15 Days to Freedom Day 3
Istanbul, 1981

Dear Zissy,

I’ve found a problem with my system for productivity. I haven’t done anything since 1979, and it took me nearly fifteen minutes to find a pen to write to you with.
It was in the refrigerator.

Edmund tells me that I need to find meaningful work, but his situation is similar to mine except that he seems to enjoy himself more. He he’s been trying to create games to play in the yard. He spends hours outside with balls and sticks and clubs, hanging nets from the trees, stringing ropes across the garden, and filling his ‘rulebook’ with undescipherable gibberish.

His obsession with creating the perfect backyard game gave me an idea as well.

It started with one neighborhood dog, which I spotted in our yard. When I went to shoo him out, he hunched back and made his mess right in the middle of Edmund’s grid, between what Edmund was calling ‘the hook line’ and ‘the guardian line’.

With a single piece of chicken, I was able to entice three more mutts into our yard to do their business on Edmund’s playing field. Suddenly, my idea began to solidify and take shape.

When Edmund returned from the hardware store carrying what he planned to use to create a new kind of sports equipment, I left the house through the front door with a stack of flyers for my new dogsitting service.

Over the next week, I had as my clients all of the biggest, meanest animals I could find with which to mess up Edmund’s pitch.

Unfortunately, Edmund is allergic to dogs, so he was not very keen on my little joke. So, I took down my flyers and returned all of the animals to their owners. Then I used the money that I had made with my dogsitting business and bought bags of manure from the local horse farm.
Well, I am sorry Zissy, but I need to finish this letter soon. This pen is running out of ink and I’m unable to find another one.

Please come and visit us at the cottage sometime. We’ll have a cookout in the back yard.


J. Ozawa

I’ll scour the bazaars for useless trinkets to sell


Day 2
Istanbul, 1975

Dearest Zissy,

I’ve got some good news and some bad news. First, the bad news: I’m going to be in Istanbul for a long time unless I can figure a way out. The good news is that Edmund is enjoying his new bald pate. I was concerned that it would take much longer for him to forgive me for that little stunt, but I explained to him that it was merely a performance piece.

Horace is growing up quickly. He’ll be three years old in a couple of days. The other day he figured out how to turn on the vaccuum cleaner to blow balloons across the room.

Clever little man.

Anyway, back to the business of this letter. I’ve undertaken a 15 Day challenge in experiential living during which I’ll redefine myself and emerge a new man at the end.

This morning I had my juice and dry toast as promised, followed by coffee and simit with cream cheese.

I took a stroll by the seaside in Kadikoy and watched some ferries go by like some kind broken-hearted sissyboy. I write this because there were in fact no fewer than five broken-hearted sissyboys within ten meters of me. I asked them to make sure. Broken hearts are somehow drawn to that place like flies would be to a honeyed turd.

I’ll take my strolls elsewhere, thank you very much.

For the second day of the challenge, I’m required to define some actions necessary to achieving my goal, which is of course to become unstuck from this place and to never be so stuck again.
To that end, I’ll need to rely on the Turkish post office, that one-armed trapeeze artist of an institution, and the bazaars.

I’ll vow to master the ropes and misplace my trust within 24 hours.

Until then, I’ll leave you with this lovely picture of Edmund’s mother.

J. Ozawa

Dry toast, juice, and rigorous kinesthetics


15 Days to Freedom Blog Challenge Day 1
Istantul, 1968

 Dearest Zissy,
There’s a silent pall over the cottage these days. Since the death of Edmund’s television, that is. Now the poor old fruit just sits in his corner of the kitchen and drinks wine. He starts at around noon, when his stomach has sufficiently recovered from the previous night’s abuse. Then at around three, he sweetly asks me to go to the butcher or the bread shop, and, “Oh, by the way, if I could pick up a bottle of wine or two for our evening meal…”

Our home has become so littered with discarded corks and clanking bottles that I actually miss the squawking thing. The bakelite shell of the thing is still there on the floor of our living room where I kicked it off of the table. I’ve been told not to touch it, which is comical to me as I was never permitted to touch it in the first place.

In fact, I only ever touched it once, and that was with my foot.

Now it is a cruel monument to remind him that he will either need to pay attention to his life or go further into the bottle. He’s choosing the latter.

Nevermind. Better seen and not heard.

You might wonder what makes me so callous towards someone as nice as Edmund, or what caused me to destroy an innocent piece of household equipment. It would be difficult to try and explain because I simply can’t – except to say that I would like for us to live more experientially and outside of that small rectangle of white noise, which I believe is mostly responsible for keeping us indoors and away from the company of others.

