I Love My History Professor


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A few days ago in my WWII class, we were discussing the internment of Japanese Canadians/Americans coupled with images of Japanese people as being “monsters” in American political cartoons. Then this kid in class raised his hand to ask the professor why there was such a huge difference between the way the Germans were depicted and the way the Japanese were depicted in political cartoons, and why German and Italian Americans weren’t interned.

Professor: It’s simple really, it was a byproduct of racism.

Student: Um, was there any other reason?

Professor: Not really, apart from some minor ones, it was racism.

Student: Couldn’t there be some other explanation, like, I don’t know, the war in Japan being “America’s war” more than the European theatre?

Professor: No. Overall, it was a product of “yellow peril” propaganda and rhetoric from years before, coupled with racist policies against Asian immigration seen in both the U.S and Canada, which primed the way for “the Japanese”, even Japanese-Americans who had no connection to Japan through culture or citizenship, being seen as a convenient “Other”, a monolith of sinister intentions and nefarious schemes which were unfounded to somehow infiltrate and conquer the West Coast.

Student: Oh. So what would you call that?

Professor: Racism.


Concepts of Shared Female Experience- An Age Gap?


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A little while ago, I posted an article by one of my favourite bloggers, Black Girl Dangerous, on the myth of there being a “shared” female experience. Like the original author of the post, I am not a big fan of the concept of there being a “shared”, female experience. In fact, I tend to outright mistrust it, along with any other claims of some sort of universal sisterhood. Call it woman’s inhumanity to woman, call it skepticism about something which sounds hokey and overly sentimental, call it a lifetime of seeing women in positions of power and authority use it to abuse and belittle their so-called sisters, I just find it bogus.

An older activist friend of mine, however, said that she did indeed, believe in some sort of shared female experience. She said also that she felt saddened that so many women in my age group didn’t believe in the shared female experience, and said that it was definitely, as she saw it, a case of an age gap, with younger women being less likely to believe in shared female experience than older women.

I pondered that for a bit, and I’ve come to hypothesize, if there is an age gap between the belief in shared female experience, then there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation for why. There could be several, but two in particular stand out to me.

One is the Internet. In the 1970s, 80s, and earliest 90s, there wasn’t this humongous feminist presence on the Internet, or even any Internet at all. But nowadays, one has a dizzyingly enormous access to feminist blogs, resources, books, and stories, if one knows how to look. Non-feminist sources as well, also written by women. Reading through these, I don’t get a sense of there being a “shared” experience between say, myself, a survivor of abuse in a Christian cult, a black mother with several physical disabilities in Niagara Falls, a black Texas transwoman, or even another autistic student. That doesn’t mean that I can’t relate to their experiences or that there’s a disconnect between them and I on living as a woman. It just means that there’s a diversity of ways to be a woman, and I am richer for having been able to learn from them about their experiences, rather than assume that my way is somehow transferable to the 3 billion other women I share the world with.

The second important factor in me and other young women in the West being more skeptical of shared female experiences and sisterhood is that, from the late 80s to the present, women have significantly more opportunities to see women in positions of power and influence. I see women in just about every position imaginable.

This has been good for me, because it’s lifted the veil of misconceptions about what a woman is capable of that growing up with almost no female role models in a variety of careers. But it’s also made me realize I can’t kid myself- women in positions of power and influence are not magically going to put in extra effort to make the lives of other women easier or help them reach the top.

Sarah Palin is a wonderful illustration of this. Her being a woman doesn’t mean I have a shared experience with her, in fact, as a multi-racial, non-Christian, disabled, Indigenous woman who is a survivor of rape, Sarah Palin has taken steps to ensure that, if she were granted power over my life, it would become more painful, miserable, and difficult. A woman CEO of a corrupt oil company isn’t going to magically care more about the Indigenous people she’s displacing to make a higher profit, even if women are among the displaced and harmed.

I could go on and on, but the point is, I’ve seen what happens when women who have either fallen into or climbed up towards positions of power, comfort, and wealth reach their goal. It’s not the kumbaya moment many imagine. Power is power, and womanhood isn’t a magical shield that prevents one from becoming power hungry or abusing others either when you’re in power or scrambling to get up to the top.

