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Mementos: Japan Hitch-hiking journey flashback

Japan hitch-hiking: holding a sign for Muroto in the southern tip of Shikoku
Japan hitch-hiking: holding a sign for Muroto in the southern tip of Shikoku

In 1993-4, I worked as a mushroom farmhand in Tottori-ken (prefecture), a rather remote area of Japan (southwestern-ish Honshu). The work was long and arduous and the boss was a jerk so, I eventually split unannounced one day.

Determined to explore some of the country before my visa ran out, I stuck my thumb-out seeking a “bouken” (adventure) after making destination signs by copying place name kanji characters onto 100 yes store notebooks with crayon and decorating with some lucky words and stamps (not sure if this helped).

Hitch-hiking isn’t very common in Japan but by sticking to rural areas – including the traditional “o henrosan dori” (the pilgrim’s path) on Shikoku (the smallest of the 4 main islands of the Japanese archipelago) which has seen many wandering poets, seekers and prayers over centuries – I skidded along alright.

Getting rides in the country areas was usually rather quick but often times, the ride would insist of showing “hospitality” in form of taking to their hometown to show off “the thing their town is famous for” (of which every town has one thing). Not ideal for fast moving but well… the take the ride, you go where it goes. Getting between big cities along the expressways was much less enjoyable and relied on waiting around rest/service areas in these cases.

I pitched my small tent most anywhere (beaches, shrines, parks etc) much the chagrin of caretakers and so on who would scold aloud in the early hours. In these situations, I poked my shaggy head out of the tent flap and yammered confused apologies in my farmer Japanese – this tactic would usually confuse the situation into submission.

Some of the time I was accompanied by a mysterious and intrepid Japanese surfer girl who thought my ridiculous plan was worth trying. I liked this part.

What follows are a few pieces of photographic evidence from these journeys, snapped with an early generation panorama camera – but developed “normal aspect” hence black framing bars on some shots.

Japan hitch-hiking: this ride insisted on a side trip to his hometown which featured a natural water source hot enough to boil eggs (in a mesh pouch) - also made said eggs rather smelly
Japan hitch-hiking: this ride insisted on a side trip to his hometown which featured a natural water source hot enough to boil eggs (in a mesh pouch) – also made said eggs rather smelly

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Collection: Typewriters – Olympia SM3

Typewriter: Olympia, in Pe Ell WA (Dave's personal)
Typewriter: Olympia, in Pe Ell WA (Dave’s personal)

This lovely typewriter was found at a second-hand/grocery/miscellany store in the small town of Pe ELL, WA, USA (population approx 650) for around $20.

I was travelling light at the time but couldn’t resist the purchase, along with a large suitcase, both of which i then clumsily hauled around for the rest of my wander. By the time i returned “somewhere” i had to stash in storage and disappear again. As such,  i’ve never *actually* sat down and typed something substantial with this lovely machine as yet,…

Typewriter: Olympia (hardshell case) in Pe Ell WA
Typewriter: Olympia (hardshell case) in Pe Ell WA (Dave’s personal)

Comes with a grey clamshell case, though this machine is not “portable” per se, its a heavy metal beast with a wonderful burgundy-ish powdercoat.

Continue reading Collection: Typewriters – Olympia SM3

Memory book: GD50 for brother Dan

Memory book: GD50 for brother Dan
Memory book: GD50 for brother Dan / tile mosaic from Terrapin Crossroads (cover)

Brother Dan and I went to Grateful Dead’s 50th anniversary (and final) shows – 2 in Santa Clara, California and 3 in Chicago, Illinois. We roadtripped the whole she-bang from Vancouver, BC to Olympia, WA to Pacifica, Santa Clara, then Las Vegas to Provo where we switched vehicles and rode with some pals across the midwest (camping in an epic storm in Nebraska along the way). We hit all 5 shows and enjoyed the community and music.

Other stops included Phil Lesh’s Terrapin Crossroads in San Rafael California and Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado to see Neil Young and Promise of the Real. We parted ways in SLC as i had to head to rescue a broken RV in Mendocino (unsuccessfully as it turns out) and Dan headed back to BC.

Along the way, stopped at various craft breweries, made loads of arts and crafts (including an massive scrapbook of ephemera, road poetry, set lists, newspaper clipping and other sundries) and a series of photos by Lomo camera. Also documented a series of two-fer photos of us enjoying beers or joints or scenery and the company of conspirators. Several of these became a “memory book” i created (via an online publishing service) for Dan as a wee present. When visited his home, i snapped quick shots of the pages (note to self: take better ones next time). Here the are the lousy pics of an otherwise lovely book – for my amusement and your curiosity.

Memory book: GD50 for brother Dan
Memory book: GD50 for brother Dan / at Ninkasi Brewing garden in Eugene, OR

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Mementos: Japan Misasa Onsen town

Misasa, Pétanque tournament, with Mayor, circa 1993
Misasa, Pétanque tournament, with Mayor, circa 1993

“You can’t go home again” says Thomas Wolfe, and i’m cool with that as i don’t have a “home” however, there a few spots in the world that i always yearn to return to – one of which is Misasa Onsen, a small mountain town in Tottori-ken (prefecture) Japan(note: pop. approx 6500) which boasts hotsprings with exceptionally high levels of Radon/Radium (is this good for you? i dunno, not a chemist – note: radon is the gas-form).

They folklore says (as per the town’s name which translates to “Three Mornings”) that staying and bathing here for three days will cure you of all your ills. As Radium was discovered by French scientist Marie Curie, the town celebrates all things France with a statue, festival and park dedicated to the wise lady, and other Franco-accruements.

