a calligraphy pen and the wrapper from a bar of fancy chocolate, I wrote up a contract – which was duly duly witnessed by another exceptionally interesting community ringleader at the gig (i know his name as well… really… ummm).  I duly made a down payment on site by PayPal (which required him setting up/resurrect in his account) and we had a deal. Hooray!

So we picked up “Warm Autumn night in Kyoto” from his hotel a couple days later as he rushed to the train station > airport amongst an avalanche of fond goodbyes from his well-wishers.

While this painting seemed absolutely and immediately perfect, there were several others – really all of them – which were very tempting. Certainly any wise collector will be eager to get their hands on one of his masterful, nuanced and whimsical originals.

This fine gentleman ^ (umm i know his name…) saying a song and so then Ryoko did one as well – she selected a Chinese song with references back to a plant which appears in one of the paintings. Yep, she’s clever like that.

As is our custom, Ryoko and I gifted Michal with some various postcard treats of original art that we had brought along. He was very gracious about our offerings.

Michal himself shared tender sentiments from the event: 

One month ago the ” Inner Garden” Show held in Setouchi City Museum of Art! I’m still so moved by memory of this wonderful event, new friendships with all the marvellous supporters and helpers, all this thanks to amazing artist Yoshiko Yoshida and the great members of the friendship committee from Okayama-shi and beyond! Thank you dear friends for offering me and my mother such a wonderful time in your company, thanks for the hard work.

Worth nothing that Michal headed to Osaka after this event for another exhibit (minus the painting now hanging in our genkon) then to Sri Lanka for a commission, and then had a perilous journey bumping full-on into the pandemic/ quarantine situation when arriving in Europe which involved in walking across borders and being sequestered in strange places with no art supplies and the like.

Ryoko and 2 watercolours by MIchal Korman

Regardless, with his cheery disposition position and intrepid spirit, he organized a little Instagram contest (spoiler: i won!) to score his watercolours. 

The paintings safely arrived (despite various postal restrictions) and will soon hang (once safely framed) in Ryoko’s “Kimone” office where she does her work for arborist/garden design business.

Find Michal at Michal-Korman.com and follow his work via Instagram, Facebook, Twitter – by doing so, you’ll see that he seems to be settled back into to “work mode”. Nice to see ya pal!

Artifact: Michal Korman’s painting at Tsuchida Cottage

Art, treasured, from Michal Korman (@korman.artist on IG) greets (imaginary) visitors to Tsuchida Cottage / a wonderful fella we met at his exhibit in Okayama seaside as he journeyed from Slovakia/France > Sri Lanka to turn folks onto his unique style.

More to share from his original exhibit *and* some watercolours recently received, plus other ephemera, but hey… just priming the pump/ clearing the deck/ getting ducks in a row and other mixes metaphors. 

PS hangs next to print VvG’s remix of Hiroshige and a Hokusai print – all three with bridges to welcome folks into our adorable home. 

Diary: washoku, pizza, strudel, tacos, pickles, ramen & more everyday food

washoku (classic Japanese trad dinner) including: sashimi, ohitashi, hiyayako, pickles, etc. (umeboshi in the jar)

Just another food round-up from Tsuchida Cottage. Of course, we are cooking at home, groceries get delivered (and some from garden/yard). We have a little convection oven. Added in a few Japanese words just case PS “washoku” is word for traditional Japanese food – usually fish (grilled or raw) and various side dishes, while “yoshoku” is Japanese-i-fied foreign-inspired food which has become Japanese (i.e. croquettes, om-rice (omelette on rice), hamburg, fried shrimp, spaghetti). Also a few ramen, pizza and other hybrid style meals in here. Carry on. No big deal. 

breakfast set with oranges, muesli, coffee, home-baked bread
house-made ramen with mugi (barley) tea
lunch set with boiled eggs (and hot sauce), avocado, apples, etc
housemade pizza with smoked duck, cheese, mushrooms

Continue reading Diary: washoku, pizza, strudel, tacos, pickles, ramen & more everyday food

Okayama Love Letter / Japan Cottage Musings

With a French press coffee, pyjamas and slightly out of focus, Dave talks about general geography of Japan and specifically shares reasons why he loves living in “just right” Okayama including: sunny weather, hot springs, geo-diversity, endless museums, access to Kyoto/Osaka/airports + Setouchi islands and San-in coast, jazz clubs, peaches & peach boy folk legend, and most importantly community with wife (and baby coming) and goat farmer Mac. 

Diary: (Yet another) Food round-up from Tsuchida Cottage

Let’s begin with the “standard” Japanese classic dinner with grilled whole fish, picked something (kimchi and pickled onions), miso soup, brown rice and a salad – dressing and shoyu on the side.

Well ya gotta eat, and we do and mostly at home. For the permanent diary of endless goodness, i snap a snap from time to time before we dine. That’s all there is to it. Dig it if you wanna. 

We have a counter-top convex oven here at Tsuchida cottage now and aside for well-documented visits to ramen shops and coffee/cake stops, we eat at home.

