I thought I could go to services 9-10 and then cut out quickly to go to the reading from 10-11:30, but there is no escaping the Aunties at temple. The first time we ever went to this temple, they ran out after us into the parking lot and physically pulled the kids out of the car one by one, insisting we stay for lunch. Today, they take four-year-old Little Brother by the hand and lead him down to the Fellowship Hall where they load his plate full of blueberry cake, potato chips, lilikoi cookies, purple potato tempura, multi-layered jello, purple potato manju, and fresh lychee. One Auntie is concerned, “He has a cold.” I look at his face and wipe his nose, “No, that’s whipped cream.”
Sometimes I find myself categorizing our lives into “School,” “Sports,” “Music,” “Science,” “Arts,” and “Culture.” I want to make sure that we are living balanced lives, that I am exposing the children to a little of everything, so that they will grow up to be well-rounded, like the old Renaissance ideal. It is refreshing to be reminded that life is not always so easily categorized.
We went to an art exhibit opening and reception last night at Wailoa Art Center. Afterwards, my son, Little Brother, pouted all night because he saw me kissing the artist, “that man.” He cannot kiss me ever again, he says, and he rubs and rubs his skin with his shirt, to wipe off every last kiss that I give him. I try to explain that, actually, I was kissed BY the artist, that sometimes people kiss hello on the cheek just like others shake hands. But he will have none of it. This is not the first time we have had this conversation, but what am I supposed to do?
Spent the morning with Linus Chao, renowned international artist and official “Living Legend of Hawaii,” at his home halfway up the volcano. My daughter Mango is taking art classes with him and his wife this summer. Four hours of Chinese art in the morning with Mrs. Chao, a little lunch, then four hours of western art in the afternoon with Professor Chao. All Mango needs, Professor Chao says, is a little formal instruction, and she will be on her way. The Chaos must be in their 80s. He is Shandong, she is Dongbei, their voices full of the old accents that I love. He is so warmly effusive, shows me everything, never lets me leave. I cannot believe my luck, and I want to soak in every word.
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).
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.