Friday, November 30, 2007

Peace Out Party Peoples

Hi folks,

Back in July, I mentioned that I'd be taking a break from this particular blogging gig. Turned out to be a bit more than just a break, and I figure I might as well make it official: this is my farewell post for Hip Hapa.

There's a small (very small!) part of this decision that stems from the site's name. The frustration some Native Hawaiians feel over appropriation of the word hapa by Asian Americans does reflect some of my own concerns--so I think it's probably worth easing away from promoting the word through a public and (vaguely commercial) venture, out of respect for other people's passionate feelings (although anyone who researches this issue, as I have, will find that there are precious few of these people around).

But to reiterate, moving on from Hip Hapa has almost nothing to do with the name. What motivates me to get out of the blogging game is the blogging game. Web 2.0 is heralded as the greatest thing since sliced bread, but for the time being at least, this scene is decidedly not for me. While people claim that this is a great way to communicate with others and form community, I'm not seeing it. I swear I could write a book about my irritation with the medium, but instead, let's just say this: DON'T BELIEVE THE HYPE.

On my way out, though, I'd like to point you in the direction of someone who is killing it on the blogging circuit and who deserves your readership: colinresponse does what I've been trying to do here, but better. Check it out.

And please stay tuned to this site, too, because who knows what exciting plans Mix76 has for it in the future.

But as for me, to quote my bard...



Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Who Am I Now?!

As I mentioned in the last post there seems to be some controversy surrounding the use of the term hapa. For one person's view on why we mixed-race Asians on the mainland are misusing the word check out The Real Hapa.

Now, if that ain't a kick in the balls I don't know what is! Not to make light of this issue but it just seems ironic that mixed-race Asians - some of whom have had trouble identifying with their respective ethnic groups - cannot even identify as hapa anymore!

In order to remedy this OG, myself and some friends came up with a few alternative names last week while in Hawai'i. Here's our list:

1. MRBAs (pronounced: mer-bahs) - Mixed Race Bad Asses

2. TBz - Tragic Bastards

3. Asian Mulattoes

All joking aside if anyone out there has any suggestions for a catchy name let us know.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Tales From The "Homeland"

Apologies to all our Hip Hapa faithful for not posting for a minute now. Your editors-in-chief were on a little hiatus back in the land of Hapas - Hawai'i. It was a great time as always and I wanted to share some of the highlights and a few thoughts.

First and foremost I wanted to thank all the fine local eateries for clogging my arteries even further! I just couldn't help myself with all the choke plate lunches, mac salad, loco moco and lau lau. My favs this trip were definitely the Rainbow Drive-In and, of course, Zippy's.

It was healing, both spiritually and physically, to get away from city life and escape to such a paradise. I truly admire the relaxed way of life in the Islands and the pride the people have for their special culture. Furthermore, its always a thrill to go to a place where people who look like you are the majority. Its empowering.

On this trip I was surprised to find out that the term hapa has actually come under fire in recent years. There are concerns that this word, like the Islands themselves, have been appropriated from the indigenous people of Hawai'i. For those of you who are as concerned as I am please share your thoughts on some alternative names we can use.

When in Waikiki beware of the clear plastic high-heals!

I was happy to see that the Japanese department store Don Quixote has made it to American shores (sans the isles filled with sex toys and french maid costumes)!

Finally, the soundtrack for the trip was most definitely REGGAE! It really set the mood for all our beach excursions. I had no idea how huge this musical genre had become in Hawai'i. It makes complete sense though... the laid back vibes of an island people combined with that maui waui are the perfect breading grounds for such bands. The standout group of the trip, Katchafire, hails from Aotearoa and there hit song Seriously played every 30 minutes on the Hawaiian radio stations. In fact, for those of you in Southern California, Katchafire will be performing in Long Beach this Friday night at the Vault.

Anyway, it sucks to be back to reality but at least I have some new music to groove to...

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Thursday, August 09, 2007

The Friday Groove - 春夏秋冬

As always, Hip Hapa likes to drop the jazzy rhythms on you to kick your weekend off right.

Because I'm such a big fan of Ilmari this week's Groove once again features the hapa mcee. This week he is performing with former group Steady & Co. which consisted of himself, Kenji and Bots from Dragon Ash and Shigeo of the Skebo Kings. The four kanji used in the song's title (pronounced shun-ka-shuu-tou) are the four seasons - spring, summer, autumn and winter. Dozo...

