Tag Archives: usual days

Chooglin’ through September, logistics & whatnot

Chooglin’ On -– not on the Canadiana tracks this time, rather balancing logistical and creative life in a cottage in Japan

Are you there pals? It’s me, daveo.

So many actions yet forward momentum doesn’t feel forward.

I think its a matter of expectations and “how my brain is a little bit broken” / I purchased a book about brains and whether or not one’s might be broken (or specifically how it is not). Have yet to read.

Regardless, when making a laundry list of “things ticked off list” – this month was spectacular! Especially when gauged against my *cough* priorities for the year:

  1. Be a great hubbo and papa
  1. Take steps forward for health
  1. Sort out life admin stuff for the long haul

I.e. Intake to new speciality clinic at Okayama University Hospital plus a follow-up visit, seitai x2, a few walks, cleaning ancestors graves, surviving typhoon warnings (really hard for me), stepping up emergency preparedness, passports, taxes, applications, translations, certifications, notarizations, tickets punched, forms filled out, tolls paid.

Truthfully these “life admin” tasks often feel redundant at least and ridiculous at times (noting: there is a choice to fly under the radar though once you surface, you’d best be prepared to deal with the consensus reality) but very required and somehow I do have latent paperwork genetics(?) from both strands tailored for the task when the brain is firing. Problem is the brain doesn’t always fire. (Did you read that article from the Atlantic I’ve been bouncing around?)

I mean, loads of all of the above PLUS the “creative life” goodness which sometimes feels elusive happened, ergo: An online poetry reading with really fantastic collaborators; a poem in a poetry book which sits on my (one of my several) desk(s); 50+ posts in this very archive – including some detailed mixed-media diaries of healing ramble, stories of adventures, usual ephemera, artifacts, collections and more sort-ganizing in ongoing semantic nuance; solid handful of video storytimes with arts and crafts, stories and poems; many conversations, some of them quite lengthy, with friends – both foreign and domestic – by telephony.

This is even before we dig into Ryoko’s singing performance, various rehearsals, and loads of arboristing and landscape designing. She amazes me with her patience, creativity, strength and sweetness regularly. 

And more important than any of this is playtime with Ichiro almost every morning before school and wonderful hot bathtime every single night. We do puzzles, play music on ukulele, piano and drums, all the words tumble out of his mouth but the songs even moreso. And He looks through the scrapbooks of his art and always pulls a book out of his pile eager to explore the words both in English and Japanese. While on the logistical errand to the big gray city of Osaka, we went to a museum exhibit which was especially for him, for us too but for him, was some kind of amazing heaven of Okamoto Taro.

++ Almost all meals prepared at home, laundry is always caught up dishes almost always, house generally tidy despite an active toddler and two parents with many hobbies. 

So when to lay it all out, the score is rather high but at the same time, and very eager to do more big creative things. I know they wait patiently amidst stacks of furious notebooks, sheets of unfiltered papers, digital documents with various suffixes –and I know the time is coming as I think about these projects all the time in the long hot baths. Will you read them if I make them? The words in the books that is?

Now the weather will cool, I will get IVs on the weekly, drink magical traditional Chinese medicine potions, other “off label/experimental” medications, I will find my peace, and I will pluck the things as ripened.

I didn’t even mention the wild boar attack.

Let’s make a start! Tomorrow comes photographs and possible live Jazz in the streets.

We will travel by bus. the three of us together. October ahoy! 

August Ends, so we go on…

{This end of this summer is not melancholy for m/we, no one leaves to school or to deserts or even to foreign lands, it just ends with a storm}

August ends
September begins
Ganesh comes to visit removing all obstacles.
“All of them Ganesh, all of them?”

So we go on:
Two big plans
in one week, next week –
for now,
The power returns
though I remain in the dark
waiting a turn.

typhoon weather
morning teapot fills up
with rainwater

The edge of a typhoon at Tsuchida cottage, The lad and I turned the couch to face the window and he cuddled a bit when the thunder was loud

Diary: Ramblin’ Ted visits the shed (& farm)

My friend Ted came to visit – he lives in Kyoto but was doing some tour guide reconnaissance/spiels on Kyushu & our home with the waystation before heading Shikoku.

me at the giggling piglet studio and consulate, photo by Ted, minor crop and edit by me

Notably, he is my first multi-time visitor to the Giggling Piglet studio besides Mac Kobayashi. Also, we went to Mac’s Goat Farm for lunch, coffees etc.

Listening to Leonard Cohen in the thunderstorm, thankful for the relatives who built this mighty store house

Dude is keeping up an incredible pace in an exceptionally hot and humid summer.

