Gil Asakawa's Nikkei View | karate kid
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Tamlyn TomitaErin and I are taking September off from doing interviews for visualizAsian.com, our series of live conversations with leading Asian American Pacific Islanders. But we're kicking off October with a star: Tamlyn Tomita, whose inspirational career as an actor spans movies, television and the stage, and whose leadership and activism spans the Japanese American and Asian American Pacific Islander communities. Our conversation with Tamlyn Tomita will be on Tuesday, October 6 at 6 pm Pacific Time (7 pm MT, 8 pm CT and 9 pm ET) is archived as an MP3 and is available for download for a limited time. When we thought of starting visualizAsian.com, Tamlyn was the first person we thought of to interview, because of her prominence and passion, and because we'd met her on the set of "Only the Brave," Lane Nishikawa's powerful movie about the Japanese American soldiers of the 100th Battalion/442nd Regimental Combat Team. She was funny, approachable, salty and very real. I have a very vivid memory of her during the filming, taking a break between scenes by sitting in her pickup truck (this was a low-budget production -- no trailers for the stars). She was yelling and screaming and so animated we thought something was wrong. It turned out she's a huge LA Lakers fan, and was listening to the playoff game in progress. Last year, we saw her again at the Democratic National Convention, when I was one of the emcees at an APIA Vote Gala along with Tomita and Joie Chen, formerly of CNN. She's a passionate, exciting and entertaining public speaker, and I've since seen her on video (just search YouTube) giving lots of speeches and serving as an emcee on many Japanese American and Asian American community events.