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asian avenue August 2017 Volume 12 Issue 8

Connecting Cultures Linking Lives

NEWS ANCHOR

ADELE ARAKAWA RETIRES

Fall sta cations y in COLORADO GLOBAL FEST

&

CELEBRATES CULTURE ARTISTIC EXPRESSION

RESTAURANT PEEK

DESSERT PEEK

Jett Sushi Ramen Master Tea


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Dear Asian Avenue readers,

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I am sure all of you are looking forward to the mesmerizing scenery Colorado has to offer for the upcoming fall season. This is our favorite season of the month, and we can’t wait to see the wonders of nature arriving at our doorsteps! Our contributing writer Patricia, therefore brings to you the popular fall staycations in Colorado for this issue. See where are the good spots to travel to, as well as unique places to spend nights in! This issue, Pok Sergent also shares with us the importance of pronouncing a name correctly. It is a common phenomenon for Asian names to be pronounced incorrectly in the United States and often frustrating for the Asian community. Pok tells us why she thinks it is crucial and also respectful for one to honor another’s identity by getting the name right! For our dessert peak this month, we are featuring Master Tea, an authentic Taiwanese boba tea shop opened by David Chi, who is from Taiwan and a tea brewmaster. Enjoy their wide array of boba drinks available as well as their tea leaf eggs! The Chinese Valentine’s Day, Qixi Festival, will fall on August 28 this year. Find out more about the history and how this day is different from the western Valentine’s Day. Last but not the least, we would like to give a fond farewell to our editorial director Samantha Quee, who is leaving Asian Avenue Magazine this month and heading back to Singapore. We thank Samantha for her contributions this past year and we wish her all the best in her future endeavors! Enjoy,

staff & support Publisher & Founder: Christina Yutai Guo President: Annie Guo Senior Designer: C.G. Yao Copy Editor: Jaime Marston Cook Editorial Director: Samantha Quee Marketing Manager: Joie Ha Staff Writer: Patricia Kaowthumrong Staff Writer: Mary Jeneverre Schultz Photographer: Trang Luong

contributing writers Caroline Field, Amy Ng, Agi Oseth, Cory Palencia, Pok Payattakool Sergent, Tom Shieh, Stacey Shigaya, Brenda Velasquez

contributing photographers 9News, Glenn Asakawa, Colorado Public Radio, Kent Kanouse, Kyle Kress, Vinh Nguyen, Tom Shieh, Sarah Shirazi, Andy Tolsma, Amanda Tonis

on the cover Fall ushers in a season of cooler-yet-comfortable temps and colorful displays of foliage in Colorado — making it the perfect time to explore our state. Photo by: Vinh Nguyen Photography vinhnguyenphotography.com

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August 2017 | Publisher’s Note

To subscribe, e-mail info@asianavemag.com or visit asianavemag.com/subscribe. A oneyear subscription is $25 for 12 issues, a two-year subscription is 40 for 24 issues. Please make checks or money orders payable to Asian Avenue magazine. For details about special corporate or group rates, please call during business hours: Monday - Friday, 9am to 5pm. Shipping/handling included.

advertising Asian Avenue magazine offers businesses the most cost-effective way to reach consumers in the Denver/Boulder metro areas and beyond. For more information, call during business hours or e-mail us at marketing@asianavemag.com for our media kit and ad rates.

editorial To submit story ideas, letters to the editor or calendar events, e-mail info@asianavemag.com. Asian Avenue magazine (ISSN 1932-1449) reserves all copyrights to this issue. No parts of this edition can be reproduced in any manner without written permission. The views expressed in articles are the authors’ and not necessarily those of Asian Avenue magazine. Authors may have consulting or other business relationships with the companies they discuss.

Published by Asian Avenue Magazine, Inc. P.O. Box 221748 Denver, CO 80222-1748 Tel: 303.937.6888 | info@asianavemag.com

www.asianavemag.com Asian Avenue magazine is in association with the Colorado Asian Culture and Education Network.

Correction: Our July issue dessert peek featured Bambu. The address is: 1149 S Federal Blvd. Denver, CO 80219 (not 1147).


For more information call 720-873-6243 or visit our website today at: www.ColoEggDonor.com William Schoolcraft, MD • Eric Surrey, MD • Debra Minjarez, MD Robert Gustofson, MD • Jennifer Brown, MD


CONTENTS

august 2017

EVENTS

8 9

Event calendar Global Fest celebrates the diverse cultures of Aurora

BETTER LIVING

10

16

10 lessons learned from martial arts

SPOTLIGHT

11

Adele Arakawa retires after 24 years as Colorado’s evening news anchor

See our roundup of top places to experience Colorado’s fall beauty, with ideas on where to stay and sample the area’s diverse flavors.

HEALTH

12

The Importance of Using a Trained Medical Interpreter

TRAVEL

13

Back in Las Vegas after 21 years

FEATURE

14

Video Games that Challenge the Way You Think

COVER STORY

16

RESTAURANT PEEK

21

DESSERT PEEK

22

Master Tea brings the Taiwanese tea flavors to Broomfield

OP-ED

25

BEST COLORS THIS FALL

Jett Sushi Ramen on East Colfax

The importance of pronouncing a name correctly

BOOK REVIEW

26

The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen

FILM REVIEW

27

Language excels in a new world of film: “El Futuro Perfect”

29

22nd annual festival celebrates Filipino culture

Denver Mayor Hancock celebrates AAPI women leaders

CULTURAL TIDBITS

30

Chinese Valentine’s Day, Qixi Festival is celebrated August 28

21

ON SCENE

11

28

Japanese culture thrives at the Cherry Blossom Festival

Christine Wanifuchi, CEO of APDC, retires

ASIAN AVENUE MAGAZINE, INC. P.O. Box 221748 Denver, CO 80222-1748 | Tel: 303.937.6888 E-mail: info@asianavemag.com | www.asianavemag.com 6 August 2017 | Table of Contents

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events upcoming Japanese American Community Picnic

Sunday, August 6, 11am - 2pm

Berkeley Park 4544 W 46th Ave, Denver, CO 80212 Cost: Free For more info, visit www.jascolorado.org/ new-events-1/2017/8/6/japanese-americancommunity-picnic The Japanese American Association of Colorado will hold their annual picnic on August 6 at Berkeley Park. Come out and join the community! 

The city of Aurora, Colorado invites you to experience fantastic flavors, cultural experiences and artistic expression from around the world at Global Fest. Come thirsty! The World Beer Market will offer different beverages with brewing techniques and flavors from around the world. All beers are globally inspired and locally made.

“The Vietnam War” An Evening with Ken Burns and Lynn Novick Wednesday, August 23, 7pm - 9pm

Alito Women’s Chorale Concert

Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel 1550 Court Pl, Denver, CO 80202 Cost: $45 through Aug 11, 2017 For more info and tickets, visit ndkdenver.org

First Baptist Church 1373 Grant Street, Denver, CO 80203 Cost: $20 Denver Sister Cities International members | $25 non‐members Tickets at: http://tinyurl.com/YA3MMJJW

ACC Business After Hours

Wednesday, August 16, 6pm - 7:30pm

Penthouse Floor, Tamai Towers 1255 19th Street, Denver, CO 80202 Cost: $10 members, $15 ACC non-members For more info, visit www.acccolorado.org/events/ details/business-after-hours-sakura-square-130 APABA Colorado, Sakura Foundation, Japanese Firms Association of Colorado, and NAAAP Colorado are partnering with Asian Chamber of Commerce for an annual joint Business After Hours event on the penthouse of Tamai Towers. This is a great opportunity to network with local APA businesses and organizations and to learn more about Sakura Square. Register at the ACC website and use the $5 discount code ‘sakura’ at registration.

