VOTE. You have to Vote. Part 3 – media

Quebec City mosque shooting victims include businessman, professor and fathers of young children
6 men were shot in the back as they gathered for evening prayer, mosque’s vice-president says

FIRST.

Now.

I wanted to know who did it. I was so anxious to know I was on Twitter all day. Which, we should know, is a BAD place to get up-to-date news.

I realized yesterday afternoon I was contributing to the bile by even looking at it, and made myself log out.

In the end, one person was arrested.

From now on, BE PATIENT. Police have a job to do, LET THEM do it.

STOP getting your news off Twitter. STOP. I know that’s hard, given the possible forced deportations which no one can find out anything about. BUT, this happened in CANADA. For right now, we do still have some reliable media outlets. Here they are.

Vote with your money: Start PAYING for news again. We have to. News has gone downhill, and Part of the reason is likely because ad revenue has cratered, so they feel compelled to take “native advertising” and pander to customers instead of sticking to journalistic integrity. PAY FOR reliable news so they can pay reporters and researchers to do the work.

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VOTE. You have to Vote. Part 2 #Canada #voting #nomuslimban #refugeeswelcome

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My goodness. That went well!

MoveOn.org

MoveOn.org

But it’s not remotely over yet. Next: the “hard” part.

Immediately after the inauguration, The Village Voice published a series of mini-interviews done with attendees. The very first interviewee said that the new president’s words were being parsed by the media, and he didn’t believe that all of things the president said were in fact going to happen, that it was his, very good, way of saying he was simply putting the US’s interests first. When asked if he had in fact voted for Trump, this man answered:

“No, I’m a Canadian citizen.”

I’m not linking to that article, because I don’t want to contribute to that person being tracked down and bile thrown at him over the internet — if you want to read it yourself, you’ll have no trouble finding it.

The fact that Canada has not one but two proponents of the new president’s ideology running for the PC leadership (you know who I mean — I’m not furthering the indignity they’ve heaped on other people), and that this ideology has support in Canada, might make clear-headed Canadians panic and say “no, we DON’T have time! It’s inevitable.”

It’s NOT inevitable. If you believe that, you’ve said you’re going to do nothing. Which is what happened before and during WWII. THAT’S were we are now. That is NOT inevitable in Canada, we CAN stop it.

And it’s, again, very simple, BUT. Turnout for the 2015 federal election was the highest in ages, yet over 30% of voters still didn’t show up. The only way to prove to the right-wing that the majority does not agree with them IS to utterly prove the majority is against them…that is, to VOTE AGAINST THEM.

The only way to not let either of those potential PCs have power, is to NOT let them have that power. If the majority of Canadians don’t vote for a party, they don’t get the power to enact what they want to do.

See? Simple.

Yes, we have first-past-the-post, we’ve had minority governments in recent history, blah blah. We somehow allowed Harper in power for 10 years, and finally, enough Canadians got sick of him to hand him a resounding Defeat. We can, and we must, keep fascism out of the Canadian parliament. And we can. By voting.

So do it.

VOTE. You. Have. To. VOTE. Part 1 #vote #canada

The horrors have been coming so thick and fast that no one can process them all. Which is part of the strategy, clearly: throw in all the immigration, abortion, and press bans, one right after the other, and there are too many things to nail down and protest.

Which is why I am — for the moment — still happy and relieved to be Canadian. Because we still have time.

The solution is very simple, so simple we already know what it is, but it does take work. Part of the issue has been simple complacency, the old “we took for granted” that racism, sexism, and hate speech weren’t as bad in Canada, and we made the false assumption that “not as bad as” meant “no problem at all.” Pretty obvious now that assumption was incorrect. So the obvious, simple way to combat all that is to: STOP. IT.

People who aren’t white are being harassed. When you see that, stop it. Call the police. Yell. Start carrying a black marker with you, and when you see hate propaganda posters anywhere, DON’T tear them down, but write this across them: Section 319 (1) . That’s “hate speech”, in the Criminal Code of Canada.

CANADIANS EVERYWHERE, in Canada, living outside of it, ALL OF YOU:

Write to your MLA, your premier, your MP, and the Prime Minister. Today, every day. Tell them that what it happening in the US will not happen here.

And if the new president wants to get shirty, I am willing to live without avocados. I survived without a car most of my adult life. If things get so tough that I can’t get a job in Canada, I now have the ability to teach pretty much anywhere in the world, and come back…thanks to my Canadian passport. That’s how lucky I am.

Refugees — NOT “migrants” for god’s sake! — are worse than unlucky. They are in danger. People who are anything but white-Caucasian, are in danger.

Canada is better than the US. Prove it, and make the people we elected to represent us prove it.

