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asian avenue June 2017 Volume 12 Issue 6

Connecting Cultures Linking Lives





Bua Thai

Dear Asian Avenue readers,


The Memorial Day weekend just passed, which means that summer is officially here! There are so many exciting events lined up this summer! We would also like to give our heartfelt thanks to all our supporters for the Asian American Heroes Award Brunch on May 20. The event was a huge success! If you have missed it this year, we will see you next year for our 10th anniversary! This issue, we bring our readers on an unforgettable journey around Asia, with stories featuring cultural highlights and travels in countries such as Japan, Hong Kong, Cambodia and Thailand! First of all, our cover story features the Japan towns in the United States. Learn more about the unique features of each Japan town (aka Nihonmachi) and the cultural experiences they can offer! You can also read about the 45th Cherry Blossom Festival coming up during the weekend of June 24 and 25. Transport yourself a little closer to Japan at the Festival held at Sakura Square in downtown Denver. Next, our writer Giselle also shares with us her experience travelling in Hong Kong- The Pearl of the Orient! Find out where is the best spot for dimsum, her experience travelling with a local, a day trip out to Hong Kong and more! Our editor Jaime also talks about the Colorado Cambodia Consortium, which is a network of Colorado organizations that work in Cambodia with various areas of expertise to streamline support. Read about the good works that they do, and also how you might be able to help. Last but not the least, we will also like to announce that our marketing manager Joie will be leaving Asian Avenue this month. We would like to thank her for her contributions for the past six months, and wish her all the best in her future endeavors. We hope you would enjoy our summer issue. Stay hydrated!

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June 2017 | Publisher’s Note

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 Yijing Chen, Children’s Museum of Denver at Marisco Campus, Giselle Cummings, Caroline Field, Amy Ng, Pok Payattakool Sergent, Dr. Chen Shih-Chung, Stacey Shigaya, Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office Denver

contributing photographers Glenn Asakawa, Children’s Museum of Denver at Marisco Campus, Mitch Dao, Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office Denver, Justin Valas, Anastasia Yagolnik

on the cover The three official Japantowns in the U.S. reside in Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Jose. This photo was taken at the Japanese Summer Obon Festival in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo. Photo by Mitch Dao | IG: @deejaymeesho


Christina Yutai Guo, Publisher Asian Avenue magazine |

P.O. Box 221748 Denver, CO 80222 Tel: 303.937.6888 Email: Follow Us! @AsianAveMag

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To subscribe, e-mail or visit 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.

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editorial To submit story ideas, letters to the editor or calendar events, e-mail 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 | Asian Avenue magazine is in association with the Colorado Asian Culture and Education Network.



june 2017

Photo by Mitch Dao

Event calendar



Top 5 Things To Do in Hong Kong




Relief from 20 Needles: A Personal Experience with Acupuncture


Japantowns and Little Tokyos exist all over the world. In the U.S., Los Angeles is home to many Japanese Americans that celebrate the Obon Festival each summer.




Japanese culture is in full bloom at the 45th Annual Cherry Blossom Festival!


Fast Fashion: In and Out?

Bua Thai’s authentic flavors recently opened in Aurora






The Colorado-Cambodia Consortium is Changing Lives



Taiwan’s Participation is Vital to Global Influenza Pandemic Preparedness and Response



The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See

The Borrowed by Chan Ho-Kei



Ethereal World: Ghost in the Shell brings a future to life





Taiwan dance group performed in Denver in celebration of the Taiwanese Heritage Week Opening Doors, an exhibit welcoming all, at Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus 2017 Asian American Heroes of Colorado Awards Ceremony

ASIAN AVENUE MAGAZINE, INC. P.O. Box 221748 Denver, CO 80222-1748 | Tel: 303.937.6888 E-mail: | 6 June 2017 | Table of Contents

20 Find us @AsianAveMag



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events upcoming Second Annual Colorado Dragon Film Festival Friday, June 2, Denver Art Museum June 3 & 4, King Center on Auraria Campus Cost: $10 - $30 For more info and to purchase tickets, visit

Bel Mar, Lakewood, CO 80226 Cost: $10 - $15 For more info, visit

Macky Auditorium 1595 Pleasant St, Boulder, CO 80309 Cost: $18-$65 For more info, visit

Meet the wonderful Asian Chamber of Commerce team at Wasabi Sushi Bar in the Bel Mar Center and enjoy some awesome rolls and sushi! Network with the ACC and fellow business owners. This is an annual favorite of ACC’s members!

