Photographer Paul Kitagaki Jr. has been tracking down Japanese American internees who were photographed in pictures like the one above by Dorothea Lange. He has constructed an exhibit called Gambatte! Legacy of an Enduring Spirit, which features pictures from the internment era paired with pictures of those subjects today. You can see what the two girls in the front look like now, in the picture taken by Kitagaki shown below.
Gambatte! Legacy of an Enduring Spirit can be seen at the Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center through January 17, 2016. Kitagaki is still looking for more people in those old photographs. He says in this interview:
“I’m in a race against time as many of the subjects are in their 80s and 90s and passing away. I hope their stories are not lost forever”
(photo credit: Copyright@2012 Paul Kitagaki Jr.)
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As you may know, Taiwanese American NBA basketball sensation Jeremy Lin joined the Charlotte [North Carolina] Hornets this season. If you’ve ever been to North Carolina, you know there aren’t a lot of Asians there, and even fewer Chinese restaurants.
The Fung Brothers made a special trip to Charlotte to visit Lin and to check out the Americanized Chinese food scene there. Lin mentions that his parents would be disappointed if he went for “fake Chinese food,” like that at Panda Express.
I’m not a big fan of Americanized Chinese food, especially now living in California, but I’ll have my share if I want something different or just have no other good choices.
Dr. Ken, Season 1, Episode 11: “Delayed in Honolulu”
Original airdate January 8, 2016.
Symptoms: The Park family, returning from its vacation in Honolulu, is delayed at the airport, where Ken meets Dr. Mehmet Oz. Ken hopes to trade seats with Dr. Oz in order for the whole family to sit together. Molly is frustrated about not hearing from her boyfriend, and Allison accidentally gets involved by sending him a text from Molly’s phone. Back at Welltopia, the post-holiday flu season finds the staff short-handed, leaving Dr. Julie with her first stint as physician in charge.
Diagnosis: I’m on record (multiple times) as being generally opposed to guest stars in sitcoms, so I won’t harp on it again. I do appreciate removing the family from its living room and kitchen, and having all four Parks in a new, different enclosed space is interesting, but there was a chance here to play with the dynamics, with different combinations of characters engaging in different conversations. We get a little more of this at Welltopia, where the staff carries on without Dr. Ken, and the results are mostly quite good.
Prognosis: Dr. Ken made a few worst-of-2015 lists, which is not a good sign, despite pretty good ratings. That seems a bit strong. I mean, I’m never wishing, while in the middle of an episode, that I was doing something else. Most of the characters continue to be likable, and there are good laughs in every episode. I’m not going to pretend that I don’t see what the critics see, but so far, the good and bad have kind of been equal. There may be more bad, but the good is strong enough to keep things in balance. There is still reason to be optimistic, and I remain optimistic.
Rx: This is difficult to write, because I know how popular the Pat character is with the actors on the program, but Pat needs some major adjustment. He’s so overwhelmingly unbelievable that he threatens anything meaningful the rest of the show tries to accomplish. I’m not saying he can’t continue to be bizarre (and he is so bizarre), but he’s almost completely unreal. Dr. Ken didn’t make those worst-of lists because it’s objectively one of the worst shows on television; it made them because there’s reason to expect so much more from such good actors. This difference between expectation and product is a problem, and it begins with the characters. Julie and Clark were horribly cartoonish in the show’s first several episodes, but they’ve maintained their quirkiness as they’ve developed into characters we can care about. Yes, I know we’re only eleven episodes in, but that’s half a season nowadays. All I’m asking for are genuine laughs from genuine characters; that can’t be too much to ask, can it?
Don’t forget to check out Joz Wang’s Post Show and Tell this week, which includes an interview with Kate Simses from the set of Dr. Ken.
Hillary Clinton traveled to San Gabriel, California, on January 7, 2016, to launch Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) for Hillary.
Clinton joined Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) Chairwoman Judy Chu and dozens of AAPI elected officials and community leaders from across the nation. Clinton discussed what’s at stake in this election for the AAPI community, and how she’ll fight for them as president.
Hillary Clinton began her remarks with a personal anecdote about what the San Gabriel Valley region means to her, sharing that her mother grew up in nearby Alhambra.
Other speakers and dignitaries included Norm Mineta, John Chiang, San Gabriel Mayor Jason Pu, actress Ming-Na Wen, Olympian Michelle Kwan, and more.
The launch of AAPI for Hillary kicks off a number of events and activities that will engage, energize and organize AAPI voters.
Although I was born-and-raised in Massachusetts, I’ve never lived in Boston – though many people often just assume so since it’s the largest city in the state, as well as the capitol. I’ve blogged about Lisa Wong, Massachusetts’ first ever Asian American mayor, but haven’t really heard of Boston City Council member Michelle Wu until recently.
Earlier this January, Wu made history in Boston:
“Boston’s City Council voted unanimously today to elect at-large councilor Michelle Wu its next president, making her the first Asian-American and third woman to hold the seat in the body’s 106-year history.
