Author Archives: K-Duh

Theme Four: Some Place

Like most things in this book there is the obvious, upfront meaning and the much deeper, questioning, challenging meaning of place. In the physical sense there is Japan, Canada, America, islands, forests, cities and buildings. And at first you’re reading and that’s all they are, places, settings. But then you start to realize the similarities in the settings for Nao and Ruth, the similar realizations that they have depending where they are. For example both Nao and Ruth long for America because that’s where they both felt the most alive. Then they move to an island for people they love and have sad things happen that make them question why they had to move, but at the end of the story they’re happy with where they are.

Then there’s this mental place that most of the characters experience and is further emphasized with physical places. Ozeki uses this to showcase that mental states are places too. You have Nao, Haruki #2, and Nao’s mother living in a small, rundown apartment when they all are feeling depressed/being affected by others depression, but Nao and Haruki #2 do better once they go visit Jiko and Nao’s mother seems to thrive at her workplace. Ruth’s mother, Masako who had Alzheimer’s, loved the free store at the junk which was described as having odds and ends of lost items, but things worth keeping it kind of speaks to the mental place of Masako then.

“Mississippi Masala”

While this film has a lot going on with identity and race I think one of the more powerful points in this film were the similarities between African American’s post-slavery experience and Ugandan Indian’s postcolonial experience. In the film, Mina tells   Demetrius that Indians were brought over to Uganda to work on the railroad and left them when their occupation stopped. In the beginning of the film we see the deportation of Indians from Uganda because are a left over reminder of the British Regime and as Okelo says, “Uganda is for the Ugandans”. As the family is leaving Kinnu is harassed, to be mild about that part, by soldiers before they are able to leave.

Now if you paid attention during history class, or I should say if you went to a somewhat decent/privileged enough school system that went into the continued horrifying facts of treatment towards African Americans after Emancipation, you’d probably already see the similarities. But in case you were like me and had a wandering mind here’s a re-cap. African slaves were brought over to work for the new white inhabitants of the United States of America mainly for plantation work. Once emancipated though African American’s weren’t allowed to live in the same communities as whites. Lastly the scene with Kinnu getting harassed, well that happened all the time post-slavery.

Why is this shared history so important? Well it shows that there is a connectedness with people across the world because they have shared in a similar experience. Demetrius tells Mina that they are kind the same because she’s and Indian who hasn’t been to India and he’s a African who hasn’t been to Africa. There’s power to being able to identify similarly to people different than you because it’s validating.

To take this unity a bit further, Even with India being a part of Asia, I’d say that this history is also shared with the Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Philippina/o labor workers on the west coast.

“Shaolin Ulysses” and “The Black Kung fu Experience”

The main similarity I saw between these films, asides from them both being kung fu films, was that they both talked about combining things to enhance one another. In “Shaolin Ulysses” one of the monks says that kung fu is the body and mind becoming one to make your spirit, which correlates to “The Black Kung fu Experience” because all of the masters talked about kung fu helping them form their identities.

While both films talked about combining different Martial Arts to perfect their style, in “The Black Kung fu Experience” there was more than just that being mixed. I forget the name and couldn’t find it in my notes, but the one guy who had the snake and the staff? Well he also incorporated African drums/dance into his teachings, which was very beautiful to watch. I feel that the message here is that you should be open to learning so you can take what’s good to make something even better.  This program has been looking at combining differences and the outcomes from that, all of which have been amazing.


This is for “Pappy’s House”: “Pop” Culture and the Revaluation of a Filipino American “Sixty-Cents” in Guam by Vicente M. Diaz

In this chapter, Diaz talks about the meanings of words and their origins. The chapter looks at the globalization of words which leads to multiple meanings. The chapter puts an emphasis on “Pappy” which is father, and shows a sense of patriarchy because it’s the father in charge of a family. It also referrers to “Colonel Sanders and black men fishing the Missouri River” (pp.104). Now talking about the globalization of the word, Jennifer Lopez’s new song “I Luh Ya Papi” is very interesting, especially with the music video. First of all the song is using Papi as a term of endearment, secondly the music video is aiming to be objectifying men like/instead of women (I don’t agree that it did that completely though), which is going against the patriarchal sense of the word. Things to think about.