2017 Aurora Global Fest

Saturday, August 19, 1pm - 9pm

Aurora Municipal Center, Great Lawn 15151 E. Alameda Parkway, Aurora, CO 80012 Cost: Free and open to the public For more info, visit www.auroragov.org/ things_to_do/events/global_fest

8

August 2017 | Event Calendar

Nan Desu Kan Anime Convention September 1-3

Saturday, August 12, Begins at 6pm

Come enjoy the gift of song from Takayama Japan. The Alito Women’s Chorale will be showcasing traditional and contemporary performances of both Japanese and western songs. The concert will be followed by a reception where you will be able to meet the performers and enjoy some light food and refreshments.

Join Rocky Mountain PBS for an intimate evening with “The Vietnam War” filmmakers Ken Burns and Lynn Novick. Featuring selected previews from their upcoming 10-part documentary series, a moderated panel discussion, and audience Q&A. In an immersive narrative, Ken Burns and Lynn Novick tell the epic story of the Vietnam War as it has never-before been told on film. “The Vietnam War” features testimony from nearly 100 witnesses, including many Americans who fought in the war and others who opposed it, as well as Vietnamese combatants and civilians from both the winning and losing sides.

June Swaner Gates Concert Hall The Robert and Judi Newman Center for the Performing Arts, University of Denver 2344 E Iliff Ave, Denver, CO 80208 Cost: $20 military/students | $35 - $50 reserved seating | $150 pre-event VIP reception (5:30pm) with Ken Burns and Lynn Novick and Orchestra seating For more info, visit http://bit.ly/2w2qJR4

LABOR DAY WEEKEND

NDK started in 1995 as a small anime festival at the Tivoli Student Union on the Auraria Campus in downtown Denver. Since then, they have grown to the largest convention in 13 surrounding states, excluding Texas.  They pride themselves on offering a small convention atmosphere with excellent programming, cultural material, and appearances from their wonderful guests of honor. NDK features a cosplay competition, art and model shows, video rooms, gaming tournaments, dance parties, AMV screenings, panel discussions and more.

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g 2017 Global Fest Saturday, August 19 1pm to 9pm Aurora Municipal Center, 15151 E. Alameda Parkway

Aurora Global Fest Make plans to enjoy fantastic flavors, cultural experiences and artistic expression at Global Fest, August 19 at the Aurora Municipal Center, 15151 E. Alameda Parkway, from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. Flags from more than 30 countries will make their way around the event grounds during the parade of nations to kick off the event. The Main Stage will feature six acts this year; a mix of local, energetic performers and touring, dance-worthy bands. Don’t miss award-winning headliner Morgan Heritage, a reggae band with an authentic sound. This band recently won the 2016 Grammy for Best Reggae Album! On the Community Stage local groups will take the spotlight with international fashion shows and cultural performances. Event-goers can sample their way around the globe, visiting 11 different food vendors selling delicious appetizers and entrees. The World Beer Market features refreshing beverages; Lao Wang Lager, Dry Dock IPA, Dry Dock Sour Apricot, Dry Dock Blonde, and Coors Light. While you’re there, visit the Aurora History Museum’s new exhibit “Picture Me Here: Stories of Hope and Resilience by Immigrants and Refugees,” running from July 11 to Sept. 22. This exhibit features work by displaced and marginalized communities. The museum will be showcasing three Picture Me Here projects: Through a Refugee’s Lens: The Beauty of Humanity, Bhutanese Women and Damak to Denver.

Global Fest Food Vendors Arepas House – Venezuelan arepas Dos Mares Co. – empanadas Happy Cones – New Zealand real fruit ice cream Kona Ice – shaved ice Ladi Di’s Authentic Nigerian Cuisine Michigan/Colorado Chefs – street foods Pikine Grill – West African kebabs Repicci’s Italian Ice – Italian ice/gelato Saj Mediterranean Grill – falafel, gyros & more Traveling Gypsy Café – perogie & pastries

Free parking and free admission. Find more information, including a list of performances, at AuroraGlobalFest.org. Upcoming Event | asian avenue magazine

9


10

LESSONS LEARNED FROM MARTIAL ARTS Article and photo by Tom Shieh

Connect with Tom: linkedin.com/in/tomshieh, facebook.com/tomshieh

A few months ago, I started my journey in the martial art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. It was during a time in my life when I realized there was one particular area in which I was subtly feeling like a victim. One person’s dishonesty had created a lot of pain for my family and loved ones. The truth is, I am victorious, not a victim. My setback is a setup for a comeback. And my test will become my testimony. Here are some things that I’ve remembered or realized as a result of my training. These not only apply to the art of Jiu Jitsu, but are also relevant for business, marriage, parenting, and life.

1 2 3 4 5

You must learn to fight off your back. It’s not always going to be sunny, and circumstances aren’t always going to be in your favor. Deal with it and embrace it. Don’t just give in. Be prepared.

6 7 8 9 10

There’s a huge difference between being uncomfortable and being in danger. Our society has confused being uncomfortable as being unsafe, and this promotes mediocrity. Know the difference, as true growth occurs in the zone of discomfort.

Don’t compare yourself with others. There will always be someone better, and there will always be someone worse. Instead, strive to be 1% better today than you were yesterday.

We learn so much more in our times of perceived loss and failure. This forces us to adapt and develop the power of anticipation.

Suck less. You’re not good at something yet? Great, me too! Get started TODAY and make some type of progress - little by little. Studies shows it takes at least 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to become an expert at something. Put in the work.

Success is not always measured in victories gained, but also through losses avoided. Learn to mitigate unnecessary risk and protect what you have.

Challenge the biggest obstacle that will help you become the person who you desire to be. There’s no glory in always choosing the path of least resistance. Live with intention and adventure. Shine your light fully; don’t hold back who you are. When you show up 100%, you give others permission to go all out. In turn, you elevate each other’s game.

Make use of the power of leverage. Appreciate what you have; it is enough. It’s just a matter of knowing your strengths, developing the skills, and applying them in an efficient and timely manner.

Be hungry in your pursuits, and always stay humble.

Much gratitude to Professor Sean Stewart, Don Westman, Greg Stephenson, Tanner Gott, and the rest of the crew at the Stapleton location of Colorado Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for helping me become a better man.

10

August 2017 | Better Living


COLORADO NEWS ANCHOR ADELE ARAKAWA RETIRES For more than 24 years, Adele Arakawa has been the face of evening news in Colorado. In July 2006, she was featured in the first issue of Asian Avenue magazine. We now congratulate Adele on her recent retirement. By Joie Ha If you grew up in Colorado, there’s no doubt that you’ve heard the name Adele Arakawa. Even if you aren’t a Colorado local but you’ve visited the Denver International Airport, you may have heard her voice through the train announcements. You’ve most likely heard her say, ‘hold on,’ or ‘you are delaying the train.’ Adele served as a phenomAdele’s first job in enal American evening radio as a disc jockey. news anchor for KUSA-TV (9News) in Denver, Colorado for over 24 years. In June 2017 Adele retired, leaving us with memories of her precise reporting, quick wit, and friendly demeanor. Asian Avenue was lucky to chat with Adele and get a closer look at her life and legacy. Adele started in radio at the age of 16 in the small town La Follette, Tennessee. An incredibly bright and driven young woman, Adele skipped her senior year of high school and went straight to college. Before long, she earned the title of the first ever female radio disc jockey in Knoxville, Tennessee. Adele remembers that the industry, from radio to broadcast, was always male dominated. However, that did not deter her and she broke up several all-male anchoring teams throughout her career. Often one of the first and only woman in her position, Adele had to work twice as hard to prove herself, “I was an anomaly, something of a rarity, a token. I had to work hard to be accepted as a peer by my male counterparts.” Initially during her years in radio, Adele had no need to use a last name. As one of the only woman disc jockeys, she did not need to differentiate herself from others. By virtue of being a woman in a male-dominated field, Adele was easily recognized. However, transitioning to broadcasting, Adele had

