Resistance at Tule Lake

The WWII incarceration of 120,000 Japanese and Japanese Americans is not a universally known chapter of our country’s history. Perhaps still not even well known. And even to many of those who have some knowledge of it, the storyline runs that the incarcerees were cooperative, and went peacefully and willingly. Often invoked is the Japanese phrase “shikata ga nai” – “it can’t be helped” or “nothing can be done about it” – that one must accept circumstances beyond one’s control, along with “gaman” – that one must endure with patience and dignity.

Although I had some basic knowledge of the incarceration (also/formerly known as internment), until I went on the Tule Lake Pilgrimage in 2014 I did not know that Tule Lake had been designated as the segregation center for those who had answered the United States government’s loyalty questionnaire “incorrectly” and so were considered “dis-loyal”. As the movie Resistance at Tule Lake documents, there were incarcerees who did not go along with, and in fact pushed back against being illegally imprisoned.

The incarceration is a complex and multi-faceted story, and this film is an important testament to more of the experiences that were had during that time. The film is now available on iTunes and DVD, but I got to see it as part of a Day of Remembrance event put on by the Sonoma County Chapter of the JACL. After the film, there was a panel discussion moderated by Gaye LeBaron, with Henry Kaku and James Okamura generously sharing the experiences of their families who were incarcerated at Tule Lake. The hall at Enmanji Temple was filled to capacity, and, especially in these times when some history seems to be repeating itself, it was encouraging to see the interest in hearing and keeping the stories of resistance alive.

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2019 France – Day 1

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I had fallen right asleep and slept through the night. Well, until 4:30 (local time) – and then was actually pretty awake. But… I didn’t get up. Eventually I fell back asleep and then was pretty fast asleep when the alarm went off at 7:30. Oof.

We went downstairs for the breakfast buffet at hotel. Croissants and pain au chocolate! And whoa! All the spreads. And a coffee jukebox. That is, a machine with a half dozen or so options, put your cup under the nozzle and press the button.

After that I was ready for a nap but we had to return the rental car and put together our bikes. (Apparently I missed the bike assembly fairy option.) We peeked in the bike room. There were a few more than when we had put our bags in last night, and it seemed like quite a lot of bikes to me, but Eric said that compared to last time it was not very full. In 2015 the start had been just down the street at the velodrome.

At the rental car place there was a worker in the yard but we had to wait for a “responsible person” to get there to check in the car. There were some people there before us, and they took a while, but once it was our turn it went pretty quickly. We walked back to the hotel. Along the way we foraged some blackberries, plums, and apples!

The next order of business was putting the bikes together. All the parts were still there, and nothing was bunged up. It took me a while, but it went well. The only little thing was that I thought I had marked where the handlebars sat angle wise, but it must have rubbed off. Or maybe I was remembering incorrectly. Either way, I got it to what seemed to be the right place.

For a shake down ride we tootled over to Versailles. We being Eric, me, and GregM. Greg had found a labyrinth, which we rode around in after I took some pictures of yellowbike with a neat sculpture. Once we got more underway I had a big WOOHOO I’M RIDING MY BIKE IN FRAAANCE! rush. On the way over there were some nice bike paths, and nice roads, and a few places where I was not so sure if bikes were OK but whatever. We made it to the town OK.

Direction of travel is the same as in the US, so that wasn’t anything that needed adjustment. One thing that was a little different was that the traffic lights are located before the intersection, so if you are at the front of the line of traffic you had to remember to not go too far forward, otherwise you couldn’t tell when the light changed.

Once in town we were feeling a bit peckish, and found a pleasant looking crepe place. Greg and Eric actually had waffles, with sweet toppings, and I had a more savory crepe. It was fun to see/hear Greg speaking French, and the proprietress tried some English. And omigosh the crepe was délicieux!!!

As we cruised over toward the Palace someone yelled at us in English from a sidewalk cafe table. “Hey hippies, get a car!” Turned out to be a woman (rando) from Seattle – she had seen Eric’s Swift and Greg’s Ruthworks bags and figured we were also from the Left Coast. There were introductions, her brother was there with her, and discussions of mutual friends and plans for The Ride.

We rode past some of the Compound. (the Versailles Palace that is) Ridiculous. No wonder they had a revolution. We didn’t go into paying part, but there was still plenty to see on the grounds.

The bike seemed to be working as usual, but there was a mildly annoying fender rattle. I did three different adjustments trying to make it go away, so it was not a very scientific approach, but the rattle stopped. Whew. 1200k of that would have gotten old.

After riding around the more park like part of the grounds, with a stop at some sorta unisex restrooms, we decided to head back to the hotel. Unfortunately our first attempts at exiting toward the direction we wanted to go in were thwarted by locked gates. Cue Escape from Versailles... from there Greg thought to go one way, we decided to try another (I know, I know, don’t split up… but, we did see him again back at the hotel!) and ended up exploring a bit more of the grounds, and seeing some other cyclists there for PBP.

Eventually we did make it back to the hotel, and then went out for dinner. We decided – why not, right? – to go to a French restaurant within walking distance. Or should I say a French food restaurant. On our way there we saw that the carousel was open, so went for a ride on that. Then dinner. Priorities. The gang from last night plus Keith and someone else whose name I didn’t catch ended up there as well.