Maybe it is me being bitter and cynical. But if you want an answer as to why a mistrust of the idea of there being a shared female experience might be more common among young women, here’s one possible answer. But I don’t think young women are the only ones who are feeling this. I think anyone, regardless of age, can feel skeptical towards this, if they’ve witnessed similar goings-on.

A Friendly Incomplete Guide to Terminology for Canadian Journalists Interested in Writing About Indigenous Issues


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Today while reading my local student newspaper, I came across this description of a traditional Coast Salish pit cook that was held at UVic in honour of Congress 2013:

On June 3, a fire pit was dug for a First Nations meal, near the trees often used for slacklining. The uneaten fare was later offered free downtown.

What’s a “First Nations meal?” I’m Native, and I have no clue what that means. There are 614 First Nations in Canada total. Bannock? That’s a post-colonization food item, created out of a time of starvation and government rations. Salmon? As a Blackfoot I can tell you that fish isn’t a universally “First Nations” meal either. Corn? Nope, not everybody was agricultural before European contact. There’s no more a “First Nations” meal than there is an “Asian” meal, or a “European” meal, or an “African” meal. You can use these terms if you so wish, but it’s kind of a gross oversimplification which tends to create more, not less, confusion.

I was actually present at the meal in question, the meal was salmon cooked over a fire, and corn, clams, and carrots cooked in a pit cook. I didn’t actually get to taste any of it, even though I helped haul clams, corn, and carrots into the kitchen for preparation and shucked the corn, because my inner tightwad wouldn’t let me spend $20 on a single plate of food. I wish I’d known about the downtown portion!

I do know, however, that the food offered was a variation on what’s Coast Salish fare, and the pit cook in particular is a Coast Salish style of cooking. The University of Victoria  is on Lekwungen territory, but the term “Coast Salish” is often used interchangeably when discussing Indigenous cultures or acknowledging the territories at UVic. “Coast and Straits Salish” covers a great variety of groups, including  Esquimalt, Hul’qumi’num, Klahoose, Lekwungen (Songhees), MALAXEt, Musqueam, OStlq’emeylem, Pentlatch, Scia’new (Beecher Bay), Sliammon, Shishalh, Skxwú7mesh-ulh Úxwumixw, Stó:lo, Straits, Tsleil-Waututh, T’Sou-ke, W̱SÁNEĆ (Pauquachin, Tsartlip, Tsawout, Tseycum), and Xwemalhkwu. So “Coast Salish meal” probably would have been my choice term for this story, since these pit cooks are meant not just as a method of feeding people for Congress, but celebrating Indigenous culture at UVic and asserting the continued presence of the customs and traditions of the people whose traditional lands UVic resides upon.

When writing about issues, stories, and topics related to Indigenous peoples in Canada, it can get really easy to screw up terminology. There’s a great variety of words out there, a lot of them are used interchangeably, and oftentimes they are applied incorrectly.

So I’m putting it on myself to write a basic guide on what terms work where and why sometimes it might be better to say “First Nations”, other times, “Indigenous”, other times “Aboriginal”, and other times, “Indian”. I’m only one person, and naturally I don’t speak for all Indigenous people. Some people have preferences that differ from mine, some terms might be different from how others may use them, and by no means are these the “official” definitions. Just some food for thought. I’ll just talk a bit about these terms, how, if at all, I’d like to see them used, and their context. I hope it will at least be helpful.

First of all, before you even open the dictionary, ask yourself: What am I writing about? 

Are you writing about something that’s happening that’s happening/happened at an actual First Nation? Are you writing about something that a First Nations band council or representative group/body is undertaking? Then you are good to use the phrase “First Nation(s)” to describe this. For example, it is perfectly acceptable to write about how the Hupacasath First Nation is fighting FIPPA in court.

First Nation for the most part, refers to the legal/governmental bodies. First Nations Band Councils are, 99.9% of the time, not the traditional or “true” form of government for these Indigenous Nations, they’re a creation of the Canadian government and the Indian Act. The term “First Nations” is also a creation of the Canadian Government, and I am not 100% satisfied with it. I find it a tad on the condescending side, and a little inaccurate, since, like I said, these aren’t the true structure of governments that existed for these nations before European contact.

And, as a non-status Indian (More on the “I” word later), I and many other people who are Indigenous can’t even necessarily be called “First Nations”, since I don’t really belong to any particular First Nation, I’m not a citizen of one. So, as a rule of thumb, I don’t refer to people or cultures as “First Nations”, I see it as purely a political and legal term that’s handy for when you’re talking about governments or places, but not so much for people or cultures.

