Archive for April 2005

Unity

April 30, 2005

A couple of radio “personalities” in New Jersey seem to think that Asian Americans are not “real” Americans. Sammy and Taku have written their thoughts on the matter and they have expressed eloquently virtually anything I would have to say on the subject. Of course, I have already expressed my concern about racism, but that was almost a year ago. My views then–how people, without believing they are being malicious, can manifest racial sentiments–elicited responses that expressed attitudes that underscored my very concern; and not all of them were non-Asians. So it is not surprising that these New Jersey Radio guys said what they said. If well-intentioned folk don’t get it, then how the fuck are idiots going to get it.

But there was one thing that Sammy mentioned that was actually the topic of something I was going to write about last week but never got around to it: Why aren’t Asian Americans active in politics? Actually, my thought was more along the lines of: Why is it that Asian Americans–specifically East Asian Americans–don’t seem to wield any political clout.

This was the topic of a conversation I had with a former student of mine, a Korean American, now attending law school in the DC area, and we tentatively concluded–and I should stress that these conclusions are personal and anecdotal, based on personal observations with have no hard evidence to back it up–that Asian Americans don’t manifest poitical clout because we can’t unify. Of course, this begs the question, why…

I should write a paper on this–and perhaps you should too–but I think there are two basic reasons for this situation.

  1. History dies hard.
  2. The lack of a shared “American experience” does not arouse empathy for each other, an important ingredient to solidarity.

First, the history and the resulting baggage each individual group often still carries prevents people from connecting at a significant level. I am an American of Japanese descent and am sometimes reminded by Korean Americans (KA) and Chinese Americans (ABC)–usually first or rarely second generations–that I still carry the sins of my fathers. Yes, the Japanese raped Nanking. Indeed, Japan colonized Korea. I recognize this and as an instructor of Japanese literature (and culture) I take every opportunity to relate this to my students as well. It is not a matter to be brushed aside and forgotten. But this has nothing to do with me personally. When I am reminded that my ancestors were guilty of these sins, I can’t help but think that those reminding me of this probably view me as “the other”, rather than someone with whom they feel a connection. Don’t get me wrong: These people are polite and very decent. There is nothing about them that suggests that they hate me or Japan (usually), but this attitude–you (your predecessors) injured us and I won’t let you forget it–is not conducive to solidarity.

Indeed, I never get this attitude here on Xanga–well maybe once or twice. As I have never been made to feel this way with other Asians. I can’t help but think that it is a reflection of the official stance still taken by the Chinese and Korean government, as the latest brouhaha over the most recent textbook controversy would illustrate. But as I said, this is usually expressed by first and, on rare occasions, second generations, and the number of these comments is generally declining.

And this is a good thing.

Perhaps more importantly is the lack of a shared experience in America. As individual groups, Asians in America have a completely different “American experiences” and it might be difficult empathize with each other and ultimately rally under one common cause. Chinese were perhaps the first Asians to “officially” come American and they led a very difficult life building railroads and generally living the life of paid slaves. The Japanese had their own struggles, but they were the only Asian group to be incarcerated in detention camps during WWII. Indeed, comparisons between the friendly Chinese and the “dirty Jap” were common and hardly promoted mutual support among Asians. Koreans came later and their history in America is centered in an urban setting with racial tensions not only with whites but with other urban minorities. So, since our collective experiences are rather diverse, it could be hard to rally effectively for solidarity.

Indeed, we are all treated differently by mainstream society. I’m sure virtually all of my Asian readers have been asked at one time or another, “Where are you from”? China? Korea? Japan? Vietnam? And the mainstream will often react differently depending on the answer. In contrast to this, how often do we make similar distinctions with Hispanics? I’m sure–no, I know–that they differentiate among themselves which Latin American countries they come from, but do we? I may consider significant the difference between someone from Cuba and Mexico, but between Honduras and El Salvador, I make little–if any–distinction. If we see a Spanish speaking person, do we unwittingly insult them by lumping them together as denizens from “south of the border”. I am ashamed to admit this, but I sometimes find myself doing just this. And when it comes to second, third and fourth generation Hispanics, even the pretense of distinction is virtually gone. So these Hispanics–insulted by the likes of me–have a shared experience in America. They may express there differences among themselves, but they can unite in the face of racial discrimination and mistreatment, an experience that is more often shared than not among them.

