Our Trip to New Denver, BC ブリティッシュコロンビア州ニューデンバーへの旅

Recently, we watched a program on the Knowledge Network about Japanese gardens in Canada. UBC Nitobe Garden in Vancouver, Japan Canada Yukoo Garden in Lethbridge, Alberta, and Kohan Reflection Garden in New Denver, B.C. were introduced. There were some explanations of who, how, and why these gardens were created. Histories, ideas, and some background behind these gardens were briefly mentioned.

I have to confess that although I have 32 long years of living in Canada, somehow, I never had the chance to learn or even be interested in the history of Japanese Canadians. Watching this program was an eye opening experience for me.

We had a long and beautiful summer this year. Neil and I were thinking of going somewhere on a driving trip with our two dogs before rain arrived. It would be perfect to go to New Denver to visit the garden and learn the history.

When I told our dear friend, Allen, about this idea, he said I must read Obasan by Joy Kogawa before the trip. It was indeed excellent advice!

So a sunny day in mid September, we departed our house in Powell River and started our week-long driving trip to the interior of BC.

New Denver was far. We stayed at a motel in a quiet little village called Fauquier after crossing Arrow Lake by a cable ferry.

We arrived in New Denver the next day. It is a picturesque old little town by Lake Slocan. Nikkei Internment Memorial Centre and Kohan Reflection Garden were on the other side of a river, separated from the town by a bridge.

We saw a big bear in the park near the Kohan Garden, devouring something from a garbage box.

In this quiet old town about 1,400 people live. There are some more small villages and ghost towns in this area surrounded by mountains and lakes. It was hard to believe that in the 1940’s 22,000 Japanese Canadians were squeezed in this small area.

They were all uprooted from their houses and businesses on the west coast of BC. They were first stuffed in the smelly animal sheds in Hasting Park in Vancouver for months, then brought to Slocan by train, then to New Denver area by boats. Amazingly, 75% of those people were Canadian born or naturalized Canadian citizens!! Men between ages 20s to 60s were sent to physical labor camps, forced to construct railroads or highways. Women, children, and older people were sent to these internment camps.

…..What?…. I have heard that many Chinese laborers were brought from China to work on the railroad constructions. I didn’t know Japanese Canadian men were forced to work in such construction sites as well……Many of them were fishermen or farmers. They were removed from their works, properties, and families, and shipped to work in those constructions….and they were all legal Canadians… how terrible….I didn’t know….

Their properties which they had worked so hard to earn …including tools, boats, cars, radios….were taken away, looted, and auctioned off. The government approved to sell their belongings, THEN charged them the handling fees for selling!

They could not return to their houses… ever. They were not even allowed to exist in the west coast of BC for several years even after the war.

People were allowed to take their necessities as much as they could carry by hand. They had to watch from the bus windows as their houses were looted as their buses drove away.

Apparently, discriminations towards Japanese Canadians started way before the Pearl Harbour. There were various systematic legal discriminations against them, e.g., taking away and banning their rights to obtain fishing license, not allowing them to engage in certain occupations like lawyer, medical doctor, teacher….etc. As they became successful in their fields, regulations were put on to prevent their success. The systematic discriminations were already escalating and broadening by the time Pearl Harbour happened. Pearl Harbour only provided a good reason for their removal.

They were Canadian citizens whose ancestors came from a country which happened to become an enemy…just like German Canadians or Italian Canadians. Imagine the lives of immigrants; they must work extra hard from zero in the new land, in an unknown environment, with an unfamiliar language, to build up their means of survival. And then everything they had built was taken away…just to make them suffer….just because they were Japanese descendants………..

Older people, children, and women were sent to interior BC like New Denver. They had to live through the first winter in thin canvas tents. Materials and tools to build the camp did not arrive for many months.

How did young mothers with babies live without privacy? How did sick people survive in such poor conditions?

There were voices amongst white Canadians, “Japs deserve to suffer, they should suffer to the maximum”

This is certainly not the Canada I know. How sad…

After the war was ended, Japanese Canadians were uprooted again. They were forced to make a choice of moving further east and work in places like sugar beet farms, or board ships taking them back to Japan.

For most of the Canadian born people, Japan was a foreign country. They didn’t speak the language or have anybody who could help them. Moreover, Japan was in total chaos. Many cities were bombed out heavily, people had lost their places to live, no food to eat….they themselves were struggling to survive.

