PSFS - November 2021 E-Newsletter
Photo by Tamio Wakayama, 1977

Hello Powell Street Festival Society Friends,
We can't believe it's December already! Even so, we are buzzing with excitement for this week's events and have plenty of news to catch up on
In this letter:
  • Upcoming: Details on this Saturday's Live Event Miyō: Powell Street Festival at the Rio and the final few performances of Dumb Instrument Dance's Made In Voyage
  • Recap of last Sunday's Minori Harvest event at Oppenheimer Park, and a fun activity to do at home. Plus every Paueru Gai Dialogues online event now streaming on our YouTube Channel
  • More Projects scheduled in the new year
  • Community Announcements

Live Events This Week

Miyō: Powell Street Festival at the Rio

Saturday, December 4 - 3:00 PM (Doors 2:30).
Rio Theatre, 1660 East Broadway at Commercial Dr.
Sliding Scale Tickets ($10-30).
Streamed Live Online by Donation

There are just a couple days left until Miyō!
Join Powell Street Festival artists for a joyful, in-person afternoon of short films, live music, and conversations with host Tetsuro Shigematsu featuring live performances by festival-favourite local artists Bernie Arai’s Eremetic Sound (Jocelyn Waugh, trumpet; John Bently, tenor sax; Brad Muirhead, sousaphone; Bernie Arai, drums & cymbals), Masami Hanashiro (Eisa Taiko solo), and screenings from artists Sammy Chien of CHIMERIK and Tomoyo Yamada of Clala Dance Project. Plus, get your hands on some very special, limited-edition Powell Street Festival winter merchandise, chat with friends from the festival over snacks and drinks from the Rio’s concessions and bar, and hear exciting interviews with each of the festival artists. This event will also be live-streamed online, so you don’t have to miss out if you choose to stay at home. With so many Powell Street Festival firsts, you won’t want to miss it!

Tickets are still available to attend in-person or online! Click the link below for more information, or purchase at the door. See you soon!
Book Tickets Now!

Dumb Instrument Dance: Made In Voyage

Happening now through December 4 | 5pm & 7pm nightly
Morrow, 336 West Pender St, Vancouver
Tickets $30/$25
Capacity is very limited – advance booking strongly advised

A triptych of solos that are odes to the performers’ grandmothers, featuring Ziyian Kwan, Shion Skye Carter, and Justin Calvadores. Each of these collaboratively created works counter historic erasure by highlighting the life stories of womxn of colour, portrayed through the memories of their grandchildren.

Presented as part of The Dance Centre’s 13th biennial Dance In Vancouver | Co-produced with Powell Street Festival
Book Tickets Now!

Society News

Minori Harvest 2021

This past Sunday, we held Minori (実り) Harvest at Oppenheimer Park, an annual event to celebrate the harvest season and honour the history of Japanese Canadian farmers in BC. Many of the first generation of Japanese, the Issei, came to Canada in the early 20th century, and settled along the BC coastline and Fraser Valley. Denied citizenship rights and jobs in prominent occupations, the Issei worked for themselves, purchasing and cultivating land which was considered unprofitable and unfavourable in the Fraser Valley, Mission and Abbotsford. The farmers in the area started a farming co-op, a Nokkai, which provided a communal space for meetings and social gatherings. The Nokkai became an important part of life for the Issei, functioning as not just an agricultural hub, but also a community and learning centre.

The attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7th, 1941, changed everything. Canada declared war on Japan, and soon after, all Japanese Canadians were declared enemy aliens, forced to relinquish all financial assets, and relocated to camps in Canada’s interior.

Farmers were told their land would be held in safekeeping until after the war, but less than a year later, all confiscated possessions and property were auctioned off. This included at least 90 Japanese Canadian farms (over 1,400 acres of land) and over 100 vehicles.
Many years later, second generation Japanese Canadians, the Nisei, chose to return to the Fraser Valley and continue the tradition of farming. This time of year, you will see in the fields an abundance of squash and pumpkins.

This Harvest season, please join us in honouring the dedicated farmers who transformed the Fraser Valley into the fertile land we know today. click the button below to learn how to make an origami pumpkin. Share this origami as a gift or share in the folding process together with your friends and family!

