Author Archives: Amanda R.

Kato Ch. 5

I really enjoyed reading about the Hip-Hop section of this chapter.  I would never have made those connections to Enter the Dragon if I hadn’t read it.  ”It is a music made up of bits and pieces of preexisting sounds–looped, collaged, and layered until they take a new identity.” (177)  This quote reminds me of what we have learned about Asian/American in this class.  I think all of the examples of pop culture that we have learned about have had bits and pieces of culture of many different cultures all mixed into one.  There are pieces of history, pieces of memory, pieces of people all throughout even the simplest of things in America today.  Bubble tea is one of my favorite beverages, and yet I know nothing about it’s origin or it’s meaning.  I even asked Yuka why bubble tea comes with a clear, plastic seal and everyone I’ve had, no matter where I got it from has had little pictures on them.  I asked her why and she said she didn’t know; that it was Chinese.  I just laughed and said, “oh okay.”  These are all examples of cultures being combined.  And it shows me that I still have a lot to learn.

Kato Ch. 2

I have never seen Fist of Fury, however I watched Enter the Dragon and I saw the expression on Bruce Lee that this chapter is describing.  I found it very interesting to watch him in action.  I don’t know much at all about Kung Fu, and I had never seen a Bruce Lee film before watching Enter the Dragon, but I still noticed his expression and genuine portrayal of Kung Fu in the film.  ”In other words, it is the totality of Bruce Lee’s artistic expression that is presented here as the basis of my political analysis.” (41)

I can’t talk about Fist of Fury, but I can talk about what I saw in Enter the Dragon.  What I saw was a very talented man who was portraying a character, but didn’t let that character or the movie or anything get in the way of making the Kung Fu as realistic as possible.  I think that is really hard to do in movies.  Everything is so dramatized, and even though the film was dramatized in some ways, Lee made sure to keep it true and genuine.

Dave Ch. 7 “A Woman Is Nothing”

I found this chapter to be very interesting.  The Joy Luck Club is one of my favorite books, and it was talked about in this chapter.  This chapter talked about Chinese women during the twentieth century, and how there have been many memoirs written about the time period.

There were a lot of changes to China during this century, and there were many Chinese women who broke away from their social and political boundaries and took on a new life.  Many of these memoirs portray Chinese women as having to endure “an overwhelming series of challenges that generations of Chinese women must confront and overcome.” (138)

I loved The Joy Luck Club so much because it’s about mother/daughter relationships; it’s about being a woman, and it’s about cultural differences and similarities.  In this chapter, it describes the importance of these memoirs and why the authors felt the need to write them, “‘It is my duty to try to understand my mother, to seek answers.  To ignore the past is too much like forgetting.  And to forget the past would be to dishonor my parents.’” (145)

Ozeki: Loss

There were many examples of loss in this book.  I think actually loss ties in with death and healing in a way.  Death is a form of loss, but it’s not the only form.  Nao lost her parents when they started losing themselves.  She lost her family foundation when they moved to Japan.  Because when they moved to Japan, her dad started having issues and her mom started having issues because of her dad.  I can definitely relate to Nao in the sense that her whole world changed.  My world has changed so many times, and each time I’m just like, uh okay I guess.  But it almost feels surreal.  Like I have to check myself sometimes to make sure it’s actually happening.  Sometimes in a good way, and sometimes in a bad way.

Final Rock Post

So since this is my last rock post, I think I should some it up with some thoughts.  As I said in my first rock post, I really love makeup.  Like I can’t describe it.  It’s so beautiful.  I can look at it all day and not get bored. However, when I first started wearing makeup, I purposely wouldn’t wear it sometimes because I wanted to make sure that I still felt pretty without it.  And I think that is the danger of makeup to be honest.  It’s too easy to feel like you “have” to wear it in order to be pretty.  I think that is just wrong in every way.

When it comes to the issues of Asians and Asian Americans feeling the need to change their appearance to become more “Caucasian”, I think it is not good.  I mean, if someone doesn’t like something about themselves and they want to change it to be more confident, then fine.  But to only want to change yourself because you are too “Asian” looking; that is a different story.  Caucasian women have plastic surgery all the time.  Sometimes they are doing it for the wrong reasons; sometimes they’re not.  So, if an Asian women genuinely wants to change something then there’s technically nothing wrong with that, but if the sole reason is because either someone told them they need to, or because they think they aren’t pretty looking “Asian” then that is where the problem comes.

Another topic I talked about was skin lightening treatments.  I don’t think this is okay at all.  Because of the reasons why women and men feel the need to do it.  It’s internalized racism.  Just putting people down because of their skin color.  I just can’t say enough about how wrong I think this is.

Oh and in the picture above this post it’s me and my friend Mollie getting ready to go out, and I just think it’s funny because of how serious we look about it!

Ozeki: Death

The theme of death in this book was everywhere.  In the first few pages of the book Nao told her reader, “I’m telling you this because I’m actually not going to be around for long, and you might as well know this up front so you don’t make assumptions.” (pg. 6)  With Nao always talking about how she was going to “exit my existence” (pg. 7) and her dad trying to kill himself every two seconds, and the cat getting attacked, death was very prevalent.

In Nao’s case I think that she thought that death was just the best thing to do.  She was so matter-of-fact about it.  Her life was ridiculously difficult and stressful.  And at her age, she really needed some role models in her life, and she had them.  But unfortunately, they were just confirming the idea that she should end herself,  because that’s all she saw.  Her dad, we later found out, was full of shame, and thought that his family would be better off without him.