Despite all that, many Japanese Canadians chose to board the ships out of deep despair. They felt there was no future, no hope for them in Canada.

After people left New Denver, the internment camp was bulldozed over to a bare field, as if nothing had happened… In 1989, the Japanese garden called Kohan (it means Lakeside) Reflection Garden was created. A young garden designer from Japan transformed this land of tears and sorrows to a beautiful garden. It is now a public space, open to everybody.

Beautiful town, beautiful park, with a sad history….

This was such a moving trip. I am still reading more books about the Japanese Canadian history. I would love to go back there again.









え? 中国人の労働者が鉄道工事のために中国から連れてこられたという話は聞いていたけど、日系人も強制労働させられたんだ……全然知らなかった…















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For Sosuke 奏佑へのメッセージ

Sosuke, Luke, and Renada

I remember the first day of school when Sosuke arrived from Japan to take Grade 2 in Canada.

He was so nervous. He barely endured the few hours of school. And he refused to go to school the next day. I generally don’t believe in “not going”, but Tomoka, his mom, let him stay home. He sat around doing nothing the whole morning. Tomoka phoned the school and talked to the teacher. The teachers and the class pupils discussed together what they could do to cheer up Sosuke and make him feel happier.

“Sosuke has just arrived from Japan. He can’t speak English. Just imagine, if you had to go to school in Japan and you don’t understand a word of Japanese, how would you feel?”

“What can each one of you do to make Sosuke feel happy and comfortable and included as one of your friends?”

That same afternoon, some children in the neighborhood came to the house. “Sosuke, let’s play!”

Sosuke’s face lightened up. He went over to the neighbor’s house and had a great time.

Apparently, it worked! It was just what he needed!

After that day, he never said he didn’t want to go to school. He played with neighbor kids after school. Sosuke was glowing.

His age, 7 years old, and his personality, gentle and authentic, contributed to making friends easily and fast. He learned to communicate without much language and still had fun.

He’s got countless stimulations from them. Scootering, bicycling, creating a basecamp, tree climbing, camping, swimming, releasing salmon babies in a creek, basketball…..I was so happy watching him challenging new things, growing more confident, and enjoying being a child.

He learned English so naturally, having fun with friends and his little cousin, Raiden. I have immense gratitude for everybody around him, including his friends, their parents, neighbours, and the wonderful teachers at the Lions Bay Elementary School. What a wonderful community.

So, what’s going to happen now? What would this one year mean to him in his life? Would he remember all these people who loved him? Would he remember English? Would he come back to Canada? I don’t know….but I know that, life is a series of meetings and farewells.

I think of Michael and Luke, his closest friends, who were crying, “why is Sosuke going back to Japan?”

Thank you for being such good friends.

Rutsu, Dustin, and Raiden, thank you for being so nice and supportive of Sosuke.








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Messages to My Grandchildren….For Sumire すみれへのメッセージ

Surprising how time flew. A year zoomed by and my 12 year old granddaughter, Sumire, graduated from Grade 7.

A year ago, when she came from Japan and started her Grade 7 at the Gleneagles elementary school, in West Vancouver, it seemed rather impossible. She had such a big dream and so much hope, but imagine, with no English, coming from totally different culture at the age 12, it was incredibly challenging. She struggled. She felt lost, lonely, disappointed at herself. It was hard to watch that process knowing how she would be feeling, what thoughts would go through her head.

I had the same experience when I was 13. I know so well how hard it is.

I felt helpless and sad that I couldn’t really help her, no matter how much I wanted. She had to live through it herself and overcome. After all, I can’t live Sumire’s life.

‘However, my sincere congratulations to you, Sumire! You worked really hard. In only one year, you have made great friends with whom you had so much fun, in English! That is truly a great accomplishment, Sumire.’

‘I felt so proud watching you at your graduation.

After the ceremony we went to see your teacher to thank her personally. It was a deeply emotional moment for the teacher too, and tears moved to our eyes.’

‘Sumire, your hard work and your precious experience will definitely guide you through your future endeavors. You are one big step closer to your dream. Keep moving forward, and hold onto your dream.’

Sumire is returning to Japan at the end of July. She is now a different person, much stronger and more confident.

‘I’m sure there will be struggles and challenges waiting for you, remember what you have accomplished in the year. Work hard, keep smiling, and never give up.’