Special thanks to Yakashiro Farm & Gardens for providing the fresh produce for the delicious Squash Miso Soup, WePress, Vancouver Japanese Language School, and our Advocacy and Outreach Committee for organizing the event and preparing the soup! On Sunday, we were able to distribute over 160 meals.

Read More about our DTES community care programming

Origami Instructions

In Memory of Kevin Sleziak

Thank you to everyone who sent their condolences and attended Kevin’s memorial at Oppenheimer Park this past Sunday. Here’s to Kevin and all he did for the community and so many. He will be hugely missed at the Festival and in the neighbourhood, but he will remain well loved and long remembered! 

Greg Masuda, a past member of the PSF Advocacy & Outreach Committee, created the wonderful film, The Spirit of Nihonmachi, which documents the 2011 Festival and the participation of Kevin and friend, Abraham, in our behind the scenes work as well as their participation in our annual Sumo Tournament. You can view this gift from Greg online here and see Kevin in action.

Special Edition Fall Merchandise

Now available! Shop at Miyō or online! 

You voted on social media so here it is: a re-issue of Andrea Wan’s festival 2014 poster, now on a hoodie (a first in Powell Street Festival history!)
Look closely and you'll see a timeless Powell Street Festival scene: the lucky daruma doll, taiko drumming, sumo, and, of course, Festival volunteers. Stay cozy and in the festival spirit! 

See and purchase one in-person at Miyō: Powell Street Festival at the Rio on December 4th. Or order online for local pickup and national shipping.

Order Now

Powell Street Festival Online

The Paueru Gai Dialogues #9: Monumental Reckoning

The entire series - now available on YouTube

Missed our ninth and final Paueru Gai Dialogues event: Monumental Reckoning? Watch the recording now on our YouTube channel! The entire series is now available to watch, so feel free to revisit any of the past presentations.

Upcoming Events

The Unbroadcast Life of Mildred Bailey

Thursday, December 30 and Friday, December 31
Firehall Arts Centre

Mark your calendar for The Unbroadcast Life of Mildred Bailey to be presented as a live performance and podcast by the Powell Street Festival in partnership with the Firehall Arts Centre on the evenings of Thursday, December 30 and Friday, December 31.

In the 1930s, Salish jazz singer, Mildred Bailey was the centre of a lively music scene. She broke ground for Billy Holiday and Bing Crosby among other singers. She introduced new microphone technology to the artform and held legendary parties wherever she lived. Podcast play written by Russell Wallace. Music arranged by Tony Wilson.

Details for the in person show at the Firehall and the podcast will be announced by December 15 via the Powell Street Festival and Firehall websites and through social media.
Come celebrate the end of 2021 with the music and life of Mildred Bailey!

Photo Credit: William P. Gottlieb/Ira and Leonore S. Gershwin Fund Collection, Music Division, Library of Congress.

Daruma Kuyō

Saturday January 15 2022
11:30 AM - 2:30 PM | CRAB Park Beach

On January 15th 2022, the final cycle of Powell Street Festival’s Daruma Well Wishing campaign will take place in collaboration with elder Veronica’s sacred fire at CRAB park. In person or in spirit, join us as we place the 4000+ paper daruma in the sacred fire to complete the wishes of healing and wellness folded into each daruma by community members in the Downtown Eastside and across Canada. 

This Shinto ritual offers the final transformation towards healing as well as honours the ancestors of the land. Durational taiko drumming will accompany the event as we share in the ceremony.  Food will be provided by WePress Community Kitchen.

Keep an eye out for more details to be released soon!

