Catching up & goofing around with Ichiro #io

For the record, I am completely mental in love about this incorrigible, amusing, intrepid, courageous kiddo #io

I’m always dropping notes to keep up with my ongoing diary about him and how he changes and evolves while growing up *but* you know, memos & snippets slip through the cracks but perfection is not the aim, celebration of his existence is, ergo:

Goofing around with burgers made on the woodstove, lack of buns so mama improvised, he loves accessorizing and doing his *just right* with a little bits of bacon, ketchup, mayo, lettuce
We are cats in pajamas, hear us meow, softly
On our excursion to the omotecho shopping arcade, was some kind of delightful booth set up (a store celebrating a birthday? Just some normal enticement for shoppers)

Anyhow, he ended up with a balloon which he was very eager to pose with in the laneway

Backstory: Rolled bus and tram to pick up delightful/incorrigible kiddo for a little bit of dude time on the trek home. We had snacks at daily Yamazaki (the unsung hero of the konbini scene), got gatcha on the tram, smiled and waved at the cool older students in their uniforms chattering away, I helped him with his cargo (my goodness, his rucksack is already quite hefty but “this is the way “)

PS i mean it sounds really basic but it was kind of the plan when he started his school back in September that I would do pick up a couple days a week but, the illnesses hit and my energy just hasn’t bounced back so this was really the first time I did the routine solo.

The tricky part is, getting back because that’s when the trams and buses get quite filled and all that human energy energy, temperature changes, jostling around – is a lot. We waited at the bus depot which feels caught in time, and by the time we were on our usual backseat of the bus, he was kicking off his shoes and stretching out to snooze until the end of the line. (But managed to rally for a bit of playtime in the park showing me how he can lift heavy rocks before arriving home).

These tram drivers do really an incredible job

Secret Sketches (don’t tell *anyone*)

A penpal somewhere in Japan (can i tell your name?) produces lovely sketches – often of foks riding subways, gazing on phones, rocking headphones, lost in a book – and recently send a exceptionally well-produced photo ‘zine/chapbook.

On the envelope of recent dispatch were sketches of me and Ichiro – capture quick snap and stashing here for amusement and archiving (there are others which may join the collection, but for now:

Bonus: Note: he previously sent a fantastic mix CD.

fill up your calendar with hangouts with me, won’t ya

Post’d: postcards with *purpose* & mostly motels

A batch of postcards went out into the world… I guess sometime ago now but their journey as long and their life in scrapbooks, shoeboxes are on refrigerators will be even longer.

I also realize my other purposes are:
* to make remind the world i still exist
* to bring joy to other peoples lives
* to make a persistent distributed creative journal/diary of life and,
* (lofty as it may seem) make tiny museums of myself all over

This is a nighttime view to bookend a daytime view of the same location sent in a previous Dispatch. Do you know where that is?

Rather than my usual “laborious custom made” creations I am tapping into the stash (kept in a red velvet covered box) of “oh my goodness, i like these postcards so much ii must keep them” which of course means I should send them out right away so they have a purpose. We all need ikigai after-all.

Besides adding a luminous stamp of my bespectacled, bearded and beheaded avatar floating above the landscapes, I also included biometric finger prints in case you need to frame me of any crimes.

Please make them easy ones to solve as I haven’t much time for court rooms

And thank you for always reminding me that what I do with post is… I don’t know… what’s the word? not important per se, possibly amusing for fictional museums – anyway, it’s good for my tattered mental health to hide out and create analog things for pals

Heck, these are even educational

Post’d: a batch of postcards to shake to question marks (about concussion & pineal)

I’ve scribbled up a batch of postcards, both foreign and domestic. This is hardly new or surprising yet, in a rare instance, words elude me, and a great feeling of overwhelming malaise grips me.

