Tag Archives: Vancouver

My Travel in Vancouver 9 (Day 4 Part 2) ~ Falafel King & English Bay Beach ~ This place is safest!

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バンクーバー2014 309     I wouldn’t want to wait for a bus alone here if it were a rainy night now…I was waiting for a bus at Lost Lagoon Road after the horse-drawn tour. It was an isolated bus stop by a concrete tunnel under the raised highway and away from any popular sites of Stanley Park. I did not see or hear anyone around there. Although I was standing by the bus stop, I was worried whether a bus would really come. The bus stop had no timetable. My only consolation was that the weather was nice. To my relief, a bus came soon. To my surprise, suddenly about half a dozen people appeared as if from nowhere when the bus came into view, and they got on the bus before me.

     In just a few minutes, the bus came to the place where I was going to get off. I got off the bus near Denman Street and started walking to a Lebanese restaurant. I had happened to read many recommended reviews of the shop’s “Chicken shawarma platter” on the Internet previous night. I had never tried Lebanese food. It was almost noon and I was hungry. バンクーバー2014 311-1

     Interestingly I found many bike rental shops on my way at Denman Street. While wondering why, I heard a familiar language. I turned around, when half a dozen bikers wearing the same silver “Alien”- looking helmets were about to park their bicycles before a grocery store. They appeared to be female Japanese tourists. Probably they were going around the city by rented bikes. From the sound of their voices, they seemed to be over the age of 60. Japanese seniors are quite hale and hearty! They might have rented their bicycles around here. バンクーバー2014 312

     Passing by a community center, a secondary school, and public library, I found a green canopy of the Lebanese restaurant ahead: Falafel King. When I opened the door, I was enveloped by a spicy aroma. The shop was tiny. There was a small table with two chairs by the wall and a counter table with several seats by the windows inside. I found an empty seat at the counter, but hesitated for a moment to eat there because all the other customers were big young men. At first glance, I felt it was no place for a middle aged Asian woman to dine alone. However, I was relieved a few seconds later. When I looked around again calmly, I found that all the customers were wearing the same clothes with the same word on their backs: POLICE. バンクーバー2014 311

     Yeah, I saw a police car outside from the window. This must be a favorite restaurant for police officers of Vancouver and the safest place in Vancouver now! That was why, I replied brightly, “For here,” to the question of the shop master. But I could not answer to his next question. He asked me what to order, but I did not remember the name of the recommended food on the Web. So, I said, “Actually, I don’t know the name, but many people recommend it on the Internet. It’s chicken something…” To my surprise, he completely understood what I wanted to eat, and started preparing my lunch.バンクーバー2014 319

     Chicken shawarma platter. Chicken shawarma is the same as the Turkish “Doner kebab.” The chef sliced the grilled chicken dynamically and piled it on the rice. Then he put a salad of parsley and tomatoes called taboule and mashed chickpeas called hummus on the same plate. “Sauce?” he said and I asked him to put it on. Although a police officer who had ordered right before me had declined the sauce, which seemed to be a little hot, I decided to try it. Actually, Chicken shawarma platter was not just the one plate. It was served with a flatbread. Can I eat the whole thing? The lunch was delicious. I liked the Lebanese food very much. But I could not finish it all. When I told the chef that I was full, he gave me a take-out container. How kind!バンクーバー2014 321

     After lunch, I dropped by Safeway, the supermarket, to buy some batteries for my camera, and then took a walk downtown. The weather was incredibly nice that day. People looked like they were enjoying the sunshine. There were many food catering vans at the side of the road here and there. It was a great day to have lunch outside. After strolling about the town and shopping, I went back to my hotel to rest, and then I walked to English Bay Beach in the evening. It was after six o’clock, but it was still light outside because the sunset was after eight. バンクーバー2014 329

     Many people were spending their time on the beach. Some were reading books, some chatting with friends, some drinking coffee, some walking dogs, some cycling, and some just sitting on the bench looking at the sea. I felt like time was going by more slowly there than in Japan. Now you have read my travelogues this far, maybe I looked busy as a bee during the trip in your eyes. In fact, not only me but also many Japanese tourists tend to bustle around in their travels. I felt a fool hopping around when I looked at the people relaxing on the beach…バンクーバー2014 332