Week Four Davè Talking Points

If you have not read my Hello Kitei page, then let me inform you that part of my identity includes being a passing, mixed raced, queer lady. So “Guilty Pleasures” really resonated with me. As I was reading this I very much agreed with LeiLani Nishime’s feelings of guilt and pleasure when outing someone famous, especially when they tend to identify the same way or similarly to me. It’s exciting to shock others with this bit of news but I immediately regret doing it for two reasons. 1) I feel like it comes off that that’s the only reason I like the person/that’s the only reason they are popular. 2) Even if it’s public knowledge, identities are personal, especially when it comes to sexuality and race. So when I tell people that so and so is such and such, I feel like I’m almost taking away their right to identify. And I was wondering if this is the same for others? Are your feelings different? Do you have them?

My second talking point is on passing privilege. In the sense of race, what does it mean to be passing? Is it solely based on your appearance versus biological parents? What if you are a mixed, you look white, and while you are aware of where your non-white family is from and some of their traditions you know it’s been washed out by trying to assimilate? What if you weren’t white appearing in the same scenario?

As a whole though I find passing to be a powerful thing, it’s almost like a superpower. It lets people break and stretch stereotypes and question societal norms.

Breaking the Stereotypes

It was interesting to see to watch ”Slaying The Dragon” and then “The Joy Luck Club” after the reading form Robert Lee’s Orientals.

Something that really stood out to me through these three works were the portrayals in relationships. While Lee talks about interracial marriage, while it was focused on Chinese men marring white/non-Chinese women it still shows that interracial relationships have been a thing since the 1800s. Which is ironic since it’s still such a taboo today. while Lee talks about Asian men with other women, the films showed the opposite of those relationships. In  “Slaying the Dragon” it mentioned how Asian women were only allowed to be with white men if they were n need of saving and portrayed as a China Doll, but even then they were willing to give up their lives to save the man. It also talks about the portrayals of the women that white men were looking for. That they needed to passive, and obedient to the men, more like a servant than a partner. Rose, in “The Joy Luck Club”, follows this image. Rose gives her all in her marriage while her husband takes it for granted and even gets upset with Rose because she’s “too passive”. Rose is confused because she thinks that it’s her job to please him. What was awesome in the end of this segment of the film was that she broke the stereotype by demanding the house in the divorce instead of letting her husband take it.

Game Over



For those of you who have been following my blog, or those of you that haven’t, I have not kept up to what I said I’d do in my first post for my obsession. I have reasons but that’s not why you’re here. Not only did I not read as many articles that I wanted I also didn’t play through the game. However I don’t feel that either of those have really impacted me obsession over Zelda Ocarina of Time (Z.O.T.). Because I love this game, because me and my friends outside of class actually talk about what we’re doing in school, ad because I already know a lot about race and gender implications in media/popular culture/everyday life; I feel that I was still able to expand my knowledge and thoughts on Z.O.T. and so here are my thoughts gather through the quarter.

To start off I’d like to point out the name of this game and series is Zelda, yet she is not the character you play but the somewhat damsel in distress that you end up saving. Which is kinda messed up, I mean Mario games aren’t called Princess Peach because she’s not the character you play. Yeah Zelda sounds better than The Legend of Link Ocarina of Time, but at least make her the character you play. Now I say the somewhat damsel in distress because in this game Zelda takes on a different identity for a good portion of it, Sheik, who looks like a guy based off the other characters. Sheik is also pretty bad ass because she comes out of nowhere, teaches/tells you really important stuff and then *poof* is gone again. Not only that but Sheik saves Link’s ass before the Shadow Temple. And when Zelda reveals herself she not only supplies Link with the weapon he needs to defeat Gannon, but she also pins him down so Link can deliver the final blow, (with the Master Sword just so we’re clear because I once watched my older brother try beating Gannon with the Biggeron Sword and that fight would have kept going if he didn’t switch). So basically Zelda is good enough to teach, supply, and help Link, but not to be the actual hero of the game named after her. And that really goes for all the lady characters, with the exception of a few males (I think 4) Link is only able to continue his road towards Hero because of the support of women. Which goes with that saying that behind every great man is great women.