So the first thing that Asian Americans must do–What WE MUST do–is find common ground. Without it, some amorphous “Asian” solidarity will never work.

Unity

April 30, 2005

A

couple of radio “personalities” in New Jersey seem to think that Asian Americans are not “real” Americans. Sammy and Taku have written their thoughts on the matter and they have expressed eloquently virtually anything I would have to say on the subject. Of course, I have already expressed my concern about racism, but that was almost a year ago. My views then–how people, without believing they are being malicious, can manifest racial sentiments–elicited responses that expressed attitudes that underscored my very concern; and not all of them were non-Asians. So it is not surprising that these New Jersey Radio guys said what they said. If well-intentioned folk don’t get it, then how the fuck are idiots going to get it.

But there was one thing that Sammy mentioned that was actually the topic of something I was going to write about last week but never got around to it: Why aren’t Asian Americans active in politics? Actually, my thought was more along the lines of: Why is it that Asian Americans–specifically East Asian Americans–don’t seem to wield any political clout.

This was the topic of a conversation I had with a former student of mine, a Korean American, now attending law school in the DC area, and we tentatively concluded–and I should stress that these conclusions are personal and anecdotal, based on personal observations with have no hard evidence to back it up–that Asian Americans don’t manifest poitical clout because we can’t unify. Of course, this begs the question, why…

I should write a paper on this–and perhaps you should too–but I think there are two basic reasons for this situation.

  1. History dies hard.
  2. The lack of a shared “American experience” does not arouse empathy for each other, an important ingredient to solidarity.

First, the history and the resulting baggage each individual group often still carries prevents people from connecting at a significant level. I am an American of Japanese descent and am sometimes reminded by Korean Americans (KA) and Chinese Americans (ABC)–usually first or rarely second generations–that I still carry the sins of my fathers. Yes, the Japanese raped Nanking. Indeed, Japan colonized Korea. I recognize this and as an instructor of Japanese literature (and culture) I take every opportunity to relate this to my students as well. It is not a matter to be brushed aside and forgotten. But this has nothing to do with me personally. When I am reminded that my ancestors were guilty of these sins, I can’t help but think that those reminding me of this probably view me as “the other”, rather than someone with whom they feel a connection. Don’t get me wrong: These people are polite and very decent. There is nothing about them that suggests that they hate me or Japan (usually), but this attitude–you (your predecessors) injured us and I won’t let you forget it–is not conducive to solidarity.

Indeed, I never get this attitude here on Xanga–well maybe once or twice. As I have never been made to feel this way with other Asians. I can’t help but think that it is a reflection of the official stance still taken by the Chinese and Korean government, as the latest brouhaha over the most recent textbook controversy would illustrate. But as I said, this is usually expressed by first and, on rare occasions, second generations, and the number of these comments is generally declining.

And this is a good thing.

Perhaps more importantly is the lack of a shared experience in America. As individual groups, Asians in America have a completely different “American experiences” and it might be difficult empathize with each other and ultimately rally under one common cause. Chinese were perhaps the first Asians to “officially” come American and they led a very difficult life building railroads and generally living the life of paid slaves. The Japanese had their own struggles, but they were the only Asian group to be incarcerated in detention camps during WWII. Indeed, comparisons between the friendly Chinese and the “dirty Jap” were common and hardly promoted mutual support among Asians. Koreans came later and their history in America is centered in an urban setting with racial tensions not only with whites but with other urban minorities. So, since our collective experiences are rather diverse, it could be hard to rally effectively for solidarity.

