jenni's blog:: october 2003

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October 2003

October 31 - Wet Halloween
Man, it is pouring rain tonight! Poor kids, Halloween called on account of the rain. Only 4 kids came by tonight, we only answered the door once. In past years, we've had 60 or 70 kids come by. Who's going to eat all this leftover candy I bought yesterday? I guess it's me, sitting here blogging and eating Tootsie Rolls.

I remember when I was a kid, I just loved Halloween. My mom used to make such creative costumes for us, back in the days of sewing machines and homemade costumes. I always finished my stash of candy way before my sister and brother. I remember my mom would only let us have like 1 or 2 pieces of candy after dinner. But me, I would sneak 5 or 6 pieces of candy after we went to bed. One time I woke up and I had eaten so much candy that I threw up and had a lollypop stuck to my pajamas. Busted! On another note, this rain has to be puttin out the fires. Because it's pouring out there. Oh hey, I put up a new Tag-Board last night. Drop us a line on our homepage!
Friday, 9:00 pm - Click here to comment:

October 30 - One Candle for Kyle
Just wanted to wish my nephew Kyle a Happy Birthday! Hard to believe it's been a year since he was born. Here he is eating Cheerios and saying hi for the camera. It's funny how they go from this tiny little infant at birth to the cute little babies to toddlers. I've enjoyed having two little nephews and look forward to seeing them grow up.

Thru the Fire - I was happy to see drizzle when we walked out of the house this morning. This turn in weather is amazing. Three days ago it was in the 90s. I heard it might even snow in the mountains this weekend. Maybe that will help the fires, which should be contained by next Wednesday. If Arnold takes credit for terminating the fires, I'm going to scream.
Thursday, 11:50 pm - Click here to comment:

October 28 - Evacuation, Relocation
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First, I wanted to give an update on my brother's situation with the Simi Valley fire yesterday. Darin's wife, Saori, blogged about the fire (see October 28), which came a few blocks from their house. They could see flames from their driveway. Here's an overhead photo of how close the fire came. They were lucky that no homes in their neighborhood were lost. Tony's dad was evacuated from his house in Crestline Saturday, but they don't seem concerned about it. Yesterday the weather was in the 90s, but the good news is that the weather is starting to cool off, and hopefullly, we'll get some humidity in the air and the wind from the ocean will blow away all the dust and ash. I heard something about rain for Saturday. We could sure use it.

Tonight I went to a workshop for Great Leap's current residency project, "To All Relations: Sacred Moon Songs," which will be performed at the Breaking of the Fast event at Senshin on November 15. The theme of the project is relocation, repatriation and deportation, and we are gathering stories and poems of Muslim, Mexican and Japanese American experiences. Anyways, Nader, who talked about Ramadan tonight, said that after 9/11, his friend called him on the phone and said, "We're going to Santa Anita." (Santa Anita Race Track was one of the Assembly Centers where thousands of Japanese Americans were sent before going to camp. They called it relocation, but they were housed in horse stalls for several months.) Oh I tell you, it gave me chills when he said that. It brought tears to my eyes.
Tuesday, 11:30 pm - Click here to comment:

October 27 - Get Amerasia Journal Today
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Just wanted to make an announcement that the new Amerasia Journal issue is out! Tony's article that he wrote about 2 years ago, has finally been published by the UCLA Asian American Studies Center in the Amerasia Journal. The article is called, "Teamwork and People Power: Liberatory Teaching in the Elementary Classroom." It's a great article, honest and easy to read, and I recommend it to any activists or progressive folks who are interested in working in the classroom or working with kids. The cute graphics throughout the issue are created by Tony's former 3rd and 4th grade students at Wilton Place. You can get one year subscription for $35, which includes 3 issues. Or, single issues are $13 plus $4 for s&h. Or, you can find the text free on our site.
Monday, 11:30 pm - Click here to comment:

October 26 - Firestorm 2003
AP Photo
Today, we went to a birthday picnic for our friend Traci in Torrance. Way out in Torrance, no where near the fires there were ashes falling and smoky skies. It was enough to make my eyes and throat dry, and my nose run.

