Hopping on the Taipei MRT local subway, you can easily take one of the main lines to the very northern stop at a small town called Dansui, also spelled “Tamsui”. This small town was once a major port of commerce in the 1800s, and it has historic sites worth checking out, such as the Dutch Fort San Domingo or Hongmao Castle and old temples that have absorbed the hopes, fears, and dreams of generations of people in the area. Unfortunately, our time constraints didn’t allow us to visit such historic points of interest, but we did at least get a chance to enjoy a bike ride along the harbor and really experience the ambiance of the place.
I’d read that Dansui is known for beautiful sunsets, but our day was a cloudy one. Nevertheless, there was a certain mysterious otherworldly feel to the place as a result, and the gloom actually created its own sort of melancholy beauty.
Of course, we had to start off with renting our bikes.
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It’s the news that’s lighting up the internet… Jeremy Lin was traded by the Houston Rockets to the Los Angeles Lakers.
JLin himself hasn’t made a public comment yet, but keep I keep reloading his Twitter feed (@JLin7) to see if he does.
Since this is an evolving, breaking story, I’ll just put up some links.
If you didn’t already know, the announcement that UFC Fight Pass is now distributing top female MMA promotion Invicta FC content was already big news, but the bigger news is they finally announced date and fight card for Invicta FC8: Waterson vs. Tamada.
That’s right, the highly anticipated IFC8 is headlined by two Asian women MMA fighters in a championship bout. Excuse me while I implode with excitement.
Asian American Michelle “Karate Hottie” Waterson will be defending her Atomweight champion belt against Yasuko Tamada from Japan. Another notable APIA female MMA fighter is Jinh Yu Frey, also atomweight, who will be fighting her first Invicta fight against Invicta veteran Jodi Esquibel. Time to get my Fight Pass.
Please Note: This story is fictional and was originally intended for a children’s book.
Previously… “Kuma” (Part 1)
Kuma (Pt. 2)
Eddy was a Nisei, which means second generation Japanese. In other words, his parents were born in Japan, but he was born in America and was therefore a citizen. Because he had never visited his parent’s homeland and since he couldn’t speak a word of their native language, he always felt more American than Japanese.
But when others saw Eddy, they saw the enemy. At school, the other kids wouldn’t let him play baseball during recess and the teachers stopped calling on him in class. They all blamed him for what Japan had done. It was the first time Eddy felt more Japanese than American.
Not everyone stopped being friends with Eddy. Julia told him. “Now you have more time for me.”
Kuma barked, which was his way of saying, “Don’t forget about me, too!”
A month after Mr. Murakami was taken away, the family finally got a letter from him. Mr. Murakami told them that he was safe, but he couldn’t say where he was.
In late March 1942, Eddy was playing catch with Kuma and Julia when one of their old Japanese neighbors walked past them in tears.
In general, I don’t like to shop for clothes. When I do shop for clothes, I do like to check out Banana Republic (though lately, I’ve been checking out Uniqlo) and do subscribe to their email list.
Usually, unless there is a massive sale in the email announcement, I usually ignore and delete the email pretty quickly.
But the other day, I got this email, and was kind of shocked to see only an Asian American male model highlighted in this email ad. I’m still kind of in shock. Next thing we know, we’ll see Abercrombie and Fitch doing the same thing … nah …
Season 3, Episode 3: “About a Boy, His Mom, and the Man They’re Dating” (originally aired July 1, 2014)
Microsynopsis: Carol is at first shocked and then pleased to realize that Daryl (Charles Shaughnessy) has become her boyfriend. Owen is initially uncomfortable with Daryl, but after they spend the day at a ballgame together, Owen realizes he may have found the father he never had. Soon, Carol and Owen are arguing about who should get more time with Daryl. Meanwhile, Ok Cha and Roy challenge each other to a “spice-off,” a competition to see whose tolerance for the other’s cultural spicy food is greatest.