Indeed, we are all treated differently by mainstream society. I’m sure virtually all of my Asian readers have been asked at one time or another, “Where are you from”? China? Korea? Japan? Vietnam? And the mainstream will often react differently depending on the answer. In contrast to this, how often do we make similar distinctions with Hispanics? I’m sure–no, I know–that they differentiate among themselves which Latin American countries they come from, but do we? I may consider significant the difference between someone from Cuba and Mexico, but between Honduras and El Salvador, I make little–if any–distinction. If we see a Spanish speaking person, do we unwittingly insult them by lumping them together as denizens from “south of the border”. I am ashamed to admit this, but I sometimes find myself doing just this. And when it comes to second, third and fourth generation Hispanics, even the pretense of distinction is virtually gone. So these Hispanics–insulted by the likes of me–have a shared experience in America. They may express there differences among themselves, but they can unite in the face of racial discrimination and mistreatment, an experience that is more often shared than not among them.

So the first thing that Asian Americans must do–What WE MUST do–is find common ground. Without it, some amorphous “Asian” solidarity will never work.

Riceball Lovin’

April 29, 2005

O

nce again, the O-man–I leave the abbreviation up to your imagination–is feelin’ the love, man. I’ve again noticed a slight surge in traffic this week and it is because of all the lovin’ I’m get from my fellow Xangans.

It all started with Eechim. I played along with her “Interview” challenge. I answered some questions and as a result was required to get five people to answer. Since one who asked to be interviewed hasn’t blogged since 2003–and has yet to answer the questions I posed–I decided to ask more than five people. Randomcarbon also asked to be interviewed and he HAS answered, but he’s on LiveJournal, so I decided to make sure that I got five Xangans to respond. Below, I have already highlighted JustBeingV, TheWaterJar and ca1b0y, and I have been getting some of the traffic through them since they posted a link to my site when they posted their responses. I have also asked BurningSecrets and Gokingsgo, but that have yet to answer their questions. I hope they will soon. But these aren’t the only places where I’ve been getting traffic from. I have been getting them from two young ladies as well. Woo hoo!

Babyjenk5 is a student at Johns Hopkins who–professing to be a Xanga whore–offered to write about those who commented on her site. Now, she has plenty of friends and gets her share of comments, so she is being facetious. She is not a whore, Xangan or otherwise… She is a carefree and light read that I enjoy, despite the fact that she loves her Mac and expresses a rather dim view of Microsoft. Okay, I don’t love Bill Gates, but I DO use Windows… She is one of the first to bookmark me at RBJ and that is where I first learned of her. Anyway, she wrote about me (and others) and I’m glad she enjoys my site as much as I enjoy hers. Thanks, girl.

Iluvpajun is another young lady who wrote about me. (Why am I so lucky?) She says she used to make onigiri rice balls for lunch all the time. I wonder if she thinks of me when she eats them now? Will it affect the taste? Mmmm… oops, I mean, hmmmm… Anyway, she loves starchy foods–pajun is a Korean food that is like a pancake with vegetables in it (I think). And she owns a guinea pig named Genki (full of energy/high spirited) that she–get this–TAKES FOR A WALK on the streets of New York City. I have begged her for photgraphic proof, but I am still waiting. But the piece de resistance is that she is a classical pianist soon to be heading out to Italy for a competition–yes, she is that good! So go visit her to wish her luck…

Now the above people I know and so do not mind finding myself on their pages; indeed it is flattering. But lately, I have found myself in odd places as well. I saw a link to a place on LiveJournal, a guy named lhdakine, on my sitemeter references znd clicked it out of curiousity. I was rather shocked to find the following as his bio:

“We bloggers are, to varying degrees, narcissists and exhibitionists. We love to expose ourselves, talk about ourselves. And yet, ultimately, we expose only what we want to expose: a little thigh, some cleavage–well, I don’t really have any cleavage…”

This is a quote of mine that was highlighted on RBJ, where I figure this guy found it. Shizknitz also has up the same quote, but she has me bookmarked at RBJ so it’s no big deal. I don’t really mind lhdakine as well, I guess, since he did source me. But it is rather surprising to find my words unexpectedly.