Donate to Powell Street Festival Society

Over the past year, we have produced and collaborated on a host of events and programs that advance PSFS’ mission: to create positive social change through Japanese Canadian art and culture. Here are a few highlights from 2021:
  • Our hybrid 45th Annual Powell Street Festival, which featured over 60 artists and community groups with the help of over 30 volunteers.
  • Three online series, including Paueru Gai Dialogues (watch here) and Talking the Walk: Reflections on 360 Riot Walk (watch here), and Paueru Mashup community dance lessons (learn the dance here).
  • A PSFS-DKAM fall-winter live music and performance series, which includes Miyō : Powell Street Festival at the Rio and Daruma Kuyō .
  • Our Community Care Programs, a suite of programs that supports meal prep and grocery delivery for unhoused and underserved members of the Downtown Eastside. So far in 2021, we have invested over $96,000 toward these programs.
Thank you for your support in 2021, and for joining us in our mission. Please consider making a tax deductible donation, which will help us to grow our programs and continue our work in supporting community and artist groups in 2022.
You can make a donation online by clicking the button below or by mailing a cheque to:
Powell Street Festival Society
410-111 W. Hastings St.
Vancouver, BC V6B 1H4
Donate Today

Community Announcements

Koto: The Last Service

After nearly 40 years in operation, the family-run Koto Japanese Restaurant is closing down in Campbell River, British Columbia. Over the course of its last day, the small Vancouver Island community bids farewell in this meditation on how to say goodbye with grace. The community and relationships that formed over sushi will last long after the final service.
Watch it online:
📺 We invite you to watch the film online on CBC Gem here
🌎 If you are located outside of Canada, watch it on YouTube here


Vancouver Japanese Language Hall: Manga Meetup

Love Manga? Come to the Monday Manga Meetup at VJLS-JH! Meet others who enjoy reading Manga and learn about Japanese culture at the same time. This event is presented in English, but both English and Japanese speakers are welcome!

Every participant gets a free surprise Japanese Language Manga Bundle and we also provide snacks! There will be fun games, along with activities that showcase different elements of Japanese art & culture. Try our Origami Workshop!

Participation is free, Register here

Gei: Art Symposium

The first national multi-day symposium of Japanese Canadian artists and Japanese artists living in Canada will take place in Greater Victoria September 16-18, 2022. Marking the 80th anniversary of the Japanese Internment, the 2022 symposium will be a resonant return to the West Coast in which we will be welcomed into the stunning new Gorge Park Pavilion.

The GEI : Art symposium is in the style of a NATIONAL BLOCK PARTY, a community driven celebration, for artists of every discipline with the central artistic question: 
“What is worth passing along in our artistic community?”

Free to submit, there is a $200 registration and workshop fee for selected participants.

For more information please view the submission link below or contact us at

Click Here to Submit

Thank-you from the Powell Street Festival Society Team!

Thank-you for reading this month's edition of our newsletter! Don't forget to connect with us on social media—links below—for more updates and conversations. See you soon!
click to donate click to become a society member click to shop merch
Thank-you to our individual monthly donors for November:

Beth Carter, Carly Yoshida-Butryn, Cassandra Kobayashi, Colin Yakashiro, Dean Campbell, Eddy Takayanagi, Emiko Morita (in memory of Kevin Sleziak), Emily Yakashiro (in memory of Bryan Yakashiro), Erica Hiroko Isomura (in honour of Kyle Yakashiro), Imogene Lim, Jana Squires, Janice, David, and Kathy Shimizu and families (in memory of Hideko (Hedy) Arai, and Mio and Victor Shimizu), Jeffrey Taijiri, Kathy Shimizu (in memory of Mio and Victor Shimizu), Laura Ishiguro, Laura Kotick, Madeline Keller-Macleod, Marco Gazzoli, Margaret Nakamura, Mari Fujita, PFS Studio, Randi Edmundson, Rebecca Ho, Rieko (Rachel) Enomoto, Rika Uto, Sachiko Takeda-McKee (in memory of Mie and Masao Takeda), Shaena Kobayashi, Shaunn Watt, Susan Doi (in memory of Tomoaki and Mitsue Doi), Taeko Mary Jane Morita, Tai Calarco-Higuchi, Taylor Dawn, Teresa Vandertuin, Terry Watada, Yoshiko Godo (in memory of Masakazu Godo), Yusei Ota

click to Join the Japanese Canadian Artist Directory

Powell Street Festival Society is proud to present this resource in partnership with the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre (Toronto) and the National Association of Japanese Canadians.
Copyright © 2021 Powell Street Festival Society, All rights reserved.

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