Tag Archives: usual days

Diary: dentist, ramen, trees, VW, Citroëns, shodo – completely usual activities

Cherry blossoms, not yet
But hooray ceremonial peach tree!

Wedding present from the city Peachtree – this one and it’s smaller friend both need moved due to impending construction

On way to dentist
First, drop Stan at school
See tree Ryoko trimmed up (with a variety of saws)
To the delight of the teachers

Ryoko trimmed this tree at the preschool to the amazement of all

Egg salad sandwich at konbini to take with medicine

Mailed a package with treasures – via Utah to Kyoto somehow, with evidence of four legends intact – from a different than my usual local post office. Somehow it felt like cheating / always remarkable how all #JapanPost employees are all so well put together, chipper & efficient

Postbox at the post office, first time at this location

Contents of the package containing evidence and artifacts from/of:

Edward Abbey
R. Crumb
Doug Peacock
Ken Sanders

(Not my photo, recent from Albuquerque, I made it into a postcard, yes the back is decorated but I can’t show you)

package via Utah to Kyoto with heroes x 4 inside
Continue reading Diary: dentist, ramen, trees, VW, Citroëns, shodo – completely usual activities

Scenes of life: spiral staircase, library signs, basket of balls + pink door

While out and about on various expeditions, snap snap’d the usual days and the glimpses of regular life.

{With generally unrelated diary notes which happened to happen the same day}

Up early, by my standards, to see classic movie “the sound of music” at some community something something place.

First, a stop at a rusty strip of shops which houses an exquisite French style bakery: fluffy cakes, croissants, croque monsieur, brie / prosciutto sandos + uniforms. Swoon!

Made it as far as the intermission in the exceptional epic “sound of music” – Each time, notice the fantastic use of light and shadows, and pacing (+ of course stellar stoic Christopher Plummer as well as the effervescent Julie Andrews) – was kind of my speed, maybe a total of 8 people at the screening, the 3 of us were by far the youngest / I forgot my “pro tip” of always bringing my own slippers… but anyway, now ramen w/ evidence:

Then, nearby our not-so-secret-anymore Ramen place, went to check out the dinosaurs in the shopping arcade, spotting a few bits of *normal* along the way: a basket of balls, a pink door, a streetscape sign – all very pleasing in their normalness…

…and were fortunate to catch the “Okayama University woodwind orchestra” (or something like that) rocking through the final bit of their set. Especially enjoyed seeing the percussion section of course:


Was a Sunday of a three day weekend and coming out of the winter doldrums or whatever but a lot of people out and about, which meant that after my usual limit of 1.5 activities, we should’ve run for home but a library visit was on the agenda.

I tried to find a quiet corner to scribble postcards with limited success. Ichiro checked out a massive – both quantity and size (quite literally as included an oversize book with a spine approximately a meter which was packed in a giant padded satchel), and join me for scribbling postcards, including one to himself, another to a cousin, and of course he did much stamping.

I noticed that “technically” no photos are allowed in the library (of course, taking photos of patrons/humans is totally offside) and also “no self study without using library materials” which may have made my postcard writing an inappropriate act.

But, spotting books such as “start up 101 “”what is sound art?” and “end of life” required documentation – as did a lovely construction paper collage of a train station.

Usually, libraries are calm and chill but again, at no fault of the other patrons, a little bit too much going on for me. We did make a stop at the embedded coffee shop for a tasty beverage and refresh before…

Yet another stop on the way home to a shopping plaza to dump off some plastic recycling and purchase a few items, during which I hung out on a bench outside, mailed postcards, and spotted “cake box” – which I can only imagine is a service for ordering a cake which is placed in this box, then magically opened so you can pick up (obviously), a cake, and I’m sure it’s quite wonderful.


I would like to thank Taylor Swift & her conundrum of getting from Tokyo to Las Vegas for football by going backwards across the international dateline for helping my friends in the USA understand that yes, I live in tomorrow in Japan (also yesterday but that’s another story)

And, at the risk of being Cliff Claven, I like to explain to people that:

* The international dateline is not straight

* And yes, I have crossed the international dateline by ship

* But no, I have not passed the exact point of the international dateline and equator simultaneously #shellback

Finally, enjoyed a few “old-time style” phone calls with pals recently… It took me years to get over my phone phobia from a terrible job in Utah, 1987 but now find it quite pleasant to sit in my dark room with a beverage yapping away to someone, in this case, back in Utah. {Note: not using the phone pictured}

Diary: Stumbling thowards new year – ad-hoc annotations about records, boar, medicines & #io

So wiped out from the last few days… Tea ceremony, hospital checkpoints, another tea ceremony, garden visits, photo studio, preschool church, naked man shrine, ancient optician… wrangling humans for some semi-festive vibes, ramen was good / almost noon, still in bed, must eat.