     In the bus to the airport next morning, I met a Japanese boy who was from Okayama Prefecture. We had not seen each other during our stays, but we were at the same hotel. When I told him what I had thought at English Bay Beach the previous day, he said that he had thought almost the same thing, “Yeah, I thought that, too. And if I was relaxing on the beach or park by myself in the evening, most people would regard me as a jobless man or psychopath. Then, they would cast pitiful eyes on me or call the police!” Too true…バンクーバー2014 338

     Now I am back to a normal life in Japan. The days in Vancouver seem to me like a short dream. Ah…I want to go somewhere again!

My Travel in Vancouver 8 (Day 4 Part 1) ~ Stanley Park ~ I had thought you would be an older man with a beard!

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      “TO THE USE AND ENJOYMENT OF PEOPLE OF ALL COLOURS CREEDS AND CUSTOMS FOR ALL TIME ~ I NAME THEE STANLEY PARK.” These words are engraved on the pedestal of the statue of Lord Stanley, who was a British politician and became the governor general of Vancouver in the late 19th century. Although the message is ironic by the thought that the park was made by expelling many indigenous people from the land, I think it was an advanced notion at that time. Stanley Park, one of the largest urban parks in North America, is a relaxing and amusing place for citizens and tourists in accordance with his wishes.バンクーバー2014 293

     The scale of this urban oasis is about 1000 acres and its perimeter is around 8.8 kilo meters. It takes you three to four hours to walk round and a half day to visit its main attractions, such as Totem Poles and Vancouver Aquarium. I would have liked to see totem poles, but I had no stamina to roam around trails in such a vast green space which in fact is larger than Central Park in New York. So, I decided to use “horsepower.”バンクーバー2014 261

     It was my fourth and final day in Vancouver. The weather was unusually nice that day since morning. I walked to West Pender Street through Broughton Street and took the bus. Then I got off at Stanley Park Drive and walked to the ticket booth of Stanley Park Horse-Drawn Tours. It took just 15 minutes from my hotel. バンクーバー2014 262

     There was a fairy-tale-looking carriage with two cute horses in front of the ticket office. A man was stroking the horses when I arrived. I thought he was the driver. There was a young woman a short distance away from the carriage who was checking her watch many times. I thought she was waiting for her boyfriend to join the tour together. But I fell short of my prediction. The man who had been stroking the horses got into the carriage and sat next to the woman in front of me. They were husband and wife from New Zealand. And the young woman was our driver and the tour guide. I was very surprised to see her sit on the driver’s seat because I had imagined coachmen would be much older men with beards. What an anachronism!バンクーバー2014 264

     The tour participants were just the New Zealand couple and me. The carriage began moving at the driver’s whistle, rocking from side to side. It probably plodded at about five kilometers per hour. Many people stared curiously at us on the way, and some took photos. Soon after the departure, a small island came in sight on the right: Deadman’s Island. What a horrible name! The coach-woman started explaining about the island…バンクーバー2014 265

     When the first British settlers came to the place, the island was being used as a kind of graveyard by indigenous people. Many years earlier it had been the site of a bit battle between two tribes, in which many warriors had been killed. The island’s horrible name seemed to be after the bloody history. Actually, the island became a real “Deadman’s Island” in the late 19th century. The place was used as quarantine and burial ground for smallpox victims… The small island is used as a facility of the Royal Canadian Navy Reserve today, and civilians cannot set foot on it…バンクーバー2014 271

     Passing Deadman’s Island, Canada Place’s white and elegant appearance came into view. The building, which has often drawn comparison with Opera House in Sydney, has a convention center, a hotel and so on. Then the carriage came to Totem Poles Park, which was the place I had most wanted to visit in Stanley Park. The passengers were given seven minutes to walk around and take photos there because the place was the most popular in the tour. バンクーバー2014 280-a