to use a full name in order to stay professional. She decided on Adele Arakawa, using her mother’s maiden name. This was for a variety of reasons, one for privacy and two because she was proud of her Japanese heritage. Before long, the brilliant Adele was able to achieve milestones no one else had before. Eventually, Adele found a home in Colorado and a calling as a news anchor for 9News. Adele cites her mother as one of her lifelong role models. “She influenced me in how to treat people with respect. She taught me that there wasn’t anything I couldn’t do, achieve, or obtain.” Her mother’s ideals followed her throughout her life. “All the qualities that my mother embodied are the things that have driven me in life,” she says. As an ethnic minority and a woman, Adele faced all types of discrimination from playground teasing as a child to the glass ceiling in reporting. However, she learned from her mother to simply rise above. No matter what challenges she faced, Adele learned to take the higher road. To those that are interested in this field, Adele advises to be flexible as the industry is rapidly changing. Television news is not as popular as it once was; more people are receiving their news from different avenues, namely the internet. However, Adele explains that, “There is always an appetite for local news, but how it is distributed is changing rapidly.” For those that are interested in Photo Credit: this career path, 9News they must be able to tackle that challenge. Although retired, Adele finds herself completely booked. With travel plans, catching up with friends, and passion projects, she is still very much a busy woman. With a successful career behind her, Adele remarks, “I have so much to look forward to—a life that is so different. I am very anxious to get started.” 9News’ Adele Arakawa Retires | asian avenue magazine

11


Colorado Language Connection’s Bridging the Gap Medical Interpreter Training in March 2017

The Importance of Using a Trained Medical Interpreter By Agi Oseth When I was in college, I helped the Indonesian community with interpretation in many situations: seeing a doctor, speaking with law enforcement, opening a bank account, and getting a driver’s license are a few examples. In general, I found that Indonesians can read and write in English quite well, but when it comes to expressing specific needs, particularly medical ones, they often need help to communicate clearly in English. Recently, I had the opportunity to complete a 40-hour medical interpreter training program called Bridging the Gap (BTG), offered by the Colorado Language Connection (CLC). The course surveys key topics in medical interpretation, including interpreter roles, interpreters’ code of ethics, basic medical terminology and procedures, the U.S. healthcare system, and cultural mediation techniques. Participants do not become experts in medicine, of course, but they learn important and relevant concepts, vocabulary, and procedures that facilitate communication and mutual understanding in medical settings. I believe this 40-hour training program provides the foundation for true professionalism for bilingual speakers who work as medical interpreters. At CLC, we emphasize medical interpretation because the consequences of misunderstanding in health care settings can be so high. Inaccurate medication, incorrect procedures, multiple readmissions, unnecessary lab tests, and potential liabilities - all of these can result when health care professionals utilize untrained interpreters. Having two hands does not make someone become a pi-

anist; similarly, the ability to speak two languages does not make a person competent to interpret or translate accurately between health care providers and patients. Untrained interpreters likely have little knowledge of medical vocabulary. They may also omit some information or change meanings in ways that may affect diagnosis and treatment and lead to adverse consequences for the patient’s health. A trained medical interpreter functions not just as a voice for the patient but also helps to bridge the cultural gap that can cause misunderstanding in medical consultations. For example, it is a common practice in Indonesia to do kerokan, a traditional healing technique in which we use the edge of a coin and menthol topical ointment or oil to scrape someone’s back. This can leave long red marks on the skin. This technique is supposed to release toxic substances trapped in the body as a remedy for illnesses such as the common cold, but it is not recognized in western medical practice. When medical personnel see the long red marks on a child’s back, they might think that the marks indicate physical abuse. A knowledgeable interpreter who is familiar with the culture and practice can help practitioners understand the situation more clearly. I believe that formal training for medical interpreting is crucial, and those who attempt to learn interpretation techniques on the job – no matter how well-intentioned they are - will inevitably lack critical knowledge and skills that could improve communication and medical care.

Agi Oseth is the marketing manager for Colorado Language Connection, a unit of the Asian Pacific Development Center. Colorado Language Connection provides In-person Interpretation, Phone Interpretation,Video Remote Interpreting (VRI), Document Translations,Transcription, Bridging the Gap 40-hour Medical Interpreter Training, and Cultural Competency Training. Over 80 languages are available, including American Sign Language.To learn more, visit www.coloradolanguageconnection.org.

12

August 2017 | Health


Back in Las Vegas after 21 years

1996

Samantha visits Las Vegas with her family at age 7. The early 1990s was a time when budget airlines did not yet exist and flying was still a luxury to many people. Families in Singapore often chose to travel to nearby countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia, usually by train or by ferry. I had the privilege to travel to the United States at that time when I was seven years old. I remember I was so excited to be travelling to the other side of the globe to a country familiar to many in South East Asia, but visited by only a few. I remember our long flight, with the first transit in Seoul, South Korea, another transit in San Francisco, California before finally arriving in Las Vegas, Nevada. It was a 24-hour flight in total, and a tiring journey for a young child. To a kid, Las Vegas was like a colorful and brightly lit wonderland. I remember being a little scared; I had never seen so many white people in my life! I remember neon lights everywhere, billboards advertising the show with white tigers, and the Bellagio fountains at night. The experience was eye-opening in its magnificence. I remember making a wish that I would return to this place again someday. I just did not know when that would be. A few months ago, while my husband and I were discussing our next vacation, we thought Las Vegas! My husband had never been; I was excited to witness his first experience of walking down The Strip and enjoying the glitz and glamour of this city that never sleeps. For me, it turned out to be a walk down the memory lane, 21 years later. I remember the Arc de Triomphe replica at the Paris Hotel. I remember seeing David Copperfield all over the billboards, and was surprised that he still performs there after all these years. Many things that were the same after 21 years, and many things felt different. The strip was crammed with people, new hotels, and casinos. The casino experience had lost some of its thrill after having visited casinos in places such as The Venetian in Macau, Black

By Samantha Quee

2017

Samantha recently visits Las Vegas again after 21 years, this time with her husband. Hawk in Colorado, and Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. The buffets were not that appetizing either, so we headed to Chinatown for Japanese yakitori and Korean bibimbap instead. Has Vegas lost its magic? No. It is still one of the most sought-after tourist destinations in the world and we had a wonderful trip. Places will change, but the love that surrounds me stays the same.

Samantha walks the Las Vegas Strip with her husband.

Samantha posing with a slot machine in Las Vegas. Travel | asian avenue magazine

13


VIDEO GAMES THAT CHALLENGE THE WAY YOU THINK By Brenda Velasquez

A single experience can be life-threatening and life-changing. For 26-year old Zhenghua Yang, this bittersweet experience came during his freshman year at the University of Illinois when he was diagnosed with a rare genetic blood disorder called ITP, or Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura. After a nosebleed that lasted 14 hours, Yang found himself alone in a hospital room with a stack of papers in his hands; the nurse told him he had only a few hours left to live, just enough time to enjoy a final dinner-and fill out his final will. Miraculously and inexplicably, Yang beat the odds that night, but he spent the next two years hospitalized, struggling with experimental medications and depression. Confined within colorless walls, Yang found joy within the vivid and captivating social world of online video games. Yang racked up over 10,000 hours of gameplay in the popular massively multiplayer online battle arena (aka MOBA) League of Legends, winning battles and forging friendships that helped him recover not only emotionally and mentally, but also medically after one of his online friends turned out to be a medical researcher. This researcher and fellow gamer connected Yang with leading blood specialists who offered critical advice that kept him alive during a precarious period where each day was expected to be his last. Born in China to electrical engineer parents, Yang’s talent for technology manifested at an early age, building his first computer at six years old and creating his first game at 10 years old; Yang drew upon this well of talent to craft a beautifully raw and honest visual novel (hand-drawn, scripted and programmed by Yang) called “Loving Life” that recounts his near-fatal experience and intense self-reflection. During this period, Yang thought of all the people in his life who had supported him and he ultimately realized, “In the short 18 years I was allowed,