Speaking of terms that are better for the legal and governmental realm than the individual or culture, I’m not a big fan of “Aboriginal”. I used to be a big fan of it before I moved to Canada, and before I discovered my new favourite, Indigenous. Now, having learned more about the history of the term “Aboriginal”, I’m really not a big fan of it for referring to myself or other Indigenous peoples. The only time I ever use “Aboriginal” is, again, when referring to a political, governmental, or legal institution or organization. For instance, since it’s the term in vogue, when I talk about the way the legal system works in Canada, I’ll say “aboriginal law”, as in “My professor is a specialist in Aboriginal Law”. But that’s about it. I recommend using it when it’s part of an institution’s actual name, like “The Aboriginal People’s Television Network” or “Aboriginal Health Services”, but I’d try to avoid using it if I were a journalist.

The reasons I grew to dislike “Aboriginal” are complicated, mostly having to do with how it creates an artificial divide among the people of Turtle Island and in the larger sphere of Indigeneity, by dividing people within Canada between “Aboriginal/First Nations”, “Inuit”, and “Metis”, and dividing Indigenous people in Canada from those South of the Medicine Line (AKA from the United States), and those from Mexico, and South and Central America. I also became very convinced that it was a flawed term after reading Taiaiake Alfred’s argument against the mode of thinking “Aboriginalism” in his book Wasase.

The “Too long, didn’t read” version of this so far: “Aboriginal” and “First Nations” while favoured by the Canadian government, are not one size fits all terms that can be applied to any and all situations, and shouldn’t be used carelessly or sloppily. Some people (like yours truly) just plain don’t like them. But enough about that, how about some terms that you can use?

I’m a big fan of “Indigenous”. It’s your choice whether or not to capitalize it, too. I always capitalize it, but that’s just me and my writing style. It’s very broad, but lacking in those pesky little restrictions you find around “Aboriginal” or “First Nations”. Indigenous is pretty universal, in a beautiful way. You could, for instance, write “Indigenous leaders march to (name town) to demonstrate for (issue)”. Or you could talk about Indigenous healthcare, Indigenous nationhood… The possibilities are endless! And it’s not restricted to just Canada, you can use Indigenous to describe Native peoples from any part of the world, from Anishinabe  to Zulu.

There’s also “Native”. This one can be confusing, because it’s often used outside of the political realm to refer to people who were just born someplace, regardless of their ties to the land. For instance, I’m a “Montana Native”, but I’m not a “Native of Montana” since I was born in Hawaii… Dear me. I also have a problem with the term “Native American”, since it’s again, based on propping up a connection between a government and Indigenous peoples whose relationship(s) can be tepid at best and genocidal at worst. But if it’s used clearly in a context where there’s no confusion, it can be handy.

And now, for “Indian”. It’s still a legal term in the U.S and in Canada, there’s the Indian Act, there’s American Indian, used in the states, etc etc. So again, use it in that context, if it’s connected to a name or an organization. Indian Health Services, the Indian Act, or the American Indian Movement (AIM). You may also see NDN (Say it out loud) used in more casual internet spaces. But again, I’d advise against using it to address individuals.

If you want to really, really win brownie points, use the names, the actual names, of the group you’re addressing. Call me a Blackfoot blogger. Call the head of the Assembly of First Nations a Nuu-Chah-Nulth person who is heading an Indigenous organization called the AFN.

I hope this helps. This is by no means comprehensive, I just had to get this off my chest. If you have any other questions, ask in the comments. I think that use of proper language just makes things easier and less convoluted for everyone. It’s about accuracy, always.

Pleasantly Surprised

I wasn’t expecting much from my Word War II course that I’ve enrolled in for the month of June. As a general rule, I find military history a bit dull, WWII as a history topic overly fetishized and romantacized, and the idea of taking a class on WWII a bit obnoxious. 

However, my professor immediately impressed me by pressing into us the importance of understanding that history isn’t taught objectively, and there are multiple points of view that one could study on WWII, such as the British/commonwealth perspective, the American perspective, the Japanese perspective, the European perspective(s), the Soviet perspectives, etc etc… He also stressed the importance of not using “Soviet” and “Russian” interchangeably in the context of WWII, and made sure that the syllabus covers all regions involved in the war, from North Africa to Australia to the Pacific. 

