Italian Week 2017

Today we visited the 2017 Montreal’s Italian Week that was held from August 4 to 13 in the Little Italy. Amongst other things, we’ve seen a Fiat and Ferrari car exposition, a colourful parade and listen to some folkloric music! The parade was organized by one of the multiple Italian associations of Montreal,  from Sicily (probably the Associazione messinese di Montreal). I have also discovered quite an interesting musical instrument: the bufù (a.k.a. caccavella or putipù) is a friction drum that is played by rubbing a bamboo stick through an animal skin membrane to make it vibrate and produce a deep sound. The music was played by the people from the Associazione Casacalendese di Montreal.

I made a short video as a memento of this visit, available also on Vimeo:

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Ottawa Tulip Festival

Today we went to the Ottawa Tulip Festival (a.k.a. the Canadian Tulip Festival). It was a great trip and I enjoyed seeing all those various variety of tulips. It was the 65th edition of the festival and, this year with over a million tulips in bloom, it was particularly celebrating Canada’s 150th anniversary. The even made a special tulip for that: the “Canada 150”. Unfortunately, it was a cloudy day and we even got a little drizzle of rain but not enough to keep us from enjoying the festival.

My only complains is that, as we went on the penultimate day of the festival, many of the tulips were rather past their prime. Like last year, we should try next time to go at the beginning of the festival. Another problem was that the signalisation identifying the tulips was rather imprecise and you sometimes had five different signs in a flower bed but nothing telling us which tulip was corresponding to which name! A picture on each sign would have been a welcomed addition. Checking the map of the site (above) and googling the name of the tulips was sometimes helpful in identifying the varieties I was not sure about.

Here is a small sample of the pictures I took, but you can find more on the photo album I made for the event on Flickr :

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Retour du solde de livres !

Le solde de livres des Amis de la bibliothèque de Montréal est de retour encore cette année. Il aura lieu du 20 au 28 mai, de 13h à 19h. Mais attention toutefois: comme l’emplacement habituel est sous rénovation, l’événement aura exceptionnellement lieu à l’Aréna Martin-Brodeur (5300 boul. Robert, Saint-Léonard). On peut s’y rendre de nombreuses manières: avec l’autobus 32 ou 432 Lacordaire (Nord) à partir du métro Cadillac, avec l’autobus 141 Jean-Talon (Est) puis l’autobus 32 Lacordaire (Nord) à partir du métro Saint-Michel, avec l’autobus 69 Hneri-Bourassa (Est) puis la 32 Lacordaire (Sud) à partir du métro Henri-Bourassa, et finalement avec l’autobus 192 Robert (Est) à partir du métro Crémazie.

Comme à chaque année, le Solde de livres offre plus de 100,000 livres et revues à petits prix ($1 pour les livres adultes et les CDs ou DVDs, 50¢ pour les livres d’enfants et les revues et $2 pour les beaux livres, dictionnaires et encyclopédies) — et cela inclus plus 15,000 livres en anglais. Le but de cette vente est “de prolonger la vie utile de ces livres, d’aider à répandre le goût de la lecture et de permettre aux citoyens de Montréal d’enrichir leur bibliothèque personnelle à faible coût. Les revenus provenant de ce solde serviront principalement à financer des activités d’animation dans les bibliothèques de Montréal.”

À ne pas manquer !

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40th Japan Academy Awards (2017) winners

On March 3rd, in a televised ceremony held at the Grand Prince Hotel New Takanawa in Tokyo, the Nippon Academy-Sho Association awarded the 40th Annual Japan Academy Prizes (第40回日本アカデミー賞) for the best Japanese movies of 2016. In This Corner of the World won in the best animation category (but Makoto Shinkai’s Your name still got best screenplay and best music) and Shin Godzilla was a big winner with seven awards (including best picture, best director and best cinematography)!

Discover all the winners (highlighted in yellow) after the jump:

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40th Japan Academy Awards (2017) nominees

The nominees for the 40th Annual Japan Academy Prizes (第40回日本アカデミー賞) were announced on January 15th. The winners in each category will be revealed by the Japan Academy Prize Associations at a ceremony held at the Grand Prince Hotel New Takanawa in Tokyo on March 3, 2017.

