Artwork, Commemorations, News

Happy Canada Day from Hick & Hia!

Happy Canada Day, everyone! And what have we here? Another coloring page for the kiddies; this time, Hick! With the Calgary Stampede set to begin later this week, I hope everyone in Calgary as well as the rest of Canada has a grand out-of-this-world time!

Hick Canada Day 2019 Coloring Page

Artwork, Commemorations, News

Coloring Pages are a-comin’ this Summer. And you’re gonna be in for a Rodeo!

Howdy, pardners! Takahashi-sense- I mean, Sheriff Takahashi here!

As you all know, the Calgary Stampede is a festival and rodeo held here in the Albertan city of Calgary, for one week in July, and has been held since 1912. During the week, Calgarians get to enjoy line dancing, watching bull rides and chuck wagon races, agricultural education, and even free pancakes!

Remember this duo from 2018?

Hick and Hia book cover clean
Welcome back, pardners!

Well, in case you forget everything that happened here last year, Calgary was planning to bid for the right to host the Winter Olympics for 2026(which will go to either Cortina or Stockholm by the end of this month.), and I designed Hick & Hia with the hopeful event in mind, even becoming an ambassador for the bid. Unfortunately, because of controversy surrounding how things work within the IOC, 56 percent of Calgary’s population killed off the prospect that made our city legendary since 1988. On the bright side, the ESPN Winter X Games will be hosted here starting next year, and until 2022.

Not wanting my hard work to go to waste, I am officially looking into making them into the new mascots of the Calgary Stampede! Besides, Olympic mascots are forced into retirement shortly after the games, yet the creators aren’t even paid royalties. I always thought those kinds of characters were meant to serve as legacies for the host cities!

And what better way to celebrate than to make a bunch of coloring and activity sheets for all you little buck-a-roos to let your creativity become a stampede?

Starting today, I’ll be sharing a little one of Hia for National Aboriginal Day, which will be commemorated in 2 days!

Hia Aboriginal Day 2019 Coloring Page.jpg


C for yourself, Calgary! We can bounce back from this recession!


-Akira Takahashi, June 19th, 2019

Artwork, Commemorations, News, Opinions, Reflections

Oscar Week 2019: Bohemian Rhapsody and Bao, I’m rooting for you!

Hey, everyone! Takahashi-sensei here. You might’ve been asking yourself every year, “How have things been going in Hollywood?”

The answer? It depends. Unless you’re a die-hard comic book or superhero fan looking forward to the next Marvel Cinematic Universe installment, or someone suffering a nostalgia addiction, things have been getting stale in Hollywood(only slightly). The movie industry has had cruel summers since 2014, and for awhile, it had been worsening, originality being overrun with numerous sequels that mostly flopped, and reboots of existing properties that upset a lot of loyal fans, as well. Zootopia, Disney’s 55th film in the primary cannon, was one of the only quality films released in 2016, and that’s just sad. However, because of its allegorical take on a future political environment that would be crafted by the beginning of 2017, it had people talking, and envisioning a life of social change, as much as a painting or essay could early on, giving the film potential to qualify for one of the most prestigious awards in the history of the creative industries: the Academy Awards. Not many films are guaranteed such a prize by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Even films that had Golden Globe or BAFTA success can’t be promised a win. This is because there are only under 6,000 members rather than millions of the population of the United States in control of such a decision-making challenge. You can’t just bribe them with buckets of dollars just to be one of this elite crew. You can only be invited by lottery.

Ok, let’s go back in time a bit, the early 2000s. Ever read of those Sweepstakes in the magazines you read as kids, like, how you could win a motorcycle, MP3 players, or a PlayStation 2, which were really expensive at the time for someone your age, or even a full-fledged vacation to countries like Australia, or the Bahamas, which cost even more? “Many will enter, few will win.” reads such disclaimers at the bottom of the advert. Just as lots of kids send special postcards with hopes of being like their peers(or making them even more envious), just like lots of academics send letters hoping for their approval of being future students of Ivy League schools like Harvard or Stanford(for me, I’d probably never survive even a year at either, even if I tried.), only a select few will make it in. The same goes to Award Organizations, except, you have to be professional, or be nominated for 2 Oscars if a film you made with the potential of Oscar-bait makes it.

Ok, question answered. Twice. 2018 was actually an interesting year for American cinema. Though there were more superheroes and sequels nabbing some spots(though the My Hero Academia side-story arc Two Heroes deserved one for longer than it did; shame on you, Funimation, for not giving it a standard release, even though Sony could cover the costs!), and the #MeToo movement began to thrive within showbiz, many inspirational stories that the few had the courage to share(some of which being BlacKkKlansman, and Roma) began flooding the theaters and streaming services again. Another big favorite of the 2018-2019 movie season has been the biographical music drama, the story of everyone’s favorite British progressive rock band, Queen, Bohemian Rhapsody, which very much deserves an Oscar in any category, even though there’s been some trouble a-brewing with director Bryan Singer recently. Nonetheless, it’s an absolute classic of the decade that we can all appreciate.