‘I will always support you, Sumi. Come to me when you need a big hug.’









応援してる。いつでも何でも相談してね。Big hugs to you!

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Why? どうして?


I had been bogged down with various events, visits, errands, and couldn’t write my blog for a long time. One day in early July we finally came to our cottage on Texada Island to slow down, calm our minds, relax… I was hoping I could write something. Instead, this shocking news appeared on my phone screen….

Japan’s former prime minister, Shinzo Abe was assassinated.

Such a shocking news…. My heart sank heavily. My mind was flying all over. I couldn’t focus on anything. I couldn’t write.

I was always proud of my motherland, a super peaceful country and gentle polite people. And in such a beautiful ancient capital of Nara….? Who and why?

How could you hate anybody to the point of killing that person? Apparently there was no personal connection between the shooter and Mr. Abe… Then, why ….?

When your life is not going well do you blame it on others? Is it because of the damn society? Cunning and devious politicians? Your uncaring parents? Your family’s poor money situations? The evil religious organization that sucked your family’s money?

Why is it not your own responsibility? If you had the brain to make your homemade gun, couldn’t you use your intelligence, creativity and talents for something that could have helped to improve your life?

My thoughts and emotions are boiling up. My heart is so heavy. What a waste! The life of an influential politician and the life someone who was young and smart but headed the wrong way, had been wasted and can’t be reversed……how sad.

I read a column in the online Asahi News, and was utterly moved. My best attempt of translating its last paragraph…

“One era is gone. Nevertheless, people and cars come and go as if nothing happened. This humongous city Tokyo is still pulsing as if nothing had happened. I thought of a poem written a thousand years ago. ‘The flow of the river is incessant, yet its water is never the same.’”











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There was a music festival called PRISMA (Pacific Region International Summer Music Association) in my little home town, Powell River, from June 13 to 26.

To tell you honestly, I had very little expectation for the quality of music. It is after all, such a small town. Nevertheless, I bought two passes for Neil and myself and looked forward to the concerts.

I was blown away. Oh, how wrong I was!

The morning of the first day, I saw young people carrying instruments and hanging a pass from their neck at many corners of our town. ‘Oh they must be the musicians participating the festival’ I thought. I remember attending music festivals when I was younger. ‘Did I look like that?…young…nervous…hopeful…’ I wondered, with a bit of nostalgia.

Concerts by guest professional musicians, concerto competition, master classes, symphony concerts, outdoor concerts…many variety of events were planned.

This festival was founded and conducted by a Dutch conductor named Arthur Arnold who now lives in Powell River and also conducting various orchestras around the world….so I heard. He is a down-to-earth, friendly, and super charismatic leader.

The two weeks went by so fast. We very much enjoyed the six concerts. The music performed by young energetic musicians was refreshing, powerful, and beautiful.

On the final day, at the final concert, the MC person thanked the musicians. “There are many music festivals in the world. Thank you so much for choosing this festival at this little Canadian town of Powell River. Thank you for coming all the way from 21 countries all over the world to this little town, two ferries away from Vancouver. Thank you for bringing your wonderful music and talent to the people in Powell River.” ….I was so moved. It brought tears to my eyes.

Many volunteers and many audiences, the whole town welcomed and supported this festival.

Listening to the beautiful violin of Scheherazade by Rimsky-Korsakov at the final concert, I couldn’t stop my tears.

Music is amazing. It’s so wonderful to share the love and joy of music.

6月13日から26日まで私の住む町パウエルリバーでPRISMAという音楽祭があった。(Pacific Region International Summer Music Association)












The most important now 今一番大切なこと。

On the ferry, 3, 7, 12 year old
Inquisitive 9 month old

My two daughters and four grandchildren (ages 12, 7, 3, and 9 months) were here visiting us in Powell River for the spring break. They went back home a few days ago.

All day long, our house was filled with voices of children playing, fighting, crying, shouting, and sounds of toys running, wooden blocks falling, piano pounding….and more and more. The noise was incredible.

After the bye bye chorus, our house suddenly sunk into silence. It felt a bit odd, a bit lonely, a bit sad, a bit happy, a lot relieved…kind of mixed feeling. “Oi vay…” might be the most honest expression.