{As it goes, the brain is a tricky organ to sort out that there’s really no reason for my semi annual existential crisis or consortium of conundrums. As it goes, I have a beautiful and brilliant wife, a wonderful and growing son, a safe and quirky home, a barn studio full of artifacts and projects, food in the garden and fridge.}

Optional digression: When it’s all “in the thick of it” you run down all the different scenarios / you see, I worked hard on building up all the good things reco’d to do; playing in the garden, exploring hobbies (plenty!), connecting with people, cuddling and hugging when possible (in a country where cuddling and hugging is not really much of a thing but anyway), diligent self-care, hot springs, rest, meditation of all sorts, avoiding news & screens… (except this present moment, ha).

Plus getting treatments from a wise and wonderful seitai sensei who is unlocking all kinds of neurological blockages (much residual from a car accident Christmas Eve 1988 in Jerome Idaho) which produces a near psychedelic experience which inadvertently includes tremendous floods memories long-forgotten or sequestered in someway, bound up in neurological and muscle knots in various parts of my body. It’s hard to explain except the pathways become smoother But darn it’s a bit of a rocky road to get there.

Anyhow, also exploring the effects of various concussions: there were four for sure in a three-year stretch (the vespa crash in Vancouver, then Pacifica California, Adelaide Australia, and outside of Chiang Mai Thailand) all generally untreated but definitely lingering effect, does that play a part? (Aside: all broke my super expensive prescription glasses as well as face – 3 if 4 landed on same right side of head).

And then comes question of performance / calcification of the pineal gland which controls/produces/releases dopamine, serotonin, melatonin etc. but, can get a bit stuck in the aftermath of medications and while I am very lightly medicated now, in the *early days* this was definitely not the case and there was also some self-medication going on while (too rapidly) tapering down from the heavy duty assortment of SSRIs, opiates, benzos, anti-spasmodic and other devious medications.

Finally was the cryptic diagnosis of bipolar disorder (if a 14 page fax report can be considered cryptic) from a psychiatric doctor with freshly hanged degrees from Stanford in an office which seem to have been popped up for a movie set or a prank the night before. Yes, the (snotty & snooty) report came at a very bad time, with no follow up care offered or provided by the medical system in the jurisdiction where I lived at the time.

Soon afterwards, at reco of an NPO brain clinic, I checked myself into a psychiatric ward which turned out to be a colossal mistake including a dangerous escape/exit in a sweaty white V-neck clutching a backpack rushing into the midnight of Victoria, completely confused, shaking and with absolutely no support from the people who should be trained to do the support. Yes, there are emotional scars from this yet I don’t feel like this is part of the current bout of depression.

Rather, I think my body has improved and changed really so much since starting at the Okayama University Hospital program that my brain is having a hard time catching up, so much new information coursing around, I am walking better than I have in 10 years, I carry my child on my shoulders, I move things around the garden, I’m up out of bed most every day for a while at least where this used to be definitely not the case.

I’ve learned to listen to my body and my body is telling me there’s something wrong with the physical part of my noggin which then affects the mental part. Does that make sense? It doesn’t to me except for the part where it does.

All I want is to be better each day for myself, for my darling wife, for my remarkable son and to be capable of the creations I will make in the future (yes, much of me wants to make everything, so many things, starting tomorrow but there’s something about putting on your own oxygen mask first or putting the foundation under the castles you’ve built in the air).

I’m taking the time to solve the problems out. I am safe.

So I start rebuilding from the foundation of: fold laundry, wash dishes, make tea and rice, and then write postcards to express gratitude and other varied emotions.

I’ll disappear again – surface from time to time while i figure out *what comes next* (note to self: the answer is obviously “nothing”) #LayFlat

Anyhow, I hope one of these postcards is for you.

Vinyl: cultural curated bonanza pack & bard poets

An incredible act of kindness showed up at our door – dense and heavy, and maybe a little bit weary after a long journey across the Pacific – filled with this glorious assortment of records and CDs. So well selected and will be so savored in various circumstances.

Plus, loads of books for all of us, postcards, brochures, ephemera, artifacts, maple candies, fantastic hats… All of it. More to say about all of these, but for starters, got them taken out to the kura, snapshoted and will remark more thoroughly in video form at some point.