Believe me, I had no idea that Bohemian Rhapsody would go on to become the highest grossing biopic yet, despite knowing that it would be popular(everyone’s listened to Queen before!). The first time my family tried to see it, tickets at the Chinook Centre Cineplex were sold out. The second time, we were lucky. The story of Freddie Mercury, Queen’s frontman, was very remarkable. Aside from being one of the greatest singers with a four-octave vocal range that put Michael Jackson’s to shame, he helped the band defy things the way they had been in the music industry in the early ’70s, even ushering the era of progressive rock and pop, bringing crowds from all across Europe and North America together, stomping and clapping in unison. Like MJ, he also became touted the “King of Pop”. After his death from AIDS, he became an icon for the LGBTQ community.

congratulations bohemian rhapsodycongratulations bohemian rhapsody japaneseRami Malek did a great job portraying the rude but amusing frontman, I can’t even tell which one is the real Freddie in the final climactic scene illustrating the events of Live Aid in 1985, which in reality, only made things worse for the crisis in Africa…but that’s another story.

Speaking of Disney, remember the trip I went on to Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure in late August and early September last year? Though I had fun being an uncle-figure to my father’s girlfriend’s kids, even just for 6 days and 5 nights in the Orange County climate, and getting to taste the yucca extract-infused Slurpee recipe that’s not even sold at Canadian 7-Elevens? Well, the Pixar Short Film Festival attraction at California Adventure was where I first saw the latest Pixar short: Bao.(I didn’t bother going to the cinema to see another sequel as I was too busy campaigning for the 2026 Olympic Games bid.) What sets Bao apart from the other short subject films in Pixar’s 30-plus year history, is that…it’s written and directed by a woman…but she’s a Canadian, just like me!

Bao tells the story of a Chinese-Canadian mother who makes a Chinese pork dumpling that comes to life, and raises it as her son. As her life raising the dumpling child goes on, though the child is influenced by Canadian and foreign cultures and engages in social interactions with others, the mother becomes increasingly overprotective of the child, even as he grows into a young adult with a white Canadian girlfriend. The dumpling, which in reality is the mother’s real son(which surprised me joltingly, as the mother literally eats the dumpling boy out of sadness and frustration!), eventually rekindles their relationship with one another, and they make a meal together, which he shares with his Canadian friends. Of course, he will achieve independence one day, as much as I will.

Bao illustrates the relationship of food and family with a Chinese flair to it. In China, people usually prepare certain meals with love and care, just as they would to the same when it comes to pampering children. Eventually, what mothers sometimes forget is that they have to let their children choose the future they want to live in. But it’s not like they won’t be in touch again. In many cultures every time a festive holiday comes(Chinese New Year’s was just several weeks ago BTW), many families can reunite, even if they are living separate lives, though some are dieting! Domee Shii, my hat’s off to you!

And there you have it. If I were a member of the Academy, my votes for the Best would be placed on these 2 films. The industry is surely getting back in shape again for the better. I want it to improve so even my work, should I go beyond later on, has the chance of being nominated! I still understand that ideas creatives explore can still be a bit cringy at times. Paramount, I’ve got my eyes on you with what you’re doing with Sega’s spiny rodent later this year.

This is Takahashi-sensei signing out for the night. Happy Oscar Week, everyone! And you don’t have to be entitled to my opinions exclusively. Think for yourself!

Artwork, Commemorations, Reflections

Here’s to a Hopeful 2019!

Takahashi-sensei here! Omedeto!

Happy New Year one and all! 2018 has come and gone and now we enter 2019.

For me, personally, 2018 has been one of the best years of my life. The themes of which are opportunity and earning respect. Opportunity does not strike often at my home of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, especially with the job market in shambles. The biggest one of all was the 2026 Winter Olympics bid, which unfortunately more than 50 percent dissed. But it was a time for me to show everyone how talented I can be, even without a degree. (tuition prices ain’t going down anytime soon!) I had even begun this website, dedicated to my exploits in creating I.P.’s happiness into everyone’s lives. Though it’s only half a year old, I’ve already ammased just over 1 thousand hits from not just Canada or my neighbor to the south, but places I thought it’d never be big in; the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, Finland, India, China, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Thailand! Unfortunately, none came from Japan, a country which I adore dearly, and where I wish to base my career path in.

My spirits are now at an all-time high. Let’s hope things stay that way from here on in!

New Year Mural 2019.png

Artwork, Commemorations, Reflections

Lest We Forget

Hello, everyone. Takahashi-sensei reporting.

Today is the 100th anniversary of the end of the War that should have been the one to end all wars. Unfortunately, despite the Allied Forces’ best efforts to prevent another one through the Versailles Treaty of 1919, the world would not be at peace for long. Meanwhile, Hitler managed to overthrow the German government to form the Nazi Party, and Emperor Hirohito wanted to ensure that Japan and then-occupied Korea would be free of any western influence, thanks to their affinity for invasion of other neighbouring countries. Because of these, including other attrocities soon followed, the start of the Second World War became imminent by 1939.

If only we had known sooner.

I have created a piece dedicated to the soldiers who died in the battle of Vimy Ridge, France. It was a battle that was won by Canada, and has remained property of the Canadian government ever since.

Remebrance Day 2018

One day, this Earth will be rid of any meaningless conflict.

-Akira Takahashi, November 11th, 2018