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Written by on July 20, 2012

The Obon Dance

The Obon Dance Comments Off on The Obon Dance

The bon odori is not a spectator sport, you really have to get in there and dance (after you have eaten of course, that is the other big part of it — tempura, teriyaki chicken, Spam musubi, cone sushi, shave ice, manju, mochi, corn on the cob, saimin — I always have to take a moment to peek in on the temple volunteers cooking madly in the kitchen, big clouds of mochiko billowing, the sounds of tempura hitting the oil … and inhale).

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Written by on July 5, 2012

On Proms and Protocols–Figuring out the rules and creating new paths

On Proms and Protocols--Figuring out the rules and creating new paths Comments Off on On Proms and Protocols–Figuring out the rules and creating new paths

So I am always pleased to see young Asian Americans (who are so much cooler than I will ever be) figuring things out their own way, not being constrained by the way things have always been done, creatively constructing something new. Why depend on a school photographer when you could have a talented friend take your prom pictures for you? Then Photoshop an explosion into the background? Now that is a prom photo worthy of showing my friend, Angry Asian Man.

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Written by on June 10, 2012

Catalyst to Action–Happy Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and National Bike Month!

Catalyst to Action--Happy Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and National Bike Month! Comments Off on Catalyst to Action–Happy Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and National Bike Month!

May is also Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. Having special months to celebrate the achievements and heritage of Asian Pacific Americans, to bike, to write poetry, and more may not seem like much, however, these months get folks excited, talking, and goading each other into action. I mean, I have been looking at my girlfriend Kate’s gorgeous Colorado mountain biking photos on Facebook for months, yet I did not get the bikes down from the rafters until my daughter “had to” bike to school with her friends.

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Written by on May 18, 2012

We gain so much wading in the water of each other’s cultural experiences–Adventures in Multicultural Living

Comments Off on We gain so much wading in the water of each other’s cultural experiences–Adventures in Multicultural Living

I was so impressed to watch my children gently, ever gently, patiently, without judgment or consternation, lean over the kitchen table with soft #2B pencils pouring over the music scores with my father. The girls explained to him that in spirituals, a lot of the songs are coded instructions on how to escape to freedom, for example, in “Follow the Drinking Gourd,” the drinking gourd refers to the Big Dipper and the North Star; in other songs, the River Jordan represents the Ohio River, the last river to cross before reaching freedom in Canada; and Canaan means Canada because once slaves made it to Canada, they could not be sent back, as they could from the northern states.

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Written by on January 19, 2012

Learning about Christmas and Santa through the claymation classics–Adventures in Multicultural Living

I suddenly realized that I had taken all those animated and claymation Christmas specials—Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman—as ethnographic films. That is how I learned about Christmas.

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Written by on November 17, 2011

U-M Center for Chinese Studies Kite Festival and keeping the conversation going | adventures in multicultural living

U-M Center for Chinese Studies Kite Festival and keeping the conversation going | adventures in multicultural living Comments Off on U-M Center for Chinese Studies Kite Festival and keeping the conversation going | adventures in multicultural living

An English teacher at Huron High School used one of my columns to stimulate classroom discussion of a Maya Angelou book they were reading — which was so lively it spilled into a second day, and even more impressive, students who normally never talked in class really got into the discussion.

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Written by on October 3, 2011

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