I have also joined a few sites that propose to offer more exposure for your blog–you may have noticed the links on the main page. Places like Bloglines and Blogazoo promise to increase your traffic, but you have to surf on their site other bloggers who are looking for traffic, too. By surfing, other sites you earn points and the more points you earn, the more your site will be put into the surfing rotation and receive more visibility. It’s kinda more work than its worth, so I don’t really do anything with it.

However, there is a place called Technorati that has a search engine for members that allows readers to do searches. You’ll notice that I have a small search box on the main page. If you are looking for an old post of mine, you can enter a few words that you remember (onsen, DKLA) and it will search my site and provide links to them. I am also a part of their larger database now and so when other members do a word search, there is every chance that Onigiriman will appear on their list. The proof is in the pudding, as they say. I found my name on a site of which I know absolutely nothing.

This person apparently lives in the DC area and posted pics of the recent cherry blossom in and around the National Mall. He told his readers to visit my site to get more info on the practice of o-hanami, flower viewing. He is a Techonrati member and so likely got the info from there. Again, since I am sourced, it’s not a big deal, I suppose, but I am surprised to find my name in places that are totally unrelated and unexpected…

Have a good weekend everyone!

Riceball Lovin’

April 29, 2005

O

nce again, the O-man–I leave the abbreviation up to your imagination–is feelin’ the love, man. I’ve again noticed a slight surge in traffic this week and it is because of all the lovin’ I’m get from my fellow Xangans.

It all started with Eechim. I played along with her “Interview” challenge. I answered some questions and as a result was required to get five people to answer. Since one who asked to be interviewed hasn’t blogged since 2003–and has yet to answer the questions I posed–I decided to ask more than five people. Randomcarbon also asked to be interviewed and he HAS answered, but he’s on LiveJournal, so I decided to make sure that I got five Xangans to respond. Below, I have already highlighted JustBeingV, TheWaterJar and ca1b0y, and I have been getting some of the traffic through them since they posted a link to my site when they posted their responses. I have also asked BurningSecrets and Gokingsgo, but that have yet to answer their questions. I hope they will soon. But these aren’t the only places where I’ve been getting traffic from. I have been getting them from two young ladies as well. Woo hoo!

Babyjenk5 is a student at Johns Hopkins who–professing to be a Xanga whore–offered to write about those who commented on her site. Now, she has plenty of friends and gets her share of comments, so she is being facetious. She is not a whore, Xangan or otherwise… She is a carefree and light read that I enjoy, despite the fact that she loves her Mac and expresses a rather dim view of Microsoft. Okay, I don’t love Bill Gates, but I DO use Windows… She is one of the first to bookmark me at RBJ and that is where I first learned of her. Anyway, she wrote about me (and others) and I’m glad she enjoys my site as much as I enjoy hers. Thanks, girl.

Iluvpajun is another young lady who wrote about me. (Why am I so lucky?) She says she used to make onigiri rice balls for lunch all the time. I wonder if she thinks of me when she eats them now? Will it affect the taste? Mmmm… oops, I mean, hmmmm… Anyway, she loves starchy foods–pajun is a Korean food that is like a pancake with vegetables in it (I think). And she owns a guinea pig named Genki (full of energy/high spirited) that she–get this–TAKES FOR A WALK on the streets of New York City. I have begged her for photgraphic proof, but I am still waiting. But the piece de resistance is that she is a classical pianist soon to be heading out to Italy for a competition–yes, she is that good! So go visit her to wish her luck…

