Aug 19th was 49 days after Ryoko’s Grandmother Tomiko passed away at 94 years old, 6 days after baby Ichiro was born, and the night he was registered on the generational family register (koseki tohon) at city office with the same name (but different kanji characters) as her husband – Ichiro.￼
As such, in the Buddhist tradition, her ashes were put into the ohaka (crypt) with dashing Grandfather Ichiro who died at 49 years old, many decades ago.￼￼
Note: Throughout the pregnancy, we often visited grandpa Ichiro‘s ohaka (grave) as going to a cemetery it was easy to reduce risk while having a pleasant walk and while there, clean his grave, light incense and have a conversation.
In early July were four days of various funeral ritual/ceremonies at the house (adjusted for current health protocols) before she was cremated, and since then, her ashes sat at the family altar with daily incense, prayers and so on.
So as it goes, the remarkably handsome monk offered more incense and chants and led family in scripted prayers and incantations. Baby Ichiro rolled with it all.
Following, we took her ashes to the cemetery where a kindly tall specialist removed the capstone of the freshly cleaned ohaka allowing us to briefly see grandpa‘s urn, before adding the new jar & gently sealing back up.
Then we burned more incense, gave regards to other graves and left a lovely lunch to take her into the next journey.
The circle is complete, the family continues, I’m very proud to be part of this clan.￼￼ We’ve had seven weeks of birth, death, (re)birthdays, and so much transition in real time.￼ i’m privileged to be a participant.
For the record: Okayama City Central Library (map) 56 Futsukaichimachi, Kita Ward, Okayama, 700-0843, Japan
Annotations Hat: cheap Thamel, Kathmandu Mask: hemp, also from Nepal via Japan Glasses: broken, from Bali Shirt: (my design) Ambassador, Chiang Mai Belt: brown, Fossil Trousers: uniqlo (also boxers & v-neck) Socks: (not seem but stripey), Buffalo, cheap at Ross in Montréal Shoes: (not exactly Team Zissou) Adidas Baby carrier: made in Japan (name escapes, update later)
Note: gone “over the wall” for a haircut / yup legit barber for #daveo50 coif.
This fella Touse-san at a neighbourhood shop called 理容タカシマwhich has that “Lost in Showa” vibe i dig (his Dad was previous proprietor)… with a few Heisei updates obv.
Ergo: Shelves of old manga, TV (i asked to turn off), coffee pot, smokes and the like. See for yourself:
Hot, humid days these days… kept it cool whilst waiting. Then, outside to catch a bus at a stop across from this smiley little post office.
Now let’s see if bus is rolling during Obon holiday / yes!
You cant see my sharp haircut and wicked moustache so you’ll just have to dig my legitimate hemp mask.
Walking home from the bus stop…￼ this is my neighbourhood like I live in a Miyazaki movie… though I always think of myself as more of the Zatoichi type (though I skip the sword fighting and just do the part about rescuing damsels in distress, actually now that I think about it… I don’t do that part either, also don’t give good massages (usually)).
Walking home from bus stop / this charcoal wood siding is called Yakisugi (焼杉) / roasted cypress – resists rot, termites etc & renders fire resistant + water repellent. Used widely / lasts decades or centuries.
Anyhow, this is my neighbourhood Tsuchida, (Okayama, Japan). Next step: fresh up the wonderful bathtub for bathtime with the magical Ichiro Stanley / possibly listen to Jimmy Buffett, yes, I’m in that good of a mood.
Somewhere along the line, the wheels fell off completely, everything gone: life (rather death), love (so much), parents (both), career (ugh), health, confidence, desire, happiness, trust… all completely vanished.
Strung out, hospitals of a kind I won’t even mention, wrung out, battered and so very bruised… but, I pulled it together (thanks to kind pal) and found a safe place to hide.
A tiny room in a guest house ran by a kindly family who brought me coffee in the morning and otherwise gave me space to just be alone with, one small window, a fridge, a wet bathroom, a desk and bar, hard bed and two power outlets.