Anyhow, usual sundry ad-hoc memos & several innuendos follow:

Another timestamp to remember seitai appointment / this time taken afterwards at a quirky gallery café roaster where I got Postcards spread out on the counter // place has ceramics, cameras, rocks, grinders, a printing press, guitar etc scattered about. I want to do a show here.

As always, questions about my outfit are accepted within reason // @theunabonger will recall my sharp camel jacket as my “standby when have to go legislative lobbying or photo opportunities with Washington state governor” times

Evidence of the above with coordinates for your investigation

I guess gotta get in my head & bones that the holiday season cycle is just different here… Everything builds up to New Year – and finally today, kiddo’s last day at school, (most) cards in the mail, things starting to shut down – is when it all happens // still bewildering.

So, I’m going to eat this non-squished gorgeous cake to help me understand the cycles.

Meanwhile, back at Tsuchida Cottage:

Haul from milk! Records (who are closing up shop) includes:

Milk! Do / did everything right with great selection, reasonable pricing, fantastic packaging, personal touches, not sure why are shutting down – I think it’s Courtney Barnett’s biz and she’s got busy doing other things like revolutionizing rock ‘n’ roll
2x12" + 1x7" + stickers from Sleater-Kinney

2 x7" from queen @courtneymelba

2x12" milk records compilations

1x12" from St Vincent (transparent)

1 Milk compilation cassette

1x10 year anniversary patch

1 personal note and sticker


Wild Boar Persist: This is the wreckage from the adorable barbecue grill I built last summer from salvaged bricks and roof tiles.

The wild boar came and attacked it – I mean, completely destroyed it. They are tough!

Lesson: everything is temporary if you make it that way

{Investigate the visit from the wild boar trapper for more background and mitigation approaches we are approaching, unsuccessfully}

Today, by Post:

From a lovely lady & her daughter in Nagano or thereabouts:

And mother-in-law did a “sniper mission” back-and-forth to Saga Prefecture (related to transport logistics of a small relative) and brought back this very special sushi made in Nagasaki prefecture


Gosh, I know it’s the time of year to be all happy and chill but I’m feeling super stressed, confused, don’t quite know how to mop up some projects, or how to even start and have put myself in a bit of a sticky wicket which is “good news” but I complicated due to #brainfog #blerg

And when get stressed, I either/or:

  • hide out in bed and watch hockey games
  • fill up carts from record stores
  • 3 hour bath

send irrelevant social messages (with unrelated photo attached)

But I’ve got some household tasks that need tended to because it’s the frantic “build up/tidy up” for New Years in Japan and it’s important to look busy (really, my wife is working super hard outdoors so I’m trying to keep the house up)

So making myself a list:

* Get out of bed, change into multipurpose warm loungewear

* Put on music

* Ingest food, fluids and medications

* Rock the dishes, fold the laundry

* Bring in firewood

* Then address and stamp “batch x” of New Year’s cards (the fun part!)

{Just keep breathing}


* Organize all the packets of medication which arrived yesterday

* Order some new house shoes/slippers


Because I want you to be proud of me… I organized all my medications // and this is what all looks like in the cute little boxes on the shelf I took over from wifu’s kimono cupboard


Ichiro and I on an outing the other day towards the neighborhood to the shrine (he wanted to climb the stairs, I did not :-)) and ancestor’s grave where we washed the stones, changed flowers, lit incense and said prayers. #TeachTheChildren

When you can’t choose which snapshot is the cutest (him, not me… Well maybe me a little bit :-)) #io

What makes it extra fun is we were visiting his great grandparents grave sites. We clean the stones, light incense, say prayers, change the flowers and romp around his ancestral history.

Festive Omnibus Annotations (church, shrine, tea, gardens, fire, poems, snaps)

So many things to tell you but I’ll scribble in Postcards, 1 by 1 because each of you deserves custom-made inky artifacts, right?

And coffee in fancy cups, and crocheted pen/cil + quilted stamp bags, and fancy postboxes.

Don’t you?