I'm worried about the fires. I watched the news for hours today, scanning for news about the Crestline and Simi Valley fires. Tony's dad had to evacuate his house in Crestline last night, and my brother lives in Simi Valley. They said that 850 homes have been destroyed in the last five days. What would you take if you were given 20 minutes to leave your house? I feel so badly for people who have lost everything. It's heartbreaking.

Equally disturbing is something I saw on "60 Minutes" tonight. I don't know much about nuclear waste, but they did a piece on how the nuclear waste/storage sites around the country are filling up, and the Department of Energy has a plan to move it all to Yucca Mountain, Nevada. To do so, they'd have to consolidate all that radioactive waste, sending it by rail or truck, which would take 1 to 6 shipments a day for 24 years. Any leaks, spills or accidents along the way would be disasterous. But of course the Nevada people don't want all that stuff in their backyard, seeping into their water and their lives, but the DOE guy was saying that we should trust that they know what they're doing, and that they wouldn't do anything dangerous. Uh huh. This guy from Nevada said that they live in the thyroid cancer capital of the world, thanks to atom bomb testing back in the 50s. This just terrifies me. Seems to me that we have to stop creating nuclear waste, which is supposed to be radioactive for the next 10,000 years. Tonight, my thoughts are with Tony's dad and my brother's family, all the people who've lost their homes, and for all the people who've been affected by nuclear bombs and the fallout.
Sunday, 10:15 pm - Click here to comment:

October 25 - Better Luck on Video
Yesterday, my sister Gayle and my nephew Kieth came over for a couple of hours. Playing catch with a giggling 2 1/2 year old is so much fun! For dinner, we went to Tito's to pick up some burritos and rented some videos.

We finally saw "Better Luck Tomorrow." I enjoyed it. I'm embarrassed to say that we hadn't seen the largest feature film about contemporary Asian American high school youth. The movie was pretty good. It was so hyped up when it came out in April when we were on vacation. We tried to see it a few times, but didn't get there during the 3 weeks it was in the theaters. Tony was unsatisfied with the end, as were a lot of people, but I really liked it a lot. I loved the main character, very vulnerable and hunky at the same time. The funnest part was seeing several people that we know, including our friend Kenwood who we went to Cuba with a few years ago. We didn't know he was in it, and he was pretty good! Lots of people we know were extras and involved in the credits. I watched it again this morning and caught some parts that I missed. Tonight, we are going to the Visual Communications fundraiser, Past/Forward. They're going to have a Digital Slam - 30 second videos by 40 filmmakers.
Saturday, 330 pm - Click here to comment:

October 24 - Grocery Alternatives
We passed a Von's last night. There were only a few workers picketing and they looked tired in the heat. I feel for them. I hate how the media makes it look like the grocery clerks are the evil ones, keeping us Americans from our meats and pre-packaged foods. They don't talk about the sacrifices of the workers and how the multi-billion dollar supermarket industry needs to treat their workers right.

We haven't regularly shopped at the Vonses' or the Ralphs' for the last few years, and I don't really miss it. But, I'm sure its affected many shoppers who are now crowding the Trader Joes, Whole Foods and other stores. I thought there would be more people at the Farmer's Market last weekend, but it didn't seem that crowded. I do wonder where people are shopping now. I hope there will be a settlement soon, for the sake of the workers. In the meantime, where are you getting your groceries during the strike?
Friday, 9:40 am - Click here to comment:

October 22 - Five Things
I read on 4 (actually 5) different blogs tonight that Elliott Smith died. Ok, I'm old. Or just out of it. Never heard of him. I figure he must have been well-liked and was apparently a musician. Please leave me a comment and let know what was special to you about Eliott Smith.

So, does anyone care if I do last week's Friday Five? I found it on Small Hands and thought I'd put it up.