SerenityForge’s upcoming game The King’s Bird

Pixel Galaxy by SerenityForge

14

August 2017 | Feature

Luna’s Wandering Stars by SerenityForge


what had I done to give back? What had I done to deserve all of their love?” Yang was inspired to not only change his own attitude towards life, but to also change society’s view of video games by demonstrating their potential to impact people’s lives in a wholesome and meaningful way. He explains, “I couldn’t help but think back and ask myself: these games like League of Legends were not designed to help me. Yet, they did. What kind of power would we be able to unlock if we began making games with the intention to help others?” Armed with a new sense of purpose, Yang finished up his Finance studies at CU Boulder and established an independent (“indie”) game company named Serenity Forge (SF). The name describes how the company strives to nourish society’s consciousness by developing thoughtful games that evoke a sense of internal tranquility - a therapeutic entertainment experience much needed in our chaotic modern world. Yang quickly formed a team of peers who shared his yearning to extend the gaming industry’s capacity beyond the typical intellectually-simplistic content that people play on their mobile phones just to burn some time. These peers now comprise SF’s team of creative professionals whose talent fuels the artistry involved in video game development. In fact, SF’s artistic vision was recently

recognized by the Smithsonian American Art Museum which selected the SF game “Pixel Galaxy” to be featured in its 2016 “Indie Arcade: Coast to Coast” exhibit. In the game, the player must turn enemies into friends in order to survive or win, which refreshingly contradicts messages of war and violence promoted in popular media. Each of SF’s games revolve around a similarly meaningful theme, whether it be educational or inspirational such as “Luna’s Wandering Stars” which explores the beauty of Newtonian physics, or “The King’s Bird” which incorporates elements of parkour into a narrative about a girl escaping oppression. The common denominator among the games is the desire to improve the player’s life in the areas of mental and emotional intelligence. Indeed, in a 2016 interview with The Nightly Met, Yang explains the capacity for video games to cultivate empathy and compassion in players, referencing a first-person exploration game called “Gone Home” (2016) where the player gets an insightful glimpse into the experience of an LGBT character. Yang insists, “There’s no other way that you would ever be able to understand the kind of pain that you have to go through, besides video games, where you are literally walking around in this world in her shoes.” In “Loving Life,” Yang refers to the mutual benefit that empathic understanding can yield, saying, “Be in

Yang’s autobiographical visual novel Loving Life

Yang presents at TEDxCU 2016 in his signature bowtie

Photo by: Colorado Public Radio (CPR.org)

my skin, and maybe you’ll find your own way as well.” It’s reassuring to know that despite Colorado’s small selection of gaming companies, Zhenghua Yang and his team at Serenity Forge are dedicated to the cause of broadening the industry’s narratives and inspiring altruistic values. Meanwhile, Yang continues to maintain a healthy daily dose of League of Legend gaming: three hours a day keeps the doctor away. Visit www.SerenityForge.com to learn more. SF games are available on Steam for Windows & Mac.

Photos property of SerenityForge.com

Video Games That Challenge The Way You Think | asian avenue magazine

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Fall Staycations in Colorado By Patricia Kaowthumrong

Fall ushers in a season of cooler-yet-comfortable temps and colorful displays of foliage in Colorado — making it the perfect time to explore our state. Plus, a seemingly endless roster of accommodation and dining options make it easy to turn a foliage-viewing excursion into a weekend staycation. Here’s our roundup of top places to experience Colorado’s fall beauty, with ideas on where to stay and sample the area’s diverse flavors.

Trail Ridge Road, Rocky Mountain National Park

Trail Ridge Road Photo by: Kent Kanouse Sandwiched by the gateway towns of Estes Park and Grand Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park boasts more than 415 square miles of some of Mother Nature’s finest landscapes. And fall is a special time in the park, when wildflower meadows are replaced with autumn colors and the sounds of bugling male elk (they’re hollerin’ to their harems or trying to attract new mates!) can be heard throughout the park. For top-of-the-world panoramas (literally) of the transformative alpine backdrops, drive Trail Ridge Road from Estes Park to Grand Lake, which crests at over 12,000 feet and includes many scenic overlooks. The road typically closes for the winter in mid- to late October, depending on weather conditions, so plan accordingly. Note: Dress warmly; the weather

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August 2017 | Cover Story

can change rapidly in the autumn months, particularly at high altitudes. Food Stop: Great for a quick bite after a day exploring Rocky Mountain, Baba’s Burgers & Gyros in Estes Park offers comforting grub at affordable prices. You can’t go wrong with a classic gyro with an order of Greek garlic fries, but they also serve up satisfying elk and buffalo cheeseburgers. Stay: Located about 7 miles from the national park, Baldpate Inn has offered visitors a cozy place to rest their heads since 1917. Book one of the bed and breakfast’s 12 guestrooms and four cabins, have a daily three-course breakfast (the freshly baked cinnamon rolls are to die for) and check out the inn’s quirky key collection, lauded as the world’s largest.


Million Dollar Highway Photo by: Andy Tolsma

The San Juan Skyway, near Durango The 236-mile San Juan Skyway is one of the best ways to see some of southwest Colorado’s most famous high-altitude towns, including Durango, Silverton, Telluride and Ouray. Show-stopping views of the spiky San Juan Mountains line the route, which are even more stunning when the aspens stands turn gold — adding eye-catching contrast to the evergreen forests. Known for its white-knuckle turns and heart-pumping heights (it climbs three high-mountain passes), the stretch of the San Juan Skyway between Silverton and Ouray is known as the “Million Dollar Highway.” Some speculate that the portion earned its nickname for costing so much to build, while others say the name reflects the route’s million-dollar views.

Cruise it on your own and decide for yourself. Food Stop: The cuisines of Nepal, Tibet and India shine at Himalayan Kitchen in Durango, home to a wealth of delicious restaurants. Recap the day’s adventures over steaming plates of mo-mos (dumplings) and crispy samosas, and savor the Sherpa Stew, a hearty mix of lamb, chicken, veggies, ginger, garlic, timboor and rice. Stay: The Strater Hotel’s Victorian facade has stood at the heart of Durango, known for its enduring Old West character, since 1887. The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad still whisks passengers to Silverton just two blocks away, and the Strater’s antique-decorated guestrooms maintain their turn-of-the-century charm.

Golden Gate Canyon State Park, Golden

A thriving population of aspens, lovely sights of the snow-capped Rocky Mountains and sprawling meadows make Golden Gate Canyon State Park an easy choice for capturing autumn’s magic near Denver. The nearly 12,000-acre park has 36 miles of hiking trails for all skill levels. Favorite spots include Panorama Point, where you can see the Indian Peaks framed by trees dressed in bright yellow, and the Horseshoe Trail, an 1.8-mile trek that’ll take you through aspen groves and along peaceful streams. If you’d like to extend your stay, camping, cabins, yurts and a guest house are available at the park.

