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February 2006

+ Rain, Rain... Rain?! +

"Read this journal article and answer the questions that follow."

Recently, it has been raining in Ottawa. I thought that it was winter. Was I wrong? The Rideau Canal has been closed for about two weeks or more... I heard that the Rideau Canal was opened for more than 50 days every winter but this winter it has only been opened for seven or eight days in January. What happened?

I heard that, in Ottawa, it becomes less than minus 30 or 40 degrees in winter but I only experienced around minus 15 degrees for a few days in January. It was not a special case to mark plus degrees during the day time recently. The other day, finally, the snow on the sidewalk melted completely. Where am I?

This is NOT Canada!

On the other hand, Japan has a lot of snow this winter. Maybe, winter doesn't love me even though I love winter. I found a good idea to get a cold winter when I was thinking about this mild winter in Ottawa. It is to write how comfortable this winter is on my website. After I uploaded this journal, it will snow, I think.

I don't have to wear a pair of winter boots, ear muff, and toque. Yeah, it is easy to live in Ottawa. Such climate is very good for me because I don't like winter! (Is this enough?)

Hey, cold winter, please don't come to Ottawa. I hate the cold!

Well... did it work?

The points are 25 each, total 100 points.

Q1. Where did the writer write this article?
    (a) In Minato-ku, Tokyo Japan.
    (b) In Ottawa, Ontario Canada.
    (c) In Ottawa County, Kansas U.S.A.
    (d) Somewhere, anyways, out of Canada.

Q2. About winter, what kind of feelings does the writer have?
    (a) The writer loves winter.
    (b) The writer hates winter.
    (c) The writer doesn't care about winter.
    (d) Sometimes the writer loves winter and sometimes the writer hates winter.

Q3. Does winter love the writer?
    (a) Yes, winter loves the writer.
    (b) No, winter doesn't love the writer.
    (c) Maybe winter doesn't love the writer.
    (d) Nobody knows winter's mind.

Q4. Why did the writer write this article?
    (a) Because the writer really hates winter.
    (b) Because the writer wants to show the power to change the climate.
    (c) Because the writer thinks that cold winter would come to Ottawa by such a contrary emphasis.
    (d) Because the writer doesn't believe anyone.

Yeah, you got 100 points! Excellent!

+ Even though +

Yep, it snowed even though it was light snow and the Rideau Canal was re-opened even though it was partially. Maybe, my journal worked a little even though it was not absolutely scientific.

I don't know why but I haven't felt like doing anything recently.

Well, well, well, maybe I knew the reasons... It might be time to decide what I will do next. It has been ten months since I came to Canada. This means I have to apply to extend my visa, apartment contract, and driver's licence.

Well... the most pressing thing for me is to think about going back to Japan even though I don't want to right now. I have had a few chances to get a full time job in Canada but I didn't try because these were computer jobs. I thought that getting a full time job was a good idea for living in Canada longer, even though it was a computer job. But I found a wonderful job as a Japanese teacher. I love this job even though I don't have much experience. When I read my journal again, I felt I shouldn't apply to such computer jobs. I think this is my answer to my reason to come here on the Working Holiday program even though it hasn't finished yet. I think that it is also a good idea for me in the long term to go back to Japan in order to re-study Japanese as a Japanese teacher.

I won't write the details on my website, but if I go back to Japan, there are some things that I will need to be patient about. Deep sigh... when I think about all things I will have to deal with in the near future - some complicated serious things - it makes me feel like not wanting to do anything even though I have to.

Even though, even though, and even though.

+ Maple Leaf +

I wrote about the maple leaf logo design of McDonald's in June, but I found other maple leaf designs which I'll introduce here.

First of all, everyone knows Wendy's. The apostrophe is a maple leaf and it's interesting that the messages are bilingual, "OLD FASHIONED" and "CARRÉMENT BON" (1). The second is a local restaurant called Casey's. The apostrophe is a maple leaf too (2). And the third is my favourite beer Molson Canadian. It has a big maple leaf in the centre (3).

Wendy's(1)  Casey's(2)  Molison Canadian(3)

By the way, when I was window shopping the other day, I found a funny thing. It was a bottle cover with the design of the national hockey team uniform printed on it. Of course the design is based on the maple leaf. Yes, I bought it. And so, I tried to put this cover on the Molson Canadian beer bottle.

Very Canadian
Tada! I made it Canadian! Especially the belly is very Canadian, eh?
(Of course, this is just a joke. Hey Canadians, don't get mad please. I know a lot of Canadians who are slim. I hope that you understand my joke.)

This is the correct way. It's a flat belly.
Flat Canadian

But... I think the wrong way is cuter.


Last night, I watched the women's Olympic figure skating competition in Torino. I was very impressed by the performances of both skaters, Joannie Rochette and Mira Leung. Rochette from Montreal's performance was very European and so cute. She was like a pretty pink flower on the ice. On the other hand, Leung from Vancouver's performance was very Chinese and so cool. Her costume design was based on traditional Chinese dress and her program used classical Chinese music. I think Leung's Chinese cultural background enabled to create this unique performance.

Canada is a really diverse country. People who have quite different backgrounds live together respecting each other. If I hadn't come to Canada, I wouldn't understand why Leung wore such a costume and used such music when she represents Canada. But now, I can understand that she is proud of her background and other Canadians respect her background too. I thought about the meaning of diversity when I was watching Rochette and Leung skate.

CANADACANADA                                  CANADACANADA
CANADACANADA                CA                CANADACANADA
CANADACANADA                DA                CANADACANADA
CANADACANADA                CA                CANADACANADA
CANADACANADA                NA                CANADACANADA
CANADACANADA                DA                CANADACANADA
CANADACANADA                                  CANADACANADA

And... What about Japan?

I was deeply moved!

The challenging spirit of Miki Ando, the effort of Fumie Suguri, and the SHINAYAKA beauty of Shizuka Arakawa. Their performances touched my heart. Especially Arakawa's performance, I could feel Japanese beauty even though neither her costume nor her music weren't traditional Japanese style. It was a very interesting feeling. I think Arakawa succeeded in expressing Japanese beauty through her performance. But I couldn't find an appropriate English word for SHINAYAKA. According to my Japanese-English dictionary, SHINAYAKA (na adjective) is pliant; flexible; supple; lithe. But I think that these words are different from this SHINAYAKA beauty. I mean, it is more like a graceful elegance. However, this is still a little bit different from my feeling. SHINAYAKA is SHINAYAKA.

Thank you for wonderful impressions and, Congratulations!

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