Victoria, Victoria …

November 30, 2015 at 5:31 pm
Victoria, B.C. map

by David Fujino On a sunny weekend from September 25 to 27, I was in Victoria to attend the National Association of Japanese Canadians’ AGM (Annual General Meeting) where, to my surprise — beyond the full Agenda of items to discuss — I also experienced a series of personal eye-openers. It so happens that my mom, Marion Noda, was born and raised in Colwood, a suburb of Victoria, so this was my chance, however brief, to catch a glimpse of my mother’s roots in the still genteel and urbanizing city of Victoria (the capitol of British Columbia), a place “where you could smell the flowers” in each of the four seasons, as my mother used to say with a peaceful look on her face. After arriving at the Chateau Victoria hotel on September 25, I freshened up, and since I had some time to spare, I took a stroll along […]

The Second Time Around

October 31, 2015 at 3:49 pm
No-No Boy by John Okada

An opinion & Review by David Fujino Recently I read John Okada’s novel, No-No Boy, for the second time — you see, it’s been 32 years, to be exact, since I read this classic of Asian American literature, and I frankly wondered what new things it might reveal on a second reading. I’m happy to report that, while I definitely enjoyed the book again as a ‘good read,’ I was reminded that No-No Boy is essentially the story of Ichiro Yamada who refused to serve in the U.S. army when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbour — and for saying ´no’, Ichiro was interned for two years and jailed for two years. That’s the simple version of Ichiro’s story as it opens with his release back into ‘civilization’ and his hometown of Seattle, Washington, at the ripe age of 25. “He was Ichiro who had said no to the judge and […]

She’s Got A New Gig!

September 29, 2015 at 11:35 pm
Brenda Kamino

Moderato Cantabile @ Factory Studio Theatre August 7, 2015 by David Fujino I recently saw Brenda Kamino in the play, Moderato Cantabile, at this year’s 25th anniversary SummerWorks festival. What a (pleasure) it was to see a Nikkei actor in a role that’s usually given to an actor of European heritage. Brenda played the role of a piano teacher. Now, you might think, what’s the big deal? The race or nationality of an actor shouldn’t figure into who gets the job. Talent should be the basis of a hire, and I’d agree with you, but this is not exactly how it works in the theatre world. Put simply, actors of colour are rarely considered for leading and speaking roles in most European, American, or Canadian plays (Shakespeare, Miller, Shaw, and Ibsen, to name just a few), and if you look at film, television, or the internet, actors of colour aren’t […]

INTERROGATION: Lives and Times of The Kamloops Kid

September 1, 2015 at 11:34 am
INTERROGATION: Lives and Times of The Kamloops Kid

by Karri Yano and Evan Andrew Mackay The Toronto Fringe Festival @Factory Theatre Mainspace July 6, 2015, 1 pm by David Fujino This particular version of the lives and times of the Kamloops Kid clearly preoccupies the kid’s grand-niece, Karri Yano, in her recently unveiled play at this year’s 2015 Toronto Fringe. I say ‘this particular version’ because there’s other stories circulating about Kanao Inouye — in fact, a tense guy in the audience told me he’d ‘like to hear what Hong Kong vets have to say’ about the torture they endured under the Canadian-born Inouye, who first worked in Japan as a translator and then became a notorious POW (Prisoner of War) interrogator for the Japanese army during World War 2. I responded, ‘that’s fine, but we should look at the story in the play’. Somehow this seemed to stop the unreasonable demands the man was making of the […]

Satoko Fujii and Kaze

August 1, 2015 at 4:31 pm
Satoko-Fujii-and-Kaze

May 19/15, Arraymusic, 155 Walnut Ave., 8 pm by David Fujino THE OPENING  ACT The evening started conventionally enough, with trombonist Heather Segger and tenor saxophonist Paul Newman playing a set of their original compositions. Just the two of them. In the first tune — the staggered boppish line of Heather Segger’s composition, Series, trombonist Segger would occasionally punctuate section endings with a single lone note and in a later section, saxophonist Newman was to emerge in a full singing and solo mood. By this time, it was clear the composition was not written as a conventional duet, or as a piece of chamber music. It was written by an improvising musician. Paul Newman’s longer composition, When I die, who will be there to count the rings? was based on a poem by Diane Krasinski. Employing vocalized extended techniques, trombonist Segger effectively encouraged a duet-like sequence to develop into a […]

locus plot by Peggy Baker

July 2, 2015 at 8:31 am
Peggy Baker locus plot

at Betty Oliphant Theatre April 24/15, 8:30 pm by David Fujino   The legendary dance artist Peggy Baker spoke in a pre-show talk about locus plot — her first full-length ensemble work in a varied 40-year career. Baker said locus plot was inspired by a set of schematic drawings, and its swift graphic lines, curves, and fixed points in space led her to exclaim that they looked like “floor patterns for choreographers’. Which led her to ask John Mighton for lessons in mathematics, physics, and the philosophy of science. The process of creating had begun. Whereas the (other-worldly) influence of vocalist Fides Krucker entered Baker’s dance in the form of dancers’ startling on stage vocalizing, shrieking and howling. This new element in Baker’s choreography appears to have been a transformative experience for Baker and her new ensemble work, locus plot. The music for the show was created by the composer […]

An Interview with Hitoko Okada

May 31, 2015 at 4:13 pm
Hitoko Okada

by David Fujino Hitoko Okada started out in the fashion industry working for a milliner in her hometown of Vancouver when she was just 17 and has been involved in theatre costume production since she was 19. She holds a Fashion Design Diploma from the International Academy of Design and Technology in Toronto and an Arts and Sciences Diploma from Langara College in Vancouver B.C. Hitoko’s career began as a props maker and artist with The Public Dreams Society in Vancouver, and she went on to pursue a career as a costumer in theatre production across Southern Ontario, including The Stratford Festival in Stratford, The Grand Theatre in London, and Mirvish Productions in Toronto. In 2009 in Hamilton, Okada began producing wearable art clothing and accessories under her own label, HITOKOO. Her art clothing is also available in various retail venues in Southern Ontario and on-line. (www.hitokoo.com). Hitoko’s clothing-themed textile […]