Gil Asakawa's Nikkei View | Apolo kicks butt
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Apolo kicks butt

It’s silly, and I’m a little embarrassed to admit it, but Erin and I are addicted to “Dancing with the Stars” this season. We hadn’t watched it at all in the past, but began tuning in because 1) it began during the down time for new episodes of “Heroes” on Monday nights and 2) it features dancer/choreographer Carrie Ann Inaba, who’s Japanese American, as one of the judges and 3) this season one of the stars featured in the competition is Olympic speed skater Apolo Anton Ohno, who’s also JA.

It’s been a blast because even though Erin and I know next to nothing about dancing styles, we yell and scream and boo the poor performances and argue at the judges for their scores. The best part has been that Ohno has been a very strong dancer. In fact, this week he earned 10s from all three judges — a first for the season. The closest other competitor, Muhammad Ali’s daughter Laila, only earned ona 10 and two 9s this week.

And from a mainstream pop culture perspective, it’s been terrific seeing Ohno and Inaba on the screen together as she critiques his dances, and knowing their Asian American but not having that be central to their appearance at all. It makes it seem as if Asian Americans are just … well, American.