1. Name five things in your refrigerator: Trader Joe's Organic Vanilla Soy Milk, organic arugula mix lettuce, Girard's Romano Cheese Salad Dressing, rotting melon, shriveled beets

2. Name five things in your freezer: organic berries (for smoothies), Dreyer's Fruit Bars, organic frozen corn, edamame, blue ice packs

3. Name five things under your kitchen sink: Chemical toxic free dishwash soap, rice rinsing bowl, fish sauce, Tupperware lids, baking soda/vinegar (for chemical-free cleaning)

4. Name five things around your computer: Lucky bamboo plant, Webster's dictionary, colored pencils, digital camera, stack of zip disks

5. Name five things in your medicine cabinet: Organic Aloe Vera toothpaste (Kiss My Face), contact lens solution, Rite Aid Premium Mint dental floss, nail file from ABC Store in Honolulu, Q-Tips
Wednesday, 8:30 pm - Click here to comment:

October 21 - Honmamon 1-17
For the last 3 weeks, I've been waking up at 7:30am to watch a new Japanese soap opera with English subtitles on NHK. Every 9 months or so, a new serial begins on Japanese TV. It runs for 15 minutes a day, M-F. I love the new one, "Honmamon" which means "true things" or "true chef." It's about Konoha Yamanaka, a cute high school student who lives in the mountains with her parents and grandparents who have had a small tree business for generations. It's not a successful business,and the father has failed at several business ventures like growing organic shiitake mushrooms. The father has always dreamed of being a chef. The grandma is ill, but before she passes away, the father makes her a delicious meal and she dies happy. Konoha is inspired to be a chef too. The father wants to sell the mountain so he can send Konoha to college and open a restaurant but the grandfather refuses. She leaves the mountain and goes to Osaka to go to cooking school. At the same time, the father gets investors to build his own restaurant. Both are naive and face many challenges. All of Konoha's money is stolen her first day in the city, and the father's contractor's go bankrupt and disappear during construction. Konoha has to work in her landlady's grocery store to pay back the money she borrows to live on.

The disapproving grandfather says, "Life is an ascetic exercise." (I had to look up "ascetic" in Webster's: it means laborious, or practicing strict self-denial as a measure of personal and spiritual discipline). He bails his son out and says, "If the restaurant doesn't work out, give it up and come back to the mountain." Konoha sees this as a challenge to do her best. At the same time, she has a crush on a GORGEOUS football player, Matsuoka. He's worldly and takes her on a date to her first fancy restaurant. But she is clumsy, dressed in her drab clothes, no makeup and is ashamed about her appearance, and her country ways. But that is what he likes about her. He invites her to his football game. Konoha's friend dresses her up in trendy clothes, teased hair and too much makeup, but he doesn't see her. She sees all his fans and begins to avoid him, feeling like she can't measure up to the city girls. She wants to forget about him and push on with her goals. And that is the first 16 episodes.

Today, in Episode 17 Matsuoka says, "I like how you have goals and admire how you are going after them." Then he says, "No, what it really is, is I... I love you." In true Japanese fashion, Konoha shyly says nothing. He walks away and she is beaming! I am watching and beaming too! Then, it flashes forward to a year later. Konoha goes for a job interview with a hotel kitchen, who has never hired any female chefs. The three men who interview her ask why she's applying for the job when she knows they don't hire women. Then one says that women who say they aren't interested in getting married often get married earlier and leave. She gets mad and argues with them saying something like. "Hey! Don't ask these questions. All of you have families and continue to work. Whether or not I get married has nothing to do with me doing this job!" Then she meets Matsuoka, now her boyfriend and tells him she's sure she didn't get the job. But she gets the call. They want her to come back for a second interview. She's stunned. "To be continued..." flashes across the screen.... and so, I'm staying tuned for Episode 18 tomorrow, because I'm hooked on "Honmamon."

Tuesday, 8:55 am - Click here to comment:


October 20 - More Mural Pix
Last night, I put up a photo page with the Detroit Chinatown mural. Check it out! And if you want more info about the Vincent Chin case, here's a great article from Asian Week.
Monday, 8:30 am - Click here to comment:

October 19 - Blogging, Burnout, Books
Sorry, I haven't felt like blogging much the last few days. I got kind of burnt out because of the craziness of my busy August, which seemed to start in July, and stretched into September and October. I know some people love the fall and winter, but I feel a little like, where did the summer go? I finally got our taxes in, finished an article, submitted a column, took my trips, read a book called "Southland" by Nina Revoyr, got some things accomplished, but it's left me feeling a little depleted. I came home (relatively) early all week, and found myself parked in front of the tv, and not in the mood to write my own blog, or catch up on others. It is nice that today was hot like summertime.

