Here are a few items I came across during the recent Comic Con in Seattle last week:
This was a t-shirt from one of various booths that specialized in printed designs– They sold out during the first day!
This was the business card from Retro Pop Namu– one of the many artists who had a booth open all weekend. This was one of the highlights among the vendor tables.
Though not necessarily within the Asian/American themes, I was excited to come home with some quite excellent books– mainly this one that features an issue I searched for long and hard; The Amazing Spiderman issue #144
Marvel has been publishing several collections of their most popular heroes and themes for several years now… I finally discovered them during the convention.
The next Emerald City Comic Con is will be the last weekend of March, 2015. Hope to see you there!
When it comes to privileged white kids going to raves and spending their parents money, Steve Aoki is a common name. He is an electro, house music DJ from Miami,Florida. His father was a former Japanese wrestler and the founder of the restaurant chain Benihana and his half sister is Devon Aoki, who played Suki in 2Fast 2Furious. I can’t say I listen to Aoki much, because I’m not really into the electro house music scene. The video below is my personal favorite song by him and the first song I heard by him.
This article talks about the success of a few notable Asian Americans in the tech industry. Particularly Jerry Yang who is a Taiwanese born American, he is the co-found of Yahoo!.
In fact, there are quite a few key members of the Silicon valley movement that were essential to the success of some major American companies today. Another example being Victor and Janie Tsao who started Linksys which is a company that focuses on the production of Ethernet cables and similar devices to connect to the internet. They are also from Taiwan and started the company in 1970 after their company was established they moved to Irvine, California where Silicon Valley was flourishing in the 1970s. The article also talks about how they sold their company to Cisco for $500 million in 2003.
This was interesting to read given Nao’s father was apart of the Silicon Valley movement but ended up being jobless when the market went sour.
I spent the last few days reflecting on the ideas & concepts outlined in Kato’s writing (Kun Fu to Hip Hop) and as it often does, a song came to mind. This time from the band Concrete Blonde. The bands leader is Johnette Napolitano; she plays bass and sings. As a side note, she is firmly in the all-time top-5 bassists with the best tone and most recognizable players. Here is the video & lyrics:
Click here to view the embedded video.
I re-read silly lines
That made sense at the time
Pages all stained with tears and red wine
And I walk through the airport and see magazines
Every face that I see
So much younger than me
And I smile to myself how I don’t even miss
My glorious past or the lips that I’ve kissed
And I think to myself that how easy this is
Easy to breathe, easy to live
And I wonder why I tear myself in two
Over how to be, what to say and what to do
And I know you liked me better then
And I know you liked me better when I was a fool
…I was a fool
…I was a fool
So I live in these days
But I still have my old ways
’cause the future, somehow, has yet to arrive
And I see all around me the women on time
Kids and divorces and crisis in midlife
and do I surrender and give up my dream
for a brick in the wall and a washing machine
grow up and get real
for a kid in their teens
who won’t care what I’ve done
where I’ve been, what I’ve seen
And I wonder why I tear myself in two
over who to be, how to be and what to do
and I know you liked me better then
and I know you liked me better when I was a fool
…I…was a fool
…I was a fool
…I was a fool
I’m free to a fault
I’m playing guitar
I’m living my life
Fly down the highway
Sun on my face
I belong to nobody
I belong to no place
The fight rages on in the Californian universities about to repeal or add to the diversity dilemma that has plagued the state for decades. Does it give a hand up or down for minorities trying to get a university education.
An article that I have read from the Pacific Islander News Association’s website was based on the sports section called, “Supporting Education in Samoa.” This article was written on October 3, 2014. The article discusses how an 8.1 magnitude earthquake struck south-west of Samoa on September 29, 2009. A village called Poutasi, on the southeast coast of Upolu island was destroyed following the earthquake. The ocean had receded before rushing back to land as a tsunami wave that reached six metres. Many people in the village were fisherman that lost their lives with their boats.
After this devastation, a Bachelor of Environmental student named Taylor Callaghan, led a group of Trinity College residents on a 2013 project to improve the education on the island. The group raised $8,000 for the village to help the development of an undergraduate scholarship to assist one local student per year to attend a university. Taylor states, “We want the kids to be educated and to bring those skills back to their community so they can be useful there. Education is one of the most important things to give because it helps people help themselves.” I found this quote very inspiring because Taylor was able to make such a huge impact for this community and help the students by raising money for their education, but also teaching the students to utilize their education to give back to their community. This is an amazing concept that Taylor has used that could really help rebuild this village.
The article stated that Taylor is half-Samoan, but was raised and educated in New Zealand. The article stated, “Project Poutasi allowed him to reconnect with his heritage. He says the trip also benefited the Trinity College students.” I felt that this project was amazing for Taylor and his colleagues. He was able to reconnect and give back to his heritage, along with building this community. Another quote from Taylor states, “It was a big eye-opener for a lot of the kids who had just grown up in our society, but we weren’t there on holiday or to enjoy ourselves, we were there to build relationships with the local people. As much as we gave to the community, we gained ourselves.” I felt that this whole project was an example of reciprocal learning. Taylor and his colleagues were able to learn and give back to the community, and the community was able build their relationships back up to create more a hopeful environment for the future.
An article that I have read from the Pacific Islander News Association’s website was based on the sports section called, “Alex Leapai ready to hook biggest fish of all.” The article was written on January 3, 2014. Leapai was born in Samoa and raised in Brisbane and is known to be an underdog in his heavyweight class. He has won 51 of his 64 fights by KO and won the gold medal at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Not only that Leapai is very successful in the ring, he also holds a PHD of Sports Science.
