Archive for the '8Asians' Category

Page 2 of 2

Jee & Joz of @8Asians + Steve of ChannelAPA: video promo for BANANA on 11/21/2009

Although I’m in the promo above (mostly because I’m in LA and Steve was able to make time for us in his studio for this video), I’m not going to be at the event because I’ll be in Taiwan at the time.

But if you’re in the Los Angeles are on November 21, 2009, be sure to check out BANANA, where Infamous Asian American Bloggers Unite to Chop It Up. This is probably the largest group of Asian American bloggers ever assembled. The event is organized by author Lac Su (I Love Yous Are For White People) and television/film producer Steve Nguyen ( LA correspondent). It’s an opportunity to meet the people behind your favorite blogs as well as hear important discussions about the future of our voice, where it will lead to, and how we can come together to find common grounds and focused endeavors to voice our opinions about relevant issues affecting our community. The event will be held on the USC campus on November 21, 2009.

Bloggers slated to appear include Angry Asian Man, Minority Militant, 8Asians, Hyphen Magazine, Asian Pacific Americans for Progress, Mochi Magazine, VisualizAsian, Neaato (Network of Entertaining Asian American Talent), Antisocial Ladder, Bicoastal Bitchin’, Soompi, DVAN (Diasporic Vietnamese American Network), Channel APA, AZNRaps, AArising, Nikkei View, and Kimchi Mamas.

Other bloggers that can’t make it but will still support the event include Alpha Asian, Disgrasian, Asian American Movement, and BigWowo.

A bunch of the 8Asians will be there representing, so come out to the event and say hi. RSVP for the event here.

Chorus of grandmas and grandpas did a costume change!

They’re getting hoots and hollers from the audience!

Someone yelled "grandpa is so handsome!" in Taiwanese.


(Lest there is any confusion… my Mom is NOT in the chorus with the grandpas and grandmas… there were actually 3 choral groups performing in one concert!)

Pecked out on my iPhone. Sorry for any typos.

Hello Kitty Hell: Hello Kitty Tasers, Hondas, Condom Keepers, and More

Hello Kitty is an oft-blogged about topic at 8Asians because HK is emblazoned on all things imaginable. We’ve already covered Hello Kitty Mac cosmetics, Hello Kitty as a model for Christian Dior, and Hello Kitty as an MMORPG.

Let me introduce you to Hello Kitty Hell, a blog dedicated to chronicling one man’s life in cute overload. I’d actually seen this site a couple of years ago, but with years of content built up now, you can spend a lot of time surfing the insanity of Hello Kitty crapola.

As mentioned, Hello Kitty Tasers, Hello Kitty Hondas, and Hello Kitty Condom Keepers are just a taste of what you can find on this site.

But beware, Hello Kitty fans! If you’re actually looking to purchase or find items that you see on this site, this is not the place to go! Not only is this guy not willing to help you find what you’re looking for, he’s even got a snarky message for those “whiners” who are mad at him for not helping in their HK searches!

I say that If you are a true Hello Kitty fan, you’ll be able to find this stuff without his help! Bonus points if you are wearing Hello Kitty underwear and eating Hello Kitty Canned Ramen!

(The words “Hello Kitty” were used 14 times above, not counting abbreviations of “HK”! A record, I think!)

h/t: MJ

Let me show you my pet monkey…

I actually posted this over a year ago at 8Asians, but didn’t post it on my personal blog.

So here it is again, in its original (and updated) form:

I have quite a few Taiwanese blogs showing up in my RSS reader and every so often a post will catch my eye. Over at, there was an interesting post entitled Orangutan Alert and Other Strange House Pets

IslaFormosa teaches English in Taiwan and…

I was teaching apologies and excuses to my students. I gave an example of a lousy excuse: “I really wanted to but I had to look after my pet monkey.”

Being Canadian, I thought this was really ridiculous and far-fetched. One student looked perplexed though. I asked her what was up and she said that, in fact, her neighbor across the street actually had a monkey.

“Are you sure?”, I asked.

“Yeah, it’s orange.”

Orangutan immediately came to mind. I probed a little further but she started to become quiet after I mentioned that orangutans where banned as pets (and in Taipei city no less!!!).

The post goes on to mention that 1,000 baby orangutans were smuggled to Taiwan from Kalimantan on Borneo between 1985 and 1990 and sold as exotic pets.