Sponsored by Boulder Taiko, this amazing summit includes two taiko concerts, one workshop, and a three-day camp in Boulder! FACC’s 22nd Philippine Festival Saturday, June 10, 11am - 5pm

What was the Terracotta Army for? Wednesday, June 21, 6:30pm - 7:30pm

Filipino- American Community of Colorado, 1900 Harlan Street, Edgewater, CO 80214 Cost: Free and open to the public For more info, visit

The Second Annual Colorado Dragon Film Festival is kicking off their programming with the VIP Opening Night sponsored by the Denver Art Museum Asian Art Association and the Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office of Denver on Friday, June 2nd, 2017! The opening night movie, 52HZ, I Love You, is a cute and quirky musical drama about different couples set in modern-day Taipei on Valentine’s Day. Throughout the rest of the weekend on June 3rd and 4th, the Colorado Dragon Film Festival moves over to the King Center on Auraria Campus with a lineup of exciting films that follow the theme, “Intertwining Lives” - connecting different cultures, sharing experiences, and knitting together stories. The films on display run the gamut from murder mysteries to coming of age, historical intrigue to contemporary political protest, and romances that cross cultural boundaries.

Taiko Summit Colorado 2017 Saturday, June 10, 1pm Thursday, June 15, 3pm

Denver Art Museum, Hamilton Building 100 W 14th Ave Pkwy, Denver, CO 80204 Cost: Free For more info, visit www.denverartmuseum. org or email

The FACC is excited to celebrate its 22nd Philippine Festival with live music and delicious food! Best of all, the event is family-oriented, so bring everyone in your family there to enjoy the event!

45th Annual Cherry Blossom Festival Saturday, June 18, 11am - 6pm Sunday, June 19, 11am - 4pm

The First Emperor’s tomb complex, with its auxiliary pits filled with thousands of life-size terracotta figures, has been hailed as the Eighth Wonder of the World. Other than the massive scale of the underground formation, what is it that we should really wonder about? Join Professor Eugene Y. Wang of Harvard University to explore: Why do these figures wear strange slanting hairdos rarely seen at the time? Why do the terracotta army and the emperor’s “spirit carriages” face opposite directions? If the body is unreliable, as study of Chinese belief suggests, how was afterlife imagined? Was the tomb complex really about the preservation of the emperor’s corpse? Was the terracotta army there to defend the First Emperor’s tomb?

Sakura Matsuri in LoDo on Lawrence Street between 19th and 20th Streets Cost: Free and open to the public For more info, visit Fans of taikō drumming, teriyaki chicken, and vintage Japanese textiles won’t want to miss this year’s Cherry Blossom Festival (in Japanese, Sakura Matsuri). Held each year since 1972, the festival celebrates the Japanese American (JA) heritage and culture of Front Range residents through live entertainment, food and drink, arts and crafts, and informative exhibits and demonstrations. Find our more in our cover story!

ACC Business After Hours Wednesday, June 21, 6pm - 7:30pm Wasabi Sushi Bar, 433 S. Teller St.

Small Business Expo Thursday, June 22, 9am - 5pm

Denver Convention Center 700 14th St, Denver, CO 80202 Cost: Free For more info and registration, visit Ignite your entrepreneurial spirit at America’s BIGGEST business-to-business trade show, conference & networking event of the year! Small Business Expo helps small business owners, start-ups and entrepreneurs like you take their business to the next level. The free one-day event offers invaluable insights and exclusive networking opportunities with a wide range of over 25+ business-critical workshops, seminars and presentations from top industry experts, Speed-Networking, industry-leading exhibitors with innovative products/services to help your business, and business card exchange.