     I had not had any photos of me since I arrived at Vancouver because I was traveling by myself and did not have any chances to ask someone to take my photos. I visited places where you do not usually take photos, such as museums, markets, and a church. In Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, one of the most popular tourist attractions in Vancouver, I did not come across anyone while walking the trails. Even if I had met someone there, I would not have asked him/her to take my pictures in such a heavy downpour. Finally, I was able to have my photos taken there in Totem Poles Park. They are nice mementos of my trip to Vancouver.バンクーバー2014 288

     The two horses were drawing our carriage slowly. After Totem Poles, something familiar came into sight on the right. I have never been to Copenhagen, but I knew about the statue of the Little Mermaid. When I was wondering why a replica of the famous sculpture was in Vancouver, the guide solved the mystery. Actually, it was not a replica at all. It was a totally different art work called Girl in a Wetsuit! Yes! A second look confirmed that the girl was not a mermaid or naked. She was wearing a wetsuit and swim-fins on her two feet! According to the creator, scuba diving was beginning to become popular when he made the sculpture, and he did not know about the statue of a mermaid in Copenhagen…Really?バンクーバー2014 298

     Then we went through a trail in the native coniferous forest and back to the starting point. The tour took about an hour. Unfortunately I could not completely understand what the driver and the New Zealanders said, but I had a nice relaxing time in the horse-drawn tour. When I thanked and told the driver that I had been surprised to see her sit in the driver’s seat because I had imagined the coachman would be a much older with a big belly and beard, she burst out laughing. She was young and beautiful, and her laughter was also young and beautiful. She controlled the horses skillfully and knew not only the park but also Vancouver well. She is a nice driver and guide. My decision to use the tour was right. I was able to learn many things through it and to save my energy!

My Travel in Vancouver 6 (Day 3 Part 1) ~ Granville Island & Yaletown ~ Can I Put on a Pickle on the Sandwich?

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バンクーバー2014 169     “Ah!” I was nodding in understanding when I saw the TV commercial on my third night in Vancouver. I was relaxing on the bed and watching TV in the hotel. I don’t remember what  the commercial was, but it was set in the kitchen of a restaurant. Two chefs are looking seriously at a sandwich, when another chef appears with a slice of gherkin pickle and puts it on the sandwich. Then the three chefs nod with a satisfied look… As I was watching this, I recalled an event that had taken place that morning. バンクーバー2014 171

    “Can I put a pickle on the sandwich?”
     “Sorry?”
     “Can I put a pickle on the sandwich?” The clerk said that again dangling a slice of cucumber pickle in front of her face.
     “Ah, yes, please.” バンクーバー2014 173

     I was in the food court of Granville Island Public Market in the morning. Granville Island has “island” in its name, but it is not an island. It is a peninsula and a shopping district. I came there to have brunch. While a lot of delicious-looking foods were beckoning me, a sign board caught my attention: Try Smoked Salmon & Cream Cheese on a Bagel! So, I decided to try it. A cheerful clerk was making my sandwich at a brisk pace, asking “onion okay?” and so on. Then came the above question. バンクーバー2014 178

     The reason why I did not understand her at first was because I had never seen pickles put “on” sandwiches. In Japan, pickles are put “inside” sandwiches or on the side of the plate, as far as I know. However, the men in the TV commercial also put a pickle “on” a sandwich as the finishing touch. Is that a Canadian or North American (or other countries also?) custom? I did not know that! Anyway the smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel sandwich with a pickle on it was very nice. バンクーバー2014 191

     After the meal, I explored the market. There were many fresh vegetables, fruits, fish, meat, cheese, etc. Even window-shopping was nice. Actually, Granville Island has more than 50 shops and facilities including a brewery and a totem pole workshop. I was going to plod around the island, but it started raining while I was shopping in the Net Loft, and then the rain became harder and harder. I gave up walking around outside, and went to Kids’ Market to look for English teaching material for a friend of mine, who has many English classes for young children in Japan. バンクーバー2014 196-a