So what else is new? Friday I had off, and I picked up my brother Darin, his wife Sao and my nephew from the airport. They just got back from Japan. I babysat for the first time since I was a teenager, for about 15 minutes while they went to pick up lunch. It was fun, but it felt like an hour! Yesterday, I went to a Manzanar meeting, which was a little frustrating for me. Then I walked to the Marina and went to Ann Taylor, and bought a suit, since the ones I just donated were several sizes too small. Today, Tony and I went to the Hollywood Farmer's Market with Mike and Laura, our good friends, and hung out with them for a bit. Feels good to get some organic fruits and veggies in the house.

This afternoon, I went to an Asian American Book Fair at the Venice Japanese Community Center and a reading by Perry Miyake and Wakako Yamauchi, and bought 7 books, all gifts for holidays or upcoming birthdays. Tony asked if I got a deal on them. No, but it's better to support Asian American authors through a small independent book sellers such as Heritage Source than going to B&N or Borders. Speaking of books, Mike told us that Midnight Special is going to reopen this month, it'll be on Second Street in Santa Monica. Here's an article I wrote about Sisterhood Bookstore and Midnight Special a few years ago called "Long Live Sisterhood Bookstore." Anyways, I was inspired to write my own book, although Perry said his took 11 years to get published, and Wakako's took 40 years! I know, I know, someday. In the meantime, I have all I can handle with writing my column every 8 weeks, keeping up kuidaosumi.com, helping to edit these two books, running an arts organization, volunteering with several more, taking weekly taiko lessons, and trying to have a healthy home life, and not neglect my friends and family. But someday.
Sunday, 5:30 pm - Click here to comment:

October 14 - My Second Home
I'm back from my 7th trip to Michigan in the last 3 years. Last Wednesday, I flew to Detroit and spent the night at the Boggs Center. I came in the front door, greeted Grace Lee Boggs and said, "I'm home!" I was able to take photos of the Detroit Chinatown Mural, which by the way, is written about in this week's issue of the Michigan Citizen newspaper.

I then drove to Flint with Grace for the Animating Democracy Convening. It was a four day gathering of the most interesting Arts & Civic Dialogue programs, almost 200 artists/activists from around the country. It was the first arts conference I've been to where almost everyone was/is an organizer or activist. I was home. Grace was the keynote speaker, and I was asked to introduce her, which was quite an honor for me. I met so many wonderful people, saw some fantastic performances, including Urban Bush Women from Brooklyn, and New WORLD Theater's Project 2050, the year when people of color will become the majority.

Anyways, I'm back home now. No, I haven't caught up on blogs or done the laundry, and I guess my free Zonk Board has expired. Yes, I went to taiko last night. We have a new governor, boo hiss. I've heard that my column last week about the Far East Cafe, has hit a nerve. Glad to be back at my first home with TonyO.
Tuesday, 11:45 pm - Click here to comment:

October 7 - Leadership Woes & Wins
Well, I'm going to vote today. No to the Recall. No on 54. Of this I'm sure. Leadership woes. Sadly, I'm going to vote safe and go for Bustamante. I liked the substance of Arianna and Camejo, but I don't want Arnold for so many reasons. Hope you can find your polling place today, there's only 1800 of 5400 open in LA County. They're talking about long lines at the polling places since there's so few of them open. I'm also a little sad because today would have been my baby's due date, if I hadn't had a miscarriage in March. I knew the day was coming up, and here it is. On the bright side, I wouldn't have wanted my baby's birthday to be the day that the guy who didn't even bother to submit his plan for governor to the Election Guide gets voted for governor. Really now.

