today’s elijah :: ‘go canada, go!’

elijah’s cheer didn’t reach to the canadian junior hockey team.

canada lost the gold medal to usa in the world junior hockey championship final last night. the final took place in saskatoon. it would’ve been exciting if they won…

meanwhile, ‘go canada, go!’ turned into elijah’s rock concert…

take my heart away

take my heart away

take my heart away-crop1

as you can see, i’m fishing…

take my heart away-crop2

for my right hand…

wait a minute!  is that a left hand?! obviously i lost my right hand… i should pay more attention.

this is one of the drawings for my solo show ‘indoor playground’ at the stall gallery in saskatoon.

Indoor Playground
opening :: april 24th friday
chit-chat with me :: april 25th saturday

the Stall Gallery
105-120 Sonnenschein Way
Saskatoon, SK Canada
Phone: (306)653-0800

indoor playground :: solo show at the stall gallery

indoor playground show poster

i’m doing a solo show at the stall gallery, a new gallery in the farmer’s market building at the river landing site in saskatoon. the opening is tonight (april 24th). the show is titled ‘indoor playground’. i’m showing more than 20 color pencil drawings, as well as 3 larger posters done in markers and a series of small drawings done in markers called ‘oppai ABCs’ (‘ABC’s of breastfeeding’).

i hope the opening will be fun for kids and kids-at-heart. DJ Charley Hustle will be performing. there will be some sweet treats for children of all ages. we’ll put out some blank paper so everyone can do some drawing together. my son elijah will be there and he’ll be doing some drawing too.

on saturday april 25th i’m doing an artist talk from 1pm-2pm in the stall gallery. you can come and ask me easy questions and i’ll try to answer. the show runs until may 24th. hope you can make it!

Indoor Playground
opening :: april 24th friday
chit-chat with me :: april 25th saturday 1~ 2pm

the Stall Gallery
105-120 Sonnenschein Way
Saskatoon, SK Canada
Phone: (306)653-0800

frog, paper, scissors

rock,paper,scissors

believe or not, i’m getting ready for a solo show at the stall gallery here in saskatoon.  the show opens on april 24th, friday.  this is one of the drawings in the show.

the show is titled ‘indoor playground’.  i’m hoping that this show will be a nice mix of fun atmosphere and eclectic drawings.

Indoor Playground
opening :: april 24th friday
chit-chat with me :: april 25th saturday

the Stall Gallery
105-120 Sonnenschein Way
Saskatoon, SK Canada
Phone: (306)653-0800

today’s elijah :: in love at victoria park

paul, elijah and i have been living temporarily in london, ontario since the beginning of may. it’s been so much fun living here.

if i have to choose three things that i need to live in a city, they would be…

  1. a small river
  2. parks
  3. a farmer’s market

this city has it all.

elijah and i hit a park or two everyday. there is no shortage of parks here — parks everywhere! the thames river runs through the city and there are parks all along the riverside.  the city of london is nicknamed ‘the forest city’. mature trees covers the entire city. leaves rustle, birds sing, and the sun dapples gently on your face. elijah is examining a hole in the ground with a dandelion. i feel completely refreshed!

five minutes’ walk from our apartment takes us to victoria park. elijah and i go there in the morning to check out squirrels, birds, and interesting branches and weeds.  he’s started to say a few words. he points at a bird and says ‘burr~, burr~’. i think he’s trying to say ‘bird’.

we met a cute baby girl at the park. she was 16 months old. elijah is into older women (not much choice yet). he was acting shy at first, but then he decided to make a move.

he gave her a blade of grass and a dandelion with the seeds pulled off.  but when she was tried to grab his pine cone, he started to run away.

‘mine!’

setsubun in canada

enpomaki440.jpg

february 3rd was setsubun. on this day in japan, people throw soybeans to get rid of oni (demon) and eat uncut maki-zushi. people also dress up as oni by wearing an oni mask. last year, i made my oni debut in a homemade mask. the oni mask i made was quite crappy, but at least i did look like an oni.

this year, i was planning to make a decent oni mask that might scare the hell out of paul. but we went out for lunch with his aunt and did some shopping, and by the time we got home, it was already 8pm. i was almost too tired to make sushi, but i managed to make one roll of maki-zushi. because if you don’t keep your culture, no one will…

luckily i had some leftover dried ingredients from making osechi ryori at new year’s. i used dried shiitake, kanpyo, steamed spinach, and egg omelet for the filling. i’m supposed to eat the whole maki-zushi without cutting, but it’s incredibly hard to eat. so i cut it anyway.

then i had to find some soybeans. but all i’ve been able to find in canada are these oily soybeans that look like they’re roasted then sprayed with oil. they’re tasty, but they give me pimples everytime. so i’ve stopped buying them. the soybeans you see in the photo are uncooked soybeans.

meanwhile, japanese roasted soybeans are not oily or salty at all. they are just roasted and full of natural flavour. yesterday, i received another package from my parents, full of japanese food and maternity clothes. they didn’t forget to include some setsubun soybeans and two paper oni masks as well. unfortunately, the package arrived too late for setsubun this year. but paul and i ate the traditional number of beans (one for every year of our ages) anyway.

this year, we missed our chance to wear oni masks. so next year, we both will put on masks to be oni parents for poko-chan.

