Thursday, February 28, 2013

Why Japan is Not Worried About the Depletion of Tuna!

Tuna sushi at a Japanese Sushi Restaurant!  (source: wikimedia commons)

I wasn't surprised when I read a news story about Japan's failure to worry about the current "Tuna Crisis" and that their intent was to acquire the country's favorite food, bluefin tuna, at any cost.

In the recent article "Tuna Collapse Fears Fail to Curb Japan's Appetite" by Associated Press reporter Malcolm Foster,  the report focuses on Japan's lack of concern for the dwindling supply of tuna.  The country consumes 80% of the prized fish that is sold for as high as $22,000 in Tokyo.  Japanese fisherman are fighting with Koreans, Taiwanese, and Mexicans for the lucrative $900M a year wholesale business.



You have to understand that bluefin tuna is a lucrative business in Japan, especially at the many sushi bars around the country.

Not serving tuna at a Japanese restaurant is the equivalent of not serving steak at an American restaurant.


Bluefin Tuna is a multi-billion dollar business in Japan!  (photo courtesy of Ethan Hein)

The author talks about how the Japanese are not alarmed by the depleting supply of bluefin tuna and that fact has brought only small coverage among the country's media. A scientific study released in January of this year found that the tuna's population has depleted to it's current 3%  in the past 15 years.  Many cite the decreasing numbers on overfishing of the tuna and the lack of quotas or bans.

A quota was set on the overfishing of the Atlantic tuna--most of it shipped to Japan--and scientists found their numbers recovered slightly last year.

Japan government officials have been avoiding the facts because the fishermen are their constituents and that these companies have never had any restrictions placed on them catching tuna.  The Japan Fisheries Agency said that they are self-imposing some restrictions on the industry.  However, environmentalists said that the JFA is not doing enough within the country's fishing industry to stop the overfishing.



The Japanese fishing companies have been spoiled for the past generation (or maybe thousands of years), catching everything with no restrictions.  There's no question that fishing for bluefin tuna is a major part of Japan's livelihood.

The industry and the economy are interconnected with each other and that goes for the transportation companies, the markets, the restaurants, and many companies in between.  Halting the demand for bluefin tuna would be considered blasphemous in their eyes.


Japan says that if they do impose bans and quotas, will other countries also comply?  Only a handful of European and U.S. sushi restaurants have taken the bluefin tuna off of their menus in light of the crisis.

Meanwhile, other countries like Korea, Taiwan, and Mexico have NOT imposed any quotas on their fishing vessels.  So far, no known restaurant in Japan has publicly removed bluefin tuna from their menus.



Japan's position on the issue is feeling that they are once again being singled out!  Yes, they do consume 80% of the world's bluefin tuna, but other countries have to make sacrifices too!

The issue is similar to the CLIMATE CHANGE policy in which most countries complied to making adjustments in their policies and in their industries to help curb areas that were contributing to "global warming."  In the case of the Kyoto Protocol of 2011, the U.S. did not ratify the agreement and Canada dropped out of it.

Japan believes they may find itself in that same position that if they do make that sacrifice, other countries may not do the same.


A young connoissuer plunks down sushi!  (photo courtesy of  shinosan)

The Japanese have a "future is NOW" mentality in which most believe that the supply of bluefin tuna will not run out.  However, there are a few people, who believe that the supply will be depleted one day, but are not moved enough to do anything about it.

The issue is TOO BIG in Japan and that means stepping on too many toes to enforce a ban on the country's No. 1 delicacy.
Ultimately, to most Japanese, it is difficult to think about banning something that is so delicious!  Most consumers think that the controversy is between the Politicians and the Environmentalists and while they let them fight over it, a connoisseur can plunk down that sumptuous morsel from a tuna that cost most people in the world a year's salary.



Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Pressure is On for Asian Singers Who Follow Jessica Sanchez

There is no doubt that Jessica Sanchez's 2nd place finish on American Idol last year has raised the bar on upcoming Asian artists. This year's show is no exception with 4 Asian hopefuls trying to make the Top 20.

This year's crop includes 3 Filipino-Americans Bryant Tadeo, Adriana Latonio, and Jett Hermano, and 1 Chinese-Mexican-American Elijah Liu.  The impact of Jessica Sanchez has a lot to do with Adriana and Jett than with the men.  However, the Filipina-Mexican singer has set such a high bar for the female singers that the men can't help feeling the same pressure at performing at such a high-level like Jessica.

