8 Asians


The Okochi-Sanso Villa in Arashiyama used to be the home of a famous actor named Denjiro Okochi. As I was researching the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest destination, I saw mention of this, read a little about it, saw some beautiful pictures of the buildings and gardens, and decided I had to stop by–especially because there’s a tea included with the price of about $20 USD ticket. It did not disappoint.


To get to the Villa, you have to walk through the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest. The Villa is a sort of private museum, so you have to buy a ticket to go in. The grounds were contemplative and lovely.


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I’ve blogged about apologies in from Congress as well as the State of California regarding the Chinese exclusionary laws. On Monday, August 3rd, 2015, the city of Seattle apologized as well:

2015_08_03_Seattle_City_Council“The Seattle City Council approved a resolution Monday expressing regret for legislation passed in the 1800s that discriminated against Chinese immigrants. Laws passed by Washington Territory, which became Washington state in 1889, barred Chinese people from voting, owning land and giving evidence in court cases that involved Caucasian people, according to the council. The council itself adopted several anti-Chinese ordinances in 1885. The next year, an anti-Chinese riot forced 350 Chinese people to leave Seattle, according to the council.”

Councilmember Nick Licata sponsored the resolution at the request of the Greater Seattle Chapter of the OCA Asian Pacific American Advocates and the local chapter of the Chinese American Citizens Alliance.

Several members of the public also added their comments.

You can watch the video of the council meeting online.


collegeDebate held at Harvard University discusses the question “Does Affirmative Action On Campus Do More Harm Than Good?” as featured on NPR Intelligence Squared U.S. Debates Podcast.


Gil Asakawa’s newest edition of his JA sourcebook, Being Japanese American is chock full of information and anecdotes to guide anyone through Japanese American life, questions, issues, etc. I should say, of course, that I am not Japanese American, but I nevertheless found the book enlightening and enjoyable to read.

Reading this book is like having a conversation with the author, written in a personal style and tone that’s very accessible. And I have to say that in many ways it reminds of the kind of book you want to give a teenager who’s coming of age. It’s filled with answers to question that a young teenage JA or AAPI might not feel comfortable asking peers or parents about, and with quotes and life stories that make you feel less alone in the world–make you realize that your experience, while unique, is also shared.

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If you’ve been following the presidential campaign as I have, you know that when Donald Trump announced that he was running for president, in his announcement, he ignited a firestorm regarding the issue of immigration when he stated:

“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

Now it looks like former Republican presidential frontrunner Jeb Bush has gotten into a bit of trouble regarding immigration when trying to clarify his usage of the pejorative term ‘anchor babies‘, and commenting that:

Jeb_Bush_anchor_baby_comment_response“But on Monday during a visit to Texas near the US border with Mexico, when responding to a question about whether the “anchor baby” row would hurt his ability to win the Hispanic vote, Bush said the situation has more to do with other immigrants.

“What I was talking about was the specific case of fraud being committed where there’s organized efforts — and frankly it’s more related to Asian people coming into our country, having children in that organized effort, taking advantage of a noble concept with birthright citizenship,” Bush said.”

Considering that Bush is a former governor and a the son and brother of former presidents, you would think that he would be a little bit more polished.

What Bush was referring to is what is more commonly known as ‘birth tourism,’ primarily covered in the press (and I’m guessing, most representeted by) well-to-do Chinese expectant mothers visiting the U.S. for the sole purpose of giving birth in the U.S. to guarantee U.S. citizenship for their child and shortly afterwards, return to China. In the future, the parents could have the option to send their child to the U.S. for higher education and at age 21 sponsor them for U.S. citizenship. 8Asians has covered this topic extensively, most recently with the federal raids on ‘birth tourism hotels’ in California.

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Back in June, I had blogged that Olympic skater Michelle Kwan had joined the Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.  At the time, I wondered if Kwan was going to be the lead go-to-person for Asian American & Pacific Islanders (AAPI) outreach for the Clinton campaign. From the few Clinton fundraiser emails I’ve received from Kwan, her title is Surrogate Outreach Coordinator. But now it looks like the Clinton campaign has hired Lisa Changadveja, an experienced and passionate Clinton supporter as AAPI Outreach Director for Hillary for America:

Lisa_Changadveja_HFA“In an effort to target, mobilize, and win the fast-growing Asian American-Pacific Islander (AAPI) electorate, Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign will announce today that Lisa Changadveja has been named the AAPI Outreach Director for Hillary for America.

According to the campaign, Changadveja was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, the daughter of Thai immigrants, and has a long history with Clinton campaigns.

She first joined Hillary Clinton’s 2007 presidential campaign team, mobilizing voters in Nevada, Ohio, and Indiana. In 2013, Changadveja served as the AAPI and LGBT Director for Ready for Hillary, an independent super PAC created to help launch Clinton’s 2016 presidential run.”

I look forward to seeing what Changadveja, and more broadly, all the presidential candidates and political parties do in terms of outreach to the AAPI community. As I have noted before, although nationally, Asian Americans make close to 6% of the U.S. population, in key swing states such as Nevada and Virginia, we could be a decisive factor as to who wins the presidency.

First of all, the Clinton campaign needs to update their website to add in AAPIs section in regards to creating an official email list for organizing, outreach and fundraising (like when Obama did back when he was running in 2008). There’s already (I believe) an independently created Facebook group for AAPI for Hillary group.




