August 2021 Newsletter

Newsletter Index
• Editor's Message • Events • An Interview With Author Naomi Hirahara: Upon the Release of Her New Book Clark and Division • You’re Listening to the 12th Annual Marathon of Hits: K-POI One Three Eight O, Hon-O-lu-luuu • Featured Books

Editor's Message

Hi Everyone,

In case you’re wondering what we’ve been thinking about with all that’s been happening to make the news, we have been following things. We hope you have too. For an organization such as ours that is concerned with educating people to live all together in a complex society, there’s just too much news to ignore. Perhaps you’d rather not get more of it from us – you may merely think we’re just an outlet for finding out about the latest books.

They say that the first recording of history is the news. Well, we’re definitely involved in the latter part of that equation – books. Books are the end products of observations of our world and of our imaginations. So if you think you’d rather not get the news or comments on the world from organization like ours, there’s no getting around it if you read.

We hope there will be time for us to do news worthy reporting and commentary in future newsletters, but here are a few quick comments from me.

Stay safe for all of our sakes – get vaccinated and wear a mask. This is no time for you to be professing your rugged individualism. If you want the freedom to do whatever you want, then just stay away from everyone. Unrestricted freedom can only be had when you’re alone. If you want to live within a community, try to be accommodating to others. Don’t always just look out for number one.

Life is short, why mess things up for others in the time that we have? Do we really have to be a _____ (fill in your own expletive)? If you’re out there making life more difficult for someone, reconsider what you’re doing. This goes for so many things that we do in life – from how we treat one another to how we treat our environment.

For all the Afghan refugees headed our way, we’re sorry for your plight and for anything that we may have done to make things worse. Welcome to America and we wish you well in becoming the next major group of Asian Americans. For all of you that can help with their resettlement, please do so.

That’s it for now on my miscellaneous thoughts.


If you want to kick back and try to de-stress, I suggest that you read a good book, like the ones written by our interviewee Naomi Hirahara (read our interview with her) or the ones that we feature in our special mystery novel book selection, or listen to the KPOI tapes mentioned in my article below.

I hope I get the KPOI recordings posted in time for your enjoyment. If not, keep rechecking the link in the article or the one that will be posted on our blog up to the Labor Day weekend. Just remember that the quality of these recordings is not great – imagine you’re listening to them on a cheap transistor radio in 1971 on a beach in Hawaii.

Thank you to my brother Chuck, who made the recordings, and have a Happy Birthday!


Thank you Naomi Hirahara. It was great to reconnect with you.

Thanks to Philip, Susan, Pia, and Stacey for your help with the interview, with this newsletter, and the KPOI recordings.

Take care everyone!


Leonard Chan

Executive Editor


Sunday, October 3, 2021, 10:30am - 4:30pm: Millbrae Japanese Culture Festival


Note that the San Leandro Moon Festival on Saturday, September 18, 2021, that was mentioned in our blog, has been canceled.

We hope you have a good Moon Festival (Sept 21, 2021) anyway. Go out and buy and enjoy a mooncake from your favorite Chinese bakery or Asian grocery store.


If you have an event that you would like us to mention and or to participate in, please feel free to let us know.

An Interview With Author Naomi Hirahara

Upon the Release of Her New Book Clark and Division

Interviewed by Leonard Chan

For those that are unfamiliar with Naomi Hirahara, she has had a very notable and wide ranging life which includes being a journalist, biographer, historian, editor, and award winning mystery novel writer. Her third book in her Mas Arai mystery series, “Snakeskin Shamisen,” won the prestigious Edgar Award.

Naomi’s latest book “Clark and Division” is about a Japanese American family’s World War II experience of relocating to Chicago after their incarceration at Manzanar Relocation Center. The eldest daughter of the family had moved to Chicago ahead of them and is mysteriously killed by a subway train shortly before the rest of the family’s arrival. The story’s protagonist is the younger daughter Aki Ito who takes on the task of finding out the cause of her dear sister’s death.

Hello Naomi, thank you for agreeing to do this interview on such short notice. We really appreciate it.

Even though we’ve communicated a little bit in the past few years, I don’t think I’ve seen you since the Nisei Week Book Fair in 2015. That was three or four novels and a couple of nonfiction books ago. How have you been? How have you been managing the pandemic and spending your time? Have you been using most of the time working on “Clark and Division”? When did you start working on it?

Read More

You’re Listening to the 12th Annual Marathon of Hits

K-POI One Three Eight O, Hon-O-lu-luuu

By Leonard Chan

Excuse me for indulging myself with this article, but please bear with me and read on.

I’ve been listening to a potion of these recordings for nearly 50 years and this Labor Day Weekend is the 50th anniversary of its taping by my brother who was stationed in Hawaii at that time. He made this recording of a pop AM radio station’s countdown of listener’s favorite songs in 1971.

I’ve been debating the merits of doing this article. It’s not exactly Asian or Pacific Islander American. It doesn’t have anything to do with books or literature and I’m not exactly sure of its educational value.

I’ve also been debating if I would be breaking any copyright laws by posting the audio online, but I think this comes under the copyright fair use clause. I’ll explain further in this article and hope you all get a chance to hear these fascinating and enjoyable recordings.

Read More

Featured Books

View full descriptions of all these featured books at where you'll also have the opportunity to purchase them.

Children's Books

Special Mystery Novels Selection