8 Asians

Photoshop Fridge Magnets


In this era of overwhelmingly awesome technology, it’s no surprise that some people want to have a little bit of technology everywhere they go. Enter these Photoshop Fridge Magnets ($25 for a set of 11). On your fridge, they add a little bit of humor and design to your favorite photos. Need to rotate an image, or fix the color? There are magnets for that. Need to choose a brush? That’s there too. These magnets will do everything short of actually editing your photos.

Check out this product on our shopping blog, GASP!

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Mindy Kaling, author if Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? and best known as Kelly Kapoor on The Office, may soon have her very own show. Via The Hollywood Reporter: Fox “has officially picked up to pilot an untitled comedy from The Office‘s Kaling that would star the writer-actress as a young Bridget Jones-type doctor trying to navigate both her personal and professional lives. The project, which hails from Universal TV, would be written and executive produced by Kaling, with Parks and Recreation and The Office‘s Howard Klein on board as a nonwriting executive producer.” I used to be a diehard fan of The Office (until Jim married Pam because Jim was supposed to marry ME and not Pam) but Kelly was always my favorite character. Let’s hope this pilot works out!

In California, January 30 was officially Fred Korematsu Day. It is important to honor and remember Korematsu but I believe it is also a time to look back at some of the other Japanese Americans (JAs) who also fought for the rights of not just JAs but all Americans.

Unfortunately, Japanese American women don’t get enough credit for their contributions to the civil rights movement. I want to change that. So I created a list of five JA women activists that I think everyone should know:

Yuri Kochiyama

Kochiyama is most well-known for cradling Malcolm X’s head in the Life Magazine picture when he was assassinated. However, there is so much more to her story. Her passion for social justice began when the FBI came to her house after Pearl Harbor and arrested her father. While in the camps, she organized a campaign to write letters to Japanese American soldiers who didn’t have anyone to write to. After the war, she and her family moved to Harlem, where she became an outspoken advocate for social justice. She continues to fight for the rights of others in her nineties.

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Tim wrote about the side effects of the Year of the Dragon and here is another one: increased tourism to the U.S. While Chinese traditionally go home for the Lunar New Year, a growing number are going abroad, with top destinations being Europe, the U.S., and Australia. China’s National Tourism Bureau is expecting the number of Chinese traveling abroad for the holidays to be 60% higher than the previous year. Chinese students are said to be another source of tourism, as parents join their children to see the U.S. during the New Year holidays.

In the seeming cultural wasteland of the Midwest there are pockets around the University centers that have some surprisingly compelling and active communities. In Bloomington, IN, which is where we live right now, we’ve discovered a huge community of musicians (because of the incredible music school), and recently met associate professor of music, Kevin Bobo, a Korean American (he writes, “half Korean with a cup of Buckeye and a dash of Bordeaux”). Okay, it helps that he and his family are members of my husband’s church.

After hearing so many wonderful things about him, and listening to his albums, I felt I had a great opportunity to interview him:

Who are your musical influences for your work?

Certainly my parents (both parents). My dad used to practice with my brother and I every single day when we started out on the violin. This built a solid foundation to build on. Some of my other influences would be Gordon Stout (Marimba), Leigh Howard Stevens (Marimba), Vladimir Horowitz (Piano) and Itzhak Perlman (Violin) for performance. Claude Debussy, Maurice Ravel, Walter Mays and Igor Stravinsky for composition.

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The Bunni With The Pet Dragon


Now that it’s 2012, we still haven’t gotten used to writing the new year (and it will stay that way until at least March). If you haven’t quite gotten the hang of it being the Year of the Dragon either, or you just want to have a cute pillow in your home, celebrate both last year and this one with the “The Bunni With The Pet Dragon” pillow ($15). Measuring 9″x6″, this twill pillow will make you smile, and give your space a little bit of luck. Order fast though–supplies are limited, and you don’t want to let this dragon go.

Special Offer: Use the code GASPBUNNI at checkout for 20% off any bunni! This code is good until February 18th.

Nineteen years ago, my parents decided to move our entire family to the suburbs. As it turns out, we weren’t the only ones. A recent Washington Post article highlights the national trend of APAs moving away from urban Chinatowns and into suburban communities.

