Tag Archives: usual days

Schemes and Dreams for Year of the Tiger – Reiwa 4 / 2022

oh hai, just us talking about stuff like scrapbooks and schemes

+ Schemes and Dreams for Year of the Tiger – Reiwa 4 / 2022 + 

No surprise whatsoever, Dave, surrounded by scrapbooks, well-designed books, unfolded laundry, impressive selection of washi tape and a vessel of homemade miso – and feeling a little tired – looks ahead to 2022 with schemes and dreams including: 

  • compiling/creating a book called “a circumnavigation, of sorts” with freeverse poetry, snippets of diaries, scraps of letters, forgotten lists and possible scribbles; 
  • (the usual of) taking care of health and being a great husband and papa; 
  • making more scrapbooks and collages; 
  • maybe even some paintings of post boxes, payphones and portals. 

Plus tidying up digital odds and ends, stepping up some skills and figuring out how to space out and rest and relax (per Doctors’ orders).

Ichiro makes an appearance as Dave also sends a special *hello* to those who are dealing with some health challenges including uncle in Michigan, a young postcard maker in Sri Lanka, and Larry sensei, and possibly you. 

Finally, after reviewing a litany of scrapbooks of plans, poems, correspondence and other oddities from years past, offers encouragement to share your intentions for the year ahead and reflections on years past in whatever medium you fancy. 

Oh yeah, calendars and sweater thanks to Shawn P.

just staying alive, yup

Diary: New Years Eve – food & flowers / Eye of the Tiger ahoy!

Last hours before arbitrary mile post/time zones and calendar flipping – and while I’m not at my best I always have big schemes to make lists of intentions. I’ve made them before and yeah, I’ve made them again.

If all goes to plan I’ll sneak away while the wife and mother-in-law are cooking and flower arranging and make a recap video in the barn while listening to records. Plans? Ha ha :-)

But first, a few pre-snap shops and annotations, mostly of my wife in action and other sundry foods and flowers, starting with Ikebana in the genkon.

Made by magical wife (just before making turkey ramen) now tamagoyaki assembly in process… keep reading…

Here is an in-process snap (with a little boy who is a little bit grumpy because he wasn’t getting all of the attention :)) aside: Tea ceremony, music, flower arranging, it’s all possible for him. My brothers tease me that he’ll only be in the video games :(

The painting in the background really works out well too (by Michal Korman)

Somehow in between it all, we went to pick up a huge batch of tempura and of course she had a gift package ready for the proprietor / I just try to stay up with her.

For final holiday maneuver, must break down the last of this turkey to make broth.

I don’t really know what I’m doing but… guess take off the meaty bits by hand and then simmer the carcass for stock? With the leftover celery etc.? Strain it & bottle/bag it?

Behold, turkey ramen with garden veg & pork belly at Tsuchida Cottage. I made the stock/broth, the wife did everything else.

Oh, when I ordered the turkey, sausages, pork belly, there was also a 2 kg ham of some kind so while we were at it, cloves, rosemary and Pineneedles and into the oven it goes.

Good night you lovely folks. Hoping for a pleasant wind down of an interesting year. Year/Eye of the Tiger ahoy!

Diary: switching modes, miso & last trip to the post office

Well I’m pretty wiped out from the last bunch of days but glad I was able to step up for the family and friends for a good time despite a few setbacks with my health and too many projects.

Switching holidays from Christmas to New Year’s here at Tsuchida Cottage

(Don’t eat this orange, there’s plenty more inside)

Family outing to the post office because that’s how we are.

Still can’t decide which one is cuter. Guess it’s a tie. I’m completely smitten daily.

3 styles of nengajyo / new year post cards in the last batches (for this year).

About 300 total between international/domestic family & friends plus wife’s business and associates.

All handmade/stamped with affection. Grateful for an oddly fantastic year.

It’s the year of the tiger after all. Not sure the significance but I used the stamps liberally nevertheless. meow

For final holiday maneuver, must break down the last of this turkey.

