The AACP Newsletter
Asian American Curriculum Project, Inc. - Books for All Ages
Since 1970 AsianAmericanBooks.com June 2005
Editor's Notes
Event Schedule
Featured Books
Featured Articles/Editorials
What Did You Do On Your Summer Vacation?
Our first Asian American Travel Guide

Problems of Communication
American Public Image Around the World
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What Did You Do On Your Summer Vacation?
By Leonard D. Chan

At the beginning of the school term I would dread the show-and-tell assignments asking to tell everyone what you did for summer. The main highlight of my summers would often be a trip to my dad's little hometown of Oroville. How could this possibly compare to other people's trips to far reaching lands and what was so novel about my going to a place that was extremely hot and seemed to lack any notable attractions?

It's amazing how time makes you appreciate things more - my younger self would be quite surprised at a recommendation of Oroville as a travel destination. But here I am many years removed and doing just that.

For all of you that enjoy historical destination trips, Oroville may just be your ticket. A recent suggestion for a newsletter article was to do a piece on a new Chinese museum that opened up in Marysville, CA. Having been to the Marysville Chinese temple and Chinatown, and to other Chinese temples, in recent years, I was left thinking that Oroville's Chinese Temple was a real gem by comparison. Since I haven't had a chance to check out the new museum in Marysville yet, I can only recommend that if you're headed that way that you also drop by Oroville and see the Chinese Temple and museum located there too.

Along with the usual items you may find in Chinese temples, Oroville's Chinese Temple and museum also contains many artifacts and items that are a testament to the 10,000 Chinese Americans that once called Oroville their home. Additionally, a nice courtyard garden was added back in the 1960s that makes Oroville's Chinese Temple a very pleasant place to visit.

For more information check out these links -
City of Oroville's website on the temple
Contents of the Oroville Chinese Temple on display
Oroville Mercury Register's article on the temple

Here are some of my other recommendations for places to visit this summer.

Chinese American Museum of Northern California
Although I could not find any details about the actual location of the new museum in Marysville, you can find the Marysville Bok Kai temple at C and 1st Streets. The new 3000 sq. ft. museum is said to be located in a renovated two-story building close by (walking distance) to the temple. Keep checking our website for updates on the exact location, hours, and details for this museum.
Information on the Temple and Museum -
Marysville Bok Kai Festival website
The Bok Kai temple's website
Article on the museum

Manzanar
The Manzanar Relocation Center is the first (and at the time of this writing, only) Japanese American World War II internment camp to have been designated a National Historic Site. As such designations warrant, the National Park Service maintains this site and is in relatively good condition compared to the other internment camp sites.

The Manzanar Historic Site contains an interpretive center that includes a twenty-minute film, 8,000 feet of exhibits, and a bookstore. The center is open daily from 8:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. through October 31 and from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily beginning in November.

There is a 3.2-mile self-guided auto tour with descriptions and a map available to help visitors explore the camp. Rangers offer guided tours on a regular basis and range from 30 minute to 90 minutes in length.

Visitors are encouraged to explore the site on their own. You'll discover a recreated garden in block 22, a chicken farm, orchards, as well as remnants of the original camp.

In addition, there are special events that go on throughout the year. Please visit the Park Service's websites for more information -
National Park Service's Manzanar website
Another National Park Service Manzanar website

Angel Island Immigration Station Barracks Museum
For those of you that are unfamiliar with Angel Island (located in San Francisco Bay), the Immigration Station located there has often been described as the Ellis Island of the west. For many years the main purpose of the immigration station was to act as a detention facility for Chinese and other immigrants to the US. The Chinese, having been the first to be excluded from the United States in 1882, were the main group that used the station during the first half of the twentieth century. As immigration laws became more and more strict, other ethnic groups, mainly Asian (Japanese, Korean, and Filipino), began to use the facility too. Many Asians traveling from or to Asia during this period were processed at Angel Island and is therefore a very significant historical site to all Asian Americans.

At the Angel Island Immigration Station Barracks Museum, you'll see renovated barracks that were used to house immigrants. Also of great significance is the graffiti Chinese poetry on the walls of these barracks. These poems are some of the only records, from the point of view of the detainees, of what it was like to be held on Angel Island.

If the information on the website is correct, this may be the last summer, for awhile, that you'll have to visit Angel Island's Immigration Station Barracks Museum. The museum will go through some renovations this coming winter and may be closed for up to 18 months.

For more information on the Angel Island's Immigration Station Barracks Museum -
Angel Island's official website

Little Manila
The Little Manila district in Stockton is another locations of a vanishing historical ethnic enclave in California. I first learned of this Filipino community by watching the PBS program California's Gold during Asian Pacific American Heritage Month a few weeks ago. Although there does not appear to be much left of this neighborhood, there is an organization and group of volunteers dedicated to trying to preserver what's left of this community.

