Tag Archives: Istanbul

Riding a Scooter in Istanbul (we just took it to the mall)


Dearest Readers,
I have decided to post another video, this one of a day playing with our new scooter.
It’s difficult to decide whether or not to end this silly blog, or to try to reframe it in some way that someone may find relevant.

Here is a video that we made.. trying to find a place for a little kid to ride a scooter can be difficult in a big city like Istanbul.

A curious condition


Istanbul, 1970

Dearest Zissy,

I awoke this morning in a most curious condition: by the Kadikoy seaside with boiled oats, cold hard hardened spread intentionally all over me, my clothing in a neat pile nearby with a handwritten note, in Turkish, in a sealed envelope. Seagulls swarmed around me, which gave me a start, and a crowd that had gathered both shielded their eyes and looked on in curiosity while I swatted and screamed to protect myself from those filthy birds, which had begun pinching and poking at my skin in a way that drew blood.

With screaching birds and onlookers screaming and laughing, I bounded over the rocky shore and submerged myself in the Bosphorus chased by children with sticks and street dogs.

The oatmeal mostly off of me, I begged and pleaded for my clothing, which had already been stolen, and at that exact moment of realization, utterances of ‘Polis geldi’ began to circulate through the quickly dispersing crowd.

Soon, I found myself being escorted by two reproachful policemen to a waiting car, still nude, oatmeal still in my hair. It was in the car where the letter was first opened. The police officers laughing and talking with each other and me not understanding a single word of it.

The men drove me approximately 50 meters and ordered me out of their car. They kept the letter. I heard them laughing still as their car rounded a corner and disappeared.

Thus, dear Zissy, with my time in Seattle having come to an end, I am quite sad to report that life has returned to normal since my return to Istanbul.


J. Ozawa

Day 10 – Nine Toes


The Screaming Turkey
The Screaming Turkey

Istanbul, 1978

Dearest Zissy,

My toe is over there, on the credenza, and I am thinking of you. There is nothing I would like more than to have you  here, comforting me and telling me that everything is going to be alright, but alas, I am alone with  Edmund and my remaining nine toes.

Edmund is in the salon with the shattered remains of our piano. He’d taken up trying to learn to play the piano again, so I took it upon myself to stop him because of the discomfort his playing caused to creatures great and small.

The crash and spectacle of the piano tumbling down a flight of stairs was extremely satisfying, although it destroyed the rail and most of the steps. I suspect that we’ll have to pay for that – even though I feel that I already have with my toe. I lost that because the piano became lodged just above the final step, and Edmund was good enough to attempt pushing it onto me.

Should you ever decide to come and visit us, please bring a hammer and some nails.


J. Ozawa

Beating back the dustbin


Day 9
Day 9

Istanbul, 1927

My Dearest Zissy,

Your new book arrived in the mail and I can’t express to you enough my deepest envy and admiration of your success and ability. It’s a wonderful piece of work and it’s very well done. Most notably of all, it’s big! I have no idea how such a massive thing gets produced.

Everything I’ve ever written amounts to a single pamphlet by comparison.

My system of writing is simple: I wake up in the morning and write about 300 words. Then I include illustrations from the day before.

Horace sometimes prevents me from drawing anything, so I have to use any other free time that I can find in the day. No free time means no illustration, as is the case today, so I’ll add one later. The priority is on having something written.

That is the system for now: Zero readership, zero emphasis on finding an audience. No special format for the time being. Only writing.

This is somehow freeing to me because it means creating a body of work that can be promoted later. I have it. It is mine. It is not a massive tome to be recognized or critiqued. Perhaps it will be found after I die and be unceremoniously tossed into the trash with my old photos trinkets. Maybe that’s the way it should be: “Without further ado” should be it’s title, and it should recieve no ado whatsoever.

Your book deserves tons of ado, because it weighs tons and there are so many of them in print. How many of them are there? 100,000? You should donate a copy to each of the public libraries in Istanbul. It sounds impressive! You’d get bragging rights and still have 99,987 copies left for your dustbin! Minus anything that’s been sold, you might still have enough to build a small pyramid, which I think is what we all actually want: A massive immovable blight on the landscape dedicated to our egoes, for all eternity. It’s the dream of beating the dustbin that’s ready to greet us all at the end.

Congratulations, Zissy, you may have actually beat the dustbin!

-J. Ozawa

My plan for the year



Istanbul, 1976

My Dearest Zissy,

Poor old Edmund has been lost in the winding, hilly streets of Istanbul for days and have no way to find him. The police have no information, and the proprieters of our usual haunts have long stopped speaking to us. Berfu, a colleague from the sanitarium, had been tasked with scouring the hospitals for any information but instead spent all of Tuesday pretending to be a doctor and stealing puddings from patients.

He suggested that Edmund may have been carried to Galata Tower by seagulls, so last night we had a lovely dinner there and saw a bellydance show.

As much as we would like to find Edmund, there are a few other things that I would like to get done this year. For one, I am planning a trip to Seattle this summer to see family and friends. Horace is very excited to see his grandparents and to have the opportunity to scream and throw fits in English rather than Turkish.

During that time, I wish to work on the more serious business of writing and publishing, as well as making people buy useless trinkets that they don’t really need in order to pay for the trip. Seattle is a comparatively expensive place, but it’s lovely. I am not one for big talk, but in a year I would like to move there.

The world is full of wonderful new challenges and opportunities, Zissy, and I hope that you are finding yours.

I don’t know when or if I will be able to see you again, but take care,

-J. Ozawa

From behind the electric fence


15 Days to Freedom Blog Challenge Day 4
Istanbul, 1971

Dearest Zissy,
We installed an electric fence for our mailman, but he proved himself to be an unshakable menace and we continued to get letters. It seems he’d purchased a set of thick rubber cloves and boots and sprang, catlike, over our barricade with his skinny old body and big bag of letters in tow.
Thus, it seems as though I have discovered the secret to getting the Turkish post office to work more effectively: Simply surround everything with electrified razor wire and perhaps some packs of barking dogs and rabid weasels for the purpose of trying to stop it.
At the very worst, the service we recieve from them would not change.
Edmund sends his love. Unfortunately, he is in the hospital with some injuries that he would rather I not tell you about.
Our poor,defeated fence is now inactive as well, and the mailman now taunts me on a daily basis by leaning against it and criticising my personage with foul language. It’s an extremely ugly show, and the neighbors have begun participating as well. It seems that we are not well liked.
With the fence broken, there is nothing between them and me. I suppose that I am partly to blame for it, since it was me who connected the fence to the copper plumbing in our home, thereby causing Edmund’s injury and injuries to some of our neighbors.
It is very hard to explain to them how such an act was funny, particularly with that minacious mailman leading the charge.
Please write back, I would love to learn more about what is happening with you. Did you get that new job you wanted?
Summer is upon us, Zissy, and it would be lovely if you would come to Turkey and visit us at the cottage.
Under Siege,
J. Ozawa



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

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