Vancouver Election

My mother told me that Japanese Canadians didn’t always have the right to vote, so I should never take that for granted.

This year, the Vancouver Election seemed especially complicated with so many independents and new parties.

So I actually read through the blurbs of each candidate. Now I wasn’t that meticulous or thorough but I was looking for impressions.

On my first pass, I eliminated people who supported things I was not so keen on.

Then of those, I jotted down points they made that I agreed with and I sorted them by the number of points I agreed with.

If they were tied, I would review the points and decide which ones I preferred.

So I had a list of people I was at comfortable voting for.

It turned out they were from a variety of parties.

I thank all the candidates for participating.

Congratulations to whomever gets in. I don’t know what they should do, so I hope they can figure that out.

Nikkei Matsuri

I took transit to the Nikkei Centre in Burnaby for some stimulation. The normally quiet garden where seniors play gateball was jam packed with people lining up for Japanese street food, as kids hoisted the portable shrine and marched around to the beat of a drum. Inside, with admission, more games and food and gifts for sale, as dancers danced on stage. And the museum featured Kayla Isomura's sobering exhibit featuring photographs of what Nikkei descendants would take with them if they were to be suddenly uprooted today, providing an intriguing perspective on the role of historical consciousness.

LMME#18 was wonderful

 I enjoyed every moment of the second annual Lower Mainland Museum Educators Conference hosted at the Space Centre, the Vancouver Museum and the Maritime Museum. I led a session on designing a photo op. I learned things from every session, including my own — models for science communication, developing educational history kits, building relationships with communities. I felt better for meeting every person I met. Museum educators are the best, probably because they are “not in it for the money.” Sadly, as much as I savour nonmaterialism, this no doubt narrows the field of who can afford to participate.

Kizuna

I volunteered to have my hair cut by Japanese performance artist Yoriko Gillard at the Nikkei Centre. She explores the idea of kizuna, one's connections to others and in this case, issues related to trust. The barber I had in Japan always did an amazing job, and I transferred that trust to her. She was skilled as a stylist, respectful as an artist, and thoughtful as a speaker. I didn't really know what I was getting myself into, but it was an unexpectedly moving, thought-provoking experience. Later, however, my daughter said I looked like the leader of North Korea.

#VCLR Ashley Spires Illustrator Breakfast

I enjoyed Ashley Spires talk about her work at the Vancouver Children’s Literature Round Table Illustrator Breakfast. Her passion for creating books was inspiring. She admitted to emotional ups and downs depending on how well her work goes. Her experiences finding and sharing her personal truth and working with artistic integrity. She seems to be a driven sort of person. She pushed herself to get the training she needed to be a book illustrator, put in a lot of work to strengthen her chops. Maybe this is the kick in the pants I need to up my game.

Beautiful Brain

The Belkin gallery at UBC had a exhibition called The Beautiful Brain, featuring drawings by Spanish neuroscience pioneer Santiago Ramon y Cajal, who won the Nobel Prize in 1906. This collection of eighty ink drawings show remarkable detail, and reflect his developing understanding of neurons, back when it was not clear that neurons were even a thing. His visual explorations are him thinking about what he has seen  through a microscope with innovative stain techniques. I could not really absorb it all, but I was intrigued by this demonstration of drawing as thinking and science in action.

Pacific National Exhibition

This was the last year r can get into the PNE for free. This year, she and her friend wandered around on their own and met back at the appointed place, and almost the appointed time. L and I were able to see things on our own, like the Toy exhibit, giant bugs, and the bees and livestock, which we might have done otherwise, but at least we could take our time and without the whining. I was able to eat chicken waffle and chicken feet. But maybe child supervision would have saved us from buying the expensive Titanium cookware.

Internment as Art

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On stage at the Firehall theatre, I was intrigued by this half hour panel ranging in experience and perspective, moderated by Sally Ito, a scholar, poet and translator with whom I'd done a reading. I'd seen Matt Miwa interview his elders about their experiences at Hastings Park and Tashme. Afterward, I saw Yoshie Bancroft perform in The Japanese Problem, a theatrical interpretation she created about being incarcerated in Hastings Park. Jay Rubin translated Haruki Murakami, but here he spoke of his novel about Japanese Americans during the War. I'd read Joy Kogawa's Obasan and her most recent Gently to Nagasaki.

Powell Street Festival

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At Oppenheimer Park, I fortified myself with a BBQ Salmon dinner and a spam musubi. Enthusiastic volunteers helped me set up my Story building workshop and brought families to participate, as a shamisen bluegrass band performed at the Diamond Stage. Nearby, people lined up to dress as giant sushi and sweaty people paraded a big ornamental omikoshi. I was privileged to read my picture book Peach Girl with poet and scholar Sally Ito on the Street Stage with announcers in English and Japanese. Heard Nisei jichans share internment stories, then Katie Malia joke about mixed expectations. So many Nikkei delights.

Kichirano Walking Tour

We had a sunny day and about a dozen people arrive on time for the Walking tour I was giving about the community of Japanese Canadians who lived in Kitsilano  before the Second World War. Hardly any buildings remain from that time because of redevelopment, so we rely on archival photos, stories and wit. Even though my family did not have direct connections to this neighbourhood I was still able to make connections between their experiences and those of others in this area. Some of the participants also shared their own knowledge, which made it an interesting opportunity for me.

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