I don’t really know what I’m doing but… guess take off the meaty bits by hand and then simmer the carcass for stock? With the leftover celery etc.? Strain it & bottle/bag it? Let’s try (Half in a big cooking pot and half in the slow cooker… Anticipating six hours)

We made Miso last May 4th and stashed in a ceramic vessel found when tidying up tool shed.

Holy smokes! Miso turned out great! No mold problem, not overly salty, great texture and mellow yet bright flavor profiles. Just took a little small sample but will try in larger quantities over New Year’s. I feel like I really earned a Japan merit scout badge today.

Meta Note:

Noting I’ll end up with about 216 posts at my mixed media creative life archive (you are here) this year (not including ones that were backfilled/backdated). Not bad for a Gen X slacker/new pappa – especially considering everything else that went on this year.

Hoping to review/recap my 2021 Intentions + Annotations soon (typed last year with coffee) – already have a few notes scribbled for 2022 (mostly less paperwork and big projects, more just creating)

This last year had the curious nursery school project, the hugely satisfying house reno project, and the (unsatisfying) emigrant tax project (including a complicated dominos of transactions). Plus did lots of work on my health situation (i deal with #MECFS).

Plus loads of mailouts, supporting friends and charities, but did take on at least 1 too many projects.

Should i give myself “grades” on the previous list?
i.e.
ukulele playing B+
Japanese writing C-
pickling/fermenting A-
postcard store C+
great pappa/hubbo A+ 🙂
etc ??

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: 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.

Diary: notary tasks & musings

Just a little bit excited because we have/get to visit a notary public! To drop a significant amount of ¥ for a stamped single photo copy of a gov-issued document to send to a different gov (a Canadian tax agency if you’re curious) so can check off appropriate boxes. This, dear people, is the career choice I missed out on.

I mean, being a notary, (mostly) you sit at a mahogany desk with an assortment of stamps and embossers, possibly a magnifying glass – mostly for effect, and people come and give you money, you stamp things (after looking at them first of course).

Noting, in some jurisdictions, its basic, i.e.: the “mailboxes etc” franchisee is a notary, or remember when i worked at Kinko’s, there was notary services (but not sure anyone ever used).

Some places though, it’s rather expensive and complicated but when you need a notary… you really need a notary, kind of like an emergency locksmith (another great skill because you can double as a jewel thief).

Related: My Mom at times was a notary in state of Utah and I have her embossing certification stamp – all heavy and metal – but being an honest Cub Scout, I would never think to circumvent proper guidelines and use illicitly. I do use for arts and crafts from time to time. (If you want to see evidence, you’re going to have to ask nicely).

Here in Japan, if one were to become a bilingual notary with certified (by embassies etc.) translation services, would be a really sweet gig.

I might whisper this into my son’s ear each night in the bathtub. Might also be something about being an “emergency locksmith” as noted above.

Folks who imagine what emigrant / “ex-pat” life entails have a strange impression that American Express offices still exist &/or embassies are helpful outposts.

But “NO” is only answer for any service/question/request/anything from the Canadian Consulate/Embassy here in Japan.

Aside:

Note: this photo isn’t technically at the same time but since I mentioned him, here’s a cute picture

Well, my son just blew me a kiss on the way out the door to nursery school. Yes, I’m doing really good at parenting & teaching important things. Thank you for asking.
So this means, change out of my luxurious pajamas into trousers & possibly a tie for my big outing to a notary.

Update: the notary office was the fifth floor of a nondescript building with various usual plexiglass separators, metal desks, fluorescent lights and trays with pens and stamps. The finished dossier was four pages & about 15,000¥. Importantly, I won the “best business card” game. I mean I really have the best cards going anywhere and I always win this very important ritual in Japan. {Plus I want them to remember me because we often need these sorts of services. Look at me, relationship building :-)}

Tea/juice made from pine needles

Back home after a stop at a stationery store, folding laundry and drinking pine needle tea.