Food Stop: Tucked in an unassuming strip mall on Federal Boulevard in Denver, Suvipa Thai Food’s menu will satisfy all of your cravings for Southeast Asian flavors with Thai staples like tom yum with shrimp, a soul-warming hot-and-sour soup, and pad Thai, the classic stir-fried rice noodle dish. Stay: If you’re hankering to stay somewhere a bit fancier than what’s available at Golden Gate Canyon State Park, Queen Ann Bed and Breakfast Inn caters to adults seeking a quiet urban escape (kids under 12 years old aren’t allowed). Book the Local Artist Suite 2, which is equipped with a castiron antique tub and a jetted tub for two. Fall Staycations in Colorado | asian avenue magazine

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Guanella Pass, near Georgetown

This 22-mile paved route from Grant to Georgetown in the Front Range just west of Denver crosses 11,669-foot Guanella Pass, leading through thick aspen and pine forests and to amazing panoramas of Mount Bierstadt and Mount Evans, majestic fourteeners (peaks 14,000 feet tall and over). Take advantage of the unlimited opportunities to photograph the gilded alpine scenery, and keep an eye out for the area’s wildlife, including bighorn sheep, deer and mountain goats. Typically a pit stop on the journey from Denver to and from the mountains via I-70, Georgetown has more to offer than meets the eye. Established in 1859 during the Pikes Peak Gold Rush, the mountain enclave was the center of Colorado’s mining industry during the late 19th century. The downtown area still boasts original storefronts, and during

the summer and fall, you can ride the Georgetown Loop Railroad to nearby Silver Plume—also an excellent way to take in the pre-winter season. Food Stop: A favorite hangout of local Georgetowners, Lucha Cantina’s historic building lived its former life as the historic Red Ram Saloon, which is rumored to be haunted. Snag a table at the original wooden bar for a margarita made with freshsqueezed juices and fill your belly with some tasty Tex-Mex cuisine. Tip: Order the made-in-house salsa sampler. Stay: Retreat to the French Alps at Hotel Chateau Chamonix, a boutique property near downtown Georgetown featuring European-inspired architecture. Perks include a complimentary glass of wine at check-in and a continental breakfast delivered to your door every morning.

Guanella Pass Photos by: Kyle Kress

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August 2017 | Cover Story


Maroon Bells, near Aspen

Maroon Bells Photo by: Vinh Nguyen

Finding the Best Color

The Maroon Bells — the mother of all must-see Colorado sights — are lovely in any season, but the patches of golden aspens that surround the twin fourteeners (named Maroon Peak and North Maroon Peak) add extra beauty to the area in the autumn. Located about 10 miles from Aspen, the Maroon Bells can be accessed by a public bus operated by the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority; or you can drive all the way up iconic Maroon Lake before 8am and after 5pm (the lighting on the peaks is divine at sunrise). There are multiple hiking trails available at Maroon Bells Wilderness Area, including the popular 1-mile Maroon Lake Scenic Trail, which skirts the body of water that reflects a flawless

Fall in Maroon Bells Photo by: Vinh Nguyen

image of the mountains, and the more difficult 4-mile Crater Lake Trail, a steep trek to primo views of the surrounding aspen forests. Food Stop: Aspen’s Bamboo Bear Restaurant serves up a variety of Asian dishes with many Vietnamese options. The banh mi, a Vietnamese street sandwich, bibimbap, a Korean mixed rice plate with your choice of protein, and pho noodle soup bowls, are all wonderful choices. Stay: The Gant offers splurge-worthy accommodations in a Colorado city known for luxury. Each spacious condo has its own fireplace, balcony and kitchen — offering all the comforts of home with a swanky twist.

For more fall travel ideas in Colorado, visit Colorado.com/Fall. The timing of peak color varies due to local weather conditions year to year, but you can see most of the change take place by the fourth week in September at higher elevations (above 8,500 feet), including in the northern and central mountains. Areas at lower elevations might show their fall colors a bit later but by late October to early November at the latest. Go to weather.com/maps/fall-foliage to track the progress. Fall Staycations in Colorado | asian avenue magazine

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Fall Festivals Worth the Drive

Build your itinerary around these fun happenings around the state.

Keystone Octoberfest September 2, 2017

Telluride Blues and Brews September 15 - 17, 2017

Revel in the boun-

This kid-friendly affair has something for

Every Coloradan should experience Tel-

western Colo-

all ages. Little ones love the face painting,

luride’s jaw-dropping mountain grandeur

rado’s North

dancing and bounce house, while grown-

at least once — and Telluride Blues and

Fork Valley

ups appreciate the New Belgium brews

Brews is an ideal opportunity to feast

through a wide

and the Brats, Belgians and Brews beer

your eyes on the area’s one-of a-kind

array of unique

dinner. Meanwhile, the whole family can

landscapes and enjoy the laid-back town’s

participate in the Das Bier Burner 5K.

renowned music festival culture. Legends

farm and winery tours

like Bonnie Raitt and Steve Winwood are

and performances from local

just two of several legends who will take

musicians, poets, dancer, comedians and

the stage.

more. Shop for works of art by area cre-

Longs Peak Scottish-Irish Highland Festival, Estes Park September 7 - 10. 2017

events, including

atives and super-fresh produce, including

One of the largest gatherings of its kind,

Fall Fest, Boulder September 16 - 17, 2017

this fest is a tribute to the heritage, sounds

Take in the changing of the seasons in

peppers and lavender.

crafts of local artisans at the Firefly Hand-

Chile & Frijoles Festival, Pueblo September 22 - 24, 2017

made Market and listening to tunes from

Nothing signals the arrival of autumn

don’t miss the

local and national artists. If you have time

like the smell of chiles roasting over an

Strong Man

before or afterwards, stop at Chautauqua

open fire, and the Pueblo-grown mirasol

Competition

Park for an unparalleled viewpoint of the

chile is the star of this annual southern

and the Joust-

Flatiron Mountains.

Colorado tradition.Taste the fiery pepper

and tastes of Ireland and Scotland.Watch joisting knights, bag pipers, drummers and dancers,

downtown Boulder while browsing the

in a wealth of signature dishes — like the

ing Championships, and soak up Estes Park’s small-town charm.

Mountain Harvest Festival, Paonia September 21 - 24, 2017

Oktoberfest Denver September 22 – 24 & 29 – 30, 2017 Brat-eating contests, a dachshund derby, and of course, tons of refreshing German brews make this stein-hoisting extravaganza a delight in the heart of the Mile High City. Dance to live bands, and indulge in sausages with sauerkraut, potato salad, pretzels and other yummy German treats.

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tiful harvest of

August 2017 | Cover Story

famous Pueblo Slopper, an open-faced hamburger smothered in homemade green chile.


Shrimp Panang Curry

Beef Short Rib

Jett Sushi Ramen

5007 East Colfax Ave. | Denver, CO 80220 | Tel: 303-333-5007 Jett Sushi Ramen was a random surprise on a Wednesday evening after some car repair and a hot, hungry walk down Colfax. We were greeted by the friendliest bartender, Sung from South Korea. He immediately offered us $2.50 Coors Banquet beers on special as we bellied up to the bar. Now that’s an offer you can’t refuse on a fiery summer evening. What may appear as an East Colfax hole-in-the-wall Asian restaurant nestled between a smoky American sports bar, and a Bikram yoga joint, Jett Sushi Ramen may just have the best sushi anywhere on East Colfax. The décor is fresh and clever with a colorful mix of modern and traditional. Even the smooth wooden chopsticks are classier than most sushi restaurants in Denver. Jett features a new wine menu, an exotic cocktail menu, a full assortment of sakes, and an alluring array of top shelf Japanese whiskeys. There is even a thoughtful, healthy list of “mocktails” for those avoiding alcohol. We were welcomed by a tray of fresh purple and green vegetable sprouts on the bar, easily accessible for the sushi chefs as ingredients or garnish. Owner Vicky Zheng is Taiwanese, and proud to feature an eclectic mix of Asian cuisine at Jett. She and her husband coown about 30 restaurants throughout Colorado. It was easy to see why Jett is popular among a diverse array of people: Jett’s influences include Japanese, Chinese, and Thai cuisine. More recently, they have added Taiwanese and Korean flavors to menu. Recommendations from the new menu: My favorite of their cocktails is Japanese Whispers, similar to an Old Fashioned with Japanese whiskey and true Asian flair. Kimchi Fried Rice with an egg on top is listed as an appetizer, which is perfect for its lightness, slight spice, and pleasant taste. The combination of bean sprouts,

