Wendy Lee’s debut novel Across A Green Ocean presents the story centered around two siblings, Michael and Emily Tang, struggling to find their identity as the children of immigrants and after the passing of their father. When Michael finds a letter to his father sent from China, he decides to avoid his problems in the US–his unwillingness to come out to his family, his recent layoff–by finding the mysterious sender. In the process, he hopes to learn something of his equally mysterious father. His sister Emily pushes against her mother Ling’s yearning for grandchildren, throwing herself into her career as an immigration lawyer.
Touching on familiar themes of loss, identity, family, and immigration, Lee spins a deeply emotional and transnational tale. At various points honing in on the relationship between two specific characters–be it Ling and Emily, Emily and her husband, or Michael and his father’s childhood friend–the novel allows its characters to grow within these ascribed roles.
Overall, Across a Green Ocean is lyrical in what one might call an easy page turner (and by easy I don’t mean simplistic, but rather smooth and well paced). Not overly cheery in content, it is also not overly grim with a networked plot that flows swiftly without stalling–jumping time periods and focal characters without giving the reader whiplash.
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The New York Times does a nice 6 minute video overview of Koreatown in Los Angeles, even highlighting the Wi Spa that Conan O’Brien and Steve Yeun recently visited.
BY Fritzie Andrade, Max Cantor, Jessey Dearing, Louie Alfaro and Will Lloyd
As the most densely packed part of Los Angeles, Koreatown is also one of the city’s most strollable, with Art Deco buildings, palm-lined streets and East-meets-West restaurants.
FINALLY, Invicta FC11 is in Los Angeles! And to add frosting to that cake, co-headlining the event will be Japan’s Mizuki Inoue in a bout against Mexico’s rising star, Alexa Grasso. Although everyone’s totally excited to see Cris Cyborg back in action and there are a ton of other great match ups, the projected fight of the night is Inoue’s. Inoue has been recognized as a striking prodigy but is formidably skilled in all other aspects of MMA, and Grasso has razor sharp focus and is well-rounded as well.
Here’s Grasso in action:
The fight is on tonight starting 7pm Pacific of UFC Fight Pass!
I guess Aaron Takahashi is becoming the next Randall Park for commercials. The last commercial I saw him in was for Kmart. Here, Takahashi portrays a customer at Staples asking how does he know he’ll get the best prices at Staples? Apparently Staples has a price match guarantee.
Many Asian Americans are foodies, but Hannah Hong’s more than 1300 Yelp restaurant reviews (including review updates) since 2012 has put into higher level of foodie, the Yelp Elite Squad. While there are individual Yelp reviewers who have generated more total reviews, but her pace of more than one review a day is incredible – that’s a lot dining out! Yahoo Food talked to her about her life, food, and reviewing.
Hong, 31, is an elementary school school teacher from Alexandria and was raised in Chicago. She feels that her mom and Aunt’s cooking is the best Korean food that she has ever eaten. As you might have guessed, she doesn’t cook very much, and the Yahoo article says she can’t remember that last meal she cooked. Her favorite place to eat is New York’s Masa Restaurant.
Her reviews are known for being rather lengthy for the form, ranging from 300-400 works and including a lot of pictures. If you look at the screen grab of her Yelp Profile, you can see the enormous amount pictures that she has taken and uploaded. Her rating distribution is fairly generous, with most places getting between 3-5 stars and lower ratings reserved for very bad food and service that is “rude, offensive, or non-existent.”
Seeing the amount of work she puts into this, I wonder what she and many other Asian American Elite Squad members get out of their efforts. Hong says she writes to share her passion and experiences. Yelp Elite Squad status does bring some perks like a special badge on profiles, invites to special events, and giveaways, although some have criticized the program for encouraging boorish behavior.
As far as daily evening news programs go, PBS’s News Hour tends to be a bit more serious and have a lot less fluff stories. So I was happy to see this News Hour segment this past weekend on ‘Fresh Off The Boat.’ The News Hour story provides some good context regarding ‘Fresh Off The Boat’, which also includes an interview with Wall Street columnist Jeff Yang, father of childhood actor Hudson Yang.
Image courtesy of PBS News Hour.
Here we are, Fresh Off the Boat is already up to Episode 6, and yes, you can catch up online in a number of ways. (Watch Episodes 1 and 2, Episodes 3 and 4, Episode 5, and if you haven’t downloaded the pilot for free on iTunes and Amazon Instant Video, definitely do that, too.)
Great news about Episode 5’s ratings on (2/17), the ratings for Fresh Off the Boat actually went up compared to the previous week, solidifying the show as Tuesday night’s top sitcom. Even better, when taking into account the “Plus 7 Day” ratings of the special Wednesday night debut, Fresh Off the Boat emerged as the #3 sitcom behind Big Bang Theory and Modern Family.
