Posts Tagged ‘Halifax’

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:

Busan Kevin
Jenny Silver


Art by Halifax artist Victoria Brumwell


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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!

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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.

Snowed In!

Snowed In!

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.

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So we did Secret Santa at work for our Christmas party, which I think is fantastic! I honestly haven’t participated in a secret Santa or any typical North American workplace Christmas traditions in quite a few years so I had a blast shopping for my coworker. In the box was fuzzy socks, candy canes, cough drops, glitter glue and a mini money tree. I know, I know, I’m awesome. Not as awesome as the gift that I received though. Instead of posting a picture of it now, I’ll put it to use and show you the finished product 😉

It's Christmas!

It’s Christmas!

While I was out I stumbled on Inkwell Boutique which I had heard a lot about but had never been in. It reminded me of a little shop that you would find hidden in the corner of a building or tucked away in an alleyway in Tokyo. The building itself was not reminiscent of Tokyo but what they had inside was. Papergoods! Although there are other things like tea towels and coasters most of what you find in Inkwell is made from paper and each item is absolutely gorgeous. I spent a considerable amount of time in there and circled the store at least two if not three times trying to decide which item to buy because I couldn’t buy everything and I certainly couldn’t leave with nothing. I finally decided on a greeting card and a postcard to give to friends with Christmas presents but there was so much more I could’ve bought.  Everything sold at Inkwell Boutique is handmade, much of which has been created by Nova Scotian artists. One artist in particular that stood out to me, whose work I kept picking up, Gotamago from Toronto. You can check out her adorable greeting cards on her website. The artist Lichia Liu was born in Taiwan but spent a lot of time in a number of Asian countries including Japan and Japanese influence is immediately noticeable. Maybe that’s why her work appealed to me?



“Gotamago is deeply influenced by the Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi. The name “Gotamago” is actually a combination of two Japanese words: “Go-cco”, a self-contained printing press that was used to print the very first Gotamago card; and “tamago”, meaning “egg”, as a reminder of our fleeting existence and universal connection.”

Inside Inkwell

Beautiful Boutique

Letterpress postcard

Letterpress postcard

All the candies!

All the candies!

I call him Jack

I call him Jack


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For the last few days I’ve been mourning my time in Japan. The more time that goes by since I left the more that my life and experiences seem like a distant memory. I feel those memories and feelings slowly slipping away as I create new memories and carry on with my Canadian life. Mourning is the only word that comes close to the feeling associated with what is happening. I’m not sure if it’s necessarily a mourning of Japan or more simply a mourning of my global wanderings. I need to hop on a plane to ANYWHERE!

For now, until I have the funds, I try to subdue my urge to travel by ordering take out from various countries and by visiting local Asian grocers to buy too many things that I don’t need. All of this stuff was found at Tian Phat Asian Grocery on the Bedford Highway. I was already impressed as soon as I opened the door, the beautiful aromatic smells that hit you when you enter are amazing. They had a lot of stuff that I haven’t seen outside of Japan and a variety of foods from various other countries (Vietnam, Thailand, Korea, China, India, Philippines).

I couldn't pass up these.

I couldn’t pass up these.

Can't wait to furikake the shit out of my rice!

Can’t wait to furikake the shit out of my rice!

Gari Gari kun!

Gari Gari kun!

Whaaa?! Japanese Mayo!

Whaaa?! Japanese Mayo!

All the Vietnamese flavors!

All the Vietnamese flavors!


BBQ Sauce


Mmm shabu shabu

Mmm shabu shabu

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I find it a little hard to get into the Christmas spirit when I work in retail and it still looks like fall outside but I am looking forward to spending some much needed quality time with my mama. It’s been a few years since we’ve been able to spend Christmas together, so this year is special for me. I foresee a lot of baking, drinking coffee and eating. I can’t wait! I’m also incredibly stoked to spend New Year’s Eve in parade square. I’ve always wanted to check that out but never had the chance.


Fall is still here, back off winter!

I made my way downtown to the annual Festival of Lights parade on Saturday evening and I’m so glad that I did. Despite the temperatures being below zero, seeing the lights and watching the children around me get so excited gave me such a warm feeling. I even had a few of those teary eyed, happy moments. I could’ve done with a little less Christianity and few more reindeer and elves but you take what you can get. Had I known that Feed Nova Scotia and Cineplex would be in the parade collecting food and toy donations, I would have brought a few things.


Frageele, it must be Italian


Santa made an early stop in Halifax


Everything is awesome!


Tasty looking float

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Beautiful City

Painted traffic boxes are all over Halifax and I’ve made it a point to take a picture of each one I find. The city of Halifax accepts submissions from artists wishing to participate and beautify these otherwise ugly electrical boxes. Click here for more information on submissions or the participating artists.

Here are just a few of the ones that I cross paths with on the regular.

photo 2-2

Halifax Shopping Centre

photo 3-2

Quinpool Road


Robie Street


Joseph Howe Drive, my favorite one


Oak Street


The side view

Robie Street

Robie Street

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