July 29, 2011

2011 Shinsedai Cinema Festival - a guest post by Dasha Kotova

Today’s post about the 2011 Shinsedai Cinema Festival – a showcase of independent Japanese films in Toronto – was written by one of the most important people in my life, who also happens to edit my English-language writing from time to time. My daughter, Dasha Kotova, is a writer for Toronto Film Scene, an online magazine that covers film-related events around Toronto, including all the most significant film festivals.


It’s been a while since I’ve acquired an interest in Japanese culture and film – and it only seems to grow stronger. Naturally, when I had the chance to review the 2011 Shinsedai Cinema Festival, I was very excited. What appealed to me about this festival – besides its general relevance to my areas of interest – was the chance to enjoy Japanese independent films, and films that are not as widely known outside of Japan. It’s a real privilege to have a chance to discover such works.

July 20, 2011

Hot Summer Days in High Park. Also - what is this fruit?

I hope that your summer is interesting and enjoyable. We are experiencing a real Canadian heat wave. I feel approximately like the dog you'll encounter below. I would give anything to sit in the water all day. If only I had such an opportunity.

July 15, 2011

The Chairs

On a cold winter day, several years ago, I bought two unusual wooden chairs at one of my favourite antique markets. I didn’t buy them for my own enjoyment, but as a gift for someone else. A couple that we know was about to celebrate their anniversary. Their life together has been quite successful. Throughout the years, they became more and more alike – in their manners and preferences, and even in their appearance. When I saw those chairs, I realized that I had found a perfect gift. The two were practically identical. The only difference was in the etching on the backs of the chairs – one had the shape of the sun, and the other of the moon. Our friends, for all their resemblance, were just like the moon and the sun as far as their overall perception of life.

July 10, 2011

Time Off

Fortunately, this photo isn't mine.

The first commandment of a seasoned blogging pirate is never to blog whilst sick or in a bad mood. (Or, as it often happens, both at the same time.) I am going to break it slightly. But only a tiny bit.
I'm not in a bad mood at all, although I'm feeling rather sick this weekend. It always makes me wonder - how is it possible to start coughing and blowing your nose when there's a sunny summer weather outside? It's an absolutely understandable state for any other time of the year. But the summer...the summer, when the sun is shining, everything is singing, and calling you to come out to enjoy nature. And you are obliged to stay home to take pills and herbal teas. It's a shame to miss out on so much fun.
Oh well - viruses tend to catch you unawares. You end up having to put off all your plans and cancel all your outings, to sit all alone with your Kleenex. The only thing that could make you feel happier is a bouquet of roses and some takeout Thai food.
I realize that I have forgotten how to act when I'm sick. I find myself too close to the computer, the easel, and the fridge.
Naturally, when I feel better, I will return to my life of swashbuckling adventure. I will visit all of you, so as to be updated on your summer fun. I wish you good health, so that you don't get sick, and get the most out of the season.

Today's photo.

July 8, 2011


Colour is usually interpreted differently in different contexts. For an artist, it is extremely fascinating to know how other people respond to the colour combinations in his or her paintings. Could the colour pink be provocative? Could blue be intimate? When we talk about orange, why do we see it as energetic?
Colour is all around us. When we close our eyes, do we ever have thoughts and images in grayscale?
I have met some people who can't stand certain colours, or particular shades. And I have also met people who report being "wowed" by a colour.

July 6, 2011

Having read my blogger friends’ Jane and Lance Hattatt wonderful, ironic post about their searches for Mad Boy, I noticed that thoughts and memories about my Mad Boy won’t leave me in peace. When Mad Boy and I have met, I was 14 and he was 15. We didn’t go to the same school, but we both enjoyed going to the theater, where we were introduced by our friend who worked there. We quickly became inseparable. We shared so many common interests, and found so much common ground. We didn’t even need to take the time to learn each other’s habits.

July 2, 2011


Now I know that our family is actually very predictable. On Canada day, we decided to head north – to one of those beautiful places about 250 kilometers away from our home. Despite the fact that we expanded heroic effort (well, my husband did) on getting up extra early, we ended up leaving the house around the same time as all the other people who were going in the same direction as us. By nine o’clock, the traffic outside of Toronto allowed us to move no faster than 20-30 km/h.

Three lanes were moving at this snail pace in search of new adventures. We covered 60 kilometers in two hours. It’s a good thing when, in the confined space of the car, there are only grownup people without any children or pets. Many sufferers had to stop their cars in search of a convenient location around the inhospitable zone near the highway. Nobody beeped or yelled things like “I can see you!” or “Get a washroom,” because everybody knew, they could be next.

The place that we eventually got to is called - Killbear.