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Over 30,000 km it was Canada everywhere (21)
Soon after entering Ontario, I went off the highway to refuel. Along small lakes with lined up fancy houses and only Caucasians were to be seen, which was quite different than the rough landscape in Manitoba. People there seemed to be having peaceful quiet lives there.
I found a sign of First Nations on Highway 1 and turned into the unpaved way to it. It was getting dark. At a general store, I asked a permission to park my car to stay tonight. She gave me OK with smile, but I realised the next place was the port for a little ferry. After finishing supper, several people came to use it. Among them was heavily drunk man like the one I met at Pelican Narrows. He was better having a small talk and invited me to his home. I loved it but refrained from it. Next, a car stopped in the dark to wait for the ferry's arrival. I accosted the unseen driver who was next to his or her daughter, "Good evening. I'll stay tonight here, but I heard over the water is another First Nations. Why do you have two First Nations in such a small area?" Opened the automatic window of the daughter's side, she replied, "I don't know. I don't know what the government is thinking. This is their make. But why did you end up in such a place today?" Thus, I enjoyed a communication with presumably an Indian woman in a new car.
Until Thunder Bay, small fancy lakes continued. That landscape was not like that of prairie until then. Thunder Bay seemed quite a city before because it was the important traffic point in all direction in Canada. However, that was a small town, especially downtown. Calling to a hostel, they said they closed and told me another hostel in town. But it appeared that the hostel was very good with the helpful and cheerful landlady from Chicago.

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# by tetsu95jp | 2008-01-02 07:24 | 14.Ontario
Over 30,000 km it was Canada everywhere (20)
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# by tetsu95jp | 2008-01-01 09:14 | 13.Manitoba
Over 30,000 km it was Canada everywhere (19)
At Winnipeg, I'd already decided to go to a Japanese restaurant that the Grand Rapids' Korean guy recommended. Having brought the sliced Walleye, however, the owner chef refused to cook it for he was very busy for Saturday. His Sushi was really good but that's all. Walking back to the hostel in the dark, a stranger begged me money obstinately. Unwillingly handed to some extent, he claimed it was too short for him and his wife and threw away the notes and coins around. I re-started walking my way without looking back on. He did the same way. After a while, I threw away the Walleye on the green aside. What a hell town!
Indeed, Winnipeg looked like a gangsters' town in desert. At the hostel, a woman pointed at me and said, "Eskimo!" The hostel's persons are somewhat out of delicacies. Anyhow, I was frustrated and had another Japanese restaurant. It was run and cooked by Vietnamese. When I said to the young owner chef that I came here because I couldn't be satisfied with a Japanese restaurant, he wanted me to tell him what was wrong. Such a sincere attitude was the very thing Japanese people now lost and wanting not only in food area but also in every area. The confidence with their products deprived them from humble humanities.
The next stop for me was Steinbach, Manitoba, where was famous for its Mennonite community. Mennonite is a sect of Christianity originated in Europe in 14th century. Its movement had included Netherlands, Germany and East Europe and moved to North America. I ate a traditional lunch, Vereniki (perogy), Farmer Sausage and Cabbage Borscht Soup, which was also common at home now; their culture appeared the mixture between Northeast and Northwest Europe. Other than very religious as a rule to go to church every Sunday, they are quite ordinary farmers, teachers and Businesspersons. In short, they are doing their jobs according to the leads of God. At least, in my opinion, their lives of simplicity and fortitude are apart from bad aspects of Christianity which Indian people pointed out.
Highway 1 from around Winnipeg to the border to Ontario should be one of the most boring section of it. From the short woods around the soil covered the paved road made my car subtly shook. Nothing above it and nothing below it on the driving.

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# by tetsu95jp | 2007-12-31 08:23 | 13.Manitoba
Over 30,000 km it was Canada everywhere (18)
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# by tetsu95jp | 2007-12-30 07:27 | 13.Manitoba
Over 30,000 km it was Canada everywhere (17)
Well, still I was interested in how the European immigrants influenced this country. So I took my route to Gimli at the coast of Lake Winnipeg. It is said to be pioneered by Icelanders; however, here again it was so organised and established as tourist business that I was re-aware that Canada is taking care of every bit of its soil for sightseeing. Such as if amusement park is nothing but commonplace for me.
However, I was really impressed by the Icelander descendants' strong connections to their home country, which was shown on the exhibition of Iceland's ecological energy systems. Another thing I found was that Canadian people are really moving about this country; at the bar of my motel, I met a guy who was fisherman from Vancouver. According to him, the fish he could catch in Vancouver were so decreased that he came here to continue his business; it didn't matter whether it is on the sea or the lake provided that he could catch from a boat. I am afraid, however, I don't want to eat any fish caught in this contaminated lake.

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# by tetsu95jp | 2007-12-29 07:14 | 13.Manitoba
Over 30,000 km it was Canada everywhere (16)
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# by tetsu95jp | 2007-12-28 06:08 | 13.Manitoba
Over 30,000 km it was Canada everywhere (15)
I strolled around the Reserve with a camera. The atmosphere was more common than that of the Pelican Narrow. Focusing on a magnificent sunset, I accosted the group who were chatting on a veranda with can beers. They seemed to be neighbours. I asked about Grand Rapids where before the dam was built people had difficulty to cross the narrows.
Their ancestors used to be fishermen; however, after the construction of the dam in '60s the amount of fish has significantly decreased and water became dirty. Here, too, I heard that the water used to be edible. Cedar Lake where I fished has mouthes flowed from Saskatchewan where there are several factories as I observed in Creighton. However, they didn't speak ill of the dam and the environmental pollution.
When I started walking away from them, a bared man called me with gesture to turn back. He offered me a Moose Soup. After finishing their supper, they were resting maybe. Wow, what a lucky! Surprisingly, it had no stimulus and natural itself. Probably the oil came from Moose's subcutaneous fat but mild. "How did you keep your culture? Do you speak Cree?" Quite different from Saskatchewan's Cree I met, they actually couldn't. Until recently there was a teacher to teach Cree in the school, but after her leaving there have been no system to succeed their culture! Focusing on a young woman who spoke this, I saw the same hesitation in her as old Japanese showed when taken pictures. However, she as well as another guy looked mixed with some White blood.

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I met another Indian, an Ojibway, on the way to Winnipeg. As I mentioned the Walleye I caught in Cedar Lake was a bit smelled and suspected the influence of pollution, he agreed saying that Walleye in the old days tasted more sweet and were more beautiful but that now are soon floated up without any resistances. Probably because he had no interest in governmental organisations like the people I met in Grand Rapids, he was more straight forward to the loss of their aboriginal culture. He definitely pointed out that the wrong points of White people to cope with aboriginal should be attributed to Churches. They have been always right and always pussy about their justice on another people and another continent.

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# by tetsu95jp | 2007-12-27 06:17 | 13.Manitoba
Over 30,000 km it was Canada everywhere (14)
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# by tetsu95jp | 2007-12-26 08:42 | 13.Manitoba
Over 30,000 km it was Canada everywhere (13)
Finding terrible smokes of the mining industry in such a countryside as Creighton, which is located on the border between Saskatchewan and Manitoba, I wondered if Canada was only utilising this Nature in greedy ways.
Just after the Flin Flon, I asked for fishing information and purchased the licence of Manitoba and lures. The outfitter lady told me several off-shore points near there, though she strongly recommended me to hire an airplane to fly to points. No way, such a selfish way, I spoke to myself in mind.
Since the engine got a strange noise with Shell Bronze and after that I saw Esso's pumping-up site, I kept filling up Esso as much as possible. As I found an Esso station after a long drive, I stopped to fill up both gas for car and food for me. It was a lonely shop on the highway.
Inside of the old building was a young Korean guy. I was very surprised and felt why a Korean was at such an interior of Canada. Wow, the restaurant was also with Korean women. They didn't go with the old Canadian style restaurant. I ordered a hamburger, soup and coffee; it was cold with half-sleeves outside even though it was still August.
Soon, an old slim Korean guy appeared and accosted me. That was Mr John T.M. Bae. He sat in front of me and wanted to speak with me with a sharp look. He recommended me to help myself to another coffee. His English was not good but he could understand Japanese and write Japanese letters. We communicated a lot in writing on napkins.
Mr Bae just sold his business of this general store to a Korean family and was about to move to Vancouver. He was also the Vice Mayer of here Grand Rapids. He eked money living here over 10 years and brought up children until graduating from universities. However, the moving didn't mean his retirement; he wanted another business opportunity for 2010 Winter Olympics of Vancouver, the rapid growing area. While our talking, a White man gave him a greetings and they held each other. They didn't speak too much.
Mr Bae mentioned his hardships as immigrant. He graduated from one of the top rated law-school college in Korea, but it was no use in Canada. According to him, why the education industry in Canada has developed is because immigrants need Canadian education to get a position in Canadian society system. This domestic system, however, prevents Canadian industries from breaking through an average level and from nurturing unique entrepreneurs; consequently, only followers multiply.
From my experience, at least UBC was pursuing the path of study's study sake. Such a theoretical and academic education system shouldn't work in a real society. However, all of the Canadians take it for granted to follow that way; this is the basic problem of Canada.
I asked to Mr Bae if there was a good off-shore fishing point near there, since the Grand Rapids was the narrow between Lake Winnipeg and Cedar Lake. He grinned; he was also a fisherman! He immediately brought me to his home-ground. He told me how to fish in detail. The lure was just the same as in Pelican Narrows; however, he also set a frozen minnow. "This is a home for Walleye and Pike," he said. Having got his teach, I learned the way I tried at Pelican Narrows was wrong in that I had to tell their subtle signal and wait a while.
I wanted to take pictures of him not only as my master of fishing but also as a self-succeeded immigrant. But he refused, saying, "I'm not very special. There are a lot of succeeded immigrants like me." His rod was very slender to enjoy the fights, and it bent down with bite. He beard with its heavy weight for a while; after that, a Walleye appeared beneath the half-cleared green surface. Ohhh, huge! After floting, it wasn't violent so much. He asked if I wanted to keep it. It looked around 60 cm, and I wanted it for my dinner.
The spot was a tiny concrete dyke and two fishermen was the full capacity on it. Ironically, an artificial construction by human beings invited fish to live there. He got another bite, but the moment hooking up the line got cut. "Must be Pike," he said. "Why don't you use wire lead?" "I know, but it's not interesting to use a safe way." He changed his colour in a moment, but a bite seemed to go away from him. He returned the store with remained minnows for me.
Then I tried to follow the way Mr Bae did by myself. While repeating casts, a weight feeling came on the tip of my rod. I breathed deeply and slowly and hooked up! Got it! Wooow, he is so violent. The line was getting out of the spool, I tried to keep vertical for my rod. Probably this much weight was for the first time in my off-shore fishing life. After a while, I confirmed it was a bit smaller than the one Mr Bae caught.
I had noticed a car once approached behind me and left. When my leaving, probably the same car came and two men accosted me getting out of it. I couldn't tell immediately what they said; however, I explained Mr Bae brought me here. "Yes, he know a lot of this area," replied a man and gave me a brand-new cap. He said he was working for Manitoba Transportation and Government Services (The roads construction sector) and that was its cap. He was fishing around with his works!
They went into the spot I left.
Reported my result to Mr Bae, he gave me a cook for me to just try. His way of cutting fish was dynamic far from Japanese way. He disposed great part of the fish but took out the cheek meet. "That's the way of Canada," he said, "but until recently I didn't know the cheek is very good." He made me a fish and chips in the kitchen of the restaurant. The taste of the white meet of Walleye was very plain just like as Sea Bass as the similar shape was shown, but I didn't think it is very tasty for its plainness and also for its a little bit smell. However, Mr Bae said Walleye is high-rated in the fish market in Canada.
On the table, I asked about the Indian reserves nearby. In this area is also Cree, he said. "If are there any Metis people?" "No, Metis as well as other ethnic groups are not allowed in the First Nations." I wondered why I observed not a few White people in there so far. Anyway, he not only gave me a cooler-box to keep the rest of fish meat but also brought me to a nice cabin nearby.