Now the above people I know and so do not mind finding myself on their pages; indeed it is flattering. But lately, I have found myself in odd places as well. I saw a link to a place on LiveJournal, a guy named lhdakine, on my sitemeter references znd clicked it out of curiousity. I was rather shocked to find the following as his bio:

“We bloggers are, to varying degrees, narcissists and exhibitionists. We love to expose ourselves, talk about ourselves. And yet, ultimately, we expose only what we want to expose: a little thigh, some cleavage–well, I don’t really have any cleavage…”

This is a quote of mine that was highlighted on RBJ, where I figure this guy found it. Shizknitz also has up the same quote, but she has me bookmarked at RBJ so it’s no big deal. I don’t really mind lhdakine as well, I guess, since he did source me. But it is rather surprising to find my words unexpectedly.

I have also joined a few sites that propose to offer more exposure for your blog–you may have noticed the links on the main page. Places like Bloglines and Blogazoo promise to increase your traffic, but you have to surf on their site other bloggers who are looking for traffic, too. By surfing, other sites you earn points and the more points you earn, the more your site will be put into the surfing rotation and receive more visibility. It’s kinda more work than its worth, so I don’t really do anything with it.

However, there is a place called Technorati that has a search engine for members that allows readers to do searches. You’ll notice that I have a small search box on the main page. If you are looking for an old post of mine, you can enter a few words that you remember (onsen, DKLA) and it will search my site and provide links to them. I am also a part of their larger database now and so when other members do a word search, there is every chance that Onigiriman will appear on their list. The proof is in the pudding, as they say. I found my name on a site of which I know absolutely nothing.

This person apparently lives in the DC area and posted pics of the recent cherry blossom in and around the National Mall. He told his readers to visit my site to get more info on the practice of o-hanami, flower viewing. He is a Techonrati member and so likely got the info from there. Again, since I am sourced, it’s not a big deal, I suppose, but I am surprised to find my name in places that are totally unrelated and unexpected…

Have a good weekend everyone!

Riceball Lovin’

April 29, 2005

O

nce again, the O-man–I leave the abbreviation up to your imagination–is feelin’ the love, man. I’ve again noticed a slight surge in traffic this week and it is because of all the lovin’ I’m get from my fellow Xangans.

It all started with Eechim. I played along with her “Interview” challenge. I answered some questions and as a result was required to get five people to answer. Since one who asked to be interviewed hasn’t blogged since 2003–and has yet to answer the questions I posed–I decided to ask more than five people. Randomcarbon also asked to be interviewed and he HAS answered, but he’s on LiveJournal, so I decided to make sure that I got five Xangans to respond. Below, I have already highlighted JustBeingV, TheWaterJar and ca1b0y, and I have been getting some of the traffic through them since they posted a link to my site when they posted their responses. I have also asked BurningSecrets and Gokingsgo, but that have yet to answer their questions. I hope they will soon. But these aren’t the only places where I’ve been getting traffic from. I have been getting them from two young ladies as well. Woo hoo!

Babyjenk5 is a student at Johns Hopkins who–professing to be a Xanga whore–offered to write about those who commented on her site. Now, she has plenty of friends and gets her share of comments, so she is being facetious. She is not a whore, Xangan or otherwise… She is a carefree and light read that I enjoy, despite the fact that she loves her Mac and expresses a rather dim view of Microsoft. Okay, I don’t love Bill Gates, but I DO use Windows… She is one of the first to bookmark me at RBJ and that is where I first learned of her. Anyway, she wrote about me (and others) and I’m glad she enjoys my site as much as I enjoy hers. Thanks, girl.