cabbage, scallions, and fine slivers of nori as garnish on the egg make this dish a real treat. The Shrimp Panang Curry has a gorgeous presentation in color, texture, and fragrant aroma. Grilled, marinated tiger prawns, sautéed kale, steamed asparagus, and steamed kabocha squash make an excellent mix with the thick curry sauce, rich with the perfect level of spice. Order a side of rice and make this dish a hearty meal. Perhaps the true highlight of the experience was the new menu’s Beef Short Rib. This dish arrived steaming and sizzling like fajitas on a cast iron plate. Enoki and shiitake mushrooms, baby bok choy, scallions and sesame seeds provided texture and taste to accompany the beef, which is seared in a secret sauce that deserves an award. It is rich, deep, dark, and full of flavor. Again, a side of rice rounds this dish out to a full meal. What else is new at Jett? The first step was to update the sushi bar, which adds a nice, open flow between the sushi bar and newly-expanded cocktail bar, with easy access to the rest of the dining room. The next step was updating the main menu and adding ramen, a popular local favorite as Denver’s population booms with young foodies. Jett’s ramen selection includes Tonkotsu, Spicy Kimchi, Miso, and Shoyu ramen. The Tonkotsu broth is made in-house by boiling pork bones for at least 48 hours. Their chashu, or braised pork belly, is made in-house as well. The final phase of Jett’s update will include new signage to reflect their revised logo, as well as renovation and construction to update the space. Jett is being careful to make their changes step-by-step so they can stay open, invite in new clientele, and maintain a healthy flow of business.

Mention this article and receive a free appetizer, good through December 31, 2017.

Kimchi Fried Rice

By Jaime Marston Cook Photos by Sarah Shirazi Check out Jett’s Everyday Happy Hour! • Tuesday to Friday from 3pm – 6pm: Sushi and drink specials • Tuesday to Saturday from 9pm – close: Cocktail Hour • Sunday and Monday: All-day dollar beer and sake, and half-off select appetizers Jett features a main dinner menu, a sushi menu with fresh sashimi and a variety of clever and delicious rolls, a happy hour menu, and drinks menus featuring local and imported beers, wines, sakes, and specialty cocktails. They also have a takeout menu, and free delivery within a three-mile radius if guests call the restaurant (there is a $3 delivery charge for online orders). Jett is a great place for a date, a classy dinner out with the family, a happy hour among friends, or alone after work with a good book or a magazine! The staff members at Jett are all welcoming and friendly, and allow for a relaxed dining experience with no rush to turn tables. East Colfax may conjure a feeling of grit, but Jett’s presence is testimony that East Colfax is not all tire shops and old motels. The delicious tastes and flavors found at Jett Sushi Ramen are adventurous, hearty, and nourishing, and the drinks are fun. Jett’s menus provide plenty of options for any palate, and their sushi is fresh and fabulous. Jett Sushi Ramen does justice to the call for quality Asian cuisine. Burabō, Jett. Burabō.

Jett’s full bar serves cocktails, beers, wines and sake drinks. Restaurant Peek | asian avenue magazine

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MASTER TEA By Samantha Quee

MASTER TEA 6600 W. 120th Ave, Unit I, Broomfield, CO 80020

Boba tea is also known highest quality of boba Tel: 720.583.1538 as “bubble tea” or “pearl tea, David tasted and fiOpen Hours: Everyday 11am - 8pm tea” - these terms repnalized the menu. resent the round, black “As a certified barista, tapioca beads in the drink. This famous and addictive beverage I am very familiar with tea brewing and I know the characterishails originally from Taiwan. Fans of boba tea will be pleased to tics of every tea leaf. Not all tea leaves are equal. The temperaknow that an authentic Taiwanese boba shop exists right here ture of the water and the amount of time for brewing varies in Broomfield, Colo. widely depending on the tea,” he says. David Chi, age 39, opened Master Tea in August of 2016. DaOutside the door, guests can smell the aroma of the tea vid was born and raised in Taipei, Taiwan and moved to the U.S. leaves lingering in the air before setting foot inside of Master in 2009. He is certified as a tea master and barista in Taiwan. Tea. Making sure to only use tea leaves imported directly from Though it is his first family business venture in the States, he is Taiwan, David ensures that his shop uses high-quality ingredino stranger to the tea shop industry. David has already opened ents and that his team creates fresh drinks daily. six tea shops and one restaurant back home in Taipei.  “Some boba tea shops pre-make their drinks ahead of time, In a conversation with Asian Avenue, David Chi shared that but we don’t. It is our top priority to brew our teas fresh daily.  while he has vast experience in the food and beverage industry, We also change out the boba every three hours to maintain he faced difficulties when opening Master Tea. He says, “One freshness. Every drink is hand-shaken for the freshest taste,” of the challenges is to introduce something new and different he says. to American tastes. I noticed that a lot of the boba tea shops David revealed a little secret of his business. He created a here have been Americanized and are losing their authenticity. cooking method for bobas with the perfect texture, where they I wanted to create something Americans can warm up to and are not too hard or too soft.  at the same time keep the recipes as close to Taiwanese flavor He says, “We do not soak our bobas in honey because it can as possible.” affect the taste of some of the drinks. This method is not done Making sure to keep his recipes authentic and provide the in Taiwan.”

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August 2017 | Dessert Peek


David mentioned that he removed slush drinks from the menu because the temperature would make the boba hard too quickly. Master Tea offers soy milk or almond milk for customers who prefer alternatives to dairy. The creamer used is coconut-based and lactose-free. Customers who prefer coffee also have options such as the Iced Caramel Macchiato and Iced Mocha, all served with boba. Yum! My favorite drink is their signature drink, Master Milk Tea. Brewed using heavily roasted Oolong tea leaves, the tea taste is strong and flavorful, and the silky texture complements the chewiness of the bobas, giving it the perfect combination. I also love the friendly Taiwanese atmosphere of the shop. David said that he hopes that Master Tea can be the place Taiwanese people visit when they feel homesick or crave authentic boba drinks. “We offer Tea Eggs here, too, which are hard boiled eggs that are steeped and braised in tea leaves, soy sauce, and Chinese spices. Tea Eggs are popular in Taiwan, and available at every convenience store; you don’t see any here in Colorado. Serving Tea Eggs also helps Chinese people feel at home,” says David. Master Tea recently started selling gift cards. They are also working hard to add new options to their menu, including popular items from Taiwan’s night markets. Stay tuned!

MAST ER TE A

IN OOMFIELD, CO BR

Sign up for the Master Tea Five Star Rewards program and get one point for every drink purchase. 10 points earn one free drink. Take advantage of doublepoint Wednesdays and anticipate surprise rewards for VIP members!

Master Tea | asian avenue magazine

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Bringing the ramen culture to Denver!

RAMEN YAKITORI SUSHI OPEN

Mon-Thu & Sat: 5pm - 1am Fri: 5pm - 2am | Sun: 4pm - 9pm

48 parking spots available behind the building!

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COLD RAMEN AIR $12

MEN IN BLACK $13

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COLD NOODLE WITH 3 SHRIMP TEMPURA IN SOY FISH BROTH WITH HINT OF OLIVE OIL

SOYBEAN MILK BROTH, SESAME PASTE, PEANUT FLAVOR SAUCE WITH SEASONED GROUND CHICKEN

(NO ANIMAL INGREDIENTS)

(TOFU SUBSTITUTE AVAILABLE)

2907 Huron St. Unit 103 | Denver, CO 80202 | Tel: 720.639.2911

www.mytokio.com

Golden Shanghai Asian Restaurant

● The Best Chinese Restaurant by 710 AM Restaurant Show ● The Best Chinese Restaurant by the 1430 KEZW Restaurant Show ● Voted 2007 Top 100 Chinese Restaurant in the US