I know in a previous post I talked about the Gerudo race, and now I want to talk about the Hylian race. This is the race that both Zelda and Link are a part of. Now encase I haven’t mentioned in Zelda is is a princess, and both her and Link are white, blonde hair, and blue eyed…oh right and both of them end up saving the day. Not to mention that the leader of the Sages is also Hylian. So if you’ve been following me or know me you’d understand that this further perpetuating the white savior complex, and to the extant of  Aryan features. But I’ve been putting a lot of thought into this, and I kept asking myself why this might be? Especially after watching Cowboy Bebop The Movie, I was wondering why are these main characters pretty white looking? Besides the fact that as powerful countries the U.S., Great Britain, Spain, and France  have major influences in popular cultures around the world and due to their colonizing pretty much everywhere (but Antarctica cuz there’s only Penguins down there, you can’t really exploit them) they have influenced/left their legacy on those places. There was a point during last quarter and through out this quarter, that I started to really question not only world beauty standards but also the way we as the U.S. view other countries actions (I promise this isn’t me pointlessly dragging you down the rabbit hole).

From lectures and readings I’m very aware that Japan did not want western influences in their countries and that part of their involvement during WWII was because they wanted Asian countries to unite against the above countries. And these countries present themselves as being the best, the rulers of the world. So why is it that it was so horrible what Japan was doing during that time when they might have just been following the others lead on become world powers? I’m not trying to justify anything here, by the way just contemplating some reasons. Anyway back to Zelda, so that all being mentioned could the reason that Link is a Hylian (Aryan) saving the day could be because that’s the example being set and upheld by the rest of the world.

Theme Three: Lost and Found

Content Warning for death, suicide, sexual assault, bullying, and violence

Spoilers for A Tale For The Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

Loss is a pretty big theme through out the book, and in the end finding/coming to terms with things lost is  major. The main things that are lost are: home, identity, loved one, purpose, time and reality. Both Nao and Ruth are sad about leaving places they love, because it’s where they felt alive. While Ruth at the end tells Oliver that she happy on the island despite her complaining about all through the book. Nao on the other hand felt better about Japan after going to Jiko’s temple but according to Haruki #2′s email she feels at home in Montreal. This loss of home effects both character’s loss in identity. Nao is confused with being Japanese but feeling American (thus being Japanese/American) and her loss of identity happens because her connections to America are disappearing at the same time that new ones aren’t being made in Japan. For Ruth she felt her identity as a writer was lost, and that her identity as a Japanese/American wasn’t being acknowledged by Oliver or her neighbors. We can speculate that Nao and Ruth both came to terms with their identities or found them because we know that Nao is doing well but maybe now she feels more Japanese/Canadian? and Ruth I’m assuming found her identity as a write because the book is out, but she feels better about racial identity by having her fellow islanders and husband slowly acknowledge why the dairy is so important to her. Their loved ones that either have passed or have gone M.I.A. mentally/physically for periods in the story are found or they have accepted that while they might not be physically with them they will always be there in memory. This is seen in Nao writing about Haruki #2 through his suicidal period and Ruth constantly remembering Masako. Along with Ruth feeling like she’s not a writer any more in an identity sense she also feels that way in her purpose. In the beginning of the novel Ruth stats that she’s been having trouble concentrating on her writing and that she’s not sure about her memoir any more. While that doesn’t really change, at least for the time being (I really had to say it!), in Ruth’s final chapter she has a better sense about where she’s at with her writing and who knows maybe is some parallel world she did complete that work and never felt lost as a writer. Nao not only loses her sense of purpose as a student but also as a daughter, Both of which she finds after Jiko’s death and reading Haruki #1′s secret dairy. Now I can go into the loss of time, but I’m not going to. However the part I found most interesting in the novel was the loss of reality because I found some comfort in that it seemed to happen with most of the characters, and it’s the one item that you’re not sure if it’s ever really found. Loss of reality can be greatly interpreted but for simplicity sake lets assume that all the super natural things that go on are the characters losing their grasp on reality. There’s Nao thinking she’s becoming a ghost, seeing Haruki #1′s ghost, Ruth losing the words and then her dreams of Jiko and Haruki #2. Nao comes to terms with her ghost experiences through Obon and the validation of ikisudama being a belief in Japan. Ruth comes to terms with her dreams and Nao’s dairy changing through Oliver explaining quantum information.