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# by tetsu95jp | 2007-12-25 08:50 | 13.Manitoba
Over 30,000 km it was Canada everywhere (12)
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# by tetsu95jp | 2007-12-24 08:43 | 12.Saskatchewan
Over 30,000 km it was Canada everywhere (11)
At last I could get no fish over two days. When a White guy fished next to next saying, "Hey, fishing time has just began," from the spot I just left, I really got frustrated. However, instead of fish I met a nicest people in the village.
In front of the band office was a traditional Tepee for a man who were resisting Westernised houses. He wanted me to take pictures with a woman who was not allowed house by the band because she was Catholic. Finding me with cameras, the families out of home asked me for taking pictures of them. Children were playing with families together. Among them somewhat a White father was found. His Indian wife invited me to their traditional dinner. The kids were amusing themselves with Nature. Some girls called me as Chinese, so I replied, "No, Japanese." Some boys asked me if I was lonely travelling alone without family. His question reminded me that no matter where you may go you will think of your family. I thought that children are to the world what leaves are to the forest.
I asked to some adults outside the home after supper why there were two churches in such a small village. "I don't know, but that one with red roof is an Anglican recently built. People here merely go to churches though." "Is the community changed with Withe people?" "Yes, a lot. Before they came, you could drink the water of the lake. They only think of money. The churches are irrelevant to us."
My perception of Canada as multi-cultural country gradually began to change as still keeping pressing British notion much like missionary age. The industrialisation and christianisation seemed like a set of tools for Western people.

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# by tetsu95jp | 2007-12-23 07:58 | 12.Saskatchewan
Over 30,000 km it was Canada everywhere (10)
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# by tetsu95jp | 2007-12-22 07:56 | 12.Saskatchewan
Over 30,000 km it was Canada everywhere (9)
I was fed up with unpaved road, so this time I took the paved highway downing south. But a paved road also made me bored with the same scenery of woods, woods and woods. When I was again heading for North, I found several fishing resorts beside lakes. However, people there said I shouldn't be able to off-shore fishing; they took it for granted to fish on the boats! I was so insisted on off-shore that an old guy of "Big Sandy Outdoor" told me that I should be able to fish Walleye at Pelican Narrows, which he showed me on the map. Wow, it is far off the highway! But my eagerness to fish and curiosity to the place where is also the Indian Reserve led me there.

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The road was again unpaved. I was becoming accustomed to such primitiveness, but I wondered if I could find the point in this much further interior. However, as a matter of fact, it was pretty much a famous spot attracting fishermen and families always. It was literally a Narrow flowing rapidly between the lakes, and also had cabins which were announced as renovated recently in a guide book. The entrance of lodges was a restaurant with small boats scattered to the bank. Even though the location was north, it looked like the '80s jazz band Weather Report's world or an southern earthy paradise.
The restaurant woman told me that I wouldn't make reservations until the manager get back. Until then I tried to fish. At first casting from the bridge over the narrow, a passer-car stopped and a girl asked me for a cigarette over the window. After lighting it, they still remained observing me. "Is this a good point from the bridge?" "No, just over there on the rock is a good point. You can go there crossing the woods."
I tried all of the lures I had, but no bites. Returning the restaurant, he didn't returned yet. Meanwhile, the Indians next to next came flock together to this primitive restaurant. On the veranda out of the entrance, there were sitting several Indians. Interestingly enough, they raised queer voices from a distance finding me, but when I approached they were like Oyster. "What are you doing here?" "We are waiting for our dishes." Thus, one of them finally told me how to fish with a Jig.
While waiting, I visited the village of Pelican Narrows Reserve. Getting at a general store, a drunk guy asked for shaking hands and for driving him. On the way, a little girl stopped my car and begged me money. After reaching the destination nearby, he didn't want to get off. He seemed to be fond of my driving. He asked for another person's shake-hands over the window. I asked him if he knew this person and where to drop. He shook his head; it is not easy to get out of a bad habit.
The woman had literally no time to rest for cooking for orders. It was sure that their way was clumsy with small kitchen facility, though. In spite of her hard work, the taste was awful. I asked to her why people here want to eat your dishes so eagerly. She replied, "Maybe they want change." She looked somehow she was not confident with herself; however, she was helpful telling me where to go drink in the village. Hearing the name of the bar, I remembered in BC First Nations were not allowed to sell alcohol and wondered why they have.
After all, the manager didn't appear. Somewhat, I remember, the clock in the restaurant showed Alberta time (Mountain time). After finishing the restaurant into the night, I paid and received a receipt and then the woman guided me with a light and keys to one of the cabins. What was the matter for me to wait for a long time then?
The room was messy and far from the renovation. Next morning I found the showers in another building were broken. Complaining this to the restaurant's another woman, she said I should take shower at a different building which was not shown. However, I found it was locked next morning.

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# by tetsu95jp | 2007-12-21 07:47 | 12.Saskatchewan
Over 30,000 km it was Canada everywhere (8)
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# by tetsu95jp | 2007-12-20 07:19 | 12.Saskatchewan
Over 30,000 km it was Canada everywhere (7)
I have got into Saskatchewan. No cars became to be seen on the road which had changed into unpaved. Taking the route into Meadow Lake Provincial Park, it completely changed to a muddy road because of rain. Occasionally I casted my rod at lakes which next to next appeared along the road, but no bites. While I was just resting by a garden-like landscape, Alberta number's cars parked and an old couple with rods got off and accosted me. "There are small pikes around here. My son is familiar with this area and looking for a good place to fish." Indeed, the other 4×4 went further into the bush.
Well, I'll make my way. I was driving as though I didn't know where I was headed for. The road with a lot of pools seemed to continue endless repeating endless up and down. Come what might, I'd be ready.
When I finally found a successive paved way, the gas was almost empty. What I found then was a gas-station-like facility in that it was the primitive only with a pumping machine in a large naked ground. A guy got out of the office and he made it filled up. However, unbelievably as it is he spilled over the outside of my car! He was much like an amateur. Seeing my taking pictures of him, he called his wife in the office to be taken too. She looked an Indian. I asked if there were any cheap motels near there. He said a motel with a bar should be fine.

