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Diary: Opera Day with Kimono and Seijinshiki + Piano Recital

Heading to opera today / Ryoko is purple kimono with silver obi & orange sandals. Stunnnning. Also complicated (it ain’t just “putting on a robe” – its a whole process choosing the right one for the occasion and then whoa putting it all on is an art (which is kinda the point).

Anyhow, furthermore, today is national holiday to celebrate and welcome crop of 20 years olds to adulthood with all sorts of dress-up ceremonies & events. [Read about Seijinshiki}

Should be real colourful in the city / we’re riding bus, i’m having a warm bevvie.

Note: to be clear, this wasn’t a full opera production but rather a variety of songs by a troupe (is that the right word?) or a company of singers doing various ensembles, bits, songs, snippets from opera. I have the program and would share notes but hey… it’d just be a tease right.

Let’s meet some of the singers:

Here’s Ryoko and I with Matsumoto-sensei who was singer & MC – sharp and graceful gent

Continue reading Diary: Opera Day with Kimono and Seijinshiki + Piano Recital

Diary: New Year’s Bar-b-q at Kobayashi’s Rural Caprine Farm

Hanging at my non-secret hideaway with sempei Mac Kobayashi.

On January 3rd, to continue celebrating the new year, we organized the parents, uncle/aunt and cousins to head over to Mac Kobayashi’s Rural Caprine Farm for some leisurely bar-b-q fun.

I gave farm tours to check on the big pigs and tiny horse and the old cow barns, feed storage areas, piles of dirt, old van, possible campgrounds and whatnot. 

Anyhow, was very pleasant and i love eating Mac’s food but even more, hanging out with him and his ridiculous music collection

The parents and uncle/aunt enjoyed some Koti Beer and Mac’s assortment of wines – so happy!

Continue reading Diary: New Year’s Bar-b-q at Kobayashi’s Rural Caprine Farm

Diary: New Year’s Holiday “Kojo Piano Club” Friends Music Party

Ren-san, Dave and Hamazaki-san at Kojo Piano Club party
having laffs with my pals Ren-san – Left (master of Piano Bar) who played some John Cage-ish piano composition, and Hama-san who served as MC and due to his recent birthday, received a groovy hat gift from Ryoko and me

Note: In the day’s between / around New Year’s – there are plenty of activities… today’s activities include hanged up the New Year’s decoration, drinking all the coffee to try to wake up & thwart headache, then going to an afternoon friends party/talent show where we will be singing a duet with Ryoko on piano.

Our selection is a modified (taking out the sort of dodgy creepy lyrics) version of “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered” with an arrangement vaguely based on this lovely scene in TV programme “The Crown” season 1. 

Do not expect video documentation of our performance though we diligently practiced and made a special vocal arrangement with some trade offs and whatnot. 

However, I will present some insta-photos as evidence and to provide a bit of flavour of the 5th annual Kojo Piano Club (there was even a theme song) party / event in which all the friends (many of whom, perform or learn together) perform music in various ensembles, plus usual eating, drinking and frivolity. 

Continue reading Diary: New Year’s Holiday “Kojo Piano Club” Friends Music Party

Artifact: “Sticker Walls” etc (various dives), vol. 1

location: somewhere in Austin, Texas (i think)

Here and there i see “sticker walls” in various bars, toilet rooms of bars, taverns, dives of all sorts, or sometimes coffee shops – maybe – but mostly bars and toiletrooms of bars. So i take photos sometimes, especially since a pal in Squamish mentioned his affinity towards same and another pal from Whalley sometimes shares photos of crappy bar toilets and ask “where’s the sh!tter?” 

So anyhow, here are some photos with minor annotations if recalled – no accuracy intended or implied. There are others, we’ll start with these and call the assortment which appears, Vol. 1 of a possible series. Also, these make the best and worst computer screen “wallpapers” too. Tip: Give a try. 

probably somewhere in Austin, Texas again (really no idea)
hmmm, really not sure… dang mirror is no use though…

Continue reading Artifact: “Sticker Walls” etc (various dives), vol. 1

Artifacts: Vending Machines at Uno Bus terminal in Okayama

these machines are for pre-paid bus cards

Some (not all by any measure) vending machines at bus station (and map board) at Uno bus terminal in Okayama, Japan.