Steady & Co. - 春夏秋冬

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Thursday, August 02, 2007

The Friday Groove - I Still Love H.E.R.

As always, Hip Hapa likes to drop the jazzy rhythms on you to kick your weekend off right.

This week we bring you a good 'ol East meets Kanye West production with the latest from Tokyo's Teriyaki Boyz. This single debuted in January of this year and features rhymes from hapa mcee Ilmari. Enjoy the collabo...

Teriyaki Boyz feat. Kanye West - I Still Love H.E.R.

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

The Friday Groove - Grateful Days

As always, Hip Hapa likes to drop the jazzy rhythms on you to kick your weekend off right.

This week's Groove comes from waaaaay back in the day! This is probably the very first Japanese hip hop song I ever heard and it was definitely the first Japanese hip hop album I ever purchased. Combining the skills of two Tokyo icons, Kenji and Zeebra, Grateful Days was the hot single back in the Summer of '99. (Oh... and by the way, Zeebra straight kills it on this track!)

Dragon Ash feat. Aco & Zeebra - Grateful Days

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Monday, July 23, 2007

Out to Lunch

Hey Party Peoples,

Sorry I didn't contribute anything last week... unfortunately, I'm doing pretty much the same thing this week, and into the foreseeable future. There's lots going on in the OG world these days, and although I love putting my two cents into this here blog, I've got to ease off it for the time being.

While I'm posting temporary leave notices and pictures of chickens with beer cans inserted in their backsides, allow me to note that Lyrics Born will be in Berkeley this Friday night to host the What's Poppin' Summer Showcase at Shattuck Downlow (2284 Shattuck Avenue). Head on over if you have the chance.

And that's all I really got to say. Later on, y'all.


Friday, July 20, 2007

The Friday Groove - Tabou

As always, Hip Hapa likes to drop the jazzy rhythms on you to kick your weekend off right.

Les Nubians ft. Black Thought - Tabou

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Sunday, July 15, 2007

The Friday Groove - Tired of Being Alone

As always, Hip Hapa likes to drop the jazzy rhythms on you to kick your weekend off right.

Apologies to all our readers for posting so late in the weekend. Just for that we are going to give you a double dose of musical dopeness. Please enjoy these grown n' sexy jams ... perfect for late summer nights.

Al Green - Tired of Being Alone

Al Green - Let Stay Together

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Friday, July 13, 2007

Diggin' in the Cybercrates: Internet Samples (Highly Quotable)

On the regular, Hip Hapa hooks you into the sites and sounds of the virtual world, offering up samples to help you make the perfect mix of your netsurfing. If you find a gem that needs inclusion, let us know and we'll post it.

"No-one is pure in Brazil. That's why the country has the face of the future."

"I'm paying homage to where a lot of Black music comes from... even if I do a bossa nova crooning joint, my understanding of it is informed by hip-hop."

"These people had lost everything. Buddhism taught them how to interpret that, how to get from an incarcerated state with one suitcase, to freedom. The teachings of priests in camps helped people get through the experience."

"Anyone can start a blog, and anyone can make it grow... But to keep it there? It’s fucking hard work, man. I’ve never worked so hard in my life. Eighty-hour weeks since I started."

Beyond those individual articles, here are a few sites to check out as well:

iPride: Family Pride in Mixed Heritage
Okinawa Peace Network of Los Angeles
The List: Project to Resettle Iraqi Allies

Thanks to Viv, Willie, Erica, Tarah, Ryan, and Kirk for the heads up. Keep 'em coming!


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

APA Activist Training and Midwest Summit - 8/4/07

You have to admire a group like Asian Pacific Americans for Progress, who has been out on the front lines doing vital political organizing in the community. Their latest effort sounds very exciting, and I'm sad not to be back in Chicago to participate. From the release:

Join your fellow progressive Asian Pacific Americans from throughout the Midwest as we engage in a Saturday training led by Parag Mehta, Director of Training at the Democratic National Committee.

Who: Activists, student leaders, community leaders, volunteers

What: Learn effective use of the basic tools of political organizing including volunteer recruitment, networking, planning events, targeting, phonebanking and other useful campaign skills. Network with other progressive APAs from throughout the region.

When: Saturday, August 4th, 2007
11:00-12:00 PM - Networking and Registration
12:00 - 6:00 PM - Training
6:00 - 8:00 PM - Reception/Social with special guests

Where: The Field Museum
1400 S. Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60605-2496

Fee(s) - Includes training and reception/social, as well as admission to the Field Museum. Students please inquire about additional scholarships.
Student - $25 before July 15 / $30 after July 15
Regular - $35 before July 15 / $40 after July 15
Group rate (for 5 regular registrations) - $175
Group rate (for 10 regular registrations) - $300

Register for the event here.