I mean, it’s really perfect mixed media creation studio

Overall, we discussed many topics. Thanks to my sweet in-laws for setting up the comfy room for him complete with the family altar/shrine open for o-bon. It’s a very special time of the year here when our passed away relatives can come back to visit for a while.

the hi-fi system is sounding great after a couple of tweaks by the piano tuner & this snap is a great angle cause you don’t see my balding spot :)

Thank you for visiting Ted, I really enjoy time with you.

Memo: You might enjoy Ted’s snapshots of the experience in general (snaps are stashed on facespace but this is a note to add some more here down the line // Right now I’m at the doctors office, my battery – phone & human – is/are plummeting so, you know how it goes…)

[update: photos added, mostly unannotated]

These snapshots should have captions/annotations but at this point they don’t, but *they exist* thanks to Ted. At some point I’ll add a link to his “notes from the nog” blog.

Snaps: Coffees and Snacks, assorted and spontaneous

At the risk of becoming a cliché or another routine, while tidying up July’s diaries, couldn’t help but notice some lovely beverages and tasty food enjoyed along the way.

visited a Café with loads of Volkswagen memorabilia scattered around including this welcome sign which is quite similar to the one at Mac’s goat farm time

Don’t get out much, so well,.. you don’t need to know because it’s obvious “sometimes I eat/drink something and I take a photo of it” and here are some of those things.

As Warren Zevon wisely pointed out, “Enjoy every sandwich”. Aye, i do and will continue.

Outing: Somen day out in Kurashiki

We were recently (mid July 2022) invited by our friend Hatsumi (you may know her as the flutist in the Mae Maes) for a special lunch at her friends in the historic town of Kurashiki. This lovely town is often quite busy in the Edo-era style Bikan quarter and also noted for its fantastic museums which I’d likely blabbed on about.

dude, looking sharp, enjoying his noodles and the water

There was also the 200th anniversary (or was it the 400th anniversary?) of a shrine we passed on the endless staircase up to our hosts. Of course, I purchased a commemorative calligraphy card.

In our case, the quest was to enjoy cold somen noodles from a special bamboo water plume chute. This is a sort of a usual tradition in Japan but, because of “everything” hasn’t been publicly done in the last couple years.

The lovely couple put on a really nice spread for us with the water running down the bamboo course and then you catch the noodles with your chopsticks along the way and mix in with a broth, plus tomatoes, eggs, green onions etc.

The husband was quite handy and had some interesting artefacts and projects going around the house.

After the noodles and a bit of a rest for me and Ichiro in a lovely tatami room, we enjoyed fresh shaved ice with a magnificent beast of a machine with ume syrup.

Must remember to send them a gift package of pickles or other treats as thanks.

Diary: in July, i shall wear straw hat(s)

and there we go… thanks Claudia Car Office

Oh July, whisked by with *highlights* of the “situation of the missing uncle” and darling wife’s arborist level-up exam (about 70 people taking the exam, about 5 women), and being warm, very very warm.

Despite the summer temperatures, just hasn’t *felt like* summer but yesterday we finished the month strong by setting up the inflatable pool with the awning covering for a dip, some watermelon, hanging out in the “clubhouse,” and then watching a movie (Oh Brother Where Art Thou) from a cheap projector on a white sheet like an indoor drive-in.

Also there was a small neighbourhood matsuri festival and R & I’s trip to Noto to possibly address under separate cover. We also made pizza and ate great mutton curry for Father-in-law’s birthday.

Summer vibes from this lil argonaut

So… Onwards to August! Schemes: *not* going to send out the “Leo cards” this year, and have pulled back my idea of a live poetry reading for my birthday – maybe some make something pre-recorded instead, maybe not. (Note: i have put out some ambient scrapbooking hangout videos) Maybe not look at the computer much, maybe more time in the pool, and the barn playing scratchy records. I really don’t know. Honestly I’m a bit restless but very tired and weary. None of this is news.

Anyhow, a couple odds and ends on the last couple weeks since I’m here, and you were there, to document the “usual life and regular days” with jerk chicken schemes, bus rides, massage chair, kisses and peace of a kind.

into town: Oh no, treatment place was closed, so I’m “downtown” Okayama, & dont have a sorta perfect favorite hideout just right place so back at new joint doing Mexican food, cooling down with iced coffee. Kind of wish stayed home and rested though… rather busy by my standards recently.

back at barn: By now you’ve seen pictures of my studio lounge in the 2nd floor of the kura store house, And now the 1st floor is turning into our family arts and crafts clubhouse with a secondary stereo set up, a stack of eclectic and slightly damaged records, lots of supplies, goodtimes! Of course, there is a plan/concept sketch.

the 1st floor “clubhouse” with arts and crafts, emergency supplies, secondary record player for eclectic vibes and dance parties

Yesterday’s hang-out music selection included Harry Belafonte, Jimmy Cliff, Don Ho, compilation of “American songbook standards“ with Sinatra, Ella etc., and family favourite “The Spinners“ for some dancing fun / also have assortment of Scottish, German & pirate folk song records.

