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Since 1970 June 2009
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Summer Trips for 2009

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Summer Trips for 2009
By Natalie Chan
Edited by Leonard D. Chan

This is our 5th annual Asian Pacific American theme travel article. We hope you get a chance to visit one of these places or one of the places that we wrote about in our past articles (2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008). If you do, please let us know about your experience and we'll try to add your comments and pictures to our website.

The Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis, Missouri
Among the 79 acres of beautifully landscaped flowers, plants and ponds that make up the Missouri Botanical Garden is a 14 acre Japanese strolling garden named Seiwa-en: the garden of pure, clear harmony and peace. Designed by Professor Koichi Kawana, who taught environmental design and landscape architecture at the University of California, Los Angeles, the Japanese Garden is the largest in the Western Hemisphere.

The Japanese Garden's landscape is inspired by many different Japanese gardening styles including the daimyo or Japanese Feudal Lords of the 17th and 18th Centuries. With a four-acre lake as its centerpiece, islands rising from the water, streams, lanterns, waterfalls, beautifully combed dry gravel gardens, and large grassy areas, there's much to be enjoyed by visitors.

Along with enjoying the natural beauty of the cherry blossoms, azaleas, lotus, peonies and chrysanthemum, visitors can also feed the giant Koi fish while standing on Japanese bridges that link the shorelines.

While the Botanical Garden has been open since 1859, the Japanese Garden was dedicated in 1977 and was delicately constructed so that each item in the garden symbolizes a greater meaning. For example, Paradise Island is the spiritual heart of the garden, representing eternal life and bliss.

If you can't make it to Missouri in time to see this Japanese garden in all its luscious glory, the garden can be enjoyed in any season. In winter snow covers the bare branches and structures creating shapes and contrasts that stimulate the senses and provide pleasurable views.

If you're visiting the Botanical Garden, be sure to also check out The Margaret Grigg Nanjing Friendship Garden, modeled after a traditional scholar's garden. Different from the Japanese Garden, the Chinese Garden has more elements that are built rather than planted. The garden's center of attention, a pavilion built in 1966, has a roof made of tiles that were fired in China. The paved pathways in the garden contain mosaics that were also made from tiles and pebbles from China. Although many Chinese pavilions are known for their intricate carvings of dragons and sea monsters, the scholar's garden pavilion has a more simple design and serves as a place to study alone as well as a place to have social gatherings.

Shan-shui, which means mountain and water is the Chinese word for landscape. Appropriately, the Chinese Garden features many giant rocks and structures that symbolize mountains. The hand-carved white marble bridge passes over a small river that flows to the middle of the pond and the center of the garden. Traditional plantings include bamboos, willows, plum trees, wisteria, hibiscus, rhododendrons, and pen-jing, which were all originally from China, grow in containers carefully placed around the garden.

No Chinese garden would be complete without an inscription. The one inscribed on the wall near the exit of the garden is an ancient Chinese poem which describes a person singing happily and playing a game in the garden and having such a nice time that they didn't realize how much time had passed. The poem is written by Wang Wei and was inscribed in 1900 by Pu Jie, brother of the last Chinese emperor, Pu Yi.

For more information visit the Missouri Botanical Garden website.

Manzanar Historic Site
Do you love history? Are you interested in archaeology? Would you like to spend your free time digging up history? If so, the Manzanar National Historic Site needs you!

This summer, archaeologist Jeff Burton will supervise a group of archaeologists and volunteers in uncovering and preserving artifacts found on the site where Japanese Americans were interned during World War II.

Anyone over the age of 15 can volunteer if they are physically able to work outdoors for long periods of time in any weather, digging with shovels and using small hand tools, operating wheel barrels and screening sediments to uncover artifacts. Volunteers are also needed to take notes, fill out forms or make labels and use a metal detector. All volunteers really need is an interest in history and the willingness to get dirty!

Manzanar National Historic Site is located nine miles north of Lone Pine and six miles south of Independence on the west side of U.S. Highway 395. For more information and to sign up please call Park Ranger Carrie Andresen at 760-878-2194, ext. 2714.

Smithsonian APA Program
June 20th marked the opening of the APA Program's traveling exhibit dedicated to Vietnamese Americans, Exit Saigon, Enter Little Saigon: Vietnamese America since 1975, at the Eden Center, Northern Virginia's premier Vietnamese American center, in Falls Church, Virginia.

Exit Saigon, Enter Little Saigon memorializes the fall of Saigon and explores 30 years of Vietnamese American experience through the use of images of joy, sorrow, and hope. The exhibition accentuates the diversity of this community, the adaptation of the Vietnamese to life in America, and their contributions to America in the forms of fashion, food, and film.

The exhibit is curated by Vietnamese American scholar Dr. Vu Pham, developed by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program (APAP), and organized for travel by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES). The exhibit will remain open to the public at the Eden Center from June 30th through August 30th before continuing on its 12-city national tour through 2010.

For the Exit Saigon, Enter Little Saigon tour schedule, please visit Smithsonian Institution's website

In addition to the traveling exhibit, the Smithsonian APA program is now offering a downloadable curriculum, which consists of four units designed for 6-9th graders, that highlights Vietnamese history and culture.