Anyway, briefly (ha!), for starters – not capable of brevity):

* Hot springs visits with over-the-top performance in quirky confines {note: have a post from a previous visit to share one of these days…}

* Pork belly, woodstove yams Kabocha squash etc. dinner

* Gorgeous new blue herringbone cashmere scarf and my own fancy Hanko stamp (previous was a ¥500 vending machine version)

Continue reading Festive Omnibus Annotations (church, shrine, tea, gardens, fire, poems, snaps)

*Method Acting* Santa Claus at “Forest Pre-school”

Those years studying Stanislavski’s acting system coming through in my naturalistic/method acting portrayal of a certain festive character to the delight of assembled preschool parents… Well I suppose the children as well :)

{Ahhhh… memories of walking the boards from Broadway to community playhouses but nothing quite like the magic of performing the “Scottish play” – the one which we acTORs who trod do not see the name aloud in the theatah! – at Summer Stock festival in Cedar City or Ashland, or Straffordshire for that matter}

The assembled patrons asked many questions, ergo:

“Where are your reindeer?”

“We don’t have chimneys in Japan how do you get into our houses?”

“What are your favorite kind of cookies?”

“I’m not sure if I’ve been a good child, this year how do I know?”

“What actions are required to ensure that I receive maximum allotment of gifts?”

“Where are you going next?”

“How do you speak so many languages?”

Of course, after years of “walking the boards” and endless hours of honing my improvisation craft, I was able to provide answers in line with the characters true soul.

well we had to have a talk about how all this works now i’ve done the Santa show for Ichiro 4 times now

The questions – of course – were asked in Japanese by somewhat confused and bemused children, often trembling, studied by their parents.

Continue reading *Method Acting* Santa Claus at “Forest Pre-school”

Theme, maybe: best intentions and all of that

Things I had planned to do today:

* Clean fans, cover and take to kura + busted lamp

* Same with the straw window shades

* Record another ukulele song or storybook video

What I’m actually going to do:

* stay in bed

* fold laundry

* listen to a hockey game

I have many things to say about:

Continue reading Theme, maybe: best intentions and all of that

Reminder: planning, finishing up and do the basics

This week: no scheduled hospital visits, wife super busy with work, so… trying to catch up, finish a few tasks as well as keep the house rolling as we stumble towards end of year

The “basics” means manage laundry, keep up on dishes, make tea and rice, prepare hot bath, and light a fire as needed.

And if feeling all right (plus get medications, nutrition – my weak point – and oxygen into me) i can do some creative project and/or make a phone call or two.

As for “holidays” this year canceled my usual family and friends Christmas dinner party cause I just don’t got the energy but, we still will be doing new year cards (300), presents for Ichiro of course (he wants a trumpet and/or a bulldozer, not a toy bulldozer, one he can drive around… Not sure which one is less probable), and will decorate a tree, make hot chocolate on the woodstove, sing some songs etc. (One good thing about Christmas in Japan is there’s a lot less expectation around the whole dealio).

Continue reading Reminder: planning, finishing up and do the basics

Diary: “just keep breathing” and beat the blahs… disintermediated blurbs + snaps

Nov. 1: Oh, I just remembered I have to change all the calendars / well my day is suddenly packed.

Meanwhile, my darling wife is outside running a woodchipper – filling up bins made from pallets – processing all the branches etc she collects at her job sites, making into chips which will then go over cardboard then goat poop compost to reclaim land into garden #keitruck

Time for oxygen mask and watch the rest of this hockey game I have on pause.

Continue reading Diary: “just keep breathing” and beat the blahs… disintermediated blurbs + snaps

Diary: momentary empty nest (with letters and sewing machine) #io

Ichiro away overnight to hot springs with grandparents – our 1st day/night alone, together.

So, I wrote letters and compiled packages with books, magazines & treasures (9 total).

While Ryoko fired up a new sewing machine, starting with a bento bag.

What a wonderful life!

He hugged us on his way out the door with his dinosaur backpack, (legendary) red trucker hat & lil mtn boots – patting us on the back as though saying “you’ll be OK without me for a little bit” – and headed off on his adventure like a trooper. I’m only crying a little bit.

Projects ahoy!

}I should note it’s always a bit of a conundrum/puzzle which manner of correspondence to “catch up” on first between the email inboxes, the phone calls, the 37 different erstwhile ‘social’ platforms / but tactility always wins for me. Hooray for postal mail!}

Postal conundrums

Although I was disheartened but hardly surprised to learn international postal rates gone up a notch.

From Japan, international postcards cost ¥70 for about 30 years as i recall, but bounced up to ¥100. And aerogrammes are discontinued entirely.

I have a significant emotional connection with #aerogrammes (1 foldable pre-stamped sheet) were my go to in ‘Japan 1.0’ days.

Subsequently, I’ve acquired a little bit of a collection and often remix into my postal art. I still have a few now obsolete in Japan aerogrammes on hand for the archive.

Note: in Canada, same rate $2.80 CAD for postcard or a card/letter as well. It definitely cramped my routine!