Soba noodles
Another Japanese classic: soba (buckwheat) noodles, served cold with a raw egg and mentsuyu (fish-flavoured broth), shredded daikon (radish) and shoyu mixed together and the noodles dipped within and green onions sprinkled

 No doubt lots of folks the world over are getting re-acquainted with their kitchens while experienced cooks share tips and try new things. Indeed, so much sourdough going on in the world!

As such, here’s round-up without much in the way of annotations or context of some recent meals i happened to snap a snap of before digging in.

A variety dinner with sashimi (sawara a kind of mackerel), gaumodoki no takiawase (tofu fritters, daikon, komatsuna soup with fish-broth, salt, sugar, shoyu) and and of course, miso soup and genmai (brown rice), kimchi and shoyu/wasabi of course
A lunch of harusame spring vegetable soup with clear bean noodle with various onigiri rice balls

Continue reading Diary: (Yet another) Food round-up from Tsuchida Cottage

Diary: Homecooking at Tsuchida Cottage

Japanese dinner is usually many small plates and in this case, loads of small plates of vegetables along with the usual rice and miso

No doubt lots of folks the world over are getting re-acquainted with their kitchens while experienced cooks share tips and try new things. Indeed, so much sourdough going on in the world! 

We have a counter-top convex oven here at Tsuchida cottage now and aside for well-documented visits to ramen shops and coffee/cake stops, we eat at home. 

As such, here’s round-up without much in the way of annotations or context of some recent meals i happened to snap a snap of before digging in. 

Brother Bob USN Yokosuka sent a package of US food rations – mostly taco stuff but also tossed in some Twinkies for a laugh. i served one up the Ryoko with tea so she could understand the “american delicacy” :)
celebrating the arrival of all the stuff in the shed
Ryoko’s first taco salad (along with tacos but made the salad to use up broken bits of chips)
a little snack time with the taco chips and Lagunitas beer  from brother
a breakfast variety set
this was at a cafe at some point, some where but i struggle to recall where… oh after a library stop at a tiny cafe, that’s right (yes safe and sequestered)
Ryoko digs in at the tiny cafe after library stop
another dinner of tiny plates with the usual grilled fish, rice, miso, veg and pickled items – this is pretty much our “go-to” usual
“morning set” odds and ends and coffee coffee coffee

Diary: Coffee with views plus Ramen and painting preview

In today’s (really March 7th but hey…) edition of “tasty coffee in scenic places with Daveo” I bring you this glorious handcrafted bevvie experience & view of the Seto-nai-kai (Inland sea) from an olive garden (no, not that one, an actual one) in Setouchi, Okayama, ergo:

grinder with a view

elegant workstation

served with affection

Continue reading Diary: Coffee with views plus Ramen and painting preview

Diary: Christmas Concert with Mae Maes and Friends

Mae Maes Christmas concert (plus fresh poster for a show in Tamano featuring Ryoko’s painting & design).

On Dec. 22nd at a store in Tsudaka, Okayama, Ryoko and her Mae Maes bandmates held a Christmas concert with 2 shows which included their originals, some festive standards including some sing-a-longs. I rolled out with M-i-L and met up with some of the usual fans, enjoyed some conversations and coffees. 

The ladies were in fine form and their new pianist Kazuko-san getting more comfy each gig.

Continue reading Diary: Christmas Concert with Mae Maes and Friends

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

Diary: Autumn Miscellany / coffee, ramen, sandwiches, Godzilla, peach tree, ikebana…

“rubber chicken” NOT added to ramen

While dispatches and re-caps of various outings and events exist elsewhere in this archive, life is so wonderful right now i don’t want to miss a thing or fail to appreciate the glorious mundane details of just existing.

As such, what follows are bits and pieces which don’t fit elsewhere,  a round-up of miscellany and odds and ends and mild annotations.

Starting with the pleasantness of stopping for a coffee and receiving a free lil sandwich plate (and seeing Ryoko’s adorableness :)). 

The internets instructs food photos be posted with frequency.

Thanks Shiro-Kuma (white bear) cafe.

Continue reading Diary: Autumn Miscellany / coffee, ramen, sandwiches, Godzilla, peach tree, ikebana…

Taiko drums at a Setouchi (Japan) Community Festival

A small friendly group of taiko drummers have a good time at a community arts and culture festival in Setouchi, Okayama, Japan.

Diary: Setouchi Out n About / community arts festival with Mae Maes

 I tagged along with Ryoko and her Mae Maes band for a gig in Setouchi at a community centre. There was an autumn arts festival of some kind with musical performances, a few food stands and an exhibit of crafts, arts and tea ceremony. Such pleasant slice of life, just being part of the local scene.

Mae Maes played a short-ish set but a song i hadn’t heard before, Ryoko laid out some good stage banter and the room was small and more acoustically pleasing than the big convention hall the day before. 

The band (usually a 4 piece) had 2 guests, frequent supporters/collaborators Yano-san (who is a noted player, arranger, teacher and has released a few albums) on an acostic-electric bass ukulele – great sound! + Mitsuko-san on congas and percussion, she rode with us and is such a charming elegant lady. 

Continue reading Diary: Setouchi Out n About / community arts festival with Mae Maes