I started this post months and months ago and just never got around to finishing it. Anyone that knows me well, knows that I am a passionate feminist and passionate about feminism. The more I think about where and when my feminism started the more I realize that I was always a feminist but just didn’t know what to call it and moreover was too afraid to express that feminism. But the older I get the more important it is for me to be vocal.
The other day I was listening to a podcast and it got me thinking about being a feminist and I started wondering if living in Japan was what made identifying as a feminist important to me.
While I was living in Japan, I realized the importance of feminism and the importance of supporting my fellow female in arts, business or whatever it is that she is pursuing. Too often we are our own worst critics and enemies, we tear each other down for making bad decisions rather than help each other up after falling. I am ashamed to say that I have been active in this reverse form of sexism and even slut shaming but have grown up and learned how detrimental this is to women. We are human beings and make decisions the best way we know how, for reasons that most of us may not know.
The podcast was Just Japan, hosted by fellow Canadian Busan Kevin. This particular episode featured the lovely Jenny Silver whom I’ve been following on Twitter since my time in Japan. The theme of the show the experiences of being a foreign female in Japan. Until listening to this podcast, I almost forgot about what women (foreign and Japanese) have to go through in Japan or maybe it was more that I had blocked it out.
Thankfully I didn’t experience any direct sexism or harassment in Japan but I know from the stories I’ve been told and articles I have read that the experiences of victims of harassment or sexual assault in Japan are very different than those in other countries. Still, to this day career-focused women despite years of experience are often denied promotions and even jobs What I mean is that at the very heart of Japanese culture is the understanding that personal (selfish) pursuits and needs are put aside while maintaining a sense of community is importance. It’s this deep-seeded cultural mentality that allows Tokyo (a city of approximately 30 million people) to remain more safe, clean and orderly than any other city in the world. Maintaining this sense of community is so ingrained and important that things like discrimination and sexual assault are rarely reported.
Things aren’t much different in Canada. Street harassment is still a problem and misogynistic and hateful comments from university groups are brushed off as boys being boys but it’s these societal problems that make my feminism and my desire for change stronger. I guess in a way I’m thankful for all of the shit that women have to go through on a daily basis because it fuels the fire for change.
Cat Calling by Victoria Brumwell
You can find Kevin and Jenny at the following links:
Art by Halifax artist Victoria Brumwell
Posted in Feminism | Tagged Busan Kevin, Dalhouse university, dentistry, feminism, feminist, Halifax, Jenny Silver, sexism, street harassment | Leave a Comment »
Three months! Also read as a million years and enough time for people to stop paying attention. I recently made a vow to myself to start devoting more time to the things I love; one of which is writing and I’m starting right now with this long overdue post.
I could offer you a basket full of excuses as to why I’ve been away so long but there really is no excuse for neglecting the art of writing. I will be straight with you though, the last couple of months have been difficult/stressful and I’m just now feeling like I’m coming out of my psychological funk. I was feeling very frustrated with most aspects of my life, work/career, living situation, relationships and no matter how hard I tried to change my life there just didn’t seem to be a solution. Job opportunities were dangled in front of me, teasing me with their promises of financial freedom, and although I put my all into the interviews there were never any call backs.
Oh, the despair!
I’m convinced now that the timing wasn’t right, I wasn’t meant to move onto another job until the right one came along and it did. I’m working for a wonderful company with a team of fabulous ladies and I love going to and being at work. I have a hard time leaving sometimes! From the get-go, the owner gave us (the six ladies she hired) ownership of the store. She trusted us to sell the products, promote the brand and manage the store without her supervision. It’s been a very long time since I have had any sort of creative control in a job and it feels great. When given the opportunity to express myself and when I don’t feel confined to corporate rules my best ideas and qualities come out. I had a customer ask me today if I was the owner of the store because I talked so passionately about our products. I’ve worked a lot of retail jobs in my life but the difference between this job and the retail environments I’m used to working in is that I believe in the products and my selling points are not forced. It feels really good to sell quality product to people.
Check us out! We have a store in downtown Halifax at the Historic Properties, in downtown Truro and an online shop!
