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

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Kizuna: Nikkei Stories from the 2011 Japan Earthquake & Tsunami

Some people think Japan’s earthquake and tsunami are payback for Pearl Harbor? Really?

I was shocked, saddened and depressed when I learned that there are people in the United States who think that the Tohoku Kanto Earthquake and subsequent tsunami, which has caused enormous damage and casualties that will surely top 10,000, is some sort of karmic payback for Japan’s bombing of Pearl Harbor. Really? Seriously?

Yes, unfortunately. Here’s just a sampling of some updates and comments from Facebookthat rant about Pearl Harbor and the tsunami, and how the U.S shouldn’t send any aid to Japan:

Who bombed Pearl Harbor? Karmas a bitch.

Do I feel bad ...

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Nikkei View

Oodles of noodles: Ramen has quietly become hip in Colorado

Erin and I have always been wistfully jealous of our friends in Los Angeles and San Francisco, for lots of reasons but not least the fact that they can eat killer ramen any night of the week. We have our fave ramen-yas in both San Francisco’s Japantown and LA’s Little Tokyo (“ya” means “shop”). There’s also great ramen to be had on the East Coast—I’ve slurped up wonderful noodles and steamy broth in New York City’s funky little “Japantown” district on the lower East side.

In Denver, for many years we had only one ...

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Kizuna: Nikkei Stories from the 2011 Japan Earthquake & Tsunami

Nikkei View: Did the Tohoku Kanto Earthquake bring Japanese Americans closer to Japan?

A couple of days after the tragic earthquake and tsunami struck the northeast coast of Japan’s main island on March 11, the Newark Star Ledger newspaper ran an article with a headline that promised Japanese Americans’ concerns for relatives in Japan: “Japanese-Americans in Fort Lee, Edgewater describe frantic calls to loved ones in quake’s wake.”

I was bemused—and a little disappointed—to find that the story wasn’t about Japanese Americans. The reporter went up to some shoppers in Mitsuwa, a Japanese supermarket in New Jersey, and from their names and their quotes, I could tell immediately ...

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Kizuna: Nikkei Stories from the 2011 Japan Earthquake & Tsunami

Nikkei View: Thoughts on the Great Tohoku Kanto Earthquake and tsunami from a Japanese American in Denver

Unless you live in California, most Americans can’t imagine what it’s like to be in a minor earthquake, never mind a major one. As a kid in Japan, I lived through lots of little quakes. They were no big deal. If the quake seemed serious or went on too long, we’d simply go outside and wait. But there was never a major quake when I lived in Japan.

In the 1990s, on a trip to Japan with my mother, an earthquake hit just after I checked into a hotel in Sapporo. I was hanging up shirts and ...

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Nikkei View

A semi-Japan Town in Manhattan

The ebb and flow of New York neighborhoods is a great example of how cities evolve.

When I attended Pratt Institute in the late 1970s, the East Village neighborhood in Manhattan along St. Marks Place (8th Street becomes St. Marks Place east of 3rd Ave.) was a haven for punk rockers and hipsters, with used record stores (this was pre-CD) and tattoo shops. Drugs were a currency on the street, and leather the couture of choice.

I can recall walking the block of St. Mark’s between and 3rd and 2nd Ave. shopping for rare British import albums and marveling ...

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