Upcoming Events | asian avenue magazine



HONG KONG TOP FIVE Vibrant and fast paced with plenty to offer travelers, Hong Kong is a place that truly feeds the senses. Once a British colony, Hong Kong is now a Special Administrative Region of China, which is separated into four parts – Hong Kong Island, Kowloon, Lantau and New Territories. Very Cantonese and still very British, Hong Kong lives these two dualities in a blended atmosphere that is simply just Hong Kong style! I decided to make it my priority destination this year and booked a trip with my boyfriend. Here are the highlights:

DINING RIGHT Hong Kong is wellknown for its cuisine; be prepared to eat a lot! Treat yourDim Sum in self to dim sum, Kowloon pastry shops, and different street foods. Roads are lined with little momand-pop shops ready to feed you the best flavors the city has to offer. We loved the veggie-friendly Dim Sum, ordered way too much food, and still finished all of it. You can also visit Yau Ma Tei for fruit markets offering fresh tropical staples like rambutan, dragonfruit, and durian. My personal Hong Kong food favorites included chee cheong fun (rice noodle rolls) and dan tat (egg tarts).


June 2017 | Travel

Article and photos by Giselle Cummings

Tai O Fishing Village in Lantau


• Hong Kong and Macau do not require visas like mainland China. • Use the Hopper app for cheap airfare. • Unless you book early, most Hong Kong Airbnbs have additional fees. We used for a hotel in Causeway Bay. • Get an Octopus card. This Metro card will take you everywhere and you can even use it in convenience stores for snacks, too. • HAVE FUN!


I find that the best way to get to know a city is to meet up with a local. My boyfriend and I met up with a tea blogger, Zach Goh, at a tea shop on Temple Street. Zach is a Malaysian expat who teaches English at the University by day, and studies gong fu tea ceremony by night. We spent a rainy afternoon drinking Pu’er tea and eating chestnuts with a lively bunch of friendly Cantonese aunties - by far my favorite experience of the trip. They welcomed us to the table like old friends and shared their culture and their love of tea. Zach was a phenomenal host; he also to took us to Kowloon Walled City and the history museum, which has life sized, 3D replicas of Hong Kong’s past.


A true port city, several day trip locations are only a ferry ride away. Macau is an hour and a half away by ferry, and a must see! Known for its over-the-top casinos, it’s also a great place to enjoy the unique blend of native Casino Life in Macau Cantonese and colonial Portugese cultures. We enjoyed visiting the ruins of St. Paul Cathedral, soaking in the brightly colored architecture, and getting lost in the back streets. I must also confess that Portuguese egg tarts might be even more delicious than their Hong Kong counterparts. We made our way to Lamma Island, a short 20-minute ferry ride away. This small island was made popular by hippy expats in the 1960s that never left. The vibe still reigns today as a cute art village and beach getaway. There are several other small islands you can visit, and getting there is easy using your Metro card to hop on ferries.


Dramatic Hong Kong skylines are surrounded by incredibly lush mountain backdrops. When you’re overwhelmed with city life, the mountains provide a great breath of fresh air. Whether you’re hiking up to Victoria Peak or making your way down to a beach on Lantau, there’s something for everyView from one. We enjoyed a very foggy Victoria and scenic hike on Dragon’s Back, Peak one of Hong Kong’s most beloved trails that literally looks like a dragon’s back whose body wraps around the city. The best part about hiking in Hong Kong is that most trails are accessible by public transportation. We caught a bus from the Metro station to the trailhead which only took 20 minutes, enjoying the green landscape during the drive.

TEMPLES GALORE Some of Hong Kong’s most famous attractions include Buddhist temples, monasteries and nunneries. The most recognizable one being Tian Tian Buddha (or Big Buddha) in Lantau. Usually, you can take a breathtaking 20-minute gondola ride to see the Buddha.

