Gil Asakawa's Nikkei View | asian american
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The Indian community of Edison, a town in northern New Jersey, is split over racial boundaries. This article ran in the Newark Star-Ledger the other day, about a protest mounted by the growing Indian community in Edison over an alleged police abuse of an Indian man, and a counter-protest by non-Indians.

badsushi.jpgI've been looking for Asian restaurants in my area of Jersey City, and only having limited luck. Part of Jersey City is becoming "Hobokenized," which is to say, the yuppies are overflowing from Manhattan and settling in parts of New Jersey that are closest to New York. But my part of Jersey City, which is close to where I work in Journal Square, has not been Hobokenized. And it probably won't happen anytime soon. Anyway, the one Asian cuisine I found right away was Indian food. There's a concentrated South Asian community here and a stretch of Newark Avenue just off Journal Square is dotted with Indian restaurants. I've eaten at a couple of them so far, and they're great.

Diversity on St. Marks The ebb and flow of New York neighborhoods is a great example of how cities evolve. When I attended Pratt Institute in the late 1970s, the East Village neighborhood in Manhattan along St. Marks Place (8th Street becomes St. Marks Place east of 3rd Ave.) was a haven for punk rockers and hipsters, with used record stores (this was pre-CD) and tattoo shops. Drugs were a currency on the street, and leather the couture of choice. I can recall walking the block of St. Mark's between and 3rd and 2nd Ave. shopping for rare British import albums and marveling at all the street vendors with their wares -- jewelry, records and cassettes, used books -- spread out on blankets on the sidewalk. That was then. This is now.

MakoMakoto Iwamatsu died on Friday at the age of 72, of esophageal cancer. It's a huge loss to Asian Americans. If you know him at all, you probably know him better as simply Mako, the Japanese actor, who played countless character roles and supporting parts in television shows and movies starting in the early 1960s.

Seabrook's bon odori danceWow, 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.

Here's a story published June 20 from the Toledo Blade in Ohio about a Tower 98.3 DJ "apologizing" for an on-air stunt that sparked protests from Asian Americans. Lucas, a night-time DJ, made a series of mocking calls to Asian-owned businesses while on the air, including a Japanese restaurant where he reportedly told the person at the restaurant, who had an accent, “me love you long time,” “ching, chong chung,” and “Me speakee no English.” He also called a Chinese Restaurant in May, and when the person on the other end spoke perfect English, made comments on the air that a white person must be working in the restaurant.

Ask a NinjaIs it just me? I really think "Ask a Ninja," a free video podcast that consistently ranks among the top-5 popular video podcasts on Apple's super-influential iTunes store, is dumb. Really dumb.

Sudoku on the WebOK, I can't stand it anymore. I'm not much of a puzzle person -- crosswords can't catch my attention, and jigsaws don't call out to me. I'm not much of a numbers person either -- hence, I work with words (journalism), not numbers (engineering). So, Sudoku hasn't exactly lit me on fire even though it's apparently the hottest thing in the puzzles and games world. I see Sudoku everywhere, from supermarket magazine racks to fancy bookstores, and electronic games to lots and lots of sites on the Web.