Tag Archives: tsuchida cottage

Diary: Annotations on the Re-start (calendars, milk, beard, drums…)

Regrouping: Well yeah, I’m wiped out from all the last while but was able to spread so much love to family and friends which is truly an honour. I’m not good at the “pacing” so much – When I get my mind on something, I burn through the adrenaline and related neuro-chemicals to do it.

Anyhow blah blah blah, I made *a lot* of Internets and documentation, wrote some intentions for the year ahead, started some new traditions, closed some books, open some others, practiced much generativity.

Still in pajamas and robe but going to try to get up, filter some persimmon vinegar, put the miso into smaller containers (yes I made persimmon vinegar and yourself both from scratch!), maybe trim down the Santa Claus beard…

Stretch goal is un-trim the Christmas tree.

Just a note to say I am thankful for all of your comments, participation in my life, cards and letters, late night dispatches and affection in general. 

Christmas Tree down and replaced with 1-1/2 drum sets! left some twinkly lights up for Ichiro

Sending extra kindness to those who are feeling the blues, struggling with health conundrums, &/or loss of various kinds.

Postal Notes: PS Great cards yesterday – Like really fantastic, great details and I love love love a good family year recap newsletter. Thank you so much! ++  one “late but well intentioned” batch out today. Both foreign and domestic.

Ferments: Bottling up housemade vinegar (Persimmon, Ume and Ginger) and Miso (in peanut butter jars) at Tsuchida Cottage. So much macrobiotic goodness!

Rather satisfying project bottling homemade vinegar (Persimmon, Ume & ginger) Of course, well documented, ergo:

Basically, halved persimmons – leave skin on, stack in a vessel, add some “living” vinegar, rocks on top, cheese cloth and wait 1-2 months. Keep an eye to make sure mold doesn’t develop, eventually “decant” the liquid into another vessel, cheese cloth back on, wait a while more, eventually filter it. Strain into clean vessels, add labels. Nice to have some vinegar “mother” to start but skins have natural bacteria.

Sign post (finally, slowly): Next/current project is making a sign post to point to familiar and/or loved places. Will go on this cut tree – mounted in concrete base (also has a weather station on top).

Using scrap wood left over from our construction project and just doing “cheap and cheerful“ quality level.

Sparks include: Got Woody’s Revolutions printed and on stand-by

via Billy Bragg + Lance and Jay

As well as Shawn Parkinson’s annual artsy one page calendar (see previous iterations in intentions video). Note decent colour match on the washi tape and meta snap of Mrs Maisel.

Ok, one more envelope to address *and* this month’s “postcard as a service” postcards are printed! Gotta figure another/different/better system than current though.

Scenes of Life from New Year (shrine, Osechi, cards)

Up the hill to the shrine
Various bells, 5¥ coins and claps
Greetings to neighbours 
Evidence follows

Here are the festive cards received so far arranged on a string with help from my miniature assistant. Expecting a load of New Year’s cards arriving today. Yes I love this arts and crafts part of the holidays.

Once I rode this train when I was Canadian.

Now I’ll always know what year it is. A year for making “a circumnavigation, of sorts” >> free verse poetry, snippets of diaries, fragments of letters, unspoken musings, lists and annotations, compiled and abridged – printed, bound, stamped and shipped #Intention

So, how’s your New Year’s day going? We ate osechi variety platters of (often mysterious) food but most is so tasty and all is elegantly and deliberately prepared (despite what the whiners say)

More to follow as we go along, as we go along… tigers roar meow

Reiwa 3 / 2021 Recap of Intentions and Annotations (with my darlings)

On the big screen in Vancouver <3

Recapping my intentions and annotations for Reiwa 3/2021 with my darlings. Oversharing and whatnot but we’re all sorta friends, right? Lots of honestly and bits of laughter. Big dreams, tiny schemes, life admin to ukulele and most points in between.

Revolutions not Resolutions.

Fondly, us xo

Diary: Festive Goodtimes at Tsuchida Cottage (w/ drum set and banquet & pals)

3 of us, always

This re-cap *should* be a few days ago, but some things get squished between others and sometimes time for documentation to take a break. That said, a quick recap of a busy few days around Christmas time.