Eric and I both had skewers – mine was some very tasty salmon, Eric had beef. Dunno that was particularly French, but it was super tasty. Ohand there were frites. I tried the cidre brut, which I enjoyed, although it seemed pretty sweetish. It made me wonder what the douce would have been like. After eating we walked around a bit, which then turned into a search for dessert. We ended up at the Carrefour, which is a store of ALLTHESTUFFS – both food and non-food items. In the grocery part we managed to find some ice cream, which we enjoyed back at our hotel room and then turned in.

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August 16, 2019

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Bart’s Books

Ice cream was checked off the list (of travel things to do in a new place), did not really get to the Ojai Library, although I did take a spin through the Friends of the Library (or whatever the fundraising/support group calls itself – oh, here we go, thank you intarwebs – Ojai Valley Library Friends and Foundation (OVLFF)) book sale – but, for sure satisfied the bookyness quotient with a visit to Bart’s Books. The World’s Greatest Outdoor Bookstore. Who knew?!

Indeed, there were shelves outside along the sidewalk! Filled with books that were marked with prices (the ones I looked at were all 50 cents) and a slot by the door with a sign that if the store was closed and you wanted to buy a book to put the money through the slot. I had to wonder how often that actually happens and whether they inventory the outside books – ok, really, how often to people just take books without paying. I’d like to think that book people are more honest than the average, or at least as much so, but … yeah, people. But I’m guessing only low value/multiple multiple copy books go outside, and maybe the shop is just as happy to be rid of some inventory. Some of the books did look like they’d been outside for a while.

Then much of inside was also outside – all around the yard/courtyard were shelves – aisles and nooks and crannies. bookhouse heaven… There were also inside spaces, I particularly enjoyed how they had cookbooks and food related in the kitchen. So much to look at! In addition to all the books, there were typewriters scattered around, and a book press! It was splendidly glorious!

I was just looking, but – surprise – did not leave empty handed. Since I wasn’t after anything specific I kept to my own devices, but I did hear some other customers with questions and the staff were super helpful and knowledgeable. Some of us were obviously tourists, but there also seemed to be a number of regulars as well. Definitely worth a visit if you are anywhere nearby!

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Ojai Ice Cream

For sisters’ weekend this year, we made it to Ojai! Our previous attempt had been stymied by wildfires, so it was nice to get there. And! they had a local ice cream store, coincidentally named Ojai Ice Cream, which also had fudge and an assortment of candy, but we just stuck with ice cream. My initial impulse was to get Rocky Road, but then I looked at the flavor list and saw Ojai Orange, so I decided to try that, figuring I wouldn’t be able to get that anywhere else but Ojai. It was a bit underwhelming, but it was cold and sweet, and I did eat it all. And it was nice to support a local business.

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Calgary Tower

At 191 m (627 ft), the Calgary Tower is not the tallest building in Calgary – one list I saw has it at #6 – but, as a free standing observation tower it has a distinctive appearance on the skyline. Construction began in February of Canada’s Centennial, 1967, and completed in June, 1968. It was originally called the Husky Tower, after one of the developers, but the name was changed to the Calgary Tower in 1971.

When I was in Calgary previously (twelve-ish years ago), I went up in the tower and got to see the view, including looking down through the glass floor! This time the elevators were undergoing repair work, so I was not able to go up. But, we were staying in town, so I got to see the tower under different light at a variety of times of day, which was pretty cool. Since my previous visit they have installed exterior LED lighting, which is used for light shows to celebrate various events and causes.

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Sweet Tooth Ice Cream

thegoogles again… I’d looked at the map to see how to get to the personal hot pot restaurant, and seen that there was ICE CREAM nearby. Sweet Tooth Ice Cream turned out to be the rolled ice cream thing, which I’d never had before, so that was fun. The base gets poured on what must be a very cold plate (don’t lick that!), sprinkled with the mix-ins, and worked around with what looked like large putty knives until it’s all mixed up and frozen. It then gets rolled up and cut into sections to fit in the bowl. Once in the bowl it is decorated with whatever toppings you’ve chosen.

It was a little Instagram/gimmicky, but entertaining and worth checking out at least once. You could completely design your own ice cream experience, but there were numerous combinations already to choose from, and I had a hard enough time just picking from those. In the end I decided to go with the Birthday Cake, because … rainbow sprinkles. It was pretty silly, and I was pretty full already from the hot pot dinner, but I still enjoyed it.

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Mari Bakeshop

There was another bakery close to our hotel in Calgary – well actually there was also a Tim Horton’s right next door (does that count as a bakery?) but I never went in – which I happened to see on the way to (or maybe it was from) Sidewalk Citizen. The Mari Bakeshop had later opening hours, so we went in one day after work.

At the time we were there it was an oddly diverse yet specific selection, both bread and sweets, but only a couple types of each. They had a poppy seed baguette, which neither of us had ever come across before, so we had to get one of those, and I also got a small loaf of their regular bread. Both were well made and tasty.

Then we each got a roll cake – those delectable combinations of creamy filling and light fluffy sponge cake. Yum! But the thing I would go back for (that I almost didn’t get one of) was the CHOUX! So délicieux. So very very délicieux. A golden pastry shell that was light and slightly crispy (but not crunchy) and a whisper of chewiness (but not bad chewy like calamari or anything) yet melt in the mouth feel – filled with flavored cream. I chose the vanilla, which was absolutely divine.

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