The reason for this surge in orangutans as pets? A popular Taiwanese television program that featured a live orangutan as the perfect pet and companion!

Not surprisingly, smuggling and poaching was how baby orangutans got into Taiwanese homes. Also predictably, the cute and cuddly baby orangutans grow up and become not-so cute and totally unmanageable adult oranugtans. In 1990, the Taiwanese government made it illegal to have orangutans as pets, but I guess some of them are still around.

This reminds me of a story that my Mom told me about her older brother (my uncle) when they were growing up in Taipei. Mind you, this was a different time, so Taipei wasn’t as urban then as it is now, but basically, my uncle had a pet monkey (I don’t know what kind; my Mom just said it was a “猴子,” she didn’t say it was an orangutan “猩猩”). I guess my uncle LOVED this monkey and raised it from from it was baby. As it got bigger, no one could control this monkey and it would run around the house getting into everything and throwing its doody all over the place, but my uncle loved the monkey so much that he let it do whatever it wanted. And since my uncle was the oldest boy, anything he wanted went.

One day, the monkey was doing its usual uncontrollable thing and it got outside and some school kids (neighborhood kids?) were picking on the monkey… throwing rocks and stuff at it. The monkey freaked out and it tried to get away by climbing the electric pole. My uncle was yelling at the monkey to get down, but of course the monkey didn’t listen to him. It was jumping around and then swinging from place to place until it reached up and grabbed some electrical wires where it was promptly electrocuted to death and fell to ground into a lifeless pile in front of my uncle’s eyes.

My Mom said she had never seen her older brother cry over anything before and never forgot that monkey or how it died.

Anyway, I guess the point of all this is that people have different ideas about what animals are appropriate as pets. You would think in this day in age that people know that monkeys aren’t appropriate pets. But even in modern day in urbanized places like Taipei, some people still have wild boars chained up in front of their homes/stores.

What are some of the strange pets that you’ve encountered?

NOTE: My brother informs me I have some details wrong in my monkey story, so I am edited for further accuracy [via strikethrus]

Joz’s Taiwanese American weekend

Ok, that is a totally misleading title.

This is a little video that HoChie Tsai of put together of his trip to Hollywood & LA a week or two ago. He was nice enough to have me tag-along to a few of the events, so he got a few rare glimpses of Joz on video. in Hollywood & LA, 2009 from Taiwanese American on Vimeo.

Thanks, HoChie!

PS – Yes, I did say “chinky” but I was quoting my brother, who was expressing his frustration at the camera’s inability to detect his “chinky eyes.” (His words, not mine!)

DEADLINE: Stop Motion Animation with Post-Its by Bang-Yao Liu

This has been making the rounds (including shout-outs from Ashton Kutcher on Twitter), but I love it so much I’ve watched it three times and still feed the need to share it.

Made by Bang-yao Liu, a Taiwanese student at Savannah College of Art and Design as his senior project, it took 3 months of planning, 4 days of shooting, and over 6000 post-it notes. Wanna go behind the scenes? See the equally fascinating “Making of” video below!

UPDATE: Coming soon! An exclusive 8Asians “8 Questions” interview with Bang-yao Liu!

Another KFC FAIL: Kentucky Grilled Chicken commercial with two Asian guys wearing kamikaze* headbands and looking all stupid

Wow, first the Oprah/Kentucky Grilled Chicken coupon fiasco, and now this!

KFC is screwing up royally with their promotions for KGC.

With regard to the commercial shown above, everyone else in the commercial is dressed all normally, but why are the Asian guys the only ones dressed all stupid and fighting about chicken while speaking in dumb accents? What are the guys even saying at the end?

Thanks for uploading the video, John… If people start saying “What’s wrong with this?! Asians DO sometimes wear Kamikaze headbands and argue about chicken,” I will punch them in the neck.

Maybe these guys are actually fighting about KFG?!

*Ok, I know they are not really kamikaze headbands and I definitely know they are not in martial arts clothes. I can tell they are supposed to be Japanese cooks. But these guys make no sense and are totally out of context. (Moye says the headband is called “hachimaki.” I still say that most Americans know those things as the headbands worn by kamikaze pilots. Or by Daniel-san in Karate Kid.)