     There were many families even on the weekday morning in Kids’ Market. Children were running around squealing with joy. The inside of the building is a tiny town for them. There is even a bridge inside. I bought a CD with instructions for teachers or parents there, and went out. It was still raining hard. I was discouraged about spending time on the island and decided to go back downtown.バンクーバー2014 204

     Actually I did not go back downtown directly. I got off the bus in Yaletown, which is on the opposite shore of Granville Island. It is a trendy district of Vancouver with retro-looking red brick buildings. The old warehouses and railway sheds of the 19th century have been renovated and reborn as fashionable boutiques, cafes and restaurants. One of the buildings is now a community center and displays the locomotive engine, “Engine 374”, pulling the first transcontinental train in 1887. You can see its handsome black body for free. バンクーバー2014 209

     I noticed that it would be convenient to go to the Roedde House Museum from Yaletown when I was studying the Google map. You get on the bus going along Davie Street and get off at the fifth bus stop, and then walk for several minutes. It will take just 10 minutes. But the museum opens at 1 p.m. and it was still around 12:30 when I was in Yaletown. If I had used the bus, I would have had to wait nearly 20 minutes in front of the house. The Google map said that it would take 18 minutes by foot. Fortunately the rain was stopping. So, I decided to walk to the museum at a leisurely pace. バンクーバー2014 202

    Multi-petalled cherry blossoms were in full bloom when I visited Vancouver. I saw many trees with the pink flowers here and there. I enjoyed taking a walk in the drizzle admiring the beautiful flowers of roadside trees and gardens of houses along the street. 4 22 011

     The Roedde House Museum stood in the rain in a quiet residential area. It was a couple minutes before its opening time when I arrived at the museum. So, I walked around the house peeping inside through the windows. Through the curtains, I saw a man sitting on a chair, reading something. I walked back to the entrance with tiptoe steps and checked the watch, which said it was a little after one. The door was closed. I turned the knob. But I could not open the door…(to be continued later.)バンクーバー2014 217-0

My Travel in Vancouver 4 (Day 2 Part 2) ~ Gastown and Two Galleries ~ : I’ve never seen this place that empty!

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バンクーバー2014 101 (2)     “I’ve never seen this place that empty!” a friend of mine was surprised to see my photos of the town on facebook. Gastown, the best tourist attraction in Vancouver, was amazingly deserted when I arrived. It was probably because of the terrible weather in the morning. It was too good to be true, but it had stopped raining completely when I set foot at the port on the opposite shore from North Vancouver. I was able to walk around the popular tourist area without an umbrella or being jostled in the crowds of people. バンクーバー2014 104

     According to some guidebooks, it is difficult to take photos of the Steam Clock because of the crowd. The clock is the most popular item in the area. But, as you see, there was no one around the clock when I stood before it.

     Gastown is a national historic site known as “Birthplace of Vancouver” and has a 19th century atmospheres with cobblestone streets still now. This place was named after “Gassy” Jack Deighton, who was a sailor from Yorkshire and opened the first bar in that area in 1867. It is interesting that Vancouver started developing through a bar, which must have been the oasis for seamen. バンクーバー2014 110

     It used be one of the best places for business and entertainment, but Gastown fell into disrepair after the Great Depression in the 1930s and had been forgotten until the beginning of 1960 when local people started a movement for preserving the district as a historic site, and nowadays this area is a unique town mixing historical architectures and contemporary fashions. バンクーバー2014 115

     An old department store of Woodward’s was abandoned after being closed in the early 1990s. But the derelict building was reopened with new shops in 2010. This redevelopment has triggered the rise of preserving other old buildings, such as Flack Block and Dominion Building. It is nice to see those aged architectures preserved among glass-walled skyscrapers.