Here’s the upstairs workbench in current configuration, space for audio, video, scrapbooking, painting, sort-ganizing / You’ll also notice and overhead scanner maybe, and various stands for old phones/cameras.

Do you recognize any of the artists on display?

Continue reading Diary: in July, i shall wear straw hat(s)

Diary: secret restos, airport hangs, voting, drums & creative acts

Restaurants x2: yes our Ramen place is listed in the Michelin guide, we’re pretty fancy after all / maximum stars

For the record, the best restaurant in all of Japan has *no* Michelin stars, nor does it exist in any guide books, map apps, or fancy magazines.

must know codeword

The proprietor has painted the interior completely with her own (rather psychedelic) art.

The menu is succinct (okonomiyaki mostly) and inexpensive, and she (80-ish) sends you home with extra food “just because” + there is the ubiquitous goldfish tank, and even one of my paintings displayed.

Clientele includes noted artists, politicians, community organizers, professors, kimono merchants, curators… But it’s a secret.

Also her end-of-the-year parties at a fancy hotel ballroom are quite legendary for entirely different reasons.

Tomatoes: Mother-in-law‘s garden is producing bumper crop of tomatoes, small and medium ones. Ideas for preserving? I/we can’t seem to eat them fast enough but don’t want to waste any of them. Tried salt ferment and was so so, Freezer seems like a no go, Pasta sauce seems meh.

Rick Rubin: preordered. sometimes i think “im *pretty cool* but im not Rick Rubin cool” and this concerns me. i mean, i’ve done/made/gone plenty in my 51.8 years but dang, ummm i look at RR and think i’ve slacked somehow (yeah i know this isn’t the point) anyhow, this book comes out in 1/23

comes out next January…

Off and Away: Well my darling wife and adorable son are off to Noto for a festival and sensei visit. Guess im gonna *let loose* maybe wash dishes, fold laundry and write some aerogrammes. Yup, scored a 10 pack of legit aerogrammes, smells like victory. I know, slow down Dave, slow down.

Oh put on kettle of hot water to make some barley tea with real barley tea bags. i’ll chill it first. before i get too far ahead of myself, lemon water and couple of acetaminophen and maybe look at buying a massage chair.

Update: with wife out of town, did a lot of tidying up, now eating fancy macaroni and cheese (with tomatoes, avocado and back bacon), banana milkshake and watching Godfather. Yep, it’s a wild wild life + also re-watched last 3 Obi-Wan Kenobi with F-i-L while eating taco chips.

LDN … which reminds me of my quest to find Low Dose Naltrexone in Japan from a reputable source. It’s not illegal here but usually only available as full dose (used in various addiction treatments). However, in low dose (colloquially LDN) is used as pain management for Fibro MECFS #hashtags

Vote: Feeling left out from not voting in Japan (wife voted before hopping on plane, early and easy) so doing Thurston county, Washington primary ballot… It might be last one I do in USA #Foreshadowing (for the record, yes I have *several* citizenships) / ps WA State AFAIK does all voting by mail and my ballots are always early

use a dark pen

Drums / Things I want: a cocktail drum kit like this one (belonging to Stewart Copeland, I asked if he’ll sell it to me or trade for like a bonsai tree or something) if ya see something like this in Japan, let me know OK.

Stewart Copeland’s drum kit and photo thereof

Update: There’s one for a reasonable price but it’s in Staten Island New York… The kit does come with shipping bags… Wonder that what that would cost to Japan :-)

Airport: Darlings went to Noto, Ishikawa to visit Hongo-sensei… so, Now we (f-in-l and me)’re killing time at the Momotaro Okayama airport observation deck like big timers drinking our robot made beverages. Oh they travelled by plane via Haneda as trains are tricky to find way to that corner.

