Archives for 2020

L.A.’s Japanese Community Pioneer Center founded out of necessity

LOS ANGELES — The Japanese Community Pioneer Center was established out of necessity, to serve older Japanese Americans who had endured decades of racial discrimination and had re-established their lives after returning from World War II concentration camps, the center’s chairman of the board Haru Takehana explained. “In 1964, after the United States Congress passed […]

A teahouse meant to be, in the Penryn countryside

When Sumie Ward arrived in Los Angeles in 1959, she had no idea she would eventually become a meiyo shihan (distinguished master) in the Urasenke tradition of Japanese tea ceremony. She was more concerned about her soon-to-be-born first child and establishing her roots in a country where most people did not speak Japanese. “The American […]

FOR THE COMMUNITY: Melody Takata’s three decades of teaching Japanese arts

Melody Takata has been drumming taiko for around four decades, starting in Los Angeles as a high school student with L.A. Matsuri Taiko before moving to Tokyo for a year during college to study with Oedo Sukeroku Taiko. After finishing her studies, she moved to San Francisco to work with artists in Northern California. She […]

Sakura Kokumai’s Olympic quest to represent USA’s karate team

Sakura Kokumai, the seven-time United States karate national champion, listens to music to help her relax and eats lots of rice to “give (her) that power” before a competition. However, during competitions, she is laser focused. “Usually, when I’m in my zone, I focus on my performance, my movements and my breathing,” Kokumai told the […]

High school graduate pursues professional taiko dream with Japan’s Kodo

Ren Zoshi recalled the first time she saw Kodo Taiko Performing Arts Ensemble perform as a 9-year-old child. “That first performance, I think, I just couldn’t forget the sound, the energy and how much you can do with drums,” Zoshi, the 18-year-old Shin-Nisei, said. “Taiko — the sound, you can feel it vibrate in you.” […]

Website to document anti-Asian hate crimes in wake of Covid-19

On a busy San Francisco street in the broad light of day, Yuanyuan Zhu was harassed and spit on by a stranger simply for being Asian in the midst of a global pandemic caused by what the president of the United States calls the “Chinese virus.” Zhu had just been dropped off near the corner […]

Outreach efforts underway to reach Asian population in census count

With the country’s decennial effort to count every single person living in the United States set to kick off in earnest, one of its fastest growing racial groups — Asian Americans — is at risk of going largely overlooked. Invitations to fill out the U.S. Census questionnaire were scheduled to land in the mailboxes of […]

Navigating the new normal

We were faced with a new uncertainty following Bay Area-wide shelter-in-place orders imposed upon us on March 17. That was followed by a statewide order just two days later. States from coast to coast followed suit, altering the lives of millions. Welcome to the new normal, courtesy of the global coronavirus pandemic, or COVID-19. Here […]

The Gochiso Gourmet: Vermicular for me

Vermicular: adjective 1. like a worm in form or movement or 2. of, denoting, or caused by intestinal worms. When I first Googled the name, that was the exact definition, which certainly didn’t sound like an enticing cooking implement. But I later discovered that vermicular is also a form of graphite iron that,  while being […]

DISSENT: Coronavirus is especially dangerous for those in prisons, jails, and immigration detention

Every day, government officials take more drastic steps to contain the coronavirus, including shelter-in-place orders, shutdowns of bars and restaurants and preparing college dorms to serve as makeshift hospitals. But shockingly, ICE and some law enforcement agencies are largely going on with business as usual. According to the Los Angeles Times, ICE agents are continuing to arrest immigrants, including a 56-year old man who is the sole breadwinner for his family; the agents arrested him when he left his home to work and buy groceries that would have prepared his family for coronavirus lockdowns. And while a number of sheriffs and police departments are wisely choosing to ramp down enforcement of low-level offenses, many are continuing to book people into jail for minor misconduct.

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