neighbors down the street

so the universe conspired yet again. 

today i woke up at 1:30 am to facetime my little light & the birthday boy, my nephew. this 2 year old is growing quick on us all....however, his growth reminded me of the fleeting nature of absolutely everything. the time is now. savor every moment. i will never experience this now, this moment ever again. nothing is permanent...nothing is certain...i understand in so many ways the power of religion. but i swallow this uncertainty, i think. enjoying the ride is all. 

went back to bed & woke up at 9 am to make myself a spanking delicious breakfast that left me inspired all day. originally i was going to make kabocha nimono. then i put in a lot of dashi, or broth, & shazzemn. i got myself a rich, creamy-without-the-cream kabocha soup. the flavors were so rich & the recipe oh so simple! just boil some kabocha in dashi. after the kabocha was soft, i added some shoyu, mirin, cooking sake, & a secret bit of miso paste...then some silken tofu! i added all of these ingredients to taste. & it was dank, especially topped with some fresh green onions, grown locally from my area. 

i ate my soup with a small salad - local mizuna, not so local tomatos, & sprouts. of course i had a chawan of hot, fresh, sweet japanese rice...this okame fresh from miyama, in my area. being in japan & being spoiled by kyuushoku, or japanese school lunch, i have totally began to appreciate the simple yet soulful hot bowl of freshly cooked rice. the delicate, natural sweetness...the comforting warm fluff...smitten. 

i then went to my japanese lesson & talked to my sensei aka a homegrown local about what this kyoto countryside town was like prior to the big mall, markesu. he told me there were oodles of local, family-owned shops. he missed the kutsuya (shoe store) which also doubled as an umbrella store. he also loved the fresh tofuya. funny concept that even touches the countryside of japan...i mean shit they don't got a train station here, but they do sho got a mc-adeez. 

the rest of the day i continued to revel in my present. i drove around my countryside town, turning on dirt roads in the middle of tall dry grasslands, driving down empty streets with a landscape of farmland & factory structures, cruising through the mountainside of tall lanky trees that are the real-life miyazaki film trees. i stumbled through this one part of town (by town i mean country) & noticed all of these cute fairy tale sherwood forest type homes...little cute cabins in the straight up cuts. 

i drove by this rad building with handmade wood railings & crazy cool ceramic ufo heads...i had to peep game. i put my car in park, & asked the man working on the windows on the top floor of the house if it they were open in my very poor japanese. i told him sorry i only spoke a little japanese, but he replied with "yes, open!" i walked into the coziest was truly a dream. the whole home was made from log joinery & the well-lit home was warmed up by the old school fireplace. this older couple greeted me & i realized, i was in an art gallery & ceramics studio. 

this couple used to have jobs in business & so forth, but quit their jobs in their latter 50s & moved to the country to create their arts. bunchan makes incredible ceramics that have this funky, yet wabi sabi aesthetic. some of my favorite pieces of his were the huge plates that were made of separate pieces of ceramic, joined together with this gold glaze. the texture was rough & imperfect with deep earthy tones & the occasional turquoise glazed pieces. yet these plates were so simply pleasing. keichan does patchwork & takes old kimonos, fabrics - including suede & leather - & creates these incredible bags & quilts. 

we all sat down together & enjoyed a cup of coffee & chatted about life. we talked about how japan & japanese americans are majority mixed, & kombucha & the 70s. we shared art & i showed them this website & my pieces. it was a beautiful meeting of spirits. we have all met somewhere before, i know it. 

i headed back on the road (aka 10 minutes from my house) & rolled up to the dopest space of my literal dreams. 

the front was a huge stained glass piece of a spiraling serpent, & the building had a mushroom style front...there was a stained glass tank colorful & psychedelic as hell with "hype war" spelled on it. um...this was narnia & this is my immediate neighborhood.

two younger children exited the main house, shouting innocently about life. & two young parents were scurrying around the kids, corralling them to the stained glass studio. i greeted the family in my, again, english-japanese & they kindly invited me into the mushroom stained glass castle / lord of the rings bunker studio. 


i walked in, & shit myself with straight up excitement. what the fuck. the next hour & a half i was just spewing : "oooooh my gawd" "holey moley!" "no way!" "COOL!" "sugei!" "sugoi!" "HONMA?!" "MECHAKUCHA URESHI YO!" "kakkoii!"

the stained glass studio had the inspiring works of pucci & sippo, two yung creators that carved this space out from straight up scratch. both of them from bigger cities / towns of japan, they relocated to the countryside for whatever reason i couldn't understand (they were speaking japanese & my comprehension is still 2nd year middle school level). middle fingers, big macs, the american dolla bill o n e, doraemon, mickey mouse, wall moose, eyeballs, incredible skull stained glass pieces. i bought their stained glass pieces at the nearby abandoned school turned community center. but finally, i was in their studio. there were turn tables with all the records on deck, an old stereo boombox painted with hella graphics & nostalgic scenes of the 80s. there were old arcade machines, & skateboard decks on decks on decks, painted with radical messages & designs. 

a class was in session, aka 2 people, aka they're flexible as fawk, so i roamed with pucci & his two kids around their home. the huge stained glass tank amazed me, as with the dope ass truck with a stained glass hatchback thang with skateboard door handles. he & the kids walked me up behind the studio & the house & showed me their private studio. the artistry & colorful creations were out of this fucking country. i felt like i was on acid, even if i never tried it before. he then took me to the way back of the house. he showed me his home-made skateboard half tube & the muthafuckin' treehouse to be. these kids were literally living my damn dream.

for the next hour or so i kicked it with pucci & the kids & pucci showed me his creations from 19 years ago...the freshest muthafuckin' rides in all of japan on some trill shit. these whips were too sick. 

i left jahpon land, the name of their studio & business, after giving the kids my hand-drawn stickers & exchanging obnoxious, goofy faces & giggles & high fives. these kids were so damn genki & cute, they truly brought blasts of rainbows & iridescent sparkly confetti into my day. 

can't believe this place existed outside of my little dreams.

the rest of the day, i drank loads of water & drove through the backroads of my very large country town. windy roads of fields & tall trees, huge mountains & valleys of old skool japanese homes...the most beautiful part was rolling up one of the hills to peep the bright sun behind the low hanging clouds in the middle of winter...a rare sight indeed.