Iluvpajun is another young lady who wrote about me. (Why am I so lucky?) She says she used to make onigiri rice balls for lunch all the time. I wonder if she thinks of me when she eats them now? Will it affect the taste? Mmmm… oops, I mean, hmmmm… Anyway, she loves starchy foods–pajun is a Korean food that is like a pancake with vegetables in it (I think). And she owns a guinea pig named Genki (full of energy/high spirited) that she–get this–TAKES FOR A WALK on the streets of New York City. I have begged her for photgraphic proof, but I am still waiting. But the piece de resistance is that she is a classical pianist soon to be heading out to Italy for a competition–yes, she is that good! So go visit her to wish her luck…

Now the above people I know and so do not mind finding myself on their pages; indeed it is flattering. But lately, I have found myself in odd places as well. I saw a link to a place on LiveJournal, a guy named lhdakine, on my sitemeter references znd clicked it out of curiousity. I was rather shocked to find the following as his bio:

“We bloggers are, to varying degrees, narcissists and exhibitionists. We love to expose ourselves, talk about ourselves. And yet, ultimately, we expose only what we want to expose: a little thigh, some cleavage–well, I don’t really have any cleavage…”

This is a quote of mine that was highlighted on RBJ, where I figure this guy found it. Shizknitz also has up the same quote, but she has me bookmarked at RBJ so it’s no big deal. I don’t really mind lhdakine as well, I guess, since he did source me. But it is rather surprising to find my words unexpectedly.

I have also joined a few sites that propose to offer more exposure for your blog–you may have noticed the links on the main page. Places like Bloglines and Blogazoo promise to increase your traffic, but you have to surf on their site other bloggers who are looking for traffic, too. By surfing, other sites you earn points and the more points you earn, the more your site will be put into the surfing rotation and receive more visibility. It’s kinda more work than its worth, so I don’t really do anything with it.

However, there is a place called Technorati that has a search engine for members that allows readers to do searches. You’ll notice that I have a small search box on the main page. If you are looking for an old post of mine, you can enter a few words that you remember (onsen, DKLA) and it will search my site and provide links to them. I am also a part of their larger database now and so when other members do a word search, there is every chance that Onigiriman will appear on their list. The proof is in the pudding, as they say. I found my name on a site of which I know absolutely nothing.

This person apparently lives in the DC area and posted pics of the recent cherry blossom in and around the National Mall. He told his readers to visit my site to get more info on the practice of o-hanami, flower viewing. He is a Techonrati member and so likely got the info from there. Again, since I am sourced, it’s not a big deal, I suppose, but I am surprised to find my name in places that are totally unrelated and unexpected…

Have a good weekend everyone!

Orgasmic Rice

April 28, 2005

Another plea

I got some leads on how to approach the Minidisc. I hope to get more? As I wait, here is another Onigiriman comic, a… um… more tittilating one. If you are under 18 years old, please leave this site immediately…If you are 18 or over and hate corny shit, please leave this site immediately.

Anyway…

T

hat’s right; not “organic” but “orgasmic.” I think I’m now freaked out at using the abbreviation “O-man”. I hadn’t realized that it could be (mis)interpreted so differently. Oni-man made me think I was a red demon–I think Jason said that it’s translated as “ogre” in anime, and it could mean that as well. But the thought of me being orgasmic threw me for a loop… especially, at my age.

MiniDisc

April 27, 2005

A

question from this technology-challenged Riceball. I own a Kenwood portable MiniDisc player. The image on the right is a newer version but it looks similar, without the LCD display. Anyway, M bought this for me a few years back and I have yet to use it! Yeah, not nice of me and I feel REALLY bad about it. Seriously.

But here’s the problem: I don’t know how to record onto a disc. I know that I can connect the player from its microphone jack to the earphone jack of my computer, but then that’s basically an analog recording, right? That’s what the Kenwood manual says. How stupid is that? What’s the use of having a digital player if you are going to record analog? I want to record from digital, but I can’t figure out how… well, unless I buy a fullsize Kenwood Minidisc Player for like $700… Is there such a thing as a minidisc external drive for computers? Or is there a way I can connect my portable to my computer to download music files digitally?

Please, please, please, can anyone help me? I would truly appreciate it…