Note: Christmas is *sorta* a thing in Japan as a starting point for New Years (which is the big deal). Some people evidently order chicken from a chain resto, others exchange gift, there are Santa decorations around, not much of the religiousness and folktales. Anyhow, this is technically my 3rd straight here at Tsuchida Cottage. The first was pre-Ichiro and i ordered in food and stoked out M and F in law and wife with prezos and established some traditions of sorts with a tiny tree and a roaring fire.

Last year 2020 we had a strange errand to do in a nearby town (concerning an abandoned crumbling house, a missing uncle and other conundrums) coincidentally on Dec. 25. Me, wife and Ichi all got terribly ill :( and with the passing of F-i-L’s mother, the tradition dictated a sedate New Years as well. So this year, i wanted to set new traditions, and holy smokes we did (and of course i took on too much) and show my thanks to in-laws and buddy Mac and his lovely GF. We also invited some friendly ladies to join our festive board.

Anyhow, was several days of prep during which i was *struggling* and then Dec. 23rd was Mae Mae’s rehearsal at our home which was a great chance to use our unique floorplan to full effect with the whole band fitting in easily and i even sat in on drums!

Then Dec. 24th was a big one… i’ll let myself take over for re-cap.

stealth mode and not

Enter in blue, Exit in red #StealthMode #Santa

Just back from my naturalistic Santa Claus performance at the nursery school.

I’m so custom made for this. And at 5 foot 9 with a 32 inch waist, I am a “big guy” 🙂 I told the kids I eat lots of vegetables to keep trim (after i joked that I only eat reindeer)

Each of the students got their own bit of special attention with eye contact, a few kind words, and a present. lots of kids wanted to touch my uniform or my beard as well.

Of course many photos were taken but because of the kids in them, can’t really share them. Soaked in all the dopamine goodness I could.

method actor (and cheeseball)

A few kids cried, our little guy looked at me with a look of bewilderment, all the kids got a special Santa convo and a present & my 2+ months of beard growth allowed me to be truly authentic and bring some joy – indeed, I am truly a method actor :-).

The kids asked some questions but fortunately I had clever answers.

Yes, I will have this gig as long as I want it. #NeighborhoodSanta

Meanwhile back at home

front room, ready for goodtimes
Ryoko doing her elfing

Then on Christmas eve, we wrapped and laid out gifts for Ichiro (after a day of prepping food). He was noticing all the changes in the house with trees and lights and different foods and was wide eyed at it all – and doing the cutest hand gestures to emulate the blinking flicking lights.

calling baba and gigi

Christmas morning, in-laws came over and over hot bevvies with opened gifts. Ergo:

Ryoko and I received matching pyjamas! So warm and cozy and cute. Thrilled.

M-i-L received a puzzle of 4 generations of her (Fujii) family visiting the matriarch at an elder’s home with Aunt, Cousin from Nagasaki, cousin’s 2 little girls, wife and Ichiro in the middle of all the ladies. (recap of outing). We also made a puzzle for great granny, aunt and cousin.

F-i-L received an Adidas track suit made for lounging around (chilly) Japanese houses. We loves to hang at the computer and follow Shogi (a sort of complicated chess) matches and this will comfy and handy for forays outside to check weather and laundry etc.

Ichiro was loaded up but most importantly with a drum set (yeah it seems like i got it for me but really…)

Booking studio sessions tomorrow, pre-order to get signed copies of his debut EP “Flyin’ the Flannel” by Viking Samurai, Ichiro Stanley / papa will be at the merch table with fanzines & headbands

So much fun to set it up and now we have my sorta kit (floor top, high hat, snare) and his in the front room along with piano, baritone ukulele, electric keyboard, and basket of percussion.

Ichiro with mouth fulla orange

Then back to the kitchen… for a final manoeuvres. Kitchen is not my wheelhouse but timely advice from brother Anders and buddy Lance alleviated the anxiety and fortunately magic wife had helped prep most of the stuff the day before (including gravy and eggnog!) and we laid out stuffing (made with homemade chicken stock, mushrooms, baguette, celery, carrot, onion etc), a turkey (which turned out perfect somehow), brussel sprouts (acquisition thereof chronicled elsewhere) with bacon from R’s alma mater, broc/cauli mix, a variety of bevvies, etc.

