One 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. Continue reading
One 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. Continue reading