The curriculum can be found at the - Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program's website.

Angel Island Immigration Station
On February 15, 2009 crowds flocked from all around to join in the celebration of the Grand Re-opening of the newly restored U.S. Immigration Station at Angel Island.

Beginning in the mid 19th Century to the beginning of the 20th century millions of people came to America in search of economic opportunity and a better life. While a welcoming Statue of Liberty greeted those arriving on the East Coast, overseas immigrants coming to California between 1910 and 1940 were processed at the not so friendly confines of the Angel Island Immigration Station. Although immigrants from Asia were initially not barred from entering the United States, prejudice and bad economic times lead to the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and other restrictive immigration laws that would follow. These laws severely limited immigration from Asia and created a need for a method to manage entry. Angel Island became one of the main locations in the West where this management took place.

The Administration building of the Immigration Station burned to the ground in 1940. Immigrants were moved to a facility on the mainland and finally in 1943, Congress repealed the Exclusion Act but continued to limit immigration from China until 1965. Two years prior, Angel Island was established as a State Park and the California Department of Parks and Recreation managed the conservation of the immigration site.

Motivated by the threat to destroy the barracks in the late 1970's, California State Park Ranger, Alexander Weiss contacted Professor George Araki of San Francisco State College and photographer Mak Takahashi to photograph the poetry covered walls of the barracks. Excited by the discovery, Bay Area Asian Americans, lead by Paul Chow, formed the Angel Island Immigration Historical Advisory Committee which worked on how to best preserve the station for historical interpretation. In the years following, the Immigration Station was awarded funding, named a National Historic Landmark, and adopted by programs that provided funding to preserve the poetry written on the walls of the barracks.

Today, guided tours are offered daily so that the public can see and learn about the Chinese experience that has shaped the history of America at Angel Island.

For more information about the Re-opening of the Angel Island Immigration Station, visit the Angel Island State Park's website.

For more information about daily tours, visit: Angel Island Immigration Foundation's website.

Japanese American World War II Theme Study: The Presidio of San Francisco, Buildings 35 and 640
The Presidio of San Francisco is the oldest Army installation in the Western United States. Two buildings in the Presidio played a significant role in Japanese American history.

Along with being an army base, the Presidio's building 35 was also the headquarters for the Western Defense Command during World War II. It was from building 35 that General DeWitt executed orders, including the infamous Executive Order 9066, which incarcerated Japanese Americans living in the west.

Building 35 is now used as a high school. There are no plaques or markers indicating its former use, but if you get a guided tour of the Presidio, they may point out building 35 and its history, and may even take you to General DeWitt's office.

Building 640, a former airplane hangar, was initially the location of the Military Intelligence Service Language School (MISLS) during World War II. The MISLS trained Japanese soldiers to become translators for the military. Most of the members of these Japanese classes were Japanese American.

Building 640 is currently unoccupied, but is under development by the National Japanese American Historical Society and Military Intelligence Service (MIS) Association of NorCal. The building will eventually house the Military Intelligence Service Historic Learning Center. This center will feature exhibits and ongoing public programs devoted to the MIS and the Japanese American experience.

"Buildings 35 and 640 of the Presidio of San Francisco demonstrate the combination of the Asian experience-the discriminatory treatment of an Asian ethnicity juxtaposed against the group's service to the nation's defense (Asian Reflections on the American Landscape, p.33)."

Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program orientation video
From Smithsonian APA on Vimeo

Up Coming Events

Here are some events that AACP will soon be attending.
Events that AACP will be Attending or Hosting
July 2-5 Tule Lake Pilgrimage
Klamath Falls, OR
Tulelake, CA
July 11-12
San Jose Obon Festival
SJ Buddhist Temple
San Jose, CA
July 25-26 Ginza Bazaar & Obon Odori SF Buddhist Church
San Francisco, CA
Jul 26-31 Fellowship Retreat Zephyr Point
Lake Tahoe, NV
Aug 6-9 OCA National Convention
Westin St. Francis Hotel
San Francisco, CA
Other Event of Interest that AACP May Not Attend
June 4-
July 10
New World Order: Humanity Art Exhibit
Feature works by Flo Oy Wong and others
SFMOMA Artists Gallery
Fort Mason
San Francisco, CA
July 12 Monterey Obon Festival Monterey Peninsula
Buddhist Temple
Seaside, CA
July 18-19 Mountain View Obon Festival 575 N. Shoreline Blvd.
Mountain View, CA
July 31-
Aug 2
The 11th Annual KAAN Conference
(Korean Am. Adoptee Adoptive Family Network)
Sheraton Denver Hotel
Denver, CO
Aug 1 San Mateo OCA Angel Island Immigration Station Tour - Contact San Mateo OCA Angel Island, CA

Editor's Notes

Hello Everyone,

It's the June newsletter in July. Sorry about that. Still a little back logged from the work delayed by the Asian Pacific American Heritage Celebration.

Fortunately I had some help from our volunteer Natalie Chan. No she's not a relative - anyone can volunteer with us :). Thank you so much Natalie. Without you this newsletter would be coming out in mid-July.