According to FutonCritic:
In Wednesday’s 8:30pm half-hour, the debut of ABC’s Fresh Off the Boat grew to a 3.4 Adult 18-49 rating (up +0.9 rating points) and pulled in 10.0 million Total Viewers (up +2.1 million viewers) after 7 days of playback. The new ABC comedy moved ahead of CBS’ Mom (which had the benefit of a Big Bang lead-in) to finish as the week’s #3 highest-rated sitcom among Adults 18-49, behind only Big Bang and Modern Family. Meanwhile, its The Middle lead-in at 8pm matched a season-high L+7 rating, with a 2.9 in Adults 18-49 (a gain of +0.7 rating points from its 2.2 L+SD rating).
All that said, this episode is the first time it is pitted against NBC’s show The Voice, putting more pressure on a fairly difficult timeslot.
Remember aside from the ratings (which are most important), the network is also tracking legal downloads/streaming, as well as social media (Hashtag: #FreshOffTheBoat). So if you want to show the network your support, definitely watch, download, and tweet/post about it.
Multiple episodes are currently available for streaming using the “WATCH ABC” app for iOS. As of now, these downloads and streams are only legit available in the U.S./North America. Sorry to all our overseas readers that we can’t necessarily provide you links; you’ll just have to catch it on satellite for now.
EPISODE 6: Fajita Man (formerly titled “Shaq Fu”) (S1E6)
“Fajita Man” – Eddie is so desperate for a new video game named after his idol, Shaq, he goes to work at the restaurant. He expects special treatment since he’s the boss’s son, but is in for a surprise when Louis is determined to make him work hard for the money. Meanwhile, Jessica decides to look for a job of her own, on “Fresh Off the Boat,” TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 24 (8:00-8:30 p.m. ET) on the ABC Television Network.
Editor’s note: This episode was previously titled “Shaq Fu”
“Fresh Off the Boat” stars Randall Park as Louis, Constance Wu as Jessica, Hudson Yang as Eddie, Forrest Wheeler as Emery and Ian Chen as Evan. Eddie Huang provides the voice over narration.
Guest starring are Lucille Soong as Grandma Huang, Paul Scheer as Mitch, Jillian Armenante as Nancy., Noel Gugliemi as Hector, Rachel Cannon as Deidre, Stacey Scowley as Carol-Joan, Trevor Larcom as Trent, Evan Hannemann as Barefoot Dave, Connor Rosen as Bed-Wetter Doug.
“Fajita Man” was written by Matt Kuhn. Matt Sohn directed. This program carries a TV-PG,D,L.
About the show:
It’s the ’90s and 11 year old, hip-hop loving Eddie (Hudson Yang) just moved to suburban Orlando from DC’s Chinatown with his parents (Randall Park and Constance Wu). It’s culture shock for his immigrant family in this comedy about pursuing the American Dream. Fresh Off the Boat is based on Chef Eddie Huang’s memoir Fresh Off the Boat.
Fresh Off the Boat stars Randall Park as Louis, Constance Wu as Jessica, Hudson Yang as Eddie, Forrest Wheeler as Emery and Ian Chen as Evan.
Fresh Off the Boat is executive produced and written by Nahnatchka Khan and executive produced by Jake Kasdan for 20th Century Fox Television.
Non-spoiler review of Fresh Off the Boat, Season 1, Episode 6: “Fajita Man”
Original airdate February 24, 2015.
Microsynopsis: Desperate to get his hands on the new Shaq-Fu video game, Eddie learns that working for a parent can be nearly impossible when Louis hires him to be the fajitas server at the restaurant. Jessica looks for an employer of her own who will appreciate her ability to do almost everything.
Good: This is episode 6 and for the first time, Eddie’s not a jerk. Randall Park as Louis continues to find his character’s groove. Emery and Evan keep being funny. Jessica does a pretty funny call-back to something in an earlier episode when she celebrates landing a job. I will admit that while this episode leans heavily sappy, it hit me positively in a few of my biases. My mother managed Japanese restaurants, and she was the toughest boss I ever had when I washed dishes for her in my junior year of high school. She was impossibly tough, so there were a few things I recognize in Eddie’s experience. And Louis does something at the end that my own father did a few times when I struggled to scrape some money together as a teen. There’s stuff here that’s just too silly, but it has notes of truth about work ethic, parenting, and grace. For once, I liked the sentimentality.