Now, that I’ve shamelessly promoted my workplace through my blog, I’ll tell you what else has been going on. Remember how I said that the last three months consisted of the job search from hell? Well, at the same time that I was looking for work, I was also looking for a new apartment. Apartment hunting in Halifax is equally as (if not more) frustrating then job hunting. The problem with the apartment hunt was that I was looking for a place to satisfy not only my own but the preferences of two other people. We needed reasonable rent as well as parking, we needed lots of light and lots of space, two bedrooms that was also in a convenience part of town. Phew! Lots of places looked promising in their ads but fell short once I stepped inside. I am happy to say that after viewing a lot of places and being constantly disappointed we finally found one. We found our Buckingham Palace! The security deposit has been paid and the lease was signed today. The best part about finally having a place to move into come September is not the end of the apartment search stress or that I have my free time back, it’s that I can finally put an end to the long-distance part of my relationship. It’s not over yet, we still have a few months to go but with that end in sight it feels like a huge weight has been lifted. Having a long-distance relationship has been incredibly difficult and difficult in ways that I hadn’t imagined, but I’ll save my long-distance relationship advice for another post.
It’s time for me to go to bed. Goodnight, friends!
Posted in Halifax Life | Tagged apartments, Halifax, Halifax life, jobs, natural soap, pearl and daisy | Leave a Comment »
Now that Burger Week is long over and my body has (mostly) recovered from a diet of meat and very few vegetables, I can recount my delicious journey.
Not even piles of snow and unploughed sidewalks stopped Haligonians from starting Burger Week on March 19th. I feel like even if White Juan junior had hit a day later and as long as pubs/restaurants stayed open Haligonians would’ve trudged through the blowing snow to get that first Burger Week burger. We are Maritimers who are fed up with winter and need those $5 burgers, dammit!
This was my first Burger Week and I was damn excited! But I think I’ll develop a plan of attack (and possibly consult a nutritionist) next year. I fell behind the other Burger Bitches by missing out on a lunch burger the first day but I made up for that rookie mistake by fueling my body with nothing but burgers for the next 5 days. I was inevitably stricken with the worst digestive problems I’ve ever experienced but it was well worth it, I think.
My first burger came from Rogues Roost. We originally decided we would try Krave first but after arriving and seeing the queue we decided to pop across the street to Fickle Frog only to be told that they had already sold out of burgers at 8pm. How do you run out of burgers on the first day!? After that disappointment, we pulled out our Burger Week passport we decided to check out Rogues Roost for their Montreal Smoked meat burger. Once we entered we were greeted by an slightly intoxicated acquaintance of Burger Bitch #1 who gave a less than favorable review of the burger. We were disappointed but decided to go for it anyway, I mean, it’s only $5! It wasn’t as disappointing as our friend had made it out to be but a bit more than one thin slice of smoked meat would’ve been nice.
The other days weren’t as exciting as it became more of a personal challenge than an enjoyable feast.
BEST PICKLE: Rogues Roost – Montreal Smoked Meat Burger
MOST UNIQUE & TASTIEST: Ardmore Tearoom – Waffle Burger
THE MOST DISAPPOINTING: The Wooden Monkey – Kimchi Haddock Burger
MOST SATISFYING: Krave Burger – w/Smokey Bacon Jam
JUICIEST BURGER: The Fickle Frog – w/Brie and Curry Aioli
*Not pictured here Athens Restaurant – Lamb Burger as it wasn’t anything to write home about.
Posted in Halifax Life | Tagged #hfxburgerweek, Ardmore Tearoom, Athens, Burger Week, burgers, Fickle Frog, Krave Burger, Rogues Roost | Leave a Comment »
So this is what I woke up to this morning. I literally heard birds singing a few days ago and then all my hopes and dreams of an early spring were crushed.
But I don’t want to talk about snow and winter anymore, I’m over it. What I want to talk about is the grittiness of Halifax. For a lot of people, Halifax is an amazing city to live in. It’s ripe with opportunity, it’s people still have a friendly Maritime vibe and it’s just big enough that you can hide under the cover of anonymity, at least for the first year.