Adriana and Jett will not be able to hide from the comparisons with Jessica Sanchez.  They will both have to find their own niche in order to break away from the shadow of the popular singer.  The best thing they can do to stop the comparisons is to avoid the same songs from Jessica's song list.  That means avoiding numbers by Whitney Houston, Jennifer Holliday, Alicia Keys, Jazmin Sullivan, and Mariah Carey.

The men don't have to worry about the comparisons but they do want to use her 2nd place finish as an inspiration.

Nevertheless, the Asian singers have high expectations in their respective Asian communities.  Elijah may be considered the top Asian artist of the bunch but the competition on American Idol can sway week to week and one performance can either sink or propel a singer into the next round.

Thanks to Jessica Sanchez, Asian artists are no longer a rare commodity on American Idol and other singing shows.  Like all the artists before them, they have to seize the opportunity and swing for the stars like the way that Chula Vista youngster did in 2012.  


Monday, February 25, 2013

Asia's Most Addictive Soft Drink!

Photo courtesy of dchantastic
Asia's most addictive soft drink is definitely that colorful concoction people call--boba tea! I just recently went to a Boba teahouse in Lomita, California on Sunday and was surprised by the large crowd--mostly Asians--ordering bubble teas.  My 18 year-old daughter is especially fond of the boba drink popularized by Southeast Asians and waited an agonizing 45 minutes for her peach tea with tapioca balls sitting at the bottom of the cup.  Was it worth the wait?  You bet it was because she gleefully slurped her boba drink like there was no tomorrow.

Growing up in Hawaii and later in California, I never knew about this "boba phenomenon" until my teenagers became hooked on the drinks sold at Boba teahouses that are mostly owned by either Korean, Taiwanese, Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese or Thailanders.

If adults love their coffee, teens love their Boba just the same!

People refer to the popular ice tea drink as Pearl Ice Tea, Tapioca Pearl drink, Milk tea, or boba ice tea. The drink is a concoction of tea, milk, sugar, and tapioca balls. The black tapioca balls is the unique component of the drink and most people like to chew on it because of its soft, gummy-like texture.  

The drink is non-carbonated and non-alcoholic, and addicting!  Customers can either have it served hot or cold but my kids, like the majority, like it cold!

If there is anything that can differentiate a boba drink from any other drink, it is the wide straw to slurp the tapioca, the plastic top, and the transparent cup to show off your tapioca at the bottom. Some of the drinks come in pastel colors, coming from the array of fruit combinations a customer can request for their tea. Customers can choose from a wide selection of fruit like mango, strawberry, peach, orange, blueberry, and a slew of other flavors.  In addition, they can select the type of tea they want such as jasmine tea, herbal honey tea, black tea or green tea.      

The boba drink is a cultural staple for young Asians in Southeast Asia, around the world, and in U.S. cities where there is a large Asian population like San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Honolulu, Seattle, and Canadian cities Vancouver and Toronto.  You'll notice, most tea houses reflect the young crowd it serves with blaring music, colorful decor, and comfy couches.  

Yes, that yummy goodness tastes good but little did I know that it contains anywhere from 300-900 calories with whole milk as one of its main component.  If you are diet-conscious, you can ask for a "sugar-free" version and request low-fat milk or no milk for your boba drink. Check with your boba tea house expert first before you make that special request.

The drinks aren't cheap and average $4 and above, depending on the type of tea you order.  However, the price is generally accepted by customers, who can't get enough of this overindulgence.

Oh, and if you really want Asia's most addictive soft drink, make sure you go during off-hours (not during lunch or dinner times or the weekends) when wait times are less at your favorite Boba tea house.  That's what I learned the hard way.  


Friday, February 22, 2013

Are Asian Fans Crazier than their American Counterparts?

Asian fans try to touch Hong Kong cantopop singer Gigi Leung during her concert.   Security stands nearby  to protect the singer from harm's way. 

Asian fans are crazy than American fans when it comes to idolizing their favorite stars.  American fans are known to do some outlandish things to meet their favorite stars but Asian fans take their adulation to another level by comparison.  

In Hollywood, there are the crazy fans, who stalk the homes of their favorite star but Asian fans take it one step further by stealing items from their homes, hacking their phone line, and placing GPS tracking device on their cars to track their movements.  Some fans have even installed a closed circuit television surveillance camera at a home which is near their favorite idol's home.

According to Korean newspaper JoongAng Daily, Korean fans have known to hire "special taxicabs" called "saesang taxis" to chase after a van or car carrying their Kpop idols.  There have been incidents when car chases have turned into high-speed chases between the fans and the stars. Severe accidents do occur and most go unreported.  Other fans have gone to extremes to actually cause a car accident with an actor/singer's car just to meet their idol up close.