Please check out the organization's website at -
http://www.littlemanila.net/

You can also find information on the California's Gold episode by going to -
http://www.calgold.com

Feel free to send us your list of favorite Asian American travel destinations.


Editor's Message

Hello Everyone. It was great seeing many of you at the San Mateo APAHM library event and at CCLPEP conference. I saw so many people at the CCLPEP conference, people that I've met during my time with AACP, that it almost felt like a reunion. I hope that someday we get to do this again. AACP will be at many more celebration this summer. So we'll have plenty more chances to see each other.

If you have time to help us, we still have many opportunities for you to volunteer or intern with us this summer. If you're interested, just write to me.

A note to family members - if you go to the Oroville Mercury-Register link in the Oroville list of links, you'll see a newspaper article on Uncle Gaing's visit to the Oroville Chinese Temple. Uncle Gaing, if you're reading this, congratulations on being immortalized in video for future generations of visitors to the Oroville Chinese Temple.

Thank you Annie Nakao for your article in the SF Chronicle on Hiroshi Kashiwagi and his new book Swimming in the American.

That's it for now. Have a wonderful summer.

Leonard Chan
Executive Editor

Give Us Your Feedback

Please feel free to send us your reviews, comments, and book suggestions. You can contact us at -
aacpinc@asianamericanbooks.com

Up Coming Events

Here are some events that AACP will soon be attending.
Date/TimeEventLocation
June 25
4-10pm
June 26
11-9pm
San Mateo Buddhist Temple Annual Bazaar
2 S. Claremont St.
San Mateo, CA
July 1 Nakkayoshi Gakko Mt. View Buddhist Temple
Mt. View, CA
July 9-10 San Jose Obon Festival San Jose Buddhist Temple
San Jose, CA
July 10 Monterey Obon Festival Monterey Peninsula
Buddhist Temple
Seaside, CA
July 23
10am-4pm
Books by the Bay Yerba Buena Gardens
San Francisco, CA
July 23-24
Sa 1-10pm
Su 11-8pm
Ginza Bazaar & Obon Odori Buddhist Church of SF
San Francisco, CA
Other Event of Interest that AACP May Not Attend
July 9-10
12-9pm
Lotus Festival Echo Park
Los Angeles, CA
July 22-24 The 7th Annual KAAN Conference
(Korean Am. Adoptee Adoptive Family Network)
Southfield, Michigan
July 28-31 OCA's Annual Convention Las Vegas, NV

Problems of Communication
An Editorial by Philip Chin

I'm continually amazed by the problems that people have that come through their lack of communication. How many relationships have ended because someone didn't say something when they should have or their words were misinterpreted? For want of a simple, "I love you," wars have been fought. That may not be much of an exaggeration as some people in failed or rocky relationships will agree.

One of the fading memories of World War II was the Potsdam Declaration, drawn up by the Allies in 1945, that demanded the unconditional surrender of Japan. When questioned by reporters the Japanese Prime Minister replied with, "Mokusatsu." The Allies interpreted this as "unworthy of public notice," a complete rejection of their demand for surrender. In actual fact the Japanese word can also imply a lofty form of, "No comment." Prime Minister Suzuki was in fact a member of the pragmatist faction that wanted to surrender on whatever were the best terms that could be negotiated with the Allies. It is still a matter of fierce debate though whether or not the resulting use of nuclear weapons by the United States helped hasten the surrender of Japan. Perhaps an equal number of Japanese wanted to fight to the last Japanese man, woman, and child as those that wanted to surrender. Still, the debate adds the intriguing possibility that the whole nuclear issue and resulting deaths might have been avoided with better communication.

In fighting the war against the terrorists we must learn to distinguish between those who are willing to compromise and negotiate with us and those who are so convinced that we are devils in the flesh that there is no possibility of talking with them. In a way, President Bush has been right in saying that they hate us for our freedom. But, it is also correct to agree with his critics that the United States has failed to recognize that our "freedoms" represent threats to traditional cultures and ultra conservative power structures.

Did you know that one of the most popular TV shows on Saudi television is "Baywatch?" For those unfamiliar with the show it follows the adventures of various groups of lifeguards working in Southern California and Hawaii. The most notable features are scantily clad women displaying their endowments in seaside locales. Now what does this say that so many people in a country known for its conservatism, discrimination against women, and religious police enforcers are fans of an American show displaying all the excesses of the American beach lifestyle? It means that on some level we are communicating with even those Muslims whose traditional inclination is to oppose much of our culture and our government policies. But what kind of message are we sending them with such shows? Perhaps we are sending our own version of "mokusatsu" to the most conservative parts of the Muslim world; either a complete rejection or a "no comment."