::linked by AdAge::

Dinner at Cafe Espanol with some of the 8Asians

Brian, Katherine, Lily and me!

Pecked out on my iPhone. Sorry for any typos.

Uploaded by !!! :: jozjozjoz :: !!! on 24 Apr 09, 5.15PM PDT.

My schedule ramps up; My interview with Bai Ling

Sometime in the spring it becomes undeniably busy and I find my schedule packed everyday.

I think I’ve hit that point this year.

Anyway, I’m going to apologize now for all the Tweets that duplicate the same content over and over. Ooops. I have to turn something off but haven’t gone through and done that yet.

What else? I’m just juggling like a zillion things right now so I’m pre-occupied. But when I sit down to blog I’m like … … … uh duh.

There is one thing I know I wanted to mention. About two weeks ago, I did a phone interview with Bai Ling (she was in SF, I was in LA) and I finally wrote up the article and posted it at

I’m reposting it below, in case you’re too lazy to click on the 8Asians link… check it out!
Continue reading ‘My schedule ramps up; My interview with Bai Ling’

White Canadian Male asks: “Why do most bad drivers seem to be Asian?”

Phillip Milano, author of the syndicated “Dare to Ask” column, fields “diversity” questions of all sorts — and usually they’re the kinds of questions which may be perceived as “politically incorrect” or “insensitive” to ask outloud. He runs a site called Y?, which is “the first and only site of its kind, gives you a way to ask people from other ethnic or cultural backgrounds the questions you’ve always been too embarrassed or uncomfortable to ask them.” Basically, you can ask your question and then others on the forum chime in with answers + you get an “expert response” from Phillip.

So what happens when someone asks a question like: Are Asians the worst drivers – ever?

Q: Why do most bad drivers seem to be Asian?D.M., 26, white male, Vancouver, Canada

# It is a myth. What’s more, if you check with someone who works in the auto insurance industry, you will find that Asians have the lowest rate of auto accidents. – Pinny, 19, Asian female, Stockton, Calif.

# I cannot drive here in North America. It will take me at least another year to get comfortable with everything on the “wrong” side of the road. Asia drives entirely on the left. Try driving on the left after spending a lifetime doing the exact opposite. – Niti, Pittsburgh

# While Asian is an all-encompassing term, I have noticed that in general there is a truth in the question. There seems to be an inability to understand what is going on around them. – S., black male, California

# I am Asian and am a horrible driver. I don’t know if it is that I can’t see all the traffic signs and cars because of my squinty eyes, or because there are usually seven people trying to fit in my Toyota, and it’s hard to compensate for the weight. Just joking about all that … except that I am Asian and don’t have a single point on my license. – Daniel, 22, Asian male, Indianapolis

Expert Says:
Or that we should quote these NHTSA findings:
# In 2002, only about 2 percent of all Asian deaths were attributable to traffic crashes, about in line with blacks and whites and lower than American Indians and Hispanics.

[full article, with complete expert reply]

How would you respond to the question?

(Hat tip: Tim)

Daito Manabe: Japanese Face Instrumentalist

Daito Manabe is an “Artist, Designer, Programmer, DJ, VJ, Composer” based in Tokyo, Japan. Evidently, he composed some electronic music but wasn’t content with his friends just listening or dancing to it.

Instead, he convinces four of his friends to be videotaped as they have electrodes attached to their faces which is then synced up to his music. Talk about some stimulating music! (A video is above; it becomes more interesting after the first minute.)

Credits and behind the scenes of Daito’s “Face Visualizer” , “Face Instrument”

(Hat tip: LT Goto)

How to Meet Asian Women on Facebook

A friend of mine updated his status message on Facebook with the following:

Hmm. On second thought, I guess that’s really “How to get targeted for ads on ‘How to Meet Asian Women’ on Facebook.”

Either way, I filed this under “Tips on How to Find Guys Trying to Meet Asian Women.”

Imagined Futures Conference in Los Angeles for up and coming APA artists

imaginedfuturesAs a graduate of the UCLA Asian American Studies Department, I am usually pretty interested in events that are sponsored by my former department at my alma mater. The upcoming “Imagined Futures” conference definitely piques my interest not just because of my UCLA ties, but also because they are bringing some very interesting speakers together for this free(!) event.

