Tuesday, December 9, 2008

December 1 Canada Project in Kyushu Event: Obachan's Garden (Part 1: Event Review)

So I had to write a review for the event I emceed on last week. Since I'm done with it anyway, I thought I should just paste it here also (they're not exactly good, though, so please be kind with your comments... lol)

三世日系カナダ人監督 大浜リンダ氏がカナダプロジェクトの特別イベントで12月1日、鹿児島国際大学に来た。

On December 1, the International University of Kagoshima (IUK) had the honor of inviting film director Linda Ohama for a special Canada Project in Kyushu documentary viewing and commentary event. This main event is supported by three other mini events, namely a hands-on Ikebana (Japanese flower arranging) session, a Haiku session, and a teleconferencing session with participants from the University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI) in Canada.

Linda Ohama is a multiple award-winning visual artist and film director. She is a third-generation Japanese Canadian who traced her roots through the steps her grandmother has taken when she first immigrated to Canada in the docudrama, “Obachan’s Garden.” The documentary offers a poignant glimpse into the untold stories behind the calm façade of Ms. Ohama’s grandmother, Ms. Asayo Murakami, who lived to be 104 years old. Ms. Asayo Murakami is said to be the last Japanese war bride.

The day started with a lunch at IUK’s very own Café Gaya on the fourth floor of the library building. Here, Ms. Ohama, along with other invited guests and members of the Canada Project in Kyushu team enjoyed a delightful meal and a pleasant getting-to-know-one-another talk.

The main event opened with an Ikebana hands-on session. Ten guests were invited to experience first-hand the art of Ikebana. Five guests were invited onstage at a time. The first batch saw Ms. Ohama and Dr. Palisanamy Nagarajan, visiting professor from the University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI), creating simple yet impressive Ikebana under the supervision of award-winning Ikebana instructress, Ms. Mieko Sueyoshi, who donned on a full kimono specially for this event.

The second batch welcomed interested participants from the audience. Several international students took part in the experience. Many marveled at the simple yet elegant art of Ikebana, which focuses on three main elements: heaven, man and earth.

After the participants showcased their Ikebana and expressed their thoughts on their first flower arranging experience, the event moved on to the next segment, a Haiku-sharing event where members of the audience, many of whom have written numerous Haiku, recited their works dedicated to the seasons, the flowers, as well as to Ms. Ohama and the special event.

After the artistic prelude came the documentary viewing and commentary itself. The audience that day enjoyed the honor of having the director of the documentary, Ms. Ohama, herself explain the premises surrounding the documentary, show significant parts of the documentary, and insert personal comments, thoughts and feelings toward her grandmother and her family’s story. She also graced the audience with insights into the production process behind the finished product. The documentary was poignantly honest and blatant, and many a sniff can be heard from the audience. The auditorium was a packed house.

The day’s event came to a brief hiatus while the Canada Project in Kyushu team, joined by the special guests (Ms. Ohama, Ms. Sueyoshi, and Dr. Nagarajan) tucked in a hearty meal at MiwaMamaSan, a modest yet homey Izakaya minutes away by foot from the university. Reflections and thoughts and many a kanpai were shared throughout the brief but filling meal.

After the meal, a group of twenty or so crowded around a laptop and a webcam for the scheduled teleconferencing session with UPEI students and a staff member. Professors and students alike took part in the session. The UPEI delegates viewed the documentary, Obachan’s Garden, beforehand and came to the teleconferencing session armed with numerous questions for Ms. Obama and the IUK delegates. One of the delegates on the UPEI side is an exchange student from IUK, Shinobu Uchi. Interestingly, on the IUK end, the event was moderated by the exchange student from UPEI, Faiz Ahmed. After an hour of discussion and sharing, the session and the whole day’s event came to a close with a chorus of “Ooki na Furutokei (My Grandfather’s Clock)” with some help from Mr. Nakama’s (a doctorate student) classical guitar accompaniment on the IUK side.

After a full day rich in art, culture and humanities, the IUK delegates bid Ms. Linda Ohama goodbye from the front step of Building No. 1 filled with warm memories of the day’s events.


Thunderthud said...

Have you considered journalism as a career possibility?

Booyah! said...

have always had... :D

Booyah! said...

but i need more practice to make the words come alive... :D

but now that you mention it, i think i should start working towards potentially becoming one :D

Thunderthud said...

You should.