Here is the list of all the nominees (after the jump):

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Salon du livre 2016


Mercredi, après le travail, j’ai profité de l’offre d’une entrée gratuite aux détenteurs de cartes des Bibliothèques de Montréal et de la BANQ pour faire ma visite annuelle au Salon du Livre de Montréal.

En passant chez mes amis d’Alire j’ai remarqué, entre autres, le dernier Patrick Sénécal, L’Autre reflet, l’impressionnant Détectionnaire de Norbert Spehner (qui était d’ailleurs l’un des invités d’honneur du salon), et noté la parution prochaine de L’Année de la science-fiction et du fantastique québécois 1996 (enfin)! Étrangement j’ai remarqué qu’il y avait au salon cette année beaucoup de livres de cuisine végane (un signe des temps, sans doute) et j’ai aperçu ce qui semble être la réédition (pas si récente que ça) du manga de UFO Robot Goldorak. Toutefois, je n’ai rien remarqué de frappant dans les nouveautés et je n’ai pas trouvé le manga de Marie-Antoinette que je cherchais (une nouveauté qui date quand même de septembre! — ça m’a tout de même aidé à mieux résister à la tentation d’acheter quoi que ce soit!).

Je ne comprends vraiment pas pourquoi les éditeurs et distributeurs poussent au salon seulement leur gros titres et meilleurs vendeurs alors que le salon devrait être le lieu pour faire connaître et promouvoir les nouveautés et les titres moins connus!

Autre étonnement: je constate l’absence de kiosques pour les bibliothèques de Montréal et pour la BANQ. Pourtant, par les années passées, ils avaient au moins des kiosques statiques (juste des affiches et des dépliants) ou même partageaient ensemble un kiosque (comme l’an passé). Mais, cette année, rien du tout! Pourtant si les biblios ont besoin d’une chose c’est bien de promotion. Ils pourraient faire la démontration des nouveaux postes d’auto-prêt, ou du catalogue Nelligan Découverte, parler des nouvelles biblios, de celles avec des projets de rénovations, des services en ligne, du prêt numérique, du tout nouveau service de prêt d’instruments de musique, offrir des abonnements (pour augmenter le taux d’abonnés par habitant qui est plus bas au Québec que dans le reste du pays), etc, etc.

Bien sûr, avoir un kiosque au salon et du monde sur le plancher ça coûte de l’argent et la ville (ou le gouvernement) semble penser que la culture c’est pas important. Et pourquoi investir et promouvoir si au bout du compte ça rapporte rien? Les bénéfices rapportés par les bibliothèques, c’est bien connu, ça ne se voit pas alors ça ne compte pas vraiment. C’est tellement Trump! On est vraiment entré dans une nouvelle ère. Argh! Quelle horreur… Saint-Lovecraft venez à notre secours!

Donc, cette année, un salon plutôt décevant. Heureusement que je ne manque pas de livres à lire!

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Vegan Fest


Last week my wife dragged me to a vegan festival. I went only because I was curious to see what vegans looked like…

I mean, I’m all for eating healthy and I want to encourage local production so I was appalled that people would want to eat food from a distant solar system. And I had never seen little green people up-close…

Oh… You mean Vegan are not actually people from Alpha Lyrae, a.k.a. Vega? So why are they also called the green people? Umm. I was wondering why someone would bother to import food from a place 25 light-years away. Now it makes sense. My mistake.

So I stand corrected: Vegans are practitioners of veganism and therefore abstains from consuming any animal products like meat (including fish and seafood), eggs, dairy and all their derivatives (might even includes honey!). It also sometimes goes as far as opposing the use of any animal products (like leather) and advocating for animal wellfare. They must not be confused with vegetarians, who abstain only from consuming meat, but can sometimes be called vegetalians (because they consume only food from the vegetal order: seeds, vegetables, fruits, mushrooms, etc.). For some it’s not only a diet, but a philosophy, a religion even.

I am a very tolerant person and believe that people can do whatever they want as long as they don’t bother me with it. Lives and let live. I think that we should consume locally-produced food as much as possible and that we should be very careful with what we eat: avoid eating too much red meat for example and avoid processed food. However, I really don’t understand those vegans.

