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February 2003

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February 2003

February 25 - I'm a Whiner, Get Me Out of Here
So against my better judgment, I've been watching I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here every night. *Big sigh.* I can't seem to keep myself away from the show. Last night when everyone was at each other's throats, it reminded me of that book we read in high school, Lord of the Flies for some reason. So tonight, I found out that they aren't getting money for themselves, but if they win, the charity of their choice gets the money. If they're doing this for charity, then I think each celebrity should make a presentation about why their charity should be selected. They could show maybe a 2-3 minute video on each charity and the public could vote on that... rather than who annoys them the most. I mean if all we hear about at the end is the charity name of the winner, then it's like it's dissing all the other good organizations that these stars are representing. Anyways, that's my thought. Tony said he would give the $ to the Assi workers, who lost their jobs because they were fighting for their rights. In any case, I vote for Melissa Rivers, because she's a bridge builder, or Chris Judd because he's the one who has whined the least.

February 23 - Back to Boyle Heights
Well, 3 weeks ago when we finished the 13 performance run in Boyle Heights, we thought we were done. But, we were honored to be asked by the Boyle Heights Neighborhood Council to perform for them last night at the International Institute in BH. The International Institute is a terrific community space that was built in 1914, and has served as a meeting place for immigrants for almost 90 years. They currently have a daily senior lunch program that is $1.35 suggested contribution. It was fun to see all of the performers again, and it was nice to be able to perform in BH, the subject of our stories. People are amazed when they confirm that yes, the pieces are all true stories, written by and based on the performers' life experiences. It was a small turnout, but we got a standing o.
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February 22 - 51 mpg!
This afternoon, Tony's mom and Don stopped by with Nina and the kids (see photo at right). Tony's mom got the new hybrid car, a Toyota Prius. It gets 51 mpg. Not too shabby. And cute too! That's one way of reducing our dependency on oil, as we head potentially into a war over oil. Another way is by having one car, carpooling and riding the bus to work, like kuidaosumi.

Just as a followup to my last blog, I was a little disappointed with Sakura, the new Japanese soap opera. Ready to give it a chance, I will keep taping it and hope that it improves or that it grows on me. In the meantime, I am still trying to get a new comments blog thing going. Thanks to bloggers who gave me some suggestions! Last nite, I dreamed that there was a luncheon, held by one of the bloggers I read, and I was late to the lunch. Everyone was already seated, and I felt shy about being late to the event. Living Nappy, who I have never seen, was seated at the head of the table, with her son. Finally, here's a nice sunny picture of me and Tony today.

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February 20 - New Japanese Soap!
My favorite daily Japanese soap opera, Churasan ended today. I cried every day for the past few weeks, as the show was winding down to a climactic but happy ending. That show, with its subtitles brought me joy and tears beyond belief, and more satisfying than anything else on TV. (By the way, I gagged thru the first episode of the Celebrity in the Jungle reality show... we watched and hated. Tony kept telling me to change the channel.) Tomorrow, the new show starts, Sakura, the story of a 4th generation Japanese American yonsei from Hawaii goes to Japan to teach English. It's on Channel 18 every morning from 7:30 am. I encourage you to watch it with me from the beginning, so I can have someone to talk [email] about it with! I tape it, and often watch several episodes at a time. If you're sick of badly scripted reality shows, tune in to Sakura, starting Feb. 21!
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February 18 - People's Day
So yesterday was President's Day. I wish we had a better Prez. Maybe we should call it "People's Day" instead, to applaud the 13 million people around the globe who marched on Saturday (Sunday in SF), that you didn't hear about in the mainstream news. Kinda like how people call Columbus Day, "Indigenous People's Day." Anyways, Saturday, 2/15 was so crazy, that I just had to chill on Sunday and Monday. There was a whole lotta nothin goin on (went to the Venice and Santa Monica Co-ops for food, had lunch at Bay Cities Deli, watched too much bad TV (Joe Millionaire)). So today, I got a chance to catch up on some blogs. I am so jazzed to casually read a blog and to see my name on it. So, thank you Tish (Fatshadow), Mikazuko's Cafe and Zeebahtronic - all were related to the Coble incident. Also, I found this great list of picket signs from an anti-war rally in DC in January on Zeebahtronic's blog.
New York on Feb. 15
LA in January

