Well, the days between Christmas and New Year’s aren’t really a thing per se in Japan as Christmas is just a reason for decor and music (as it should be at most) and all the build up is for New Year’s – this being my first “real” New Year’s in Japan, i just sorta held on for the ride…
Anyhow, regardless, during this time, Ryoko and I were out and about for various events, errands, chores, adventures and whatnot – much of which is documented elsewhere in this archive and here are the pleasant mundane-ities which didn’t fit anywhere else – with minor annotations perhaps of “Japan Life”.
Let’s begin with a few lunches and beverages – after a shop at a hardware store, we slipped into a little Yoshoku restaurant – sorta Japan remix of western dishes – this one sorta French but ya know, not really (and that’s not the point). Anyhow… had a sort of cutlet above and a pot of tea to follow.
Another lunchtime, our relationship with pizza toast continued at home.
Following our wedding festivities, we dutifully and cheerfully made up several batches of thank you cards to sent to folks who made the trip or sent gifts or letters/cards.
While each batch of cards was different – and some cards required boxes and packets – the general design aesthetic captured in exquisite little photo essay created by nature photographer Cheryl A. (you should check out her cards for sale) which captures the details of the envelope treatment:
Sure, i mail a lot of cards and letters and dossiers of ephemeral treats, poems and painting. Especially to folks who have inspired me or otherwise lent a hand, and to folks (know and unknown) who seem to need a little spark to help them along their journey.
As part of my semi-obsessive documentation for my memory and amusement, i assemble photos (likely) enthusiastic correspondents send of their received items, along with “still life” photos of postal-related items or post-in-process, and often just scenes of post offices/workers/boxes.
Often times these items are organized chronologically-ish somehow, or maybe to a theme, but some cases (including this instance), neither applies and what follows is simply a batch of odds and ends hanging out for another cycle into the world.
Generally an absence of annotations as the meanings either aren’t meaningful or rather self-evident (that said, maybe some annotations will appear). Carry on, bring your own stamp.
At weddings in Japan – unlike in “western” countries, guests usually bring cash in special envelopes as a gift rather than a household appliance or other oddment from a registry. The cash is often in 2 envelopes – one as a “gift” and other the cover their portion of party expenses. Regardless, the notes as fresh and crisp and in a special envelope with appropriate decorations and minimal written sentiments.
The guests are almost always sent on their way with a gift bag of treats with items which reflect the spouses personality (not always the case), or the region or season of the wedding. Anyhow, we took the gift bag part on with great enthusiasm and vigour as we wanted all the guests to take a piece of our heart reflected in hobbies, interests and whatnot.
As it goes, with all the work assembling the gift bags of disparate objects, we neglected to document the items dutifully. Fortunately our pal Robert Scales did a pretty decent job of capturing the assortment which included the following
Bizen Yakima saké cup – nearby Bizen one of 6 great centres of pottery of Japan, the cups were handmade by master potter Hosokawa-san and fired with no glaze for 2 weeks at 1000 degrees Celsius in a massive kiln
Note: cups were wrapped in newspaper and packed into hemp cloth drawstring bags
Matcha tea – from Kyoto, in a metal tin with bamboo accessories: whisk chasen and scoop chashaku
Gig Poster – the Taisho-era jazz/travel inspired art for the wedding made by Joanna Ambrosio of Ganamo Design (Vancouver/Mexico) and professionally printed (A4) by Fujii Printing
Sakura oil painting print – from Dave’s Gravelly Beach series, printed A4 by Fujii Printing, signed and number (150)
Commemorative postcards (2) – featuring paintings by Dave of Rural Caprine Farm’s noted gingko tree in full yellow splendour and haiku postbox (there is the actual postbox on site) of a poem about letters and peaches. Postcard backs designed with Olympia typewriter. Printed by moo.com
Thank you card – hand-lettered (Japanese and English) by Ryoko, accessorize with stamps from US and Vatican, printed by Fujii Printing
Incense – ceremonial from Bali
Ceningan Divers invitation – a special offer from our friends with a dive resort in Bali
Vendor thank you – round-up of all the vendors who assisted, contributed etc to the wedding, including URLs for thanks and reviews etc.
Gift bag – blue heavy corrugated paper bags with string handles from Usigaya decorated by hand with a special ink stamp (thanks parents) and gold/silver paint marker flag flourish (by Dave)
Finally, a special “typewriter card” paper clipped to each one to make unique and washi tape to close each bag.
All the materials were ordered, delivered etc and then moved to the goat farm’s kitchen table where dear helpful pals (under supervision of lawyer Lindsay and the Jen-eral) assembled and moved down to the goat farm so the area looked like a splendid festive morning. Then, each guest (mostly) received their bag with (hopefully) delight.
Note to self: there is a snap somewhere of the guide to assembling gift bags to add here.
As i mail a lot of items, well also just write cards and letters to hand-deliver as well i suppose, i try to document bits and pieces for my amusement and archive including photos enthusiastic correspondents send of their received dossiers, “still life with postal” related items, and post offices/boxes.
Often times these items are organized chronologically-ish somehow, or maybe to a theme, but in this case, neither applies and this is simply a batch of odds and ends hanging out – possibly waiting for another cycle into the world. So zoom zoom go around again (for my own amusement you see).
Museums and galleries in Japan, as well as various temples/shrines and assorted other places of note, often offer inky stamps to collect and stamp in one’s own notebook – or if forgotten, on slips of provided paper. These are usually rather large and sometimes the ink pads are a bit worn out. Nevertheless, i seek these out and stamp in my ever-present scrapjournals.
This collection is collected on a ramble around Matsue, Shimane-ken at the Lafcadio Hearn (Koizumi Yakomo) museum and later, at various galleries around Kurashiki, Okayama-ken.
I gather inky stamps (of many sorts but mostly olden postal-related ones, usually found on the dusty bottom shelves of forgotten stationery/office supply shops, forlorn and bereft) and have assorted collections scattered in various pouches located in storage lockers, desk drawers, forgotten suitcases and rucksacks for handy deployment as needed.
Pictured above are some of the aforementioned stamps, stamped (obviously) onto one page for my reference. Noting some are woodcut and other metal designed for letterpress print use. One is (again obviously) custom designed.
To remind and inspire myself, i often photograph envelopes before they embark on their journey. The fronts contain folks’ personal address (which i shoot to keep a record i never actually look back upon to recall who i’ve mailed) so i shan’t share that bit, but i will gallery up the backs – really for no purpose, just for amusement and artsy funtimes.
This batch all feature a stamp or stamps about dog(s), variations on a “theme” i suppose.