Also, he’s unbelievably charming and affable, and is letting us pick our own topics for the final paper. I want to do mine on either Jews in Italy during WWII, or Navajo Code Talkers, or Japanese civilian reactions to the expanding colonialism in Manchukuo/Manchuria. 

I guess I should have known that a course on this in university was actually going to be good, but still. 

A Street Harassment Story: A Tale of Differing Reactions


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Imagine: My ex girlfriend/former roommate, who is a trans woman, and me, walking along, minding our own business, talking about Star Trek. Suddenly:

Creeps across the street, shouting out: Hello, ladies!

I roll my eyes, keep walking, a little faster. The street creeps persist, yelling “I like the skirt! Lift it up please!”

After they’re a reasonably long distance away from us, I started groaning and grumbling about what pigs they were, grateful that they didn’t decide to keep pursuing us. However, she is starry-eyed and smiling. I’m confused.

Jaime: “They called me a lady!”

Star Trek: Into Darkness- Loud, Shiny, & Shallow (Spoiler Alert)


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J.J Abrams’ Star Trek series frustrates me. The first film was okay, apart from a few moments where I cocked my eyebrows and rolled my eyes, it wasn’t terrible. And it was quite entertaining. Maybe I would feel differently if I watched it again now, but tonight, watching Star Trek: Into Darkness, I was quite depressed and frustrated. On its own merits, it was no better nor worse than the average Hollywood film. As a Star Trek film, it was disappointing both cinematically and ideologically. The only thing that made it bearable for me was the soundtrack, the performances, and the costumes (I love those little hats that go with their on-earth uniforms!)

I wasn’t expecting much, honestly, after hearing about Benedict Cumberbatch’s hotly debated role in the film turning out to be Khan. For one thing, above all else, it was horrible whitewashing. The studio seemed aware that what they were doing was wrong and that it would cause public outcry and possibly hurt revenue, so in order to have their cake and eat it too, they kept it under wraps until the last minute. It’s also just a lazy re-hashing of the overly familiar. Star Trek was all about taking risks, but this seemed to be more of a product of elaborate, careful marketing management, every step of the way. I almost didn’t go to see it after hearing about Cumberbatch as Khan, but since it was free, I went tonight.

I wish the film’s only problem had been Khan’s casting. Or even its biggest problem.

Into Darkness opens more like an Indiana Jones film than a Star Trek film, with some visibly angry alien “natives” chasing Kirk and McCoy through a Class M planet’s forest. That was off to a bad start. There was a brief little plot point about the Prime Directive, Kirk’s complete disregard of that in order to save Spock, and saving the Indigenous alien species from their planet’s destruction.

That got me off to a bad start. Star Trek would have been a good place to talk about the ethics surrounding helping an uncontacted civilization; it’s a pertinent problem here and now, with Indigenous peoples in the Amazon facing the threats of encroachment upon their lands by loggers, miners, farmers, ranchers, and dam builders. That’s not what it’s here for though, it’s just to throw around some fancy, familiar words from Star Trek to make the nerdier members of the audience feel at home, and have the chance to do a favourite Hollywood activity of showcasing “primitive” types speaking a made-up “unga-bunga” language, throwing spears, and acting all savage and unsophisticated and shit. This sets the pace for later in the film, when Kirk and Spock briefly open a window to contemplate the issue of going after Khan (known as John Harrison to them at the time) with a guiding weapon on Starfleet’s behalf, carrying out what we might call an “extrajudicial assassination”. Sound familiar? That too, is tossed aside. This is not treated as the place to host such conversations, not when there are explosions to witness and phasers to go pew pew.

The most aggressively problematic elements, after that general strain of gleeful anti-intellectualism and Khan’s casting, is the characterization of our beloved favourites, in particular, Uhura and McCoy. Uhura is shown, shaken after Spock almost sacrifices himself to follow the Prime Directive, to be snappy, unprofessional, and unable to separate her personal feelings for Spock from her duties on her job, bringing up her anger at him during an important mission. Uhura’s competence, intelligence, and ability to act as an asset to the Enterprise temporarily evaporate for the benefit of her having an inconveniently timed lover’s spat. McCoy’s southern gentlemanliness also goes out the window in order to provide a cheap laugh when he’s flirting with Carol Marcus in a lewd, goofy fashion.