Fan attacks not only occur in the outside world but also in the cyber world as well.  Compared to their American counterparts, the Asian fans on the internet, also known as "netizens," tend to severely bash the idols they do not like.  Some netizens even try to manipulate an idol if that particular star is involved with another star they do not like.  For instance, when Hong Kong TV star Ron Ng was involved with model/actress Viann Zhang,  netizens did not like their relationship and Ron's fans bashed Viann mercilessly on the microblogging site Weibo.  Many resorted to calling the model/actress a "whore" and questioned whether she was with the actor in order to become famous.
In another incident in Hong Kong, a netizen released early nude photos of star Shu Qi because the individual did not agree with the actress' opinion on a certain matter.

In Korea, several stars have sued netizens for making false accusations against them.  In 2012, actress Koo Hye-seon took a netizen to court for spreading a false rumor about her while actress Song Hye-kyo sued 41 online individuals for spreading a rumor that she was involved with a local politician. In that same year, Taiwanese singer Show Luo sued several netizens, who criticized him "without proof," concerning his alleged involvement with a girl named Yan Li.

Tough Bodyguards. 

Thankfully, no Asian star has been hurt from some of the shenanigans done by these crazy fans.  In contrast,  America has a history of stalkers and there have been instances when the meeting between the star and the stalker turned deadly.  Two incidents that stood out in Hollywood history were the murders of young actress Rebecca Schaeffer (1989) and singer John Lennon (1980) in which both were killed by their respective fans Robert John Bardo and Mark David Chapman.  Schaeffer's death led to the passing of anti-stalking laws in California in 1989.  In addition, actress Jodie Foster was stalked by notorious assassin John Hinckley, who was involved in a failed assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan back in 1981.

After those highly-publicized deaths, American celebrities have become more conscious about security measures around them.

So far, no Asian celebrity has met the same fate as Schaeffer and Lennon.  However, there isn't a day that goes by when these stars think about the crazy antics these Asian fans will do to catch a glimpse of them or to see them up close. Like there American counterparts, there is no telling what these fans are capable of.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Hawaii: A Sanctuary for Celebrities?

Hawaii is a beautiful paradise enjoyed by local residents and thousands of daily visitors from around the world.  Included among the visitors are the new celebrities, who come to Hawaii, wanting to make the islands their own personal sanctuary away from intruding photographers  

Celebrities, who visit the islands or have become residents of Hawaii, believe that their right-to-privacy is above any regular citizen in the 50th state.  Aerosmith lead singer and former American Idol judge Steven Tyler (pictured above), who is a Maui resident, is leading the fight to protect the privacy of celebrities who are photographed on private property.  In addition, the brand new "Steven Tyler Act" which is currently going through the motions with the Judiciary Committee makes it easy for any celebrity in Hawaii to sue anyone whether it is a member of the paparazzi or a fan or innocent photographer, who takes a picture that may be considered "offensive" or "an invasion of privacy" towards the individual.

To us, common folks, we are subjected to "offensive photographs" that are innocently posted on Facebook or Twitter on a daily basis but we don't plan to sue the photographer (or, at least, most of us anyway).

What Tyler is asking for is something that is usually afforded to the wealthy constituents of Hawaii.  Maui Senator Kalani English claims that the rock musician is "his constituent too."  Of course, Tyler may have a fatter wallet and more influence over many of his neighbors on the Valley Isle.

If the law is passed, celebrities will have the right to sue photographers who take pictures of them on private property but also in public places as well.  The law doesn't specify CLEARLY if a celebrity can sue if he or she is pictured in a public place such as a mall or airport or at the beach.  As long as the photograph is deemed "offensive" by the celebrity, the photographer can be sued.  In this case, a celebrity in Hawaii can take legal action against anyone whether it is a member of the paparazzi or a fan who takes a photo or attempts to take one. There are no limits on how many times a celebrity can sue.  

It does make sense to protect stars while they are in their homes or at a family function or on their property.  It also makes sense that an offensive photograph cannot be sold commercially.  However, the law is vague concerning the "right to privacy," what parameters are set to suing the offending party, and the location of the photograph can be on public property.

Supporters believe that the bill will protect innocent bystanders around celebrities from intrusive photographers, limiting any car chases or mobs of people that are often seen in Hollywood.

The State Attorney General David Louie and many people, who oppose the bill, believe that it is too vague and infringes on First Amendment Rights.

