A sensitive matter

One of the hottest news in last few days is a case that is considered to be a hate crime by many people; an unarmed black teenager was shot and killed by a “Hispanic” neighbourhood watch leader, and he was found not guilty. According to an internet article, Obama: ‘Trayvon Martin could have been me’, U.S. President Barack Obama told something touching in his personal remarks. He also mentioned,

There are very few African-American men in this country who have not had the experience of being followed when they are shopping at a department store. That includes me.
There are probably very few African-American men who have not had the experience of walking across the street and hearing the locks click on the doors of cars. That happens to me – at least before I was a senator.

I have experienced something like this in three countries: Tonga, Spain, and Canada. In Tonga, I was harassed and abused daily in some ways. Literally, daily. Many of them threw stones at me. In Barcelona, Spain, if I went to a store, guards always stared at me while they even did not watch Spanish and Caucasian customers, and cashiers always used a fake bill detector to accept my 10-Euro bill while they did not use it to accept even 50-Euro bills from Spanish and Caucasians. If I went to a museum, a staff member always quietly followed me a few meters behind. In Hamilton, Canada, non-Asian cashiers in many stores, whether they are white or coloured, obviously changed their attitude toward me and toward Caucasians. If I said “how are you?”, most of them ignored. If I walked in town or sat down on a bench in a park, some people stared at me.

What is even worse than discrimination itself is that some people do not understand discrimination; they say those who are discriminated against are to be blamed because they did something bad. I know it because some people have blamed me for being discriminated against (and I hated them). Any discrimination is irrational, but they don’t know it.

What helps those who are discriminated against is to be understood by someone. When I was looking for a job after graduating from University of Calgary, some people suggested me looking for a job in Europe. I always said “I don’t like that option because Europeans are generally less generous to foreigners than Canadians are”. (It was after living in Barcelona and before living in Hamilton) All of my Caucasian classmates said, “come on, don’t worry about that”. Only an African student said “I know it. It’s a common problem between us.”

Probably President Obama knows this feeling. I admire him, and appreciate his remarks.

July 21, 2013Permalink

Sensibility and Perception

阿部真央 (Abe Mao), or “Abema”, is one of my most favorite Japanese singers. Her songs are very touching. She is young, and seems to feel same things that I felt when I was around her age. Now I’m old, but her singing touches me. One of her songs, 17歳の唄 (17 year old’s song) goes like this. (originally written in Japanese, and translated by me)

Something sad happened. In the same sky where I used to find cloud animals when I was little, I cannot find anything any more, any more.

A few days ago, I found something incredible in the sky.

Red Phoenix vs Black Tiger

I don’t know how many people would agree, but to me, the clouds look like a red phoenix and a black tiger facing off. The phoenix is very impressive. I can see wings, an S-shape neck, a crest, and a gorgeous tail. I magnified and processed the image to make it clear.

Red Phoenix

In one way, I can say this is mother nature’s incredible creation. In another way, I can say I am still sensitive and perceptive. When I found the clouds, there ware many people, but I did not see anyone else who was looking at the sky. Good to know my heart is still younger than 17. By the way, one of other Abema’s sensitive songs is 19歳の唄 (19 year old’s song). I’m way older than 19, but this song touches me.

As I wrote in a previous post, I am looking for a job again. Probably I will do a non-design job again. Whether I am a professional designer or not, I want to retain the sensitivity and perception as a designer.

July 10, 2013Permalink

After all,

The temporary non-design contract job in Orillia officially ended last week. Now I’m a pure job seeker again. Before starting the job, I wrote “let’s see how a loser will fail” in an old post. After all, how did I fail?

It did not lead me to a new career path anyways. As I wrote in a previous post, I had a job interview, but the company did not choose me. If I got the job, I could have used some of the experiences from the previous job in Orillia, but it did not happen. By the way, after answering “no” to me, the company posted the job again. (It is anonymous, but I can tell because it’s almost identical.) I suppose they have had interviews with some other candidates, but have not found the right one.

So, what did I get from the job besides “work experience in Canada”. Though it did not help me to get a new job (so far), I found my capacity. I worked with Japanese and Canadians in a Japanese company in Canada. Though some Japanese played down my role, many Canadians appreciated my job. A couple of them in important positions told me that I could use them as references, which is more than great to me. This makes me feel that my choice was not wrong; I left Japan and chose Canada as a place to live and work. It’s also good to know somebody is out there to help me.

I also learned from bad examples: biased view, lack of adaptability, lack of respect, lack of leadership, mismanagement, etc. I even thank them for teaching me so much. As I repeatedly said, it did not help me to get a new job. But once I get a new job, I will use what I “learned” from them.

My job hunting will go on anyways, and it seems still too early to conclude how I failed. Let’s sit back and remake a plan.

July 8, 2013Permalink

What we learn from natural disaster

I lived in Calgary from 2003 to 2008. It is my first Canadian city to live, and my first impression of Canada was very good. It’s a big “small town”, and I like their hospitality. As I wrote in an old post, I feel a sense of home both in Calgary and Ontario, and my heart is still Calgarian. Today, probably every Canadian knows that Calgary and the surrounding areas suffered massive flood 10 days ago.

Recently I had a chance to talk with Canadian workers about natural disasters. I talked about the earth quake that hit Eastern Japan 2 years ago on March 11, and they talked about natural disasters in Canada like flood and tornado. One of our common understanding was that people help each other when they suffer natural disaster. One of the Canadian worker’s house was flooded a few weeks ago. He said even strangers talked to him and asked if he needed help. When Calgary was flooded, many facebook posts from my Calgarian friends were about the flood; some of them offered a place for evacuees, and some others shared information for evacuees and other sufferers. Recent TV news have shown how Calgarians help other sufferers. As broadcasted overseas, when the earthquake hit Eastern Japan, people in the most affected area, Tohoku (north east), showed their spirit to help each other when they are facing trouble. At that time, I was often depressed because I could not find a job, but encouraged by them.

Of course we should be aware that not everyone can act like that in disaster areas. When another massive earthquake hit Western Japan in 1995, many sufferers acted calmly, and quietly waited for help. It was broadcasted overseas, and many people in other countries were impresses. This implies that many people in other countries cannot act like this; riots often break out, and people loot food. We also should not forget people in disaster areas who are severely depressed and cannot think of others. They need time and help to be relieved.

Today is Canada Day. Unfortunately, I have worked seven days in a row, including night shift for five days until this morning, and I cannot do anything but having rest at home today. I just quietly wish everyone’s happy Canada Day. My current contract job will end at the end of this week, and I’m still looking for a new job. Still, I should think I am lucky because I have a place to live safely. Remember how I was encouraged by the earthquake sufferers when I was looking for a job in Japan.

July 1, 2013Permalink