The Arashiyama area is a “touristy” location, which makes it sound like one of those ugly tourist traps flooded with souvenir shops vomiting cheap goods onto sidewalks. Not so. It does have souvenir tourist shops, but a lot of the stuff is a lot more tasteful than the cheapo “I <3 [insert city here]” fare, with some gorgeous products such as handcrafted chopsticks or beautiful coin purses.
It probably helps that it’s been a “tourist” spot for over a thousand years.
There are a lot of gorgeous sights to see in this area, but let’s start with the bamboo forest itself, which, as you can see, is simply otherworldly.
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“A woman stops into Sittingham’s Furniture and thanks to Experian, she knows her credit score is 812. She knows she qualifies for all the great deals and wants to know what else the salesman can offer her. She gets lower and lower into the chair to give subtle hints she wants the ottoman, not same day delivery. See what you can have with Experian.”
Your credit score, commonly known as FICO, and essentially determines how credit worthy you are and whether or not you are qualified for a loan, and can affect what interest rate you can get on a loan. By law, you can get a free credit report once a year from the three major credit agencies – here at https://www.annualcreditreport.com/
After Googling “experian commercial actress,” I discovered that I’ve seen Chen in other television commercials – I think my first recollection is her in a State Farm commercial, and maybe this Wendy’s commercial for their Berry Almond Chicken Salad – though she looks a bit different from the Experian and State Farm commercial.
It was just last December 2014 when Herica Tiburcio from Brazil took the Invicta FC atom weight championship belt from America’s Michelle Waterson with a guillotine choke. On July 9th at Invicta FC 13, Japan’s Ayaka Hamasaki challenged Tiburcio for that atomweight belt and won it on a split decision. Hamasaki is now the first Japanese fighter to be a champion in a division of this all-women’s mixed martial arts fight promotion. Her coach and corner was the legendary Mega Megumi of the infamous toe hold finish.
Defeating the current UFC fighter Waterson is not a light affair, so you can imagine Tiburcio was quite the opponent at this lightning fast weight division. She had finished Waterson with a guillotine choke (imagine someone bending forward and under your armpit and you wrapping your arm around their neck and tightening it in a deathlock). I definitely expected Tiburcio to win this one, not knowing too much about Hamasaki, but as I saw Tiburcio attempt a few guillotine chokes on Hamasaki that failed and then Hamasaki advancing quite steadily in her striking against Tiburcio, I started to realize Hamasaki was not only holding her own but winning the fight, if only by a small lead.
When Hamasaki was announced the winner, she was the one suddenly overcome with emotion and tears as former champion Tiburcio came up to her with a big smile and gave her congratulatory hug. I became a fan of Hamasaki after that fight and am definitely looking forward to seeing her defend her belt.
Charlotte Brooks’ new book, Between Mao and McCarthy, is an impressive scholarly tome on the evolution of Chinese American politics in the years after World War II. It looks specifically at the evolution of politics in New York and San Francisco–the main Chinese populations in the United States. Brooks examines how Chinese Americans turned from a predominant focus on China politics to a distinctly Chinese American politics rooted in improving their livelihoods in the United States and partaking in Democratic and Republican party politics.
Brooks’ inclusion of the prominent voices in community newspapers and her detailed information about the power players within New York and San Francisco lend an insider’s view on a turbulent time for Chinese American communities–amidst red-baiting and the evolving conflict between the PRC and ROC. Such stories and voices showcase and shed new light on a dynamic and evolving conversation about the role of local, regional, national, and international politics in Chinese American life.
Her analysis, in showing how New York and San Francisco’s Chinese American politics developed differently, also provides intriguing insight into how to think about the differences between the Chinese American populations and politics in the two cities today.
A giant freshwater stingray, was found in Southeast Asia, and is possibly the largest freshwater fish in the world, as reported by National Geographic Fellow Zeb Hogan. The stingray is featured in a series about monster fish that are endangered.
Recently, the ESPYs (Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly Award) show aired, and as part of that show, there was a comedic bit in between presenting the awards where actor Ken Jeong apologies on behalf of Alex Rodriguez for all sort of things except the obvious:
“Alex Rodriguez may not have been invited to the MLB All-Star Game on Tuesday, but he was front and center at the ESPYs on Wednesday. In one segment, the recently returned New York Yankee came out on stage flanked by comedian Ken Jeong, who announced he was hired to read a statement of apology from A-Rod. … Jeong said on behalf of A-Rod, “To anyone who has watched ‘The Hangover,’ I’m sorry you had to see Ken Jeong’s pe…,” well, you can watch the video if you really want to know. The real punch line here, of course, is that A-Rod never apologized for using performance enhancing drugs that led MLB to ban him from baseball for a year.”
I’m not a huge fan of Jeong’s character that made him famous in The Hangover, Mr. Chow. And in the above comedic interlude, Jeong apologies to everyone for having to see his “tiny, grossley mis-shappened and unpatriotic penis” in The Hangover – whatever that means. I’ve seen various postings on Facebook referencing how insulting – this was coming from an Asian American male given the stereotype. What do you think?
