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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Nikkei View

Japanese Cleaning

Here’s all the dirt on my feelings about cleaning.

I don’t have the joy of cleaning.

Maybe it’s because I’m male. Maybe it’s because my family came to the US when I was only 8 years old. Maybe it’s because I’m just a rebellious dude.

I hate cleaning. Not myself or my body, mind you—I like to be personally clean (except for my language). I take showers every day and dislike outdoorsy activities like camping because it means I can’t take a shower until I get home.

I mean cleaning house ...

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Nikkei View

Funerals in the Japanese American community

It’s a hackneyed cliché to say “death is part of life,” but like many clichés, just because it’s become trite doesn’t mean the phrase isn’t true. Especially for Buddhists, death is a natural part of the cycle of living in this world.

Death didn’t touch me much when I was young—I didn’t attend my first Japanese community funeral until my father died in 1992 and I was in my 30s, and my mother arranged for a Buddhist service. Since then, I’ve attended lots of funerals in Denver’s Japanese community, both ...

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Nikkei View

Peachy: Changing Season Captures the Passing of a Family Farm from One Generation to the Next

You’d think after a lifetime of growing and harvesting peaches, you’d get sick of eating them. But the Masumoto family still loves peaches and serves them up every way imaginable. David “Mas” Masumoto, 62, the farmer who has nurtured his parents’ peach groves, says “Actually no. I love peaches, almost literally in my blood.”

Nikiko Masumoto, his daughter, adds, “We have 10 varieties and each has a window of ripeness for two weeks. So it’s like getting to see your best friends for two weeks out of the year.”

The father-and-daughter interaction is central to the delightful ...

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Nikkei View

Cross-cultured leader keeps Asahi Foods’ promise of perfect sushi fish

It’s cold outside, but it’s colder in Asahi Foods’ refrigerated cutting room, where stacks of cardboard and styrofoam boxes filled with giant fish await. The fish cutter is in early on a Saturday, wearing a white lab coat and heavy rubber gloves, various razor-sharp knives at the ready.

Charlene Thai, a tiny woman in a similar lab coat, hovers nearby, watching over the daily cutting ritual that begins the flow of fresh-cut fish for sushi and sashimi to 200 restaurants in Colorado and surrounding states.

“If you see our tuna, it’s clean-cut, like a machine,” she says ...

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Kizuna: Nikkei Stories from the 2011 Japan Earthquake & Tsunami

Five Years after the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami

I can still remember March 11, 2011, the night of the Great East Japan Earthquake and subsequent tsunami, which devastated a huge swath of northeast Japan, as if it were last week.

It was just before midnight in Denver when I got an alert on my phone. An earthquake had been reported off the eastern coast of Japan. I turned on CNN and watched in horror for the next couple of hours as the footage came in. I saw the tsunami rolling over farmlands and crash into cities, carrying with it buildings and cars and ships. I saw footage of ...

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