In today’s (really March 7th but hey…) edition of “tasty coffee in scenic places with Daveo” I bring you this glorious handcrafted bevvie experience & view of the Seto-nai-kai (Inland sea) from an olive garden (no, not that one, an actual one) in Setouchi, Okayama, ergo:
As I opened up dozens of boxes today to kind of do a “rough sort“ and see what I’m dealing with, so many thoughts and emotions flooding back – However, work to do with intent of pulling out a few artifacts for upcoming Jack Kerouac workshop (oh yeah, don’t cancel don’t cancel everything proceed normally etc. etc.)…
Anyhow, I collect collections and, in various cigar boxes, shoeboxes, and satchels of different kinds I have assortments of:
* playing cards (despite the fact that I don’t know how to shuffle or any card games) * pins of all sorts * lighters and coasters from all around the world * ￼belt buckles and belts (many of these used on old suitcases) * ￼felt pennants and other classic Vancouver odds and ends including expo 86 artifacts￼ * dozens of amusing hats – also scarves and hats and more hats￼ * cassette tapes (primarily ones from garage band from decades ago * CDs (commercial as well as from people who said “dude you got to hear my band“ and gave me said CD) * plenty of vinyl (oh my!) / Many of which I never had a chance to listen to as I ordered them and they were drop shipped to various friends and brothers’ house￼ * suitcases filled with hitchhiking signs, presentation “paper point“ collages, and dozens of scrapbooks, journals, diaries, notebooks, sketches… dozens
Overall, I have about six-eight of my old-timey suitcases, two typewriters, all sorts of fun outfits (we’ll see what still fits after I do a lot of laundry as most is a bit musty) and then dossiers of travel ephemera from various trips as well as the already constructed “static montage” story boards that I create for various trips. In other words, have enough projects to keep me going for a while.
Plus loads of art supplies and office supplies and stationery supplies. ￼Also a stereo and a bunch of recording gear and another 2/3 of the boxes I haven’t opened yet.
And then of course there is art, both originals and prints and posters… Took the time to unroll some posters and start to flatten them out, then re-organized all the framed art into big boxes with similar pieces as we start to hang up stuff all over the house and barn etc. etc. (we don’t have near enough wall space but that’s another story, we can swap out exhibits if you know what I mean).
Big day (Thursday March 19) here at Tsuchida cottage as my life archives completes a long journey by a ship and truck from a storage locker in Victoria, Canada to port in Vancouver to port in Kobe and here by truck.
40+ years of scrap books, journals, diaries, book reports, certificates, art projects, school report cards, letters, photos and of course dozens of my paintings, all my various artifacts from talks/spiels/prezos, hitchhiking signs, “important papers”, art supplies, recording equipment, plus boxes of books and crates of records, and of course dozens of amusing hats.￼￼￼
The email thread with the company is about 70 communiqués, quite a bit of paperwork for customs clearance etc. etc. If all goes well, everything will be offloaded and instantly “sort-ganized” into a magnificent olden “kura” grain barn.
The kura barn recently got a good organization and clean-up and it’s going to turn into something very special… A mixed media art studio/archive… It’s gonna work out great!
Need to get a little bit more electricity/light in there and there’s only a little bit of dry rot in a few places but generally dry and solid. Going to be a great place for listening/recording music, reading books and making projects.
You may well especially enjoy the mighty wood beams and construction of this￼ structure.
Along the wanders, I found myself in San Francisco, really mostly in Pacifica, one of my favourite hideaways and just south of the city… but anyway, ventured into SF proper to (finally) get some time at the Beat Museum and wow, what a great job these folks are doing. As such, a few notes and artifacts from the museum and history dripping neighbourhood for your amusement and my memory.
Now I could go on and on about the importance of *the Beats* connecting literary traditions, sparking countercultures leading to the revolutionary “pranksters“ to the *hippies* (for lack of a better term), ￼punks (no I’m not talking mohawks here), indie-making artists of all medium, everything… while also looking back to Whitman, cummings (sic), WCW, Wolfe, Twain, Thoreau, Dostoevsky… you get the general gist. Or what I’m trying to see is wide-thinking, free-roaming, do it yourself souls sharing empathy for others, breaking conventions to find out who you really are and then manifesting the distilled results t into one’s own life which infuses your own soul, then effectuates inspiration in others – also (critically) this ain’t always pretty, rarely is. That’s not the point.
Work in progress…
Anyhow, the Beat Museum￼ was (maybe is) undergoing some construction as the building needs an earthquake-resistant upgrade, – I’ve shared some various fundraising campaigns and podcast riffs about their history over the years in this archive maybe you’ve come across and supported their noble efforts… but anyway, the building was surrounded by scaffolding in a bit of commotion and for a guy like me has easily sensory overload it, it could easily be intense but I stepped in and disappeared for an afternoon amongst the curated exhibits.