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Monday, July 09, 2007

Blue Murakami

I had something else lined up for today, but then came across the essay "Jazz Messenger" by Haruki Murakami in the book review segment of yesterday's New York Times:

"Practically everything I know about writing, then, I learned from music. It may sound paradoxical to say so, but if I had not been so obsessed with music, I might not have become a novelist. Even now, almost 30 years later, I continue to learn a great deal about writing from good music. My style is as deeply influenced by Charlie Parker’s repeated freewheeling riffs, say, as by F. Scott Fitzgerald’s elegantly flowing prose. And I still take the quality of continual self-renewal in Miles Davis’s music as a literary model."

The piece isn't that long, but like most of what I've read from Murakami, it's intriguing and entertaining. It also gives me an excuse to link to his website, which rocks a dope soundtrack, and a bunch of other cool features.

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Friday, July 06, 2007

The Friday Groove - Havin' Things

As always, Hip Hapa likes to drop the jazzy rhythms on you to kick your weekend off right.

This video comes highly recommended by Hip Hapa's silent partner Big O ... and after viewing it I know why! Not only does P.A. represent Fresno to the fullest he also did a lot of the filming for this video in front of a local landmark... the Old Fresno Hauf Brau! This place is dear to my heart since my uncles spent many-a-nights posted up at its bar drinking the coldest Budweiser's in the Valley!

Planet Asia - Havin' Things

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Thursday, July 05, 2007

Diggin' in the Cybercrates: Internet Samples (Youth Empowerment Edition)

On the regular, Hip Hapa hooks you into the sites and sounds of the virtual world, offering up samples to help you make the perfect mix of your netsurfing. If you find a gem that needs inclusion, let us know and we'll post it.

Plenty of excellent finds from Santa Clara last weekend:

It's simply not possible to be unmoved by what LiNK's Adrian Hong has to say about human rights violations in North Korea.

Somebody get BROKEN HALOS a record contract -- that Senbei can spit!

Look who's getting into the blog game now: B Sharp asks, "And what have you done for justice?"

The YB site could use a facelift, but that's not going to stop us from including it. Cop the movie here.


Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Extreme Japan

Why is it that in recent years discussion of Japan's involvement in World War II elicits such extreme views?

On the one hand you get the Japan bashers. For example, a few years ago while in Tokyo I had to sit through lecture after lecture about how evil people of Japanese descent were. The American professor who ran a class I was taking would make sweeping generalities and group all Japanese soldiers together as killers and monsters. He talked and wrote extensively about modern Japan and how he felt Japanese still wanted to conquer Asia. This same man also liked to discuss the Japanese American internment and often defended the racist historians who have tried to justify it.

However, the other end of the spectrum is no better and no less racist. Today for example the Japan Times reported on Yuko Tojo, the granddaughter of wartime Prime Minister General Hideki Tojo. After comments by current Defense Minister Fumio Kyuma (apparently justifying the atomic bombing of Japan during the War), Yuko went off. She claimed that her grandfather's only mistake was losing the war. This nutty-ass lady stated that Japan did not fight a war of aggression and that the war was fought to liberate the "nonwhite" colonies in Asia from the "whites." Riiiiiiight... Tojo, who is running for a seat in the House of Councilors, further said that she wanted the Japanese people to regain the pride they had before the wartime defeat. Now, for the record, I'm all about Nihon pride, however, raping and pillaging the rest of Asia ain't really my cup of green tea.

Anyhow, I guess my point in all this is two-fold:
1. Both sides (American and Japanese) need to take some responsibility for the atrocities they committed during the War. There was clearly some bulls*%t going down on both sides of the Pacific.
2. Though a few Japanese, like Yuko Tojo, come across as fanatical right-wingers the vast majority of Japan that I have come to know is peaceful and not bent on conquering the world.


Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Documentary Screening in SF Chinatown this Weekend

Chinese for Affirmative Action is looking to get the word out on this event they're sponsoring with the Chinese Cultural Center on Saturday:

THE CHINATOWN FILES: A Special Screening and Panel Discussion with Ling-chi Wang and Rolland & Kathy Lowe.