In her first address as president, Wu said the council will take action on income inequality, criminal justice system reform, improved educational opportunities, and preparing for climate change.”
The city council is essentially the legislative body of a city. Boston has never elected an Asian American mayor, though someone I’ve blogged about, former Boston city council member Sam Yoon made a good run for role. I’m hoping Wu considers running for mayor one day.
Back in mid-December, I had blogged that the famous Taiwanese restaurant chain Din Tai Fung was opening their third restaurant in Seattle. Well now, Din Tai Fung is announcing their fourth in the area:
“International dumpling sensation Din Tai Fung is coming to Southcenter. Less than a month after announcing plans to open a third local branch of the enormously popular restaurant in downtown Seattle’s Pacific Place, franchise owner David Wasielewski says he “couldn’t be happier” to let fans know that a fourth is already in the works. The Southcenter D.T.F. is slated to open in January of 2017, with Pacific Place set for this coming summer. … The Southcenter edition will be the largest locally, at a whopping 9,400 square feet. In Pacific Place, the restaurant is taking over the 9,200-square-foot former Pnk Ultra Lounge space in a fourth-floor corner spot. The University Village Din Tai Fung is 8,800 square feet; Bellevue is 7,200. Wasielewski is also building a commissary kitchen in Sodo that will eventually serve all four locations.”
I am still waiting for the Din Tai Fung in Bay Area to open – in San Jose – currently scheduled for “Spring 2016.” My sources tell me the current schedule is for March 2016. I wonder if Din Tai Fung will announce yet another store in Seattle by then!
Image courtesy of The Seattle Times.
Into The Badlands Season 1, Episode 6: “Hand of Five Poisons”
Original airdate December 20, 2015.
Sunny tries to buy passage for himself, Veil, and M.K. by bringing a false head to the River King. He’s supposed to kill M.K., but kills a lookalike instead. They have to leave that evening, but Veil confronts Sunny about her parents killing, confirming that Sunny stood by and did nothing as Quinn killed them. Sunny’s disloyalty is outed and Quinn locks him up, using him as a card to convince M.K. to be loyal to him, especially because Quinn has seen M.K.’s special powers in action in the previous episode. However, the Widow, Quinn’s son Ryder, and the skilled clipper Zypher move to kill Quinn and the other Baron Jakoby so they can take over. Quinn uses M.K. to fight them, but Quinn is killed by Sunny, who had been released by his old mentor from the jail. Also, a group of mysterious monks show up and collect M.K., making a mess of Sunny to get to him. In the end, M.K. is being taken away by the monks, and Sunny is kidnapped, too, but by the River King who plans on trading him into slavery somewhere down the river.
If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you know I’ve been a big fan of former figure skater and Olympian Michelle Kwan.
These days, Michelle is a Surrogate Outreach Coordinator for the Hillary [Clinton] for President campaign. Back in mid-October, Michelle happened to be in San Francisco for her first ever fundraiser for Clinton and I had a chance to chat with her informally for quite a bit.
When I first met Michelle, I told her I was a big fan of hers and got to see her perform in the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics when she performed in the women’s figure skating finals – the short program. She was pleased to hear that, especially that I had seen her in the short program (where she came in first).
I asked how she got interested in public service and politics and asked if that was something she’d always been interested in while growing up? She said no, public service nor politics was something that was of any particular interest in her family while growing up. Her parents emigrated from Hong Kong and were working hard to live the American Dream (in the U.S., her father began work as a busboy, then got a job with the telephone company and bought a Chinese restaurant in Torrance, a suburb of LA).
Michelle had been skating literally almost her entire life, yet her skating career was winding down and she had to think what she was going to do for the rest of her life as she retired – something that a lot of professional athletes have to think hard about.
Her interest in public service happened by chance – and she felt that things happen for a reason. When Michelle was first invited to her first State dinner at The White House where then Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, reached out to Kwan and eventually became in November 2006, a public diplomacy ambassador. And later, Michelle worked in the State Department when Clinton was Secretary of State.
Kwan spoke to the larger group of Hillary Clinton supporters and why she was supporting Clinton, what she was doing for the campaign and then answered some questions from the audience (including my favorite question: when was she running for public office?)
As a Surrogate Outreach Coordinator, Michelle spends her time coordinating Hillary Clinton’s – surrogates, such as New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand,- for various events, and sometimes even filling in for them when there’s a conflict or someone can’t make it.
Michelle was interested in trying to get more Asian Americans involved in politics and to vote and recognized that many, like her parents while growing up are pretty busy trying to realize the American dream. However, she also understood that Asian Americans could be a presidential swing vote in places Maryland and Nevada.
