Watching my every each step
Is the task at hand
So i’ll watch yours instead
Watching my every each step
Is the task at hand
So i’ll watch yours instead
My darling Ryoko studies Japanese tea ceremony with a group of others from Okayama and Kurashiki. Recently i was invited along to a special tea-drinking session at her sensei Ms. Matsuke’s house (she’s moving house so wanted to do one last one shindig at her home).
We gather around, have some snacks and chat while setting up and then convene in a room to go through the process. As a new-un to the routine, i sketched a variety of quick scribbles to remind myself the process and find the moment of stillness (not always easy for this eager fella). Brief notes accompany the sketches.
While me and Ryoko’s wedding will be a litttlllle bit unique, there are some very traditional aspects to our 3-day event, notably the Shinto ceremony at Munetada Jinjya (shrine).
This shrine is in the neighbourhood where Ryoko grew up and it is a day-to-day working shrine meaning its not a tourist attraction, rather they are active participants in the community and the usual place where folks go to ask for blessings on the birth of babies, safe travel, scholastic success and secret dreams.
I’ve studied the ceremony overview from the shrine with great interest (albeit with machine translation):
4. Aoi-no-gi (Cannabis) (Hai no Toi)
Ui no Uta (Cannabis) I will ask you before the ceremony. We will treat the bride and groom and all the guests with cannabis. During this time, keep your head down.
Here are a few more articles which provide a bit of background about the routine and background of Shinto weddings:
Furthermore, to prepare for the ceremony, i present a photo gallery of the shrine and grounds… beginning with the traditional Torii gate which separates the home of deity from the regular city life.
Phoneticized from Japanese by Ryoko (Fujita) Olson Note: copy provided for shrine for convenience of any future non-Japanese literate marriage candidates.
Hello to the people in the future,
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).
Perhaps you have already imagined the unsanitary nature of sharing a phone handset (placed next/close to ear and mouth of course) with strangers – though perhaps this increased “herd immunity” despite being rather unpleasant. Note that oftentimes the coin return slots were checked for forgotten change but the miner was surprised to find discarded chewing gum, or even-less-savoury items, instead.
This gallery is primarily Japan phone – both current working payphones, hotel house phones, house landlines, antique non-working artifacts and one from Indonesia, captured “in the wild”.
Additional volumes of similar collections provide additional examples – both international and domestic (to Canada / USA), as well as additional examples of hotel “house” phones. Continue reading Collection: Payphones (vol. 6) – assorted varieties / Japan, etc.
Thank you card for guests wedding party and gift-givers everywhere – design by Dave and Ryoko
So many trains, various accoms, pals, museums & kisses. Back where we started at Tsuchida cottage, Okayama.
Next up: spouse visa application, so many thank you cards & documentation (scrapbooks, photos, archiving), and fixing up our lil home (and more kisses)
Update: May 24, 2019
Spouse visa underway! Immigration office was well… an immigration office and not very pleasant but we jumped through appropriate hoops, scribbled necessary information, turned in various photos and the like and celebrated with a burger.
One of our objectives on the honeymoon ramble was to visit and pay respectful greetings to various friends including bringing bespoke bizen-yake saké cups and various paper artifacts from the wedding.
Here are a few snapshots from these meeting to document and enjoy.
First off, wise Hongo Sensei in Noto, Ishikawa. Ichiro was Ryoko’s professor and mentor at Nihon University including a few international trips to Indonesia and Russia.
In Noto (at the end of a peninsula jutting into the Sea of Japan), we stayed at his home in a refurbished fishing boat / fish processing building right on the port (required extensive fixing up after an earthquake/tsunami in 2011 iirc). He took us for a beach picnic and small museums about fisheries and Jomon-period life.
We also went to a local fish auction – while there are big popular auctions in Tokyo etc, this was relatively small and just local vendors and buyers.
This gentleman is so nuanced in his actions and we enjoyed the visit tremendously. His wife (though struggling with some age-related health issues) was so kindly and sweet to us (especially checking in on me when feeling affects of my illness).
Next was a quick visit with effervescent Ed and beautiful Naomi and friend in Nozawa (Iiyama), Nagano. Ed (British with crazy adventures in Indo to share) and Naomi (German/Japanese) run 2 live aboard dive sailboats exploring Komodo island national park area in an ecological-appropriate manner.
They recently purchased a house in Nozawa Onsen (close to Iiyama town) and then did renovation to emphasize the classic Edo/Taisho-era features (rather than late-Showa-era remodel), and make a little more sized to their height. Their friend was visiting and her and Naomi had just returned from a soak at one of the dozzzzzens of area hot springs.
Then a visit i’ve waited 25 years for… I met the legend Steve in the tiny village Gonda (population 3) in the early 1990s and spend some months with him learning the ways of the forest including mountain vegetables, harvesting rice, tending goats and whatnot. I’ve lost track of him when letters came back undelivered, but… due to the magical internet, i reconnected and found him (after a few wrong turns) living in Kurohime, Shinano.
A former USN radio man, Steve has lived in Japan mostly since early 1980s, the last few years – after a return to the US to tend to fmaily business – he renovated a country house with a large garden, bordering on national park and next to some graves. With him, we ate local soba and visited haiku-master Issa Kobayashi’s home/museum.
He played us some music, told a million stories, wrote us a poem and sent us home with a batch of musical instruments for our collection.
Poem from Steve:
Okayama came two,
With sunshine smiles, they brought too,
Springtime’s bounty, new.
Also there was lovely Misae who i last saw when she was about 6 years old. Somehow she remembers me and served us lovely food including pickled beets. She has had many adventures including sojourns in Italy, Germany, India and so on. She send us on our way with a book of poetry by Pablo Neruda and many handmade treats for our hotel room picnics.
Then came a visit to Niigate at Atemi mountain resort where Ryoko worked in the summers during university days. We took many onsen baths, ate a load of food and visited with Mr. Jiro who glowed with happiness and is the type of fella who can do/fix/repair/wrangle anything.
Bonus: and met some new friends on Hanayome Noren scenic train who have a connection of Kurashiki, the Edo-period trading and art town near us in Okayama.
Still-life of scrapbook assembly at a kisaten cafe (with coffee and snacks), Toyama i think. Continue reading In my natural habitat… / Shinkonryoko Ramble
Cafe named for warmth
Presents 3 bread variations
Space for belonging, me and you