Good: If the writers are going for a Cheers-like sense of place, they do themselves a favor with this episode, in which more of the bar’s space is put to use than just the office in back and the bar up front. As the ringleader of the spice-off, Steve is put front and center while the action swirls around him. With Melanie serving as ringside physician, the nice, easy chemistry between these characters (which is one of the few things this show consistently nails) does most of the work, and the result is a friendly-neighborhood-bar vibe that the show seems to seek but seldom manages. There are two lines of dialogue I was caught off-guard by: one where Hank talks about our forefathers dying so that a black man could compete against a Korean woman in an eating contest (an allusion to Sonya Thomas and Eric Booker? I might be reaching, but it’s funny either way), and one where Steve offers a quick, legalese-sounding disclaimer absolving the bar of any injuries that might be incurred by the spice-off participants. Both lines had me laughing aloud, and that second one was a nice reminder of Steve’s former career.
Bad: I don’t find the ickiness of Owen’s relationship with Carol at all funny (most of the time), and this episode puts it right up front. The others’ discomfort with it continues to be mildly amusing, as a running gag, but I find it funnier as an unspoken ickiness. While the spice-off subplot is pretty good for character development, it’s not especially interesting. Most annoying is the complete absence of Susan in this episode.
Hapa moment: Although the spice-off is framed as Korea vs. America (at least culturally), Jack and Steve side with (and even lay money on) Ok Cha, giving the contest an our-family-vs.-everyone-else kind of feeling. It’s sweet, up until the moment Ok Cha calls Steve a “dumb sh**.”
Overall: The continued development of Steve as a low-key, charismatic leader of the bar’s activity is an encouragement. He’s a likable main character, and Melanie as his second banana works really, really well. Owen has some serious issues that, if the show decides it wants to go there, could really play well in the future for some dark comedic themes, although I’m unsure that would work with the show’s vibe as it currently exists. Still, it’s a pretty forgettable episode, one that even a fan of the show (which I am!) could probably miss entirely and not really miss anything.
Final Grade, this episode: C.
It’s an understatement to say I have a soft spot for cats. So when I heard that Taiwan had a village full of cats, my trip simply would not be complete without visiting the Houtong Cat Village.
Upon arrival at the train station, everything is cat themed. Even the pineapple cakes are made in the shape of cats. Most of the cats are running loose, skipping over rooftops or lazing in little cat homes and carriers everywhere. Of course, the cats are the rock stars here, and those little fur balls definitely know it and live it up.
On May 10, 2014, over 500 people captured more than 2,000 moments through a collection of photos and films for the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center. The result, after curation, is today’s opening of A Day in the Life of Asian Pacific America 2014.
Statement of Appreciation from Guest Curator Eddie Wong
When the idea of doing “A Day in the Life of Asian Pacific America” percolated in my head, I knew deep down that the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center would be the ideal home for this online exhibit. Although it is a small and relatively new institution, its spirit is large and it embraces the mission to blaze new paths in interpreting the American experience through the lens of Asian Pacific America wholeheartedly.
I want to thank Smithsonian APAC and Curator Adriel Luis for growing this project from idea to reality. As you can see, the scope of the project is extensive, and we could not have achieved this without the generosity of all the photographers and videographers donated hours of work to help create this global portrait of APA life.
As someone who has worked in the APA cultural field for decades, I’m gratified to see that the spirit of cooperation burns brightly among our community and arts organizations. When the call went out to help publicize the project, many organizations stepped forward willingly and several went even further by sponsoring photography workshops and events to further build a sense of community among the artists who would band together on May 10, 2014.
I hope that viewers will not only see the commonality among our diverse APA lives but also appreciate the potential of our united communities. As we launch this exhibit on July 4, we assert our place in the U.S. and offer to it all our beauty, wishes, hopes and dreams.
Please Note: This story is fictional and was originally intended for a children’s book.
Eddy Murakami’s10th birthday was on July 4, 1941 and he knew he wanted a dog. He even had a name picked out already. The dog’s name was going to be Kuma, which in Japanese means, “bear.”
For the entire month of June, Eddy begged his dad to get him a dog.
“Dad, can I have a dog?” Eddy would ask every time he saw him.
And every time Mr. Murakami would say, “No.”
But Eddy wasn’t the kind of boy that took no for an answer. So he kept asking.