I purchased a typewriter and a printer and used in both extensively, enjoyably and liberally. The walls became covered with photos which caught my fancy, art which sparked something else, mementos of joys and fears to face.
The typewriter, and Olympia SM-9 from the 1970s (note: Owner’s manual (pdf): SM9-1970s) seems to be a knock off of some kind as I can’t find a serial number and, it just doesn’t have that solid precise action that the machine “should have”. There are a few foibles but it’s made of heavy solid metal, came “new in box” – shiny and pristine, just something is not quite right, kind of like me.
Anyhow, me and this machine typed poems on pads of hotel stationery, occasional repurposed telegram, letters which i’ll never send, and punk rock lyrics of angst and despair.
The neighbour was from Slovenia with a local mistress and a cigarette hobby and a little enough communication to be just the right amount.
I called this room “the Wonder Hotel” inspired by a SRO flophouse in my broken heart at home city of Vancouver. When i left, the daughters took down all my art bits and i made a massive scrapbook of rejuvenations, inspirations + amusements
I (mostly) hid, I (mostly) became calm, I pulled it together and then the future started. And started with this typewriter. Sloppiness and all. Maybe it is me after all.
Whilst in Utah in autumn of 2016, I took a trip with my pals Marty the potter and Rod Ash (RIP), and his son and nephew, to beloved Diamond Fork hot springs (6ixth water, Spanish Fork canyon area).
Indeed a special place to me. I hadn’t visited in many years and since then, the umm… cultural traditions had changed somewhat (nekkiedness not as prevalent or accepted, nevertheless…).
Anyhow, along the journey (beginning at Marty’s place in Provo) I snapped these pics with a Lomo La Sardina (Sardine can) camera loaded with expired film.
A few snaps ensued as evidenced in this assortment (unedited)…
A few days later, I made my way to Las Vegas to visit brother Anders and stay at the classic El Cortez hotel in Fremont area of town (off-strip).
It was a slice of going back to the 1960s or something like that, my favourite part was walking down in the middle of the night in pyjamas and robe to the bar and no one batted an eye as they were all focussed on sticking another coin in another machine.
In Summer 2015, the “core four” of legendary rock ‘n’ roll band “The Grateful Dead” did a series of five concerts (two in Santa Clara, California, three in Chicago, Illinois) to close the book on their storied career. With brother Dan, we fantastically scored tickets and made the journey to all five shows, travelling by road in various vehicles and staying a various hotels, campgrounds, crash pads.
And, I had a notion to roll like it was still 1990 and that I kept a massive scrapbook of ephemera and eschewed technology (aside from a few logistical purposes) and took a little cork “sardine can” Lomo camera with expired film to capture a few hazy images.
The results are very pleasing because well, they are not crisp and clear in any sense, rather fuzzy and weird like me at the time… I was coming out of the long hard stretch, well I didn’t realize how far I still had to go but that’s neither here they are there. #rough
This assortment contains selected snaps of people in-and-around the shows and on the road trip. Worth noting that with our gaggle of pals, we also stopped at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado on the way back from Neil Young and “The Promise of the Real” at this legendary venue in some cold bewildering rain. Again, neither here nor there.
Note: there’s another collection of an “prairie time lapse” meaning a photo snapped every 15 minutes for driving across the US prairies capturing the redundancy and consistency of the landscape.
Another collection may follow with shots almost psychedelic in glorious hazy sloppiness from inside the concert venues – eventually, maybe.
Driving across the United States mid-west region (Iowa and Nebraska, July 2015) I snapped photos with Lomo La Sardina (Sardine Can) camera loaded with expired 35mm film, directly out the moving vehicle window each :15 minutes for a full roll.
The results are here, unedited, glitches and all – order is unintentionally scrambled but that’s not really the point.
There is beauty in the redundancy and fade.
Advice: print em, stitch em, remix em, etc, carry on
Yeah i know the pics aren’t great but just to document my trip to Subpop HQ, Seattle (of course)… in March 2010 – I was in the city for a conference, gig, start-up internet-y meeting or some thing, I remember eating some Hawaiian/Japanese hybrid at an izakaya and a few other activities but importantly, visiting Subpop.