Jeong also did plugged his new TV show premiering this fall, Dr. Ken, which I had no problems with, since it looks promising and hopefully Jeong’s portrayal of a doctor and his family life (essentially his life), is more of a realistic portrayal of an everyday character than his manic personalities he’s played in the past. When Jeong is discussing his wife when she battled cancer, I see the more serious and real side of Jeong, and hope to see him play more non-manic characters. It’ll be interesting to see how Ken comes across in Dr. Ken as a doctor and family man.
The island of Itsukushima and the Itsukushima Shrine on the island are popularly known as Miyajima. I had no idea this place existed until one of my traveling companions requested to go there on one of our day trips. Staying in Kyoto, we took a shinkansen high speed train down to Hiroshima area and then a Japan Railway ferry to the island, all of this travel conveniently included in our JR Pass with no extra charge.
The ferry ride to the island is quite fun and beautiful.
The first thing we saw when we arrived on the island was a deer. And then another deer. And then another, and another, and another. At first, we were charmed by how the deer showed no fear of the humans who were sidling up to them to take close ups or selfies. We quickly took some photos and videos, thinking they would soon be spooked and scurry away. Boy were we naive.
The untold story of the Chinese immigrant experience during the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad.
Back in 2011, when AMC launched its new television series Hell on Wheels about the construction of the First Transcontinental Railroad, there was some concern about “Do Chinese Pioneers Get Railroaded in AMC’s ‘Hell on Wheels’?”:
““Hell on Wheels” ignores the Central Pacific line, focusing instead on the Union Pacific, which was built eastward from Omaha, Nebraska by a workforce consisting mostly of Irish immigrants, along with a handful of black freedmen and veterans of the just-concluded Civil War. … According to the show’s producers, Joe and Tony Gayton, the program was originally developed with storylines along both the Central and Union lines. Unfortunately, because of concerns about budget and complexity of narrative, the producers were pushed to focus on just one branch. … “What a lot of people think of when they think about the Transcontinental Railroad is the contribution of the Chinese immigrants,” Tony Gayton elaborated at AMC’s summer press event, according to the Post. … And the record shows that in 1865, the Union Pacific line employed exactly zero Chinese workers. A few enterprising Chinese may have found their way to the tent cities — “There were people of all sorts of different races in these towns, no question about that,” Thomas says. “Were there some Chinese? There certainly could have been some.””
Well, it looks like in Season 5 based on this released AMC video, Hell on Wheels will be including the Chinese railroad workers and acknowledges the importance, especially on the 150th anniversary of the first Chinese railroad workers starting to work on the transcontinental railroad.
I’ve never watched an episode of Hell on Wheels, but maybe I’ll start watching to learn a little bit about what it was like for the Chinese to help build the railroad.
I thought it appropriate to post about my trip to Hiroshima, Japan on the actual 70th year anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima by the United States in World War II, August 6, 1945. Taking a day trip down to Hiroshima from Kyoto was made possible, affordable, and extremely convenient with the high speed shinkansen trains and our Japan Rail pass. The ride down was only about 2 hrs long.
Within the last three years, I actually visited Pearl Harbor at Hawaii and then Manzanar Internment Camps in eastern California. It wasn’t a planned progression, but in retrospect, it was actually a very fitting one, finishing off this complete circle with Hiroshima. At each location, it was hard to not break into tears.
I made it a point to visit Hiroshima this trip to Japan. What I really wanted was to be at the epicenter of the explosion, which is right around where the Atomic Bomb Dome, Peace Memorial Park, and Peace Memorial Museum are located. I wanted to look up at the sky and imagine Colonel Paul W. Tibbets, Jr. flying the Enola Gay overhead, imagine Little Boy falling out of the sky, imagine it detonating about 2,000ft above me, scorching and melting everything within a one mile radius, killing up to 70,000 people, some instantly, some slowly, flesh melting off their bodies, puking out their internal organs as the radiation ate through their flesh, many of them children and students who had been summoned to the area to work on rebuilding projects.
The first thing I saw was the Atomic Bomb Dome or Genbaku Dome, which had originally been an Industrial Promotion Hall 1915. Everyone died inside the building from the blast, but it was one of the few buildings left standing and preserved as a memorial. In December 1996, it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The winter day we visited, it was appropriately gloomy, and the building was actually going under some structural reinforcing, so it was surrounded by scaffolding. At first, I was a tad bummed, because I wanted to see the building on its own, but then it still made a stark figure against the sky and was not at all a disappointment in conveying the depth of meaning and history burned into its walls.
And burned into walls of the building history was.
Our internal e-mail lists have us discussing all kinds of stuff: Asian American identity, representation in the media, the experiences of activism in an academia setting and its progression as we transition to the working, adult world. The subject of Jennifer Pan, the Asian Canadian who faked her accomplishments to please her parents and later arranged with her boyfriend to have them killed, generated this conversation about Tiger parenting and leaving home:
Christine: I’m not entirely sure what to say in relation to the article, but I am curious about what experiences everyone else had with their parents. Looking back at the parenting decisions your folks made and whether or not the strict or not so strict restrictions on building personal character had an impact on you. What did you do to break-free from their hold because I’m pretty sure there is that transition between the adult child and parent.