I, myself, visited my parents with my three young children for a minimum of a few days to a maximum of several weeks. My parents at the time were about my current age. I wonder ..….did my mother feel like how I am feeling now? They used to take us out often to this and that restaurants for dinner. When I think of it, was it an attempt to give my mother some break from caring for such a big family? It must have been really hard for her. She must have had, just like I’m having now, back pains, and dimming eye sights…there are certainly a lot of physical imperfections manifesting at this age.

I had not seen my daughters for six months. When they arrived at the door, I noticed right away that their energy levels were low. Big letters “S T R E S S were written on their faces. They must be standing at the edge, carrying heavy burdens, I thought.

My older daughter has turned 40. It’s the age one’s body starts to go downhill. She is based in Japan, but is living in Canada for one year in order to let her children of 12 and 7 years old experience lives in Canada. All kinds of worries related to schools and language, having to live in inconvenient Lions Bay without being able to drive, having to keep peace with her little sister and the family….must be giving her so much stress.

My younger daughter is 35 and she also has a hard life. She is responsible for a big mortgage, raising two little children, and she has just returned to her work from maternity leave. Her three year old boy is very cute but a big handful. He is at a stage of loud “no!” for everything. Her nine month old girl is like an angel, but her curiosity has no end. She crawls everywhere, puts everything in her mouth. She is almost walking, too. I was amazed to hear that a full time daycare costs $1,900 per child per month!! That explains why I see many grandparents at parks taking care of little ones. If daycare costs that much, what can you do when young parents have/want to work? Something is terribly wrong. You cannot afford anything if you don’t work….don’t daycares exist in order to provide decent care to children so that parents can work? …children are the future of our society, aren’t they? People work, pay taxes, and that becomes the basis of governments and societies managing to function….right? Something is terribly wrong.

I am seriously worried about my daughters’ well being. They have big responsibilities for the wellness and happiness of their children. They have long years to go. I pray that they can stay healthy.

Please, my sons-in-law, take good care of your families. Think, what is the most important, most precious, in your life now, and make that your priority. Together with your wife, create a happy family. Rather than living for your own accomplishments, please take care of each other, and live for today❣️










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Don’t Look Up ドント・ルック・アップ 


Beautiful planet earth
My beloved family in Hawaii
My beloved family in Lions Bay
My beloved family in Japan
Raiden and Tora 🥰

Recently, I watched the movie that everybody is talking about, “Don’t Look Up” at our friend’s home here in Powell River.

A girl who is a PhD candidate discovered a comet which is rapidly approaching planet earth, and calculated that there is a high probability of colliding with earth in approximately 6 months time.

The story was utterly and depressingly realistic. In fact, I have heard that dinosaurs went extinct because of collision of a comet, which created the Ice Age by a huge volume of ash covering the earth blocking the Sun for a long time. How can you be sure it could never happen again? The PhD student and her professor reported this news to the world, and people’s reactions, when they heard this, were amazing. Most of them didn’t believe it. They didn’t take it seriously and laughed. Some business people used the story to make money. Some politicians used the story for their own political gains. Most people just did nothing….even when it became clear that this was truly going to happen. People are unbelievably short sighted and self centered….so depressing and sickening.

I have a tendency to take things on a personal level. My thinking somehow doesn’t easily engage in the direction of social justice or political reformation when I watch movies, dramas, or read novels. I’d rather take the story personally, and think in relation to myself and my life. This movie was not an exception. I started thinking seriously what I would do if I got to know that every being on the earth go extinct in 6 months. I will die, and everybody dies, and everything will be destroyed in 6 months.

Since I don’t have any social status anyway, I wouldn’t be caring what people would think of me. Since everybody dies in 6 months and there will be no life anyway, what would be the use of having money? If I die in 6 months, my health wouldn’t mean much, as long as I would keep myself reasonably healthy for 6 months….might as well eat everything I love as much as I want, do/get everything I want as much as I want….

Wait…. but there are 6 months. I’m not dying right now. Maybe I can spend my money on making my loved ones happy….? I would fly to Hawaii, Lions Bay, and Japan to hold my children, grandchildren, and my dad and my sister as tight as I can…? I would fly to Japan and invite all my family to stay just one last night in a heavenly beautiful hot spring inn…? I would write letters after letters like crazy, letting people know how much I appreciate them, how much I love them…? I would definitely treasure and mindfully live every moment I would be with Neil and our dogs.

