Every day I drive by an unsold house near my home. It’s been on the market for months. It’s not that the economy is stopping sales – the house next door to me sold in a week. The problem is that the house sits at the top of a T intersection – a house whose Feng Shui is unacceptable in my predominantly Asian neighborhood. This article from the San Jose Mercury News talks about a seminar that is designed to teach realtors in Silicon Valley how to better serve local Asian-Americans. One point from the seminar that I see every day: many Asians rely on feng shui principles when selecting and decorating a home.
Asian-Americans influence much of the real estate market in Silicon Valley, and dealing with Asian-Americans is becoming more important for realtors across California as Asian-Americans are becoming an increasingly greater percentage of home buyers there. My brother-in-law (BIL for short) who lives with me is a real estate agent, and he has told me about many of the points such that are made in the seminar. Some highlights from the article:
Some of the most prized houses are ones with a first story bedroom with full bath – usually for parents who make up an extended family. The Wife and I were shopping for one of these when we were shopping for our last house. BIL knows the API (California Academic Performance Index) scores for almost all the schools in the general area – many Asians shop for houses by looking at local school API scores. The last point includes not paying a lot of interest or reduced commissions, as many Asians often pay cash or have huge down payments and will demand credits from realtors, even when using them as a buying agent. “Many Asian buyers will save up to 50 percent of the down payment and/or pay cash for a home because to them, ‘interest’ is a dirty word,” says seminar leader John Fukuda of the Asian Real Estate Association of America. That’s the case even in expensive Silicon Valley.
Realtor Nicholas Pham sums it up well: “You may not always agree with these cultural traits, but it’s important to just accept them and keep them in mind when working with Asian clients.”
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We’re wrapping up another week over at GASP!, our sister site that focuses on products made by and for the API community. Here’s some of the stuff we covered over the past couple of days:
If you’ve got a store of your own or have a friend who should be featured, send us an email!
Taiwan’s Apple Daily does it again with another animation news reel account of their take on former Alaskan governor and 2008 vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and her prospects for a presidential run in 2012. If you ever wanted to know what an Asian looking, winking Sarah Palin looks like, here is your chance. I think the animators captured the essence of Palin with her winks, her rifle shooting, her notes on her hands, as well as her invention of words. However, I do think the animators go a bit too far by portraying Palin as a stripper on a pole dance raising money for her Political Action Committee, SarahPAC. If it weren’t for the comments on You Offend Me, You Offend My Family on the topic, I would have missed the news scroll on Fox News reporting that “Hell opens gate for Cheney.”
Food Network’s Iron Chef America is much like the original Iron Chef: have two chefs complete courses revolving around a secret ingredient, with a campy actor as a host. While the original Chairman Kaga took the show to campy levels of ridiculousness, the “Chairman’s nephew,” actor Mark Decascos, tries to prove that he can be just as ridiculous by dramatically screaming out every single ingredient on Iron Chef America.
But when the Chairman’s nephew starts yelling “CHICKEN!” and “FROZEN PEAS!” is when you start realizing those producers are less about using secret ingredients and more about getting the leftover stock from Rachael Ray’s 30-Minute Meals. The Japanese show featured natto and live turtles slaughtered on camera, and for the American version we get “chicken?” Really? Tune in next week, when we can hear the Chairman scream such mysterious ingredients like “FROZEN PIZZA!” Or “MASHED POTATOES!” Or for the series finale: “HIGH! FRUCTOSE! CORN! SYRUP!”
You are awesome. But you knew that, right? So why not spread your awesomeness (and perhaps overinflated ego) with this cheerful sterling silver necklace ($83) from Yellow Goat, a handmade jewelry line that features unique and quirky pendants, rings and bracelets that we would willingly forgo a meal to buy. This necklace is our favorite, because not only does it tell YOU how awesome you are, but everyone who sees you, as well. We are firm believers in paying it forward, and this does it perfectly.
