Gil Asakawa's Nikkei View | Perspectives on Asian-American culture through the lens of identity, history, and experience
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In a previous life during my long and winding journalism career, I was a rock critic. I was the music editor for Denver’s weekly newspaper, Westword. So when the Denver Press Club recently asked me to participate on a panel discussion for the 50th anniversary of the Woodstock music festival, I was eager to join in the fun. I write a...

I was driving on the highway one night some years back between Denver and Boulder, when I got harassed by a couple of young white guys who were tailgating me, probably in their teens or early 20s at the most. When I pulled off at an exit they followed me so I pulled into a parking lot and got out of my car. They...

Like a lot of people, when Kim Kardashian, who is famous only because she (and everyone in her family) is a celebrity, named her new line of body-shaping underwear “Kimono,” I was appalled. I thought the headline was a joke – you know, “fake news.”...

“Aw, man. This is the best job ever…. The best job ever,” says John Daub with a supremely satisfied smile. He had just taken a sip of fabulous creamy onion bacon soup at a restaurant named Kokoya de Kobayashi in the city of Kobayashi in Miyazaki prefecture, on the southern Japanese island of Kyushu.

He’s not kidding. He has a great job.

Daub and his wife, Kanae, have been “working,” spending several days in the area livestreaming videos for his “Only in Japan GO” YouTube channel. It might seem like an amazingly fun gig, and obviously, it is. But don’t be fooled -- he works hard at his job.

Daub began this series of livestream episodes two days before in Miyazaki prefecture, to attend a Mango Auction. Yes, in Japan they auction off mangoes just like the tuna auctions in Tokyo’s famous fish market – the top fruit went for $5,000. For one fruit. (He posted his edited report on the $5,000 mango a week later.)

I’ve been following the worldwide career of Marie Kondo with bemusement since her first book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” was published in the US in 2014. I’ve watched from a distance as friends have embraced Kondo’s single-minded prescription for people to clean up their lives, physically and emotionally, by focusing not on what to toss out but instead what to keep that “sparks joy” for them. I’ve followed this fad -- which can feel a little bit like a cult -- sweep the world from afar because, frankly, I’m not a tidy person.
Naomi Osaka photo by Peter Menzel Naomi Osaka at the 2018 Nottingham Open qualifiers, photo by Peter Menzel, Creative Commons/flickr


I love following the exciting young career of Naomi Osaka, the world’s first Japanese tennis star who has been ranked number-one by the Women’s Tennis Association, after her recent win in the Australian Open.

I love her passion and skill and determination to win. And most of all, I love that she is mixed-race, with a Japanese mom and Haitian dad. And, that she’s culturally as American as she is Japanese or Haitian.

I love kaki. That's Japanese for persimmon. Not everyone knows what a persimmon is, so let me explain. Persimmons are a popular fruit that is grown through much of Asia. The Japanese call it "kaki" (kah-key). Kaki are wonderfully sweet when they're ripe, but depending on the strain of kaki, they can be bitter. I learned to love kaki as a kid growing up in Japan.

Perspectives on Asian-American culture through the lens of identity, history, and experience

Gil on Twitter

@GilAsakawa

- September 21, 2019

Pitch perfect: Suburban little league soccer on a Saturday afternoon. @ Broomfield County Commons park https://t.co/g2ai2Psc8p
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@GilAsakawa

- September 21, 2019

Gochisou: Potluck feast for Kimiko Side's 97th birthday. My fave might be the Spam Musubi with homemade Green Chile… https://t.co/vbgm0Er7Cb
h J R
@GilAsakawa

- September 21, 2019

Happy 97th birthday Kimiko! @ Tri-State Denver Buddhist Temple https://t.co/Rsv33PGkaC
h J R
@GilAsakawa

- September 21, 2019

Our contributions to Kimiko Side's craft class 97th birthday celebration: Almond Chicken Noodle Salad & Caprese wit… https://t.co/m0OVp6rhRd
h J R
@GilAsakawa

- September 19, 2019

Katsudon Fried Prok Cutlet over rice with Egg and Dashi Soup at Domo #twEATs #foodporn @ Domo Restaurant https://t.co/7eWm0Cc8ae
h J R

Gil on Instagram

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More from Gil Asakawa

Being Japanese American

“A must-read book that will delight you with its humor and amuse you with its insights; for non-Asian, a must-read book if you’re curious about what makes Japanese Americans tick.”

— John Tateishi, National Executive Director, Japanese American Citizens League