Chi Lin Nunnery

Unfortunately for us, the gondola was down for repairs, but we ran into a couple from New Zealand with the same disappointed look and decided to split a cab to our destination. The beautiful drive took us through mountains and forests en route to the top where Tian Tian Buddha resides. Then, the adventure continues with a walk up 238 stairs to see the 111-foot Buddha. It is absolutely fantastic. In Kowloon, we went to Chi Lin Nunnery, which features an elaborate bonsai garden and an eye-catching golden pagoda. Our favorite was the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery. It’s a hidden gem in the New Territories. Getting there requires a long walk up a small mountain which is lined with expressive golden Buddha statues. Upon arrival at the top of the monastery, there are several more statues and a vibrant, red pagoda to explore. Monkeys are also a popular part of that monastery. Temple food is available at all monasteries and nunneries, and makes for a great snack after walking up so many stairs!

Hong Kong is a place for city slickers, nature enthusiasts, foodies, fashionistas, and most importantly, lovers of life and adventure. Hong Kongers are all of the above and more. I truly recommend a visit, even if it’s just for a short stay. Hong Kong Top Five | asian avenue magazine


Relief from 20 Needles:

A Personal Experience with Acupuncture By Pok Payattakool Sergent What do you do when Western medicine does not fulfill the needs of your medical treatment? Interest in Eastern medicine and alternative healing methods has increased dramatically in the past twenty years, and as a result many new industries and publications have seen rapid growth. Many people turn to Eastern medicine practices such as acupuncture, herbal medicine, and cupping to relieve pain, calm the mind, release toxins, and treat a variety of ailments. (Cupping made international news after American Olympian Michael Phelps was seen with red, circular orbs on his back.) Personally, my own discovery of acupuncture has transformed my life. I began having abdominal pains around the time I entered college. Over the next ten years, I had all manner of tests and prescriptions from my Western medical providers; my health insurance paid for most of the cost, and I thought that this method my only option. Sometimes their treatments helped, but the pain never completely left my body. After getting married and having my first son a year later, my abdominal pain had returned with a vengeance. Fueled by a maternal instinct to take care of my son and a deeper desire to be present for his childhood, I decided to try every-


June 2017 | Health

thing to alleviate the pain. Since then, I have seen four different acupuncture specialists in Colorado, trying different providers based on friends’ recommendations or promotional offers online. The combination of Western medicine and acupuncture turns out to be the most effective for me, for both physical and mental well-being. My most recent acupuncture treatment was at the Whole Body Health Center in Golden, Colo. Due to recent changes at work and shifting priorities at home, my emotional and mental health was not in good shape. I was experiencing more stress, and as a result, found myself having conflicts with everyone around me. Plus, I was in physical pain. It was time to seek some help. Over the course of four weeks (two sessions of acupuncture and Reiki) acupuncturist Craig helped restore balance in both my mind and my body. A month later, I continue to reap the benefits and feel good. Many people who have not tried acupuncture before say that they are afraid of the needles. Talented and sensitive professionals first take a detailed medical history, review your current conditions, and consult on remedies you have tried so far for relief. Your visit will

also include a discussion of your goals for receiving acupuncture‌. I told Craig my goals - to calm down my speeding thoughts, reduce my stress, and manage or alleviate my pain. I had about 20 needles inserted into my hands, ears, arms, and feet, accompanied by a pinching sensation and some tingling (both of which are normal and safe). After 45 minutes of relaxing on a table, Craig removed the needles and I could feel the benefits right away. That afternoon was pleasant, as I felt much less irritable. Work projects were not so perplexing, and I even felt less strain among my family! I returned three weeks later for another treatment to keep the good feelings going. From personal experience and from the testimonies of friends, I know that acupuncture works. For thousands of years, people have been studying this ancient healing practice, and treating people all over the world with phenomenal results. They must be doing something right! Do you have‌any experience with acupuncture, herbal medicine or cupping, either as a practitioner or as a patient? Write us at to let us know! ‘Til next time‌, be well.

California is home to America’s three official Japantowns

A Japantown is also known as Nihonmachi.