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Entering seemingly an office of the motel, it was a restaurant and an unfamiliar faced woman, at first I thought she was from East Europe, indicated the next bar was the office. She didn't speak English much. After settling at the backwards cabin, I turned back to the bar and ordered a cup of high-ball. It is the soda-water downed whisky in Japan, though they asked if it was OK with Coke. No, instead I asked a bottle of beer, Canadian. She gave it without a glass. While waiting for a hamburger, I looked over inside the bar. Next to next seemingly Indians pushed open the door to the dark hall. Some treated themselves by game machines, and others sat in front of the table to cheerfully chat each other. They seemed to have no amusements at the end of the days except getting together here.
The next door's woman brought me the hamburger and said the bill was different from the bar's, to my surprise. A girl approached me like dancing and sat in front of me and asked me curiously a lot of things. Seeing I had difficulty to reply with a lot of food in mouth, she said after my finish eating she'll be back. I was surprised at such a positiveness of such a cute girl. I suspected her if she was a call girl, but she chatted with her boyfriends over a table with beer.
Observing me, she turned back to me and said, "Why don't you take pictures of such a beautiful girl in front of you? Take my picture!" I was putting my camera on the table. Then, another guy accosted me introducing himself and asked me to take his too. How merry people they are!
Having difficulty to remember names, she suggested me, "We are Cree, so call me 'C.' You are from Japan, so I'll call you 'J,' OK?" 'C' invited me to a concert; some famous band was coming to the next town and would play for them to dance. That might be why she was excited so much.
She asked me for drive. Unbelievably she said her car was stolen that day. Just after leaving the bar, she wanted another beers to enjoy on the way. I flatly declined. Then she asked me for a cigarette. I replied this was a non-smoking car; she took a sheet of gum from me. Having seen the speed metre, she requested me to run over 100 km/h. I replied I was not yet familiar with the right-lane to drive and that in a narrow road so I couldn't.
She began to call me, "Chicken! Chicken! Chicken!" I didn't care at all and said to her, "'C,' you are not only for you but also your family's. If you lose your life, your mother or father must become sad. You have to take care of yourself. I have to take care of you." "I don't care whenever I die," after a silence she began to try to use the cassette. She was like a lovely animal which made me want her. Facing up she said, "it was good to meet you." I was driving over an hour but never arrived. Her English was a little different and she couldn't understand my saying, "Are we near there?" Cold air of the sunset prompted me to urinate. She was laughing at me, though just before the town she in turn did her business.
It was Ile-a-la Crosse with 1,700 population to have the Metis Festival that night. In front of the entrance of the venue, 'C' and her boyfriends were somewhat hesitating; the concert needed an expensive fee and they didn't have enough money! Me neither, but 'C' suggested that if I claimed a journalist from Japan they might allow me to enter. Just try, and I've got! According to the mayer standing by the ticket desk, they are the mix-blood between Cree and French and celebrating its culture taking turns in related towns. The place looked like an old warehouse. When the band started play, young buys and girls by twos and threes walked forward to before the stage and danced in a primitive way. I thought tenderly of the people.
At the motel, I asked to the East-European-look woman if the people outside of Ile-a-la Crosse were not Metis but Cree. She said we are Cree and usually speak Cree language instead of English or French. Some people say they are Cree and some people say they are Metis; it was interesting for me.

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Now, I was feeling, I have to fish this precious interior of Canada. I bought another rod with reel and lures at the gas station shop, since the tackle I bought at Rocky Mountain was not good enough for larger preys. The huge lures displayed on the wall drove me to want to catch Northern pike, Trout, Walleye, whatsoever a big one. The wife's saying, "This yellow worm is very good for Pike. They like it very much," had me imagine unseen my preys. Such people as living in such a rural area must know much about fishing. However, I was amazed at that the husband couldn't make it for the line on the reel. Furthermore, later I realised that the grip of the rod was broken from the beginning! Such broken products should never be sold on shops in Japan.
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# by tetsu95jp | 2007-12-19 07:07 | 12.Saskatchewan
Over 30,000 km it was Canada everywhere (6)
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# by tetsu95jp | 2007-12-18 17:46 | 11.Till Alberta
Over 30,000 km it was Canada everywhere (5)
Until Vegreville along Yellowhead Highway, it was drizzling and herds of seemingly Bison were walking about in bush. I didn't understand if they were wild or not, but it looked so natural that I thought such a scene should be very common in Canada. However, I have never met after this.
Vegreville was originally settled by Ukrainian farmers, but now it was multicultural. At a gas station of the entrance of the town, I tried to have the engine oil changed. They said they could, however, they didn't have tools to. I asked another place to change. They unwillingly told me another possible station nearby, though it couldn't either.
Finally, however, I found an oil maintenance shop in town; people in this town didn't know about their town well. A Chinese restaurant I ate lunch offered me a thick and strong taste dish like I ate in Northern BC, but many other Caucasian women customers looked satisfied. There was, however, a ceramic shop where displayed attractive design goods. The shop lady smiling said they were keeping producing traditional Ukurainian ceramics, but her English was perfect and she was completely a Canadian with proud of its multi-culture.
Searching for something more Ukurainian, I dropped by the museum. When I referred to the displays of Canada's first internment operations from 1914 to 1920, the old Ukurainian descendant director explained about them trembling his mouth with anger. His point was that the government's behavour on them was quite unreasonable and nasty, and he admitted the fact that Japanese' case was worse with sympathy. The brochure says, "For Ukrainian immigrants who had been caught in Canada's first internment operations, the immediate loss was emotional, financial, medical and social. It took generations for the Ukrainian community to get over the feeling of deep injustice, humiliation, denial and fear."
I found several Ukrainian churches in town but on the way to Bonnyville was more significant; that was a show-case of dome-shaped churches. I heard from Gerald that this area mainly consists of French descendants' communities; so I wondered why. I headed for further north for taking the most north route to Saskatchewan. On the way, I mistook a camp-site office as a visitor information centre but an old guy with a red wine glass on the table with TV told me where to fish just as kindly as the centre. I seemed to have to go over Bonnyville to Cold Lake which is the largest water around there.
Bonnyville was a lonly town in a field. At a motel, I asked for information of fishing there. The young mother said her husband should know but he was away so upon returning she would let me know, but never; those things were so frequent in Canada that promises seem not very important for Canadian people; in other words, they can change what they said upon their own convenience. In my opinion, this expedient tendency was succeeded and spread by British people, because they are said to be very political.
I ate dinner at the motel's restaurant. The young waitress looked like French. I asked her if she spoke French. "Many people here speak but I don't," she replied. Asian descendants seemed so scarce in this town; however, I felt the same kind of sensibility as me in her and that she was not like Caucasian Canadians I met.
A data shows, "A French missionary-priest convinced newly-arrived settlers to continue north and settle near Moose Lake. In 1907, hundreds of French-Canadians arrived from Québec and New England. Today, about 20% of Bonnyville's population is French-speaking. This is in part due to the proximity of the military base in Cold Lake. Numerous francophone organizations enhance a vibrant francophone community. Dance and youth groups, a French bookstore and the francophone cultural centre are but a few examples."
Next day, I found a variety of churches: Catholic, Ukrainian Catholic, Ukrainian Orthodox, United, Baptist and Anglican. When I asked an old woman passed by if an abandoned weathered church used to be an Ukrainian, she replied without stopping, "Not ours, it's Russian. Ours's in a different place." Someone else suggested the church was replaced by a new one in a different location.
One of the main industry of Bonnyville now was oil. I visited the Esso site outside of the town to take pictures of the workers. However, merely dreary automatic pumping machines were lined up with a few observers. Nevertheless, I asked a permission for me only to receive their decline.
Until Cold Lake there were several communities all of whose streets and buildings reminded me the Wild West for its oldness. Entering a nice old cafe, I was surprised at a cute girl, like Dian Lane in her young days, irrelevant to the tilted floor. After having my order, she cooked by herself. I asked her if the church with steep roof before this community is an Anglican or not. She didn't know because she began to commute here from Bonnyville! Her innocence was quite different from Vancouver girls and so impressive. But, people here seemed not concerned about other communities than their own.

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I didn't realise a First Nations exists in such an area before I found Cold Lake First Nations. Calling on the gorgeous band office, the IT manager, Thomas Piche, replied to my enquiries. He looked more like Caucasian, though. "Why is this office so rich?" "Because we got a right to share the oil they are digging out. At first they didn't offer us at all, but we won to some extent recently. See, this map shows our original territory and that of now. During the Cold War, the part of our area was used for experiments of nuclear weapons because the climate and soil is similar to Russia's. We are still negotiating to recover our soil."
"What is your traditional life and how are you preserving your own culture?" "Our ancestors used to hunters as well as fishermen of Cold Lake, but not now. That tradition has demolished for the expansion of White people. We are Deni came from North, so are more like Inuit than Indian and have a different language from other tribes like Cree. To preserve this, I'm trying to make the Deni version of our web-site."
"I'm finding the characteristics of Canada might be a concept of Share, though. I mean you are sharing the soil, cultures and languages. Do you agree?" "Share is good, all right. The White offered us let's share the soil, but they have been utilising it only for their own benefit. It is just recently we began to benefit. 'People belong to land,' is our perception of the world so we offered our land."
"There seem the be few totem-poles around here; whereas, the coast tribes have a lot and that in elaborate ways. Why?" "Because we used to have no time for artworks always chasing after herds of Carib inland. Totem-poles are rather coast Indians' culture."
His words, "People belong to land," struck me with goose fresh. That's the thing just I learnt when child in Japan. We have been taught to think of ourselves as weak. Everything takes place according to the laws of Nature. We shouldn't be able to control Nature. There is a words in the Bible, "Ye are the salt of the earth." However, Christianity has been certainly encouraging the personal possessions, despite the fact that the earth is its very own.

