Here are a few items I came across during the recent Comic Con in Seattle last week:
This was a t-shirt from one of various booths that specialized in printed designs– They sold out during the first day!
This was the business card from Retro Pop Namu– one of the many artists who had a booth open all weekend. This was one of the highlights among the vendor tables.
Though not necessarily within the Asian/American themes, I was excited to come home with some quite excellent books– mainly this one that features an issue I searched for long and hard; The Amazing Spiderman issue #144
Marvel has been publishing several collections of their most popular heroes and themes for several years now… I finally discovered them during the convention.
The next Emerald City Comic Con is will be the last weekend of March, 2015. Hope to see you there!
Like most things in this book there is the obvious, upfront meaning and the much deeper, questioning, challenging meaning of place. In the physical sense there is Japan, Canada, America, islands, forests, cities and buildings. And at first you’re reading and that’s all they are, places, settings. But then you start to realize the similarities in the settings for Nao and Ruth, the similar realizations that they have depending where they are. For example both Nao and Ruth long for America because that’s where they both felt the most alive. Then they move to an island for people they love and have sad things happen that make them question why they had to move, but at the end of the story they’re happy with where they are.
Then there’s this mental place that most of the characters experience and is further emphasized with physical places. Ozeki uses this to showcase that mental states are places too. You have Nao, Haruki #2, and Nao’s mother living in a small, rundown apartment when they all are feeling depressed/being affected by others depression, but Nao and Haruki #2 do better once they go visit Jiko and Nao’s mother seems to thrive at her workplace. Ruth’s mother, Masako who had Alzheimer’s, loved the free store at the junk which was described as having odds and ends of lost items, but things worth keeping it kind of speaks to the mental place of Masako then.
While this film has a lot going on with identity and race I think one of the more powerful points in this film were the similarities between African American’s post-slavery experience and Ugandan Indian’s postcolonial experience. In the film, Mina tells Demetrius that Indians were brought over to Uganda to work on the railroad and left them when their occupation stopped. In the beginning of the film we see the deportation of Indians from Uganda because are a left over reminder of the British Regime and as Okelo says, “Uganda is for the Ugandans”. As the family is leaving Kinnu is harassed, to be mild about that part, by soldiers before they are able to leave.
Now if you paid attention during history class, or I should say if you went to a somewhat decent/privileged enough school system that went into the continued horrifying facts of treatment towards African Americans after Emancipation, you’d probably already see the similarities. But in case you were like me and had a wandering mind here’s a re-cap. African slaves were brought over to work for the new white inhabitants of the United States of America mainly for plantation work. Once emancipated though African American’s weren’t allowed to live in the same communities as whites. Lastly the scene with Kinnu getting harassed, well that happened all the time post-slavery.
Why is this shared history so important? Well it shows that there is a connectedness with people across the world because they have shared in a similar experience. Demetrius tells Mina that they are kind the same because she’s and Indian who hasn’t been to India and he’s a African who hasn’t been to Africa. There’s power to being able to identify similarly to people different than you because it’s validating.
To take this unity a bit further, Even with India being a part of Asia, I’d say that this history is also shared with the Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Philippina/o labor workers on the west coast.
The main similarity I saw between these films, asides from them both being kung fu films, was that they both talked about combining things to enhance one another. In “Shaolin Ulysses” one of the monks says that kung fu is the body and mind becoming one to make your spirit, which correlates to “The Black Kung fu Experience” because all of the masters talked about kung fu helping them form their identities.
While both films talked about combining different Martial Arts to perfect their style, in “The Black Kung fu Experience” there was more than just that being mixed. I forget the name and couldn’t find it in my notes, but the one guy who had the snake and the staff? Well he also incorporated African drums/dance into his teachings, which was very beautiful to watch. I feel that the message here is that you should be open to learning so you can take what’s good to make something even better. This program has been looking at combining differences and the outcomes from that, all of which have been amazing.
This is for “Pappy’s House”: “Pop” Culture and the Revaluation of a Filipino American “Sixty-Cents” in Guam by Vicente M. Diaz
In this chapter, Diaz talks about the meanings of words and their origins. The chapter looks at the globalization of words which leads to multiple meanings. The chapter puts an emphasis on “Pappy” which is father, and shows a sense of patriarchy because it’s the father in charge of a family. It also referrers to “Colonel Sanders and black men fishing the Missouri River” (pp.104). Now talking about the globalization of the word, Jennifer Lopez’s new song “I Luh Ya Papi” is very interesting, especially with the music video. First of all the song is using Papi as a term of endearment, secondly the music video is aiming to be objectifying men like/instead of women (I don’t agree that it did that completely though), which is going against the patriarchal sense of the word. Things to think about.
If you have not read my Hello Kitei page, then let me inform you that part of my identity includes being a passing, mixed raced, queer lady. So “Guilty Pleasures” really resonated with me. As I was reading this I very much agreed with LeiLani Nishime’s feelings of guilt and pleasure when outing someone famous, especially when they tend to identify the same way or similarly to me. It’s exciting to shock others with this bit of news but I immediately regret doing it for two reasons. 1) I feel like it comes off that that’s the only reason I like the person/that’s the only reason they are popular. 2) Even if it’s public knowledge, identities are personal, especially when it comes to sexuality and race. So when I tell people that so and so is such and such, I feel like I’m almost taking away their right to identify. And I was wondering if this is the same for others? Are your feelings different? Do you have them?