1) These colors don't run the world.
2) One nation under surveillance.
3) How did our oil get under their sand?
4) Go Solar, not Ballistic.
5) Who would Jesus bomb?
6) Start Drafting SUV Drivers Now.
7) Don't blame me, I voted with the majority.
8) Buck Fush!
9) It's NUCLEAR, not NUCULAR, you idiot!
10) Patriots are idiots - Matriarchy Now!
11) Resistance is Fertile.
12) (Pictures of sheep carrying flags) Stop Mad Sheep Disease Now.
13) (UFW sign) Pick Fruit, not Fights.
14) (On a five year old) More Candy Less War.
15) Say can you see my democracy?
16) (With pictures of Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld) Asses of Evil.
17) It's the oil, stupid.
18) War is expensive, Peace is priceless.
19) Read between the Pipelines
20) No More BuSh.
21) Smart weapons, Dumb president.
22) The only thing we have to fear is Bush himself.
23) How many Lives per Gallon?
24) Peace Takes Brains
25) Anything War can do, Peace can do better.
26) Negotiation Not Annihilation.
27) Make touchdowns, not war - Go Raiders!
28) Another patriot for peace.
29) Oh, Say, can You Cease?
30) Star Spangled Bummer
31) Don't Arm a Son of a Bush
32) Don't do it, George, Dad will still love you.
33) Power to the Peaceful
34) The last time we listened to a Bush, we wandered in the desert for 40 years.

Also, I was quite bummed to find out that I can't add YACCS Comments to my blog. I just found out today that they are no longer taking signups for Comments. It's a way of people easily responding to blogs that everyone can read and also add their own comments too. A way of opening up the dialogue in this internet community. If anyone knows of anything comparable and FREE, lemme know.

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February 15 - Day of Remembrance
Today was a busy day. I started at 7:30 this morning, writing in my journal and doing some yoga. Then I went to see Victor, my chiropractor and friend who does energetic healing. Then, I went to Reikai's for a Manzanar Committee planning meeting for the Pilgrimage (4.26.03). Then I ran over to the Press Conference about Rep. Coble's racist and ignorant remarks about internment, JAs, Muslims and Arab Americans (see Feb. 7 below). Sign the petition. Tony was holding the banner behind the speakers. Directly afterwards, we went to the Day of Remembrance program that NCRR organizes each year. They showed a 5 minute trailer of the movie called Stand Up for Justice about Ralph Lazo, the Chicano who voluntarily went to camp (I was an extra, see Nov. 2002 Blog). It was so moving. Jan Yen, who went to Cuba with us, received the Fighting Spirit award. She really is an amazing woman. It was a highlight for me to see her receive this award. It was a great program, with a huge turnout, considering that at the same time, over 100,000 people were marching in Hollywood against the war. I heard that there were 750,000 in New York and over 1 million in England. (By the way, did you know that the police take a head count after most of the people have left a rally or march, and that is the number that is reported in the media? That's how they can manipulate the numbers, so people don't realize how much support there is for the peace movement. Or, if there are 999,950 peaceful protesters, it's the 50 they arrest that they write about. *Sigh*) After that, we rushed out to the Valley to celebrate my dad's 72nd birthday, and eat a little Japanese food. Now, I'm home, ready for bed. Not only a day of remembrance, but a day to support Arabs, Muslims, South Asians, send Coble a message, oppose war, and a day for peace.
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February 14 - Sweetheart's Pizza
We carpooled to work 3 times this week and I took the Dash bus ($.25) to work from Tony's school. One night I needed the car, so Tony took the bus home; one night Lily
picked me up and we went for Peruvian food at Don Felix (yum!) with Lisa and Baby Kai; and one night Tony picked me up and we went to run some errands together. Someday, he will write about our decision to become a one-car family. Yesterday, on the way to work I reminded Tony that today was Valentine's Day. I said instead of buying each other gifts, that we should write letters to each other. He liked that,I knew he would, he's not a gift giver. Then, when I got home, Tony took me to my FAVORITE pizza place of my childhood, Round Table Pizza. He said there wouldn't be a wait, (unless there was a t-ball team there!). Yum, we got half gourmet veggie with garlic, and half veggie, pan pizza. It was delicious! It's been a long time since I had such a good pizza. Used to be a Round Table by my parent's house. We would go there after football games in high school, and on birthdays, to get those thin-crusted pepperoni pizzas. Oh I miss those pizzas of my memories, but I'm not eating meat anymore, so the next best thing is the gourmet veggie. Pizza with my hubby on Valentine's Day, it doesn't get much better than that.

