25th Trillium Award

The Dirty Dozen, with David Tsubouchi

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David Tsubouchi

Before former Markham MPP David Tsubouchi became the first Japanese Canadian to be elected to office in Canada, he was a young boy who endured the humiliation and hardship of the Japanese internment during the Second World War. Despite this difficult experience, he still learned to do his best and to never give up, which is the meaning of the title for his recently released memoir, Gambatte (ECW Press). This astonishing book follows David's unique career path from actor to lawyer to politician and beyond.

In today's edition of the Open Book Dirty Dozen, David reveals that he's filled some other surprising roles as well, such as a cannon doll, an under-age cook and a subject for a Trivial Pursuit question.

David Tsubouchi's Dirty Dozen

1. I love and collect books. I loved to read as a boy but couldn?t afford to buy books. When I was in university bpNichol published some of my poetry in his publication Gronk. He also sent me several of his ?books? (pages stapled together) that he inscribed to me. This was the start of my hobby of collecting signed first-edition books. I have over 3000 signed first editions including George Bernard Shaw, Aldous Huxley, Andy Warhol and of course, bpNichol.

2. I am the subject of a question in ?Totally 80?s Trivial Pursuit? that relates to my role in David Cronenberg?s movie ?Videodrome?.

3. I enjoy cooking. One of my first jobs when I was 14 years old was as a short order cook at the Tam O?Shanter Golf and Country Club in Scarborough. I told them that I was 16 and could cook. I learned quickly on the job. One day someone ordered a club house sandwich and I didn?t know what it was because we didn?t go to restaurants. I called my mother and she didn?t know either but told me to put everything in it. I made a Dagwood sandwich for the customer. On the way home I stopped by the library and realized what I had done but there were no complaints from the customer.

4. I played a cannon doll in the National Ballet production of The Nutcracker.

5. I am the first Japanese Canadian to be elected to any office in Canada. I was the first to be elected as a municipal councillor and an MPP. I was also the first to be appointed as a Cabinet Minister.

6. I was interviewed by Martin Short in his persona as ?Jiminy Glick? at a conference. Surprisingly he remembered acting with me in a couple of Second City TV episodes.

7. My father was POW #606 at POW Camp 101 at Angler during World War II. He was imprisoned for protesting the separation of the men from the women and children during the transportation of the Japanese Canadians to the internment camps. My grandfather, Chozo Takahashi, was the first Japanese Canadian to die as a result of the imprisonment.

8. I was on the Reach for the Top team for Agincourt Collegiate when I was in high school. Alex Trebek was the host of the show.

9. I enjoy all kinds of word puzzles, but especially cryptic and New York Times crossword puzzles. My photo once appeared in a newspaper doing a cryptic puzzle during a ?debate? in the Legislature.

10. My favourite activity is sitting on my front porch with my Newfoundland dog, Summer. She is a very nosy dog and watches everything and I just enjoy her company. She wags her tail and I wave at our neighbors when they walk by.

11. I have been the most penalized hockey player in most leagues that I have played in. I discovered that I was better at fighting than scoring.

12. I have had two holes-in-one playing golf. The first one was in a tournament and I won $12,000 and gave most of the money to charity.

David Tsubouchi has served as the MPP for Markham for two terms and has held several cabinet posts in the Ontario Legislature including Chair of Management Board and Minister of Culture. Tsubouchi currently sits on the Board of Governors for York University. He is a partner in the law firm Fogler, Rubinoff LLP and was recently appointed as the Honorary Consul General of the Republic of Mongolia.

For more information about Gambatte please visit the ECW Press website.

Buy this book at your local independent bookstore or online from the publisher or at Chapters/Indigo or Amazon.

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