Gil Asakawa's Nikkei View | Uncategorized
1
archive,category,category-uncategorized,category-1,qode-quick-links-1.0,ajax_fade,page_not_loaded,,qode-title-hidden,qode-theme-ver-11.0,qode-theme-bridge,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-5.1.1,vc_responsive

Naomi Osaka photo by Peter Menzel Naomi Osaka at the 2018 Nottingham Open qualifiers, photo by Peter Menzel, Creative Commons/flickr


I love following the exciting young career of Naomi Osaka, the world’s first Japanese tennis star who has been ranked number-one by the Women’s Tennis Association, after her recent win in the Australian Open.

I love her passion and skill and determination to win. And most of all, I love that she is mixed-race, with a Japanese mom and Haitian dad. And, that she’s culturally as American as she is Japanese or Haitian.

When the word “veterans” comes up in conversations within the Japanese American community, I suspect most of the time the image the word conjures is a picture of Nisei soldiers of the 100th Battalion/442nd Regimental Combat Team fighting during World War II.

I've been using Posterous and Tumblr as blogging outlets for posting about topics that don't fit Nikkei View, and I'm especially loving Posterous. I use my Posterous blog for pop culture stuff (Asian or non-Asian related) and Tumblr for new media and journalism stuff. Take a look: http://gilasakawa.posterous.com http://gilasakawa.tumblr.com The best thing about it is the ease of posting: I just send an...

Robert Vaughn as Napoleon Solo and David McCallum as Illya Kuryakin were the top TV spies in the 1960s.Last year I received one of the coolest gifts ever -- a 41-DVD boxed set of "The Man from U.N.C.L.E.," the TV spy series that ran from 1964-'68. The set came in a package that looks like a secret agent's briefcase, and includes all 105 episodes of the program, plus a ton of extras such as documentaries and commentary by the show's stars, Robert Vaughn and David McCallum. I'm still sifting through this pop-culture treasure chest, and having a blast. The series was my favorite TV show from my childhood -- I had a bunch of toys related to the show, and I read and collected books, gadgets, magazines -- anything to do with U.N.C.L.E. I've been struck by a few observations about the show, in light of 40 years of being a fan, and then suddenly being able to see every episode on DVD. First (and relevant to this blog), I'm surprised at how many Asian Americans were cast in the show as guest stars. There were some episodes set in Asia, like one that takes place in Japan, and that's kinda hokey since all the sets and scenes are actually shot in Hollywood. But in many episodes, the requisite woman who's an innocent bystander but gets dragged into the plot as a sidekick is Asian American, and I mean Asian American as in, no phony accents. They're Asian American actors cast in American roles, which is nice. Second, they had some big name guest stars. I just watched a goofy one from the third season (of the four, the third was the one where the show got silly, comedic and unbelievable) titled "The Hot Number" that featured Sonny and Cher. Cher was a snooty fashion model (not a stretch) and Sonny was a bumbling fashion designer. The episode also featured Sonny and Cher's music, which was a neat cross-marketing gimmick. Third, a lot of the episodes are slight to the point of being anemic. The story lines are sometimes clunky and the writing often forced. And little of the acting, even from Vaughn and McCallum, is Brandoesque. It's more like Shatneresque. But then, the artifice is actually part of the charm of "The Man from U.N.C.L.E."

The final front page of the Rocky Mountain News, Feb. 27, 2009We all live our lives way too fast. We rush to work, work at a fast clip, rush home and barely get a chance to chill out before, as a wimpy '70s singer-songwriter once crooned, "we get up and do it again." So the death of the Rocky Mountain News, like the death of a close friend or family member, has given me pause. It's making me reflect a bit on my own mortality: as a news junkie, journalist, writer, Internet geek and human being. First of all, I feel terrible about the Rocky's closing. I feel worse -- a lot worse -- than I thought I'd feel. It's a business decision. But it affects hundreds of people, many of whom I know. In fact, I've known some of the staff at the Rocky for almost 30 years. In between jobs, I've written more freelance stories for the Rocky than for The Denver Post, the newspaper that's left standing in Denver. Now I work for MediaNews Group Interactive, the online operation of the Denver Post's parent company. People -- especially bloggers who cover the media -- like to throw barbs at MediaNews and its owner, Denver-based Dean Singleton because he buys up newspapers and usually trims their operations to make them more profitable. "More profitable" of course is a relative term these days. Maybe we should settle for "less unprofitable" in these terrible economic times.

I know I haven't been writing much on the blog -- I have a bunch of things stacked up, and I'm always babbling in small bits on Twitter and Facebook. But I needed to embed this video from the Rocky Mountain News, which is shutting down today. The Rocky's staff has been brave and unfliching in its coverage of the...

National Public radio I'm an off-and-on supporter of National Public Radio, I admit it. I'm a fair-weather donor to NPR, depending on how much I'm tuning in. There have been periods when I commute with the car when I listen to NPR a lot, and then there are times when I ride the bus to work and I pass the time with my iPod set to shuffle. Lately, I've been driving to work more, thanks to a parking space in the building that's too inviting not to take advantage. So, I've been listening to "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered" more again. During the run-up to the election, I was a complete news junkie, and also tuned in at the office, streaming my local NPR station, KCFR's news programming all day via the Web. So when the most recent pledge drive came around in October, I was easily enticed to give more support than I ever have. Instead of the minimum of $50 that I'd usually donate, I committed $120 on my credit card just so I could get the premium they offered for that level of support: A Radio Bookmark. The Radio Bookmark allows me to save stories on NPR to hear them again later. It lets me leave the car instead of sitting in the driveway or a parking lot (or, in some cases, on the shoulder of the road), riveted to my seat and listening until the end of a fascinating report.