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February 11 - Pasta for Peace
Yesterday at lunch, I was walking down the street when I saw this large jet flying lower than the tallest buildings in downtown. It looked like it was coming for a high-rise, and then it turned and went east, away from downtown. I don't think it was a commercial jet, but it wasn't a small plane, and it didn't look like a military jet. Anyways, it
scared me for a moment.

Have so much to do this week, feeling a little stressed and distracted, I think I'm still recuping from the craziness of January and taking 3 days off last week. I've had recurring dreams that the Boyle Heights project is not over yet. The other one is that I am still in jury duty.

Tony and I went to the Venice Co-op, Wild Oats and Trader Joe's this weekend, trying to buy organic. At the Co-op, we got a flyer for Pasta for Peace, a joint benefit vegan dinner for and the Venice Co-op (which needs your support to survive!). They had spaghetti, salad and bread. It was an interesting vibe. It turns out that we missed the whole program put on by the Coffee House Teach-Ins and only did the dinner. It was at the Peace and Justice Center for the Arts, at the Venice Methodist Church and houses several nonprofit arts organizations, a day care center and possibly a charter school.

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February 10 - Joe M.
Well, I finally saw about 20 minutes of that darn Joe Millionaire show that everyone is so into these days. The guy seems very immature and a little dense if you ask me, money or not, he's definitely not my type. Of course, I liked Zora, the decent one, the one he will probably hurt. I didn't like Sarah, she was a little too conniving, too competitive, too confident, and nice in the fakest insincere way. I wish Joe had been more likeable. When Zora got out of the hot tub, hurt that her date was "overtaken" by the 3 other women, and he said something like, oh well, but I was having too much fun. That kind of insensitivity all womyn can do without. I hate these contrived reality shows because after 20 minutes, I'm pulled in and hoping that I remember to watch the 2 hour finale next week. *Sigh*
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February 8 - Exciting Connections
The most exciting thing happened yesterday. Tish, mentioned me in her blog, in response to mine from yesterday (see Feb 7). She even added a link to NCRR's annual Day of Remembrance program. Not only does it mean that someone actually reads my little writings, but that she was moved enough to read further, and then spread the info about that a-hole Coble on her own site. Beautiful.

Today, for the 2nd weekend in a row, Tony is in Little Tokyo, giving a community tour to Nikkei college students about the history of the grapefruit tree; J-town's struggle and successes. Struggles like losing community spaces like the historic Sun Building and old Weller Street to the non-union New Otani Hotel, and our ongoing efforts to build a recreation center in Little Tokyo. Successes like the San Pedro Firm Building (24 single units of city-owned slum housing rehabbed by the community) and Casa Heiwa (100 unit affordable housing mixed with nonprofit office space) built by LTSC-CDC.

