THE GREAT UNKNOWN AND THE UNKNOWN GREAT: In praise of the cook: Remembrance of Jack Shirai, A Nikkei antifascist fighter

(Editor’s note: The following article was co-written with Jonathan Van Harmelen.) Traditionally, discussion of the Nikkei combat experience starts with World War II and centers on the exploits of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, the Military Intelligence Service, and the actions of individual veterans such as Sgt. Ben Kuroki or Frank Fujita. Yet one of […]

THE HEART OF KANJI: How a small bird can become your teacher

私 (Watakushi) means “I, myself.” The left side of this word represents a rice plant and the right side represents arms. As one character, it shows a person holding lots of rice with both their arms. å…ˆ (Sen, saki) means “before or after.” The top of this word indicates a person’s foot and the portion […]

THE GOCHISO GOURMET: A simple bowl of rice

We don’t consume rice like we used to, and it’s not because we’re into the whole low-carb diet, because neither of us subscribes to it. It’s simply because I tend to overeat when rice is the starch. And because I overeat, I don’t get to prepare one of my favorite dishes with the leftover rice, […]

THE GREAT UNKNOWN AND THE UNKNOWN GREAT: Anne Howden’s lifetime of human rights advocacy and public service

Mich Kunitani, the subject of my last “Great Unknown” column, was not the only member of his family to make a name as a political activist. His first wife, Anne Saito Kunitani, later known as Anne Howden, was a lifelong human rights advocate who shifted her focus from advocacy to public service. She was born […]

THE HEART OF KANJI: Polish your heart with shodo

書 (Sho) means “writing.” The top of this character depicts a person who is writing calligraphy, and the bottom represents a piece of paper. 道 (Do, michi) means “a way, path or road.” The right side represents a person’s head and face and the left side represents a crossroad. 心 (Kokoro) means “heart.” This word […]

ENTERTAINMENT RE-ORIENTED: For Asian American entertainment, 2020 marks a new beginning — but the beginning of what exactly?

Editor’s Note: This is the first of a two-part series. When we talk about eras in entertainment media, we often define them by decades. Eighties movies, sixties rock or ‘90s video games. This is ultimately pretty arbitrary, of course — when the calendar flips from December 1999 to January 2000, what’s happening in film, books […]

FINDING YOUR NIKKEI ROOTS: What’s your plan?

Many of you began your family history journey in 2020 when you had extra time during the COVID-19 quarantine. While you might not be celebrating Oshogatsu with your loved ones this year (at least not in person), it might be the perfect time to connect with those “other” family members, your ancestors. As you move […]

THROUGH YONSEI EYES: Summer

In this cold and lonely winter, I can’t help but dream of the picture perfect Japanese summers I enjoyed during my time in Tottori. It seems like forever ago that life was so carefree, but during these difficult times I can still find sunshine in those memories of lazy days and long nights, beers on […]

Let’s Talk … About thriving in the pandemic, Part 2

We have many things to look forward to in 2021, a kind of U-turn, but on a different plane of living. The “new normal” will forever be inflected by this harrowing epidemic, unprecedented political instability and the raw social injustice brought to the heart of 2020. Like the lumbering ox that represents the Chinese zodiac […]

RABBIT RAMBLINGS: The fight continues

I guess we can say “Happy New Year” without feeling totally hypocritical at this time. The year that we just lived through has been so different from any that most of us have experienced that one can hardly find words to describe it. As of this writing, there are record breaking numbers of people catching […]

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