Gil Asakawa

Gil Asakawa writes about pop culture and politics from a Asian American and Japanese American perspective on his blog, www.nikkeiview.com. He and his partner also co-founded www.visualizAsian.com, where they conduct live interviews with notable Asian American Pacific Islanders. He is the author of Being Japanese American (Stone Bridge Press, 2004) and served as the Pacific Citizen's editorial board chair for seven years as a JACL national board member.

Updated November 2009

community en

Nikkei View

2012 was a good year for Denver’s Japanese and Japanese American community

This was a good year for Japanese and Japanese Americans in Colorado. A lot of the credit goes to Ikuhiko Ono, the Consul General who came to Denver late last year, and has made a concerted effort to reach out to the local JA community.

Previous Consul Generals have invited local JA leaders to the official residence for private dinners and to special receptions and events, including an annual reception at a downtown Denver hotel to mark the birthday of Emperor Akihito, celebrated December 23 as a national holiday in Japan on his actual birthday.

The birthday reception is a …

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community en

Nikkei View

Why are there no Asian Santa Clauses?

I just had an interesting phone conversation with Leo Duran, a producer at KPCC public radio in Los Angeles, about a burning issue the media must address: Why are there no Asian Santa Clauses?

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Granted, the image that immediately springs to mind when you say “Santa” is a big fat white man with rosy cheeks, a bushy white beard and a twinkle in his eye, who guffaws “Ho! Ho! Ho!” at the drop of a pointy red hat with a puffy white snowball at the end. But I’ve seen black Santas, and Hispanic Santas. I’ve even seen women in …

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food en

Nikkei View

Rice and tea have been and always will be mainstays of Asian culture

I’m not much of a churchgoer, but I’ve attended and volunteered at events at both the Denver Buddhist Temple, and the Simpson Methodist Church, which are both focal points of the local Japanese and Japanese American communities. A couple of weeks ago, I was part of the Mile High JACL‘s Fall Festival team, and spent a long day cooking (and cleaning) at Simpson Methodist Church.

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Both churches hold lots of cultural events, and like any church or temple probably throughout the world, both have fully-equipped kitchens. As we prepped for the food orders to come in, I realized …

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politics en

Nikkei View

Japanese Americans should follow Japan news

Over the years, I’ve been surprised that many Japanese Americans aren’t interested in Japan or even visiting Japan, mostly because they’re embarrassed that they don’t speak Japanese, or they feel entirely American.

I think it’s more important than ever for Japanese Americans to follow events in Japan.

The fact is, Japan is on the precipice of some potentially treacherous political turmoil. Most Americans are unaware of Japan’s dysfunctional democracy, which has led to a seven prime ministers in the past decade. The government has been unable to jumpstart a stalled economy, and there are a lot of disgruntled people, not …

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food en

Nikkei Chronicles #1—ITADAKIMASU! A Taste of Nikkei Culture

Quick Thoughts on Japanese Fast Food

American-style fast food was only introduced in Japan during the past 30 years—when I lived there as a child, there were no McDonalds, Pizza Hut or KFC to be found in the alleys and skyscrapers of Tokyo. Those bastions of U.S. culture arrived in the late ‘60s and during the 1970s, and when they did, they often adapted to Japanese tastes, by featuring custom versions of the familiar Big Macs and Quarter Pounders we know and love. In Japan, for example, you can order a Teriyaki McBurger with fries.

This decidedly un-gourmet American cuisine has had some notable effects on …

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