As someone who has followed Michelle’s figure skating, as well as her public service and political career, it was a real honor and pleasure to meet her – and gratifying to find someone so accomplished who was so down-to-earth and humble. When I had posted my photo with Michelle on Facebook, a lot of people thought we made a good lucking couple – too bad she’s already married! One thing for sure is that Michelle has a lot of patience – everyone attending was a fan of hers as well as a Clinton supporter, and everybody wanted a photo with her. I guess that comes with the territory of being so well admired, liked and well known.
A couple years ago, a friend showed me a Ronda Rousey fight promotion video for Strikeforce and introduced me to Gina Carano‘s movie Haywire. It made me wonder if there were any Asian American women in mixed martial arts, so I started looking, and the first one I found was Michelle “The Karate Hottie” Waterson. Just her name wasn’t enough to cue me in on the fact that she was of Thai descent. I saw a note about her Thai heritage on her wikipedia article, so I started to read and watch everything I could find about her.
Waterson’s story is really compelling, especially because she’s an Asian American woman who has to fight both gender and race stereotypes. I’m sure she’d be set for life if she got a dollar for every time someone asked her, “You’re so pretty, why would you fight?” On top of that, she’s a mom with a toddler in tow at every fight. She breaks so many molds, it’s hard to count them.
Watching this video promoting this documentary called “Fight Mom” about her life brings tears to my eyes because her story is so heartfelt. I can’t wait until it’s finished.
Din Tai Fung recently announced that they will be opening their 3rd restaurant in the Greater Seattle area:
“The restaurant’s legendary lines remain robust at its Lincoln Square and University Village locations, and owner David Yang Wasielewski announced plans to open his largest Seattle-area Ding Tai Fung space inside downtown Seattle’s Pacific Place shopping center this summer.
“We are so thankful for the overwhelming support we’ve received since we opened our first store in Bellevue five years ago and are excited to be opening our third restaurant in the heart of the Emerald City,” he said in a prepared statement.”
I can’t believe it’s been five years since the Din Tai Fung in Bellevue has been open and there hasn’t been one opened yet in the Bay Area – but one will be opening soon …
Into The Badlands Season 1, Episode 5: “Snake Creeps Down”
Original airdate December 13, 2015.
Quinn’s son Ryder tries to find out more about the mysterious city beyond the Badlands that M.K. is from and seeks out his mother’s father for information. Quinn’s brain tumor gets worse, and since he’s lost his Cog workers, he has his warrior Clippers work the field to bring in the crop. M.K. and Sunny go out on an expedition to search for more about The Widow’s whereabouts, and one of her warriors Tilda comes to warn M.K. that The Widow suspects him to be the one with the mysterious powers she’s looking for. Tilda is captured, and The Widow comes to rescue her, but it’s M.K. who cuts himself to unleash the unknown power to save Tilda.
Dr. Ken, Season 1, Episode 10: “The Master Scheduler”
Original airdate December 11, 2015.
Symptoms: Ken and Allison are excited about their upcoming vacation to Hawaii, but Ken has failed to request vacation time from Welltopia. In an effort to correct this oversight (and placate a furious Allison), Ken seeks to convince “the master scheduler” to give him the time off, despite the very short notice.
Diagnosis: I like episodes where the main plot and subplot are tied together, and this isn’t a bad story. Ken has already established himself as something of a scatterbrain when it comes to taking care of his familial responsibilities, so it’s no wonder that Allison has given him only one task in the planning of this vacation. Neither is it a surprise that she would be as angry as she is. The Welltopia characters are beginning to click, so while this is not a terrific episode, it feels like some strong character development, and some of it is really quite charming, especially lines by Julie. In fact, the trio of Damona, Julie, and Clark is turning into something genuinely sweet. You can throw very different people together in a high-stress workplace, and if they’re all as convincingly sweet as these three, they’re going to gel.
Prognosis: I also appreciate that we finally get a good story for Damona, who until how hasn’t had a plot line that revolves around her. Damona’s reason for not telling anyone her secret feels manipulative and thin, kind of an unearned shortcut to painting her as covertly nice. It makes all kinds of sense, just by the nature of the job, that she would be able to do it better if nobody knows. She’s already seen as direct, organized, and practical, which explains her secret just fine. The secretly nice thing is weak. Pat continues to be a cartoon character, but it surprises me that Julie and Clark are taking hold in a non-annoying way. Honestly, I can’t tell if the show’s getting better or if I’m just getting used to it. It’s something I need to think about.
Rx: Molly’s going to need some redirection; she’s emerging in the last few episodes as a spoiled whiner. It’s fine for her to be flawed, but nobody likes a whiner. Something is also going to have to be done about Pat. I’m convinced now that Dave Foley can act, but this character is dragging the show down, in a way I haven’t seen since Craig Ferguson’s role as Drew Carey’s boss.
Don’t forget to check out this week’s Post Show and Tell with Joz Wang. Joz interviews Suzy Nakamura and Albert Tsai about “The Master Scheduler” right on the Dr. Ken set.