Good news is, with only 1 or 2 flights an hour arriving, we’ll readily see their ANA jet land, taxi up to the gangplank (that’s not the word is it? airbridge? idk) and then just elevator down to meet on 1st floor & 2 mins to car.

got ’em Band is back together #io

He came running out of the domestic arrivals and jumped into my arms and I just about wanted to bawl my face off with proud papa but I was so busy telling him how much I love him and then he told me about the airplane and the fireworks and all of it

Diary: Luxury life with scattershot actions amidst (in)consequential events

So, to no one in particular, “please don’t mind if the posts seem a little scattershot, maybe not finely-tuned, polished and definitely random”… After all this is about fck stats make art make for the future and let the present peek over your shoulder

#daveo50 turns into #daveo52 maybe “finish” by #daveo63

As it goes, left over from my #Daveo50 “personal archaeology project” as well as other sundry diaries, dossiers and whatnot, I have 380 or so posts in my WordPress “draft” folder / Plus switched from “classic“ to “Gutenberg“ which adds a step. So sort of trying to clear the deck. I’m not telling you this for any reason than to give myself an excuse to say that “not every post needs to be a complete mixed media dossier and maybe just rock them out – just make sure they follow your category naming/tagging conventions” / Reminder: Metadata is important for finding.

I really enjoy the process – especially assembling the items and then hitting “public” and floating them out into the world without any expectation – the part I don’t like is sitting and looking at a screen for more than an hour at a time. So many different topics, era & riffs.

So, instead of finishing “important” things already in the “pending folder” what follows are very basic things, photos included for no particular purpose except for my improbable, albeit somewhat inconsequential, documentation of the “usual days“.

Today, so far, recap:

Drink coffee, talked to a friend I haven’t for 3 years, hung out with Ichiro (before he & mama went to tea ceremony), took binders + stuff to kura, organized some scrapbook items, unboxed some new 7” & 10” records, ordered a 45 RPM adapter, usual dishes and laundry.

Amongst the new records is Mudhoney’s “this gift” Subpop split single (with Mr Epp on reverse) + other 7”s by White Stripes, Sebadoh, Shins more + Live 10” by Jesus and Mary Chain including one of my all-time favorite songs “head on“.

PS Still not thrilled with new phono preamp, but also not very technical hi-fi clever, need a smarter friend.

Continue reading Diary: Luxury life with scattershot actions amidst (in)consequential events

Diary: May 5月, Beguiled (& rather) Bewildered

Oh bye May

Spinning past another month, we’re at the 31st and I’m waiting to try out a new Ayurveda clinic here in dear Okayama. So a few annotations:

Guess it ain’t no secret that I’ve had a hard time bouncing up this month/year, however in the midst of it all I’m out of bed *almost* every day and doing a few things around the house even if it’s just dishes, laundry, compost, making tea and rice. Some days I do a few more things, for example:

This month we had a surprise overseas visitor and we went together to one of the inland sea islands as well as enjoying food & items together – and it was a joy to share my “new life” with a friend from my before times.

I’ve done a few sessions of sorting around in the kura barn and, going through bins of artifacts and taking from “stuff in a bin” to curated collections in binders with labels and themes. It’s a task requiring equal parts organizational theory, temporary nostalgia, celebrating past and imagining futures, specifically “what can I make with all these things to amplify what it means?” None of the items are by themselves significant for the collection of them all creates a tapestry of life. That sounds rather “grand” but in my mind, it’s the usual days in regular life that make life remarkable.

Coming on Two & looking like a young man already

Wonderful child Ichiro has battled through a couple of snotty noses, colds and fevers which sometimes pull him out of school due to “protocols“ but my goodness, the words are tumbling out of his mouth now, the balance is increasing, his awareness of where things go and how to do things is increasing on the regular and I am absolutely proud. I am trying to add to my skill set of how to “tug the reins“ a little bit without being a grumpy Papa and not buying into the fallacy of punishment, which perpetuates and hides problems and always requires escalation and this is proven – throughout forever – to be generally ineffective & mostly unwise.

My treasures and the penguins on a recent trip to Antarctica via Shimane

Darling wife Ryoko is studying for her “tree doctor” level up exam coming up later this year and has also continued work on her charcoal kilns and tidying up her tool shed a little bit for maximum organization efficiency. She’s also been doing some secret live streams while kiddo and I are in the bath and usually get sa couple piano songs out before Ichiro yelled out “bing bong Mama!” and we do our “Captain Ichiro, are you ready?” countdown to exit bath, dry up, lotion and pajamas, stories, cuddles and sleep.

For me, sleep is a struggle – i sleep long but shallow & unrefeshing/replenishing plus make up in fits and starts + dealing with a lot of neurological pain still along with the brain fog, confusion and general crippling fatigue. So, new plan is to change my periodic check ins/administrative visits from the “big city general” hospital to the University Hospital where they have specific departments investigating long-term chronic post-viral inflammation/immune system diseases relating to the current cee-one-nine virus which kinda dovetails into my situation with #MECFS. There is also a traditional Chinese medicine clinic on site i’ll endeavour to try in my quest for new approached for increasing my baseline.