Snapshots of food follow – self-explanatory (for time being at least):

Buddy Mac came with wine and a pork belly (see above) from his freezer where i shipped the turkey, sausages, and ham. We cooked it on site for the almost-final course.

Ryoko had tracked down some fancy charcuterie too. It all turned out great with pleasing conversation and interestingness as most of the foods were “first time” for attendees.

Oh we used some of my Mom’s “fancy china” and had ordered silverware and cloth napkins for proper table service for 8-1/2 diners (^ see above gallery if curious).

The woodstove was cranking the whole time as was Charlie Brown Christmas music followed by a variety of Joni Mitchell, Cowboy Junkies and Iron and Wine.

Mac and Manami stayed over next door and had breakie (pork belly scramble) and fancy egg nog coffees next morning. Then i collapsed :) Fortunately most the dishes were done night before by elves while i was in bath with Ichi.

Was all so great which is why i am remembering it all here. Pardon brevity, good night.

Paintings & photos, framed (at last)

Did some framing, some legacy pieces from childhood, some by my Mom & my friend Marty‘s silk screen/block print creations, original Nick Bantock and signed/numbered prints – And 13 of my Gravelly Beach series painted in 2005.

Do you notice how the Gravelly Beach ones are “floated” in the frame? These pieces are painted (in various media) on canvas sheets and then mounted on wooden cradles then on matte board in a deep frame under acrylic/glass.

Going to take a little while to process as well as hang it all but so happy to check this off the list. Long time coming. (In a way i think) I found it hard to make new paintings when all these other paintings are just sitting in folios and boxes / Gotta respect the work.

Here are a couple more (the one on the left and the right, not the center) from my Gravelly Beach series. {These are on stretched canvases and rather large so didn’t put them under glass/acrylic}

Definitely don’t have the wall space for all of it at once, “there’s also a lot of other art already in the collection – but some will hang in the barn and I’m looking for a cafe/gallery that I can do a rotating exhibit at. Importantly though, they are now protected as a lot of those were moved around and getting smashed and deteriorated.

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.

Diary: Seeking Brussel(l) Sprouts, Finding Lobster (+ other festive prep)

Memo: Today, i am *braving* the wilds of Okayama (our minor provincial city) in search of brussel sprouts, yams (not sweet potatoes, *yams*), celery etc for festive goodtimes.

As you will notice in the dispatch i sneak a mention about Ichiro’s Christmas present and yes, discuss my magnificent Santa Claus beard as i am clearly *A Method Actor*.

clearly a method actor

Updates:

The Japan Agricultural outlet was almost bloodsport of grandmothers jockeying for produce. Survived.

Somehow I came home with celery that’s over a meter long, a daikon radish almost the size of my leg, and a whole lobster + intended brussel sprouts & variety of potato/tubers.

tubers, various – and squash

One note, 95% of our groceries come in a weekly delivery service from the co-op (not a cute little neighborhood co-op but like a national co-op) but some more obscure/specialty things required a little bit more adventuring. I really don’t leave the house aside from the post office, hospitals and nursery school.

Festive times impending at Tsuchida Cottage / arborist wife perks equals Christmas tree, cut yesterday (from private land by Oka-san) – its sappy and prickly (and rare!)

Feeling really grateful for a well -timed, well-received – very welcome and unexpected gift that is sparking up the Festive season with Transit goodness. Beside the sweet Translink sweater came a scarf and toques

PS will get a picture with the 3 of us in matching @TransLink toques soon.

Finally:

daikon and celery measured upon request (90+cm)

and tree “installed” with wooden braces, heavy rocks/stones in a crockery vessel (which recently held umeboshi)

Bailey’s Irish Cream arrived by courier, Kahlua acquired, cutlery ordered, various schemes considered. Bill Janovitz’s Christmas shuffle playlist tested. Carry on.