Back then, I didn’t really understand why we were moving so far away. We were living in Elmhurst, Queens, and had a fairly comfortable life. We attended a local Chinese church and we shopped at local Chinese grocery stores. Many of our family friends and relatives lived nearby. We were also close to my grandparents, who lived in Manhattan’s Chinatown.

Chef’n Garlic Zoom Chopper


As a kitchen warrior, we fear little in the culinary corner or the home and as a human being  we are no stranger to cute knick-knacks. Now we have the Garlic Zoom by Chef’n ($14.95), our new favorite kitchen toy that is the homogenous mix of cutesy and practicality. Simply place a clove or two of garlic into the snap open compartment and give it a few rolls back and forth. The rubber wheels rotate the steel blades for perfectly minced garlic without having your hands stink for days. The blade pops out for easy cleaning. This cute little guy is a major space saver (about the size of a mini cheese wheel) and the price isn’t all that big either.

For all of you who don’t care about social interaction, the Garlic Zoom is also available in “XL” that chops up to six cloves at once. It comes in four colors: red, blue, white and lime green. You know we got lime green, cus’ that’s just how we do.

Check out this product on our shopping blog, GASP!

College undergrad and grad students: if you’re like me and find that this is the time of year where you’re constantly looking for a way to procrastinate or fretting about summer/future plans, think about applying for CAPAL’s (Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership) 2012 Internship and Scholarship. For these summer internships, CAPAL places you at a federal government agency and gives a $2000 stipend, the goal being to foster leadership potential. Read the descriptions and requirements for more info. There’s also examples of what past interns and scholars have done. The early decision deadline is February 1 (you’ve got four days, no sweat, right?). But if you can’t get an application together before then, fear not, applications are rolling after the first (just don’t wait too long, phone interviews start on March 1).

The new season of The Amazing Race started this past Sunday, and CBS has recently released a list of this season’s contests on the show’s website.

The Amazing Race has done an amazing job of having Asian Americans competing as well as often winning the race. This season is no different, with sisters Misa & Maiya Tanaka hailing from San Diego, California. Maiya , 25, is a professional golfer on the LPGA Symetra Futures Tour, and her older sister Misa, 27, is a car buyer.

I have to say, both sisters are kind of cute and come across as pretty sassy. As they say in their interview, the sisters are often underestimated. It’ll really be interesting to see how tough and competitive they are in the course of the race. However, unfortunately in the history of The Amazing Race, there has only ever been one all women’s team that has won. So best of luck to Misa & Maiya!


Standardized testing was pretty much invented by the Chinese. As an American of Taiwanese and Chinese heritage, this means that standardized testing is part of my ethnic and ancestral heritage. The fact that Asian Americans tend to score better than everyone else on standardized tests is not news to anyone. I mean, after 5,000 years of test prep culture (there’s even a god of testing), it’s not really a surprise right?

But what are the consequences of all this standardized testing? After a lifetime of school here in the United States spanning from pre-school to my Ph.D. in Education (20 years of school), as well as 14 years as a professional educator in both public school and private settings, I’ve given this a lot of thought. I’ve come to the conclusion that standardized tests, a vestige of ancient China, stunt the intellectual growth of not just Asian American students but of all students.

Let me explain.

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Back to the Roots Mushroom Kit


Because backyard gardens are too much work and growing sprouts in a jar is so last year, most of us just don’t have a green thumb. But with repeated salmonella outbreaks and agribusiness increasingly in the public eye, knowing where our food comes from and growing our own produce are becoming popular habits. The problem is most of us don’t have the space or time to cultivate fruits and vegetables. Enter the Mushroom Kit ($19.95) from Oakland-based company Back to the Roots. Started by two UC Berkeley graduates, Back to the Roots is all about innovation and sustainability through gourmet mushrooms grown in recycled coffee grounds (some even collected from Peet’s Coffee). Mushrooms are an easy, nutritious, and quick addition to stir-frys, omelets, and salads. Just set the kit on a window sill and mist occasionally: you’ll be able to harvest and become an urban farmer in 10 days!

Kits available online or at select Whole Foods.
Like Back to the Roots on Facebook for more info, discounts, and to donate a kit to your local school.