Steven Tyler is determined to make Hawaii into his own personal sanctuary free of photographers but that sounds like he's living on Fantasy Island.  He's better off staying within the confines of his property or he may want to think about changing his profession.                      

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Bruno Mars: A Unique Sound of Hawaii

Bruno Mars (real name Peter Gene Hernandez) is Hawaii's most successful musician to date and music critics seem to have a problem classifying the singer when he first began his music career. What music critics don't understand is that Bruno is from Hawaii, where all music genres are enjoyed by one of the world's most diverse populations and local artists are versatile musicians.

There is no particular genre that anyone can classify Bruno Mars.  He does a little bit of everything from rock, soul, pop music, reggae, and the Motown sound.  When he first started out in the music business, it was his unique sound that turned off some record executives, who did not know what to label him as an artist in pop music or soul or rock. Little did those execs know then that his versatility would be deemed "a strength" now that he has become a successful musician.

Bruno has been compared to other singers but there is no question that he is influenced by many artists growing up. For example, his song "Locked Out of Heaven" shows heavy influence by the popular English band The Police.  The band was popular for fusing ska, reggae, and rock in their songs during the 80s and 90s, which made them a favorite in the islands as well.

The singer showed his versatility by doing a Motown-like version of "Runaway Baby" on last year's Grammy Awards. His recent performance of "Locked Out of Heaven" on this year's Grammy Awards along with the former lead singer of The Police, Sting, may have been the highlight of his career.  The performance was an added twist to the show since Bruno's hit song was often compared to the Police hit "Can't Stand Losing You." 

Being the classy individual he is, Bruno doesn't mind the comparison.    

Growing up in Hawaii, the young musician was influenced by Hawaiian music, especially the reggae sound which is popular on the island radio stations. As a child, this musical prodigy started out impersonating Little Richard, Elvis Presley, and Michael Jackson but as he grew he couldn't escape the unmistakable sound of Bob Marley.

His first album "Doowops and Hooligans" introduced the pop music side of Bruno while the second album "Unorthodox Jukebox" showed his versatility and a "dark side" of the artist.  The Filipino-Puerto Rican singer said that the second album was a comeuppance towards the record executives, who turned him down and told him to pick a specific genre. "Unorthodox Jukebox" was a defiant record by Bruno, who now says that success has given him the freedom to play whatever genre fits his songs.

At just 27 years-old, Bruno Mars is not only one of the world's top music artists but he is truly a representative of the unique "Sound of Hawaii."


Saturday, February 16, 2013

Erik Spoelstra: First Asian Coach in the NBA All-Star Game

Erik Spoelstra became the first Asian to coach in the upcoming NBA All-star game on Sunday February 17. Spoelstra is the head coach of the defending champion Miami Heat, who have the 3rd best record in the first half of the regular season at 36-14, behind San Antonio (42-12) and the Oklahoma City Thunder (39-14).

Spoelstra, who is of Filipino-Dutch ancestry, led the Heat to the championship last year, defeating the Oklahoma City 4 games to 2 and became the first ever Asian coach to win an NBA title.  "Coach Spo" was awarded the opportunity to coach in Sunday's game by virtue of his team having the best record in the Eastern Conference. Likewise, Gregg Poppovich of the San Antonio Spurs, who had the best record in the Western Conference, will coach the West.

He is honored to be the first Filipino to coach in the All-star game and told ABS-CBN, "There's no doubt about it, I'm proud to be Filipino, and I'm proud to represent the Asian community."

So far, the 42 year-old coach has the Miami Heat looking to defend their championship after going on a 7-game winning streak before the All-star with recent victories over the Clippers, the Lakers, and the Thunder.   Their win over the Thunder was a dominant performance by the Heat and Lebron James, who scored 39 points, making him only the 2nd player in history along with NBA great Wilt Chamberlain to score 30 points or more in 7 straight games.

In the All-Star game, Erik Spoelstra will start Heat center Chris Bosch in place of the injured Rajon Rondo.  The Eastern lineup will now have 3 Heat players in Bosch, Lebron James, and Dwyane Wade, and New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony and Boston Celtics center Kevin Garnett.  As usual, like all previous All-Star contests, expect a high-scoring affair with little or no defensive effort.

In the meantime, honorary coach Erik Spoelstra can sit back and enjoy while the top stars from both conferences go at it on the court.

photo courtesy of audiovisualjunkie    



Friday, February 15, 2013

Expectations Are High for Jessica Sanchez

Jessica Sanchez just completed her Valentines Day concert in the Philippines and left many people wondering if the former American Idol singer has a good shot at success in America. We'll find out soon enough when she unveils her new album which is due out sometime in the Spring.  