Presented by the Aratani Endowed Chair, UCLA, and the Japanese American National Museum, “Imagined Futures” is a one day conference for up and coming Asian Pacific American artists on May 2, 2009 from 1pm – 5pm. (Pre-register online). To tackle questions like, “What does the future hold of Japanese American and Asian Pacific American communities?” and “What is the role of the young artist in defining our community’s future?” the organizers have brought together a distinguished panel of speakers and workshop facilitators.

Ok, I’ll just say it. George Takei is going to be there! I love George Takei!!! Aside from George Takei, a few of my friends are actually presenting workshops (which one to attend?! such a dilemma!). Ok, ok, let me get ahold of myself.


Conference Program
The one day conference takes place at the Japanese American National Museumin Little Tokyo from 1-5pm. After a keynote address, participants will learn from established artists in two hour workshops. The workshops will be followed by closing remarks and a reception.

1-2pm: Welcome

  • • Special Opening Performance by UCLA’s NSU Modern
  • • Opening Remarks by Prof. Lane Hirabayashi, Koji Sakai, and Emily Morishima
  • Keynote Speakers

  • • Eric Nakamura of Giant Robot
  • • George Takei, Actor
  • 2-4pm: Workshops

  • • Filmmaking with director/writer/producer Quentin Lee
  • • Anime/Comics with the author of the biweekly column “Asian Pop” for the San Francisco Chronicle, Jeff Yang
  • • Blogs/New Media with Phil Yu of Angry Asian Man
  • • Spoken Word/Hip Hop with LA hip-hop sensation Shin-B
  • • Fiction with award winning writer, Naomi Hirahara
  • • The Art and Business of Clothes with Ryan Suda of Blacklava
  • 4-5pm: Closing Light Reception

    Anyway, I already pre-registered online… will you be there?

    (Some Workshop Descriptions below)
    Continue reading ‘Imagined Futures Conference in Los Angeles for up and coming APA artists’

    Caption This!


    Or just ask yourself “WTF?”

    Either way, enjoy.

    h/t: buzzfeed

    (Also seen at 8Asians)

    McDonald’s “Asian Weeks” Ad Baffles 8Asians…

    … at least two of them anyway. Moye shared this with me and neither of us can figure this out.


    Does the ad fold down? Huh? What?! You can count ME confused but somehow, oddly, I am craving a fried eggroll with some mysterious red dipping sauce.

    Do any of our European readers have any insight?

    Seen at “Asian Weeks till 24th August.”

    Advertising Agency: DDB, Helsinki, Finland
    Art Director: Jukka Mannio
    Copywriter: Vesa Tujunen
    Photographer: Mikko Harma / Kustom
    Other additional credits: Mika Wist

    (Hat tip: mrod)

    Chandni Chowk To China: Bollywood Meets Kung Fu!

    A business acquaintance of mine was kind enough to extend an invitation to a special screening of Chandni Chowk to China on the WB lot tomorrow. I can’t wait to see it.

    To be frank, until I received the invitation, I had not even heard of this movie, and it is being released in select markets on January 16. So of course, I had to do a little reading up and (at least) watch the trailer.

    Chandni Chowk to China (also known as “Made in China” or “C.C.2.C.”) stars Akshay Kumar (an Indian actor well-known as a Bollywood action hero) and Deepika Padukone (an Indian supermodel turned Bollywood actress) in the lead roles, with Hindi cinema veteran Mithun Chakraborty and Hong Kong veteran Gordon Liu (of Kill Bill 1 & 2) playing other important roles.

    The story is about a chef (actually, a halwai) who is mistaken to be a martial arts expert. CC2C is the first Hindi film to be shot in China and is said to be loosely based on Akshay Kumar’s life (he studied martial arts in Bangkok and worked as a chef).

    I’ll be interested in seeing how the elements of two of my favorite genres: Bollywood and Kung Fu are fused together in this movie. Bollywood movies are usually musicals with catchy song-and-dance numbers throughout. Some people have called this movie Kung Fu Hustle for Indians, but that doesn’t really sound completely accurate, considering all the comic book elements of KFH.

