Collaboration Update #6


Kayla and I met for a wonderful 2-hour Zoom chat, where we talked about all the different themes that have arisen spontaneously during this journey of collaboration.

One thing that has come up in many forms is the idea of HOME: What is home? What does it mean to leave home? Can we return? What happens when home as we knew it changes, and becomes unrecognizable?

We’ve also been taking photos as part of our process. One day I found myself on Walmer Road, where I lived in 2nd year of university. My first real, rented home-away-from-home. And I could barely recognize it! I’m sure the rent is more than the $122.50 I paid back then…

“We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.” T.S. Eliot / Four Quartets

Dawn's first rented home during university on Walmer Rd. in Toronto


home changes. 

home is visions of cherry blossoms 
dancing in city streets 
as i escape snowfall in the east. 

it is seeking dim sum and jook 
in the plains of saskatchewan 
finding solace in a washing machine. 

home is a rabbit, eight dogs and a slithering snake 
black denim, cold coffee and a superior lake. 

home is. 

A Photo of dawn in the woods with a make shift mask and costume.

Collaboration Update #5


Modern Buddha
Who am I / who are they
Does the mask hide
or reveal?
Process takes time (sometimes)!
watching the plaster dry.

Kayla sitting with a plaster mask on, waiting for it to dry

Modern Buddha


march 27, 2022
dear dawn,
i’m currently in montreal. last night, i saw julie for ramen. tomorrow, i’m planning to visit the mount royal cemetery. my great grandparents (ichiro and waka okauchi) are buried there.
today, i went to a portuguese restaurant and their egg tarts were amazing. this might be because they were heated up but they were goopy and soft and warm and so delicious. i ordered two to go with some lamb chops for dinner tonight. i was thinking of eating the egg tarts at the cemetery tomorrow and i imagined having a sort of conversation with their graves. i’ve never done that before (talked to my ancestors) but it was something that crossed my mind.
anyway, i got home and i noticed they forgot the egg tarts.
i have an old ube (purple yam) muffin in the car i can eat with them or maybe i can bring the last of my bagels instead.
we’ll see.
i hope ottawa is treating you well.

april 2, 2022
dear dawn,
the mount royal cemetery is huge. i knew this already but even though i picked up a map at the office when i arrived, i found myself driving in circles looking for the plot number. because the cemetery is on a giant hill, this was not easy. it also snowed that morning but thankfully, i still have winter tires on my car.
there weren’t clear numbers or signs that i could see so i returned to the office to ask for a better map. they told me that the plot numbers were on the ground so pretty much, they were covered by the snow. 🙂
eventually, i found the plot located on a little intersection in an area of the cemetery called mount murray. the last (and first time) i was here was five years ago with my dad’s cousin. he told me he would visit semi-regularly. as i stood there on monday in the -11 weather eating my bagels, i was thinking about this and of another relative who upkeeps my family’s graves in vancouver. i think that’s kind of neat and maybe i should make a point of visiting more often when i return home. growing up, my parents wouldn’t take us to do that kind of thing so before i left for ontario last summer, i visited the cemetery where my uncle and great uncles are buried for the first time since their funerals years ago.
i chatted with ichiro and waka until i was too cold and then i made my way to sherbrooke.
talk soon,

Kayla's grandparents' headstones at the Mount-Royal Cemetery in Montreal

Collaboration Update #4


this week is chaos, and i’ve begun to write and re-write this update over and over again but my mind can’t finish the thought.

but what i wanted to share is how these last three months have challenged me creatively, thematically, and _-ly.

each update and conversation with dawn is a reminder of where i am at the moment. whether it’s a lull in time or the chaos that is this week. yet, stirring in the back of my mind is the final work we’ve yet to create.

but as time has continued, i realize our digital dream has become less about our project and more about the relationship we’ve developed through countless texts, long-winded emails and video calls.

and for that, i am grateful.


I’m on March break, but somehow my days seem to be filling up with endless “to do” lists. But my Yume partner, Kayla, is in Toronto and I’m really looking forward to meeting up with them!

I had imagined us having a lovely spring walk down by the Rosedale Valley, maybe talking to the ducks, and delighting in the signs of spring… But today, SNOW!

Ever the optimist, I’ve been practicing “Haru ga kita” (Spring is coming) on my flute. It’s a children’s song I remember hearing from an old LP when I was a child. Spring is coming!