The singer's Philippine concert was flooded with covers of other artists' songs from Lauryn Hill's "Can't Take My Eyes of You" to Adele's "Someone Like You" to Michael Jackson's "Human Nature."  She also threw in some "American Idol" favorites like "I Will Always Love You," "Dance with My Father," and her signature "And I'm Telling You."  She finished the concert with her new song "Fairytale" which is a preview of things to come on her new album. All in all, she belted out 14 songs, nothing to write home about, but enough to satisfy her fans for that night.

"Fairytale" may have been a preview for her fans but the single hasn't generated any buzz or airplay on the radio and it hasn't come close to becoming a viral hit on YouTube since its release last August.

The new album has been described as having an urban-feel in a genre that is crowded with artists with similar styles.  Whoever is responsible marketing "Jessica Sanchez, pop music star" has a major task. She has to standout among the Lady Gagas, Adeles, Beyonces, and Rihannas of the music world and that means putting out an album with outstanding songwriting (hello Swedish songwriters) and original production.

There is an air of mystery regarding Sanchez's commitment to her music and her upcoming role on "Glee" and whether she will back the album with a tour.  The singer and her management have remained tight-lipped about her plans for 2013.  

Nevertheless, the expectations placed on Jessica Sanchez are high and that comes with the territory for the Filipino-Mexican singer and American Idol runner-up.      

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Plantation Life: An Experience Unlike Any Other

My children will never know what it feels like to grow up in a small pineapple plantation town on Molokai (Hawaii) like I did in the late 60s to the early 70s.

They will never know what it feels like to grow up in a safe environment where people knew everyone and the only employer in town back then was Del Monte Foods.  Even as a 4 year-old, I could remember walking around this 2 mile town with no fear, knowing that I lived among "family" not strangers.  Back then, the saying, "it takes a village to raise a child", was taken literally.

Living on a plantation was a big Asian experience since many Southeast Asians at the turn of the century were recruited to work on the many pineapple and sugar plantations in Hawaii, Louisiana, and California.  It was common to find plantation towns filled with Chinese, Korean, Japanese (pictured below), Filipino, Portuguese, and Puerto Ricans.  Kualapuu was typical with Japanese, Filipino, Puerto Rican, and Portuguese living in different sections while the Caucasians (aka as "Haole" people), who were the "bosses," lived in the well-to-do part of town.  

I grew up in a town called Kualapuu where there was one church, one general meeting place for parties and  gatherings, one store (Kualapuu Market), a teen hangout/restaurant (Sweet Shop), a barber shop, and one theater.  Everyone went to the same elementary school (Kualapuu School) and the same High School (Molokai High School).  Of course, the focal point of the town was Del Monte Foods, the cannery, and acres of pineapple fields.

Like all parents, my Mom and Dad worked for Del Monte and our pantry was stocked with company canned goods.  There wasn't a day that went by that I didn't pop open a can of fruit cocktail or peaches for a snack.

My dad was proud of growing his own vegetables and raising chickens in a designated area where the community built their own chicken coops.  Back then, the vegetables, chickens, pigs, and cows were grown and raised naturally.  This was done way before some marketers today decided to call this style of farming  "organic" and raise prices for good measure.

Looking back, I couldn't believe that my parents allowed me to roam around town at such a young age.  All we did as kids back then was play.  Television was an afterthought because there was always some kid calling my name to go to the park or go out somewhere.  As a "latch key kid," I came home after school to an empty house cause both parents worked.  I did my homework and once that was done it was a free-for-all to go out and play.

As I grew older, we learned how to hunt and fish.  In Kualapuu, it was a rite-of-passage for us to shoot a gun and go hunting with the older kids.  Usually, I ended up carrying the dead deer because I was the younger one.

Today, Kualapuu is not the same bustling town it was in the 70s and 80s when Del Monte officially shut down operations in 1988.  Now that I'm older, I can compare the church, the store, the school, and the restaurant and how tiny these buildings were in size. Unfortunately, most of the families I knew back then moved to Kaunakakai or to another island.  Sadly, the town isn't the same anymore and it's too bad because I wish my kids could experience the childhood I had in Kualapuu.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Bruce Lee: King of Martial Arts

Photo by Lexinatrix

For those born in the 60s or even later, Bruce Lee was the "King of Martial Arts" as far as I'm concerned.  Most of us were in awe of his awesome feats and spectacular martial arts!  He made us believe that taking on 100 people in fight in "Enter the Dragon" wasn't impossible!