This is not some fancy-pants museum, this is a grassroots effort with everything done by intention and￼ in an attentive spirit. I took some crappy snapshots along the way just to remember for my own memory as i wander far and wide and sometimes the twist and turns get a little too quick for me to process real time in my noggin.
Artifacts and abstractions…
note: There is a little mini-theatre room looping a film (was it “Pull My Daisy? It’s all a bit hazy now a few countries later), which pleased me for the visual abstraction of Beat life as well as regrouping in a small / dark / cozy room.
Notable artifacts include:
“referee shirt” Neal Cassady famously wore while driving Furthur, the Merry Prankster bus
a plaid wool jacket Kerouac wore (I’ve had one just like it)
This scrapjournal is an “accordion-style” book (think that’s what you’d call it… though doesn’t create the dulcet tones of the musical instrument) anyhow the paper unfolds in one long swath in vaguely Japanese-style.
Appropriately, the book is laden with sketches sketched in Japan whilst traveling by ship and stopping in a various ports of call from Hokkaido to Kyushu. First in pencil, then pen, then coloured with watercolours (sometimes pencils), and decorated with ephemeral bits.
What follows are a few sample hastily-snapped pages for archival amusement as not all are photographed and, as life goes, i no longer have this book, alas. If this situation changes, i’ll diligently update.
Note: Some of this riff originally appeared in “real time” via FB social channel to the amusement of many (everyone loves a comically large bootle of hooch!) – shared here for posterity in edited form with several other topics included.
++ Confession ++
Well, i am at risk of irreparably damaging my reputation as a good resident of Okayama as it seems some library books are overdue.
I know! Terrible. Shameful breach of trust.
As such, i will finish this coffee (delicious by the way) and hop on the luxurious Uno Bus (seriously wi-fi, power outlets, clean, comfy, pay-per-stop) to restore my status as a decent human.
I’ve really let myself go off the rails – i’ll try to improve.
PS i will not blame this on this comically huge bottle of saké – seriously, 18 litres and came in a wooden crate. Just when you think Japanese people are all diligent and serious, they pull out this! i mean the logistics of shipping, lifting, holding, pouring alone are baffling
Checkpoint busstop (yes my life does look like a Studio Ghibli movie)
Did i mention the bus has great wi-fi, power outlets, seatback headrest covers, and pay-per-stop system? Uno Bus is truly great.
Also before leaving washed dishes, folded laundry, started rice, composted food scraps, fed rabbit, aerated kobo starter, refilled kerosene heater… and didn’t forget library books(!)
Ryoko’s out of town for 2 nights teaching a tree trimming workshop & stayed in a trad guest house with wooden bath. So cool. And she’s truly incredible (and doing great with pregnancy!)
Most go as gifts to travelers and adventurers to fill up with ephemera and musing but this one stayed with me.
Feature a cover made from vintage aerogramme, lettraset (rub-on left over 1970s) monogramming, a wax seal, cancelled postage stamps, inky stamps, printed Lomo sardine can camera 35 mm snaps and various printed oddities – in this case, a bi-plane of significance which slips my mind.
Made with vaguely-Japanese-style-craft-binding, sewn with hearty thread via 3 holes drilled through a mighty block of various paper stock acquired at random intervals around Bali.
The facilities were fantastic – simple and sincere and functional, the staff was next level skilled & diligent, and the skill of the key medical officers – led by Dr Rishi & my lead Dr. Rumee – empathetic, knowledgable & superb.
The cost was very reasonable (especially compared to “regular life“ costs of living in Vancouver/San Francisco/Seattle or whatever) ￼assuming you’re capable of getting to Nepal… I know it sounds daunting, but I have written up a little advice sheet about traveling with a chronic illness to make something like this much more easy. Hit me up if you want this riff.￼
Visits to a few wonderful, unique, intelligent clinic/hospitals in India, Nepal and Sri Lanka played the most critical role in bringing me “back to life”.
It is worth every penny, every mile, every effort.
You could be forgiven for thinking that my life involves entirely eating delicious food and drinking fantastic coffee as you are somewhat correct… however, there is slightly more going on as i am into the routine of “regular life” and doing things which I file under “life administration”. As such, some tasks (as much as I delight in the mundanity of everyday activity) doesn’t get documentation.
Not that these things are not interesting – but because in the diligence and action itself, there’s interestingness – but photographs aren’t always timely nor appropriate and in themselves, there’s not often a story to be told. Within this thought is why I enthusiastically and rather comprehensively documented everyday life when first arriving in a new place… As in: when you stay in a place for a while, the uniqueness of every day life fades and it’s easy to think that “I’ll do this another time” or “I’ll wait for something special” or “why bother?”