バンクーバー2014 117     Leaving Gastown, I toured galleries downtown: The Vancouver Art Gallery (VAG), the Pendulum Gallery, and the Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art. Those three galleries are a few-minute walk from each other. Actually, I was going to visit the Vancouver Art Gallery on my first day, which was Tuesday. You can enter the art museum by donating some money (Most people seem to pay from $5 to $10) on Tuesday night (5 p.m. to 9 p.m.) But my stamina had run out by the donation time previous day…バンクーバー2014 123-1

     So, I paid $21 and entered the gallery. I enjoyed a relaxing time by looking at Lawren Harris’s half abstract landscape paintings and geometric abstractions, Emily Carr’s paintings of Canadian nature, Edward Burtynsky’s photos of Canadian nature and man-made landscapes, and Myfanwy Macleod’s powerful modern art. After spending a luxury time of art appreciation, I dropped into the gallery shop and almost lost my sense of time there. I like looking for something interesting in museum shops. I bought some parody cards of famous artists and paintings there for my friends.バンクーバー2014 123-2

     Then I walked to the Pendulum Gallery, which is just across from the VAG. The gallery is on the first floor of the HSBC building. Just as the name suggests, it has a pendulum. A very big pendulum. It swings slowly and regularly above exhibited objects in the atrium. It was a photo exhibition of Ansel Adams and Leonard Frank when I visited the gallery. Both of them are representatives of photographers in 1940s. The exhibition named Two Views showed lives of Japanese Americans and Japanese Canadians in internment camps during World War II. バンクーバー2014 123-6

     I was interested in those photos because I had taken a special lecture about concentration camps for Japanese Americans in the U.S. at Aichi Gakuin University, which had invited a professor from America for it. I looked at many illustrations drawn by a Japanese woman who had been in a concentration camp at that time. I thought the photos of the exhibition were milder than those drawings. Probably it was because the chosen photos had been focused on the vitality of incarcerated people, not on their hardship. The gallery is public. You can look at exhibits for free. バンクーバー2014 123-8

 

 

 

 

 

    

 

 

 

     My Travel in Vancouver 1 is HERE

     My Travel in Vancouver 2 is HERE

     My Travel in Vancouver 3 is HERE

   Japanese Version is HERE.

My Travel in Vancouver 3 (Day 2 Part 1) ~ Capilano Suspension Bridge Park ~: Don’t forget to get a free poncho!

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バンクーバー2014 074     The weather forecast is treacherous in Vancouver. If you see a sign of an umbrella even with a mark of lightning in the morning, you might not need an umbrella at all. In fact, the weather forecast for that week was for rain every day, but it had cleared up the previous day. So, it might stop raining. I thought that when I looked up into the sky in the morning of the second day in Vancouver. It was drizzling. Most people were walking briskly without umbrellas. It might clear up by the time I got to the park. I decided to go to Capilano Suspension Bridge Park and walked to Blue Horizon Hotel. There is a free shuttle bus from there a few-minute walk from my hotel. バンクーバー2014 070

     The bus arrived at the hotel around 9:10 a.m. The driver was a cheerful woman. There were about half a dozen people in the bus. The bus stopped at another hotel on the way to Capilano after I got on it and then headed straight for the park. Unfortunately the rain was getting heavier and heavier. I could hardly see anything from the window because of the pelting downpour. The driver tried to cheer the passengers up and said, “Well…it might stop raining by the time the bus arrives there. Let’s see what will happen!”バンクーバー2014 073

     But there was no sign of the rain stopping when we arrived. “…and we have a restaurant over there…uh…it’ll open at 11:30 though…Oh, there’s also a café. They have hot coffee and sandwiches, you know, and so on. Don’t forget to get a free poncho at the information counter. Have a good time!” The driver dropped off the passengers smiling. But the weather was quite the contrary to her radiant attitude. I set foot on the parking lot in the pouring rain. バンクーバー2014 076

     “Are you a BC resident?” I could not understand what the lady at the ticket booth meant for a second. She seemed to be asking whether I lived in the Province of British Columbia. So, I replied, “No.” She did not say anything about her previous question but the fee, “$30.19.” The usual admission fee is $31.95 in the low season (it seems to be $35.95 plus tax now!), but they discounted 10% because of the weather. I checked out why she had asked if I was a citizen of the province later. If you are a BC resident, you can get annual pass at the same price. バンクーバー2014 085

