About Alec Yoshio MacDonald

Alec Yoshio MacDonald is an associate editor at the Nichi Bei Weekly. His work has also appeared in Nikkei Heritage, the Pacific Citizen, Nikkei Family Magazine, the Chicago Shimpo, the East Bay Express and Hyphen Magazine. He lives in Oakland.

On a fin and a prayer: Sacred sharks in the soup

Years ago, my uncle took my cousins and I out on a glass-bottom boat tour off the northeast side of Oahu. We were the only ones on that small vessel, and my uncle fell into conversation with the young man at the helm. The guy mentioned he spent a lot of time in the water amongst the sealife, […]

Electric car excitement: Let’s have hamburgers while charging

Behold, the future! Well, maybe. This space-age piece of hardware is a 50-kilowatt charging station. For what, a rocket ship? No, silly — for a car. An electric car. But aren’t those dead? Actually, they were hanging onto life support for about a decade, but the electric car is making a comeback. Leading the (ahem) charge […]

Get Green this Weekend

Got no plans for the upcoming weekend? With apologies for being so last-minute on this, here are a couple activities to get you into the environmental swing of things: For my people in Chicago, the Chicago Botanic Garden is hosting a bonsai show and accompanying lecture to “celebrate the winter season in the Japanese tradition.” […]

Something fishy with our fish

Let me make one thing clear off the bat. I love maguro. LOVE IT. It’s like savory ocean pastry. Or red velvet cake with fins. Okay, maybe I won’t make it as a food writer. But maguro sushi is obviously way high on my list of favorite eats. So a little part of my soul dies when […]

Bags on the Brain

Needing change for the bus the other day, I dropped into Ichiban Kan on Post Street in SF’s Japantown, looking to break a larger bill. For a little more than two bucks, I saw this: An eco bag? My Japanese isn’t so sharp, but the kanji for shopping is printed on the label, along with images […]

That’s some strong grass!

Tomorrow, the kadomatsu that have been adorning doorways from Japan to San Francisco Japantown will be removed. These traditional pine-and-bamboo arrangements (such as the one pictured here that has been gracing the east entrance to the Kintetsu Mall on the Peace Plaza) symbolize long life (the pine) and strength (the bamboo). At least, that’s what my mom told me, explaining […]

Reporting from the Chicago Botanic Garden

Greetings from Chicago, Illinois, where your blogger for Nichi Bei Natural is braving a chilly week with the help of warm friends and family. Headed out to the Chicago Botanic Garden today for a snowy walk around the grounds, and strolled through the popular Elizabeth Hubert Malott Japanese Garden. Also known as the Sansho-En (it stretches across three […]

Wrapping it up

The holiday season always produces a flood of gifts, brought on in a tsunami of wrapping paper. All that colorful packaging sets a festive tone, but most ends up in the garbage so as we don’t drown in it. Might there be a way to stem this wasteful tide? Enter furoshiki, or decorative wrapping fabric. […]

Explorations in environmentalism

Back in early 2008, in this newspaper’s previous life as the Nichi Bei Times, we took a stab at a fresh idea and published a green issue. We reached out to the experts, advocates and regulators who constantly fight for a healthier planet. We interviewed David Suzuki, world-famous scientist, broadcaster and author (see review). We […]