Gil Asakawa's Nikkei View | music
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asiangirlz Los Angeles-based rock band Day Above Ground made a big deal of its July 27 debut video release of "Asian Girlz," but it's backfired and led to intense condemnation from Asian and Asian American groups and individuals. Add me to the list, please. This song and accompanying video is offensive on so many levels I'm practically speechless. It traffics in lowbrow racial stereotypes and low-bro sexual braggadocio about its subject line, Asian women. The combined IQ of the group must be abut 10, given their pre-teen horniness and neanderthal attitudes. It's hard to imagine any other intent -- social satire commentary, a criticism of sexual objectification of Asian women, clumsy attempt at post-racial parody -- than a bunch of dudes who fantasize about Asian women and their "creamy yellow thighs... slanty eyes" and other body parts. I hate the ching-chong wonton font that's used for the title credits. I hate the ching-chongy intro melody that evokes Asia Hollywood-style which crops up at various points in the song. It's an aural code as immediately identifiable as buck teeth and squinty eyes. I hate the smug white privilege that oozes from the singers' faces as they croak "You're my Asian girl." And I hate the creepy strip tease participation of model Levy Tran as she goes from enjoying these pint-sized pinheads' attention as they sing to her from a birdcage to letting them jump into the bathtub with her and swim between her legs. Yuck. I mean, really yuck.

montbellodrumline-vidcap It was at Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock's suggestion that the nine members of the Montbello High School Drum Line got the chance of a lifetime -- to take the second historic flight of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner on United Airline's new direct flight between Denver and Tokyo. The students raised money for the trip with the help of sponsors, and they performed their synchronized drumming at the U.S. Ambassador's home in Tokyo, and several times in Takayama, Denver's sister city. The news report below is a sample of a half-hour special that airs this Friday, July 19 at 9:30 on KDVR Fox31. These students were cultural ambassadors for Colorado in Japan. So the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival is proud to introduce the Montbello High School Drum Line as one of the highlights of this year's Opening Ceremony. The Opening Ceremony, which begins at 10 am on Saturday, July 27, also includes a spiritual Eye-Dotting Ceremony with chanting Buddhist monks to awaken the spirit of the dragon boats; a dynamic Dragon Dance; and an Olympics-style Team Parade. The Drum Line will get the chance to perform in front of Mayor Hancock, who will speak during the ceremony.

The Montbello High School Drumline -- an awesome precision drumming group -- is traveling to Japan for a once-in-a-lifetime cultural exchange, on the new United 787 Dreamliner's direct flight between Denver and Tokyo. After performing at the home of U.S. Ambassador to Japan John Roos, the students will travel on to Takayama, Denver's Sister City, to perform for schools and in a concert hall with a famous taiko drum group. The Montbello group was invited by Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock, who had traveled to Takayama himself when he was a high school student, and who was a principle player in bringing the direct Tokyo flight to Denver International Airport.

Pretty cool: Domino's Pizza goes all in on mobile tech wizardry -- at least for its Japanese market -- with a new app featuring Hatsune Miku, a Vocaloid, synthetic/anime J-pop persona that's entirely digital. According to a new video that has Domino's Japan CEO Scott Oelkers introducing the app, Domino's staff came up with songs for the app, and the...