Haru Ga Kita

Collaboration Update #3


"I was able to get this 1967 Photo that appeared in the London Free Press.  A photo of Dawn's Grandmother who practiced ikebana.  She is holding a bouquet of flowers: Iris, tulip, daffodils and eucaplyptus.
I was able to get this 1967 photo that appeared in the London Free Press.
(Photo by George Blumson, courtesy of the LFP Collection / Western U. Archives)

Generation / Regeneration
Kayla shared some photos and stories about her family’s past, and coincidentally my relatives have been sharing some family history over email this past week or two.
I was thinking about my grandma Obokata, who did ikebana and was a star of the London Ontario Garden Club. I was able to get this 1967 photo that appeared in the London Free Press.
(Photo by George Blumson, courtesy of the LFP Collection / Western U. Archives)

About my Grandma Obokata (from my play, Japanese Maple):

Scrub scrub scrubbing
your garden hands grandma;
Rub rub rubbing
your rounded back grandma;
blink blink blinking
your tired eyes grandma
so many mysterious
and wonderful things you do in a day…

You fall asleep with your glasses on—
“To see my dreams better” you laugh.

What dreams do you dream
behind your glasses
behind your smiling flower eyes


is a home a who, a what, a where? how do we mourn the loss of the places we no longer recognize? how do
we acknowledge the ones we never met?
this week, dawn and i briefly spoke on the idea of place.
for her, for me, for them

Collaboration Update # 2


filmed is the eastbound sky, a journey taken between my first and last conversation with dawn.

this week, dawn and i spoke about many things, including opera, masks, calvin and hobbes, mochi making and living with grandparents. while we offer occasional exchanges through whatsapp, our conversations over zoom are like a re-charge. not only are they an opportunity to connect but they make me delighted to continue getting to know this individual on the other side of the screen. 

thus far, we continue to talk about trying new mediums. although we have yet to settle on a concrete theme for our digital dream, we’ve discussed incorporating sound and movement. this video is not part of our production but participating in this project has encouraged me to feel more open about experimenting with expression. in part, it summarizes many things we’ve come across together and the things i’ve thought about over these last two weeks. 

in this video, you’ll hear me strumming the 13th fret on the high e string of an electric guitar. it’s from a song i think about sometimes (can you see the pattern with my updates?) layered beneath this track is likely lake ontario lapping onto the shores of prince edward county. i found this recording on my audio recorder and although i can’t trace the date, it would’ve been from last fall. 

and finally, the words i emit with a slight electronic undertone (recording issues) are a few words that came up in our conversation on feb. 13. 

filmed is the eastbound sky, a journey taken between my first and last conversation with dawn. ☁️✨ 


Flute Kojo no tsuki

Collaboration Update #1

Planting the Seeds

Thoughts before meeting with my collaborator, Kayla:  

  • How to not think too much, anticipate, predict, direct the activity
  • How to get to know someone “virtually”?  How to spark creativity from a distance?
  • How to play together, from a distance?
  • What do I have to share?  What kind of partner can I be?
  • What does Kayla hope to get from this adventure?
  • Maybe I can list some images that are intriguing me, and see which ones resonate with Kayla
  • Also some practical things to decide:  How often do we want to communicate, by what means…

During our Zoom chat:

     We talked about the challenge of being so free to explore, and how to maybe choose a starting point.  (We decided to use Whats App, and to send messages/images etc. back & forth to keep a dialogue going.  Not as frequently as Matt & Julie, but maybe with a 48 hr. timeline.  I proposed TIGER as our first prompt, as it is Lunar New Year for Year of the Tiger.

     We talked about paths we have the urge to travel, which might be music (instrumental -open vocal-soundscape), making things with our hands, movement, exploring images and “moving pictures”…

     Kayla talked about ways we can get to know each other better, in a pretty free way. (She tried to stay away from “interview” or “Q & A”).  I proposed “interchange”—something very informal like an online PJ Party.  We’ll see!

After thoughts:

I was thinking about how much Kayla (and I too, I think) laughed during our time together.  It reminded me of a piece I wanted to write called “Laugh Three Times”.  Maybe we can “work” on laughter?  

     “waraiko” –  a centuries old Japanese laughing ritual.  Three hearty laughs are offered up   during this celebration.  The first is in gratitude for the passing year; the second is in prayer for the coming year; and the last is for clarity…a laugh to clear the mind and heart.

 I’ve already sent her my first tiger image.

⛅to dream of joy and tigers:this week I’ve been thinking about joy and light, of the lunar new year and what it means to celebrate when you’re far from I met dawn for the first time on the first day of this new year, an instrumental cover of cranes in the sky softly played in the back of my mind. how apt for her to share her interest in sound and music, her background and flute and piano at the end of our conversation.earlier, we spoke of objects and images for prompts, a feeling of being stuck, uncertainty, past fears and new disciplines to try.“there is something burbling inside need to be more creative” she said, noting her interest in seeking both an experience and a challenge. discussing our first prompt, i hesitated. in honour of lunar new year, she then suggested the tiger and blurs of all things tiger I’ve been staring at throughout the week flashed through my mind. How connected and relieved and excited I felt for this to be said.

Sky photo