Note: This was the third company I had SubPop (OlyWa, Zhonka, Hootsuite) as a customer and received a warm familiar welcome and buncha questions about social marketing for bands/labels strategy. Felt useful.
Carrying on anyway,… i had visited the old HQ years ago (with Banghi and scored a Sebadoh “Zippo” and other treats) but this time got the full tour, especially loved the walls various photo strip booth and instant-photo collages – So many faces from bands I know and appreciate over decades, I’ll present it in a style that’s right out of my playbook.
Plus various walls of silk screen posters (silkscreening done on site), walls of stickers (yeah my style!), bunch of other neat stuff like original invoice for the Nirvana 7″, original loser ads, the framed “Wood Records” for bands it sold fewer than a gold record, some of the gold/platinum records are displayed in the toilet, and, at-the-time-just-recently framed and hung properly B&W Charles Peterson (who rocks the instagram like whoa) classic photos.
I left with a box of CDs, bunch of posters and other ephemera, most importantly it Mudhoney double signed by fcking legend Mark Arm of Mudhoney who works as a shipping warehouse wrangler (and to whom I asked a stupid question about his other band Monkeywrench) PS thanks Dean.
Digression: Remember back when Subpop was a column in the fine alt/news-weekly “The Rocket” (thanks Marty) and Olympia/ Evergreen was sort of where Poneman/Pavitt started it up, and most of the bands first came through, a lot more to say about this but you probably know already… (see also: Go With the Flow).
Apparently i was telling Stan about my “Dr” Hunter S Thompson Media badge and/or John Stockton also wearing #12 or that we love to cook “Stan’s Mom’s Perogies” from the 1982 Canucks Family cookbook (note to self: share that precious artifact).
Around 2000 in Olympia Washington, my colleagues and I sold a renegade pioneering Internet service provider (OlyWa.net) to an (evidently) evil national corporation (ATG) who quickly imploded allowing me the sensation of losing *big paper money* before i hit 30 – ugh .Anyhow, I managed to put a down-payment on a house – which had a semi-finished basement (and was also stumbling distance to downtown bars) which is the reason for this riff.
The aforementioned basement was rapidly converted into “the Hockey Lounge” a speakeasy/smoke easy/crash space for touring rock ‘n’ roll bands as well as a resource library for Hemp Lobby activities.
As the name applied, this was about watching hockey games as, in Washington state at the time, the sport was not popular and bars were filled with cigarette smoke an early season baseball games instead of pungent herb and Stanley Cup playoffs. The Hockey Lounge rectified these conundrums.
So, with a couple of first generation time-shifting devices, two satellite dishes and a cable feed and other electronics cobble together by brother Dan – who also procured couch, bar, fridge etc. from various auctions – and extensive hockey and punk rock artifacts decorations, a conversion of the fridge into a 2 tap keg-e-rator, the eventual addition of a toilet, wiring the house with ethernet connected to redundant broadband connections (note this was early 2000s) this became the scene of much frivolity.
There were rules:
Wash your glass (everyone had their designated glass which was store in the freezer compartment)
Pay your tab (note beer was always top-end craft from a brewery in exchange for making a website, we were on the regular route for a beer delivery and well let’s just say people drink more than they paid for.
No cell phones, camera etc. / no talking about other shit besides hockey and music
and these rules were not followed very well unfortunately.
Occasionally we would host various contest/pools during the playoffs or Olympics in which everyone would enter with a high-quality six pack (they were sent away and shunned if the quality was not sufficient) and winner would take most, second place slightly more than they pitched in, and third place their ante back.
Several times noted touring rock bands crashed out but most memorable was my hometown heroes DOA, who i sang BTO’s “takin’ care of business” onstage (at 4th Ave Tav) while wearing a Canucks jersey. The band – including now-Burnaby city councillor Joey “Shithead” Keithley, now deceased hard drinking storyteller Randy Rampage and the road manager (who was so happy about the high-speed Internet) and roadie who, years later, i met his brother coincidentally in Granada, Spain – all watched Canucks playoffs time-shifted and told tales into the night, signed my Hardcore 81 album, tidied up after themselves.