Living in Halifax makes me feel like I’m living in RL. Living in Japan was easy, the most stress I endured was that one time I was unemployed and had an expiring visa. It was stressful but in reality if I had not found a job at the international school I could’ve easily picked up a teaching job. Teaching opportunities are everywhere. The stress you feel while living in Japan is nothing compared to the very real stress you feel living and working in your home country. At least for me this is the case. Dealing with Japanese superiors is one thing but dealing with Canadian superiors is a whole other kind of stress.
The other things that make living in Canada so real is the homelessness, the beggars and the crime. Since moving here last September there has been a foiled attempt at a mass shooting at the Halifax Shopping Centre, a bomb threat at the Mic Mac Mall, an armed man running around town, a bomb scare on Spring Garden Road and just yesterday a man was stabbed in the face in front of the new library which also happens to be on Spring Garden Road. I’m sure there have been a lot more incidents but these are the ones that stick out to me because they were the most sensationalized. Maybe these things should scare me but for some reason they don’t, I like hearing about them in some weird way because this is real life. There are individuals out there that want to cause others harm and there’s nothing that you can do about it, it just is. I accept these things as part and parcel of living in a city.
Posted in Canadian Life, Halifax Life | Tagged bomb threat, Halifax, Halifax Shopping Centre, Spring Garden Road, stabbing | Leave a Comment »
Trekking to and from work and around town has been fun lately.
Is it water? Is it ice?
The Life of Winter Pedestrian
Posted in Halifax Life | Tagged sidewalks, walking, Winter | Leave a Comment »
I gotta say, Halifax, I’m really enjoying your winter weather. We had a couple of “storms” the last few weeks but nothing compared to what I experienced while living in Fredericton last year. That was brutal! Not only have the storms here been weaker but it seems like the sun shines a lot more and that in itself is enough to alleviate the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder.
With less inclement weather, it’s easier to both get out and be motivated to get out and do things. The best thing about living here is that you can find a lot of free events that aren’t just for kids or families. I ended up at the Casino last Friday night to check out the final installment of Take it To The Tiki, a battle of the bands put on by Music Nova Scotia. The final round featured Quiet Parade, Adam Washburn & The Elements, The Regal Beagle Band and my personal favorite, Like A Motorcycle.
The main reason I wanted to go (aside from the amazing cover charge of free) was to see Like A Motorcycle again. The first time I saw these ladies was during Halifax Pop Explosion and they blew my fuckin’ mind! If there’s one thing that has remained constant in my musical tastes it’s females that rock. Juliette and The Licks, Kilbourne, Tegan and Sara are just a few of the ladies that have graced the playlists of my iTunes and although I still love them all, Like A Motorcycle has stolen my musical heart (I’m also pretty sure that I’m in love with guitarist). It’s bands like this that make me want to be in a band. I could learn to sing…
I’m really excited to be getting to know the vast music scene here in Halifax. There’s a lot to be seen and heard coming out of this city from all genres. The Regal Beagle Band and Adam Washburn & The Elements didn’t disappoint either. Adam Washburn had a very Canadian sound (think Sam Roberts and Joel Plaskett) but was very unique at the same time. They put on an incredibly, energetic show which was a nice change from Quiet Parade who were good but just not what I was feeling that night.
I had heard of The Regal Beagle Band before but hadn’t taken the time to actually check them out. First impressions told me they would be great as they came out dressed to the nines with button-ups, vests and suspenders and one gentleman was carrying a fiddle. Often a fiddle indicates a boring celtic rock band especially when you live on the East Coast but I was pleasantly surprised at the way the fiddle was incorporated into their music. It was played like a guitar and often sounded like a guitar which gave them some cred in my books (not just another celtic rock band, thankfully).
#wcw Like A Motorcycle
You know what else is free?! Skating at the Emera Oval and they even rent out skates! I love my city! I think the community helps to keep my motivated to get out and do things as well because even when the weather is less than favorable people are still out. There are always people walking, walking where I don’t know but it’s just nice to see that people are not afraid of a little bit of winter and don’t let it ruin their day.
Skating on The Oval
Posted in Halifax Life | Tagged Adam Washburn, Like A Motorcycle, Music Nova Scotia, Quiet Parade, Take it to The Tiki, The Regal Beagle Band, Weather, Winter | Leave a Comment »