Like all the kids in the 70s and at the age of 10, I went out and bought books about Bruce Lee at the Japanese store Hakubundo at the Kaahumanu Shopping Center.  I even bought his instructional book "Jeet Kun Do" to add to my extensive collection.  In addition, I went nuts buying some weapons like a nunchaku and ninja stars just so that I could imitate my hero.   My walls in my room were lined with Bruce Lee posters.  I went bonkers when my Uncle bought me the famous poster with Bruce in his white tank top posing with his nunchaku in "Return of the Dragon."

I tried to imitate Bruce Lee on his handling of the nunchaku but somehow that deadly Okinawan instrument found my crotch more than it did anything else. Back then every kid, who tried to do the moves of Bruce Lee usually did the "cat-like" sounds.  

Like all his fans, I watched every Bruce Lee movie that came to Maui (at Iao theater or King theater), thanks to my Uncle. I even watched "Goodbye Bruce Lee: His Last Game of Death" back in '75 starring Bruce Li, in a film that had footage of Lee from his unfinished film "Game of Death."  In the film, Li's performance was forgettable but Lee's last known footage in the Tower of Death that featured Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Danny Inosanto was the main feature and it left me in awe.

He died in 1974 but his memory lives on even after all these years.  Filmmakers pay homage to him like in "Shaolin Soccer" (2001) that featured the goalie wearing Lee's famous yellow suit with the black stripe and in Quentin Tarantino's "Kill Bill" (2003) when Uma Thurman wore the same thing.  Documentaries about the man continue to be made to this day and often feature many sports figures, fighters, and celebrities, who were inspired by him.

As a young child, my Asian experience began to take shape by watching numerous Samurai movies and martial arts films but none captured my imagination more than a movie starring Bruce Lee.  


Monday, February 11, 2013

What I learned from Having an Asian/Pacific Islander Blog

Last year when I started Hollywood, I had no clue about the different celebrities who are Asian-American, from Southeast Asia, and from the Pacific.  Sure, I had a separate mini-blog on regarding Hollywood celebrities but I didn't know too much about Asian and Pacific Islander celebrities at all.  That was the reason why I thought it would be perfect to start up a blog about them since I couldn't find too many websites that talked about the Asian-American, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander experience in Hollywood and beyond.

What have I learned?   A lot!

First, Asian, Asian-American, and Pacific Islanders actors are a minority in Hollywood.  Behind the camera is another story but Asians and Pacific Islanders as a whole "in front of the camera" are few.  Compared to Caucasians, African-Americans, and Latinos, they are heavily outnumbered in the entertainment industry.  I'd like that to change that and I'll keep writing about the lack of diversity in Hollywood up until the studio executives manage to address it by populating our music, tv shows, and films with more Asian and Pacific Islander actors and actresses.

Second, the Southeast Asian (Hong Kong, Taiwan, Philippines, Japan, Korea, China, etc., ) television and film and music industry artists are heavily protected by their management agencies.  Japan is the strictest among the countries when it comes to studios controlling and protecting the image of their artists.  There have been examples of Japanese artists being punished (loss of pay, suspended, demoted to a lower-tier of artists, banned from appearing on several shows etc.,) or cast out of the industry and never be heard of again.

The other countries take a more liberal approach but there have been instances where performers have been blacklisted from the industry as well.

Third, there is a language barrier and thanks to Google Translate, English substitles from films/TV shows, and friends, who speak the language, the obstacle becomes minor in most cases.  I have to admit that sometimes the translation from the news I receive is lost but I try to make it as accurate as possible. It's not easy to translate from Tagalog or Korean or Mandarin or Japanese or Vietnames to English but it's really a minor issue.

Fourth, I had no clue who these actors or singers from all the different countries were when I first started.  I didn't know anything about actors like Mario Maurer (Thailand), Anne Curtis (Philippines), Donnie Yen (Hong Kong),  Amir Khan (India), Abbie Cornish (Australia), Shu Qi (Taiwan), Zhang Ziyi (China), Kim Tae-Hee (Korea), Cliff Curtis (New Zealand), and Takeshi Kaneshiro (Japan) were.

Today, I've become more knowledgeable about a country's entertainment industry and pop culture.  

One thing more, it's a good thing I like to READ cause I go over hundreds of articles on these actors and musicians to get a good story.

Lastly, an author has to have the passion to write about this stuff and I've had that for one year now.  The experience writing about a subject that was unknown to me at first and was humbling but it gave me this new found knowledge and more understanding about the Asian and Pacific Islander cultures.


