Gil Asakawa's Nikkei View | Gil Asakawa
2
archive,paged,author,author-gil-asakawa,author-2,paged-80,author-paged-80,qode-quick-links-1.0,ajax_fade,page_not_loaded,,qode-title-hidden,qode-theme-ver-11.0,qode-theme-bridge,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-5.1.1,vc_responsive

One of my ongoing passions is pondering the passing of pop culture references. Baby boomers have lived through decades of new hip phrases -- for instance, the hip word for "good" has evolved every few years, from "cool" to "groovy" to "far out" (thanks to John Denver for killing that one off by using it too much) to "excellent" to "bad" to "tight" to other words and phrases.Young people are constantly introducing new words and bringing new meanings to old words. That's a part of the evolution of culture and language.

GodzillaI finally saw Peter Jackson's 2005 remake of "King Kong," and I'm afraid I was underwhelmed. It was corny, and overly long and not engaging, even when the excitement factor revved up for the final third of the film. It reminded me that although Hollywood has been making monster movies since the original 1933 "King Kong," the monster with the most staying power and screen incarnations -- over two dozen movies -- didn't come out of California, but from Tokyo.

Photo_090906_012.jpgOne great thing about living in the New York area is the simple fact of its diverse population. I've been shopping regularly at various Asian markets in the area -- a Japanese grocery store in Manhattan; the huge Japanese supermarket, Mitsuwa, in northern Jersey; the Korean Han Ah Reum (better known as H-Mart) -- and buying everything from eggs and orange juice to Asian staples like rice, packaged ramen and a variety of unique Asian snacks and junk food. Here in Jersey City's Journal Square area, there's a concentration of Indians and Pakistanis and a two-block stretch of nothing but Indian groceries and restaurants along Newark Avenue. Today, I explored the neighborhood around Journal Square and discovered to my delight that on another stretch of Newark Avenue, there are a number of Filipino businesses.

Oswald being shot, photo by Bob JacksonI'm watching "JFK: Breaking the News," a documentary on WNET, one of the New York area's PBS stations, about the media coverage of the November, 1963 assassination of president John F. Kennedy. It's fascinating because in analyzing the way both print and broadcast journalists scrambled in Dallas after the shooting, the program shows how it was a bellwether event in the history of media. It marked the passing of the "breaking news" mantle from newspapers to television.

Daniel Dae KimThe Washington Post ran this fascinating story today, about the ascendence of all things Korean, especially (South) Korean men, in the world pop culture, especially Asia, and double-especially in Japan. The irony is that Koreans for a century have been treated with racist disdain in Japan, and the country still hasn't officially acknowledged atrocities committed throughout Asia before and during World War II, including its use of Koreans as "comfort women."

phyllisheitjan.jpgOne of the most satisfying aspects of the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival, the annual Asian community event that I've been involved in since its debut in 2001, is the mix of traditional Asian and Pacific Islander culture on display along with the new, Asian American values and ideas. That mix is most evident not in the festival athletic competition or the marketplace, where 90+ vendors sell their wares, but on the Performing Arts Stage. In recent years, some of my favorite performances have been by APIA artists playing contemporary music: Chinese-Filipino Wendy Woo, a popular Colorado singer-songwriter and guitarist, with her Woo Crew rock band; Dwight Mark, a Chinese American multi-instrumentalist mining everything from blues to bluegrass for his original music; and this year for the first time, Korean American singer-sonwgriter Phyllis Heitjan from Philadelphia.

CNN this week ran this Associated Press story, about how musicians who've been holdouts from the iPod/iTunes bandwagon -- the Beatles, Led Zep, Garth Brooks and others among them -- will probably cave in and finally allow their music to be downloaded song-by-song. Apple's iPod dominates the digital music player market, and iTunes accounts for over 70 percent of the (legal) digital music market. Meanwhile, CD sales have been dropping steadily. The era of the compact disc is over, it seems.