Thinking about pals Cam, Chris & others making lovely progress in their professional endeavors. Cheering from the sidelines. Next: organize paperwork to send to gov offices.

I *really* took this snap to look “executive” and share with a friend for a laff (cause I’m far from any sort of executive-ness)… & Yes I’m actually in the stationery store restroom and I am not wearing a tie (obviously). but, these posts look better with some photos added so here we are

PS While at the stationæry store, I picked up a sweet new ink stamp from the discount bin, as well as yet another roll of washi paper masking tape.

I also have a video shot last week in the barn, but then kind of went into “crash mode”. Wanna finish that up before it’s too “stale”… It’s no big deal, it’s not like anyone’s waiting anxiously for me riffing topics about CCCP passports, miracles, Ginsberg’s “Howl” on red vinyl. [Retroactive update: this video “poets, passports and postcards in the Cascadian consulate” is now completed and available for your viewing amusement]

Typhoon Weather and Usual Days

Possibly – no Probably – the best worst video you’ll *maybe* watch today. Likely only with lounge-y, vaguely annotated Ramones on baritone ukulele anyhow + Gord Lightfoot if you get that far.

Typhoon Weather and Usual Days

After catching up on the laundry, making tomato soup, washing dishes and tidying up the carport, Dave checks in with a bit of ukulele and gratitude for friends who pick up phones &/or send messages, books and quilts when bit blue from “the illness” which is *a challenge* – and through it all, mixing in a little bit of Ramones and Gordon Lightfoot and the usual stuff about Post offices and making fermented items while trying to be a good papa to a wonderful nursery schooler and hubbo to a delightful arborist and diligent landscaper. 

Ryoko’s stone approach project #evidence
serious about tomato soup and various other items

Diary: Tsuchida station grounds projects, various

Busy around the house, now the construction is “done”, doing some garden, yard, landscape, and kura/naya jobs… the glorious mundanity of the tiny things which make all the difference. Be prepared, nothing *shocking* or exciting, just the usual days.

Hemp cloth wrapped on shelves made from wedding dais / under the dust cover is 1982ish Yamaha GT-2000 turntable & analog amp plus TEAC cassette/CD/usb/1/4” deck. Thats not *all the records* but a solid batch.

Another string of lights *and* Palau static montage… legit handcrafted speargun etc etc

Wood splitter, borrowed from forester Ukan and parents split up this rack / its loud & ornery but does the job

All hardwood – mostly oak and maple, odd bits of others (arborist wife often bringing home big chunks) This was all F&M-in-law. Epic. I’ll fire it up though (i just encourage)

Breaking rocks in the hot sun… (Ryoko has made a time-lapse of this rather intensive, long project…)

Continue reading Diary: Tsuchida station grounds projects, various

Diary: Sunday Sundries… tidying up with power cords & dance party

Huge / busy week since my birthday good times on 16th which means am behind on correspondence as usual esp thank yous & catch ups to come after but but busy doing lots setting up the new/old house. #sortganizing (Also feels little rough sending joyful news with world collapsing :))

But hey look! Repaired a couple electric cords to a lamp and a paper shredder that the pet rabbit (who now lives comfortably in a luxurious cage) chewed through. With dodgy eyesight and clumsy fine motor skills, not my best job but you know, decent.

And hit CBD-Green Store (after seitai) for some various tonics and CBN vaporizers (Plus tested new made in Japan vaporizer for wax and Setouchi made CBD oil) yup, right here in Okayama.

Plus their gourmet vegan food is frankly shockingly amazing.

And huge move (despite lousy photo) of turnin what was once a kitchen into an extendable, manageable, versatile closet for 4 seasons plus various hobbies, jobs, and costumes.

Even a surface for folding laundry and ironing. Such a luxury!

