Arts & Entertainment

Docuseries offers fresh look at Asian American experience

“Asian Americans,” a five-hour film series chronicling the contributions and challenges of the fastest-growing ethnic group in America, is being shown this month on PBS during Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. Personal histories and new academic research cast a fresh lens on U.S. history and the role Asian Americans have played in it. Renee Tajima-Peña, […]

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 […]

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.” […]

Film uncovers little-known story of music in camp by incarcerated Nikkei

“For Joy,” a film by Julian Saporiti and the No-No Boy project, tells the little-known story of a Nikkei teenager who sang with a jazz band formed in the World War II concentration camp for Japanese Americans at Heart Mountain, Wyo. The story also sheds light on a hidden history — the music played during […]

WHEN ‘THEN’ MEETS ‘NOW’: Film examines bonds made in Crystal City camp, lessons for today

How is “now” — meaning the Trumpian era where government officials criminalize immigrants and asylum seekers from non-Aryan countries — connected to “then” — the World War II period when people of Japanese descent from the West Coast and Latin American countries were incarcerated in United States-style concentration camps? To find out, join three men […]

Entertainment Re-Oriented: From scarcity to abundance: APIs on screen through the decade

I have a memory from approximately three decades ago — when I was in elementary school — that’s surprisingly vivid still today. I was sitting in front of the TV and something came on the screen that prompted me to call to my brother, who was in the kitchen, to hurry back and look. “Chris,” […]

A kid-friendly primer on Japan

ALL ABOUT JAPAN: STORIES, SONGS CRAFTS AND GAMES FOR KIDS By Willamarie Moore; Illustrated by Kazumi Wilds (North Clarendon, Vt.: Tuttle Publishing, 2017, 64 pp., $14.95, hardcover) Here’s all the information you’d enjoy about Japan, everything from clothing to vocabulary to holidays. Interesting sections include “Introducing Japan,” “Everyday Life,” “Holidays and Celebrations,” plus “Language and […]

A deep dive into the world of tsukemono

JAPANESE PICKLED VEGETABLES: 129 HOMESTYLE RECIPES FOR TRADITIONAL BRINED, VINEGARED AND FERMENTED PICKLES By Machiko Tateno (North Clarendon, Vt.: Tuttle Publishing, 2019, 144 pp., $16.99, paperback) There are many reasons why pickles are the “in” food, so it’s with great excitement that I review this new book that is sure to attract the attention of […]

Learning life lessons with Grandma

BA-CHAN THE NINJA GRANDMA: AN ADVENTURE WITH LITTLE KUNOICHI THE NINJA GIRL Authored and illustrated by Sanae Ishida (Seattle: Sasquatch Books, 2018, 32 pp., $16.99, hardcover) Here’s a ninja tale starring the adventures of little Kunoichi, released in 2018. This one pairs up “Ba-chan,” the “Ninja Grandma,” and her granddaughter. This is the third book […]

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