Post’d: Japan Post (and magic little motorbikes)

One of very best parts of Japan Life is the stellar Postal Service >> Japan Post always impresses with diligence & flair here at Tsuchida Cottage. {Postal mark emoji goes here}

[It’s so fun as they come here and little red scooters or in cute Tonka looking trucks, or a friendly human with striped trousers and hat in a little red van]

semi-related note to a friend who mailed me something special

“I love my life here but it’s easy to get a little melancholy around the holidays as it’s just really not really much of a thing here, everything builds up till New Year’s but it’s just, all very different. My family and friends and “old life” you’re really far away right now so this brought me right home to riding the Seabus every day.”

Diary: Catch-up with Mochi, Scrapbooks, Postcards, Framing and usual tasks

new postcard series, “Global Postboxes (mostly), Red (usually)” for the postcards club members

Quick hits from last week or so – have a load of things *want* to do before end of the year (as always) but trying to prioritize gracefully and accept the days as they roll in.

What follows are reminders of various unrelated to “big creative projects ™” from last lil stretch, here to remind me (and future me) of all wrangled through during the ups and downs.

Father in law checks the steamers as neighbours pound mochi rice behind

Mochi making day in Tsuchida neighbourhood (at the little community center where their late grandfather Ichiro used to perform with his accordion… We still have the accordion but it needs some repairs). Steam rice, pound rice, each eat with sweet beans.

Took some snaps of the community agricultural processing sorta warehouse i’ll maybe curate eventually.

Besides the usual dishes, laundry, and tea… Finished epic Beat hero video & prepped some rather gorgeous “Postcards from Gravelly Beach” for some kindly (and lucky :-)) supporters/customers.

Of course, I’m really the lucky one. PS You can get in on the fun by ordering postcard sets & art dossiers or sign up for my monthly “postcard as a service” for $5+/mo.

Note: On my list for next year is to think about how to step this project up (or not)… do i stay the course? add WP “coffee” button? add woocommerce? (finally) start etsy store? start shop!fy store? i dunno. want easy, low stress all the money is distributed to various charities and causes {+ paper, ink & stamps} – advice?

2021 correspondence scrapbook, cover

Also did a wee bit of scrapbooking… Specifically properly archiving all of this year’s general correspondence.

Continue reading Diary: Catch-up with Mochi, Scrapbooks, Postcards, Framing and usual tasks

Diary: DIY Firestarters, Vinegar, side cart… (+ usual supplements and hospital)

What follows are simply sundry odds and ends from mostly late Nov, (bit of early Dec). 2021 with an emphasis i suppose on a few DIY projects as we continue to settle into our reno’d home, doing loads lil tasks and looking forward to each day. Pardon, brevity and repetition, this is me chronicling the usual days of a poet-storymaker+house-husband+oldish-papa, doing my best.

First off… Making fire starters in the car port with paper egg crates, sawdust & paraffin in a sorta double boiler on a canister stove.

One of these in the woodstove with no other paper or whatever and a single light and you are good to go. Works so well (though next time use soy wax and also recommended by others: dryer lint).

Also from the DIY file is persimmon and ume vinegar, freshly decanted / will filter in bottle in a few more weeks. Such natural macrobiotic goodness.

Flashback to decanting vinegar:

“& voila / persimmon & ume vinegar decanted >> In a couple weeks will filter & bottle (bottled some ume cordial & syrup while at it)

Filtering persimmon vinegar while listening to @TBeanpod / Seems oddly appropriate and glad you were brave enough for IKEA because no way I’m going there :-) if it can’t be delivered or bought at the recycle shop, it’s just off the list”

Another quick DIY project… A little rolling cart for the kitchen for fruit and serving tea and drinks and what not. Ordered used, delivered next day, total about ¥3500 ($30 USD ish). Casters on everything!

Next up, some hemp canvas panels to go over the drafty doors that were skipped over in the renovation. We hung hooks and cut bamboo poles/rods/.

We eventually need a couple of curtains for some view windows but want to get those special made by the noren makers of Katsuyama. 

Memo: I just folded the laundry (yup again) and now onto dishes. Thank you for your support of my creative projects of late.

Related: Made video with books which arrived by post incl about Hunter S Thompson + Neal Cassady 50th anni (sent / signed by daughter with postcard photographs by Carolyn), and a dude in Scarborough who published letters to friends while traveling the world (sound familiar?)