Also not pictured: sumo on TV and cup of hot tea purchased.

newspapers, variety

Continue reading Artifacts: Vending Machines at Uno Bus terminal in Okayama

Artifacts: “Full Set” / Camera, Telephone, Typewriter, Postbox (also Chair)

+ Usual assortment = Full house

Ergo:

Camera, Typewriter, Phone, Postbox

Always be observing > documenting > collecting Continue reading Artifacts: “Full Set” / Camera, Telephone, Typewriter, Postbox (also Chair)

Grateful Dead rambles / “family photos” with renegade pals & VWs

Eugene, Oregon, 1990 – the first “gathering of my tribes” meaning Utah pals and BC crew meeting for first time and forging lifelong relationship, in front of my beloved 1974 VW “turtletop” the Earthship (now a sauna)

Back in the days of rambling around to Grateful Dead shows with pals in various (usually Volkswagen) vehicles, cameras weren’t really part of the kit. Usually, ticket(s) if possible, contraband if practical, maybe extra clothes to accomodate climates, hopefully a few bucks.

However, as part of my documentary instincts, i hauled along a tripod and a 35mm Alpa camera for taking “family photos” in which i would cajole (with much whingeing usually) the assmebled renegades to pose, i’d hit the timer and run back (as such usually right in front) and take 1 and only 1 shot. Years later these would usually get developed.

Many are lost to the fog, however, some are gathered here for posterity and memorial. 

near St George, Utah on way away form Las Vegas shows, 1992 i think? again the Utah and BC clans combining for some wild times in front of Willis’ VW Thing, Chris’ green VW bus. Great folks here (and at least one who is passed on, rip JJ)

Continue reading Grateful Dead rambles / “family photos” with renegade pals & VWs

Diary: New Year Tea Ceremony at Matsuka-sensei’s house

Studying tea ceremony… I’m not sure if studying is the right word, maybe practicing, refining or just enjoying… with a wonderful circle of folks.

Together, we enjoy refining the sequence, admiring the artifacts, eating lunch (fabulous of course), and in some cases also practicing/refining/studying/enjoying wearing kimono.

This was a special one to kick off the new year. So lovely (other riffs elsewhere in this archive). 

My sweet Ryoko riffed out a riff, ergo:

Continue reading Diary: New Year Tea Ceremony at Matsuka-sensei’s house

Artifact: Stanley Park “Scene O Graph” photo card booklet (and related flashbacks)

Stanley Park is the crown jewel of my sorta homecity of Vancouver, not just because its a huge urban park almost surrounded by water and jutting majestically into a working harbour and host all manner of artifacts from Japanese cenotaph, empty zoo grottos, running ovals, cricket lawns, pitch and putt golf course, totem poles and more more more… but because its *real history* is hardly know to most folks: First Nations for centuries, lepers, undesirables, loggers, “homeless”, fiends, hidden communities, lost artifacts and monuments (plus the stories behind the known ones), the construction of the seawall. 

Anyhow, this “Scene O Graph” photobook (found at Monastiraki shop in Montréal) captures a genteel and classic incarnation of the park. This is one version of the park, everyone has another.

My memories include petting zoo and totem pole forays at childhood birthday parties, sad Polar bears in grottos, “breaking into” the zoo late night in teenage escapades to tease monkeys, writing a story about walruses which didn’t exist, Remembrance day at Japanese cenotaph, illicit activities on most of the beaches, mediocre golfing, Vancouver 125th anniversary party with the mayor on tuba and Dan Mangan singing Robots, the windstorm which blew down so much and caused a tizzy in the city, more illicit activities in the woods, nonsense about “saving” a hollow tree, always finding a new trail, always getting lost when needed, concerts in Malkin Bowl, smelling roses, longboarding the seawall, riding seawall on a bicycle rented with someone’s lost credit card on a hungover New Year’s day… picnics, parties, treasure hunting. 

This book’s cover has a place for a stamp though i am unlikely to mail this (except to Jason Vanderhill but still i’d pack it in another envelope first). 

Continue reading Artifact: Stanley Park “Scene O Graph” photo card booklet (and related flashbacks)

Items: Excerpts from “Tintin et le Quebec City” book – illustrations, commercial, and ephemera

At the exhibit “Hergé et Moi” i attended (on opening day iirc) in Québec City, QC, i documented various accoutrements and artifacts and then, whilst exiting through the gift shop, acquired a few notebooks and a wonderful book called “Tintin et le Québec” with photographs of ephemeral pieces including advertisements, puppet shows, test proofs, letters, sketches and so on. Many of the items included were somehow related to the Montréal world expo (not really the ones shared here) and related events. 

I am especially fond of the letterheads, telegrams, commuiques and other stationery type items.

Respectfully sharing a few lousy snapshots of a variety of pages here for personal memory and amusement as well as scholarly research since the book is hard to find (and my copy is in a distant place from my physical location) and to give a sense of the variety within this lovely tome. 

Continue reading Items: Excerpts from “Tintin et le Quebec City” book – illustrations, commercial, and ephemera