As I’m writing this, I have noticed something so stunningly disturbing. I am just as self centered as everybody in the movie. I am thinking of my own beloved family and friends, treasuring my own beloved life and time…..what about all the people who are not directly connected to me and to my life?

It made me re-realize how wonderful my friend “A” is, tirelessly working and actually doing things to improve lives of people who are living in poverty, and “H” who is actually doing so much to bring awareness to people and lobbying to protect vulnerable lives of animals.

つい最近、ここパウエルリバーの友人宅で、今話題になっているドント・ルック・アップ Don’t Look Up という映画を観た。



どうせもともと何の地位もない私だから、今さら自分がどう思われようと関係ないし、6ヶ月後に全滅するんだったらお金なんてあったって仕方がない。6ヶ月後に何もかもなくなるなら健康的に生きても仕方がない? 好きなものをたらふく食べて、好きなものを買って、好きなことをして…

でも待てよ… 今すぐではなく6ヶ月あるんだから、私にとって一番大切な家族たちや友人たちが、最も幸せな6ヶ月を過ごせるようにお金を使うかな?日本に飛んで父や妹や甥姪を抱きしめる、ハワイとライオンズベイにとんで娘、息子、孫たちをかたくかたく抱きしめる… 家族みんなを日本に呼んで素晴らしい温泉宿で思い出に残る一晩を過ごす… 大事な人たちに手紙を書きまくる…感謝の気持ちを伝える…いかに愛しているかを伝える。ニールと犬たちと過ごす大切な大切な時間を噛み締める。

ここまで書いて、はたと思った。結局私も自分中心なことばかり考えているんじゃないか。映画の中の人たちと何も変わらないのではないか。自分にとって大切な人、大切なことばかりを考えて… 自分とつながりのない人や動物はどうするの?


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My first dream of 2022 初夢

Neil and Kafka
Chor Musica concert, Dec. 2021 Neil is the second from right
Lu in the snow

I had a dream. Some bitterness lingered after waking up for quite a while into the morning. What does this dream mean? Is it giving me some kind of message? I wasn’t sure if I should write about it. Neil encouraged me to write….so I’m trying.

I don’t remember many details of the dream, but I’m trying to recover as much as I can. It was something like this….

“ A room somewhere. A cloth couch in the room. I can see a thread of smoke. Why smoke? Where is it coming from? Looks like it’s coming from the couch. Why? What is burning? Oh…the smoke has now disappeared. I have to tell Neil about this when he comes home. He might have idea what was burning. There might be a cinder somewhere on the couch…

A telephone call…. What? Neil passed away? So suddenly? So Unexpectedly?

……But I haven’t yet told him about the smoke from the couch. I was going to, but I haven’t, and I can’t any more. It’s too late…”

What a weird dream. I opened my eyes. Neil was next to me, sleeping and snoring. What a relief.

A thought came to my mind. Yes, all that mundane everyday stuff, boring stuff, some unimportant thoughts, complaints of this and that….it’s kind of important to be able to talk about these things without worrying, without thinking through. It’s kind of precious because talking about these things helps me to be me, authentic me. If the person I talk to suddenly disappears…a chill ran through my spine. I never thought of it before….. I am lucky to have Neil, indeed, someone I can talk to and someone who would listen…

But, everyone will have a farewell sometime. There are many people who live alone. We will, for sure, have a day we have to say good bye. We must prepare for that day, enjoy each other’s presence to the fullest today, now, and forever in this moment. For, tomorrow might already be too late.

My thoughts on the second morning of 2022. What a dream….!



『どこかの部屋。布製のソファがある。細い煙が見える。なぜ煙が? どこから煙が出てるの?よく見ると煙はソファのどこかから出ている。どうして?何が燃えてるの?ニールが帰ってきたら聞いてみなきゃ。あっ 煙が消えた。何かが燃えて燃え尽きたみたい。ソファに焦げ跡があるかも…。


…だけどニールに煙のことをまだ話してない…。話そうと思っていたのに、まだ話してない。もはや話せなくなってしまった… どうすりゃいいの?』





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White Christmas ホワイトクリスマス

Morning walk with the dogs
Sun rise

Only 3 days left in 2021.

I am looking out the window from our house in Powell River. It is a pure white snowland…

Although our plan was to be in Lions Bay and spend the time with our grandchildren, we decided to cancel the trip, because of the Omicron variant of Covid and the exceptionally freezing weather predicted. It was too bad, I needed to go to special stores in Vancouver and purchase some ingredients for the New Years feast. We were looking forward to go dining at our favorite restaurants in Vancouver area.