    I’m totally fascinated about Akshay Kumar, who has had a pretty amazing Bollywood career. I found this interview by Anupama Chopra (Consulting Editor, Movies, NDTV) which talks about how the movie came about…

    Akshay Kumar: Before Warner Brothers came in, Rohan Sippy (Indian film director) got me a design of me standing like in [a martial arts] pose. The film was called ‘Mera Naam Chin Chin Chu’. He said, “Akshay I want to make a film.” I said, “Okay, what’s the story?” “I don’t have a story.” “Okay do you have an idea?” I don’t have an idea.” “Alright, you have a producer?” “I don’t have a producer.” Sso what do you have?” “I just have this poster, this is the main poster.” His idea was this poster he had made in front of me. This is the first film I’ve done without listening to anything. I told him I wanted to do this film.

    Anupama Chopra: Purely on the poster?

    Akshay Kumar: On the poster. You know, sometimes it’s your instinct. I don’t know whether it’s going to be right or wrong. That we will come to know later, when the movie releases. This guy is a chef who goes to learn martial art. Bas yehi idea tha (That’s all the idea there was). Let’s make it on my life and let’s do it. Rohan said,”…give me about three months and I’ll come back. He didn’t come back to me in three months. When he did come he told me that he has a small idea and that he has got Warner Brothers to produce it. And from there it took off.

    I love that they produced a real Hollywood-distributed movie… all based on a poster!

    PS – Deepika Padukone is HOT!

    Fan Death: South Korean Urban Legend or Scary, Scary Way You Could Possibly Die in Your Sleep?

    Beware of South Korean Fan Death!
    Maybe it’s because neither Yoshi nor I are of Korean descent and therefore immune to this awful, awful way of suffocating, being poisoned, or dying of hypothermia during our sleep, but right now I am counting my blessings.

    I confess… I didn’t realize that we had been engaging in something so life threatening… sleeping with a fan on in an enclosed room. That’s right… all these years, we’ve been at risk of South Korean Fan Death!

    Did you know that an electric fan can create a vortex, which sucks the oxygen from an enclosed and sealed room and create a partial vacuum inside? An electric fan chops up all the oxygen particles in the air leaving none to breathe. You might say, “Oh no, Joz. That violates conservation of matter, since indoor fans are not powerful enough to change the air pressure by any significant amount.” But CONSERVATION OF MATTER BE DAMNED! This is scary shit, yo! And the Koreans have brilliantly found a way to prevent Fan Death… a timing mechanism to turn fans off automatically before this happens.

    Now, before we go any further, I remember sleeping in my enclosed room as a kid with a Taiwanese fan with a timer. My parents always told me to use the timer function so the fan would shut off at night. I always thought it was because they wanted to conserve energy and because they didn’t want to have to get up in the middle of the night to turn the fan off in my room, but maybe the Taiwanese were less informed about the dangers of Fan Death. Or maybe my parents didn’t want to scare me.

    Regardless, I always loved the timer of my because I remember I would indeed get cold if I left it on all night. So maybe the Koreans know something I didn’t know then about how fans contribute to hypothermia (abnormally low body temperature). They say that a fan is left on all night in a sealed and enclosed room, it will lower the temperature of the room to the point that it can cause hypothermia. Maybe that’s because South Korean government cares more about its people than does ours; I’ve never heard of any U.S. government-issued warnings about this!

    The Korea Consumer Protection Board (KCPB), a South Korean government-funded public agency, issued a consumer safety alert in 2006 warning that “asphyxiation from electric fans and air conditioners” was among South Korea’s five most common seasonal summer accidents or injuries, according to data they collected. According to the KCPB:

    “If bodies are exposed to electric fans or air conditioners for too long, it causes bodies to lose water and [causes] hypothermia. If directly in contact with [air current from] a fan, this could lead to death from [the] increase of carbon dioxide saturation concentration and decrease of oxygen concentration. The risks are higher for the elderly and patients with respiratory problems. From 2003 [to] 2005, a total of 20 cases were reported through the CISS involving asphyxiations caused by leaving electric fans and air conditioners on while sleeping. To prevent asphyxiation, timers should be set, wind direction should be rotated and doors should be left open.”

    SEE?!?!?! They warn their consumers that using a fan in a sealed room could also contribute to prolonged asphyxiation due to environmental oxygen displacement or carbon dioxide intoxication!

    Damn those electric fans are tricky! So many different ways it could kill us in our sleep!

    “Oh, but Joz…” you say. “This is ridiculous. I’ve never heard of anything like this every being reported.”