1412 S. Parker Rd. A-134 Denver, CO 80231 (303) 743-7666 (303)743-9079 (303)743-8210


The Importance of Pronouncing A Name

By Pok Payattakool Sergent At “Rock The Boat: From Legacy to Movement,” a leadership conference for Asian American students and student leaders hosted last spring, one of the workshops provided a fascinating presentation about the Museum of Asian Art. Midway through the session, the facilitator presented information and images about a famous artist from Thailand. What the facilitator said next illustrated a common problem experienced by many Asians, especially Thai people because of their longer names. “This next artist is from Thailand,” the presenter began. “Does anyone here know Thai or how to pronounce this name? I’m not going to even attempt to pronounce his name. It’s such a long and challenging name!” From there, the presenter continued with the explanation of the artist’s works and background. I have facilitated group discussions, so I know how important it is to set a good example and encourage a class to pay attention. Feeling distracted, I knew something was really bothering me. Since the facilitator was also Asian American, I imagined that he would relate to the experience of having a foreign name, and how difficult that can be in the United States. The fact that he did not even attempt to pronounce the Thai artist’s name struck me as though he was dismissing the person’s identity entirely. I thought, doesn’t he know what it feels like when someone mispronounces his name? Maybe he considered that it was more respectful to say, “I do not want to mess up his name by mispronouncing it, so I won’t say it at all.” My maiden name is Payattakool. Being Thai-Chinese, I have had this experience often in my life. I believe it is time for all of us to try harder. After the session ended, I complimented him on the presentation, and I also let him know the impact of not even attempt-

ing to say the artist’s Thai name. The facilitator apologized; I appreciated his listening to me, and I walked away feeling good about myself for having spoken up about my beliefs. The good thing is that this facilitator is young and just getting started. I offered my advice to him, in the hopes of helping him to improve his presentations and to become aware of Asian identity issues that some of us encounter.

ADVICE CORNER

If you are going to be presenting in front of an audience, know your materials. This includes the pronunciation of a long name, a foreign name, or a name that may be difficult to pronounce. If you do not know how to pronounce something, use resources like YouTube or the Internet. Not only will you demonstrate that you know your subject matter, but also that you care about the person’s identity. In any office or business environment, managers, team leaders, and co-workers must learn how to pronounce their colleagues’ names correctly as a sign of respect. If you don’t know how, just ask. Mispronunciations can happen with any name from any nationality. I made a faux pas at that same leadership conference. The event organizer’s name is spelled Choa. I pronounced it ‘Sho_Ahh,’ but she graciously corrected me by saying that it is pronounced like ‘Joe.’ Our names are significant parts of our individual identity. Please honor a person’s identity by saying their name. Even if a person’s name seems difficult to pronounce, it is worth asking and trying to get it right. In doing so, we honor and respect one another. Start the conversation. It will help our journey together to be positive and enlightened. Op-Ed | asian avenue magazine

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bookreview THE SYMPATHIZER Author: Viet Thanh Nguyen Publisher: Grove Press Language: English Paperback: 384 pages ISBN-10: 0802124941 ISBN-13: 978-0802124944

Reviewed by Cory Palencia The Sympathizer was the 2016 recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and is a book that deserves all the praise that comes its way. It is a thoughtful, nuanced tale of refugees and immigrants affect by the fallout of the Vietnam War - a topic that has, over time, largely been told by one, limited perspective. The main character of The Sympathizer is an unnamed half-Vietnamese, half-French protagonist who tells a firsthand perspective of the war and its end as experienced by the Vietnamese. A captivating plot made unforgettable as the author, Viet Thanh Nguyen, weaves relatable existential struggles into this murky and complicated historical event. Nguyen so vividly creates this setting and its characters that, every step of the way, the reader feels inextricably linked to the actions of the narrator. The narrator paints his world not as one worldview but of two often conflicting worldviews vying for dominance, and sometimes beginning to unravel: North Vietnam vs. South Vietnam, communism vs. capitalism, the United States vs. Vietnam, loyalty vs. honor, and much more. Author Viet Thanh Nguyen writes with great control and a simmering rage. He is at times dark, dry, humorous, and heartbreaking. The Sympathizer unflinchingly provides honest, cutting commentary on the things that consume his life. He is critical of his friends, his enemies, and himself. Readers bear witness to Nguyen’s mastery of the written word. His ability to build suspense and inspire empathy gives this novel a majority of its weight. Nguyen wants the reader to feel the failures and successes of the countries, political parties, and the people involved in The Sympathizer. Nguyen and his narrator provide a needed, and long

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August 2017 | Book Review

YEN GU N

THAN T H E VI

overdue modern voice for the Vietnamese and a non-US-centric viewpoint of the wars waged under colonial banners. In one of the more pivotal parts of the novel, the narrator is given the opportunity to shed misconceptions of the Vietnamese and fight for fair and equal representation. The Sympathizer unfurls layer by layer and gives the reader new perspectives on experience. The characters are dynamic and the plot is irresistible. Masterfully crafted, this full-bodied book is a page-turner. It is a modern novel, built to stand with the greats of the past. This novel is also connected to the world around it; in times like these, the book is a voice and a conscience that is vital to current dialogue.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Viet Thanh Nguyen is a writer and professor born in Buon Me Thuot, Vietnam. As a refugee, Viet came to the United States at the age of four. He is currently a professor of American Studies and Ethnicity in English Department at the University of Southern California. Additional works include a non-fiction book, Nothing Ever Dies, and a short story collection, The Refugees.


filmreview

LANGUAGE EXCELS IN A NEW WORLD OF FILM: “EL FUTURO PERFECT”

Reviewed by Caroline Field

Once in a while, a movie redefines meaning in a film and takes it to a new level. “El Futuro Perfect,” or “The Future Perfect,” may be that movie in 2017. Xiobin, an exchange student from China, moves to Argentina with her family in order to make some money. She struggles to adjust to the new language and her job, and keeps her Indian boyfriend a secret from her parents. The film explores the questions of what a young person should do when life is dictated by outside forces and how to overcome those obstacles. While “El Futuro Perfect” takes its time, the slow pace doesn’t diminish the feelings that a foreign student might experience as she adjusts to an unfamiliar country. The actors immerse themselves by speaking stilted Spanish, adding to the flexible reality of the film and allowing the viewer to enjoy the natural tone of the movie. Name of Director: Nele Wohlatz Good-natured humor and minimal music add a sense Cast: Xiaobin Zhang, Saroj Kumar Malik, of light-heartedness, which is perfect for the kind of story that the director wanted to tell. The actors are reMian Jiang laxed and complete the narrative with their subtle body Release Date: November 12, 2016 language while talking about their wishes and dreams. Run Time: 65 min While the grungy costumes and the simple colors of the Country: Argentina film lack creativity, the gray wash over the screen does Language: Spanish, Mandarin reveal a feeling of blandness in Xiobin’s life. IMBD Rating: 6.6/10 Language is the biggest focus in this film, playing a major role in revealing what a character is really thinking about when speaking to another person. The dialogue is realistic and it is surprising how well these actors pull off speaking multiple languages and telling a comprehensive yet immersive story. This is the most unique film of 2017 in terms of the language component of storytelling. While the ending did shift tones dramatically, the movie takes the audience to the climax and reveals an unexpected side of human nature. Advanced lighting techniques and a great story that inspires viewers to consider how they perceive the world awaits in “El Futuro Perfect.” This movie is shorter than usual, but that does not diminish the experience. My Rating: 8/10 Film Review | asian avenue magazine

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Japanese culture thrives at the Cherry Blossom Festival Sakura Square was filled with excitement as the Tri-State/Denver Buddhist Temple and Sakura Foundation presented the 45th Annual Cherry Blossom Festival, June 24th and 25th. The marketplace was filled with colorful cultural wares, the audience for the Live Stage presented by NHK WORLD was enthusiastic and taste buds were satisfied with delicious Japanese cuisine made with care by Temple members and volunteers. The festival’s opening ceremony honored retiring 9News anchor Adele Arakawa for her longstanding support of the Japanese American (JA) community in Denver. Nine JA organizations presented Adele with a stunning glass art piece custom-designed by Blake Street Glass. The entertainment that followed throughout the weekend included taiko performances by four different groups, traditional Japanese dance, ukulele groups, judo, aikido and karate demonstrations and vocal performances. The marketplace was lined with Japanese-inspired clothing, jewelry, house wares, anime, t-shirts, pottery, tote bags, artwork and toys. Nearly half of the vendors were new to the festival, with some traveling from Utah, Texas, Oregon, New Mexico and California and others based in Denver and Colorado. Kids learned Japanese words and made paper kokeshi dolls in the free craft area.