By Samantha Quee

People always say it is more common to find a Chinatown than a Japantown in most countries. This may be because there are more than 50 million people of Chinese descent living outside China while according to the Consulate-General of Japan in Denver, as of October 1, 2015, the number of Japanese residing out of Japan is 419,610, with 4,096 of them residing in Colorado. The three major U.S. cities with the highest Japanese populations are Los Angeles (68,689), New York City (44,636), and San Francisco (18,777).

Japanese Immigration to the US

Like immigrants everywhere, the Japanese left their homeland in search of a better life for their families. Much of this immigration happened from 1868 to 1912. Most Japanese immigrants ran into great hardships as a result of WWII. In many cases, they had their property confiscated and were  interred in camps for the duration of the war. Between 1886 and 1911, more than 400,000 men and women left Japan for the U.S. and U.S.-controlled territories, and significant emigration continued for at least a decade beyond that. Before the first generation of immigrants could enjoy the fruits of their labor,

they had to overcome hostile neighbors, harsh working conditions, and repeated legislative attacks on their very presence in the country. Japanese communities eventually survived and thrived. The two most popular destinations for Japanese immigrants were Hawaii and America’s Pacific coast. In both places, the immigrants would discover a new and radically different way of life, but the two destinations received the newcomers in unique and distinctive ways. There are three official Japantowns in the U.S., all in  California: Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Jose. What are the unique features of these three Japantowns and the cultural attractions that can be found in those areas?

Los Angeles Japantown – Little Tokyo

Known favorably as “Little Tokyo,” Los Angeles’ Japantown is the ultimate destination for some of the city’s best Japanese restaurants  and authentic shops. This unique LA neighborhood harmoniously balances the old and the new—its roots trace back to 1886, yet new restaurants and shops seem to sprout weekly. It was declared a National Historic Landmark District in 1995. At its peak, Little Tokyo had approximately 30,000 Japanese-Americans living in the area, and is still a cultural focal point for that population. Mainly a work, cultural, religious, restaurant and shopping district, Little Tokyo provides resources for Japanese-Americans who are more likely to live in nearby cities such as  Torrance,  Gardena, and  Monterey Park, as well as the  Sawtelle district on the west side of Los Angeles.  Many cultural attractions are located in Little Tokyo, including the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center, as well as the Japanese American National Museum. Ever August, Little Tokyo hosts the  Nisei Week festival, including a large parade, pageant, athletic events, exhibits of Japanese art and culture, a Taiko drum festival, the Japanese Festival Street Faire, a car show, and other events.

Welcome sign to Little Tokyo in Los Angeles

Japanese American Cultural Community Center Japantowns in California | asian avenue magazine


The Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival is held for two weekends every April.

Street sign in San Francisco’s Japantown

San Francisco Japantown - Little Osaka

Located in a neighborhood in the Western Addition district of San Francisco, Little Osaka is the largest and oldest Japantown in the United States. Built and settled in the late 19th and early 20th century, Little Osaka earned its name when San Francisco entered into a Sister City relationship with the city of Osaka in 1957. One of the most iconic structures is the Peace Pagoda located at the shopping mall called the Japan Center. It is a five-tiered concrete stupa designed by Japanese architect Yoshiro Taniguchi and presented to San Francisco by the people of Osaka, Japan. San Francisco’s Japantown celebrates two major festivals every year: The Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival, which is held for two weekends every April, and the Nihonmachi Street Fair held in August.

San Francisco entered in a sister city relationship with the city of Osaka in 1957.

The Peace Pagoda is a five-tiered concrete stupa designed by Japanese architect Yoshiro Taniguchi and presented to San Francisco by the people of Osaka, Japan.


June 2017 |Cover Story

Did you know?