And now, on to more positive leadership news... Today I can announce that Nobuko was awarded the Leadership for a Changing World award, one of 17 out of 1300 nominations across the country. It is a $115,000 award that Great Leap will receive over the next two years from the Ford Foundation and the Advocacy Institute. Congrats to Nobuko for her beautiful spirit and over 30 years dedicated to social change through the arts!
Tuesday, 10:30 am - Click here to comment:

October 6 - Seventeen Hours in SJ
Fun weekend. Tony and I made a great bento lunch, nigiri (rice balls) and drove up to San Jose on Saturday afternoon. We got in around 5pm. Hung out with Mary and Doug, had dinner at Okayama's in Japantown, then went to the "3 Japantowns" concert with San Jose Taiko, Kinnara Taiko and San Francisco Taiko Dojo. It was SJ Taiko's 30th anniversary... they rock! I loved watching PJ and Roy play together, it was a lot of fun! It was also fun to see everyone from Kinnara play "Ashura," one of two songs that I know! And Nobuko's new song and dance, "Ichigo Ichie" was performed during the opening with the 3 groups. At midnight, we went to a reception at the cool SJ Taiko space, Tony enjoyed the Hawaiian food. On Sunday morning, we hung out with Mary, Doug and their daughter Lauryn Emiko. We had fun watching Lauryn play in the yard. Then 17 hours after arriving in San Jose, we turned around, drove 5 hours and and came home! *Vote tomorrow.*
Monday, 9:45 am - Click here to comment:

October 3 - Beware of A.S.
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Excerpts from Moveon.org: Schwarzenegger has a serious problem with women, reflected in both his actions and his words. His own statements -- even just months ago -- paint a clear picture of a man who has absolutely no respect for women:

"How many times do you get away with this--to take a woman, grab her upside down, and bury her face in a toilet bowl?" - July, 2003 Entertainment Weekly interview, speaking about a scene from his latest film.

"When you see a blonde with great tits and a great ass, you say to yourself, 'Hey, she must be stupid or must have nothing else to offer', which maybe is the case many times." - July, 2003 Esquire Magazine interview

"Girls became sex objects. I saw the other bodybuilders using them in this way and I thought it was all right... Whatever I thought might hold me back, I avoided. I crossed girls off my list -- except as tools for my sexual needs." 1977 Memoir, Arnold: the Education of a Bodybuilder

Arnold's problem with women is not a case of insensitive comments or inappropriate actions. It's an appalling record of disrespect and abuse of women. It would be a disgrace to women and a disgrace to all the people of California if Schwarzenegger became Governor. The once-confusing recall election is now dramatically simple: if you don't vote against the recall, Schwarzenegger will become governor. Check out www.moveon.org/pac/recall.
Friday, 1:35 am - Click here to comment:

October 2 - Detroit C-town Mural

We finally got to see pictures of the Detroit Chinatown mural that Tony designed with Detroit Summer in June when we were in Detroit (See July Blogs for details. When I get a chance, I'll put up some before, work in progress, full scale and after photos on a page in the mural section of our website, as well as a brochure written that explains the elements of the mural. That's Vincent Chin's mother in the bottom left corner, Martin Luther King in the center left, and Helen Zia above MLK. Additional images include historic photos of old Chinatown, the communities that were destroyed to make way for the freeways, and Detroit's Chinatown today. For now, here's a quick photo... I'm planning to visit Detroit soon, and will take more pix.
Thursday, 9:45 pm - Click here to comment:

October 1 - Rocktober & 3 No's
I can't believe it's October. I was talking to Maria last night and she told me that Simon & Garfunkel got back together and they're going to be in LA in November! Oh man, I would love to go! Now that is a concert where I could singalong to all the songs! "Old Friends, sat on the corner like bookends..." Maria reminded me that I missed their goodbye concert at Dodger Stadium back in 1982 because I had the chicken pox. I don't remember that. I usually have such a good memory. I kind of remember seeing Paul Simon at the Forum. I know I saw Journey and Bryan Adams at the Forum in 1983. Come to think of it, I still have my Rocktober t-shirt from 95.5 KLOS. Somewhere.

Well, I'm bummed about Arianna dropping out. Her Plan for California is: 3 No's and a Yes! No on the Recall. No on Arnold. No on Prop 54. Yes on clean elections. Arnold is such bad news. I can't believe his arrogance, his so- called plan for California sounds like the people will lose, huh? The hypocrisy, the scripted debate, the hand picked-planted audience question-town hall meetings, the empty sound bites, oh it makes me sick. So, what do you think about my new background?
Wednesday, 11:30 pm - Click here to comment:


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