In Jiko’s case, Ozeki made sure to make her death meaningful.  Nao and her father saw that Jiko lived as much as she could.  She did everything in her power to live life the way she believed it should be lived.  Death is a part of life, but it’s not the answer to everything.  Thankfully, Nao and her father finally saw that.  Even if it did take a little magic.

Ozeki: Communication

Another really important theme of this book was communication.  Nao was communicating to Ruth through her diary that was written almost ten years before Ruth found it.  And it didn’t matter.  They still felt connected whether it was because they personally believed they were connected in the past and future and present, or whether because they were connected.  Ruth was meant to find the diary.  It wasn’t just by chance.

Nao’s communication was through her diary.  She also communicated with her Old Jiko through computer and text.  Another form of communication was the lack of communication between her and her parents.  All of these ways of communication both added to her difficulties, or helped her in some way.  There is no doubt that meeting Jiko helped her.  The summer she spent with her, was a way of healing her, as well as showing her that she could be strong even when she didn’t feel strong.

As for the ways of magic communication, Ruth communicated with Nao’s father in her dream, which in turn led him to go to Nao at Jiko’s death and funeral.  He then went on to communicate with Nao, and they finally were able to connect and understand each other a little more.  Just enough to make them reconsider their decision to end their lives.

I think that all of the communication and lack of communication throughout this novel played a key role in what would happen to Ruth, Nao and her father.

Ozeki: Healing

I think that one of the major themes of this book was healing.  Emotional healing.  Nao, her dad, and Ruth all were dealing with personal issues throughout this book.  Nao, as a way to cope with her dysfunctional situation, started writing in a diary.  She didn’t know whether or not it was going to do any good, but she still continued.  She finished what she started.  In Ruth’s case, she found the diary, and something inside her knew that it wasn’t just an ordinary diary.  She felt that she had to read it, and in the process of respecting Nao’s diary, and reading it, she learned about herself as well.

This book did incorporate some magical elements.  I don’t think it really matters how the healing came about to the characters because I personally believe that some things can’t be explained.  And these people needed serious help, and however it happened, that help was given to them.  I think Ozeki actually gave us a clue in the beginning that this might be the case when Nao said, “You’re my kind of time being and together we’ll make magic!” (pg. 4)

The part that really showed how Nao and her father had both healed was when her dad said, “We must live Naoko! We have no choice. We must soldier on!” (pg. 369)

Mississippi Masala

This movie was definitely interesting for me.  I can definitely relate to Meena and her family in the sense that they were Indians born in Uganda, which made them Ugandan/Indians!?  And my family is, well a mix of things, but we are White on my grandpa’s side, Indian on my grandma’s side, but all of my family on my dad’s side was born in Trinidad.  I was born here so I guess I’m just all of the above.  Culturally however, my family is Trinidadian first and foremost, and then Indian.  We have a mixture of the two cultures in our family traditions and ways of thinking.

As for the other aspects of this film, I wasn’t surprised at all about the two families not being pleased with Meena and Demetrius’ relationship.  They came from two different cultures that don’t understand each other.  I do think it’s strange that Meena’s parents weren’t more understanding because they came from Uganda.  But I guess they still wanted her to marry someone who was also Indian regardless of where they lived.

This film touched on issues of race, and worked against stereotypical outcomes of what could be ‘racial’ encounters.  For example, when Demetrius accidentally hit the white guys car.  I was fully expecting a white police officer to show up and pull the ‘white power’ card on Demetrius and blame him for everything.  However, what happened instead was a black police officer showing up and dealing with the situation without looking at the two men’s race, but the situation at hand.  Another way that the director forced the audience to rethink they’re initial biases or thoughts was when Meena’s mom was forced at gun-point to get off the bus while trying to leave Uganda.  I actually didn’t fully understand what was going on in that scene.  I did think that something really bad was going to happen.  I thought she was going to be shot or degraded in some way.  However, in our class discussion Chico brought up the point that not everything is as clear cut as it seems.  The Ugandans seemed like they were being unfair, but when the Ugandan officer forced Kinnu to open her suitcase, we saw that she had many nice things.  She also had a Westernized picture of an Indian man which signified their views and wealth in Uganda.  This forced us as the audience to keep our assumptions in check.


The Wedding Banquet

wedding“I was never a citizen of any particular place… My parents left China to go to Taiwan. We were outsiders there. We moved to the States. Outsiders. Back to China. Now we were outsiders there, too – outsiders from America.”–Ang Lee, interview with Roger Ebert, December 11, 2005

This film explored the differences between traditional views and modern views.  The traditional views that Wai’s parents wanted for him conflicted with what he wanted.  This film seemed pretty progressed in the sense that it portrayed a gay relationship, in a Chinese family, in 1995.

I wanted to research the director of the film a little because I wanted to understand what kind of movies he usually made.  It seems that he likes to deal with difficult topics, and handle them in the best way possible.  One of the best parts of this film was the emotional content.  It was funny, tense, and real.  It wasn’t just about a gay couple, it was about all of the complications that were inevitable in a Chinese family.  Not that in America parents are always accepting of their children’s choices in this sense, but I think that in other cultures it is a lot harder for a family to accept that their child is gay.

I really enjoyed this film, and I like the happy ending even if that is not always realistic.  At least it’s hopeful.