Arriving Cold Lake, I tried fishing near the wharf. Nobody else was fishing except boats in the offing. No bite, so I asked the motel lady if there is a point off-shore. Her reply was like I have no choice than renting a boat; I couldn't prefer it.
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# by tetsu95jp | 2007-12-17 07:01 | 11.Till Alberta
Over 30,000 km it was Canada everywhere (4)
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# by tetsu95jp | 2007-12-16 07:12 | 11.Till Alberta
Over 30,000 km it was Canada everywhere (3)
I was heading for Edmonton where was famous for its rapid development for oil; later I knew, however, it was not only a phenomena of Edmonton but also many places in Alberta. Before Edmonton, I wanted to observe an ordinary life in Alberta.
It was an endless farm as far as to be seen; between the paved highways were countless numbers of unpaved red soil roads. Driving the roads, I got passed only a few cars. Sometimes houses were among the farms. Other than occasional heads of cattle, I could have no idea what they grow up since there were covered by green grass for summer.
I dropped by a Shell gas station. There were two kinds of regular gas, Bronze and Silver, to choose on the pumping machine and I had no idea to choose so asked the woman in the office. She said the regular was Silver, but I chose the cheaper Bronze since it stated as regular and I trusted on the Shell brand. Just behind the stand was a liquor shop where a woman like nuts was with her children like nuts. I asked for a small bottle of Canadian whisky saying that I got an awful taste one the other day so I want a good one produced around here in Alberta. "A Rye Whisky?" Without hesitation, she took a bottle from behind the counter and showed me, "This is really good made around here. Everyone prefers this." It was a plastic bottle like the one I hated but the design of the label looked great; I took it. The Flat-4 Boxser engine began to sound strange. I suspected that the stand sold a poor quality gas; those things seemed to happen in this rural area. Since then, I tried not to use the Shell.
At a typical farming community, I met a car driven by a daughter with her mother for practicing for her licence on the public road. The mother asked me what I was looking for such a small village. "I want to know Canada," I said. "Well, this is very common community around here; people were engaging in farming and oil industry." "Where can I observe the oil working?" "The automatic pumping machines are here and there as you can see. That's about all."
When I was taking pictures of a beautiful green grass being cleaned by a huge agricultural machine at New Norway, an old man getting off the cockpit and approaching me said, "What are you doing? I'm planting potatoes and corns." His English somewhat spoke with an accent and I had difficulty to cope with; he seemed a real Canadian farmer. "I'm just taking pictures of your beautiful landscape." He seemed not fully understand it. Come to think of it, he might suspect me to investigate his place for oil. Such stories appeared countless there, and probably they were expecting to make a fortune at one stroke at heart.
Edmonton was a damn place for me. The vulgar taste such as a world famous shopping mall covered inorganic well-ordered streets and houses. "Edmonton area is said to be the No, 1 deposits in the world. Saudi Arabia's is certainly limited but here it's not confirmed yet!" A roommate of the hostel excitingly told. Such guys attracted by the fortune with the oil-boom seemed countless in town. Nouveaux riches mustn't know what the real rich is; I am not interested in such a town and people, I am afraid.

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[PR]
# by tetsu95jp | 2007-12-15 08:26 | 11.Till Alberta
Over 30,000 km it was Canada everywhere (2)
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[PR]
# by tetsu95jp | 2007-12-14 08:24 | 11.Till Alberta
Over 30,000 km it was Canada everywhere (1)
Before the long touring, I handed my full rent of my apartment, $4,950, until the contract finishes June, 2005, to Tony. This way shouldn't enable him to get out the apartment like he did to Peter and Charlie; nevertheless, I didn't trust him fully yet. So I didn't tell him when I would come back and kept pretending whenever I would return.
I wanted to recover the delay of my start, because summer in Canada must be short. Since I've already travelled around BC, I wanted to pass it as long as I can. Departed in the early morning 15th August, 2005, from Richmond, I reached Vermont near Jasper. I decided to take my route as north as possible, not only because northern part seemed uncivilised but also the return trip seemed impossible for snow. Besides, someone's suggestion that Jasper used to be the railroad construction-site where tens of thousands of Chinese and Japanese killed. Later it was appeared that not Jasper for CN (Canadian North Pacific Railroad) but Banff for CPR (Canadian Pacific Railroad), though.
When I ate lunch on a bench at a parking area, old Japanese group approached and accosted me in Japanese. They brought just the same lunch as in Japan with them. I wondered what on earth brought them here, why they ate Japanese food wanting other Japanese even in a foreign country. I didn't speak to them at all; their conversation in Japanese had no respect for Canada!
I've already filled up gas in the afternoon, though I was afraid if there wouldn't be a gas station on the way to Jasper. However, I found only one seemingly gas station in front of a lodge a bit apart from the road. I stopped my car at a pumping machine, though no one got out of the office. Unwillingly confirming it, a young guy told I had to do myself explaining as it was a matter of course. Seeing that I couldn't make it with the nozzle, he stepped forward when I had got it by natural. They didn't have premium gas.
I asked him if I could have a room that night. He said unfortunately it was full with fire fighters' reservations. According to him, from here to Jasper there are almost no motels. I had no choice except taking one of expensive motels just turning back the road. The other guests looked affluent with their luxurious cars and the room was equipped with a huge up-to -dated TV and what not.
Surely the Rocky Mountain had a steep slope, but my SUBARU climbed up the Yellowhead Highway without any problems. Valemount's commercialised facility made me lose interest in Jasper: given that even a satellite town of it showed commonplace things for rich people, Jasper should be boring too. Just before Jasper, I turned right to Icefield Highway.
The landscape over the windows was quite rough and primitive. Place to place it was also different, so I had never bored with. When getting off to take pictures, I first realised the strong and cold wind was blowing; it punched my body with half-sleeve shirt on to cool down. Spot to spot, several Japanese tourists like I met on the way were taking pictures of Columbia Icefield. They were hiring shiny rent-a-cars.
It was the afternoon when I was having a coffee with cooking stove on the road-side that suddenly it began to rain with changing into grey sky. A big drops hit violently and then it thundered near there. What a hell! I was sure I'm a rain man though. Even though the coffee was instant one, I can't forget it was so tasty escaping into my car with heavy weather. Just fearing the thunder, after storing the FM antenna, I kept going down the gentle slop of Rocky Mountain Foothills. Wiping in full-speed the front window, there was almost nothing to be seen for the heavy rain. Fortunately I got passed a few cars on the way.
As soon as getting to Shunda Creek Hostel, I asked if I can fish around there. The cheerful guy assured I can provided that I got a fishing licence and introduced me to another middle aged man who was residing in the hostel and familiar with fishing around there. And then I rushed turn back to the only general store and gas stand nearby. Even though there displayed a lot of fishing tackles in the shop, the young guys with pierces on did know nothing about them and couldn't realise the name of the lure that I was told by the hostel man. They also didn't know how to sell the licence... Well, anyway, purchased one of the cheapest rod and reel and some lures was the beginning of my freshwater fishing in Canada.
I merely intended to have a present story for freshwater fishing, so didn't care how big it was; I merely wanted to fish anything I can. However, this experience led me to pursue further bigger ones actually. How awful the fishing is!
I found another fisherman in my room. That was Gerald who came from Red Deer, Alberta, with his little son. At first, we talked about where to fish listening to the hostel guy. He was a repeater there. "The distance from Red Deer is just good for two-day-trip," he said. He gave me a loaf of Elk Sausage he brought with him, drinking beer. "This must be more tasty in the wild camping," said I, he smiled to himself. Such a food convinced me that people here should be more accustomed to Nature than Japanese people.
In return to the food, I showed him my photo collection I took before coming to Canada for my reminiscence of Japan. He was a middle-high-school teacher and knew a lot about recent Japan. "Japan has been completely changing," I said, "I want Japan no more." Surprisingly, my photos with a piece of my writing inserted among the photos moved him into tears.
He himself was a descendant of immigrants from France, and presumably understood why a man want to abandon his home country as I did. I was also surprised that he without background of Japan could appreciate my pictures in that few Japanese people even could the direction of my pictures for abstract sceneries.
He was very talkative or wanted to tell me information of the area to visit including a lot of multi-cultural aspects. However, sadly it was something across-the board and therefore seemed very Canadian in a sense. I later realised this though. Many Canadian people are surely knowledgeable in every respect but superficial or student-level I dare to say. Nevertheless, I learned a lot from Gerald since I was definitely a student level to Canada at that time.
Gerald with his son brought me to a small and shallow lake, Goldeye Lake, next morning. They were not so much eager to fish; as he said that was a part of his education for his son. He told me the song of Loon. After no results I was about to say, "I'm going your way," but they parted from me flatly with shaking hands.
Well, I then follow the middle-aged man's suggestion that I would catch anything anyway at Fish Lake nearby. It was larger than Goldeye Lake and more like commercialised with lots of parking and row boats. Like me, just-for-fun fishermen were walking along the bank. Here, too, is shallow.
Changing points one cast to another, I tried every way I could. But there were no bites; it was when the first bite came. He trembled the tip of my rod, then I hooked strongly but unconsciously. Wow, he ran after ran very quickly that I've never met so far. A dancing rainbow colour glittered under the surface under the Sun; small, too small! I couldn't believe that such a small fish showed the high-spirit.
Releasing the palm size Rainbow fired me enough to challenge another one. I wanted to eat for supper! The only bite in the Fish Lake was over, so I finally moved to Cresent Falls which was a bit interior from the highway. The spot the hostel guy recommended was just before the high falls of a small river. I wondered if there should be any fish in such a dangerous place even for fish. A couple of fly fisherman and woman was ascribing the stream, but I aimed at the very end on the falls. The water was cold and muddy. Once, twice, I casted and reeled a small spinner with a red weight and hair. Then suddenly a big bite came with heavy weight on the tip of the rod. Hooking up, I reeled like mad as he was violent and I didn't know the bottom situation at all.
Wow, it's a good-size trout! After landing, he jumped about on a rock. Soon I took a picture of it, but couldn't tell what kind the over 25 cm trout was; then a young Caucasian father walked to me, "Excuse me, my daughter didn't see such fish. May I show it to her?" "Sure! But do you know whether I can bring back this fish? I'm not familiar with the fishing regulation, so." "Me neither. But my uncle should know. Wait a moment." He called another guy nearby who somewhat looked like Indian; I guessed the young father's wife might come from Indians.
"See if there are no spots on the fin," the black-hair guy said, "Ug, it has? No, it's OK. You can take it." I was relieved and glad but he didn't tell me the name of the trout. It seemed not be a matter for him. After this prey, once or twice of bite but that was all. I remembered Gerald told me that around Rocky mountain as well as Alberta fish don't become big due to the cold and small water systems.
Getting back to the hostel, I showed the fish to the guy and girl of the hostel. "Well done," a cute Canadian girl gave me a complement; I then asked the middle-aged resident for what kinds trout it was. At first look, he replied it was a Rainbow; but confirming that I fished at a stream, he corrected as a Cutthroat. He also consulted with the guidebook of fishing regulation and pointed out that mine was actually too small to keep.
Anyhow, he died already; so, best way for him was to cook him for me. In the kitchen, an over-weighted old White man striking a thick raw stake with back of a knife was curiously observing how this unfamiliar Japanese cooks this small fish. I merely scaled and gutted the fish, then baked with salt, pepper and butter on the pan. The heavy smoke filled the area. Saying, "I'm sorry," I ate it up until the bone. The white meat smelled a bit muddy river but tasty. Oh, this is Canada!