I ask because there was another incident in Toronto where an Asian girl went missing and the last footage that was seen of her was in a bank downtown (far from where she actually lived but was near the train station). At the time, there were numerous other crimes/ incidents involving Asian girls and this was yet another among them, so it seemed that everyone was fearing the worst. She wasn’t answering her cellphone, her voicemail was full, she apparently had a heart condition and wasn’t carrying any medication for it. After reading all the reports and looking at the footage, I suspected she actually ran away and would turn up a couple of days later. But as everyone I too feared the worst. She was later located in Vancouver and watching the press conference held upon her return suggested that there was some sort of nuanced family dynamics. Some commenters suggested that she was spoiled, but I don’t think someone who is spoiled would garner that many friends to launch a social media search. To me all signs point to a smothering or restrictive parenting.
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I am not the Pandora’s Box of hate speech that some afraid I’ve turned into.
I am an anti-racist, social justice activist who has been battling in the trenches. My weapon is a bass guitar, not a bullet. I believe in creating meaningful conversation, not shutting down people, especially those with opposing views.
I started an Asian American band called The Slants. These days, we’re probably more known for fighting the government than for fighting stereotypes. But in either case, we’re challenging systemic racism.
In what seemed like a century ago, we filed a simple application for a trademark registration but it turned into an unimaginable legal debacle that has spanned six years, thousands of pages of argument, when the Trademark Office decided that the band name was a racial slur. They said that my intention didn’t matter: my ethnicity provided the context for the common, everyday word to become a racial slur. The logic used by the Trademark Office is troubling: anyone may register a trademark for “Slant” except Asians. We are too Asian. But we aren’t afraid to fire back.
Our justice work has been called empowering, racist, important, shameful. I’ve received death threats from white supremacists and encouragement from activists of all stripes. I’ve thrown into the media spotlight to have my intentions scrutinized under a microscope. I’ve heard more false stories, assumptions, and misquotes about me than I can count.
Most recently, and what has stung the most, was that I received accusations from several Asian American legal groups. There’s a guest blog on Angry Asian Man, which explains the ethical problems that I have with their approach here.
The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), the South Asian Bar Association of DC (SABA-DC), and Korematsu Center of Seattle University filed a legal brief in full support of the Trademark Office’s action.They believed that it was important to do so because our case “may affect the power of the government to deny or cancel trademarks that contain disparaging content,” which could give a “federal stamp of approval” for said behavior or content.
In other words, it came from a position of fear. It was an ends-justify-the-means, broadly sweeping process that meant some people along the way had to get hurt. In this case, those targets included my band, as well as all activists, artists, nonprofits, and businesses that engage in reapproriation as a method for creating social change. They believe that my case may open the floodgate of hate speech.
However, is it worth suppressing the voices of the oppressed in fear of losing one avenue for protecting against disparaging trademark registrations? Is the solution for hate speech censorship? No, the solution is more speech. Better speech.
The American Civil Liberties Union writes, “Free speech rights are indivisible. Restricting the speech of one group or individual jeopardizes everyone’s rights because the same laws or regulations used to silence bigots can be used to silence you. Conversely, laws that defend free speech for bigots can be used to defend the rights of civil rights workers, anti-war protesters, lesbian and gay activists and others fighting for justice.”
By upholding the law the Trademark Office is using to oppose The Slants (and all trademarks that on their surface look to be disparaging), it further equips hate groups to dismantle the work of groups like the NAACP, since “colored people” can be considered a disparaging term. It also puts the sole power of determining what is and isn’t offensive in the hands of trademark attorneys who aren’t trained in cultural competency, equitable practices, or the nuances of poetry, irony, reappropriation, or linguistic changes.
Those same attorneys demand, “prove to be that you are not offensive” but are allowed to dismiss any evidence that they disagree with. In my case, that meant dismissing over 2,000 pages of evidence, including national surveys and linguistics experts testifying. It meant that they took the words of racist wiki-websites over those of internment camp survivors, activists, and community leaders.
This law is subjectively and disproportionately applied.
The Fushimi Inari shrine is meant for grain, wine, rice, and general prosperity. It’s most recognizable for its thousands of torii of all sizes, purchased by individuals, organizations, or companies for luck. The amazing result of such a tradition is a breathtaking 4K mountain hike covered in these bright red torii gates.
We spent about half a day here, and I would say the hike can range from easy to moderate to kind of hard depending on how far, how fast, and how high you want to go. I think next time I’m there, I’d like to spend a day there just enjoying the atmosphere of the place, probably bring a bento (ekiben anyone?) along.
When you first get there, you’re greeted by a large gate tori that you can actually see from the train station, so the place is not hard to find.