The face that America shows to the world is the face of Hollywood. You and I know as Americans that very few people live the lifestyles reflected through that distorted lens. For one thing most of us wish we were as rich or as good looking as everyone seems to be on the screen. Also, where else can you have shows set in San Francisco without a single Asian American being shown? This is the distorted lens by which the rest of the world creates their own pictures of us. Does that idea scare you yet? It should. So why do they hate us? We have the freedom to show things on television that reflect our fantasies, or more likely the fantasies of the white, male, Hollywood executives who control what we see on TV and the movie screens. As usual, mistaking fantasy for reality has real life consequences. In effect we've given countries around the world a big "no comment" when they ask who we really are as a people. Very little money is invested in public diplomacy by the United States when compared to our export of TV and movie fantasies to the rest of the world. Even worse is the fact that most Americans don't even have passports, thus showing little interest in exploring the world and letting foreigners get to know us as people like them.

I had an interesting conversation with a Muslim merchant in Burma last year. He asked me, "Why do Americans hate us?" I explained that most Americans didn't waste a thought on hating Muslims. Ordinary Americans struggle to survive in our daily lives without wasting a thought about hating foreigners they've never met, the same as ordinary Burmese, also struggling with their own day to day lives. This was obviously a new thought for him and I knew I had an effect with my words from his subsequent comments and questions which were far less hostile.

From American TV and movies one may gain the impression that we are always fighting or in fear of foreigners and Muslim. Is it any wonder then that many Muslims are convinced that ordinary Americans hate them or that any accusation leveled against America, no matter how bizarre or untrue, is believed? After all, aren't American movies and TV showing them the "truth" everyday even if that truth shows that no Asian Americans live in San Francisco?

What we need is more communication on both sides. More Americans must get their passports, travel, and get to know the world and its people. More Muslims must stop believing that Hollywood reflects American reality and our views of the Muslim world. Isn't it about time that we as Americans stop responding with "mokusatsu" when the whole world, not just the Muslim world, wants to get to know us?

ADDITIONS TO OUR WEBSITE

The following books are discounted for subscribers to our newsletter. The discounts on these books end July 10, 2005.

Sixteen Years in Sixteen Seconds
The Sammy Lee Story

By Paula Yoo
Illustrated by Dom Lee
2005, 29 pages, Hardback.

Sixteen Years in Sixteen Seconds is the story of, Olympic diving champion, Sammy Lee. Lee's story of triumph over discrimination and time, culminating in his becoming the first Korean American (and Asian American) to win an Olympic gold medal, will inspire all to keep reaching for their dreams. This is a great read for those of you that are going to be taking diving lessons this summer.

View Additional Information
ORDER -- Item #3301, Price $16.95

Somebody's Daughter

By Marie Myung-Ok Lee
2005, 264 pages, Hardback.

Follow the story of Sarah Thorsen, an adopted Korean American, as she embarks on a quest to find her Korean birth mother and ends up discovering her own identity too. Sombebody's Daughter by Marie Myung-Ok Lee is a must read for foreign adoptees, their parents, and anyone interested in a good page-turner. This book is a real tear jerker so be warned!

View Additional Information
ORDER -- Item #3302, Price $23.95

Gasa-Gasa Girl

By Naomi Hirahara
2005, 287 pages, Paperback.

A sequel to Naomi Hirahara's first book, Summer of the Big Bachi, this new book, Gasa-Gasa Girl continues the adventures of Kibei gardener, Mas Arai, as a reluctant amateur detective. As a Kibei, a Japanese American trapped in Japan during World War II, Mas is caught between different worlds. These conflicts of identity have led to the estrangement between him and his American born daughter now living in New York City. A mysterious phone call from his daughter begging him for help leads him into a murder mystery.

This story combines a good eye for detailing the inner conflicts of those caught between two very different cultures and the outer conflicts these differences create with others.

View Additional Information
ORDER -- Item #3303, Price $12.00

The Guide to Hawaiian-Style
Origami for Keiki

By Jody H. Fukumoto
Seventh Printing 2004, 36 pages, Paperback
Includes origami paper.

Origami for Keiki is perhaps the first book of origami with Hawaiian-style projects. Jodi Fukumoto's easy to follow directions makes this enjoyable for all ages. With its special Hawaiian designed paper, this book will get your family in a Pacific Island mood.

View Additional Information
ORDER -- Item #3304, Price $8.99

Money Folding 101
Double Your $

By Norma Eng
Part of the Can Do Series by Suzanne McNeill
2002, 35 pages, Paperback.

Money Folding 101 is another wonderful origami craft book for the family. Instead of folding square sheets of paper, as in traditional origami, you fold rectangular paper money. Turn plain monetary gifts into wonderful novelties that the receivers will marvel at. Whether as gifts or decorations Money Folding 101 will give you hours of enjoyment as you turn money into art.

View Additional Information
ORDER -- Item #3305, Price $12.99


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