Before all of the success, Leapai, a thirty four year old father of six kids from Brisbane’s working class worked as a delivery truck driver before landing his, “multi-million dollar shot.” He said he was ready to, “rock the Ukrainian-and the world-courtesy of his secret weapon, ‘the Samoan bowler.’
Leapai was trained under Noel Thornberry for the past nine years. He relates his rise to the number one contender for the WBO crown to all the great boxing stores such as, “Rocky, The Cinderella Man and any other tale of redemption.” Amazingly, I was intrigued to read that Leapai has overcome drug and alcohol dependency, he also spent time in prison, but found religion to help overcome the struggles. A quote from the article stated, “[Leapai] is proof to the downtrodden and desperate that anyone from anywhere can make it if they work hard, set goals and get a lucky break.” Another key point that stood out to me in the article was how Leapai kept reiterating the importance of never giving up and that anything is possible. A quote from the article states, “I have a message for the kids, don’t give up and anything is possible. I believe that the man upstairs gave me this gift.” This quote is very inspirational, and also reveals how Leapai represents his Pacific Islander culture in a successful manner.
It is hard for me to wrap my head around the article I just read entitled “Fast, Furious, and Out of Control: The Erasure of the Natural Landscapes in Car Culture Films” by Robin L. Murray and Joseph K. Heuman. I believe I understand what they are saying as the “Fast and the Furious” franchise, follows and aids in the car culture ideology of going against the system and having freedom through the outlet of speed. I also understand how Car Culture and therefore the “Fast and Furious” films do not acknowledge the issue of the effect automobiles have on the environment. However, I personally feel that by attacking a film for utilizing and conveying car culture, and in a way criminalizing the films as aiding in the degradation of the environment is a little bit far fetched. I say this because there are hundreds of films out their that though they may not be centered around the car culture, and racing worlds, still do not shine light on the issues of the environment and also depict images that go against the “natural” landscape and highlight the power of man’s creation.
As I have learned through this course I know that media and in this case a film can make a huge impact on the spread of pop culture, and therefore I’m sure there were thousands of viewers of the “Fast and Furious” films who were inspired and became interested in car culture following a screening of one of the films. But to me I wish the authors wouldn’t have only listed over and over again this link to how car culture and the “Fast and the Furious” films have furthered the old belief that Earths natural rescources aren’t running dry, or that the vehicles in which are on display are not impacting the environment. Instead I wish they would have followed up their argument with information on how car culture and the films could become (if there are any further sequals in the franchise) more “green” friendly.
The other issue I had with the article that didn’t set well with me due to the fact that it hits close to home, is the incrimination of Jimmie Johnson and bootleggers. I agree that some were lawless men just looking for a thrill when they took jobs running illegal moonshine throughout the country. However I have family members and ancestors who made and ran moonshine. Therefore I know their intentions were not to chase some sort of freedom by breaking the law but in reality was a tool for survival, and a way to feed hungry mouths. I feel the article could therefore have directed its words towards those that are actually exploiting our natural rescourses and harming the environment. Why not go after the the automobile industry who until recently did not care about making cars that were environmentally friendly. The same industry who along with the oil industry were responsible for “killing the electric car” in the last decade of the 20th century. The documentary that explains the history and the reasoning behind the death of the electric car is stated in the article in question, however their is zero elaboration on the documentary itself.
I do not completely disagree with the entire idea of the article however just something about it rubbed me the wrong way.
I stand next to my father with an ice cold beer positioned in my greasy and grimy hands. I smell of oil, dirt, with a hint of gasoline. We peer into the engine of my 1996 Ford Bronco, and admire our handy work. Neither of us are expert mechanics, but being able to make small fixes and repairs, to a machine makes us feel accomplished, and a sense of pride in our handiwork wells up inside me. With every new mechanical skill I learn, from changing oil, to switching out break pads, I feel that I am becoming more and more of a man…
Some of the ideas displayed in the article titled, “Asian American Auto/Biographies: The Gendered Limits of Consumer Citizenship in Import Subcultures,” by Robyn Magalit Rodriguez and Vernadette Vicuna Gonzalez, made me realize for the first time how much masculinity is associated with the automobile. Furthermore from the article I realized how a car can really give insight into who or what group a person identifies themselves with. I found this information fascinating because I realized that I myself am guilty of associating a persons “ride” with what cultural group they identify with. When I see a big ”jacked up truck,” or a small ”rice rocket,” I immediately associate the driver with a specific group in car culture. Also as from the short story above I am now aware of the distinct association of the automobile with male masculinity and ego.
On that note I feel guilty to admit it, but I never realized how much the female body is utilized in car culture, and the exploitation of women, as a sort of prize and piece of property that is associated with the masculinity of car culture. Looking back to the “Fast and the Furious” film franchise I realize how many of the females are displayed as almost prizes and objects that the man who proves himself to be the most manly and powerful are able to obtain. This thought is pretty disgusting since it takes woman and puts them in the role as a trophy of some sort to further prove an individual males masculinity.
Overall this was a very eye opening article and thoroughly enjoyable.
I almost forgot. I went to the Denshō lecture last Thursday. It wasn’t bad. Tom Ikeda, the founder of the website, gave a brief speech about the Denshō project, and played four recorded testimonies. There was Aki Kurose, Gordon Hirabayashi, and two others that I can’t remember.