SPAM MUSUBI is a Hawaiian food that uses a popular local ingredient (Spam) prepared as an onigiri (Japanese rice ball). Japanese American Museum in San Jose (

San Jose Japantown - Little Okayama

The original Japanese immigrants to the Santa Clara valley developed San Jose’s Japantown. At first, the area mostly served the bachelor migrant workers and Japanese farmers who came into town for supplies. As more Japanese women settled in the United States, family life emerged in the community. San Jose’s Japantown flourished as more Japanese made the Valley their permanent home. It was during this time that some of the most famous neighborhood buildings, such as the Kuwabara Hospital (Issei Memorial Building), the Taihei Hotel and Okida Hall, were constructed. The moving and supremely educational Japanese American Museum features 6,400 square feet of permanent and rotating exhibits and host a variety of community activities. Japanese culture is also celebrated with live events, such as the Obon Festival in mid- July, featuring two days of game booths, food, cultural exhibits and demonstrations, and more than 1,000 dancers in full costume each evening, swaying under a canopy of colorful lanterns to live music from the Chidori Band and San Jose Taiko. San Jose is also the Sister City of Okayama, Japan, hence the nickname, “Little Okayama.” This year happens to be the 60th Anniversary of the cities’ partnership!

When SUSHI was first introduced to the United States, the California roll was invented to cater to local palates. It used avocado - a local ingredient - and cooked crab meat. Since then, other variations have appeared, namely the Dragon roll (an outside thick roll of eel and cucumber that are wrapped with avocado) and Rainbow roll (a colorful sushi that meshes the flavors of yellowtail, yellowfin tuna, salmon, butterfly prawn and avocado).

Japan has more than 3,000 MCDONALD’S restaurants, the largest number in any country outside the U.S.

The Obon Festival is a two day festival celebrated in San Jose’s Japantown each year.

Japan has the third longest LIFE EXPECTANCY in the world with men living to 81 years old and women living to almost 88 years old. The Japanese live on average four years longer than Americans. Japantowns in California | asian avenue magazine


45TH ANNUAL CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL Sat, June 24th from 11am – 6pm Sun, June 25th from 11am – 4pm Downtown Denver at Sakura Square 19th and Lawrence Streets Free and open to the public Taiko with Toni energizes the stage.

Presented by Tri-State/Denver Buddhist Temple and Sakura Foundation

Japanese culture is in full bloom at the 45th Annual Cherry Blossom Festival! Hear the beat of the Taiko drums! Smell the delectable teriyaki burgers sizzling on the grill! See the vibrant colors of the marketplace goods, crafts and art! Sway along with the gentle, poised Japanese dancers! Transport yourself a little closer to Japan at the Cherry Blossom Festival at Sakura Square in downtown Denver. This free festival is in its 45th year of celebrating Japanese culture and heritage. The festival is co-presented by the Tri-State/Denver Buddhist Temple ( and Sakura Foundation ( When festival goers step inside the Temple gates, they will be amazed at all the activities, including “Song, Art & Somen.” SONG: The karaoke stage will be set for attendees to grab a mic and sing their hearts out. Karaoke in Japanese means “empty orchestra.” It is a form of vocal, interactive entertainment where lyrics are displayed on a screen and background music plays as one sings into a microphone. Singers of all abilities are welcome! ART: A collection of talented local artists will demonstrate their techniques and display their Japanese-inspired work. There will be an opportunity to interact with the artists and ask them what


June 2017 | Cover Story

draws them to Japanese themes. SOMEN: On a hot June day in Denver, nothing cools a person down quite like a chilled bowl of somen noodles! Japanese somen are thin, flour noodles served in a sauce called mentsuyu. Other snack treats available are gyoza (pan-fried dumplings), spam musubi (grilled spam on rice wrapped in seaweed) and a la carte teriyaki chicken. The Temple gym will greet festivalgoers with the delicious aroma of teriyaki

chicken and beef bowls. Those wanting light fare can feast on Asian chicken salad, Hawaiian macaroni salad and edamame (soybeans in the pod). Sushi and manju (a traditional Japanese confection) are longtime favorites. All of the delicious food offerings from the Temple are skillfully made by Temple members and volunteers. While inside the Temple, visitors can view the beautiful ikebana and bonsai displays. Ikebana is the Japanese art of flower arrangement, dating back to the 7th century. Bringing humanity and nature together, Ikebana is a truly disciplined art form. Bonsai translates to “planted in a container” and has been a practiced art for well over a thousand years. The purpose of bonsai is to provide contemplation for the viewer and, for the grower, the pleasant exercise of ingenuity and effort. In addition, interesting talks on Buddhism will be conducted by Rev. Diana Thompson, Kaikyoshi Minister of the Temple. The Live Stage presented by NHK WORLD is the place to connect with Japanese music, martial arts, and dance. The lineup will feature a combination of long-standing acts such as the Denver Buddhist Temple (DBT) dancers, demonstrations from DBT Judo, Aikido and DBT Karate, ukulele groups and the ever-popular Taiko groups.