Disappointing, indeed.

However, the white snow land in Powell River is so beautiful. We are enjoying the house we love, and having a quiet, intimate, and cozy time with my beloved husband and our adorable dogs. They are just such precious moments and I am so grateful.

I was planning to go swimming this morning, but it was snowing with the temperature of minus 14℃. I happily decided to chill out at home.

So nice to have a day like this.

I was looking forward to start a new life in Powell River, partly because I wanted to run away from my fully booked calendar in Vancouver. However, this November and December turned out just the same or worse… it was more than full.

I sang in four choir concerts, I am now a music volunteer person (organ, piano, and choir) at the Anglican Church here, I am exercising 3 days a week, fitness and swimming, I am walking 4+ kilometers a day with Neil and the dogs, and I am poking my head so hard twice a week studying French…… you know…. they are all my own choices….all my fault…..I know. Where is the simple life that I aspired and dreamed of? ….. somehow dissipated into somewhere far far away.

However, there were some positives in my life the last two months. I am not an extroverted person at all, but I was able to make some new friends. Friends who love music, who come to the church, who say hello at the swimming pool, who sweat at the rec center together….. It’s exciting to imagine and look forward to the possible friendship cultivating with the new friends.

And, I have to tell you about the heavenly moments that I cherish. I open the rec center door after exercising, and breathe into my lung to the fullest, the freshest and cleanest air emanated from the tall beautiful trees in the woods surrounding me. A truly heavenly moment….

Many many thanks to all of you for 2021, and have a happy and healthy new year.









憧れていたシンプルライフはどこに? 夢見たシンプルライフとは程遠い生活になってしまったと内心、反省している。




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Immigrant People in Canada カナダの移民たち

School has started for Sumi and Sosuke, our grandchildren from Japan. (at Sumi’s school, Glen Eagles Elementary School. She is in Grade 7.)

Sosuke’s first day of school, at Lions Bay Elementary School. He is in Grade 2.
3 year old Riden and 4 month old Tora in Lions Bay
Snow geese in Powell River
I made 9 pies from our apple trees and 6 of them still frozen
Good beer at a lakeside pub

The summer is gone, and like a door shut behind us, September has arrived, bringing us cold air and much rain. Various classes and activities have started. I, who cannot stay still, have started my busy life again. Not only starting fitness, swimming, and choirs, which I always had, Neil and I started a brand new French class. I have never learned French before. To tell you the truth, I always had this doubt about studying new languages. I know how difficult languages are. Since I’m not a child, it seems impossible to become really proficient at this age. Then why would I bother? Wouldn’t it be a waste of time and money? What am I going to use French for? I had some serious doubts.

I don’t know why, but I had a silly imagination. That was….a French class taught by a strict elderly woman with reading glasses on her nose…..a silly stereotype ….and…..it was totally wrong. The person who was waiting for us at the French cultural center was a young black man with inquisitive eyes and big smiles. He is an immigrant from Congo. Although he was a medical doctor in Congo, he does not have the right qualification to practice medicine in Canada. So he is teaching and assisting French classes in the local schools. He seemed to be a sincere, fun, and patient man, and I liked him!

Thinking back this year, I met several immigrant people from different countries. When I was still living in Lions Bay, I took some personal training sessions. At the time, Covid caused all the fitness classes to be cancelled, and yet, I needed exercising so badly. At the Recreation Centre, R was assigned to me as my personal trainer. R is a young beautiful woman in her 30s, an immigrant from Syria. She is a single mother raising a 12 year old girl all by herself. Often, we engaged in conversations and she would say… “my daughter is getting more and more difficult these days,” or “I’m afraid my daughter is feeling lonely because I’m always working,” or “I have been all alone for more than 10 years I feel so lonely at times.” She reminded me of myself when I was in my 30s. “I know…I do understand your feelings…… I’ve been there. I, too, raised my children in a foreign country by myself, all alone. I, too, wept many nights, feeling so lonely.” I felt some invisible thread connecting R and me. I think of her often, even now, after moving to Powell River. R, please stay well and find lots of happiness……I’m thinking of you.