wa-shoku (making japanese food in canada)

washoku-white-440-1.jpg

finally, finally the day i’ve been waiting for has come… GOBO. i found a fine-looking GOBO (known in English as burdock) at eastern market here in saskatoon. i’ve previously found gobo in winnipeg, toronto and vancouver, but i was only visiting, so i didn’t get a chance to cook them. i hadn’t eaten gobo for a long time, so my love for gobo grew and grew. when i found one at the market last week, i almost exclaimed “GO~BO~” out loud, but i managed not to react. if i’d been with someone, i’d probably have been talking about the beauty of gobo for a long time. gobo is a magical vegetable — my favorite. it’s crunchy, tasty, fragrant, and full of fiber. i’m so happy to have found it here.

after living in canada for six years, i figured out a little trick to make sure i can eat japanese food while in canada. my trick is: find similar ingredients in different country’s cuisines.

for example:

  • dutch bread is similar to japanese shoku-pan. (the portuguese introduced bread to japan in 1543)
  • english mustard is the same as japanese mustard (maybe we copied the recipe?).
  • pickling cucumbers are similar to japanese cucumbers.
  • tahini is shirogoma paste.
  • purple basil is aka-shiso.
  • hoisin sauce is similar to okonomiyaki sauce.
  • pomelo fruit is zabon.
  • watercress is basically mizuna.
  • etc, etc.

these connections make me happy. i find it more meaningful to be able to make japanese food using ingredients from other countries. as we eat together, the similarities between people are more apparent than the differences.

although my mom’s kinpira-gobo (burdock salad) is the best on earth, i did my best to cook it myself. finally my favorite wa-shoku (japanese cuisine) dish was on our dinner table. :) we had pinot grigio in sake cups. we had a good laugh. i even got to use my little japanese bowls.

the dishes i made:

  • top: steamed chicken breasts with mustard on blanched green beans
  • top left: kinpira gobo (sweet soy sauce flavoured) with carrots, sesame seeds and thai red chili
  • top right: horenso goma-ae ( boiled spinach with sesame)
  • bottom left: takikomi gohan (flavoured rice with gobo, renkon, carrot, tofu and sliced green beans for garnish)
  • bottom right: kakitama jiru (soup with egg and tofu and green onion for garnish)

my girlfriend mayu-chan makes delicious vegetarian wa-shoku. check it out! mayu-chan was kind enough to suggest sending gobo to me from toronto. i was very touched♥.

arigato mayu-chan.

happy canada day! (star-phoenix article)


five years ago, on canada day, i got engaged. we were watching the fireworks when paul asked me. one year ago, on canada day, we moved to saskatoon. we could see the fireworks from the highway driving in at night.

today, on canada day, there’s an article about me in the saskatoon star-phoenix! paul took my photo (you can almost see him reflected in the shiny desk lamp).

i was interviewed by steven ross smith back in april. he came to my apartment. the interview was supposed to take 90 minutes but we ended up talking for three hours. i’m not very good at talking about myself, expecially to someone i don’t really know, but it was fun talking to him. he was very pleasant.

he asked me a lot of questions about what kind of work i do. he also asked me what kind of artist i am. i didn’t really know what to say. i mostly just do things to amuse myself. i don’t have a particular concept that i’m trying to achieve. i just work on my technique, especially for drawing. i really don’t know what kind of artist i am. i’m not even sure that’s important. so it’s hard for me to answer questions like that.

the photo caption says “yuka yamaguchi is a conceptual artist, blogger, and new media artist”. i mostly use colour pencils and paper, so i thought i was old school. but i guess i do use a digital camera…

the interviewer seemed to think this entire website is art. he even thought the giant pink grapefruit jello i made was an art project. that’s quite flattering, but honestly, it was just me wanting to fulfill a lifetime dream: to make a giant pink jello. maybe it is art, i don’t know, but i didn’t intend it to be art, just fun. in the end, it was jello — high-fibre jello. it really was a lot of work to eat it all.

overall, i’m very happy with the article. i think the interviewer tried very hard to understand me — it’s not his fault that my ideas aren’t very clear. i’m also proud to be in a canadian newspaper as an immigrant from japan on canada day. i like meeting other immigrants here: today i had coffee with a couple from iran. we talked about iran and japan and canada, and many different soccer games, including the thrilling england-portugal penalty kicks today. another nice canada day.

“it’s gonna be over soon”

“it’s gonna be over soon”

that’s what this guy told me on a street. it was a week ago saturday, early evening. i was walking down the street on my way home from broadway shoe repair. i heard a man’s voice saying, “madam, madam!” from behind.

“am i a madam? mmm, i don’t think so.” so i kept walking.

the voice saying, “madam, madam!” got closer and closer. he was running. i realized the madam was me.

as he got closer, i had a bad feeling. so i said to myself, “kick or punch? kick, yeah kick.” (nod).

he jumped right in front of me and stood there and said, “i know this sounds crazy, but trust me. it’s gonna be over soon.” he was a black guy, looked about 18 years old. dressed normally (baggy pants).

“what?!”

“don’t worry. it’s gonna be over soon. just trust me.”

i shook my head and kept walking past him. but i felt him still standing there, so i turned and looked back. i was right. he was still there. i said: “is this religious thing? then i don’t believe in anything!” it’s true. i don’t believe in anything but me and paul.

his arms were stretched out toward me and he was wiggling his fingers. it looked like he was shooting invisible laser beams at me. i hurried home.

in the elevator, i did my best to erase him from my memory, but in vain. what was “it“?? there are tons of things in the world that i want to be over. i got the feeling he was trying to put a curse on me, especially with the finger wiggling “zapping”.

luckily, i don’t believe in curses either. i prefer to be more positive. here are my top three choices for things i would like to be over soon:

#3 rain
#2 winter
#1 dr. phil

so far, none of them seem to be over. maybe it’s too soon.

drphil.jpg