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[PR]
# by tetsu95jp | 2007-12-13 08:42 | 11.Till Alberta
Waiting for the extension of my visitor status at Richmond
It was the end of June that Leslie drove me to the apartment in Richmond. Before that, Tony already moved to the place with his friend's and my help. Our rent was 3 rooms in 3 stories each, and I was supposed to pay $450 a month (the half of the rent) and was already paid half the deposit of $450. Tony said the second floor with a bedroom and bathroom is mine. The third floor was smaller and without a bath and closets, but the shower and washroom beside the bed was more convenient for him to take care of his son, he said. Later, I noticed that his son was entering an elementary school that year; from my common sense it was unbelievable that a father takes a washroom with his 7 year-old son.
The first floor was living kitchen, but as if Tony's room with his desk and computers. However, I didn't complain about it because on top of offering the better room he allowed me to use his bed in my room in addition to utensils, TV and so on in the living kitchen. He was always changing the arrangement of the living and his room, and the living was gradually occupied by his and his son's goods instead of his work tools. He was still keeping displaying photographs with his wife in the living.
Funny thing was he kept staying overnights at his wife's home close by. He frequently appeared the apartment and we opened the door to a small front yard to smoke. He usually threw away the cigarette butt in public, though here put it into an ashtray can. His tale was always about his wife; he was always shadowing the wife and her Caucasian lover with having quarrels and troubles, despite the fact that he was preparing for a trial. I advised him that everything has finished already and you should have to stop chasing her, but he couldn't. He was a bad loser.
He invited me and the wife's home-stay girl with the wife and his son to go to a farmers' festival outskirts of Richmond. Actually, we had no choice except follow him by his force. With our assistance he must have wanted to pretend a husband and wife only to share a chilly air of them.
Sometimes he said to me, "Now Mei-san (the wife) disposed me, I have to succeed in my business to make her envy me." However, the Internet project for which I gave him a blue-print has not been proceeded at all until later. Whenever it came to this subject he mentioned, "I'll make it soon," though. I wondered where his eagerness of the business has gone.
He had difficulty in keeping the ends to meet; in other words, the great amount of the family's income was earned by the wife. He frequently changed his job but kept a part-time staff of Vancouver airport. He said many jobs in Canada were less salaries than in Japan and the job opportunities were less as well. When I mentioned that Canada was the only country increased GNP among G7 countries recently under the world recession, he merely couldn't believe it. Later, however, I came to know the figure was mainly brought by foreign investments for immigration and for tourism as well as English studies.
When arriving at Canada I felt Tony's English was proficient, but staying with him had me aware that his English was rather primitive and with a lot of grammatical mistakes. As a matter of fact, he confessed he couldn't write long letters. He was keeping using the caption on TV. That means over 7 years stay in Canada didn't improve his English enough. One of the reasons why he was having difficulty to get a high-salary work might be caused by his English ability. However, on the other hand Mei could obtain regardless of her limited English. Tony kept claiming that if a person had real ability skills he/she could success here in Canada.
However, I began to feel an anxiety for my not progressed English to use at an established Canadian ad agency if I got. I was and am confident in my ability as creative director, but it is one thing and the company matters are another. It seemed like better way to establish myself as self-employ; not only advertising but also other area were amateur level and establishing a company was by far easier and cheaper than in Japan.
This way, I made up my mind to do business by myself. To know the market and to complete my another ambition as photographer, I wanted to re-start my travel as soon as possible and changing my route to the Northernmost areas where the original people of Canada live. The summer in canada is short and the only time to travel north.
However, in spite of my calling the Immigration Office again and again the procedure of my visitor status' extension was being delayed mainly because a lot of foreigners applied in a same way for entering institutes which start terms in September. Without the permission I never could leave, because I couldn't receive their mails on the way even though if declined I should have to leave Canada immediately.
The precious summer time was being wasted in such a stupid matter. If Mr Saito notified me well in advance or if I crossed the boarder, such a waste of time shouldn't happen. I was in stuck, so to use this time usefully I wrote my half life in Japan in English for the photos I took in Japan. That work, UTSUROI (Transition Japan), was completed in one month.
Meanwhile, my only fun was the exploration for tasty food. I found the best Halibut Fish and Chips at "Legends Pub" nearby. After my ordering with a beer saying, "I'll leave everything to you," to a Caucasian waitress, she got it with a fresh salad. The fry was just wonderful. When my leaving asking for seeing the person cooked the fry, a young guy wearing T-shirt on appeared. He had tattoos on his arms.
Another my favourite restaurant was "Sakae Japanese Restaurant," which was just near the apartment. Run by a Japanese lady, it offered absolute Japanese dishes with good Sakes. Whenever I checked the bills, with drunk I in spite of myself put down large tips. I always had to pay a lot of money, so later I refrained myself from going there.
The hot weather made me want to eat a "Reimen" (a cold spicy noodle in Japanese), which is popular at Korean restaurants in Japan especially in summer. Having got information from a Korean classmate where to eat it, I searched for the restaurant he recommended on Robson street in Downtown. However, a Korean waitress in the more like Canadian decoration said they didn't offer a "Reimen," and suggested me to go to Coquitlam where a lot of Korean restaurants existed.
Another day, I took a bus and Sky Train from Richmond to Coquitlam. The name of the station was forgot. Although I walked along a main street, there was only one restaurant which seemed to have "Reimen" in their menu and it looked like expensive. I knew in japan the "Remen" were expensive, though I was so accustomed to cheap Chinese food here that I wanted that kinds of Korean. Finally I found kind of a public market with a few restaurants, one of which was Korean.
Asking if it was available showing Hangul (Korean alphabet) written by my Korean classmate, I found they stopped it recently because there were few orders for it here. The middle-aged owner-wife, I suppose, suggested an alternative one that is not spicy though. It was offered using an authentic steel bowl, in which the transparent cold soup was well covered with meat and peach and something on top of the thin white-like noodle.
How sweet! How tasty! This is the Korean cold noodle, this is the summer! I no longer wanted the "Reimen" I had pursued. That graceful harmony of excellent tastes in each had me naturally eat up to the end. I thought I added another repertory for choosing Korean food, but sadly I can't remember the name now.
It was among those days that Tony sent our apartment Peter and Charlie. According to Tony, the couple were the share-mates of his previous apartment; they had returned to Hong Kong but somehow were coming to Canada again. Peter was said originated from India and spoke 5 languages. Until they find their apartment, Tony said, he would do a favour for a room for he was still keeping staying overnights at the wife's house. He said Charlie would cook meals for me in return of our favour.
Peter spoke Kantonese and English at least. However, their story was completely different from Tony's: according to them, in spite of telling that they would come back, Tony gave up the shared apartment for his own sake to come here. Consequently, they lost their place and had to seek for a new apartment; they alleged that they were victims for him so staying my apartment was as a matter of course. She was far from comfortable to cook even for themselves.
One day arriving home, I found in the living a stranger was talking in fluent English with Peter and Charlie eagerly. They introduced him, Tony, to me. They are planning to establish a new clothes company. Such a venture story seemed very common among immigrants.
Showing my ad works in japan, the Tony said, "I'll buy you, let's do a business together." And then, he and Peter showed me three designs for their brand logo made by a designer. My choice quite agreed with his, and he invited me to the next meeting with their apparel designers.
His family was the overseas Chinese and immigrated from Viet Nam when he was child. He has been being employed by an apparel company but wanted to be independent. The designers names were told Jonathan and Michelle, so I imagined Caucasians but they were from the Philippines and spoke English very fluently. Upon hearing that Jonathan wanted to choose another design at a Chinese restaurant we gathered, Tony easily changed his opinion despite the fact that Jonathan's choice was for his own sake in that they were supposed to OEM their designs.
The clothes designs and also the concept of the company seemed not original enough to break. Seeing Tony's irresolute attitude with his father beside, I wondered if this man could lead his business to succeed. When we gathered Jonathan's home to make arrangements on their business cards, he was beside himself with his baby to take care and wanted to bring him back home as soon as possible.
Later I heard his plan has stopped because of short of funds; this failure seemed the second for him and due not to keep investments from others. He expected get lucky twice seeing a success of his employer. Such business followers are uncountable in canada.
Around the end of June, Mr Saito brought a couple of Japanese here. They were succeeding in immigration paying extravagant money for the federal government and searching for a house to purchase around Vancouver. Since Tony was still away at nights, he expelling Peter and Charlie offered his room to the couple and the living to Mr Saito.
I reported to Mr Saito that I failed to get all 7 score in IELTS again: I still remained in 6. He didn't mention the immigration interview that he had suggested it take place the summer. I was announced upon arriving Canada by him that I passed the screening by examining my documents on condition to re-submit a higher IELTS score. Mr Saito continued to say whenever the Immigration Office may require you the re-submission.
However, what Mr Saito said was not persuasive not only because he changed what he said to extend my visitor status but because the interview in summer seemed not to occur. Besides, I was at a loss repeating the same IELTS score despite of my hard study in this English environment. I thought I had no means to improve my English any more than using in daily life; in order for me to practice, practice, and practice, I only wanted to travel across Canada.
I had no choice than that to use English practically, since they prohibited me to work with visitor status and doing so illegally, Mr Saito said in Japan, risks my immigration. However, speaking this matter this time, he said, "You should have worked to some extent even when saying it is illegal." What? What he says is always great contradiction; nevertheless, I still believe in him because he was the person who made me come to Canada. At the Sakae Japanese Restaurant, I treated Mr Saito, the couple of Japanese, Tony and myself paying $240.
When I said to Mr Saito that I was going to continue my searching across Canada but I was in stuck for the delay of permission, he referred to nothing about that but, "Please give me a higher IELTS score." I promised to keep in touch with him by emails during my travel, in case the interview or something was notified so that I could return to Richmond for it. His expectations so far, however, always proved wrong so I began to take little of what he says.
After they returned to Japan, Peter and Charlie were back to move their stuff; they finally found an apartment. All of what Tony brought from the previous apartment were Peter and Charlie's. Ordering those stuff speaking with them, Tony excitingly told, "As soon as I got the compensation from Mei I'll buy a house and move out here!" He, at the same time, also repeated that under the Canadian law the court was to conclude within one year, which was the contract term of our apartment contract.
He was sure that upon finishing the contract he would leave here; however, he used screws on every walls to damage which should influence the return of our deposit when we go out. Hearing my travel plan, Peter and Charlie were concerned if I might lose my room in the same way as them. I couldn't believe what they told about their losing apartment yet, though surly Tony was always behaving on the spot without plan without any visions and forgot almost everything soon after he had done.
Charlie was being furious of Tony, and even claimed Tony to compensate a cord that he lost. On the other hand, Tony claimed that they took back what they had given him when leaving Canada for Hong Kong. Later Charlie told me that she had said to Tony, "You can use our stuff freely." She never recovers her trust on Tony ever since. Later I came to have the same notion on him, which I didn't realise at all then.
The Immigration Office's answer on the phone was ambiguous. Whenever I called and with great difficulty with the busy line, which was the only access to them, they replied mine was before the process. However, my accounting of my specific situation, in which I had to stay in my apartment to receive a result, made some personnel say that I should be able to phone them as long as I am in Canada. Even though they didn't issue the permission yet, they sounded, "You can let you go."
Now, however, the precious summer time was becoming into the latter part; I resigned myself to heading for the Northernmost districts using airplanes. Instead, I started searching for a used car for going and coming Canada. I was really surprised at very expensive prices even on over 10 years and 100,000 km cars which are commonly to be scrapped in Japan. I gave it a second thought of what the value of a car. Finally, I bought a 1992 SUBARU LEGACY WGN 2.2L which run over 180,000 km for $5718.55 including tax. Canada press really high taxes even on tourist who can't benefit from; the car itself was $4,900!
The seller was without mechanics and told me they couldn't offer any warranties but could help with me. Soon I noticed strange sounds when turning steering. I suspected the front drive-shafts which is the crucial part of this car, but had no time for being in a hurry for trip. Fortunately, Richmond SUBARU's front lady gave me a favour to replace those immediately. When the car returned to me, it was middle of August already.
[PR]
# by tetsu95jp | 2007-12-12 09:26 | 10.Waiting
Home Stay at Anglican family of Kitsilano (6)
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# by tetsu95jp | 2007-12-11 19:54 | 9.UBC ELI, Home Stay
Home Stay at Anglican family of Kitsilano (5)
Between my home and the bus stop on the Broadway was very tall and huge lined-up trees. To and from UBC and then the night school, Education Centre on Broadway, I walked through under the trees with crows and one day suddenly a crow got about to attack me from above.
Telling this story to Leslie, I was told that the crows should be making a nest. Day after day changing the point, their treat has continued. However, Leslie and the other home stay guy, who was a young Korean they got lately, claimed they didn't have such an experience. At first I assumed if my black hair might have him think I was his rival. But, given the Korean guy also had black hair, it couldn't be. Avoiding the crows to detour was so irritating that I kept my way every day.
Not only commuting but also buying potato chips and cigarettes in the supermarket, Safeway, on Broadway, I used the avenue. The Safeway was the store Leslie highly depended on for their foods. It was certain that they didn't need to purchase vegetables because of home-growing, but they needed little money to get other groceries thanks to the "Buy One Get One" system in addition to the Points System. It looked like a kind of public welfare system, which should have never observed in the capitalism society of Japan.
Leslie's family's life was far more frugal than I expected; if an average Japanese see their way of life, he/she must be surprised. I remember when I got home from UBC Gerry was fixing his old van by himself. "What's the matter, Gerry?" He replied, "I changed a engine plug and adjusted something to get it back to the good shape." His turning on the key, the straight-six sounded loudly. However, one of the back millers was kept fixed with a string: whenever he change the lane in drive he had difficulty to confirm backwards.
One day, also, I met his friend with his old car in front of home and Gerry was just mending the car for him. He introduced his friend that he run a restaurant in Downtown. Looking for an emblem of the car, I asked what car it was; such an extent that was old and rare. After his leaving, Gerry said to me, "His car is also old. We are talking each other about which car, his and mine, would go down." Many Japanese people take it for granted to change cars after using several years, but I felt sincerely their style of car life was beautiful and cool.
In that car, he brought me to Bart's ball game in Maple Ridge. They are really a baseball family; they were Anglicans but they didn't go to an Anglican Church every Sunday, instead they always accompanied with his games as well as practices no matter however far it was. At the ball park, Gerry was just relaxing chatting with other parents. His mood varied according to Bart's play.
At lunch break, he drove us to a sandwiches restaurant, Subway, nearby. Interestingly enough that I remember is he translated my English to order to the young clerk. This meant that I could convey what I wanted to say to Gerry but not to the clerk. Returning to the hot ball park, he took can beers out of a cooler box and handed his friend and me.
Gerry did do everything he could by himself. From a window of my basement room, which shows just above the height of the ground, I sometimes found Gerry was doing house-caring. He washed and painted walls and floors, fixed doors, not only gardened planting vegetables and flowers. He even could good-cook when Leslie was absent.
When I mentioned that rather the night school teacher was enthusiastic of teaching and talented than the teachers in ELI, Gerry agreed saying that's because the students to night schools are so serious about learning something. It was quite true; I don't think why they were serious was due to their age but their aims to pursue something dream. Compared with the night school class, the ELI classes were almost equal to plays.
Somehow Leslie disliked Chinese; according to her, money is everything for them. Once they took a Chinese student for home stay, and I heard he asked Gerry who the richest person in BC is. He told me the he replied, "Me. I'm the richest person in BC." Ever since they have never accepted Chinese students.
It was in the latter part of course when I came to know Tony was separating from his wife. According to Tony, it was caused 100% by his wife: his wife had been deceiving him for two years for her affair. I merely couldn't believe it: why so? Why does such a nice person have to get divorce? Later, however, I came to know it was not only for the problem of his wife.
He was already renting a room sharing another person. However, he said he wasn't fond of it because it was messy and smelled badly for the owner's cat. "Since the share-mate returned home," he said, "why don't we rent a room in another good place?" Though I was planning to continue my trip across Canada, I agreed since I wanted my address anyway in Canada keeping my stuff. Soon, he found an apartment right close to the wife's place. He insisted on a nearest place to wife. "Because," he said, "I need to close to Joe (his son) for the sake of him."
For me the expiry date of my visitor status (6 months) was approaching. Mr Saito stressed before my coming to Canada that I should never over-stay so that I can complete my immigration because the record would prevent me. Mr Saito also suggested me to obtain a permission of another 6 months stay by going and coming across US boarder.
He arranged clearly me how to come to Canada, so I completely trusted him with regard to my immigration. However, he never contacted me; so I confirmed by email what he said about how to extend my status and it was 1 month before the expiry date. Then, what he reply this time was quite different; I should have sent a form to apply for the permission to the Immigration Office! He said I should do so then and there!
Why did he change? Why didn't he advise so well in advance? Anyway, however, I still believed in him; he made my way to Canada and I was thinking that following his direction must guide me to complete my immigration, because he is my immigration consultant.
He repeated a same word to my immigration: IELTS, IELTS, IELTS... I was far before bored with it, but I booked a test at Downtown campus of Simon Fraser University. Until the test date Leslie promised me to be able to keep staying at her home, though the UBC course should be ended.
The evening just after finishing the test, with relieve I treated myself for Japanese Sake and dishes to get drunk at a Japanese restaurant on Broadway nearby introduced in a free paper. The chef was Japanese and waitresses were also Japanese. The atmosphere was quite Canadian, though the detailed service was definitely Japanese. The taste of dishes were one of the best Japanese I ate in Canada.
I was at the counter in front of the chef. Finally finished anyway, I thought looking back on the stoic nearly 3 months period. In my left hand side, an Asian woman had a seat hesitatingly. "Excuse me, but do you speak Japanese?" "Yes, I'm Japanese," she replied. And then I began using Japanese to her. She sounded and looked something odd when replying to the questions I made.
She came a little long way to from near the boarder to the US to this advertised Japanese place to treat herself. When it came for me to refer to my immigration, she said I have to put aside my career in Japan and should do anything I can; that's the way to survive for Japanese. "What was the most difficult thing you had so far?" After a short consideration, "Still, it's a language barrier. Yes, it's a language problem mainly." Somewhat her Japanese was not able to be described good.
As I was getting drunk with the second pitcher of Ginjo Sake, two White guys sat in the right hand of me. They seemed to know the chef, so I asked, "Do you eat Japanese food very often?" "Well, quite often. We have been his customer before coming this place. He used to be a chef at a restaurant in Steveston but he opened his own restaurant here, so we all the way chased him to continue to have his cook.
I was surprised at knowing such manias for Japanese food exists. For their familiar atmosphere to Japanese, I confessed how the Japan has changed recently and that in a bad way. I praised the owner-chef's dishes as rather a losing taste in Japan. "Why I escaped Japan to immigrate Canada is because ...," I can't remember what I said after that. But I remember one of the White guy kindly said to me in a quiet way, "You don't have to worry about any more. Here is Canada, not like Japan, an immigrants' country. Everybody in this country knows why they came here. We are different, we value different people's different character..." Before I knew it, I began crying. After that and after, a lot of tears flooded from my eyes, which I could never stop it by myself.