Kabuki Theatre and Oiwa #theatre

I am a theatre junkie. Kabuki is at least as old as Shakespeare.  It’s one of THE drama traditions I heard about as soon as I decided theatre was my life. Going to a kabuki play was on my must-do list while I was in Tokyo, but it was also felt, for me, like going to a cathedral and I hadn’t been to confession.

The Kabuki-za Theatre in Ginzu, Tokyo, the largest in Japan.

The Kabuki-za Theatre in Ginzu, Tokyo, the largest in Japan.

Billboard for the show outside the theatre. Of course no photos were allowed during the show.

Billboard for the show outside the theatre. Of course no photos were allowed during the show.

It was utterly amazing. It was actually four short pieces I saw, which — with intervals when you could get full meals and beer to have at your seat! — was three and half hours long. The style of acting and the men playing women (I’ll need to post about that separately—because) took some getting used to, because it’s so utterly different from any show I’ve ever seen before, and that’s part of the reason it was enthralling.

One of MANY screens hiding the stage over the performance.

One of MANY screens hiding the stage over the performance.

Everything I felt seeing my first kabuki was wrapped up in what I’d felt earlier that day while trying to track down Oiwa…the main character in one of Japan’s creepiest ghost stories, most famous kabuki plays (I didn’t see that one, sadly), and many of the country’s successful horror films.

There are a few different versions of Oiwa’s story: here’s one of the shortest, yet best and scariest. Horror and/or Japanese film fans will recognise her likeness from the Ringu series.

I have presumed to put her into one of my stories…the short film I started work on in France over the summer, and the related feature-length screenplay I just drafted. They both concern domestic violence, culture clashes, racism, sexism, revenge, and guilt.

Theatre people are, put mildly, superstitious. We call it “The Scottish Play” or “McBoo”. We leave a “ghost light” on in the middle of the stage when the theatre is otherwise empty and dark. And in Japan, whenever an actor onstage, or an actress on film, takes the role of Oiwa, they go to her shrine in Tokyo and ask Oiwa’s permission to play her.

And that’s what I did too.

The shrine in Yotsuya, Tokyo.

The shrine in Yotsuya, Tokyo.

The trope of the Maiden Ghost, based on Oiwa, has appeared in so many incarnations now that she’s thrown the first pitch in a baseball game. Which sounds silly, but I find it actually shows that Japan takes her as seriously as kabuki; she is embedded in Japanese culture — everyone knows her, and everyone, in a strange way, loves her. She embodies something genuinely wrong — vengeance — but it’s something everyone understands and has, at some point, wanted against someone else. I’m frightened by and enthralled by her.

I hope it’s not cultural appropriation — Gore Verbinski’s remade Ringu, quite well, I thought. Yes, I went to visit Tokyo to see the city, yes I met up with an old friend who’s been in Japan 14 years. However…I also went to Tokyo specifically to visit Oiwa’s shrine and ask “is this okay?” I hope it is.

A closer look at one grave.

A closer look at one grave.

Cemetery behind the shrine.

Cemetery behind the shrine.

Photos of #Japan : The East #Imperial Gardens, #Tokyo

The East Gardens of the Imperial Palace of Japan…distinct from THE Imperial Gardens because those are immediately around the current Palace, and are off-limits.  And what you do get to see is utterly magnificent, and huge — I was there nearly three hours and didn’t see everything.

Photos from #Japan : #Kategawa Castle and Shrine

My first full day in Japan, I visited a university friend who’s been teaching English since 2002. He lives in Shizuoka Prefecture, and we met up in Kategawa, 90 minutes south of Tokyo by train.

This is what Japan’s “countryside” looks like, and this area grows mostly buckwheat. However, industry is never far away – my friend teaches Yamaha employees at the local plant.

Photos from #France ; #Paris

“I’m in Paris. I’m in Paris.” I had to keep saying that to myself. I arrived in Gare de Lyon, the main train station, which is already beautiful, and walked out into the chaos of a Paris taxi rank surrounded by 19th century buildings, trying not to cry. My taxi ride was a very similar experience to when I first walked on the Embankment in London…all of the places I’ve been hearing about my whole life actually exist and are right in front of me. When I first saw the Seine, I shrieked. I saw Notre Dame and felt my mouth fall open.  My taxi driver pointed out Place la Concorde, and the Musee D’Orsay. I saw something pointing out above us, from behind another museum, and it took me moment to realise it was the Eiffel Tower. When we drove past the base, I choked a bit.

Because my residency in Vallauris only ended on 19 August, and I must be back in China for 1 September, I had to get home right away. I spent one night and morning in Paris before getting on a plane for Canada. I’m already thinking about when I can go back.