     When I passed the gate, I was surrounded by comical looking First Nations’ wooden sculptures. I greeted them and stepped forward. Then that famous structure appeared in front of me: Capilano Suspension Bridge. It is the longest (140m) and the highest (70m) suspension bridge in the world. I saw some tourists in the same yellow ponchos swaying ahead. I took a step gingerly onto the wobbly board. It was my first time to walk on such an unsteady thing. Amazingly I wasn’t fazed at all. It was nice to hear the sound of rain and the river current in the middle of the bridge. I felt as if I was melting in the rain and becoming a part of the canyon. バンクーバー2014 077

     After exploring a few trails, I decided to go back to the town because I was drenched and felt cold. Besides, I was hungry. I thought about having some coffee at the cafe in the park, but I did not see anyone there. So, I returned my poncho and went outside. Luckily the bus came soon. It took about 20 minutes to Lonsdale Quay. While riding the bus, it almost stopped raining…L Q 1

     You can get on a ship called SeaBus at Lonsdale Quay and then go downtown easily. It takes about 15 minutes, and the ship departs every 15 minutes. Before hopping on the ship, I decided to have brunch at Lonsdale Quay Market. There are more than 80 shops and restaurants in the market. You can buy vegetables, spices, cheeses, cake breads, accessories, book, Canadian souvenirs, beer…etc. I had a delicious chicken panino with coffee there. It seemed to stop raining while was enjoying a leisurely time…L Q 2

 

 

   L Q 7

L Q 6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Travel in Vancouver 1

My Travel in Vancouver 2

Japanese Version is HERE.

 

 

 

My Travel in Vancouver 2 (Day 1 Part 2) ~Museum of Anthropology~: The person that walks about finds a cafe.

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4 22 6      Vancouver is the coffee junkies’ paradise. You don’t need to look for a café. The person that walks about finds a café. Before going back to the hotel, I decided to have a coffee break. I had decided to try Tim Hortons and Blenz coffee because both of them are Canadian shops, and I found one of Tim Hortons at Alberni Street soon after leaving the bank. I bought a cup of coffee and a blueberry muffin there. I thought the coffee was a little weak, but it was nice, and the muffin was tasty. バンクーバー2014 021

     After checking in the hotel, I decided to go to Museum of Anthropology in the University of British Columbia, which was the place I had most wanted to visit. I like First Nations’ relics and artworks. バンクーバー2014 022

     I needed to take a bus to go there from downtown. Inconveniently, you have to pay the exact coin fare when you take a bus in Vancouver. You know, I gave up having the electric fare card. But I managed to gather $2.75 which was the one-way fare because I had paid in cash at Tim Hortons. So, I decided to use the coins for the return trip and to buy a ticket at Burrard Station for going to the museum. バンクーバー2014 024

     I got on the bus for the university near the station. It was about a 30-minute ride. I got off the bus at West Bound Chancellor Boulevard at Allison Road and started walking to the museum. The skies were blue and the breeze was cool. I saw the blue sea just ahead on the right. I felt fantastic. After a 15-minute walk, I was welcomed by a big sculpture standing by the museum. The entrance looked like a Japanese Shinto shrine gate called Torii. The admission fee was $6.75. バンクーバー2014 025

     There were many wooden beavers on the wall. Ancient people created not only beavers but also other wild animals in Canada, such as wolves, or grizzly bears. Each item was dynamic.

     Interestingly their gates looked like Japanese Torii. Cultures of Canadian aboriginal people might have something to do with faraway Japan. In fact, the appearance of some tribial people  there looks Japanese… バンクーバー2014 037

     Both of us might have connected in the same cultural area in ancient times. In fact, I found another similar item at the museum: wooden fish. They are used as percussion instrument for Buddhist ceremonies in Japan. Interesting!バンクーバー2014 032

     The museum also has outdoor exhibits: Haida tribe houses and totem poles. I strolled around the museum, imagining ancient civilizations. バンクーバー2014 047

     It was nearly 5 p.m. but the sun was still high because the sunset was after 8 o’clock. I was feeling freedom released from daily life.バンクーバー2014 052

My Travel in Vancouver 1 (Day 1 Part 1) is here.