    Well, maybe that’s because your sources of information might be too limited and excludes South Korean mainstream news. Fan death is accepted by many Korean medical professionals and in summer, mainstream Korean news sources regularly report on cases of fan death.

    For instance, the July 28, 1997 edition of the Korea Herald, an English-language newspaper reported:

    The heat wave which has encompassed Korea for about a week, has generated various heat-related accidents and deaths. At least 10 people died from the effects of electric fans which can remove oxygen from the air and lower body temperatures…

    On Friday in eastern Seoul, a 16-year-old girl died from suffocation after she fell asleep in her room with an electric fan in motion. The death toll from fan-related incidents reached 10 during the past week. Medical experts say that this type of death occurs when one is exposed to electric fan breezes for long hours in a sealed area. “Excessive exposure to such a condition lowers one’s temperature and hampers blood circulation. And it eventually leads to the paralysis of heart and lungs,” says a medical expert.

    “To prevent such an accident, one should keep the windows open and not expose oneself directly to fan air,” he advised.

    Now, to be fair, this phenomenon is virtually unheard of outside of Korea. Locals claim Koreans are uniquely vulnerable due to a peculiarity either of their own physiology or of Korean fans. Maybe that’s why only Korean fans come with this warning:

    Korean Fan Death Warning!

    Lucky for us, we have cheated death in a several of ways… not only are we not Korean and none of our fans are made in Korea (yay for Made in China, for once!), we also now have a window fan which blows outside air in!

    Now I can say that blogging has officially (potentially) saved our lives since my friend Chris posted about this, warning me about the dangers of Fan Death. In his words, “God only knows how many times I have very narrowly escaped those hungry jaws of death that circulate air through my hot bedroom on summer nights. Just think, if I had closed my window before going to sleep, I wouldn’t be here posting this today! I count myself blessed. Shudder to think of the horrible deaths others have endured when their friendly household fan ‘chops up all the oxygen particles in the air leaving none to breathe’–how horrible!”

    Yes, indeed, Chris. I feel what you’re feeling right now.

    So in the spirit of paying it forward, I’d like to take this moment to remind you, BEWARE OF THE DEATH FAN!

    And now you know. And knowing is half the battle.*

    *Hmm, inappropriate to reference GI Joe? Oh well.

    [Also posted at]

    Let’s help Rodney Kageyama

    Rodney KageyamaFor a while it seemed like he was stalking us… or that we were stalking him.

    Whenever we would go to Little Tokyo, or if we were at some community event, or once just walking down a random street, there he was: Rodney Kageyama. If we were lucky, we’d catch him on TV or the big screen, too! I can’t say that I know him well, but his visibility at L.A. events was really unmatched. And even though I don’t think he knows my name, he always, always said hi to me, if I just blurted out, “Hi, Rodney!” in his general direction.

    You know how it is. There are people who show up only to the “A-List” type of events. And then there are the people like Rodney who is at every event, big or small, showing his unfailing support. A message has been circling through various email lists and I’ve received it a few times from various sources, they all end with “please foward to as many people as possible.” Ok, then.

    If we can’t support someone in his time of need, especially someone who has also supported the community so steadfastly over the years, then really, what’s the point of having a community at all?

    So here goes the plea that I got from Chris Tashima, co-Artistic Director of Cedar Grove OnStage:

    One of my first gigs, back in 1984, was a series of Coke commercials, for Japanese TV. They were shot at a 50s diner in Visalia, CA, and at Magic Mountain. I was an extra, which wasn’t the highest profile, or most challenging work, but it was fun. I got to travel out of town, learn the Japanese lyrics to the “Coke is it!” song, learn choreography, play dress-up (50s), and dream of being broadcast over the airwaves in Japan – and becoming an international star. I never saw the completed spots, until recently: thanks to YouTube, I discovered these long-lost ads, and was finally able to see the fruits of my labor:

    Two spots start at 00:30.

    Long lost indeed – lost way, way in the background. I think I can spot myself in one shot, way in the blurry distance, for all of maybe 1.5 seconds.

