SAINT PATRICK’S DAY PARADE, THE DAY AFTER…

I went to see “Saint Paddy’s Day” parade this morning. I’d never been to one before and didn’t really know what to expect other than some celtic music and dancing.

I don’t know what the parades look like in other cities but here, it started with the police wailing their sirens and performing a street-level, simplistic version of the Snowbirds, doing some formations and criss-crossings for about 10 minutes. I don’t know what’s the connection with Ireland on that one, but anyway…

st_paddys
[top left] Scottish-Irish Bagpipes? / [top-right] Scottish-Irish McDonald? No, he’s 100% Irish! / [bottom] Irish dancing (sorry for the foggy lens :( )

Then the parade really started rolling. Bagpipes and percussions started the fanfare with a marching band colored in the Irish tradition and the mayor of Vancouver, Sam Sullivan, following right along in a horse-led wagon from Stanley Park.

45 minutes and 4-5 bagpipe-led marching bands later, it seemed to me that they all learned the same song… In-between the marching bands were a few Irish related groups interspersed with some not so Irish ones, shamelessly taking advantage of the parade to advertise their stuff (like “WorkSafe BC”), passing flyers to spectators. A not so Irish participant that I thought was really funny though was the guy carrying a dirty shovel, in charge of picking up after the horses… lol

The most interesting part occured during the last 20 minutes or so when a few troops of Irish dancers performed. But by that time, my camera’s filter lens decided to fog up and gave me so-so pictures (see attached) of what could have been the most interesting ones. Oh well… I’ll have to see what went wrong there.

All in all, it was “ok”, but apart from the dancers, it lacked in enthusiasm as far as I’m concerned.

TURNING JAPANESE

“Ohayo, sangatsu jyu hachi, kyu ji.”

I hope I got that right… :s  It’s supposed to say: “Good morning (Ohayo), [it’s] March (sangatsu) 18 (jyu hachi)[th], 9 (kyu) o’clock (ji).”

The Japanese wife of a Canadian colleague from work who knows about my interest for all things Asian has been introducing me to friends of hers recently.  English is used sparingly, as all her friends are Japanese.  They are nice enough to fill me in on their conversations now and then or switch to English altogether from time to time; otherwise, I can always chat with a fellow Canadian (who usually understands Japanese already though).  I picked up a few words here and there during those evenings (like “suki” means “[to] like”), but I wouldn’t mind doing some real learning in order to follow their conversations better.

Besides, with all the Japanese restaurants around and the Japanese population living in Vancouver itself, it might come in handy:  I was eating sushi by myself in a restaurant one evening, a couple of months ago, when two young Japanese women came and sat at the table next to mine.  From the corner of my eye, I could sense they were looking at me and whispering something in Japanese to themselves.  I silently turned to look at them for a second or two with a look that said “Are you talking about me?” and they were all embarassed!  Now I don’t know if they thought I was cute (“kawaii”) or not back then but they’d better watch out next time around — I might have a little surprise in store for them! :p

In the past 24 hours, I’ve already learned how to count from 1 to 20, the months of the year, and a few other useful words.  Sugoi! (“Cool!”…  Now I know what that brand of clothing stands for).

Mata ne! (“See ya!”)

EDIT: I didn’t turn Japanese in the end… I married a beautiful Thai girl and I must say speaking Japanese was a lot easier than trying to speak Thai with all the different tones and different sounds that I have to learn now. I’ll manage somehow, but it’ll take me a while to be fluent in Thai. ;)

THE CHERRY BLOSSOMS ARE OUT!

Cherry Blossoms

Funny how the urban landscape changes so quickly.  I was noticing to myself a week ago that the trees were not at their best and, try as you might, you couldn’t see any sign of Spring breaking through in the near future.  But now, the cherry blossoms are already out and “strong” enough to spread a light carpet of pink petals on the sidewalk.  After the longest stretch of gray weather I just experienced (about 3 weeks; not always rain), today’s bright sunshine and the burgeoning vegetation showing promise is a welcome treat.

VANCOUVERITE AT LAST!

I must really be starting to act like a real Vancouverite: as I walked down the streets this morning, I saw quite a few umbrellas up — but not mine!  I used to be among the first ones opening up my umbrella when the rain would suddenly come down, no matter how light or heavy it was.  But this morning, it just didn’t feel menacing enough to warrant using my umbrella.  Now that I think about it, the ones using their umbrella seemed to be mostly women — women who probably spent a long time fixing themselves up in front of the mirror and couldn’t let Mother Nature mess up their masterpiece! :p  In any case, I felt like an umbrella-less minority for the first time since I moved here 3 months ago.