Keiko Tabara, K (Rock, Paper, Scissors)
A diligent and hardworking young woman who works in her parent’s restaurant. K is mastering her shijmi soup and daily special of kakiage tempura and udon. In Paper she meets a man who leaves behind a yobiyose letter in her restaurant which she returns in the chapter Rock.
Voice narration – Cindy Mochizuki (Rock, Paper, Scissors)
Voice narration and Performance – Linda Hoffman (Scissors)
Shijimi – a small clam that is a popular seafood in Yonago, Tottori-ken, said to cure hangovers.
Yobiyose letters – a calling letter used to call over families and whole communities. Japanese immigrants often used the yobiyose letter to convince families to move to Canada from Japan. In Paper, I have referenced the yobiyose letter from the “Tracing Our Heritage to Tottori Ken Japan” book.
The Fortune Teller (Rock)
Referred to in Rock as Quon’s mother, she is a clairvoyant who reads a set of stones. She is the third wife of one of the only few businessman in the Chinese Canadian community of Cumberland that ‘do well’. At the time of the story, many of the Chinese Canadians worked as underpaid coal miners and paid a Head Tax to enter Canada, leaving behind their families in China. The characters’ of Quon and Quon’s mother are based on fiction, but were created from pieces of information found in the Cumberland Museum and Archives around Chinese businesses in the area.
The Giant (Scissors)
A supernatural character that lives in the year 2100 for many many long years. Sitting in a tatara steel factory, he is mastering the technique to make the greatest pair of scissors in the world. We find out that he can cut holes out of time - which enables K to time travel.
Living in Mayne Island, Mr. N is the inventor and holds a magical golden pocket watch that he purchased in America.
Papa and Mama (Rock)
The parents of K, they speak bits of English and Japanese in Rock. Papa seems to know everything about the community. Mama is obsessed about talking about the town gossip and death.
K’s good friend from the Chinatown in Cumberland. Through Quon's mother K is able to find a way to meet the right person in order to return a letter back to the woman in the ryotei house.
Mrs. T (Rock)
Not much is known about her other than K meets her after a walk down a stairwell into an underground pathway. She lives in a fancy ryotei restaurant with several species of canaries and servers that help her run the restaurant. K returns a yobiyose letter to her that is addressed from W. We see a similar letter being dropped off in the chapter Paper.
Mr. M (Paper)
A Japanese Canadian man who leaves behind a yobiyose letter in K’s restaurant.
Voice narration – Cindy Mochizuki (Paper)
Secondary Characters in Passing
Came to Cumberland in the mid to late 1800’s to start the Union Colliery Company of British Columbia. Mr. Dunsmuir was a coal baron who owned the industry of coal in Cumberland.
Albert ‘Ginger’ Goodwin was a migrant coal miner who found work in the Cumberland coal mines. He was a local activist whose life and work changed B.C. history.
Or also known as Joe Naylor, he was a Cumberland miner involved in the local miner union. He took Goodwin under his wing and the two socialists became good friends.