Segued into spontaneous Ella Fitzgerald live in Berlin dance party in the kura ~ comfort courtesy of new air conditioner and dehumidifier. Yeah, luxury. Appropriately, Ella was singing “it’s too darn hot”. Some rearranging getting ready for new art making in fall and winter.

This week hopefully a bit more time in the kura studio to organize ephemera and records and hang up some interesting lights to make a standing working area.

Plus beginning the rock work approach to the house… thats on wife & tough ole Oka-san to do.

Plus cleaning up the wreckage of my once a wonderful inflatable pool and tent oasis which has not fared well between Typhoon, falling tall bamboo & big rainstorms followed by periods of massive humidity which has made things well, rather biological. Was nice for a minute. No more.

Oh I should mention that the flat rocks will fill in the area around the big rectangular stones & concrete pad and over towards the trees and what not. I’m not asking a lot of questions because they’re arborist & landscape designers so I’m just gonna stay out of their way…

As for me, besides catching up on correspondence (as always) and a few “life administration complicated international transactions” #ugh but next “big creative project” is a story pack (#podcast, video riff, photo essay) from the Jack Kerouac in Kobe exhibit. Craft it cleverly.


But… In closing: A very special dispatch loaded with b&w #lomography photos from Gandhi Beach in Kerala India, Jack Kerouac in Kobe, collage of fake IDs, oil pastels of sherbet-colored houses, & snaps from Suez Canal required two circumnavigations to reach Montreal due to an errant “8” not “3”.

PS we picked up 30 kg of rice from this wonderful gent in nearby Akaiwa. Thanks!

OK heading to sleep Friendlies, fondly, dvo

Diary: to the seashore for pizza & watermelons

Thank you for usual days

Brief evidence of a day trip to Nishiwaki Beach {Setouchi city} and pizza at Iwaburo + meeting up with Ryoko’s jazz vocalist friend Ayumi.

Though it’s just a short drive away, felt like a whole “expedition/holiday” yesterday >> so long since we’ve been out and about. Anyhow, poorly annotated snaps follow: 

* Postbox, at quirky cafe, Iwaburo (also ukuleles, turtles, cats, dogs, goats, and a friendly couple running it who told me about building pizza oven (see below)

* Pizza, handmade & woodfired

Ya know i’m making one of these at home, one of these days (we have loads of bricks and blocks and old ceramic pieces around for starters… a few other projects to finish first… 

Continue reading Diary: to the seashore for pizza & watermelons

Diary: Haircut + Post Office (again)

Me and the barber, lost in Showa as summer begins…

Hit up the barber / time machine by the post office > still 1982 in here with faded photos of Fuji, full series of tattered manga, ashtrays, peeling laminate counters, a pink tv.

Usual snapshot with new haircut at bus stop

Good times with the jolly mon & his straight razor skills. Thumbs up indeed!

Then usual pilgrimage to the post office >> have a dozen lovely people in the “postcard as a subscription service. Plus sent a few archivists & collectors “Jack Kerouac in Kobe” dossier. More to go…

Post office by the barber

Mixed it up with a different post office than my usual. Amused them with my dossiers covered with inky stamps heading to distant lands and my careful insistence on choosing excellent postage stamps reflecting Japanese culture.

Diary: Day out to Ukan village

I mean, how can i not adore all of this scene? {Ukan village, Okayama-ken}

Visited a shodo calligraphy exhibition at a sake distillery with special floral arrangements made by Ryoko’s colleague Oka-san (true salt of the earth tough guy with a deep gravelly voice leather by perpetual smoking and a heart of gold and an artistic sense of nuance and splendour), who showed us around along with his wonderful young daughter Momoka.

Memo: Oka-san is the remarkable florist/builders/designer/arborist who transformed the goat farm barn into a jazz club & wedding altar for #DRO420

Then, we hit up a little community coffee shop in a mountain valley. Our little guy was a star as always and I was the lucky papa along for the ride.

Just was a really pleasant day out in a small town (Ukan, Okayama) where you can stand in the street and not worry about a car coming by.