Bad: Jessica gets away with some pretty obnoxious stuff that’s good for laughs but compromises the show’s believability. Grandma pulls a Silent Bob in Chasing Amy that we were never really prepared for, and she does it straight, with no hint of the charm or wit she’s so far exhibited. There was probably a smarter way to deliver her sentiment.
FOB moment: Louis, speaking to Eddie, says, “My father, your Yeh Yeh.”
Soundtrack flashback: Kool Moe Dee’s “I Go to Work.” Here’s another one of my biases. I love Kool Moe Dee and think he doesn’t get enough play nowadays, and the soundtrack features a whole verse.
Final grade, this episode: This feels like one of those we’ve-found-our-groove episodes, with not much new stuff to show us in the characters or setting, but the development of Eddie’s relationship with his father is a worthwhile effort that can pay off big-time in future chapters. I appreciate the exploration of this relationship, but wish there had been similar effort on at least one other relationship in the show. Instead, Jessica’s story line feels silly and insipid, where it could at least have been silly and meaty. Again, this show rewards multiple viewings, as there are some great things in the details. There is something hilarious but easy to miss in the scene where Jessica is bleeped, which is pretty funny even without noticing it. Call me biased, call me a sucker, call me a sap, but I liked the overall niceness of this episode. B.
***See Mitchell’s previous Fresh Off the Boat episode reviews, with links on how to watch these episodes online***
A note about Mitchell’s ratings scale:
The editors of 8Asians have not asked me to justify my grades on these episodes, much to their credit, but I will offer a quick explanation for those who feel I’m grading too harshly. With all of television history to compare itself to, Fresh off the Boat and any other new sitcom can consider themselves successful if they hit the B mark on a consistent basis. The best episodes of M*A*S*H, The Simpsons, Seinfeld, The Cosby Show, Roseanne, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and Arrested Development are A-pluses, and the second tiers of those great sitcoms are As. Where does that put whatever you consider the best episode so far of Fresh off the Boat? Nothing in this fledgling show even approaches the worst episode of M*A*S*H or Arrested Development, and that’s nothing to be ashamed of. But as much as I want this show to succeed, I can’t let it make excuses for itself. Nobody really wants a share of the first-place trophy just for trying. We all want it when we kick everyone else’s butts, with no qualifiers.
Our very own Koji Steven Sakai has just released his very first novel (massive applause!) throwing a fantastical twist on that famous Shakespearean play. In Romeo and Juliet vs. Zombies, “Romeo and Juliet must fight to overcome hoards of zombies that include Tybalt, Mercutio, and even Juliet’s nurse. Sakai’s version of the beloved tale forces Romeo to fight for Juliet’s respect…even if that means picking up a sword that (gulp) could actually hurt someone.” The eBook came out just last week with a print version arriving this week.
AND, because he’s one of us, we get to ask him all kinds of questions. So, your exclusive (ish) author interview with 8Asians’ most awesome screenwriter —
How did you decide what to write about? What was your inspiration?
I admit I have a terrible infatuation with Romeo and Juliet. Not only because it’s truly the only Shakespeare I could actually get through, but because it has spoken to me in different ways at different times in my life. When I was a teenager and believed in silly notions such as “true love” (please don’t judge me), I thought it was romantic. But as I got older, I see it for what it is—silly infatuations of hormonal teenagers. And that’s why I’ve written multiple screenplays about it. Four to be exact.
And then there’s my love for post-apocalyptic zombie stories. There’s something about the end of the world and a horde of reanimated corpses trying to feed on people’s brains that just makes me smile and feel good about myself and my life.
So for me, Romeo & Juliet Vs. Zombies was the first time that I was able to marry my two passions into one project.
Why zombies in particular? Why not other fantastical creatures?
I love all fantastical creatures—especially vampires, aliens, ghosts, and demons. But there’s something about zombies that gets my heart racing. The easy answer is that zombies are a metaphor for the masses of unthinking people, but I don’t think that’s quite it for me. I see zombies as representing something even more primal. To me, I’m fascinated with the question of whether I could survive an apocalypse—zombie or otherwise. Do I have what it takes to live?
The Golden State Warriors debuted uniforms celebrating Chinese New Year in their February 20th game against the San Antonio Spurs. The Chinese Characters are said to say “warriors.” They will also wear the uniforms in their games on February 24 in Washington against the Wizards and also on March 2 in Brooklyn against the Nets. Warriors President and Chief Operating Officer Rick Welts says:
We have been working with the NBA for two years now on our Chinese New Year uniforms to recognize the tremendous fan base that our Asian community represents. Connecting with our Asian community is a priority for our organization and we are proud that we are going to be one of two teams in the NBA to debut a Chinese New Year themed uniform as a way to thank our fans here in the Bay Area and abroad in China.
