We spent some time at the Sakura Matsuri, or Cherry Blossom Festival, in downtown Denver’s Sakura Square this past weekend. It was a good chance to catch up with old friends and we ended up filling a long table with extended family members.
I was there to do a booksigning for a vendor, Heritage Source, a family-run business based out of LA, which sells books online and at events like Sakura Matsuri. Carolyn Sanwo brought her husband and two daughters along to help run the booth all weekend, and I sat there for a few hours on Saturday and chatted with folks and signed copies of “Being Japanese American.” Erin spent the time volunteering inside the Tri-State Buddhist Temple’s gym, selling manju pastries to the hungry throngs.
It was hot but crowded. And, among the crowd were a surprising number of non-Asian kids, dressed in shabby faux-kimonos, looking as if they were homeless urchins. What was I to make of this new trend? Continue reading
The 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.” Continue reading
An interesting recent AP story raised the issue of what kinds of affectionate nicknames people use for grandparents. In Japanese, the words are “Obaasan” for grandmother and “Ojiisan” for grandfather, and many Japanese Americans still use the terms even if they don’t speak much if any Japanese.
But I have a confession to make. I didn’t have an affectionate nickname for my grandmother. Continue reading
Wow, it feels weird, but I’ve finally written a new Nikkeiview column, the first in a year and a half. I’ve just been too busy (I know, it’s a lame excuse), but by writing these Nikkei Blog posts, I’ve been inspired to finally sit down and write a longer column.
It helps that I went last weekend to southern New Jersey with a JA group to Seabrook’s annual Bon Odori dance. Read the column here, and let me know what you think. Continue reading