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# by tetsu95jp | 2007-12-10 08:07 | 9.UBC ELI, Home Stay
Home Stay at Anglican family of Kitsilano (4)
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# by tetsu95jp | 2007-12-09 08:55 | 9.UBC ELI, Home Stay
Home Stay at Anglican family of Kitsilano (3)
In that season what made me amazed was enormous bunch of flowers seen at gardens of houses. When the hot sunshine replace as the cold air under the clouds, different blooms came into full swing next to next as if they went mad. Walk through the path in full bloom along the coast of Kitsilano found me into a vast area, where a group of Indians were fishing casting rods oddly.
They seemed afraid of my approaching. It was likely that the men had taken me for a detective; even for Indians fishing around there was prohibited, which Leslie told me later. "What are you fishing?" A man pointed at a small bucket in which was several Ling Cod smaller than the smallest one I caught in Flores Island. They might know such a size is most tasty.
Every morning Leslie made lunch for me to bring. Whenever I was eating breakfast, usually butter toast with juice, Leslie followed get up to come downstairs to the kitchen. With half asleep she usually made an easy sandwiches in addition to leftovers of the last supper or a Korean cup needle along with some dessert. Nevertheless, I sometimes bought Sushi or something besides at UBC, because I was hungry.
During this around 3 months period of home stay, I merely drank beer or such kinds; to such an extent, I concentrated on learning English as well as French. Even though ELI classes finished far before evening from Monday to Friday, I had an evening school on Broadway on every Monday and Wednesday. Other than that, I had to commute to UBC campus for an elementary French conversation course on Saturdays.
However, I was actually very disappointed with the ELI. Having heard the name of "Intensive Course," I expected kind of substantial arguments in every respect and like Spartan education. However, the homework were so scarce on top of a lot of holidays. According to some students who were successively taking the course, the institute reduced the amount of homework so that students had more free time in correspondence with the request of them.
This is the putting the cart before the horse. Even given the students are the customers, the market shouldn't and mustn't be controlled by such kids. Sadly, however, this is not only for education but for everything now in this world. Parents, the funny thing is, spending out of imaginary money for their kids who they can't control. Instead of parents who have money, the arrogant without common sense boys and girls are influencing in trend making in every market! How awful our future should be!
I was to some extent confident in my English ability, because I crammed intensely before coming to Canada in Japan. However, as a result of the placement test, I was given a middle-level reading class, middle-level writing and a high-level speaking. Come to think of it, something was wrong from the beginning. Looking back how it was, the course was completely intended to younger people who have no experience in life so it shouldn't have worked enough for experienced people able to think in mature ways.
Still, I believed in ELI at that time. I changed my classes in reading and speaking after claiming those were not fitted for me. No need to say there was little change learning with immature kids, though. Meanwhile, at the midst of the reading class suddenly a UBC student who assisted ELI cut in and asked us for filling out an administrative form. It took over half time of the class; I was so irritated feeling why do we have to use our precious expensive class time for an administration matter which advantages only for the office not for us! Needless to say, the other young boys and girls had no complaints about it and followed their way like quiet sheep; after all the expensive fee was paid by their parents.
I claimed to the head this "incident" as making a fool of us. However, he explained it was not wrong with them because they needed the students to enclose to fill the form out; if the assistant didn't take such a way, students shouldn't write down forever; this was his claim. No kidding! It's your problem, not mine. How self-oriented this institute is on one hand it was really commercialised! I remembered once a young English man at NOVA pointed out that the characteristics of English people is described as "Political." This means they behave differently depending on the situations to gain their own advantages regardless of what is to be justice.
The people of this country, Canada, really do play innocent gazing at my eyes, which I can yet hardly believe it. Whenever I met such situations, fighting with my inclining to agree with him or her I assumed it might be a discrimination towards non-English speaking people or Asian and I mustn't be won.
Other than the administrative incident, I asked the head closely about the other concerns of mine - why is the classes' time so short? Why is the homework so little? Why do you adjust class times for leisure activities out of the campus? All of his replies were not understandable for me.
I remember when I was stepping up a stairs to the French class, I came across an English teacher of ELI, who however was not mine. He said he was learning German in the same building as French, and admitting the difficulty of learning foreign language at old age he asked what I thought of ELI. I hesitated to state my honest feeling, but he insisted on knowing it. "I am old enough in life, so I must gain a working knowledge of English. I don't need an Ivory Tower English," I finally said. "Sure, for conversations there are a lot of schools in downtown that might work. It may too late to say, though." Stepping up the stairs, he never replied to my parting greetings.
As for the French class, I could make no progress. Although I learnt French when university, I couldn't remember well what I crammed at that time. Besides, the contents of the class was for, of course, Canadians; in other words, for the people whose first language is English. It was so difficult to catch up with that I abandoned in the middle of the course to concentrate on English.
I further searched for information on the Internet on English institutes in Vancouver hoping some schools might still available, given the writing class teacher mentioned if a student go with ELI they might be able he/she to change schools. Simon Fraser University's English institute looked more like hand-on-experience based. I requested the head to arrange my changing schools with Simon Fraser University.
However, he denied what the teacher said in her class. Then, I requested the teachers to admit me to a class one-upped in reading and writing. However, my asking was too late for the term has almost half passed. When I stopped the reading class, the head finally emailed me, "A student might be better off at other institute. In that case, we would make every effort and assist you to change your schools." I replied yes, but their contact has never come to me after that.
To conclude with, UBC English Language Institute was much leisure-like with relationships to the tour industry and in money oriented way like in the United Sates maybe. I may well say it is an extension of the English Conversation School "NOVA" in Japan. The only advantage of ELI to NOVA should be not the quality of classes but the environment as an English speaking country.
What I felt about ELI was that all of the teachers I met didn't have enough experience in real society. They insisted strictly on English in text books and seemed to have remained in student-age's thought. Therefore, when it comes to dealing with real society's real matters they seemed to have no skills to cope with. The majority of the teachers were somewhat females and not attractive as women.
I was finding it is interesting that whether to understand my English depends on the person I spoke to. Not only in the previous trip but also after returning to Vancouver area somewhat some people could easily comprehend what I wanted to say but some couldn't even when I repeated again and again. Presumably those who understood were familiar with English spoken by Japanese or similar to me in the way of thought. Seeing many people originated from all over the world, I became conscious that English nowadays should be rather a lingua franca regardless of people's background. American English is having such an way as making people understand easily.
However, IELTS (International English Language Testing System) run by British Council were much more defined in and strict on the traditional usage by the British descendants and that in immature armchair theoretical subjects. The IELTS score 7 in each category (LIstening, Reading, Writing and Speaking) were said by my immigration consultant, Mr Saito, to be necessary for me to immigrate to Canada, though I hadn't been able to go over 6 each in 4 times tries in Japan. Mr Saito continued to say that a specific preparation for IELTS should get me to the 7 all stage, even though I had already taken two courses in Japan.
Mr Saito suggested me that the immigration interview take place that summer, and advised me to have an intensive English program for preparing for the interview and submit the 7 all score on the spot possibly. He also explained the necessity of acquiring elementary French speaking skill for the interview. That's why I took UBC abandoning my photo-shooting plan across Canada.
Also, I was again taking an IELTS preparation course at a night school here in Canada. All of the classmates were adult girls, the majority of whom wanted the score 7 also for getting their nurse licenses in Canada, and the teacher, Judy, sometimes had difficulty to hear out what I was saying.
Even though she could easily understand the Chinese students who were the half of the class, I had difficulty in telling their pronunciation and vise versa. She was one of the examiners of IELTS actually and recommended me to take some pronunciation course in addition. However, hearing this matter at home, Leslie said I should have no problem in pronunciation and it should be the problem of the teacher. Anyway, however, she was an examiner.
What I think now concerning English teacher in Vancouver is few of them can understand mature and complex thoughts. Sadly their minds seem to have stopped at students' stage without knowing real lives. I would say that their thoughts are very simple with English and that it is the limit of English education these days.
Another thing I found at the night school was the Asian way of thought; among the Philippina, next majority in the class to Chinese, had difficulty to refer to the point what she wanted to say straightly. I could easily understand her feeling because in Japanese I came to my conclusion in that way, too.
For English people a long process or procedure to a conclusion seems too complicated to understand. Many English people claim that English is very straight forward language, but I don't think so. English is a superficial language; it is very convenient to convey and share a simple concept, but lives are not that simple. Consequently maybe, using English always has to behave superficially and deceive others to some extent.