{Completely overwhelmed by the gesture. Truth is, quite struggling recently mentally so really appreciate this kindness // but I hardly know what to think I did to deserve this goodness.} Thanks N&J

Unrelated, but you know *related * are two other records by Canadian bard poets:

First, a special Leonard Cohen collection acquired in solidarity with others collectively humming Hallelujah in memory of a remarkable 18-year-old man who passed away under unwarranted circumstances. Peace to HT

The other is from my longtime acquaintance and occasional correspondent Dan Mangan, who just released a new album and with this completes my collection of his releases on vinyl – from his reissue debut “postcards and daydreams” and including the originals and 10 year anniversary additions of “nice nice very nice” and “oh Fortune” and several others in between.

Haircut day at “Lost in Showa” shop & with Ichiro’s first time in the chair

Haircuts day at a “lost in showa” barber / first time for Ichi-Stan in the chair (usually mom snips him up at home).

*Both of us* look less like eccentric time traveling professors now.

What a trio! Notice the reverse clock, so the right time shows up in the mirror

Barber was a great sport (and has a majestic head of hair himself).

wiped me out, so back home in bed, but hey, we got it done.

{Included some snapshots of the “ambience}

I have some annotations about the well-stocked shelves of yellowing, manga graphic novels, the instant coffee station and ashtrays, the reverse clock (so you can see the correct time in the mirror), and the fading framed photos of Mount Fuji left over from when his dad was the barber… but in all, the shabby chip board counters, the cigarette butts in the arm ashtrays, the forgotten magazines, the broken couch, no cash register (cash on the table only), a few pamphlets for his preferred political candidates, no reservations, needed nor accepted, a squeaky door, a rack of drying towels outside… all contrast with his well-maintained clippers and variety of scissors and the well practiced routine of draping over the smock, tilting the chair just right for washing your hair, straight razor clean up around the edges and ears felt all usually left to another time.

Post’d: new year mail-outs / postal odds and ends (& what happens next)

A well decorated special new year dropbox at a post office on a quest with my buddy Mac

“Good news” is over 300 pieces of postal mail dispatched the last 4-5 weeks. Mostly postcards but also bunch of special packets (some were far overdue) + typed (poorly) a few long letters – still a few more on my list and then have to pause / slow down for a while.

One of the batches, heading out internationally with some fantastic (specially ordered) 70¥ stamps, celebrating an anniversary of Japan and France, postal relations, along with air mail seals (and a CD received from a friend in Fukushima)
On a drive to visit an arborist colleague, in another town, spotted a couple post boxes from the car, and just couldn’t resist myself since we were at a red light, seemed like fate
There was a lot of red ink, stamping, because well of course we have our own “year of the rabbit” stamps, so wore out the previous red ink pad (which I really really liked) and ordered a new one, yeah it’s really the big time
Have acquired at least a dozen free calendars and placed each appropriately throughout the house, and in this case, in the kura (to be clear, there’s also one in the carport/workshop)
Of course, this dude was helping out with the stamping
Along with the “usual” high volume of standard New Year’s cards, were a few special dossiers, sent to folks needing a little spark, due to being shut, ins, hospitalized, suffering, loss, or otherwise did something very special. an opportunity to share some of my little arts and crafts to maybe inspire others.
Though our dear rabbit Maru-chan is featured on the new year card – because of course it is “year of the rabbit” – sadly, my design skills squished him in and he was often covered by a stamp required for postal delivery. I attempted to apologize and explain the situation – he just wants to sit by the fire. I think we’ll both be all right.
Thank you to all our wonderful correspondents, both sending and receiving is a pleasure

The next “big project” is getting ready for a trip #BCInvasion in April/May. Focus is “family, friends, parks, and gardens” 1st time for my darlings, and I’m a little intimidated to deal with lack of public toilets, tax/tips and other social connections, but will get through it. And yes, of course I’ve made a Google doc plan and “poster art”.