In July we moved to Powell River. On the moving day, 5 guys showed up to move our furniture and boxes in 2 big trucks. 4 out of 5 guys were immigrants. They were hard working, strong, wonderful guys from Albania, Saudi Arabia, Libya, and Hong Kong. F, the guy from Albania was the leader. My first impression of him was “kind of scary,” because he had sharp eyes. When we traveled in Bulgaria some years ago, we had opportunities to drive beside Albanian borders. Albania was very different from west Europe or even Bulgaria. There were Islam mosques everywhere; villages were humble; and people were looking poor. During the 3 days of our move from Lions Bay to Powell River, my impression of F changed completely. He told me about his 2 children, about how he immigrated to Canada, and about how much he worries about his aging parents who are farming in Albania. He said funny jokes without moving a single muscle on his serious looking face, and I kept on laughing and laughing. He made our move so much fun when otherwise it could have turned stressful and exhausting. Thank you, F, for so much laughs, and thank you for taking good care of my sad looking potted plants.

After arriving Powell River, a young pleasant guy D came to install some blinds in the house. He was a refugee from Syria. He arrived here few years ago, sponsored by some group in Powell River. After finishing school somewhere, he came back to Powell River, and now he is settled down with a wife and job.

Canada is a country like mosaic. You look around and see many different faces, cultures, and languages. They have arrived here as immigrants or refugees, then working hard, although barely making their livings, and trying to co-exist with others in harmony. It is not easy to live here, especially when they don’t have the support or resources of their families. However, most of them put on a brave face, and try to find their place in this society. You need to work harder with lower wages, fight with hidden or occasionally obvious discriminations, be patient and open to new ways, and stay positive and hopeful. I feel like I am receiving energy and hope by getting to know these people. They are certainly contributing so much to making Canada a great place to live.



思えば今年に入ってから私はずいぶんいろんな国からの移民の人達に出会ったな。まずはまだライオンズベイに住んでいた今年の初め、コロナでフィットネスのクラスが閉鎖されたので、パーソナルトレーナーに個人レッスンを受けることにした。私のトレーナーはRという30代の美しい女性、シリアからの移民だそうな。一人で子供を育てながらパーソナルトレーニングの仕事をして一生懸命生きてる…。「子供が反抗期に入って大変なの。」「私がいつもいつも働いてるから子供に寂しい思いをさせてる、」「ずーっと10年以上も1人だったからすごーく寂しい時があるの、」と言いながらトレーニングをしてくれる姿を見ていると私の30代の頃の姿とダブってくる。『そうだよね。本当に。気持ち痛いほどわかるよ。私も異国の地で一人ぼっちで働きながら子供を育てたんだよ。私も寂しくて泣いたことが何度もあった。』なんとなくR というシリア出身の彼女と見えない糸で結ばれているかのような気がしてパウエルリバーに引っ越してからも気になっている。どうか元気で、幸せになってほしい…


7月に引っ越したとき5人の力強い男性が2台のトラックで運送してくれた。そのうち4人が移民。アルバニアとサウジアラビアとリビアと香港からの4人…力持ちでよーく働く素晴らしい若者たちだった。特に印象に残っているのはアルバニアから来たF 。最初に会った時は目が鋭くて怖いような気がしていた。数年前にブルガリアに行った時に、アルバニアのそばを何度もドライブする機会があった。いかにも貧しくて、イスラム教のモスクがあって、ヨーロッパとは全然雰囲気の違うアルバニアの村々は印象的だった。そのアルバニアから来た目の鋭いF。最初の怖い印象が、ライオンズベイからパウエルリバーまでの3日がかりの引っ越しの過程でガラリと変わってしまった。子供が2人いるというF 、奥さんがまずカナダに来てF をスポンサーしてくれたという。年老いた親御さんはアルバニアで農業をやっていて心配だという。真面目な顔をしておかしなことを言って私をケタケタ笑わせてくれる。ただでさえストレス満杯の引越しの日々を楽しくしてくれた。今にも死にそうな私の植木たちさえも嫌な顔一つせずユーモアたっぷり、丁寧に運んでくれて感謝。ありがとうF。

パウエルリバーに来てからも、D という若い、感じの良い男性がブラインドを取り付けに来てくれた。彼はシリアからの難民だという。数年前にパウエルリバーのグループがスポンサーになってくれてカナダに来たそうな。進学のために一度は町を出たけど、卒業してまたパウエルリバーに戻ってきたんだという。