As I had blogged once, I had met the author of The Fortune Cookie Chronicles, Jennifer 8. Lee, once while she was promoting the book when the book was just coming out and follow her on Facebook & Twitter. When the documentary The Search For General Tso came out, I had blogged about the film. I saw recently that Lee had posted that the documentary (where she’s a producer on the film), was now available on Netflix. I just recently began using Netflix a couple of months ago when my brother created a profile for myself, and I can see how addicting it can be.


Lee had also posted that she was especially proud that the documentary has a 94% “freshness” rating on Rotten Tomatoes. So if you have a Netflix account, definitely watched the documentary – it goes over the history of Chinese food in America as well as the origins of General Tso’s chicken.

tenryuji temple

We had come to this area primarily for the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest, but we found so much more than we had expected. One of the things about the city of Kyoto is that there’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site around like every corner. We were practically tripping over them. It’s clearly why Harry Truman said no to Kyoto as a target for the nuclear bombings in World War II.

tenryuji temple

I had read that the Tenryu-ji temple, the head temple of Rinzai Zen Buddhism, was in this area and thought we would check it out if we had some time, but we ended up having to park our rented bicycles in the Tenryu-ji temple parking lot. So it ended up being the first place we explored on foot in the area.
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UntitledHighly venomous sea snakes are harvested from the ocean in the Gulf of Thailand to fill a growing demand for the consumption of these snakes in food, drinks, and medicine all around Asia, as documented and reported by National Geographic Emerging Explore Zoltan Takacs. Many of the snake traders face dangerous conditions, and the trade is taking a toll on the environment as well.

Since I first read the excerpted piece back in January 2011 in the Wall Street Journal from the book “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” by Amy Chua titled “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior,” the term “Tiger Mom” has been part of the American vernacular to symbolize ridiculous Asian & Asian American parental practices focused on raising perfect Model Minority high achieving, SAT acing and Ivy League accepted children at-any-and-all-costs.

I think the last time I had blogged about Amy Chua, it was about her daughter Sophia and her giving a high school commencement speech due to the fact that she graduated as valedictorian and had decided to attend Harvard over Yale, where her Tiger Mom is a professor. So I was kind of shocked about how time flies by when I saw a friend post this Harvard [Alumni] Magazine article about the younger daughter, Lulu finishing her freshman year and her older sister, Sophia, having just graduated – and apparently both of them are normal:

2015_07_Harvard_Magazine_Tiger_Daughters“Since the book was published in 2011, Chua’s two Jewish-Chinese-American daughters, Lulu and her elder sister, Sophia ’15, have captured the public imagination. How the two girls fare once they enter adulthood has become the final testament to whether Chua’s parenting style—which all but stirred a culture war—can really be justified. According to the book’s afterward, critics predicted that Chua’s children would grow up “friendless, robotic, mentally ill, and suicidal.”

It takes only a brief encounter with Lulu herself to realize how wrong they were. Now a rising sophomore at Harvard, she is thriving. A friend described her as a warm, witty, and popular girl who “somehow always gets away with hosting parties in her dorm.” Her boss at her summer job said she is charismatic, intuitive, and “willing to put herself out there.” Both praised her remarkable work ethic—a core value her mother sought to instill.”

I truly do hope that Chua’s daughters have not been traumatized by their mother’s tiger parenting practices. If anything, I think there was enough backlash against extreme Tiger parenting that her book did more help than harm.

Since the publishing of her infamous book, Chua and her husband had published another controversial book, The Triple Package: How Three Unlikely Traits Explain the Rise and Fall of Cultural Groups in America, which helped reinforce the concept of “model minority.”

Michelle Waterson’s UFC Win Angela Magana


UntitledWhat a fun fight this was (finally available on UFC Fightpass). And not just because Waterson won.

The fight started off generally even-footed, but there was a hint of what was to come as Magana tried to take down Waterson and Waterson was the one to throw her down on the octagon floor.

There was a really tense minute where Waterson got her arm really caught by Magana in an armbar, and it really looked like it was caught bad, but Waterson was able to shift and pull out. It’s not the first time we’ve seen Waterson’s flexibility and technique help her out of armbar danger.

After that exciting moment, the rest of the fight was just a showcase of Waterson’s abilities, including her newly upgraded wrestling strength and skills. After throwing Magana down a few times, a few armbar submission attempts, and basically very dominantly kicking, punching, and kneeing her opponent around the cage, Waterson finished the fight by choking Magana, causing the latter to tap out about midway through the third round.

For the full fight, check it out on the July 12, 2015 The Ultimate Fighter Finale on UFC Fight Pass.

Recently, the local National Public Radio affiliate station KQED’s program, Forum, hosted a discussion on the history of the Chinese railroad workers as the 150th anniversary of when Chinese workers began to work on the transcontinental railroad:

calisphere_frank_leslie_980_520“The Transcontinental Railroad has been dubbed a feat of 19th century engineering and has been credited with opening California up to trade. Despite the importance of the project, little is known about the individual lives of the 12,000 Chinese immigrants who laid the track between Sacramento and the Sierra Nevada. Now, 150 years after Chinese workers began working on the railroad, we look back on the contributions of those workers and learn about the Stanford project that’s piecing together their personal stories.”

The program guests included:

You can also download the mp3 instead of streaming the program – download here (23.6 MB).

I’ve been impressed with the amount of coverage the Chinese railroad workers have been getting this past year, especially with the Chinese railroad workers being inducted into the U.S. Labor Hall of Honor earlier this May.