While I understand the price raise, wishing would’ve waited a few more months as I go a little heavy on the Christmas/New Year’s cards and running a little lean on ¥¥ these days. #ManifestMoreMagicPapers

In general though, the postal rates are quite reasonable even for sending small packets internationally (are not heart attack inducing anyway)

The new required web/printed customs declaration form is a little cumbersome but again not really surprising is this has become an international standard for advanced customs clearing (allegedly/evidently).

Yeah, while postcards and letters are still straightforward to send, I have a couple of A4 sized packets with a single magazine/book each (pictured above) inside ready to mail so I’m gonna see what the “demarcation line” is between what needs a declaration and what goes unhindered.

Chit-chat message catch-up

Update / today (the next day): folded laundry, put away the grocery delivery, loaded/unloaded/loaded the dishwasher, lunch with darling wife and caught up on a few years worth of FB “Page” (not “Profile”) messages as well as various IG messages that are somehow intertwined.

It’s always so complicated. Also noticed that some of the videos I had uploaded to the aforementioned “page” went up in “reels” format which sucks and others somehow misplaced their titles. I don’t know why I try. Maybe I will stop trying.

Also telephone talked to two friends, one I haven’t seen in probably 30+ years in BC and another maybe not seen for 20+ years in New Jersey. Now I’m trying to connect with a friend in Dubai. So, bye.

Diary: home safe from ill-fated errand (with Ichi funtimes)

Background: Had a real rough go of it yesterday trying to complete one of those seemingly impossible errands that one runs across as immigrant/emigrant with tasks to do with previous countries. Good news is, the little dude and I got some hang out time on buses and trains & burgers.

Now: earplugs, eyemask, ice packs, cool air, hydration, medication

I am home, I am safe, I am baffled by the complexities of life

Good point: I was a fantastic Papa today

I want:

  • solve this illness #mecfs
  • put poetry, art, post, music out into the world

Grateful, xo dvo

PS I have so many short stories, poetry collections, novels, paintings and albums to finish but I’m gonna live till 120 (at least) so I’ll get it all done. I just need that magic elixir (come on science!)

Bonus notes from out n about:

Tram ride: we rode a trolley yesterday on an ill fated errand. So fun because you never know which style car you’re gonna get from postwar to sleek and modern – each one different design, paint job and vibe. It’s quite exciting / costs a dollar per ride, no matter distance

Denim kimono: Autumn mean more kimonos and here in Okayama, one can spot the unique (likely indigo dyed) denim kimono, elegant in it’s utility and beauty / I would’ve bought it for my darling wife but her cabinet is overfilled

Errand > Burger time: Re: errand (a tax filing for a country i haven’t set foot in in years and lived for decade+ and no longer member of) not only did I have to find a stash of US letter size paper – Japan, like most of the world uses A4 etc sizes, had to track down an international courier which seems like it would be really easy but ended up at a dingy old stationery shop that is the contract office for DHL and it was like I was the first one requesting to send anything overseas in the last 20 years… Plus it cost about $60 each to mail some stupid papers to Texas (in my situation I can’t file electronically).

But, me and Ichiro ate burgers and fries at a friendly place where they were very accommodating and kind. They don’t have an “kid’s menu” (coz kids oughta be in school!) so he #io got a full-size mozzarella mushroom burger, with fries, soup, salad, orange juice, and got to eat the leftovers for dinner :-) he’s such a little celebrity everywhere he goes and it’s so nice when he wants to hold my hand or ride on my shoulders while rolling down a shopping arcade street with giant dinosaurs and him pointing out payphones and postboxes to his quirky papa. #swoon

Train Postcard: Tokyo based pro photog Alfie shared this great snap from Tokyo station (where you can buy a “platform only” ticket to hang out but not ride) – evdentally my advice to turn this into a postcard was late as doneso long ago

Overtourism: (In regards to recent articles about Japan, considering making tour guide, mandatory to limit tourism due to too much tourism – sub text: “sloppy tourism”) i mentioned:

“Funny there’s three, maybe four places in Japan that deal with “over tourism” meanwhile so many fantastic provincial areas of Japan are waving the flag and making brochures saying “come here, come here, we hace ____” but still, almost everyone goes to same few congested places

Records: no, I didn’t buy but just snapped this photo with Ichiro on my shoulders have a nice selection of 4 beauties all lined up – sheesh we got great records stores here

Nakasendo: About that Tourism-ness: someone I know is planning a Nakasendo ramble so i assembled a dossier of historic Nakasendo road with stories, vids, tips etc. {Doesn’t really fit here but I’m putting it here so I can find it again, maybe because stashed it on Tumblr for some reason}