Festival goers who ventured to the Song, Art and Somen area located under the Temple were treated to karaoke, an art display and demonstration by local artists using Japanese techniques and/or subject matter and plenty of treats such as somen (cold noodles), teriyaki chicken and spam musubi. The organizers wish to express their Serving temple food at the festival sincere gratitude to the many volunteers, Photo by Glenn Asakawa marketplace vendors, sponsors and attendees of the festival. The valued support of community partners such as Pacific Mercantile, JFC International Inc, Solera and Green Spot Inc. make the Cherry Blossom Festival a successful, must-attend annual event. The 2018 Cherry Blossom Festival dates will be posted in the coming months at Bottles of for sale www.CherryBlossomDenver.org. Photo by Amanda Tonis Adele Arakawa honored for her retirement Photo by Amanda Tonis

Christine Wanifuchi, CEO of APDC, retires On July 22, Asian Pacific Development Center’s staff, board and friends joined in celebrating the retirement of Christine Wanifuchi. The room was full at Miyama Japanese Steak House and Sushi Bar Restaurant in Lone Tree, as Christine was thanked for her many years of service as CEO of APDC and to the AAPI community. Board Chair Tony Oum said, “We would like to thank Christine Wanifuchi for her years of service at APDC. With her leadership, APDC accomplished much with completing a successful capital cam-

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August 2017 | On Scene

paign for a new building and with expanding much needed support services such as behavioral health, adult education and other programs. We sincerely wish her the best in her retirement.” When Christine announced her retirement over a year ago, the board underwent an extensive search for her replacement. Harry Budisidharta was announced the new CEO of APDC. “APDC strives to continue its work which started some 37 years ago. And, we will do this under Harry’s leadership,” said Oum.

Left to right: APDC Board Vice Chair Lily Shen, former CEO Christine Wanifuchi, Board Chair Tony Oum and new CEO Harry Budisidharta


22nd annual festival celebrates Filipino culture Article and Photos by Cory Palencia On June 10, the Filipino-American Community of Colorado (FACC) hosted its 22nd annual Philippine Festival, a celebration of Filipino-Americans and their culture in Denver. Located in Sloan’s Lake, members and their family put on daylong event filled with great food, dance and fun. The performances started with a singing of the Star Spangled Banner, in which, people across the street at the American Legion stopped what they were doing to join in. Then the choir sang a wonderful set of songs on topics ranging from love, longing and home. Next up, an incredible array of dances was performed by dancers from both FACC and PASCO, the Philippine-American Society of Colorado, including Tinikling, a popular dance wherein the dancers flit between to moving and clacking bamboo sticks, only the most skilled dancers walk away without pinched toes! As each performance took place, members of the FACC would paint

the histories and significance of each dance and song in between, giving some great context. Wonderful and unique acts performed on stage throughout the day, providing entertainment to go with the incredible food available. The vendors provided all the classics and more; ample portions of chicken adobo, lumpia, and pancit were there along with kabobs and especially, halo halo, a perfect frozen treat to cool down with and beat the heat of the day. Tents lined the venue displaying proudly their many goods and wares, ranging from novelty t-shirts to massages to martial arts studios and books on Filipino-American histories. The volunteers worked through said heat and threw a welcoming, fun, and tasty cultural celebration. Everyone on site at the “Bahay Kubo,” cultural home and hub of the FACC, drew in the guests with their outgoing personalities, easy demeanor, and infectious laughs.

The Filipino-American Community of Colorado’s Philippine Festival is a fun opportunity to learn more about the many strong cultures in Colorado.

Mayor Hancock celebrates AAPI women leaders Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock and First Lady Mary Louise Lee invited Asian American Pacific Islander women leaders to a special Diamonds and Pearls of Denver evening on July 24. Leaders influencing Denver’s cultural landscape, education, health and wellness, policy and advocacy, community development, and much more were rec-

ognized by the mayor and his wife at Cableland. The event was catered by head chef and owner of Tokio, Miki Hashimoto. The invitation stated, “It’s an opportunity to recognize ladies in leadership roles that have contributed to Denver and the community by your efforts and have done so with a sense of professionalism, excellence, pride and style!” Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock and First Lady Mary Louise Lee honor AAPI women leaders

Diamonds and Pearls of Denver event on July 24

From left: Jen Nguyen, Lily Shen, First Lady Mary Louise Lee, Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock, Christina Yutai Guo, Jane Lim, Peggy Moore, Erin Yoshimura, Fran Cambell Mile-High Happenings | asian avenue magazine

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QIXI

FESTIVAL: The Story of the Cowherd and the Weaver Maiden By Amy Ng

Niulang and Zhinu became the stars Altair and Vega. The stars move closest to each other during the Qixi Festival.

Flowers are sold during the Qixi Festival, the Chinese Valentine’s Day. This year the festival is on August 28, 2017.

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August 2017 | Cultural Tidbits

Love can be one of the most beautiful emotions, and it can also be one of the most tragic. The story of the Cowherd and the Weaver Girl is an ancient Chinese legend about two star-crossed lovers. The tale begins with a young cowherd named Niulang and his trusty ox friend. One day, as the two were roaming through the pastures, the ox wandered off. Niulang followed his friend, and to his surprise, happened upon seven lovely maidens bathing in a natural spring. These maidens were fairy siblings who snuck down from the heavens to have a little fun. Feeling mischievous, the cowherd stole the maidens’ clothes and hid them away from the springs. The youngest of the seven sisters, Zhinu, was sent to retrieve all of the clothes. Zhinu was able to get their clothes back, but there was a catch. As ancient Chinese tradition dictates, a woman who is seen naked by a man is bound by honor to marry him. Luckily, it turned out that the young couple had already fallen in love. They became so infatuated with each other that they spent all of their time together. Unfortunately, the two caught the attention of the gods. Zhinu was in charge of weaving the colorful clouds of the sunset every day. The gods were furious that the fairy maiden was not only neglecting her duties, but also spending too much time in the mortal world. The two lovers were brought up to the heavens, and the gods scratched a long, wide river in the skies between them, thus creating the Milky Way. The couple was devastated; Niulang and Zhinu would only ever be able to watch each

other from a distance. Magpie birds pitied the cowherd and the weaver girl, so once a year, a big flock would from a bridge across the Milky Way so that the lovers could be reunited for one night every year. The Qixi Festival (which translates to “double seventh day”) celebrates the celestial couple on the seventh day of the seventh month of the lunar calendar. This day is also known as Chinese Valentine’s Day, and is one of the most romantic traditional Chinese festivals. This year, the festival falls on August 28, 2017. Traditionally, unmarried and newlywed women would gather in the streets to show off their embroidery and sewing skills. Women would also try to thread a needle as quickly as they can under moonlight to display they domestic prowess. Today, the festival is celebrated very much like the Western Valentine’s Day. There are gifts and flowers galore, and another excuse to cuddle up to that special someone. By far, the most romantic thing to do during this festival is to go stargazing. Niulang and Zhinu became the stars Altair and Vega. The stars move closest to each other during the Qixi Festival. Altair is in the middle of three stars east of the Milky Way, and Vega is in a cluster of six stars just to the west. They say that if it rains during the festival, it is because the magpies were not able to form a bridge for the lovers, so their tears of sorrow are coming down from the heavens. This year during the Qixi Festival, look up into the sky and try to see the Cowherd and the Weaver Girl reunited once more.


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Asian Avenue magazine - August 2017  

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Asian Avenue magazine - August 2017  

Cover: Fall Staycations in Colorado

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