By the time his birthday finally came, Eddy hadn’t been able to change his dad’s mind. That’s why when his dad came home from work with a handsome 100-pound Akita, he had to pinch himself to make sure he wasn’t dreaming.
“Happy birthday,” Mr. Murakami told Eddy.
Mrs. Murakami asked him, “What are you going to call him?”
Eddy didn’t have to think about it. “Kuma.” And the funny thing was that Kuma really did look like a bear!
“That’s a great name,” Mr. Murakami said.
And from that point on, Kuma was part of the Murakami family.
Kuma and Eddy quickly became best friends. Kuma went everywhere Eddy went. They even slept in the same bed! His mom told him that he’d get bit by fleas, but Eddy didn’t care. He couldn’t fall asleep without Kuma right next to him.
Every day they visited Eddy’s other best friend, Julia, who lived right down the street from the Murakami’s. Kuma liked Julia because she tied fancy bows in his hair and gave him lots of hugs and kisses.
December 7, 1941 started like any other Sunday. Eddy and his mom went to the Church down the street. During the middle of the service, people began to whisper that Japan had attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Eddy knew his dad would want to know the news right away, so he excused himself and ran all the way home.
But when he got to his house, Eddy knew something was wrong. There was a strange car parked in the driveway and the front door was wide open.
Sullivan & Son is now in its third season, and it’s time to admit that it’s just not very good. It doesn’t suck most of the time, but it has sucky pieces in sufficient numbers to make it never as good as it could be, which saddens me, because, as I wrote last year, I so very badly want for it (and its hapa main character) to succeed. Last summer, I set out to do episode recaps for the whole season, but I just wasn’t strong enough of heart and steely enough of spirit.
But yay. The gods of hapa-ness smiled down upon my efforts anyway and renewed S&S for another thirteen-episode summer season. Not one to look a second-chance gifthorse in the mouth, I’m leaping in with refreshed resolve and am determined to leg it out for the duration. May heaven have mercy on my soul and may Vivian Bang notice my efforts and give me a big, wet kiss on the cheek the next time she’s in Hawaii.
For those too lazy to click back to my first recap last year, here’s a Pink Monkey breakdown of the SparkNotes explanation of the Cliffs Notes description of the show.
If you follow California politics, you may have been following the California State Controller’s race. John Chiang, the current state controller is terming out. California now has an open primary – where voters can vote, even if they are registered to a political party, can vote for any candidate, not only their own party. And when you have an open primary, the two top vote-getters proceed onto the general election in November. Because there were several Democrats who ran in the June primary, Republican candidate Ashley Swearengin came in first with 24.8% of the vote, though on election night, it looked like the 2nd most vote-getter would be another Republican, David Evans.
But as the days progressed, Democrats John Pérez and Betty Yee see-sawed back-and-forth ahead of each from a few hundred to a few thousand votes with 21.7% of the vote each:
“Lake County in Northern California was the last, with 6,053 ballots left to count. They were finally counted Monday, and although Perez pulled in more votes in Lake County, the new votes appeared to unofficially give Yee 484 votes more than Perez statewide. … If Perez asks for a recount, it would be the first recount by a candidate in state history.“
That is crazy close considering over 4 million ballots were cast in the primary. Personally, if I were Perez, I would definitely ask for a recount! But congratulations to Yee – Yee is currently on the Board of Equalization and is based in the Bay Area and I have had a chance to meet her a few times and a variety of political-related events. Since no Republican has been elected to state-wide office in California in a while, I think it is pretty much a given that Yee will be elected as California’s next State Controller this November – which is great to see another Asian American to be elected to statewide office (I’m assuming, since John Chiang won 55% of the vote for State Treasurer in the primary, that he will win in the fall as well).
When I was undergraduate at Princeton during the last century, instituting an Asian American Studies (AAS) program was a focus of the university’s Asian American Students Association. After decades of effort by many students, Alumni, and professors, Princeton University finally has an official program in AAS. Beth Lew-Williams will join the faculty to teach a course on Asian American history in the spring of 2015. While the long period of time it took to get this course can be looked at as Princeton’s intransigence, this development reflects an evolution in Asian American Studies.