Japan Vlog#1: PreDeparture Update

Welcome to travel day! It’s going to be a long day. By the time I get to bed, it’ll probably be a 44 hour day for me, not including whatever naps I can get along the way. I wanted to record my thoughts, feelings, and emotions pre-flight for you so I proudly present you with Update # 1 before I leave Edmonton.


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Shooting Equipment: Samsumg Galaxy S7

Animethon 25

Greetings from Animethon in smoky Edmonton Alberta, trailblazers!

Animethon has become one of the biggest items on my calendar every year. I’ve been on staff for the last five years running, and I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t hell on wheels and fast-paced, but I’d also be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy the hell out of it and consider this convention “family” or, as I’ve discussed in some of my academic writings for Anth 398, uchi which when translated literally means home, but can also be used to denote circles of people that you are close to.

Unlike other years when I’ve worked for Animethon, I don’t have a lot of money this year. I’ve had to sacrifice a lot of spending cash to make my impending trip to Japan happen, and while I feel slightly upset about missing out on other things, I’ve had a chance to talk to my counsellor, and we’ve both come to the conclusion that as heartbreaking as it is to miss other events, Japan was too good of an opportunity to pass up. I’m essentially checking off another item on my bucket list, and as such, we’ve come to the conclusion that I’ve made the right decision.

I’m trying to grab some video footage of the convention this year. This year marks Animethon’s 25th anniversary in Edmonton Alberta, and that’s huge.

Looking at Animethon’s history:

Animethon started back in 1994 by the Banzai Anime Klub of Alberta (BAKA), with the intent of promoting Japanese anime. It became a success by presenting well-known and more obscure anime to audiences, and has since grown to what it is now. Today, Animethon is presented by the not-for-profit Alberta Society for Asian Popular Arts (ASAPA).

In the beginning, Animethon was a one-day event that allowed people to view different Japanese Anime movies and television shows within two classrooms at Grant MacEwan. Since Animethon 2, the festival has grown to utilize the entirety of the University campus for events, artist alley, education panels, and a large vendor hall. As such, the steady increase of numbers in attendees to Animethon has allowed for various vendors to expose themselves to a unique group of people both young and old. ( https://www.animethon.org/?about )

According to their own website, “Animethon, operated by ASAPA (Alberta Society for Asian Popular Arts), is the longest running fan-convention for celebrating Japanese anime and culture in Canada…” ( https://www.animethon.org/?japanese-introduction ).

I have a feeling that his year is going to be a good year. I’m really looking forward to seeing uchi again, and being part of something that I not only believe in, but strive to make better on a yearly basis. This convention has come to represent some of the best times in my life where I’ve made some of the fondest memories I cherish. This year, you can find the convention from August 10-12 at the Shaw Conference Center located at 9797 Jasper Ave NW Edmonton, AB.

I may be expanding on this post later on, once the convention kicks off.
Keep Blazin Those Trails.


Introduction: Japanese Religion and Spirituality

I decided to give people a chance to ask me questions about Japan that would enable me to further my research on Japanese culture and society in my free time. One of the questions I received was from Patti who asked “How is religion/spiritual practice integrated into the life of the “average” citizen?”

While I could have easily written a full-scale research paper on this subject, and I found I actually enjoyed bringing information up on the subject (possibly something for a future research paper), my time is unfortunately limited, as I am in the middle of an independent study where I have to hold myself accountable for the material. Patti, I hope this gives you a bit of an insight into beliefs, religion, spirituality and how it frames the Japanese people in their day to day life.

Japanese spirituality and Religion – PDF

Japanese Culture and Language

I wrote this piece for Anthropology 207: Social and Cultural Anthropology in Spring semester 2018. This piece netted an 82.5%. Over all, I ended up passing the course with a B-.

I’m not really going to complain about that. The journey to pull myself out of the academic gutter continues.

Japanese Culture, Language and Media

Blaze-in’ The Trails to Major Personal Life Changes

This is going to be a mixed blog post. This will most likely be a blog post where I talk about a few different things, as I feel like I’ve got a lot to talk about today. I find myself at a crossroads between wanting a healthier and happier life and I also find myself at a point where staying put in one spot just isn’t enough anymore. This is the reason I’m pushing so hard to go digital in my line of work.

In preparation for my upcoming trip to Japan and my future journalism career, I’ve started branching out the streaming platforms in order to help facilitate getting news and updates to people as I go along the way. I think my platform for mobile travel will be Facebook live and Periscope. They both seem fairly well-integrated streaming systems. Over the next few weeks, I’m going to start testing these platforms out for my purposes. I’ll be looking into live updates on location, interesting information tidbits that I’ve researched about the locations that I’ll be in, and a way to keep in touch with viewers and readers. Upon opening the app this morning, the first thing I noticed was the loading page on Periscope says “Proudly made in America by Immigrants”. While I’m not normally a fan of politics, I appreciate the sentiment that this gives.

You’ll be able to find my broadcasting platforms in the following places
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/blazeingtrails/
Periscope: @Blazewing2010

Now onto the more difficult part of the post. Over the last day or two, I’ve been downsizing my belongings.  I’ve been purging and decluttering my part of the living space and it’s been taking a lot out of me. I’ve been unable to do much of anything else. It almost physically hurts, but not quite. I’d never realized I’d formed an emotional attachment to things I’d not used in more than six months. Nothing is being spared from this massive cleaning storm. Every item I own: Books, toys, plushies, clothes, all of it is being put under the microscope and examined in detail. If I cannot find a compelling enough reason to keep it, it’s either being packed up to see if I can make do without it, or it’s going into the trash or being recycled/donated. With my upcoming career objectives, I feel that the less that I have to pack up or leave behind when I’m on the go will make it easier for a clean break when I finally end up making it.

Due to recent financial setbacks, I’ve also had to pull my car off the road. This was not an easy decision to make, but I’m slowly adjusting. Once I’m done going through the apartment, I’m going to be going through the car and cleaning that as well. I don’t think at this point that I want to sell it, but I know that at the moment, I cannot afford the car insurance. Since my schooling covers a bus pass in the tuition and fees, I’m going back to transit for the time being in an effort to cut down my costs. With any luck, this will give me a few more bucks for Japan, and it’ll allow me to pay off my credit cards quicker in order to help facilitate a trip back home to Nova Scotia before I have to resign my position at work in order to focus full time on my studies and limit myself (relatively) to the city for the next little bit. I’ve enjoyed the freedom, but at this point, I feel like I’ve sacrificed way too much for my schooling and education to let much of anything disrupt it. The added bonus to this is that it will also allow me a little more time to devote to things like my writing/journalism and my glass etching as well.

Things are changing in my life in a way I’d never thought possible before. it’s possible that I just wasn’t ready for these things to happen, but holy hell. I’m not sure I’m ready for them now. Life is funny sometimes. It kind of throws you through the wringer, demands changes, and before you know it, your whole life has changed for the better. One change can impact your whole life and the way you function.

If you’d like to help me kickstart this chapter in my life and help support me doing what I love and what I’m currently in school to do, you can find links on this page for my Patreon, my Paypal donate button, and more recently, a link to my Ko-Fi account where you can pledge to donate the amount of as many coffees as you’d like.

Thanks for sticking it out with me this long, folks. Just under two months until the inaugural voyage of Blaze-in’ The Trails takes off with a course set for Japan.

See you all on the trails, and as always, thanks for all of your support, thanks for reading, and thanks for all that you do.