    The memories are still fond, though. One very clear memory is meeting renowned character and comedic actor, Rodney Kageyama (at 00:41 in the above video). Not only did this swell guy befriend me on this shoot, he later introduced me to many of the folks at East West Players in Los Angeles, and to many more in the larger Japanese American community in Southern California. He also supported all of my work, designing costumes for my first film project with Visual Communications, and volunteering on crew for both “Visas and Virtue” and “Day of Independence.” In countless many other ways, he has help me continue with the work that I do, and aspire to do. As I think about all that he has done for me, sadly, I can’t say I have done much in return. But, the warmth of his friendship hasn’t ever made me feel like I needed to. Well, now’s my chance to try to give back.

    Rodney Kageyama needs our help.

    Late last year, Rodney was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a group of cancers that affect the cells that play a role in the immune system. Since his diagnosis, he has been undergoing intense chemotherapy treatments. So far, the results have been hopeful, but his fight against this disease is far from over. This illness has knocked Rodney out of work, and he misses everyone because he hasn’t been able to appear at any community functions or support our community organizations as he has for so many of us over the past 25 years. Rodney has spent a lifetime giving so many of us his time, giving us so much joy and laughter, and has helped us all in so many ways along the way. His greatest gift is his ability to laugh and to make us laugh, sometimes at him, sometimes at ourselves.

    Now is the time for us to give something back. This is where everyone can help.

    Our goal is to raise at least $25,000 so that Rodney can put all his energy into fighting this fight, and not have to worry about rent, food, utilities and hospital bills for the next year. One hundred percent of your contribution will go directly to Rodney, and his fight for his life. For all he’s done for me, and so many others, I ask you to give a gift from your heart.

    The $25k is an estimated minimum, to help Rodney for one year. I don’t think it’s much to ask, especially considering how far and wide-reaching his efforts for the community have been. If all who his gift of giving has touched, reached out to give something back, I think this figure would be blown out of the water, which wouldn’t be a bad thing.

    Very fitting, I’d say.

    Thank you for your consideration.
    And, thanks again, for reading


    PS: Please make your check payable to FRIENDS OF RODNEY KAGEYAMA,
    and mail to:

    Rodney Kageyama
    4891 Round Top Drive
    Los Angeles, CA 90065


    Random thoughts at 4am

    -I just made a post at entitled: Let’s talk about sex. I wonder who all is going to check THAT post out.

    -Chatted with Bobo today. Two of her daughters are having health issues. I’m thinking of them. I also found out that one of the daughters knows me as “Aunt I Don’t Remember Her Name.” Haha, cute. At least she calls me “Aunt.”

    -It rained for much of the day. Did some rainy day reading and read something that really moved me.

    -Chatted with JJ for a while and kept him up way past his bedtime. He’s known me for so long and can see right through when I’m putting up a front. He’s such a good friend and I love him to bits.

    -There is some strange beeping outside that hasn’t stopped for at least 15 minutes. I wonder if it’ll stop before I finish this post.

    -I went to the post office today in Hollywood and my crowd gathering disease kicked in. My Mom and I have this weird power where we can walk into a room/store/whatever that is basically empty except for us and then be totally and completely crowded when we leave. I showed up at the post office and there was only one person ahead of me. When I left, there were at least 20 people in line. (Yoshi can vouch for the existence of this power. Unfortunately, I have not figured out how to control this power and use it to fight evil yet.)

    -Spontaneously decided to go get a mani/pedi as a treat for starting the new gig. My fingers have been frenched. My toes are hot-pinkified.

    -Yoshi was gone all day and I was home alone for most of the day. Yoshi had to drive back in the rain and had a migraine after getting home. We got into bed and snuggled. And so that we could be in bed together, I turned on my laptop to work in bed instead of at my desktop in the other room.

    -I love chatting with Akrypti. She’s the bestest.

    -Tons to do this weekend. Tomorrow I’m off to OC for a few days. Yes, a few days. I’ll be staying with Mom and Bro.

    -OMG the beeping has not stopped. But the heater has turned on so I can’t hear the beeping as much.

    New Year’s Eve with Kōhaku

    NHK Red & White Song Festival 2008As a kid, most of my New Year’s Eve memories involved having dinner (hot pot) at my grandparents home with the extended family and close friends. After dinner, the adults would drink tea (or sake) and sit around the table while talking. In the background, the TV would be blaring TV from NHK Japan: Kōhaku Uta Gassen or the Red White Song Battle (or Song Contest or Song Festival).