The Houston Rockets first used their Chinese New Year uniforms on February 21 against the Toronto Raptors and will use their uniform on February 23 against the Minnesota Timberwolves and on February 25 against the Los Angeles Clippers. Rockets legend Yao Ming commented about this and Rockets owner Leslie Alexander:
It brings great joy to me to see the Houston Rockets honor one of my country’s most important traditions. Mr. Alexander and the Rockets have long embraced our culture and customs and made basketball fans in China a part of the Rockets community. I’m excited to ring in the Year of the Goat watching the Rockets wear the Lunar New Year uniforms.
(photo credits: nba.com)
Happy Lunar New Year! I had heard this NPR piece recently, and thought it was very educational – because I have heard many Happy Chinese / Lunar New Year celebration and exclaiming Happy Year of the Goat, Sheep or Ram. And I’m like, WTF? What year is it? Well:
“You may have seen goat, sheep or ram as the English translation for this year’s animal according to the Chinese zodiac — yang, in Mandarin. All of them are correct, says Lala Zuo, a Chinese language and culture professor at the U.S. Naval Academy in Maryland.
“I don’t think there’s a wrong translation,” she says. “I think there are various ways of translation. It really depends on the context.””
Although most commonly known as Chinese New Year, the Lunar New Year is celebrated by many different Asian cultures. Professor Zuo goes on to say:
“Some Chinese words are vague and not as specific as English words, so yang could refer to a goat, sheep or even a ram. But in ancient times, … that Chinese character meant goat. … Korea is small and the most prototypical image of yang for Korean people is sheep … In Vietnam, there is no sheep or ram at all because the weather is so hot …”
But that makes me wonder, how do we have Year of the Dragon, since a dragon is a fictitious animal … I guess I’ll have to wait and learn … If you interested in learning more about the Chinese Zodiac, click here to learn about the children’s book, Jade Stars – The Great Race: How the Chinese Zodiac Came to Be.
8$ is a series which occasionally highlights interesting crowdfunding projects. Every day, the 8Asians team is inundated by many worthy pitches. We are unable to highlight every one that comes our way, or even the ones we might individually support. The projects selected for 8$ are not endorsements by 8Asians. (To be considered for 8$, we highly suggest you not harass the writers or the editors of 8Asians.)
WHO: Chefs Roy Choi (Kogi) and Daniel Patterson (Coi) are teaming up to build Loco’l, a fast food restaurant using real ingredients. The two chefs are combining their experiences and knowledge to build Loco’l, and offer fast food made with real ingredients, starting with the premiere locations in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood & Los Angeles’ Watts neighborhood. We’re inviting the community to support and join the Loco’l team effort to bring the first location live in 2015!
Loco’l is a team of innovative chefs.
Loco’l is locally sourced.
Loco’l is using quality ingredients.
Loco’l is providing fair wages.
Loco’l is leveraging state of the art technology.
Loco’l is community based.
Loco’l is crazy.
WHAT: Indiegogo project: Loco’l – Revolutionary Fast Food
The Loco’l Vision
Our vision with Loco’l is to create a fast food concept that’s delicious, but do it with the heart of a chef. As chefs, we’re approaching it just like we would another restaurant – design, function, systems, fee and costs, organizations, sourcing, product, farmers, ingredients, recipes, training, all that stuff. Then on the other side of it is being very aware of what fast food is and what it’s become in America, and why it’s so important, popular, and powerful. Not trying to throw all of those things away.
The inspiration for Loco’l came from our previous cooking efforts. Daniel started a non-profit, The Cooking Project, to offer free classes, teaching young people how to cook and the value of gathering around the table. While volunteering and teaching people from the streets how to cook good food inexpensively, and the value of gathering around the table. So many of the kids had subsisted their whole lives on processed food, and it was a revelation to see how positively they responded to real food that they made themselves.
Then he met Roy, co-founder of Kogi—food trucks that serve tasty, hard-to-categorize food. As Kogi’s reputation and success grew, so did Roy’s drive to feed more people. He began opening brick and mortar places that improved their communities, like 3 Worlds Cafe, a fruit and juice bar in South Central.
WHEN: Deadline to contribute is Tuesday, March 10, 2015 (11:59pm PT).
We are raising $150,000 to contribute to the building of Loco’l in Watts in LA, and the Tenderloin in San Francisco. We invite you to join us to revolutionize fast food. We have a range of fun perks for anyone interested in pursuing this mission with us.
And please invite your friends to join our mission as well. Use the Indiegogo share tools to share our vision.
We look forward to our grand opening together!