While arguing this point with Edmund, our conversation became a pitched battle for idealogical dominance in our small home, with both sides slurring their words into nonsensical alphabet soup until we almost came to blows over whether or not we should listen to the radio more, ride bicycles or use cars, use organc soap or meditate, and get matching tattoos, and so on.
I’m only glad that there is no record of that evening’s conversation except for that unfortunate television.

So that is how it happened.

Today is the first day of what I’m calling my experiment in experiential living.
The house is silent. I’ve made amends with my friend. I’m having a nice breakfast.

God bless us all, every one of us.

-J. Ozawa

Pummelled for a time


Istanbul, 1981

To Batuhan the Fiend,

Caffeine is the devil, or so I’ve often said. I put my faith in it regularly and so should you.
I was extremely glad to hear that you’ve purchased a dancing bear from a camp of traveling gypsies as a way to promote your new online course about how to make money while being extremely stupid. It’s going to be a fitting end for you. It’s going to take a lot of money to feed that bear, and given the effectiveness of your so-called system, I’m sure that the raging beast will be taking a bite out of your ass.
Then it’s going to do a dance.
So will I.
Your friend in greed,
J. Ozawa

Surgically removed democracy


Istanbul, 1964

Dear Caitlyn,

I received the news that those plastic, robbing ghouls who run our country went begging for votes again yesterday, and it makes me sad that they didn’t all capsize on a leaky boat. Life could be so much grander if more of them had opportunities to drown.

I  have been working very hard to extract myself from my current situation, as Istanbul provides far too many opportunities for excitement. Why, just the other day on my way to school, I wasn’t nearly hit by bus. Being of sound mind, I hesitated before walking into speading traffic and the Turkish gentleman to the left of me stole my opportunity from me and nearly trimmed his moustache with the rickety bus as it passed. You often hear about the dangers of Turkish trafffic and I would tell you that, no, it is not dangerous at all. It is merely a means for people here to have a little fun on their way to work.

Please Dear Caitlyn, send me more news  from home, as I haven’t heard anything about you and your wonderful family in quite some time.


J. Ozawa



Frightened by cows


November, 1973


Dear Sam –

Thank you for the gift of your grandfather’s rusted old service revolver to celebrate the sale of my new e-book, “How to make money the fast and stupid way like any complete idiot can,” though I cannot say it has been put to good use.

Quite the opposite, in fact, according to the unfortunate old milk cow and her irate owner who is also our irate neighbor. The poor girl got her tail shot off while she was bumping around in the garden and fled. Who knows, through the veil of early morning brume over my eyes what that massive shape seemed to me, for I certainly don’t remember the moments before I fired the weapon into it and heard a horrific, sickening sound as I had never heard before and witnessed the weird bleeding hulk careening throught the fence at a full gate toward the city proper where it was most likely butchered.

That’s right Sam, I shot a cow, and because of that we have no milk. No one within a square mile can seem to find anything to dip their cookies into anymore and my apologies are falling on the deaf ears of the milkless people all around around me. Now I must use the month’s earnings on my new book to buy a new animal.

If I were less rational, I would be quite sore at you, dear Sam, for giving me this accursed old piece, but I realize I can only be sore at myself for accepting it and then firing it into my garden while half asleep.

Alas, I am off to the market to buy a cow.

Good wishes, wholeheartedly,

J. Ozawa

Old Stamboul…


Istanbul, 1974

My Dearest Harry,

Old ‘Stamboul is on my head, and the tastes and smells of it are making life quite difficult. Ostensibly, the family business has me here in search of carpets and spices, but I rather think it is punishment for being drunk and standing on the table during that eerie week when all of the town shops closed and everyone suffered from rickets.

None of that was my fault. I thought father said, ‘crickets’.

Nevertheless, as I am here, I am managing to eke some small level of enjoyment out of it. The music is lively and there are many interesting characters. I am currently trying to teach them all English, but I am beginning to suspect that things ought to be the other way around.


J. Ozawa

I hope this letter finds you well


October, 1963

My Dearest Humboldt –

Martha has once again chained herself hopelessly and inextricably to the rail of the family frigate, and rather than damage a perfectly well-functioning chain or rail by the act of sawing through it, father has decided to demonstrate the folly of this means of protest by having her acompany him and his crew on their voyage up the coast of Maine.

The  dust has settled since we last saw you – grandfather is calm now and has begun making soft cooing sounds again, but for a time, his situation appeared quite grave. When he brought out his old card table and magic kit, the din in the house was hardly bearable as he was blocking the television.

The Colonel is here now for his weekly visit with Edward, and he’s requested some of mother’s fine preserves. With your permission, we would like to enter the cellar to retrieve a jar or two.

If you like, you are welcome to join us upstairs.



J. Ozawa