Gil Asakawa's Nikkei View | asian american
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Two news items worth noting, although one is kinda old already: First Burger King has announced that in Hawaii, they're selling a new item, a Spam Platter -- two slices of Spam nestled between white rice and scrambled eggs. BK, which is based in Miami, also serves its Croissanwich or Biscuit Sandwich with Spam for the Hawaiian market.

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?

Way back in May, I didn't write about it, but I should have. In one week during Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, the character played by Masi Oka in the terrific series "Heroes" helped save the world, Olympic skater Apolo Anton Ohno won the coveted prize in "Dancing with the Stars" and a lovely Chinese American hapa woman, Tessa Horst,...

I don't watch "American Idol" ("Dancing with the Stars" is enough reality TV for me), but I've been mildly curious about this 17-year-old kid, Sanjaya Malakar, who managed to squeak through week after week of elimination on "AI" with his breathy singing voice, toothy grin and bizarre variety of hairstyles. Well, he finally got voted off the show last week, but over the weekend he got a consolation prize as a guest at the annual White House Press Correspondents' Dinner, a big deal in DC. Malakar interested me because he's Asian American; his parents immigrated from India, and he identifies himself as an Indian American, hoping to be the "next" Indian pop star in the U.S. (was there a previous Indian pop star in the U.S.?). Unfortunately, Indians don't seem to share his enthusiasm for Sanjaya. The Indian media seemed relieved when he lost last week. One South Asian I know pointed out that the name "Sanjaya" went against Indian convention because ending a name with "a" is a female signifier, and though his name should be "Sanjay."

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.

Seen recently on a bumper ahead of me on a late-night trip to the Taco Bell drive-though (OK, so you know a little bit about my lousy eating habits): "I'd rather eat shit than ride a Jap bike!" with an American flag next to the text. This was on a Toyota pickup truck. ...

There's a fascinating discussion going around in the e-mail list for New York chapter of the Asian American Journalists Association. It began the day that news of the Virginia Tech shootings broke, when the media first reported that the shooter may be Asian. Since then, various perspectives have been shared about whether it was journalistically important to identify the race of the shooter (I kinda think it was, considering the tragic scope of the incidents), whether there will be a racial backlash against Asians, and whether Asian Americans share sense of guilt and shame about the murders.