Lots of videos coming out, don’t expect anyone to watch *all* but if you’re really smart, you will :-) #notaplug

Super fun/strange, got a call on not-so-secret-but-no-one-ever-uses Japan VoIP number *and* it was a wrong number asking for Etsuko-san. Replied “I’m just a regular guy named Dave”. Anyway, was my excitement while organizing supplements for next fortnight & watching hockey.

Put in another big order with @iHerb / A company which continues to amaze me with their incredibly fast (free!) delivery of unique items – although they’re definitely having some “out of stock” issues

PS Got the laundry folded (yeah i know i always say this), nursing a cold so I think going to a special event tonight is going to be off the list… was first time to go out in well, forever – however have persimmon vinegar to bottle and/or start on New Year’s cards + vids to edit > tmrw online meditation “retreat”.

(Another day) gotta get ready to go to big city hospital for a bunch of scans and tests and what not #mecfs …

Thanks for hanging out while *sorta nervously* get ready by sending out little dispatches. Wishing best days to everyone wherever & whoever you are. be your own revolution

Lost in translation and somewhat translucent but back home in bed

File under “things I love”: this new heavy duty, cast iron, small footprint, front loading, side cleaning woodstove in our cottage in provincial Japan. Cozy and safe. With an arborist wife, always have a stash of heavy hardwood to burn – hot & slow.

Stash the ash in the compost and brought in a new little stack of wood.

Anyway, getting towards the end of the year so rocking out a little projects to finish up strong. This afternoon is another doctors appointment, hopefully the last for the year.

Tomorrow is some picture framing festival and some Santa Claus voice recording, the following day the Grannys from the Silver Center are coming to clean. 

Good morning and good night from our home , Tsuchida Cottage, Okayama, Japan.

Items: neon paintings of places remembered

This is indeed a landmark in downtown Eastside area Vancouver, one a few of these classic diners left as everything becomes condos & chains

I’m so in love with living where I am in the life I have reinvented that I don’t “miss” Vancouver or Victoria but sometimes, it’s nice to have a little peek at parts which I recall fondly.

In this case to freshly delivered paintings by Timothy Wilson-Hoey of the Ovaltine café neon sign in downtown eastside Vancouverwhich now hangs by my inside desk (you’ll no doubt not be surprised that i have several desks) and Don Mee dim sum restaurant sign in Victoria which will go to the barn studio.

I recall stuffing myself with dim sum with my buddy Neal here in Vancouver

Both acrylic on wood panel and quite wonderful. (There’s one more and three more on the way… We’re getting quite a gallery of originals go in here at Tsuchida Cottage).

Exit by the gift / coffee shop :) ¥500 per ticket.

One more note: my family here doesn’t *really* know much about where I come from – and we talk about taking a trip one of these years – but in the meantime, these are a couple hints and we will close the loop whenever (if ever) we cross the Pacific.

PS Now there’s a painting of a bonfire next to the woodstove so it feels like a fire even when there’s not / Timothy Wilson Hoey is the painter.

Important: Painter Timothy Wilson-Hoey has a great Instagram going with “paintings of the day“ & shop at https://instagram.com/ocanadaartstudio

Diary: Nuts, Seeds, Ballots, Cards + soup

Really not very consequential or interesting regardless…

Not only is it the best peanut butter in the world, I get free shipping and it’s great for storage jars

Several “life administration“ tasks on the list today including: a USA ballot (WA state); call to IRS (can’t I just fax them?); same-ish with CRA (will do that by postal letter I think); plus putting a variety of different nuts and seeds in peanut butter jars. Yes, my peanut butter consumption really pays off with extra jars. Think I will do that job first.

Various port commissioner and city Council positions, I sometimes recuse myself from voting but always submit my ballot in gratitude for the excellent service from Washington state secretary of state

Update: US ballot done, and various nuts/seeds/etc. put into jars (Next to the tiny dried fish)

Looks so lovely next to that jar of tiny dried fish for soup stock

Also sortganized my supplements for the next fortnight.

It’s a whole scientific system and do it for a few months, lacking a few magic potions which would put it over the top but impact is well noted

Not quite up for tax forms at the moment so going to fold some laundry and meditate on it.

Continue reading Diary: Nuts, Seeds, Ballots, Cards + soup