Friday, February 8, 2013

Sorry, My American Cars Were More Reliable than my Japanese Cars

Yes, I'm telling the truth when I say that my American cars that I've owned lasted LONGER than my Japanese cars!  Now that's from my experience okay but other people find that unusual when I say that.

I had a 1995 Ford Aerostar (pictured above) that lasted until 2011 with more than 200k miles on it.  The only problem I had was a leak in the power steering and the usual wear-and-tear (brakes, tires, dings and scratches, etc.,).  The 2000 Dodge Dakota I have is still kicking and the only problem I had was replacing the water pump and the usual wear-and-tear.

Now, I've owned a lot of Japanese cars but they all seem to fall apart when it approaches 10 years old.  My Datsun 280Z began to disintegrate at 10 years and it had so many problems that I couldn't tolerate fixing it over and over again.  My Toyota Celica lasted 10 years but it had so much problems that when the dealer said they would fix a problem for more than a $1000, I gave it up right then and there.  My Acura Integra had to have its engine replaced because my 10 year overhaul was worth more than the vehicle!

I did the same thing for all the vehicles concerning oil change, tune ups, and removing-and-replacing a few parts.

Now, I'm no mechanic but most of my mechanics (and they are Asians by the way) own an American car on the side.  How do I know?  I see them driving up to work in one while I'm waiting for them in the early morning to open up their shop. Usually, the car I had to repair was my Japanese car.

I've had mechanics of all nationalities--Japanese, Korean, Filipino, Iranian, Caucasian, European, Portuguese, and Hawaiian.  My current one is Korean.

These mechanics all tell me the same thing.  Doesn't matter what brand of car you own.  These things break down despite the usual upkeep.

As long as you have a trusty mechanic, who isn't after the fast buck (like most of them unfortunately) and tells you what to look out for as a potential problem, your car can last longer than the norm.

Sure, many car publications tell us how superior Japanese/Korean cars are than American cars but my own survey deviates from their claim.

Again, this is only from my experience, okay?

Anyone has the same feeling about American cars?  Tell me about it by leaving a comment below.


Thursday, February 7, 2013

Only a Few Asian/Pacific Islanders are Successful in Hollywood

Yep, only a few Asian/Pacific Islanders are successful in Hollywood and that's sad when you think about it.  When you compare the celebrities "in front of the camera" in Hollywood, Asian and Pacific Islanders lag behind Caucasians, African-Americans, and Latino-Americans.

Nowadays, you can only count a handful of Asian/Pacific Islanders, who were born-and-raised in the U.S. and are successful in the American entertainment industry.  We'll tackle the issue of foreign-born Asian stars being successful in America another time.

So far, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson (above photo) is the biggest Pacific Islander star on the planet with "Fast Five," "Journey 2: Mysterious Island," and "G.I.Joe: Retaliation" under his belt.  He's also becoming quite a businessman with projects for tv shows for network and cable television.

Korean-American star John Cho, from the "Harold and Kumar" film series has been consistently finding roles on television with his latest venture "Go On" proving to be a bona fide hit for NBC.

Chinese-American actresses Lucy Liu and Maggie Q have successful television series with "Elementary" on CBS and "Nikita" on the CW network respectively.

Indian-American actor Kunal Nayyar is a featured cast member on network television's No. 1 comedy "Big Bang Theory."

Filipino-Puerto Rican singer "Bruno Mars" is proving that he's no fluke in the music industry after releasing his 2nd album "Unorthodox Jukebox" which has already spawned a few top 10 hits including the single "Locked Out of Heaven" which held the top spot on the singles chart for 6 consecutive weeks.

Indian-American actor Kal Penn, the other half of "Harold and Kumar" has had a successful career with long stints on "House" and on "How I Met Your Mother" with a short jaunt into the White House, working for the Obama administration.

Filipino-Italian Vanessa Hudgens has proven that she is multi-talented and that her career didn't stop at Disney.  She has parlayed into some serious roles for 2013 with "Gimme Shelter" and "The Frozen Ground," and a potential blockbuster with the upcoming R-rated "Spring Breakers." 

Korean-American Steve Yuen has a role on "The Walking Dead" which is cable's top television show. He hasn't proven if he can go BEYOND his hit show to a long and successful career in Hollywood but it does help to have "Walking Dead" on your resume.

Korean-Americans Grace Park and Daniel Dae Kim of "Hawaii 5-0" have proven that they can jump from one successful series (Grace came from "Battlestar Galactica" and Daniel came from "Lost") to another tv show in a heartbeat.