A bunch of people sent this video to me saying that I’d find it funny, but I just watched this in horror. Basically this video is of a cute little bear cub being scared out of its wits by a baby lion, monkey and monkey’s shadow. Ok, so maybe that shadow thing was kind of funny. But overall, I thought it was pretty cruel what they were doing to the bear. Adding in the facial reactions of the Japanese variety show folks and the soundtrack of the audiences saying “Kawaii!!!” didn’t change that, but maybe I need to see the full version of this, which evidently shows the bear cub exacting its revenge on its (previous) terrorizers. What do you think?
By Kristina Wong
Kristina Wong delves deep into the sky high rates of depression and suicide among Asian American Women to make ‘Wong Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.’
“I’m Definitely Not Crazy. But I Probably am Lying.”
My earliest memories of even thinking I might be depressed were met with warnings by my mother that if I ever dare seek professional help for depression, even as a kid, my employers would one day find out and fire me. It did bother me that being depressed-but-employed versus happy-and-unemployed was the better of the two (and only two) options, but I heeded her advice and never sought professional help. God forbid anyone know I was once a crazy 12-year old kid.
So I hid it for years. And not very well. Even into my college years, I managed to turn club meetings, sleepovers, friendships and intimate relationships into my own impromptu therapy sessions. Anything to avoid the stigma of actually seeking professional help! When I introduced myself to a circle of new friends, somehow unsolicited emotional clutter would always spill out with it. Sometimes my friends were halfway decent at playing Freud, but very often, they were so mired in their own messy lives that my problems just exhausted them.
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Steph Han Windham is an artist showing and selling work all around southern California. She has a BFA in Illustration from the Laguna College of Art & Design in and an MFA in Illustration from The School of Visual Arts in New York. But we love her work because it’s WOW!
Her nature-inspired collections include her Tama (which means “ball” or “sphere” in Japanese), Menagerie, and Graphic Flora lines, which include this stunning Black & White Sakura Wall Clock ($14.99).
Don’t you know? Letterpress is the new black. It looks and feels so swanky, especially if they’re cards made from recycled paper and printed with soy based ink like these from Fugu Fugu Press. These cards ($4.00) feature designs by the duo with Shino drawing the fronts and Ken operating the heavy letterpress machine. Check them out online or in stores!
Filipinos, rejoice! World famous DJ Qbert, he of Invisibl Skratch Piklz and Scratch, the synonymous documentary on turntablism, will be converted into CGI-generated goodness and will appear in Activision’s music based video game, DJ Hero 2. Which makes sense, right? The game is essentially Guitar Hero with turntables and fader switches and sampler buttons rather than an electric guitar, and what better way to showcase a turntable than, oh, the three-time DMC World Champion? I mean, I love Daft Punk — the stars of the original DJ Hero video game — but if we were really had a video game where we tried to emulate how they perform for crowds of tens of thousands, there’d just be a Mac laptop and all you would have to do is press the PLAY button on the one-beat. (Oh, snap! I went there.)
(Hat tip: Eric I.)
First thing first: Gene Luen Yang’s American Born Chinese ($12.21) is targeted towards “young adults” — it won a Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature, and it’s a very quick read for that reason.
All of that said, this a very good graphic novel. American Born Chinese consists of three seemingly non-tangential stories: a tale about the Monkey King, a story involving a Chinese American teenager adjusting in an all-white school, and a faux-sitcom-with-laugh-track plot line involving a white guy and his stereotype Asian cousin named Chin-Kee. The three stories touch on topics that we’ve all been through growing up and still go through as adults: the desperate feeling of wanting to fit in somewhere, racism, both subtle and overt, one-way crushes that make you want to stab your face with an icepick.
Because it’s a graphic novel, the plot lines of the three stories tie together neatly at the end, and because it won an award in Young Adult Literature, you can expect healthy doses of self-identity exploration, and the resonating theme that it’s okay to be yourself, whether monkey or Chinese American. That said, I wholly recommend the book for any adult who can appreciate a good story in comic book format, and I certainly recommend the book for Asian Americans, as this book certainly resonated with me.