 

Japanese Version is here.

My Travel in Vancouver 1 (Day1 Part 1) ~ The ‘Ksan Mural ~ Where can I buy a Compass card?

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バンクーバー2014 040     “Do you know Fukushima? It’s my town,” the girl next to me said to the man sitting on her right. I was sitting on her left and dozing on a plane to Vancouver while she was talking to the man. When she mentioned the place, I sensed the man tensed for a moment and I opened my eyes. Then he managed a word, “Oh, my gosh…” and I was in the conversation before I knew it. 4 22 2

     She was a high school junior in Japan, but left school to study English in Canada. According to her, she was going to stay with a family and go to high school in West Vancouver for two years. I had never thought of leaving Japan alone when I was her age. Young girls today are brave. However, she said she was feeling nervous about her new life. That was why the man from Whistler and I encouraged her while flying. I hope everything is going well for her.

   4 22 1  I traveled Vancouver by myself from April 22 to 26, when it was right before the high season. In fact, the spring in Vancouver is the rainy season. Nevertheless, it was sunny when I arrived at the airport. I was so lucky. I stayed at Barclay Hotel at Robson Street. It was an oldish building without elevators built in 1950. My room had neither hair-dryer, electric kettle, nor fridge. But the hotel was renovated in 2008 before the Olympics in 2010. So, my room was clean and had a bath tub and free wifi! Actually, I didn’t need a hair-dryer, an electric kettle, or a fridge because the hotel is located in a very convenient place where there are some convenience stores, cafes, restaurants, and grocery stores within a few-minute walk and my hair is short. (You can borrow a dryer and a kettle at the information desk.)4 22 3

     I arrived at the hotel around 11:00 a.m. I couldn’t check in yet, but the counter clerk in the hotel was very kind and offered to accelerate their check-in time to noon from 2 p.m. for me. So, I left my backpack at the hotel and went for a stroll in town. There is a Japanese style convenience store a few-minute walk from the hotel. It is Konbiniya Japan Centre at Robson Street. I dropped by the shop though I was not going to buy any Japanese things. You know, I had just arrived there from Japan. Interestingly the store had many Japanese products, especially glico’s merchandise. I did not see any Japanese students there because they had to be at school that time, but many of them might come to the shop for Japanese snacks and comics after school or on weekends. バンクーバー2014 163

     My first destination was Burrard Station, which is the nearest Skytrain station from the hotel. It was about a 12-minute walk. I was going to buy an electric fare pass called Compass there because it would be convenient to use the public transportation in Vancouver. But I couldn’t find any places to buy the card at the station. The vending machines just sold usual tickets and there was no ticket window nearby. Then a member of staff happened to appear by chance and started taking out money from the machines . So I asked him where I could buy one. But he replied, “Not yet,” shaking his head. The system of using electric fare passes had just begun this year and had not spread throughout the city yet…4 22 7

     There is a big building of the Royal Bank of Canada called Royal Centre near the station. I gave up getting the IC card and headed to the bank. It has one of the largest First Nations’ artworks on its walls. A man came to me with a smile when I stepped into its mezzanine floor because I didn’t look like one of their customers obviously.

     “May I help you?”
     “Um… I’ve come here just for looking at those walls…” I said that and looked up at the walls before me.
     “Oh, I see…” He also looked up.

     There were huge artworks called “‘Ksan Mural” in front of us. They are nine 30m-long and 2.5m-high wooden panels carved and painted by hand. They were created by five Native Indian carvers in 1972. The main work depicts their legends of Weget, or Man-Raven. The bold designs of the giant aboriginal artworks were breathtaking. 4 22 8

     “Can I take some photos?”
    
“Yes, I think so…but…no?” he said so and saw something. Actually, he was looking at someone, who was shaking her head. The woman said apologetically, “I’m sorry, but for security reasons…” and gave me a leaflet. So, I cannot show you the great works here. Why don’t you drop by the bank to look at the hidden artworks if you visit Vancouver? They are impressive and worth seeing. 4 22 9

 

 Japanese Version is HERE.