Saturday, July 7, 2007, 4:00 PM
Chinese Cultural Center, 750 Kearny Street, Third Floor
No RSVP required

Here are excerpts from the blurb:

"THE CHINATOWN FILES, a powerful documentary that charts the effects of the Cold War on Chinese Americans during the 1950s and ’60s, took director Amy Chen and her film crew over 10 years to make... Well-researched and stunningly honest, THE CHINATOWN FILES includes archival footage taken from Chinese and American propaganda films, old cartoons stereotyping Chinese Americans, home movies of Chinatowns, and old photographs. In addition, a group of Chinese Americans are interviewed throughout the film, and their stories deliver this historical, cultural narrative... An educational film telling an oft ignored chapter of America ’s past, THE CHINATOWN FILES is a rigorous examination of the effects of Cold War fears on an immigrant community."

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Monday, July 02, 2007

Go All In for APA Creative Expression

Working to fund nonprofit operations can be a drag. It's hard to ask people for money, even when it's for a good cause; you have to overcome a lot of wariness, apathy, and distraction to get people to break out the wallet. Sometimes, you've got to get really creative to make the donation hustle a successful one.

The folks at Kearny Street Workshop in San Francisco have found one way--and I'm pretty sure they're on to something here. So get ready (you high rollers especially) because KSW's Texas Hold 'Em Poker Tournament has a seat at the table just for you on Friday, July 20. You better start honing your game now if you want a shot at a Wii, or any of the other prizes in play.

And of course, it's all in the name of helping "to achieve a more just society by connecting Asian Pacific American artists with community members to give voice to our cultural, historical, and contemporary issues." I'm sure Johnny Chan would approve.

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Friday, June 29, 2007

The Friday Groove

As always, Hip Hapa likes to drop the jazzy rhythms on you to kick your weekend off right.

ATCQ - Find A Way

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

It's Party Time, People

Swank shindig in San Francisco next week, brought to you by the same forces that support this site. From the Evite (which we'll add you to if you want, just give us a heads up in the comments):

A unique spread of gourmet munchies, a generous splash of soju cocktails, a mix of DJ beats, and a crowd of friendly faces--what better way to bridge the gap between Independence Day and the weekend?

Join us on Thursday, July 5, at Namu, the hip new spot in San Francisco's Richmond District, as we warm up for the big Hapa Issues Forum Reunion/Retrospective. We're looking to generate some buzz for that September 8 event--some buzz and some funding. We need a little financial help with an exhibition of old HIF memorabilia we're putting together to display on that day, and then for a few months in early 2008 at the National Japanese American Historical Society.

So we're asking for a $20 entry fee; that'll cover you for the food and featured drinks (beer and wine are also available, but for purchase, as they are not included in the deal). But that money doesn't just buy you a good time--it will also enable us to give HIF a proper send-off in a couple months, one which we've been working hard to make a reality.

Please offer up your RSVP now; we know it's short notice, but we need to have a head count by next Tuesday (7/3), a week from today. We'll take money at the door, but would prefer you use the PayPal option (credit cards accepted) that we're providing in this Evite--it's safer this way for our gracious hosts at Namu, who are going out on a limb for us on this.

We look forward to seeing you, and any and all guests you would like to bring along--this is by no means an exclusive gig, and if you're getting this Evite but have no idea what HIF even is, don't sweat it, just come. You'll get a chance to connect with some cool folks, catch some good music, and enjoy some delicious eats and cocktails--and it's all in support of a great cause.


Monday, June 25, 2007

Protecting the Right for Everyone to Marry

So yesterday was the Gay Pride Parade in San Francisco, and I caught part of the recap on NPR this morning. I was only half-listening, so I didn't get his name, but I heard one of the parade's honorary marshals refer to the Supreme Court case of Loving vs. Virginia--which is something we've of course mentioned once or twice around these parts, seeing as how that decision legalized interracial marriage on a federal level in 1967. Turns out the marshal himself was mixed race, and he was comparing the obstacle his parents faced in their desire to wed with the one facing himself and others in the gay community today.

It's not especially profound of me to say this, but I should take the occasion to emphasize that those of us born of interracial unions have a responsibility to stick up for same-sex unions. When your group has confronted a historical challenge, I think you have an obligation to support other groups who end up encountering similar problems. Those who fight to sanction gay marriage shouldn't hesitate to solicit the help of the mixed race community, and we in turn should be ready to provide that help. It's just common sense.

(To bring a little levity to this issue, I thought I'd also include this satirical piece from the The Onion that demonstrates how the rights we seek can end up becoming burdens.)

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