Category Archives: Society

OK, I Watch Romance Movies Now and Then

Color Me True

color me true Japanese movie graphic

Wikipedia entry here.

Sweet story, with giggles and moistening eyes now and then.

I can’t put my finger on it, but if Hollywood did this it would likely be over-the-top silly.

But there’s a tradition in Japanese film for understatement.

This could have been a really sappy movie, and yes, it is a goofy, tear-jerking romance, but it all came together, at least for us.

It was also fun to try to pick up on visual references in homage to films from long ago.

Much of the theme is the power of film to transport us to other places, and the struggle that writers have to achieve moving, engaging scripts that leave an audience fulfilled.

BTW, the movie poster is little like the film, which is all about B&W slowly blossoming toward muted colors. ..

Refinishing Stair Handrails – Covid Project #33b

Three rounds of stripping and scraping using an environmentally benign gel, and several hours of sanding over the course of a few days and the handrails from our stairs are finally denuded of what seemed like about 10 coats of paint. Whew!

Was pleased at the decent quality of the wood underneath all those layers. Will likely go with a mild stain/varnish and sealer.

It was a lot work, but I hate wasting good wood, and had some time on my hands. . .

stripping sanding handrails

UPDATE (June 28): The boss chose Varathane in Golden Oak. Looking good! I’ll do another coat later today, let them sit overnight, and install tomorrow.

staining handrails

Ah, The Joy of Giggling Children

Awhile back we got new neighbours with a pre-school girl next door in our townhouse complex. Out of over 100 units, I’d guess at most a dozen have children, and those mostly teens.

As I work from home a lot I was a bit nervous, but dang it if hearing that little girl giggle doesn’t bring a grin to my face. The other day she had a playdate on their balcony with another little girl, and it was joyful.

Giggle on!

We have also seen the development of a bike gang in the complex--three or four kids in the 5-7 range who like to zoom around in circles. That’s prompted warning signs to go up to watch for children on the road.

All good, eh?

Spectacular Aomori Sea of Japan Coast Marred by Plastics

One of my “nieces” (cousin’s daughter) is starting a project documenting all the plastics used in her life. That got me thinking about our trip to Japan last year when one day we went to the Sea of Japan coast in Aomori Prefecture.

The views were spectacular, but once you got up close, there were piles of plastic garbage strewn all over the beach. Much of the crap was not Japanese, but had floated in from other countries across the sea.

It occurred to me that I’d never posted these photos to my blog, so here they are. Shot in April 2019.

sea of japan aomori coast plastics

And then this. . .

Bando German POW Camp, Shikoku, Japan

Yes, still more photos from our Japan trip last year. I think I just posted a few of this site before, and here’s a broader set.

The Bando German Prisoner of War camp on the island of Shikoku, Japan. The place was nearly deserted in spring 2019.

German soldiers captured in WWI were kept here under incredibly tolerant conditions. The Japanese camp commander was way ahead of his time (and apparently stubbornly opposed to harsher conditions and constraints proposed by higher command).

The prisoners were allowed to fraternize with locals, hold musical concerts, etc. Some even chose to stay rather than be repatriated when WWI ended.

The area still has strong connections to Germany.

It was interesting to note some Slavic names on some of the monuments — European powers incorporated conscripts from assorted holdings into their ranks.

Some info here:…/Band%C5%8D_prisoner-of-war_camp

Bando German POW camp Shikoku Japan

We’re Driving 10% of What We Used To

A thread on FB about less driving these days made me curious about our situation.

I figured out our mileage since the beginning of March at about 6km/day (~3.7 miles).

It would have been even less, but when Yumi’s office in downtown Vancouver was shutting down we had to drive there twice to retrieve a computer, monitor, and key files.

If this average kept up for a year, that would make for a total of ~2,200km/year!

In previous years we’d drive between 15,000 to 22,000 km/year depending on how often we got out of town.

So at this point, we’re driving roughly 10% of what we used to.

US Covid Deaths Near US Vietnam Deaths

So as the number of US deaths from Covid19 in less than a year approaches the entire US death toll in the Vietnam War over some 15 years, I wonder what monuments will be built in Washington DC some day to commeorate the blindness, stupidity, and bull-headedness of the current administration.

Old Manitoba Prairie Churches in Ruins

Old prairie Ukrainian churches in ruins. From my photo archives, Oct. 24, 2008.

If I recall, these are all north of Dauphin, Manitoba. I wonder how many of them and their bell towers are still standing 12 years later. I would love to do another road trip around the area some day. . .

From what I could see of the land, this was not a friendly area to farm. Lots of rock piles in the fields, perhaps the immigrants didn’t know what they were getting into back in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Just a hundred miles further west in Saskatchewan the land was much better, from what I’ve seen.

I’m not a very religious person, but I admire these Slavic ancestors who put faith in faith. They pulled together in the harshest conditions and built churches, community halls, schools . . .

Some broke their backs and their hearts, but others prospered, and gave back to their communities.

These photos may seem sad, but I see strength and love in them. And memories eternal. . .

old manitoba prairie churches in ruins

A Little Fear is Good

Some of my friends were having a discussion on FB about how the Covid situation was impacting them, and how some were becoming afraid to go out, even with physical distancing. Here’s my contribution, slightly edited since it’s now out of the context of the thread:

Fear is good. Fear is how we’ve survived as a species for millennia. Anyone who claims they are never afraid of anything is bullshitting.

Humans are terrible at judging risk, and hopefully that’s when a bit of fear steps in to get us to do the right thing, at least in the short term.

For humans are also really bad at remembering history, learning from the past, and staying the course long term.

To some degree I think we need to embrace fear, and let it guide us, but try not to let it overwhelm us.

We’ve all been seeing our lives disintegrating to various degrees for several months. We’ve all been dealing with jobs lost, contracts dwindling, friends and families distancing, plans derailed, reservations cancelled be they for music or theatre or travel, or simply going out with friends. . .

These are tough times. And things will continue to be tough for who knows how long?

So let’s not be hard on ourselves. Let’s admit our emotions. Let’s cry a little. Let’s acknowledge we’re having trouble sleeping and are having nightmares.

And then let’s check up on each other, and help each other along this road.

Virtual hugs to everyone!