One thing I'd like to highlight from the schedule - the San Mateo OCA is visiting the remodeled Angel Island Immigration Station - one of the 2009 travel destinations listed in our article. I hear that you have to reserve a tour to go there. If you don't mind tagging along with the OCA, I'm sure they'll be happy to have you along.

I hope to be writing to you again in July. Keep your fingers crossed and have a safe and enjoyable summer vacation.

Bye Everyone.

Leonard Chan
Executive Editor

Give Us Your Feedback

Please feel free to send us your reviews, comments, and book suggestions. You can contact us by going to the following page and sending an email to us through the online form -


The following books are discounted for subscribers to our newsletter. The discounts on these books end July 20, 2009.

A Song for Cambodia

By Michelle Lord
Illustrated by Shino Arihara
2008, 30 pages, Hardback.

A Song for Cambodia is the real life story of Arn Chorn-Pond - a Cambodian American musician. Arn Chorn-Pond learned to play the khim, a traditional Cambodian string instrument, while working at a forced labor camp during the ruthless Pol Pot Khmer Rouge era. Having lost his whole family during this time, Arn's musical abilities were what literally saved his life. This sad but inspirational story will enlighten kids about an awful time in an Asian country not well known to Americans. Arn's continued efforts, as an adult, will make you want to learn more about Cambodia, its history, and its culture.

View Additional Information
ORDER -- Item #3558, Price $16.95 ... for newsletter subscribers $13.56

Shining Star
The Anna May Wong Story

By Paula Yoo
Lin Wang
2009, 30 pages, Hardback.

Shining Star: the Anna May Wong Story is the real life story of Asian American pioneering film star Anna May Wong. Shining Star sheds light on the struggles of actress Anna May Wong to make it in films in an era of racist film codes that limited the roles of non-white actors and actresses. Kids and adults alike will learn about a true Asian American trailblazer.

View Additional Information
ORDER -- Item #3559, Price $17.95 ... for newsletter subscribers $14.36

Hiromi's Hands

By Lynne Barasch
2007, 32 pages, Hardback.

An eight-year-old's excursion to the fish market with her sushi chef father begins her journey to become one of the first female sushi chefs. Hiromi's Hands is based on the real life inspirational story of New York sushi chef Hiromi Suzuki.

Hiromi's Hands also includes an invaluable glossary of Japanese words and sushi mentioned in the book.

View Additional Information
ORDER -- Item #3560, Price $17.95 ... for newsletter subscribers $14.36

Secret Identities
The Asian American Superhero Anthology

Edited by Jeff Yang, Parry Shen, Keith Chow, and Jerry Ma
2009, 194 pages, Paperback.

Secret Identities: The Asian American Superhero Anthology is exactly that - an anthology of fascinating comic book style stories with Asian Americans as the protagonists. Even if you're not a comic book enthusiast, the great variety of authors, illustrators, and stories will be sure to provide you with an enjoyable read.

The contributors include -
A.L. Baroza, Alex Joon Kim, Alex Tarampi, Alexander Shen, Anthony Tan, Anthony Wu, Anuj Shrestha, Benton Jew, Bernard Chang, Billy Tan, ChiYun Lau, Christine Norrie, Clarence Coo, Cliff Chiang, Daniel Jai Lee, Deodato Pangandoyon, Dustin Nguyen, Dustin T. Nguyen, Erwin Haya, Francis Tsai, Gene Yang, Glenn Urieta, Greg LaRocque, Greg Pak, Hellen Jo, Ian Kim, Jamie Ford, Jason Sperber, Jef Castro, Jeremy Arambulo, Jerry Ma, Jimmy Aquino, Johann Choi, John Franzese, John Kuramoto, Jonathan Tsuei, Kazu Kibuishi, Keiko Agena, Keith Chow, Kelly Hu, Ken Wong, Koji Steven Sakai, Kripa Joshi, Larry Hama, Leonardo Nam, Lynn Chen, Martin Hsu, Michael Kang, Ming Doyle, Naeem Mohaimen, Nick Huang, Paul Wei, Raymond Sohn, Sarah Sapang, Sonny Liew, Sung Kang, Tak Toyoshima, Tanuj Chopra, Ted Chung, Tiffanie Hwang, Vince Sunico, Walden Wong, and Yul Kwon.

View Additional Information
ORDER -- Item #3561, Price $21.95 ... for newsletter subscribers $17.56

Nothing Left in My Hands
The Issei of a Rural California Town, 1900-1940

By Kazuko Nakane
Foreward by Naomi Hirahara
1985 and 2008, 110 pages, Paperback.

Nothing Left in My Hands is a new edition of the 1985 illuminating history on the Japanese American of the Pajaro Valley (Watsonville, CA area). This book includes fascinating interviews with some of the Issei pioneers of this California farming community - many of who only live on in memories and in this book. If you're from the Watsonville area or just a fan of local history books this is the perfect summer read.

View Additional Information
ORDER -- Item #3562, Price $14.95 ... for newsletter subscribers $11.96

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