My second talking point is on passing privilege. In the sense of race, what does it mean to be passing? Is it solely based on your appearance versus biological parents? What if you are a mixed, you look white, and while you are aware of where your non-white family is from and some of their traditions you know it’s been washed out by trying to assimilate? What if you weren’t white appearing in the same scenario?
As a whole though I find passing to be a powerful thing, it’s almost like a superpower. It lets people break and stretch stereotypes and question societal norms.
Ozeki quotes Dogen Zenji on page 259: ” Every being that exists in the entire world is linked together as moments in time, at the same time they exist as individual moments of time. Because all moments are the time being, they are your time being.” What does it mean to be a time-being? Do you think Nao, Ruth, and Oliver share the same understandings of what a time-being is?
What does it mean to be a time-being?
1. the system of those sequential relations that any event has to any other, as past, present, or future; indefinite and continuous duration regarded as that in which events succeed one another.
2. duration regarded as belonging to the present life as distinct from the life to come or from eternity; finite duration.
3. ( sometimes initial capital letter ) a system or method of measuring or reckoning the passage of time: mean time; apparent time; Greenwich Time.
4. a limited period or interval, as between two successive events: along time.
5. a particular period considered as distinct from other periods: Youth is the best time of life.
Am I a time-being? I do not know. There are times where I feel that I do not want to be constricted to time, so I don’t look at any of the clocks around me. Though I know that time and I will always be connected. I do not try to stop time, just like I do not let time try to stop me. I exist in with time, in time. But is time a being itself? I think I’m getting ahead of myself here.
1. the fact of existing; existence (as opposed to nonexistence).
2. conscious, mortal existence; life: Our being is as an instantaneous flash of light in the midst of eternal night.
3. substance or nature: of such a being as to arouse fear.
4. something that exists: inanimate beings.
5. a living thing: strange, exotic beings that live in the depths of the sea.
I don’t think that Nao, Ruth, and Oliver each have their own definition of what a time being is. Oliver would look at it from a scientific standpoint, applying quantum mechanics while petting pesto on his lap. Ruth would listen but still think of it from more of an emotional perspective, recollecting her dream with Nao’s father and the pages of the diary vanishing and reappearing. Potentially thinking that the journal is a time-being itself. And Nao’s deifinition would be based around old Jiko’s teachings. They might share an understanding, but it will be interpreted in different ways for each individual.
Imagine that you had a notebook like Nao’s diary and you wanted to communicate with an unknown reader as she does. What would you write about? Would you be as honest as Nao is with us? What are the benefits and risks of writing such a document?
Calling it a document seems to belittle what Nao’s diary is. It makes the journal seem like something that should just be filed away and looked at when research deems it necessary, nothing more. Which feels so wrong…
There is always a benefit of telling your own story for yourself and for others; to educate, to look back, to grow. Self reflection it a skill that can be difficult for people, because it is through this that we must be honest with not only ourselves but our pasts and the choices we have made as individuals. It can be worth it, it’s just up to what you want to tell with your story.
Personally, I could write about a lot; seeing that I’m a low income first generation college student who is a female of color. I have enough struggles to write my own novel. However, I don’t want to only write about all of the pain and misery I have had to struggle through to get to where I am. I admit that all of this is important but it’s not all that my life is about. I would write about my mother, and how she is an amazing individual who knows that she can make mistakes. I would write about my friends, who have sometime been there for me more than my actual family members. I would write about how my goals for the future have changed so much over the years. I would write about cosplay, conventions, music. And use quotes that have touched me at one point or another in my life. Lastly, I would write about my three muses; the moon, stars, and rain. I would be as with what I write about as I am to myself about the events I’m recollecting.
There are only two risks I can see happening with telling your own story. The first, is that no one can connect with it. That it touches no one, doesn’t inspire, that it’s just another “document”. The second risk is an obvious one, you are putting your truth in the public eye. Which can cause certain things to happen depending on the content of your story. But hopefully, the benefits outweigh the risks and you will grow from telling your story.
I really enjoyed reading about the Hip-Hop section of this chapter. I would never have made those connections to Enter the Dragon if I hadn’t read it. ”It is a music made up of bits and pieces of preexisting sounds–looped, collaged, and layered until they take a new identity.” (177) This quote reminds me of what we have learned about Asian/American in this class. I think all of the examples of pop culture that we have learned about have had bits and pieces of culture of many different cultures all mixed into one. There are pieces of history, pieces of memory, pieces of people all throughout even the simplest of things in America today. Bubble tea is one of my favorite beverages, and yet I know nothing about it’s origin or it’s meaning. I even asked Yuka why bubble tea comes with a clear, plastic seal and everyone I’ve had, no matter where I got it from has had little pictures on them. I asked her why and she said she didn’t know; that it was Chinese. I just laughed and said, “oh okay.” These are all examples of cultures being combined. And it shows me that I still have a lot to learn.