How Can We Invite Everyone Into Our World? Review of Final Bow For Yellowface

Recently, I had the pleasure of watching the Oakland Ballet Company (OBC) rehearse for their production of Dancing Moons Festival at the studio where I teach. Dancing Moons was Oakland Ballet’s response to the rise in anti-Asian bigotry and violence, celebrating Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) choreographers and musicians. To create this program, OBC Artistic …

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Surprising Asian American Hero From 1940: A Review of The Phantom of Chinatown

My recent trip to the Formosa Cafe inspired me to watch the 1940 film “Phantom of Chinatown,” starring Keye Luke and Lotus Long. I wanted to see how American cinema portrayed Asian Americans at the time. The short answer is it’s complicated. In Phantom of Chinatown, Keye Luke stars as Detective Jimmy Wong, brought in …

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Honoring the Stories of our Loved Ones on Qingming or Tomb Sweeping Day

Today’s literary adventure is a symbolic one in honor of Qingming Festival, called Tomb Sweeping Day in English. In China, this is a three-day holiday to honor one’s ancestors dating back 2500 years to the Zhou Dynasty. Families visit the tombs and graves of their ancestors to sweep them clean, pay respects, and honor memories. …

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Meet Me at the Formosa: A Chinese American Hollywood History Adventure

This week's Asian American history adventure is a visit to the Formosa Cafe, a Chinese American fusion cafe and bar in West Hollywood, which first opened in 1939. Located across from the then Samuel Goldwyn studio, stars like Frank Sinatra, Humphrey Bogart, James Dean, John Wayne, Ava Gardner, Marilyn Monroe, and Elvis Presley regularly popped …

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How I Survived My Debut Book Publishing Journey at 55 Years Old

Forty-two – it’s the answer to life, the universe, and everything[i]. It’s also my new lucky number -- the number of queries I wrote before signing a book publishing contract. Most Hero's Journeys start with a starry-eyed protagonist like Frodo Baggins, Harry Potter, or Luke Skywalker, but mine starts as a 55-year-old dance instructor with …

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Book Review: More Than One Child, Memoirs of an Illegal Daughter

For the Lunar New Year month, I am reading books by Asian authors. First up is More Than One Child: Memoirs of an Illegal Daughter by Shen Yang. It tells of the author's life growing up in 1990s China as an "excess child" during its One-Child-Policy years.Between 1980-2015, the government implemented the One-Child-Policy out of …

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How Mom Celebrated Lunar New Year in the 1930s in Guangdong Province, China

Lunar New Year is upon us! On February 1st, we enter Year of the Tiger. My mother, Yee King Ying, grew up in the village of Tai Ting Pong (Dajingbang in Mandarin), Guangdong Province, in the 1930s. This is how she recalls celebrating. Spring festival was a chance to clear away the old and outworn …

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How the Autumn Moon Festival Offers an Ancient Tradition, Delicious Dessert, and a Touch of Magic

What if you could learn about an ancient tradition, enjoy a delicious dessert, and turn an ordinary evening into a fairytale? You can with the Autumn Moon Festival, a holiday born of legend. It traditionally falls on the fifteenth day of the eighth lunar month or mid-September to early October on the Gregorian calendar. In …

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Hiking the Donner Pass Train Tunnels, a Triumph and Tragedy of Immigrant Grit

Maybe you're seeking respite from the summer heat. Maybe you'd like to pretend you're in the Halls of Moria in the Lord of the Rings. Or maybe you want to hike through miles of graffiti art. Whatever your reason for coming, the Donner Pass Train Tunnels near Truckee, California, offer a fascinating and sometimes heartbreaking …

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One Writer’s Journey through the Dauntless Dunes

Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh In February 2021, I had the great pleasure of signing a contract to publish my narrative non-fiction debut, My Name Is King Ying, with a small press publisher. I had two offers, and …

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