Monday, 26 June 2017


Things I wanted to talk about in the previous post:
The problematic beliefs of the Uber driver obsessing over The Last Samurai
My broken things which lead to true(r) authenticity
Reactions to stuff I read (news, blogs)
J'ai oublié faire ce texte blanche avant de publier, alors je vais parle un peu seulement. 
It's 12.38pm, I'll start to go down the list so I don't procrastinate more later.
Pourquoi pas? Je vous dis un petit histoire de mon visite à Matt - je suis leur dit qu'il ya un shoppe-
The Uber driver was a local Quebecois who was very enthusiastic about speaking to me in English. It was pretty normal conversation until a song from The Last Samurai Soundtrack came on. An NYT critic once wrote that particularly among Asian-Americans and Japanese especially, the movie and others with the same tropes were 'racist, naive, well-intentioned, accurate - or all of the above'. A variety critic wrote 'clearly enamored of the culture it examines while resolutely remaining an outsider's romanticization of it, yarn is disappointingly content to recycle familiar attitudes about the nobility of ancient cultures, Western despoilment of them, liberal historical guilt, the unrestrainable greed of capitalists and the irreducible primacy of Hollywood movie stars.' Both are excellent summaries in my opinion. The trouble of the film is not that a white man is leading a group of otherwise sort-of-helpless men and in exchange gets some pseudo Eastern spirituality stuff that helps him get over the classic European evil - alcoholism. This is since there was actually a historical figure like that, and it's probably okay to focus on him for a Western audience. However, the fact that he becomes 'the last samurai' is in my opinion, quite cringey just for the fact that the opposite is often not portrayed - i.e non-white characters taking on and becoming some leader figure in a white context (although I imagine there might be some in foreign cinema? The best I gather seem to just be circle-jerking their won culture). I don't think it is an immediate problem if white characters take on roles like that (or vice versa) if the details/traditions/symbolism are all respected. I think the film is on a whole, not perfect but does well in some regards, the issue is the reaction, exemplified by this Uber driver, gave me a whole lotta pause.
-superbe à la marché de Saint-Jean à Montréal qui vendre les huitres. Les huitres étaient trés bien.
"I just love samurai, Japan is the first/next country I want to visit outside of the North American continent." That's all fine, except I probed him further at what else he knows/has watched which is essentially zilch, and I'm afraid he might go in with a pretty simplified/cartoon-ish expectation/image of what samurai were like and all. He doesn't like the 'fast-paced' nature of modern society and thinks essentially that the idealized/romanticized samurai lifestyle portrayed in the film that cured the Tom Cruise's nightmares is where it's at. (O boy modern Japan). I hope he goes in with an open mind.

I'll probably do the next part after I'm settled in my room and all.

Right, on to broken things.
The one time I try (I might have done it before but am forgetting) packing my camera neatly into a carry-on, and it (lens only though, not the body) breaks, so lesson learnt. I was kind of frantically trying to put it back together, even spent a good amount on Ubers to a closing repair shop which turned out to have just ran out of the part they need to fix the lens. Plus, I didn't bring my wide-angle in the first place, which leaves me with two fixed, and pretty zoomed in lenses. I thought about this, sitting on my bed in the hostel, how... I guess truly authentic my trip has now become, since I have nothing but experience and what I can store in my tiny little head now, the wonderful sights, the journeys, etc. This was of course an exaggeration since I've been using my 50mm, which does not take the vastness of some landscapes in (which I'm so frustrated of but it's my own fault), but at least it allows me to switch into pure 'street photography' mode instead. And in fact my trip has been wonderful, not least because I've met some really interesting and wonderful people (and how I wish I saved them on facebook like I did for one, although in a way the superfluous nature of the meeting is its own reward). Then, my charger was lost in a long story which largely involves me trying to be polite. And I guess in fact all my trips have been like that... I'm thinking about the time I took a solo walk in Hokkaido, walking into random shops and all, a bit childlike. Or maybe around Breckenridge, always with my camera (without one broken lens but in a way without its full capacity since I never carry my full set). Musings that have simpered.

Finally, reactions? Maybe should have started with this first, since these fade the fastest. I don't even remember what parts of what I wanted to react for? I'll pen down the conversations before they stray further into my subconscious though. There's John from New Zealand of course, who made me a simple meal with rice and pork near the end and talked about his adventures. There's Amanda(?) from Australia, Martina from Slovakia (but admirably traveling the world place to place), and just now, Andrew from the UK. (Not to mention the cast of characters from Japan, Brazil, Columbia and France.)

I managed to convince a few people I can speak French without arousing suspicion, so I'm happy enough for trying despite the awkward, sometimes distasteful looks, flustered answers... meh maybe not that worth it happiness wise.

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