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# by tetsu95jp | 2007-12-08 08:09 | 9.UBC ELI, Home Stay
Home Stay at Anglican family of Kitsilano (2)
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# by tetsu95jp | 2007-12-07 09:49 | 9.UBC ELI, Home Stay
Home Stay at Anglican family of Kitsilano (1)
I was 42 years old, but I wanted a home stay for learning English as well as the way of life of Canadians. The hope was accepted by ELI of UBC and well before entering the institute the family's profile was sent to me. I asked for a White people's family because staying at a Chinese family it seemed not to work to improve my English. My host parents were Leslie and Gerry Kitson and they had two children.
The first day of the ELI, I was very surprised at that almost all of my classmates were around 20 years old and majority of them were Chinese, Korean and Japanese! Then what is the difference from the language school in Japan. Anyway, the UBC was top-rated university and the tuition was far more expensive than other schools in downtown, so there should be nothing wrong with me.
I completely trusted ELI. From the common sense of Japanese concerning this kind of matter, my thought should be really understandable, because if something shouldn't go with me the representative of the institute would suggest something by considering we were paying a lot of money. However, here was Canada; I haven't realised it yet.
Surrounded with immature people in a huge room, I was waiting for Leslie's picking me up for home. The person in charge of home stay announced me that Leslie once received a Japanese female student and when she married she invited Leslie's family to her wedding ceremony in Japan. When my name was called to a desk, before I knew it a plump woman was standing by me among the crowd. She gave me a wiry smile since I was an old student quite different from others there.
Driving her car, she was very talkative and in a very fast way. She said, "I heard you can speak English, so I'll speak normally so that work for you." Actually, however, I had no chance to interrupt her endless tale.
Her house was located in Kitsilano, where is famous as a high-class residential area in Vancouver; so, I imagined a mansion or something. However, it was a pretty nice old house. She parked in front of the house on the road; so have done others. They don't need any permission to do so. My room was on the basement and surprisingly huge; I was refrained from taking it at first saying it was too huge for a Japanese, but she was happy to offer it since there were no one else to use it then.
Immediately after my arrival, Leslie brought me to a ball park nearby; there, a middle-aged man wearing sunglasses on was pitching balls for a tall boy in the batter box. They were the family of Leslie. Her husband, Gerry, was very enthusiastic for training baseball skills of his son, Bart. They reminded me of the Fathers for Baseball Elite in Japan, but later I knew they were rather playing. Leslie was never bored with watching at their play. "See," Leslie pointed at a jalopy van, "that's his car. It's old, isn't it? He has keeping it for a long time. Loading baseball goods, we go to ball games every weekend!" Her story seemed endless.
They also had a daughter, Katie, but she became independent renting an apartment in Downtown. Without Katie, they made it a rule to have supper together. They had a terrace with roof beside the kitchen, and it was the main place for suppers. The view was very good with huge road-side-trees over their well organised beautiful garden.
On the table, Gerry introduced himself that he was a taxi driver. Leslie explained he entered the UBC but stopped somehow and bought a taxi to become the driver. "I don't want to be disturbed by others anyways. I am me, nothing else. My job gives me a freedom, you know. I am hiring my self and can eke money all by myself." He usually worked from evening to early morning, because it was more lucrative.
He also mentioned some other time that among Canadians changing a job-path is fairly common but he kept his way so far. He considered it sometimes, but at the end he continued. He was just around 50 but definitely the host father for me, a 42 years old man.
When I introduced myself that before this home stay I stayed in Steveston for the first place and later travelled BC area, Leslie envied me that even she hadn't had such a travel. Interestingly, Gerry was brought up in Steveston. However, having met and married Leslie who came from Ontario, they purchased the house in Kitsilano, which is the present one. As for his native home, his mother sold it and bought another house in Burnaby because she hated the environmental change of Richmond with increasing Asian people. She was from Burns Lake, the small village I visited; what a coincident!
Once or so a month, they or Gerry himself made it a rule to visit his mother since she was living alone. One time, after their visit, they brought me a dinner she made and it was so good; I remember that was a hum-steak and mushed potatoes and something. Leslie wanted me to call her a gratitude. "Thank you very much. It's far better than expensive hotels," said I, she laughed a little over the phone. Gerry standing by me said, "Good job." But it was my real opinion!
As they referred as Supper, their potions were rather small but they usually ate snacks in the evening watching TV; Leslie called me whenever Vancouver Canoecs's hockey game was broadcasted. Leslie's cook was surprisingly good that was far different from so-called Canadian dishes I ate at restaurants. Sometimes she baked Salmon or Shrimp with salt and pepper but those were rather gorgeous. Mushed Potatoes were must and so good with baked Hums and occasionally Spaghetti. Also, they loved Vegetables Salads were fresh!
After the supper, Gerry walk down to the garden and weeded around. I helped him with by being taught to tell the weeds. Since then, I made it a rule to weed when I had a spare time, because I thought I shouldn't be able to contribute to them in anything else for I was very busy for my study. The time for photo-shooting should have gone now. However, brilliant Canadian lights especially in the long evening towards summer had to make me go out for a shoot once in a while.