Misasa, Kawara rotenburo with Bob, circa 1993
Misasa, Kawara rotenburo with Bob, circa 1993

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Towns and Trains: Chiang Mai > Phitsanulok (2016) – Lomo photos (colour)

Towns and Trains: Phitsanulok station, trackside
Towns and Trains: Phitsanulok station, trackside

When i visit Thailand, i fly into Chiang Mai – a bustling olden city in the north area, rather than Bangkok which is just too much city for countryboy me. Then i head for the city of Phitsanulok, (Pits-NOH-loh) in central Thailand which is a workaday, very “normal” city for medical treatment (Phitsanulok life is detailed elsewhere in a similar fashion.

I travel by train – either a 1960s era Japanese model or a new Chinese-built machine with folding beds for the nighttime journey. Along the way, i write poetry and gaze out the window (poetry series Towns and Trains is – or might be – elsewhere in this archive).

What follows are snaps taken by a Lomo La Sardina (sardine can) camera loaded with expired film snapped from a moving train for no particular reason aside to see what happens and capture the washes of colour fleeting by as i roll, as well as a few folks i encountered along the way and a few places i slept or soaked.

Towns and Trains: house from window
Towns and Trains: house from train window

Continue reading Towns and Trains: Chiang Mai > Phitsanulok (2016) – Lomo photos (colour)

Post’d: Greetz from Elsewhere (postal dispatches, Dec. 2015) vol. 6

Greetz from Elsewhere: you can see Laughs
Greetz from Elsewhere: you can see Laughs

A rather large batch of handmade cards made from excerpts from my Fck Stats, Make Art dossiers (heroes and metaphors), scraps for poetry, and  pre-franked stamps from Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North), collaged on white stock, with personal (albeit cryptic) notes scribbled, and sent somewhat anonymously (with assistance from a friend) to unsuspecting folks who seemed in need of a little pick-me-up parable to remind they are remarkable and executing noteworthy import-ness.

Displayed in batches, with limited annotations.

Greetz from Elsewhere: Re: Amsterdam canals – be sure to jot down the name (pencil and marker on paper)
Greetz from Elsewhere: Re: Amsterdam canals – be sure to jot down the name (pencil and marker on paper)

Continue reading Post’d: Greetz from Elsewhere (postal dispatches, Dec. 2015) vol. 6

Collection: Typewriters – Underwood Universal

Typerwriter: Underwood (Dave's personal)
Typerwriter: Underwood Universal / in case, needing a cleaning (Dave’s personal)

This Underwood Universal was a gift to me when i was about 19 in 1989 living in my VW camper bus. Already well-used, this is/was the typewriter which guided me to love the analog touch and immediacy of a solid metal machine. And its made in Canada like me.

What follows are a few annotation about this machine and the creative works produced with its lovely keys.

Typerwriter: Underwood Universal / detail for ribbon and keys (Dave's personal)
Typerwriter: Underwood Universal / detail for ribbon and keys (Dave’s personal)

While i had always had typewriters around (like me, my Mom and Grandpa were always making newsletters and other projects), they were usually the new electronic models of the day with “ball” type interfaces or the “wheel” kind. Of course, both required electricity which wasn’t an option for me in the van (most of the time anyhow). As such, me and this charming machine spent hours alone as i banged out postcards, missives and manifestos. No evidence handy from that era.

Continue reading Collection: Typewriters – Underwood Universal

Post’d: Greetz from Elsewhere (postal dispatches, Dec. 2015) vol. 5

Greetz from Elsewhere: Go further to explore interestingness
Greetz from Elsewhere: Go further to explore interestingness

A rather large batch of handmade cards made from excerpts from my Fck Stats, Make Art dossiers (heroes and metaphors), scraps for poetry, and  pre-franked stamps from Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North), collaged on white stock, with personal (albeit cryptic) notes scribbled, and sent somewhat anonymously (with assistance from a friend) to unsuspecting folks who seemed in need of a little pick-me-up parable to remind they are remarkable and executing noteworthy import-ness.

Displayed in batches, with limited annotations.

Greetz from Elsewhere: My coordinates are my own but my sentiments are yours, with admirations and affection
Greetz from Elsewhere: My coordinates are my own but my sentiments are yours, with admirations and affection

Continue reading Post’d: Greetz from Elsewhere (postal dispatches, Dec. 2015) vol. 5

Post, deliver’d: Dossiers, completing journey through wormhole (July 2018)

Adam says: An offering of fine poetry and pleasing imagery, DaveO, for which our family is happy as punch to have received… (Further perused under yonder Utah Juniper avec frosty barley pop bevvey) Namaste, Uncle Weed!

Carol says: Fantastic meaningful interesting package arrived from afar! Big Thanks

Mark says, “I wish everyone knew the unique pleasure of receiving a letter from . Now the pressure is on to create something even half as cool to send halfway around the world!”

Colleen says, “my friends send the best mail. this needs a frame”

Cameron says, “When I came home the girls shared with me their theory that you are an international spy and there are hidden meanings in the poems and paintings. It’s a pretty solid theory.”

Cheryl says: A treasure-trove of visual and tactile delights and pure joy came through my door mail slot from far away today…inside the outer envelope more beautiful envelopes of hand-made treasures with varieties of paper and delicate folds with rubber stamps and personal art with writing goodness…all strewn out over my bed in pure visual delight.  Big hugs, Dave! What a beautiful, rich package of sensory gems!!!  Thank you ever SO much! I LOVE it! Grateful to be the lucky recipient of such precious, exquisite postal mail!