Went for a nice walk this morning, had breakfast at a local coffeeshop, hung out at the bookstore. Came home, did some laundry, enjoyed the flowers in my yard, and updated the JACS website.
I'm making connections on the web, and Tony's making them with students from UCLA and San Diego. These small acts are empowering in a time of such global uncertainty and looming dread. I'm listening to "Fired Up" from Holly Near's Edge CD, and feeling good.
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February 7 - JA Internment... Bu-sh-it!
I don't know why I am so shocked. A few days ago, Rep. Howard Coble, (R-NC-6) said that he supported President Roosevelt’s decision to incarcerate the Japanese American community during World War II. FOX News and the AP reported that Rep. Coble made the comments in response to a suggestion that Arab Americans be similarly incarcerated. Rep. Coble disagreed that the Arab American community should be interned, but asserted that, while the internment of JAs was for their own protection, "Some probably were intent on doing harm to us, just as some of these Arab-Americans are probably intent on doing harm to us."

Even more terrifying than his stupid ignorant comments is that fact that this man is Chair of the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security! "It is astonishing that yet another political leader would publicly embrace the racist policies of the 1940s, and we are flabbergasted that a man who supports racial profiling and ethnic scapegoating chairs the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security," added John Tateishi, JACL National Executive Director. "The JACL calls on the House Republican leadership to remove him immediately from this position."

It just proves why we have so much work to do in the JA community. And makes it imperative for me to continue organizing the Manzanar Pilgrimages each year, supporting Muslims and Arab Americans, and continue to be involved in JA issues, projects and organizations like NCRR.

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February 6 - Poor Michael

Did you see the Michael Jackson interview? He is living in a fantasy world that is just not real. I couldn't stop watching, and couldn't believe some of the things he was saying. I mean before you just look at his face and think he's a mess, but the interview confirms how out of touch he really is. He really needs psychological help. Tony didn't really watch it, but was in the other room, saying, "do they talk about how racism messes with people's minds and makes them think white is better?" Some of the stuff about his children and other kids was very disturbing. Remember how cute he was? What a phenomenal dancer? I remember back in high school when MTV was new and the "Thriller" video would come on TV, I thought he was the greatest. I feel sad about where he is today. (Photo at right from 1979)
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February 5 - DSL vs. Cable Debate
So we've been grappling with this idea of DSL vs. cable for quite awhile. For years, Tony has resisted both, saying that $50/month X 12 months is $600 a year, or $6000 after 10 years! But one of us is always online, either surfing (Tony) or blogging (me). Then he wanted me to give up my cell phone in order to get either DSL or cable, so that our monthly expenses wouldn't increase. *Big sigh* I argued that he spends more than that each week just for his between meal burritos. I've had DSL at work for the last year and a half, so waiting for the dialup, watching pages load at the rate of molasses, friends always having the phone ring endlessly, uploading our site and photos from home, and not being able to make outgoing phone calls, has been a pain.

We are also probably the last of the TV watchers who don't have cable. We agreed that we didn't need to watch more TV, our older house isn't cable-ready, and the costs for cable modem seemed high. Anyways, after much back and forth, I asked for DSL for Christmas, since we don't exchange gifts. Finally, I got the OK from Tony to go ahead with DSL. So now, I've done a little bit of research, but I don't really know what to do. I looked into Verizon home DSL which was surprisingly, only $439/year with a one year commitment at 768/128 Kbps. I was ready to go with it. Then our friend suggested SurfCity, which offers a static IP, but I don't know about these smaller dotcoms. Politically, we'd prefer to go to an independent than the big global telecommunications giants, but I don't know if it's a fly-by-night thing or what. SurfCity uses Verizon as well, but it costs $660/year with the static IP. I don't really know the pros and cons, benefits and drawbacks of each, etc. I'm leaning towards the Verizon, but still haven't made a decision. Any Verizon or independent DSL horror stories? Any suggestions from computer savvy folks?