Speaking of Carol Marcus, in what’s probably a new record, at least in the films I’ve seen, for most blatant fanservice, we get treated to a scene of her in her underwear. Just out of the blue, for no real reason. It wouldn’t be a JJ Abrams Star Trek film without it, I guess.

The film also, tragically, lacked emotional impact. The fates of the characters were practically meaningless, even when faced with terrible tragedy or life-and-death situations, because of the general sloppiness of the script and the liberal (and seen coming from miles away) use of deus ex machina.

This film only works if you don’t think of it as a Star Trek film. If you must see it, please, by all means, pretend it’s not. Then it’s just a standard pretty-looking science fiction flick which will fade into darkness (hah) with time. That’ll make the film bearable. I can deal with and enjoy loud, shiny, and pointless. What I can’t contend with is this plastic joke being in the same category as the incredible, social justice pioneering phenomenon that is (was?) Star Trek.

What Does Star Trek Mean To Me? (Spoiler-Free Review of Star Trek: Into Darkness)


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I just got back to seeing Star Trek: Into Darkness. I’m going to divide my thoughts into it into two posts, this one will be spoiler-free, the other will contain spoilers and talk more about the film itself. What this review is concerned with is what the direction JJ Abrams is taking means for Star Trek’s power as a means of affecting positive change and providing social commentary for the current times. 

I don’t need to spend too much time talking about what a groundbreaker, game changer, etc etc, that the original Star Trek was. I’m sure most people familiar with Star Trek already know. Star Trek dealt with the issues of the 1960s by showing us a future where we had transcended the troubles caused by these inequalities. Star Trek therefore became a fulcrum for bringing us closer to that idealistic future, rather brilliantly. 

And, in 2013, we still need that. An interracial kiss on television might not make headlines now, and the idea of people of different races and genders being respectful, egalitarian, equally capable, and professional together at work isn’t mind-boggling to most folks. But we haven’t run out of social problems that could use the Star Trek treatment to spark conversation and bring about the changes that will make that future closer to reality. 

Star Trek: Into Darkness, in some parts, tried to rise above its overly dumbed-down calling to be an enjoyable, mainstream, entertaining popcorn flick. Using previously established canons in the Star Trek universe, the film flirts with possibly opening up discussions about the importance of protecting uncontacted Indigenous people from destruction of their traditional homelands, or the ethics surrounding governments employing extrajudicial killings, and what the costs are of a society on the fast track to militarization on the part of trigger-happy officials. But these are all, at best, sniffed then discarded, or at worst, used cheaply for some half-hearted plot advancement that goes nowhere. 

The ultimate problems that I had with Star Trek: Into Darkness, are that while Star Trek in previous incarnations had some silly moments and was imperfect, it was still excellent for promoting conversations, and in many ways, it transcended its time for a better future. This Star Trek, however, doesn’t spark conversations about the problems of today, or show earth as having reached a better tomorrow through the transformative power of progress. It is full of shiny, techno-baubles, but with no indication as how we stopped killing and squabbling long enough to create them and utilize them. With a script (and casting!) mired in racism, sexism, and no introspection at all, this Star Trek functions more like the world’s most expensive, shiny, shallow TED Talk than anything else. 

Autistic & Tattooed: Here’s What It’s Like


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This, ladies, gentlemen, and gender rebels, is my first tattoo. It took two hours, and was done for a variety of reasons: Most notably, it reconnected me to feeling in-control and in-charge of my body, something which being raped can often take away from someone, especially after a frustrating and slow-moving police case. 

The design is meant to remind me to transcend my problems and my circumstances, rise above them, and soar in the sky, reaching my full potential. 

Now, onto the nitty-gritty stuff: I imagine a lot of people are wondering how I dealt with getting a tattoo, as someone on the spectrum. Tattoos are a sensory experience unique unto themselves, there’s nothing really comparable to the actual tattooing and the aftermath that I’ve experienced in my short 23 years. But I will offer some of the things that I have done in order to make the experience easier for my sensitive body and nerves. 