Of course, many travelling friends crashed out and enjoyed the space including Maddog Mike of Pacifica who destroyed so much Grand Crü beer and was still up early for his business meeting in Portland, Dane came by too (who i think took these photos), we had a “hippie on the couch” from CT or CO for a long time, others who came by at all hours expecting the place to be open like it was there own clubhouse, some disrespect, some sloppiness, some heat started to outweigh the frivolity. A lot of dishes to wash, but also a lot of fun backyard bocce games.
Of course there was the infamous High Times photo shoot in which many regional growers and vendors came by with copious amounts of wares in hopes of being featured in the magazine. Many were, i was rewarded with a massive mess to clean up and a photo/write up in the article which well… caused some community angst and notoriety (possibly covered elsewhere in this archive).
Epilogue: As it goes, economic situations changed with the *great collapse*, I couldn’t find work in any form, and then domestic situations changed with people moving in, people moving out, various tenants and domestic intrigue, then renters, a sewage flood and then a renovation and what not. [I had tried to finish some college, start a new business and relationship and hard to do all of that i suppose.]
In amongst much of this transition, aforementioned brother Dan became their “sole proprietor” of hockey lounge as it became his apartment. As things descended into malaise, various pieces and parts were sold off for cash to pay the mortgage, eventually the house sold, and I headed north and continued hockey culture with the Canucks Outsider podcast, then Dan later heading north as well to attend UBC engineering school. The Hockey Lounge still lives in the way/spirit at his current abode.
There is scant photographic evidence of this era though the legends live on throughout the streets of Olympia (or so I tell myself) plus at Olympic Plaza in SLC, and oh yeah if you’re reading this pay your fcking tab – this means you!
I love small towns and villages which are lively but calm, interesting but not so much to attract his throngs, specializing in nothing except for the day-to-day normalcy of quality life.
In 2002 on a trip to the Netherlands, thanks to some friends, we ventured by train #hotboxxed to the town of Deventer, visited a coffee shop with an rock n roll ex-pat named Joey, saw a parade with the controversial for good reason “Black Pete”, ’twas a market day with meats and cheeses abounding, a small red light district (quality of quantity) and just “normalness” after the glorious hecticness of Amsterdam amidst the festivities of various cannabis events.
So, pals Ian (rip) and Colin checked into a room and i stepped out to observe life from the rooftops > scampered over some parapets to capture a panorama of the flavour of spires and tiles, battered windows and hidden courtyards. All very wabi sabi (beauty in decay).
Note: my intent was to stitch these together in a sort of panorama / analog virtual reality of sorts / but I will leave that to the “DIY” portion of this erstwhile photo essay if you are inclined.
Also: Thanking a young man who had a rough night and now his life is well, complicated, who lent me this digital camera on this expedition #YD
Update from Jay Stewart: looks like the Gilde Hotel roof > definitely the Gilde Hotel. (The one with ancient stained glass windows.)
I suspect you eat food, likely more than once per day. While I dabble in many mediums of art, the kitchen has never been a place of creative comfort for me however… I’m working to add a few new skills to my repertoire, as well as watching the unique techniques take a bus out for some traditional Japanese favorites.
Also, paying attention to the importance of plating and presentation and choosing an interesting variety of dishes when serving – I’m probably better at this part than in the preparation but hey, one revolution at a time.
As such, very little in the way of annotations or details, or quality of photos for that matter, just evidence of living life at such a cottage.
The results are sort of a hybrid of Japanese and “western“ dishes, and usually served rather Japanese-style meaning lots of little plates as we sit at usually a low table on a mat to enjoy the creations.
While life is still exciting and new here, I occasionally remember to take a snapshot of things prepared, most of the time I don’t, but sometimes I do, and since I did, i’ll share with you. There are loads of these round-ups elsewhere in this archive if curious.