More on this after the jump >>

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Opening of the 33rd JFFM

As I mentioned before, the 33rd Japanese Film Festival of Montreal was held at the Cinémathèque Québécoise on October 27th and 29th. This free annual event is co-organized by the Japan Foundation (Toronto) and the Consulate General of Japan in Montreal.

Before the screening of the first movie, A Tale of Samurai Cooking, the attendees were treated with a few canapé and a degustation of sake. There was a presentation by the a staff member of the Japanese consulate in Montreal, followed by allocutions of the Cinémathèque general director, Marcel Jean, and the Consul General in Montreal, Hideaki KURAMITSU.

Here’s a video of the opening allocutions (available on Vimeo):


You can also check our comments on two of the three movies presented at the festival: A Tale of Samurai Cooking and Sue, Mai & Sawa: Righting the Girl Ship.


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Japanese Film Festival of Montreal

Each fall, the Japan Foundation (Toronto) and the Consulate General of Japan are pleased to offer free screenings of Japanese films. The films are in Japanese with English subtitles. Limited seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis, with no reservations. This is the 33rd edition.

The screenings will take place at the Cinémathèque québécoise (335 De Maisonneuve Blvd East, Montreal, QC — near métro Berri-UQAM).

Thu. October 27, 2016 at 19:00

A Tale of Samurai Cooking: A True Love Story (武士の献立 / Bushi no kondate). Japan, 2013, 121 min., drama, dir.: Yûzô Asahara, with Aya UETO, Kengo KÔRA, Kimiko YO, Toshiyuki NISHIDA. Read our comments on this movie.

Haru has an excellent sense of taste and unsurpassed skill in the kitchen, but her impetuous character leads to her husband asking for a divorce after only a year of marriage. One day, she is approached by Dennai Funaki, a samurai chef from Kaga, to marry his son and heir, Yasunobu.

Serving the Lord of Kaga not with the sword, but with the kitchen knife, the Funaki family has been known as “Kitchen Samurai” for generations. However, Yasunobu’s lack of culinary skills has placed the Funaki name in peril. To save her new family and its status as “Kitchen Samurai”, Haru decides to teach her new husband the refined art of Kaga cuisine from her point of view. Inspired by a true story. (Text from the Cinémathèque website)

For more information: AsianWiki, IMdB, Official website, Youtube


Sat. October 29, 2016 at 13:00

Drops of Heaven (天のしずく / Ten no shizuku Tatsumi: Yoshiko inochi no sûpu). Japan, 2012, 113 min., documentary, dir.: Atsunori Kawamura, with Yoshiko Tatsumi.

A cooking guru serves wisdom, one soup at a time. In this heartwarming documentary, discover 88-year-old culinary artist Yoshiko Tatsumi and her “Soup of Life”, a soothing dish she ingeniously created for her bed-ridden father. As seasonal crops grow in the beautiful and delicate landscapes of Japan, Yoshiko Tatsumi brings out the best of ingredients, cooking with care to nurture love and joy. (Text from the Cinémathèque website)

For more information: Mubi, IMdB, Official website, Daily Motion


Sat. October 29, 2016 at 15:00

Sue, Mai & Sawa: Righting the Girl Ship (すーちゃん まいちゃん さわ子さん / Sû chan Mai chan Sawako san). Japan, 2013, 106 min., drama, dir.: Osamu Minorikawa, with Yôko Maki, Shinobu Terajima, Ko Shibasaki. Read our comments on this movie.

A heartwarming drama based on Miri Masuda’s comic strip series, Sue, Mai & Sawa: Righting the Girl Ship offers a warm and tender depiction of the lives of three women, former colleagues whose friendship has endured over the course of 10 years. Now in their thirties, the three friends each harbor anxieties about their future, their professional paths, their love lives, and their family ties. (Text from the Cinémathèque website)

For more information: AsianWiki, IMdB, Official website, Wikipedia, Youtube


Source: Coco Montreal ( Facebook, webpage )

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Japanese movies at FNC

The 45th Festival du Nouveau Cinéma (FNC) will be held from 5 to 16 October and will offer 340 films (including 138 feature films and 170 short films) from 62 countries, including 43 world premieres. That will include nine Japanese movies. For more information: nouveaucinema.ca.

Press coverage:

[ Coco Montreal ] [ Le Devoir ] [ The Gazette ] [ La Presse ] [ Shomingeki ]

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