First off, I made sure to go to a studio which was clean, well-reputed, and used disposable single-use needles. I found an artist whose art style I enjoyed, and discussed my sensory needs with her beforehand. It needn’t be a difficult conversation. Mine went something like this: “Before we get started, I should tell you I have pretty sensitive nerves. I am fine with deep pressure, but light, tickling pressure is totally different, and so is scraping. What sensations can I expect during the tattooing?” I also picked a spot on my body that was relatively non-sensitive, my upper back. She told me it was a deep pain, and that many people actually found it enjoyable. I also brought along my iPod, so that I wouldn’t have to listen to the tattoo needle, which can get pretty noisy. As it turned out though, I actually enjoy the repetitive buzzing of a tattoo gun, and found the deep pressure of getting inked relaxing. For two hours, I listened to the sounds, lay my head in a comfortable spot, and let the tattoo artist do her work. It was more comfortable than a trip to the doctor or the dentist, and was actually quite soothing. The tattoo artist was required to show her tools to me and explain them, and have me watch her put in the new needles and ink, and that helped ease my mind. I also brought a friend with me to help me feel at home and relax. 

The after-care has been more of a challenge. Tattoos are, essentially, inked scars, and that means that the skin is going to flake off, peel, and, above all else, itch like hell. I’ve been moisturizing it, slapping it (The sting of the slap stops the itching) and doing everything in my power to keep it from being itchy or dry. The fact that I can’t see my own tattoo without a mirror means that I have to be very careful when relieving an itch on my back, in case I scratch the tattoo. I’ve been told that a spray bottle full of alcohol will curb the itching, but since alcohol is drying and I don’t want my tattoo to dry out and scab, I am not taking up that bit of advice. I’m just following the little leaflet that my tattoo artist gave me. 

All in all, the best advice that I can give is to find a good artist, pick/create a design that is meaningful and significant to you, have open, honest communication with your artist, take steps you need to feel comfortable, understand what your pain/sensory overload threshold is, and follow the manual when it comes to aftercare. That’s universally applicable, but if there are any other autistic folk out there looking to get inked who weren’t sure, I hope this helps! 

Thank You, Sensei

When I was in Montana, I had one professor whom I respected and admired more than any other. She was an elegant, intelligent, worldly woman, and above all else, she was kind and passionate, both about her work, and about her students learning. She was my first friend in Missoula. 

She also could see, quite plainly, that I was in the wrong field, and in retrospect, I can see all of the ways she gently tried to encourage me to consider other fields of study besides Japanese. She loved having me in her literature courses, and I always received very good marks in them. She was a wonderfully encouraging editor, and she made me focus like a laser in my academic writing, so that it became much less rambling and more coherent and airtight. But when it came to the language front, I struggled. I’ve always loved languages, but with Japanese, I had a mental block on it. I couldn’t flourish in the language the way that I could in Russian, or Yiddish, or Hawaiian, or, most recently, Blackfoot. 

She never discouraged me though, or pressured me to stop taking Japanese or switch majors. Instead, she introduced me to professors in other departments, such as Women’s Studies, Anthropology, English, Liberal Arts, and others. She lent me books on a great variety of topics, including one which sparked and transformed my understanding of colonialism. 

This was a very encouraging way for me to eventually come to realize, on my own, that Japanese wasn’t  for me, because it meant that I came to that epiphany myself, rather than having someone tell it to me, which is the only way I typically learn, stubborn as I am. It also meant that I already had other options open to me, and didn’t feel like I failed in one field and therefore wasn’t capable in any field at university. 

I’m out of Montana now, and I want to write this professor an email. Tell her about how I went from being a struggling, so-so student into a straight-A honours student on the path to grad school and a great variety of possibilities in academia, all of which I feel strongly passionate about. I still use the knowledge I gained from Sensei’s classes. When people who have never taken a course in non-Western literature declare Don Quixote the “oldest” novel, I’m able to cite The Tale of Genji. When I met my hero, the poet Chrystos, we conversed about Japanese literature, and I mailed Chrystos a book of poetry by Japanese courtly women for her to have. I have the tools, thanks to these classes, to read far and wide, internationally, and realize that I am going to carry the baggage of my cultural and historical contexts and assumptions with me when reading, and can do my best to catch them and stop them, so that I can appreciate the work better on its own merits. I appreciate so much because of my beginning in Japanese Studies, and my wonderful Sensei. 

If you’re reading this Rabinovitch-Sensei, I’m doing wonderfully, in UVic Women’s Studies. I found my path. Good luck guiding more and more students, wherever it is they end up, I know you make a positive impact on them. 

Okagesama deshita.