Being Japanese-Canadian, is an ongoing embodiment of identity and culture that I share and reflect on each and every day. Especially being in the arts I am always confronted by someone in a Mifune T-shirt, who will site the Tokagawa period and its emergence of exceptional laquerware. But hey, I did also play street hockey on the streets of Toronto, yelling Car!!. Took us 20 minutes to find our tennis ball under one. My 1st Act, was graduating from OCAD, and becoming 'the art teacher'. I also worked at the Art Gallery of Ontario for a while in the Prints & Drawing Study Centre, The Henry Moore Exhibit and as a Docent, giving tours to groups of 50 at a time throughout the AGO's collections. My favourites were the Pop Art Collection and having to explain the Klaus Oldenburg Hamburger, The Minimalist Collection, having to explain why Robert Ryman's canvas contains nothing but gesso and maybe a staple. (while the audience rolls their eyes). Then, the Canadian Collection. Who knew that the painting A View of York, was painted from the perspective of Centre Island, as a fort looking at York, Toronto at that time! As the Art Instructor, I taught numerous Boy Scout and Girl Guide groups, throwing on a wheel, clay sculpture, metal casting to kids who were gasping as I melted down their parents jewellery. This was a very happy and proud era for, and..to be valued as a teacher, to see a childs progress means everything to me. Later on, to see my older 17-18 year old portfolio students self growth during my classes where we spent hours, evenings finding their Personal Inner Signature, also meant a lot. Especially when they got into OCAD or Ryerson from the work we did, it was so fullfilling to see them return to my studio with the acceptance letter, their Moms carrying a cake or a bag of oranges to give to me..to thank me for helping her daughter find her talent and successfully get into the next level of her life. And then, with my interns, to see them successfully call a professional marketing manager of a large firm, or Cope with disappointments in business, ie dealing with a rejection from a hotel owner, or to interview a celebrity such as Christine interviewing Chantale Kreviuzik in Montreal, made me so proud of her. And for the team to learn from Chantale was important for me. During this period was my warning, from the god of health. This period was when my adopted father and mother has passed away shortly, when I had no family in my life, with the responsibilities I was facing to my students, team and the publication I held important to continue its body of work. Funding Canadian culture, content, a media voice with no US centric influence was incredibly difficult at a time when most Canadian publications were dying, companies being bought out...such as Tim Hortons, Canada Goose, Danier, etc. My universe was smaller but it mattered to me to complete my mission. In 2014, is when I had my heart attacks. It felt like my jaw was clamping. I drove myself to a walk in, thinking at first it was heartburn..lol. My BP was over 190 and the doctor sent me to emergency at Branson. Right there they took away my belongings, parked my car..the nurse said, "Sir You Cannot Leave!...You Just Had A Heart Attack".
To round it up, I graduated at OCAD, in bronze foundry, plastics casting, sculpture installation. Co-founded and chaired OCAD's first Professional Development and Mentoring Committee for our students to find peers in the work world. I created my Publications to take pro-action, so Canadians can be redirected in a stimulating way, away from our Malls, to know our artists names, to buy Canadian made and support our industry and our local economy and community. I created a Silver Dragon Brooch with 2 Ruby Inlaid Eyes for actor David Carradine of Kill Bill and Kung Fu. I do speak with passion. I do believe we stare too much at our phones and have become less able to cope with life, our mistakes...often my interns would say They Are Overwhelmed, whereas my interns 20 years ago would roll up their sleeves and go head on. To learn as they go. But with so much reliance online, I see less natural spirit, vision, passion. I see in my interns performance the ease of clicking links, but quite impaired when it comes time to Cope, Adapt, How to Let Go, How To Learn. Because when we just click and get what we want, to me, this is just aquisition, not learning, not being enlightened, not being 'Thankful'.
So here I am, as of June 1st 2022 , in Toronto once again. I grew up at St. Clair and Runnymede Rd...right at the tip of our wonderful Italian Community where we lived with an Italian family. every morning I hear, "Gino!!! Que Cosa Fai!!"...with a loving motherly slap. Gino was about 8 years old, but strong willed. From my own life journey, I've experienced a lot of racism. Not the suttle kind of today, but when kids at school used to squint their eyes, pulling them from their edges, taunting me, 'Mah a Haia Ding Ding'. I said to myself, What the hell does that mean? I think I know now. lol. It's interesting that it's the wrong Asian culture (that taunt)..And here I sit in 2022 with the world in stress. what lies ahead? My wonderful partner is Caucasion, I'm not the ethnocentric kind. I love thinking of our world as a family, and I love the ways We Come Together. Which is through music, and food and our kids harbour no discrimination. You can see them play at McDonalds together without any pre-perception. They won't ask 'Why are you black?..how come you speak funny?' No...they just play and enjoy this invisible thing called Fun. Did we loose this concept? I remember just placing the record needle on the vinyl as spins, was Fun! It connect us to something magical about to happen...and it's different than clicking on Spotify and 'Just Getting Something'. Could it be that people need to Earn Something, like borrowing a book from the library, carrying it back on the bus on a snowy day. Information is so easy to Acquire now, but I feel its removing something important. Which is acts of Gratitude, Human Connection, Humility, Earning Something, Wonderment, Imagination, Remorse, Being Responsible, Innovation and Growing Up. Am I making a common point here on my site? lol.. And here I sit, the former president of the grade 9 Computer Club, which I started by the way. This is why by the way I have also decided to raise my future kids on a chicken ranch, where we grow our own food! Hey, I made some mighty huge Squash during covid right on my backyard. So here is what I want...I want aggression to end in the world. If we continue, there is no turning back and needless to say, this time it wont lead to new innovations and their twisted form of progress. It wont evolve us to unite. In my opinion, it will seed a precidence where the unity we have now in Europe, Japan, Austrailia, South America, no matter how fragile, cannot be resustained, because our baseline of goodness, family solidity, community has been dwindled away since 1990. So destruction is easy, but why are we rebuilding? For another new episode on Netflicks?..for the second version of Facebook? To learn more? It used to be to learn more with wonderment....So my solution is this. Here's what I want. It's simple. Firstly, Learn To Forgive, and Let Go. (If you are a world leader, why not focus on helping your own people? The days where you invaded someone, to plunder, rape, to look cool, for king and country is over. If anything it's for oil and gas..and even that is changing to electric eco sustainabilty solutions... So there is no excuse now for destroying lives. There is a Buddhist philosophy, Do No Harm). For us everyday people... Just get back to Riding Your Bike with a Loved One, Go Enjoy a Picnic right now with Family, or Friends, Sit in The Park, Watch Kids Playing, Play With Your Own Dam Kids!, ....work on life in Human Connection. Because Life Itself, Is Beautiful. On weekends my girlfriend and I, ride to Mount Pleasant Cemetery as a bit of a tradition now. We love reading the names on the stones and what people write to their loved ones and how they have celebrated their lives. This is Death, But this is still beautiful, to see people take care of one another. This is what we are here to do.