plant2 Documenting the west coast Nikkei experience [and beyond] from the viewpoint of a hapa Nikkei graphic designer, editor, photographer, taiko player & teacher.


Re(a)ddressed: I am (Japanese) Canadian Workshop

By Caitlin Ohama-Darcus

Please check one of the following three options. I am ___white. I am___black. I am ___other. If other, please specify____________________________________.

How often have you been faced with this question? Where was it? When was it? Why? And what have you checked? What did you specify? How easy did you find putting a name to the parts of you or, for that matter, to the whole of you?

The 20th Anniversary Japanese Canadian Redress Conference was held this past September here in Vancouver, BC, with participants traveling to attend from all over Canada, as well as the United States. This conference stood out as a celebration of community.

On the Friday afternoon of this three-day-long event, I had the honour of co-facilitating a workshop geared towards youth. Titled “Re(a)ddressed: I am (Japanese) Canadian,” the aim of this workshop was to open a dialogue between Japanese Canadian youth surrounding the present and possible futures of identity and ethnicity in Canada. Very suited to these topics was the collaboration of award-winning Canadian independent animation filmmaker, writer and artist, Jeff Chiba Stearns.

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A Canadian Nikkei in Hawaii – Day 2

For the first time in many years, your humble blog-master is missing Vancouver’s Powell Street Festival. It was time for a badly-needed family vacation and circumstances dictated the timing. So here we are. In Kona, on the big Island of Hawaii. We travelled yesterday from Seattle, landing at our rented home last night–the Newman/Greenaway clan (Amy, Emiko, Kaya and me) along with Amy’s folks Bonnie and Joel. So maybe today is Day One, but I’m going to call it Day Two anyway. That’s me at breakfast this morning. On the beach.

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Hapa Canada Day Message from Todd Wong

Todd Wong, who is not hapa, (but is an honourary one – hey, he can’t help it, eh?) sent this message around this morning and I found it sitting in my in-box when I got home tonight (after driving my girls around all day to various events where they were performing with Chibi Taiko) and I thought it was really sweet. And since I’m too tired to write a message myself . . . well, here it is! (it’s also posted on his tres-cool website)

For my special Hapa Friends….

Canada Day Eve is one of the greatest celebration events not celebrated…

Hapa-Canadian “Standing on Guard for Thee”! original drawing by Jeff Chiba Stearns

Why don’t we have a midnight countdown to celebrate our country’s birthday?  Okay, there are fireworks celebrations at the end of Canada Day, but everybody has to go to work the next morning.  Aren’t holidays better celebrated when you can stay up late the night before, then sleep in?

Last night, I met up with two friends, Leanne Riding and Judy Maxwell.  When I introduced them, it took only a few moments before one of them said “Are you hapa?”

And this was in a darkened room!

If people think that “Canadian Identity”is a conundrum, try to define being Hapa.  It’s a Hawaiian term that is now more commonly used to define mixed race Asian-Canadians and Asian-Americans.

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Hapa Singer-Songwriter Up for JUNO, Tours Canada

Born in New York to a Japanese father and a Caucasian mother, Justin Nozuka and his six siblings were raised in Toronto by their mother. All four boys followed careers in the arts, with Justin and his brother George becoming musicians. At 19 years of age, Justin is already carving out a reputation [...]