Although the idea of hand-knit, basket-woven pompoms typically beckons the image of dear old grandma and her sweaters made just in time for the holidays (and the obligatory smile and you shouldn’t have’s), in New York City, we find a Canadian Expat and designer with a contemporary approach to the tradition. Originally hailing from Vancouver, Tia Oliver’s carefully crafted crochet handbags and travel items are catching the eyes of fashionistas in the U.S. as well as back home in Canada. The signature pompoms, all-natural recycled materials, fine-wood detailing and intricate designs add a fashionable element to a skill that’s been customarily reserved for dear ol’ grandma.
Since the 1960s, Anime has been a global cultural phenomenon that has captivated legions of fans beginning with the cultural classic ‘Astro Boy’ released in North America in 1963. Continuing sheer innovative and imaginative storytelling, like 2001’s Oscar winning animated picture ‘Spirited Away’, Japanese animation is a force in storytelling and artistry that is truly unique in scope. But as we come to learn from a Canadian expert currently residing in Tokyo, the phenomenon is much more than just animation.
When most of us grew up, Canadian law aligned with Canadian values -- birth on Canadian soil or birth to Canadian parents granted citizenship. But in 2009, Bill C-37 came into force with a provision that limits citizenship by descent to the first generation born abroad. For Canadians abroad, this means that their contributions to Canada and the world may come at the expense of their children’s or grandchildren’s citizenship.
For westerners making the Far East their home, the experience is as thrilling as one could imagine, albeit discombobulating at times. It may seem like the farthest place from home but Japan offers the same welcoming environment that is recognizably and characteristically Canadian. This may be due to Canadians and Japanese people sharing the same common thread of politeness as a cultural value. This distinctive attitude, which is internationally recognized in the identity of the two nations, allows people in both countries to understand each other beyond cultural differences. For Canadians coming to Japan, the experience is like finding a home away from home --one they never knew was waiting for them. A place filled with the same friendly good days (or konichiwas), as well as apologetic excuse me’s, pardon me’s or the ubiquitous Canadian ‘sorry’ (or sumimasen in Japanese).
A big thanks to those that submitted photos of you flying the Maple Leaf. Here's a video:
Aldo Shllaku- Film Composer, Canadian, Expat
Think of a movie that truly moved you. Try to remember the scenes that had an significant impact on you. Recall the emotional response you experienced during those sections of the film. Although you may not remember the soundtrack specifically, without a doubt, if you were to sit in a room and watch those scenes again without any music, you would be disappointed. On the other hand, if you were to play that soundtrack by itself without images, the emotions felt at the time you watched the film would come flooding back. Such is the power of the soundtrack. It does far more than accompany the actors on screen, it enhances or even creates the emotion the director is attempting to convey to the audience. So vital is the music of a film that without it, everything lays flat, two dimensional and empty.
If you are like most Canadians living abroad, you are an adventurist soul. You have moved abroad to learn about the people, the culture and perhaps the language of the country that you are now living in. I would encourage you to maintain that spirit of adventure. One of the last things that you had perhaps considered was to join an expat group. However, joining one could prove key to your ability to integrate into your adopted society. A social network of fellow expats can be a resource to lean on in the time of need and a resource to tap into when you need information. I would whole heartedly encourage you to consider exploring the expat groups that are in your community. Here are some reasons to seek out an Expat group:
Since November 2011, the website Canadian Writers Abroad has been promoting exactly that: Canadian writers who live and work abroad.
Before Canadian Literature got going in the 1960s, Canadians who wanted to publish sent their work to either the United Kingdom or the United States. Often they went too. Morley Callaghan, Mavis Gallant, Margaret Laurence, and Mordecai Richler wrote their early work from Europe. But Mavis Gallant was the only one to stay – she remained in Paris until her death in 2014. Until Gallant published a book of stories set in Canada, Home Truths, which won the Governor General’s Literary Award in 1981, she was relatively unknown in Canada. Out of sight out of mind.
Earlier this year, cinematographer Deena Morielli interviewed Donna Creighton at a rustic location in Ontario. The result is a 4-minute documentary about the Canadian backwoods story of her own childhood growing up a Northern Daughter: northerndaughter.ca/news
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