I never met Lois Hashimoto, but was saddened to hear of her passing on January 8th in Laval, Québec. Lois was a regular contributor to the letters-to-the-editor section over the years, firing off an e-mail whenever she was offended by an article in The Bulletin. She seemed to have a soft-spot for me for some reason, but there were definitely issues that pushed her buttons.
I remember she came down hard on me one time about a statement I made in a piece I had written about the internment. I don’t recall exactly what I said—it was something about the conditions in the camps, I believe—but she let me know in no uncertain terms that having not been there, I had no business making sweeping generalizations. It is something I never forgot and have since made an effort to be more careful in my writing.
Lois took issue with much that was written in The Bulletin over the years—particularly when it came to the Internment—but I respected her for her determination to speak her mind, even when I didn’t agree with her point of view or her approach sometimes. I always knew when an article or letter was going to draw her ire and I remember waiting for the ensuing indignant e-mail with a degree of trepidation.
Several years ago, her son Gordon, who goes by the name Hashimoto, released a CD and Lois was tickled when I gave it a positive review. It made me smile to receive an e-mail a few weeks later, thanking me for it.
My sincere condolences to Lois’s family on their loss.
This month, as we head into the Olympics and the 2010 Cultural Olympiad, we focus on the performing arts, with a look at some of the many performances on offer over the coming months. In tandem with our look at upcoming shows, we also focus on the recently-announced cuts to arts and culture funding by the provincial government and their affect on artist and organizations. These are devastating cuts that will have a profound effect not only on working artists, but on non-profit organizations like the Powell Street Festival, National Nikkei Museum & Heritage Centre and Tonari Gumi, to name just a few. If you believe that arts and culture are crucial to a society that you want to be a part of, and that organizations like those listed above deserve support, please lend your voice to those who are protesting the Liberal Government’s move to hamstring arts and culture organizations across the province.