    My family is from Taiwan, but due to the history of Japanese occupation there, my grandparents and parents learned to speak (and read/write) Japanese. So my personal New Year’s memories are a mix of Taiwanese and Japanese… with the Japanese coming from Kōhaku.

    According to Wikipedia:

    Kōhaku Uta Gassen, more commonly known as simply Kōhaku, is an annual music show on the New Year’s Eve produced by Japanese public broadcaster NHK and broadcast on both television and radio, nationally and internationally by NHK’s networks and some overseas (mainly cable) broadcasters which bought the program. The show ends shortly before midnight (when NHK switches to a frenzy of “Happy New Year” greetings from around the nation).

    Literally “Red and White Song Battle,” the program divides the most popular music artists of the year into competing teams of red and white. The “red” team or akagumi is composed of all female artists (or groups with female vocals), while the “white” team or shirogumi is all male (or groups with male vocals). The honor of performing on Kōhaku is strictly by invitation, so only the most successful J-Pop artists and enka singers can perform. In addition to the actual music performances, the costumes, hair-styles, makeup, dancing, and lighting are also important. Even today, a performance on Kōhaku is said to be a big highlight in a singer’s career because of the show’s large reach.

    While I don’t keep up with J-pop or really anything Japanese for most of the year, I always like to turn on the TV and have some Red White Song battling on to make it feel like New Year’s Eve with my family. And on the final night of 2007, I am happy to be staying in J-Town in SF with Kōhaku on the TV while waiting to meet some good friends from 8Asians and others for dinner.

    May you ring in the New Year happily and safely!

    Um, you don’t get it, do you?

    TIME - Quotes of the Day for July 23, 2007So I was browsing through the TIME Quotes of the Day slideshow and caught the following quote:

    “All those descriptions are obviously contrary to the facts, belittling ourselves and confusing the national identity.”

    Taiwanese newspaper Liberty Times praising the government’s plans to drop references in school textbooks that recognize Chinese historical figures, places and artifacts as “national”

    Hooray for the Taiwanese government for removing the “national” descriptor (implying China) and taking that kind of propaganda out of the textbooks.

    Unfortunately, TIME’s (photo?) editors need to understand the quote a little better.

    Irony of all ironies: check out the photo and the photo credit.

    Photo: China Photos / Getty | Source: AP

    Um, DUH! Taiwan is saying that it is NOT China.


    That’s one step removed from the “All Asians are the same” mentality and putting a picture of a Japanese girl dressed like a geisha in the photo next to that caption.

    (Click to embiggen the screenshot above.)

    Also posted at 8asians.

    “Sometimes I wish I wasn’t Asian…”

    Before I say anything else, for the record, I am quoting someone else! I do not feel this way at all!

    Ok, now that’s clear, I want to make some commentary on the statement above. I, for one, have always been proud of my Asian/Taiwanese heritage. Sure, when I was a kid on the playground and I went to a predominantly white elementary school, it was tough “not fitting in.” But I was raised by my parents to really understand our roots… that being Taiwanese was something special and that fitting in was less important than knowing who I was. I will admit there that I had passing thoughts of wanting to look like Barbie, but for the most part, I find it hard to recall a time that I wished to be anything other than Asian.

    This morning, I was checking out the Yelp* threads and I saw this Yelp Talk topic started by a gal named “Anh T.

    Here’s what she said:

    Sometimes I wish I wasn’t Asian…

    My main reasons:

    1) My English is probably better than yours so you don’t have to use one syllable words as often as possible.
    2) I’m not interested in talking to you about martial arts or Chinese horoscopes.
    3) I’m not that compliant; in fact, I bitch all the time.
    4) I do not provide pre-coital massages or post-coital tea.

    Since I don’t know her and I don’t know where she’s really coming from, I’m not trying to judge her or call her out by saying she’s some sort of self-hating racist or anything beyond thinking that this would be an interesting topic for 8Asians. (I actually think she’s kind of kidding; she explains later: “I was just venting about some recent experiences. I’m not rejecting my background, I just wish that I didn’t have to deal with these dumb stereotypes from dumb people.”)

    Anyway, it’s an interesting thread and I’m wondering what you think about it all.

    Have you ever felt this way?

    *Yelp account may be required to view thread.

    (x-posted from

    %d bloggers like this: