Tag Archives: Edmonton

How Much Has Canada Changed?

It’s been more than five years since I’ve been in Canada. A lot can change in five years. The biggest changes would include technology and urban development.

The area I live in right now has seen many new houses built. But Japan in general has seen smartphones becoming the norm, video screens appearing in even more places, and the expansion of free wi-fi. The busses in my area now have LCD screens for bus stop information. More trains are also getting that. You can use smartphones to show coupons in stores.

I wonder how different things are in Canada. I know that downtown Edmonton is undergoing huge changes in development: the Ice District with the Oilers new home and the tallest building in western Canada under construction, the new Royal Alberta Museum, and many condo buildings.

What else is new in Canada? I’ll find out soon.

Getting Excited About the Move

A couple days ago, I posted about how I was feeling strange, even surreal. I made a video about it! Watch it below. It’s a couple days old, but I just uploaded it last night.

The excited part is where my daughter comes in. She’s really reluctant to stop wearing diapers, so we’ve been trying to encourage her to wear regular underwear. But this morning, she refused. We told her that if she wants to go swimming, she needs to stop wearing diapers. She still refused. We had to show her pictures of the World Waterpark in West Edmonton Mall to convince her that she really wants to go swimming. She’s excited. She really wants to go to West Edmonton Mall now. There’s the waterpark, Galaxyland amusement park, and Marine Life aquarium that she’s interested in.

Hopefully, she’ll have extra motivation now to stop using diapers and use the toilet when she needs to.

Sleepy Middle-of-the-Night Rambling

Interesting night it’s been so far. I really have no topic for this post, since I’m dead tired and have had nothing but trouble for a couple hours. It’s 2 in the morning and I just finished eating my dinner. Luckily, it’s my day off tomorrow.

As usual, I got home, and I needed to put my daughter to bed. She has this ritual where she takes three stuffed animals/dolls to bed with her and has a book read to her before she sleeps. She needs to cuddle with me. Normally, there’s no trouble getting her to sleep. But tonight, she had other plans. For about two hours, she kept trying to kick the blankets off of her, while I kept putting them back on. It’s not hot in here. It’s actually quite cold. You can thank Japanese insulation for that. The blankets are very important. But she would have none of them. I wrestled with her for two hours, trying to get her to stay asleep and stop uncovering and freezing herself. I didn’t get to eat dinner until 1 am.

This has also delayed my planned upload of a video, which is the beginning of a vlog about our move to Canada. I recorded it while I was on my way to work, but I need to edit and upload it first. And I had also planned to write a book review tonight! But I’m so tired, I think it’ll have to wait. I’ll do it sometime tomorrow.

While I ate, I watched a video on YouTube made by some guy in Edmonton who records himself driving to catch bad drivers (and presumably for insurance purposes). He drives a truck. It seems almost every Edmonton dashcammer I’ve watched on YouTube is driving a truck. Ugh. And I realised I could easily tell if he was from the city or country. He was definitely from the country, because he had that Canadian countryside twang that’s somewhat of a mix between midwestern US, Texan, and Atlantic Canada accents. People who were raised in the city or a town near a major city don’t have that accent. They have a more standard North American average TV news accent, if that makes any sense. But while watching the video, I also realised how much space there is in Edmonton. Everything is so wide, buildings are incredibly low and rather unattractive/utilitarian. I mean commercial buildings. The buildings in Japan aren’t any better, but at least there aren’t huge parking lots everywhere. Oh well, it’s easier to drive there, I think. I look forward to that. From what I remember, drivers in Canada tend to be a bit more lawful. There are red light runners all the time in Japan.

And I saw this post by S. R. Carrillo. Welcome her back to blogging. She needs to get her spot back in Commentition. I also noticed that Tracey Lynn Tobin has rebooted her YouTube channel, now called Tracey’s Basement. Here’s a post with one of her first reboot videos. I think I’m going to spend some time reading and leaving comments on her blog tonight.

At work, a student told me that when I talk about sushi, I look very happy. Do I really love sushi so much that it affects how I talk? Wow. Now I feel self-conscious about it.

And finally, my daughter’s been saying weird things. A couple nights ago, she was drawing a picture, and she started making kissing sounds. She said, “Kiss party! Kiss party!” and made more kissing sounds. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.

Well, that’s it for tonight. How was your day? Anything exciting?

Two Months Until Canada

Two months.  Sixty days. In that short amount of time, we’ll be in Canada. With it being in the depths of winter, I’m often thinking about what it’ll be like in Canada. The two biggest things I think about are weather and food.

At that time of year, Vancouver’s weather should be somewhat similar to here, just wetter. Maybe a little cooler. But cherry trees will be blooming in both countries at the same time. That’ll be a nice sight to see. But our trip to Edmonton may be a snowy one. Since we’ll be going through the mountains by car, it could be snowy. But it might not be. Spring in Canada is unpredictable. I’m just hoping for nice weather so we’re not stuck inside.

Food is the other thing I think of. I keep wanting to eat at Harvey’s or having Canadian Chinese food.

Well, since there are two months to go, lots to do. Cleaning, packing, tying up loose ends. My biggest worry is sending our suitcases to the airport. I guess we’ll have them sent there and they’ll hold them until we get to the airport.

But for now, a couple more months of work. And that’s where I have to go now. Any suggestions for food I should eat in Canada?

Where We’re Moving – Edmonton

My family is moving to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. It’s just over two months away. The time is going by quickly, so it’ll feel like we’ll be there in no time. I thought I’d introduce you to the city with video.

This is a good one. It shows the city in fifteen minutes, no speaking, just video.

And here’s a video of some of Edmonton’s best attractions. I think they missed out on some, like the Telus World of Science, Royal Alberta Museum, and Muttart Conservatory.

And this is under construction. It’s the new home of the Edmonton Oilers, as well as the two new tallest buildings in the city. The tallest will also be the tallest in Canada outside of Toronto.

After moving to Edmonton, I’ll be making my own videos, including ones about Edmonton attractions and our adjustment to life back in Canada.

See anything interesting?

This Guy’s Been to Every Country in the World

Lee Abbamonte is an American who has traveled to every country in the world. But he’s also the youngest American who’s done so. He’s only 36 years old.

Well, I found out that he’s visited my hometown of Edmonton, and did a very nice write-up about it.

It’s amazing to be able to travel like that. I’d love to travel, and see as many countries as possible.

So, how many countries have you been to? I’ve only been to three: Canada, Japan, and the United States.

My Love-Hate Relationship With Being High

I love being high. But I also hate it. I know what you’re thinking, but I’m pretty sure you’re wrong. I’m talking about tall buildings and mountains, of course!

I like being at the top of this:

Yokohama Landmark Tower
Yokohama Landmark Tower, 297 metres tall.

And seeing this:

The view from Landmark Tower.
The view from Landmark Tower.

I love seeing the view from tall buildings and mountains. In Japan, we have Yokohama Landmark Tower in Yokohama, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building (which is free and has a great view in Shinjuku), Sunshine 60 (a rooftop view from Ikebukuro), Tokyo Tower (looks like the Eiffel Tower), and Tokyo Skytree (tallest freestanding tower in the world at 634 metres). They all command amazing views of the cities they’re in.

In Edmonton, the city’s newest tallest building is under construction, Stantec’s headquarters, and will be 250 metres tall, the tallest building in Canada west of Toronto. I’m excited to see that.

But I also said mountains. I’ve been to the top of Mt. Fuji, Mt. Oyama (and will likely go there again in October), and Mt. Takao, all here in Japan. In Canada, the top of the Whistlers in Jasper afforded a wonderful view of the town.

But where’s the hate? Well, if I’m on a balcony, the edge of a cliff, or at the top of a building without a barrier, I don’t like leaning over the edge. I get an immediate feeling of pending doom. If there’s glass in the way, no problem. A balcony railing isn’t good enough to stop the feeling. But I’m fine with being at the top of a 3,776 metre mountain, which also happens to be a volcano.

How are you with heights?

Teacher Fired For Giving Zeros Treated Unfairly

A couple years ago, Lynden Dorval, a teacher in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, was suspended, then fired for giving students zeros on tests they missed and assignments they didn’t hand in.  Sounds unfair, doesn’t it?  Well, the provincial appeal board agrees with him, it was unfair.

So, why was he fired?  Well, it was against school policy to give zeros.  Then what was he supposed to do when students failed to hand in assignments or missed tests?  Give them endless extensions until they finally did them?  What if they never do? Give them a passing grade anyway?  This policy is ridiculous.

It seems that these days schools are being incredibly soft on students.  They don’t want to hurt their feelings by giving them failing grades.  They are precious snowflakes that need to be protected from failure.  It’s a terrible lesson to students to say that they can fail and suffer no consequences.  If they don’t do their work, they should fail.  They should get a zero.

Mr. Dorval was right in this, in my opinion.  The school’s policy is flawed, and it only encourages false reporting of grades.  What’s ridiculous is that the school board is going to appeal.  So they want to strip this good teacher of his pension and pay for their unethical treatment of him?  The Edmonton Public School Board needs to go back to school and learn how to treat people properly.  They are wrong in this, and I encourage any parent in Edmonton to complain to the school board about their intention to appeal.  It’s inexcusable.

If this happened in your area, what would you do?

July 31st, 1987 – A Horrific Day

July 30th, 1987.  A night I remember well.  I was ten years old and living in Edmonton, Alberta.  I was visiting relatives at that time in my hometown of Beaverlodge, Alberta.  I remember my parents were still in Stony Plain, near Edmonton, while I was up on my own.  I don’t exactly recall how I got there.  But that’s not important.  What’s important is what happened over the next 24 hours.

That night, we were in Grande Prairie watching a couple of movies, Dragnet and Superman IV to be exact.  Dragnet was entertaining with comedy giants of the ’80s Tom Hanks and Dan Aykroyd.  Superman IV was a disaster.  Maybe it foreshadowed what was about to happen.

On our way back to my aunt, uncle, and cousin’s home, we were treated to an intense thunderstorm so incredible that it was almost like daylight.  There was so much lightning, you could probably read a book.  I love thunderstorms, and even when I was ten, I enjoyed watching the lightning show.  Far better than Superman IV.

The next day, everything was going normally until we saw the news.  It was very troubling, and I was scared.  You see, July 31st, 1987 was the day that the tornado hit Edmonton.  27 dead.  It mostly hit the industrial area in the eastern part of the city, as well as some countryside, but it was devastating.  It was an F4 tornado, which is pretty powerful.  I’ll let this video show you how bad it was.  It’s a bit old, but you’ll see just what it was like. [Edit: Video no long appears to exist, which is a shame.]

What’s frightening is that it came pretty close to another relative’s house, and its path is very close to where my sister and mom live now.  When it was on the news, I called my parents.  They told me they were fine.  It was on the east side of the city, while our home was west of the city.  However, the weather was pretty intense there, too.  As you can imagine, a lot was going through my ten-year-old mind.  I was glad my family was safe.

Since then, I have seen some crazy-looking storms around the Edmonton area, as well as in Victoria, BC.  But I’ve also been through many typhoons here in Japan.  But nothing could match how I felt about that tornado.  We can ride out a typhoon, but a tornado destroys whatever is in its path.

Exactly 18 years after the tornado, I climbed Mt. Fuji.  A tornado can sometimes be shaped like an inverted volcano.  Strange.

Have you ever flirted with disaster?

Death of a Dragon

I’m not sure if you’ve heard about this dragon, but please watch this video.

As I said in the video, this dragon has met its demise this month, and is no longer featured in the theatre at West Edmonton Mall in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.  The reasons are rather boring, don’t you think?  So, please think of a better reason for the dragon’s death at an early age of only 15 years.  You can do this any way you like, a simple comment on this post, a longer post on your own blog, or even a video.  If you do write a post or make a video, please leave the link in the comments.  You don’t need to write a story, just a short explanation is fine.  But it’s up to you how you do it.  I look forward to the responses.