These actors and actresses are just some of the Asian/Pacific Islanders, who are major stars on film, music, and television.  At least, the ones that I can remember.

I wish that more Asian/Pacific Islanders can find more success in Hollywood so that I can stop complaining about why these fine actors and actresses are NOT nominated for such and such at the Academy Awards or the Grammys or the Emmys or the Golden Globe or the . . . . . . . . .

Come on, HOLLYWOOD!!!!!!!!!  More Diversity for Asians and Pacific Islanders!!!!!!!!! 


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

When an Asian Sees Another Asian

You know what I'm talking about when you go somewhere like at a new place (a hospital, shopping mall, restaurant) or a new country and you see another Asian?

You react by feeling (1) Relieved that there's someone of the "same kind" (2) Happy to see someone who can actually help me  (3)  Disgusted and wondering what are THEY doing here?

Yep, just like people from different races, we all act the same in that particular situation.  It all depends on your perspective and how you were brought up.

Most Asian-Americans or any race would opt for No. 1, knowing that someone of the same race is in the same joint.  Most of us feel relieved that a person of the same race and culture is there in close proximity.  You might even feel a little more secure now than you were feeling before you entered the place.

Other Asian-Americans may react like No. 2 and "take advantage" of the same kind whether they are at the airport or at a hospital or at a retail store.  For instance, you've seen an Asian guy trying to worm his way out of paying a fee for extra baggage when that customer service guy or girl is the same race.  And, you've seen an Asian woman try to bargain a little bit harder with a retail store owner, who happens to be the same race.

Some snobby or well-to-do Asian-Americans may be repulsed by seeing another person(s) of the same race with No. 3.  These snotty people would rather hang out with other groups of people from a different race rather than their own.  They look at their own race as "leeches or blood suckers" ready to take advantage of them or as disgraceful people, who bring a bad image to their own kind.

Just plug in any racial group you want and you'll see that they will react the same way like Asian-Americans when it comes to the same situation.

Like in the words of Barbara Streisand, "it's just people needing people" or maybe not.         

Asian-Americans and Guns

It's really hard to say how many Asian-Americans have guns in the U.S. but considering their roots go back to the 1800s, I would have to say there's alot!

According to, they believe that the political party that an Asian-American is affiliated may have something to do if you're a gun owner.  That's means Asian-American Republicans may have more reasons to own a gun rather than an Asian-American Democrat.  Currently, there are no statistics on how many gun owners are Asian-American but some high-profile criminals of Asian descent have surfaced over the past 10 years like Virginia Tech mass murderer Seung Hoi-Cho, Oikos College (Oakland, California) killer One L. Goh, and Honolulu Xerox gunshooter Brian Uyegusi.

I come from a gun culture from the rural island of Molokai (Hawaii) where guns are primarily used for hunting.  At a young age, we were taught to respect the use of guns and shown how to use them.  Keep in mind, this was during the 70s when I started shooting but the low crime rate on the island still exists today.

That was during a simple time when the pressures of life were minimal.  Compared to today's life, the pressures and stress have intensified exponentially and you hear about mass shootings taking place in the U.S. all the time.  From the Columbine murders to the Gabrielle Giffords shooting to the recent Newtown, Connecticutt shooting, there's mass shootings happening all around us in the country.

The weapons haven't changed, but the people have.  Mental Illness is all around us and unfortunately unstable people are venting their frustration by using weapons and killing other people!

For now, the Federal Government is under pressure to institute a ban on assault weapons but do they really believe that this policy will stop unstable people from acquiring even a simple gun to kill others?


The lesson in all this is that Asian-Americans like the rest of the population is arming themselves because they can't wait those precious 20 minutes until the Police arrives to save them from a vicious criminal.  The L.A. riots of 1992 showed how law enforcement "backed off" from stopping looters and criminals from "going crazy" leaving many residents and business owners to fend for themselves.  Luckily, the Koreans and other Asian groups had enough sense to arm themselves during the "free for all."

You think any of the looters or criminals messed with these armed Asian-Americans?  NOPE!

I'm not a gun advocate nor am I against guns.  I'm like anyone who believes that having "a piece" in your tool box is nice to have in case some stranger wants to inflict damage on your property and on your family.

Besides, as long as the 2nd Amendment of the Constitution is still active, we have that right and Asian-Americans are taking advantage like the rest of America.

What do you think?  Please place your comments below!  No be shame!

When you have a chance, check out my website (News of Asian/Pacific Islander Celebrities in Hollywood and around the World):