Always have at least a dozen sleeping masks on hand… i mean on face

As I mentioned in a video (I should know that I’ve done a couple more dispatches in my “healing ramble” series if curious) this month was the awareness campaign month for my illness, as well as awareness month for mental health, Asia Pacific islanders, IBS/Crohn’s and other things (Cascadia Day!) which have impacted my life. These notable days – coupled with a few significant anniversaries: me becoming ill and memorial service / for my Mom & Creepers & Chums party; I guess added onto the emotional exhaustion of just being constantly zonked.

Celebrating Cascadia several years back and Evelyn Street, Lynn Valley, North Vancouver, unceded Cascadia bioregion

But hey, here I am talking about it!The important thing is, I have a wonderful family here and great friends around the world, food is delivered weekly, we plant seeds in the garden, postcards and packages come from time to time, I have enough books and records to keep me constantly amused and I’ve even done a bit of scrapbooking about our trip a couple months ago to Shimane.

Tip: send postcards to yourself

Yes, mentally I always feel like “I should be doing more” and I guess felt since was a little kid reading Tintin books that I was meant to be “out there in the world sparking revolutions” – so I remember to pause and think of all the things “accomplished” in the last three years since I came to Japan and all the things in my almost 52 years… So many countries, conversations, projects and so much more to come.

Adventures ahead, adventures behind, same same different different

I also continue to fiddle away at this “creative life archive” / when I run down and stuck in bed, I listen to audiobooks and longform podcast and sometimes tappity tappity on the pocket robot to assemble posts with pictures, musings, memories and what not. I love the feeling of hitting publish and thinking that someone might find a bit of inspiration or amusement.

Getting hot and humid so hoping in June we might have some beach days and also set up the yard for more playtime right here. Ichiro hits two on the 23rd so have an eye on a balance bike and maybe a visit to a zoo.

Always more, we’ve got all the time in the world.

A wonderful painting I came across: Martina Heiduczek
“Coffee and Friendship” / two of my favorite things :)

Diary: apropos of nothing (sleeping masks, hockey, mosquito net, laundry)

Really nothing to the usual days except for the brilliance of usual days, appros of really nothing, i annotate for amusement. Carry on in a disinter-mediated manner:

new kamidana house shrine for ancestors – made in Tottori from a slab of gingko wood

Okayama memo: The thing I really like most about is its very “usualness” {aside from being famous for the Momotaro peach boy story and being a “place you pass through to get to other places”} is also almost always sunny but not today (this Cascadian doesn’t mind the rain though).

My 1st era in Japan in the early 90s, was in Tottori (remote w/ kei-truck), later hiding out near Miasa, Nagano. When came back few years ago, found Okayama was just right / Not a hectic sensory overload city but has big hospital, Immigration etc.

Yes, we “lean heavily” into Momotaro folktale here and the image of a peach is scattered all over from statues to utility pole covers and gosh, peaches with a boy coming out of them can look really funny! And apparently it’s the sunniest prefecture in Japan. 

By post: Three pack of organic oatmeal arrived. {always mean to scribble down “tasting notes“ with all the different kinds but never do and never remember which ones were “great“ but all are, you know, good enough} ~ Eat each morning with variety of nuts, berries and sometimes yogurt.

Today by post: hori hori garden tool (this one is artisan made, previously ordered for wife and mother-in-law from off-the-shelf made-in-Japan company) / this one needs sharpened up and it didn’t come with a case/holster :( feels good in the hand though.

Day in the life:

  • ate salad with smoked salmon for lunch
  • loaded our new tiny dishwasher
  • sent a telegram, really
  • attempting to remove chewing gum from a pocket of a favorite shirt with ice packs #pending

now a rest before finishing laundry

Next day: One oatmeal, three coffees, two baskets of laundry, two hockey games… Now switching to loungewear and some tax paperwork. Then maybe repair a wicker stool after lunch.

Update: some arcane tax documents prepared, stamped, notarized, faxed, ready to mail in Duplicate etc. Indian curry and smoked salmon/avocado/lettuce salad lunch with darling. Next (going to try) to put a new seat on this wicker stool with hemp cloth and upholstery thumbtacks.

It’s not a masterpiece but it’s decent. Sturdy Polish hemp cloth, rugged long tacks & see how it goes. Hooray for hexagons!

Continue reading Diary: apropos of nothing (sleeping masks, hockey, mosquito net, laundry)