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?”
What follows are public telephones created in a time when phones did not roam freely and in pockets.
To make a call, one would either enter a specially-created booth (or box), or simply stand close by as the receivers were tethered to the phone unit by a short cord, then insert a variety of coins depending on the location called (local, domestic or international) or in some cases, use a purpose-made phone card, or even a credit card (though doing so often exposed one to fraudulent actors).
So it goes, the festive season passes yet calendar stays busy with the usual sorts of things. Yesterday included returning books to splendid library, a few letters (Switzerland and Indonesia) to the post office, a stop for the best ramen, and a visit to a chiropractor and then a super good little (i mean little) coffee shop – like just perfect right?
In amongst, we repaired/re-did a wall in Tsuchida Cottage, attended a parenting class(!), went to opera variety show, hit up Hatsumi-san’s piano recital, moved some brick around outside, printed more flyers for Mae Maes gig, talked to a guy about replaced some drafty windows, recycled plastic items, booked a trip to Nagasaki…
Here is a variety of snippets collected along the way, with minor annotations as possible.
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.