|Michaela Conlin as Angela Montenegro and Emily Deschanel as Dr. Temperance Brennan in “Bones.”
The best thing about DVDs is the opportunity to fall in love with television shows a season or two, or even more, after they’ve already been on the air. Erin and I are currently hooked on “Bones,” a Fox series starring David Boreanaz, who paid his dues in “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and the spinoff show “Angel.” In “Bones,” he plays an FBI agent, Seeley Booth, who works with Temperance Brennan (Emily Deschanel), a forensic anthropologist/murder mystery novelist from the “Jeffersonian Institution” (a loosely fictionalized version of the Smithsonian Institution) to identify victims and causes of death from bones — rotting, slimey, decayed corpses.
The kneejerk reaction is to expect that “Bones” is a warmed-over version of “The X-Files” with that series’ professional camaraderie and sexual tension between Fox Mulder and Dana Scully, FBI agents who track down cases of paranormal phenomena. But as much as I loved the first seven seasons of “X-Files,” “Bones” is a first-class show of its own. It doesn’t hurt, either, that the series features my new favorite Asian American character on TV: Angela Montenegro, played by half-Chinese actor Michaela Conlin. Continue reading
I’ve been drinking something that tastes like dirt. I’ve also been drinking something else that tastes like weeds. Both are supposed to be good for me.
It’s an Asian thing — there’s a cultural fascination in with potions and powders and pills outside of “Western” medicine and healthcare. I don’t doubt that a lot of Eastern alternatives work, and not just acupuncture.
Some of it is that foreign countries simply have different medicines. I grew up taking Japanese pills called “Ru-Ru” (more or less pronounced that way) because my mom used it for everything from headaches to colds and fevers and just plain old feeling icky. She still buys bottles of it when she goes back to Japan. The pharmacist at her hometown drugstore recognizes her everytime she returns to stock up on Ru-Ru and other Japanese drugs.
Beyond pharmaceuticals, there are a lot of other health products marketed to Asians that might make non-Asians scratch their heads. Or just laugh. For instance, there’s a popular tea called “Diet Tea” that shows up in Asian grocery stores. We’ve tried it, and it helps people “diet” by serving as a powerful laxative. You’ll lose weight, all right. But it won’t be from managing what you eat.
Along these lines, I’ve been drinking up powders that were given to me: Aojiru and Ginseng Tea. Continue reading
In the U.S., snack food manufacturers in recent years have become creative, and come up with a variety of flavor combinations beyond the old barbecue-flavor potato chips or the nacho cheese flavored Doritos. Now you can get black pepper and olive oil Triscuits, or chili-lime flavored corn chips.
But American palates probably aren’t ready for some of the flavors that are available in Japan. Continue reading
Members of the Grateful Crane Ensemble’s “Moonlight Serenaders” in “The Camp Dance: The Music & The Memories,” include (front row) Keiko Kawashima and Jason Fong; (back row) Kurt Kuniyoshi, Darrell Kunitomi and Haruye Ioka. (Photo by Phil Nee)
You wouldn’t think that the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II would make for great source material for a stage musical. But it does, and in a way, makes a much more effective vehicle to tell people about that time, and what happened to JA families, than heavier, dramatic works such as the novel and movie, “Snow Falling on Cedars.”
“The Camp Dance: The Music & the Memories” is proof that internment can be explained in an entertaining way through a musical.
Written and produced by Soji Kashiwagi, a sansei, and performed by his Grateful Crane Ensemble of actors, the play combines narration (the actors announcing what’s going on on the stage), acting (there’s plenty of terrific, believable and historically accurate dialogue), music and dance to entertain and educate audiences about the internment experience. Continue reading
|Bill Hosokawa in 2005, sitting next to a caricature at the Denver Press Club
Bill Hosokawa died of natural causes at age 92 in Sequim, Washington, where he lived with his daughter. He was a pioneering Japanese American journalist, author and diplomat who lived in Denver for 60 years.
Those are the facts of Bill’s life and death. But there’s lots more to Bill than just the facts.
I wrote an obituary for Bill that will run in the Pacific Citizen, the newspaper of the Japanese American Citizens League, the APA civil rights organization. Bill was a leader within the JACL, and a columnist for the PC for decades. I’m the editorial board chair for the newspaper, and a national board member of JACL, and I knew Bill because we’d run into each other at many events in Denver. So it made sense for me to write the obit for the PC.
But I also owed it to Bill to write about him because he was a role model for me as a writer — we both wrote columns for Denver’s Japanese community newspaper (he kept his up long after I ran out of juice and got too busy). I wrote about Bill’s influence on my career years ago, in one of my columns. Continue reading