Theme Two: Coming, Going & Staying

Content Warning for death, suicide, sexual assault, bullying, and violence

Spoilers for A Tale For The Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

As a whole this book questions binaries, in particular Life and Death. To most it’s a simple as that you’re either alive or you’re dead. Ruth Ozeki challenges that “either or”by have living people be dead and having dead people be alive.

Jiko (Nao’s Great Grandmother): In the start Jiko is still alive but when she dies, she doesn’t really check out. She has some works out there from her anacrchist feminist days and for her final written word. She’ll be remembered by Nao and Haruki #2 because she told them and helped them live. She’ll be remembered by Muji because Jiko was her mentor and friend. She’ll even be remembered every Obon. So while is dead, she is still very much alive.

Haruki #1 (Nao’s Great Uncle): Haruki was dead when Nao had started writing, but his ghost made an appearance. Even talked to Nao for a bit. And no one can deny that his letters and diary are very much alive. There is extreme emotion and thought put into both works which brings them to life.

Masako (Ruth’s Mother): She too is dead in the beginning of the book and comes back to Ruth through memory. However towards the end of Masako life due to her Alzheimer she was alive but not really checked into the world, she was there but not present.

Haruki #2 (Nao’s Father): In his character Ozeki shows that you can be alive but dead. While he is still living, he has already checked out of the world.  All he wants to do is to make it complete by killing himself.

History: Through the book Ruth and Nao are constantly concerned with past events, like World War II, the ijime, the tsunami, moving away from America, etc. History is alive when it happens, in the now. It dies when forgotten and those events are past, but it stays with the world through being retold, remembered and through the way it shapes and effects the future.



Theme One: Making Magic

Content Warning for death, suicide, sexual assault, bullying, and violence

Spoilers for A Tale For The Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

I first would like to start out these posts by talking about the relationship between the work and the reader as in Nao reading her Great Uncle’s letters and diary, Ruth reading Nao’s diary and me reading A Tale For The Time Being. The last one because I am a time being and I strongly related to this novel. Obviously this novel deals with some very intense subjects and while in the interview Ruth Ozeki mentioned that her reasoning for that is because bullying but more specifically cyber bullying is a real concern for her. I feel however that another reason for these topics or even the way the novel is written is due to Ruth wanting to  make the magic that happens even more magical. I don’t think it’s possible to read this novel and not have any magic happen.

In the first level of this magic is Nao/us reading her Great Uncle’s, Haruki #1, last words. Nao is clearly interested in them because he was a Kamikaze Pilot and later because he had experienced bullying from his officers, which are both things that are playing a big role in her life due to both her father, Haruki #2 and herself having suicidal thoughts, and her own bullying from her classmates and teacher.

Then, in the second level you have Ruth/us/Oliver reading Nao’s “last” words. Ruth’s concern for Nao is not only because of the Tsunami and Naos suicidal talk but also because Ruth can relate to Naos feelings of loss in identity, of a parent, and home (I talk more about this in Theme Three: Lost and Found).

Lastly,in the third level there is Us reading this novel. Now I can only speak for myself in this regards because I don’t have a mind reading superpower, but as I mentioned before I really related to this novel. And even as I’m writing this after debating about it for a bit I’m not sure how personal I’d like to get here, so we’ll see what happens, maybe there will be some magic going on between us as well. When it came to Ruth I understood her getting so wrapped up in Nao’s dairy, as my first Rock post is evidence that I get absorbed into things, even my Hello Kitei page shows I love reading and it overwhelms me all the time. When Ruth loses her grasp on time and reality I feel that as well. I would say though that Nao is the character I understand. I’ve had both a parent and a sibling who have wanted/want to check out of time early and there are times I’m right behind them. I’ve faced bullying (not nearly to Nao’s extent), have had my sexual boundaries crossed, have been in violent situations more times than I can remember, and have had huge body image issues. So for me the magic happened upon reading this novel was equally pleasant and a nightmare.

I would also like to relate this theme to “Easy A” for the last few seconds I have of you’re time since this is a popular culture class. In the film, Emma Stone says something along the lines that the books you read always have some connection to whats going on in your life. And for me that’s best part of the magic that happens.