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February 4 - Going Organic
Our friends Mike and Laura have gone almost completely organic at home, except when they eat out, which isn't as often as Tony & I. Although we are buying maybe 30-40% organic at home, we eat out probably more than 60% of the time. We were doing much better last spring and summer when I was going to the Farmer's Market almost every weekend and the garden was producing fresh veggies. Our fridge has been almost empty since the holidays when we had a ton of food. That's pretty sad. Anyways now that my show is over, I am trying to commit to coming home earlier and eating at least one salad a day. I am reading a book called "Cleanse & Purify Thyself" by Richard Anderson and am convinced that we need to do the liver cleanse that Nobuko does every year. Tony joined a gym in January and has been going pretty regular, I'm so proud of him. During the show I was exercising (warmups) every day, and trying to keep up yoga, but I need to step it up now that I have more time. We all took another day off work... hard to feel guilty since I worked 2 weekends in December and every weekend in January. I'm off Friday too!
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February 3 - Unwind-Rewind
Great Leap is closed today. My plan today was to clean the house and rest. Tony did 3 or 4 loads of laundry this weekend and left them on the couch for me to fold and put away. Instead, I found an old videotape and watched 6 hours of old reruns of Mad About You, Wings, Seinfeld, BH 90210 and Melrose Place this morning. I was trying to figure out when it was from, best I can tell, it's from 1994. Usually when you watch taped videotapes, the best thing about it is fast forwarding through the commercials, but it was actually fun to watch these dated commercials. You can see the difference... in the clothes, the graphics, the way things are presented, products that are no longer around, old ditties you barely remember. During the commercials, news flashes were promoting breaking stories such as the Nancy Kerrigan and Tanya Harding thing and the Northridge Earthquake. After the tape ended, I rewound it and set it to record my favorite Japanese soap opera, Churasan. Went to get a shiatsu massage with Lily. Afterwards, we had dinner. Got my usual chopped salad, no meat.
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February 2 - Whew!
Finished! Tonight, we finished the last of 13 performances of "To All Relations: Memories of Boyle Heights." Whew! We did 3 performances yesterday at 12pm, 2pm and 4pm and two today. Tony, Letty, Mike and Laura came yesterday. Afterwards, Afterwards, Tony and I went to the Ralph Lazo Film Wrap Up Party. It was really nice. Steve edited a video of the "Making of the Movie Interviews" with extras. Tony had shot some of it while I interviewed people. Then after that, we went to Mike & Laura's and played the game, Sitcom. It was a lot of fun just relaxing and hanging out.

Today during the first show, my wireless mic wasn't working, oops. And then for the final performance, Uncle Fumio, Auntie Kaz, Marlon and Hiroko came. Since my performance piece was about my grandma and Raul, and also about Marlon and my uncle, and my respect for them, it was especially touching that they came to the last performance. Unfortunately, when I got to the end of the piece, I kind of lost it and got all choked up and teary. Ruben said, "That's performance art! When you're naked in front of an audience!" Ai yah. Not my intention! Even though it was a terrific experience, I think I'm best behind the scenes, producing, and not up on stage. At least not at the same time that I have jury duty, a piece to perform and being one of the producers. My stress level can't take it. Anyways, what a successful run! Nob and Dan were so supportive and terrific to work with. Could not have done it without Nona... she's incredible. Some photos at right. I took 250 digital photos over the past week, I'm not in one of them. C'est la vie.

Afterwards, we went to Boyle Heights for a cast dinner passing by Al N Beas, Benjamin Franklin Library, Otomisan and El Tropico at First and Evergreen. Enjoyed working with them all, Roland, Bambi, Aurora, Jo Anna, Debbie, Paula, Kathy, Maceo, Tomas, Ruben, Stella, Nobuko and Dan and being part of their wonderful stories. And as Kathy says, Boyle Heights... it's a state of mind.
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