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# by tetsu95jp | 2007-12-06 08:06 | 9.UBC ELI, Home Stay
Meeting nicest people in BC with GREYHOUND (24)
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# by tetsu95jp | 2007-12-05 12:55 | 8.Southern BC
Meeting nicest people in BC with GREYHOUND (23)
Nelson was located in the hillside by West Arm of Kootenay Lake. It's a small slope town filled with old buildings and claimed artists' residential area, who attracted by its creative atmosphere. It's surely true there was such an air and there were a lot of art galleries. However, this is not only for Nelson. Every towns and cities somewhat claims they are artistic with pretty number of galleries. In Nelson, all of the works I saw were in the traditional way and mediocre; I couldn't find any conspicuous works with originalities. I was wondering what the Canadian originality.
The opening day of UBC English Language Institute was approaching. I made my way in a hurry to Vancouver taking the southern route. It's the end of March where Spring has already come, still air was cold and due to the half-melted snow in mountains it was yet early to fish in rivers and lakes. I was giving up being able to fish on inland this trip, but wanted to further know the way of Canadian life.
Like that way, I came to Penticton where is located between Okanagan Lake and Skaha Lake. On the way on a Greyhound stop near the US border I saw a parting scene of the people wearing turbans. Its presumably a family, the old parents of which were returning home in India or so, looked something strange with the extensive landscape of fruits farms behind them. Why are they here? What brought them to such a place? And, for me too.
In Penticton, I ate and drank at the only Japanese restaurant in town run and cooked by Japanese. The taste was fairly good that was properly brought from Japan. The young owner chef was from Saitama-prefecture next to Tokyo. He said what brought him here is there was more business chance than in Japan. Actually, he was doing a good business with high prices to a lot of customers occupying the Japanese food market in the area.
I dropped by a wine seller to have information about wineries, which were famous as Okanagan Wine in Canada. However, a young female seller had little knowledge and suggested me to go to Visitor Information Centre. Those things commonly happen in Canada; they, particularly younger ones, know very little about their home. When I asked if she had any recommendation on red wines there because what I tried in Vancouver area were awfully heavy and smokey without any sensibilities and some people claim that the White Okanagan was better than the Red, she replied she rather prefer that heavy Red saying different people have different taste. But I didn't think she had good tongue; maybe brought up only by MacDonald.
Renting a car, I visited the Wine Centre and some recommended winery for tasting. In short, the wine industry there was, as far as I saw, fairly young in its history and highly commercialised for tourism, and I couldn't find really serious attitudes or philosophies among them. They looked like doing their job just for fun, nothing else; that might be a Canadian style. I would never take Red Okanagan Wines.
The area was very peaceful. I first drove a car in Canada in the right lane, but since it was left in Japan I once mistook to drive left side. And then, just in front of me a car approached and I got aware and changed to right lane waving my hand to the driver passing by. He waved back with surprised face! I found under the sun ladies were sitting back around a table; I thought this is the way of Canada and approached to take pictures. However, it appeared much like directed: a Caucasian lady was an English teacher in town and was renting the house on this outskirts and the other Asian ladies were her students, so that was not the real life of Canadians.

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This trip going around BC might have been too quick; nevertheless, I was thinking I could grasp the characteristics of Canadian or BC life. From Penticton to Vancouver, there was a point where the scenery has dramatically changed; the green of the fields became suddenly vibrant. That means, I thought, the boarder between mountain climate and plain. When I arrived at the hostel on Granville, Vancouver, it was 1st April.

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# by tetsu95jp | 2007-12-04 08:30 | 8.Southern BC
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