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Diary Entry 1981-15:Caravan

Tag: English 1981 ← Please click here.
Tag: English 1982 ← Please click here.
Tag: English 1983 ← Please click here.
Other English Version ← Please click here.

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b0071688_14563333.jpeg
 This is Monica's passport in 1984.



#Caravan

Mrs Liang told me, “Caravan is starting soon. You must go and visit it!”
I made a phone call to the Caravan Board.
“Where are you located?” the person who answered asked me.
“I don’t understand the meaning of ‘located’.”
“I would like to explain to you how to reach a closest pavilion. There you can buy a passport for free access to all pavilions.”

So I started from the Odessa Pavilion.

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Caravan started as an international festival, with the purpose to encourage and promote intercultural understanding by offering a chance for visitors to hear folk songs and music instruments of immigrants from different countries, to see their traditional dances and sample various ethnic foods.

Immigrants from multi-ethnic countries had their own pavilion each. I was astonished to see how many pavilions there were from the former Yugoslavia and the former Soviet Union.
Those ethnic groups who do not have their own community centres can rent facilities like movie theatres or libraries during Caravan to set up their pavilions.
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Going around various pavilions, I am overwhelmed by the sheer size of Toronto suburbs and natural beauty of its rich neighbourhoods.
There is a special Caravan tour bus starting from a spot in the vicinity of CN Tower, and visitors can choose between 5 routes. Each course includes a visit to different pavilions, and it is a necessary system to reach distant places. If I’d use a Caravan route bus it would be good, but then I’d not be able to visit all the pavilions I want in the limited time I would have. So, as I don’t own a car, I decide to use a regular city bus. Even finding bus routes I need is very difficult for me who has just arrived to Toronto.

That is when I had a really unpleasant experience.
The Japanese Pavilion was placed in a beautiful building of the Japanese Culture Centre. I asked them for the direction to the Riga Pavilion, but no one bothered to give me any attention. One of them even went and said, “Who the hell is this person?” I even asked some boys who were selling vegetables in front of the pavilion, but they pretended not to see me.
I guess they are busy with the preparations of their own country’s pavilion. However, I was disappointed because of their apparent lack of interest in pavilions of other countries around them.

I took a bus from Eglinton East. Showing the driver my map I asked him for directions, but he didn’t seem to know because the bus stop he told me to get off at was close to Victoria Park. I still had about two more bus stops till the Riga Pavilion.
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I met an elderly Japanese Canadian couple. While waiting for the bus I told the lady why I came from Japan and what I wanted to do in Canada.
The lady listened to me kindly and then told me things about herself.

“During the 2nd Word War the Japanese as people from an enemy country were forcefully removed to camps. When we were released after the defeat of Japan, and needed to decide where we would resettle, many of us couldn’t imagine going back to Vancouver. So, many decided to go east and create a new world for themselves there.
In Vancouver the Japanese lived bunched together, and they were easily rounded up and detained at one throw. That is why we decided to move to the east and live scattered all around.”

Looking at her beautiful face while she was telling the story in a quiet voice, I felt deeply that us newcomers could walk around Toronto today as if we owned the place thanks to the unimaginable suffering of one generation. However, I couldn’t say anything, I just listened.
The logic was that if the Japanese lived scattered instead of bunched together, and if they lived in the east where there were immigrants from many different countries, they wouldn’t be the only ones hated as enemies.

People from other cultures in Canada who led more laid-back lives saw the extreme perseverance so typical for the Japanese as a threat. I heard many similar stories during my 7-year stay in Canada, but this story that the lady so gracefully told me stayed firmly fixed in my memory.


At pavilions, we can eat simple and fast foods and different kinds of sweets.
When it comes to food, the Turkish Pavilion was exceptionally expensive.
At the Spanish Pavilion, a boy who was staring dreamily at the ingredients of paella muttered, “Where could a shellfish’s mouth be?”
His tough-looking mother answered, “Why, in your stomach, of course!”

At every pavilion people ask me, “Did you like the food? Did you have a good time? Did you eat something?” However, I always end up talking to them about Gould. Because I thought that at any time I may encounter one of Gould’s friends.

Whenever I talked about my dream of meeting Gould and playing the piano with him to people in Canada, they were all supportive. Maybe that was because here to I chose people with whom to speak with based on their looks and the atmosphere around them.
“Such a small girl, and yet dared to come alone all the way from Japan?”
“I am holding my fingers crossed for you. I pray that your dream comes true.”
With such encouragements I grew in Canada, fostering my dreams more and more.

For big fans of Caravan, this season is like a dream. They check out schedule of different shows and plan their visit efficiently to be able to visit as many pavilions as possible. Of course, the enthusiasts end up meeting each other repeatedly at different pavilions.
At one pavilion I met a girl I’d gotten to know at another pavilion. The two of us were so focused on items displayed at an exhibition, going around them, viewing them from afar and up close, that we hadn’t noticed each other until we bumped into each other with our buts.
Surprised by the impact I turned around, “Oh, you again!”
Neither of us could stop laughing for quite a while.

On June 16th, a child was born at the Liang’s house where I am staying. It is really nice to hear cries of a newborn baby in the house. Yet, more than anything else, I am concerned about the reply from Southwood.
However, there is still no reply, and I end up with cold, probably because I overtaxed myself around Caravan.

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Translated by Saiko   


Previous page : 1981-14 : My Diary June 6th, 1981
Next page :  1981-16 : Hansa

Japanese version of this page・後追い日記81年15・キャラバン



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by mhara21 | 2017-08-02 18:58 | 後追い日記81年 | Comments(0)
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