Written by Stacey Shigaya Photos by Glenn Asakawa and Justin Valas

Sakura Foundation Executive Director Gary Yamashita speaks at the 2016 Opening Ceremony.

“As vendors of the Denver Cherry Blossom Festival, we enjoy the community and how nice the organizers and staff are to us. They make sure our needs are met and they go above and beyond to ensure that we have everything to make the experience the best. Being part of this event allows us to show our work and share our message with the people of Denver, making this one of our best events. People should attend this festival because it is very well done and fun for everyone in the family.” – Alvin Ong, Furry Feline Creatives Karaoke Roulette is just one of the many new entertainment elements on the Live Stage. The schedule of performances will be posted on the festival website (www.cherryblossomdenver. org) to help plan your visit. While visitors soak in the entertainment and Denver sun, they can sip on specially crafted beers from Jagged Mountain Craft Brewery or try sake, a Japanese rice wine. Another popular feature of the Cherry Blossom Festival is the Marketplace. A variety of vendors with Japanese and Japanese-inspired merchandise will line Lawrence Street. Merchandise for sale includes t-shirts, jewelry, tote bags, clothing, mixed-media prints, ceramics, and anime items.

Kids of all ages can get crafty at the free Kids’ Craft Area at 19th and Larimer Streets. There they can learn Japanese words, make Cherry Blossom greeting cards, and have fun with other crafts. Want to take home a free souvenir from the festival? Just post a message about the Cherry Blossom Festival on social media, go to the Sakura Foundation booth in the marketplace, and show your post! The coordinators and volunteers are working hard to bring Denver another outstanding Cherry Blossom Festival! Mark your calendars for June 24th and 25th and visit www.cherryblossom for details and the final performance schedule.

The Marketplace on Lawrence Street will be filled with returning and new vendors.

Attendees watch cultural performances.

Denver Buddhist Temple Judo takes place on the Live Stage.

2017 Cherry Blossom Festival | asian avenue magazine


Fast Fashion: In and Out? All the time, we hear about all fashion trends, from Aztec print to fringe cut shirts to skinny jeans, it’s evident that fashion recycles. Every few years or so, an old trend makes a comeback. In high fashion, there are four main seasons: spring, summer, fall, and winter. In the clothing industry, there are 52 micro seasons of fashion. Nowadays, Americans buy five times more clothes than they did in 1980, and big corporations are feeding off of that consumption. The secret of the clothing industry is that it is designed to make you feel out of style after a week. The fashion industry manipulates consumers by targeting peoples’ needs for instant gratification with what they are wearing. Consumer purchases end up defining a particular moment in time in which that trend existed, differentiating the style from the rest of the 51 seasons’ trends. With trends lasting for a week, large clothing corporations are designed for consumers to purchase more clothes after a week. According to Elizabeth Cline’s Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion, fast fashion is something that is quick and trendy at the moment. The accumulation of fast fashion clothing

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June 2017 | Fashion



By Yijing Chen

Fast fashion merchandise is typically priced much lower than high fashion, operating on a business model of low quality and high volume production. At the time of Cline’s book, daily shipments of new clothing were going out to large clothing stores like H&M and Forever 21. With large clothing businesses, the concept of fast fashion is that although it is “in season” currently, the quality of the clothing is cheap and not designed to last. With the clothing chain of production, the more styles there are, the more consumption there will be. Consequently, with increased consumption, there is increased waste. Most of the clothes are disposed of by being donated to second hand stores to be re-worn, while a large portion of the clothing gets recycled in the more traditional sense; breaking down the fabric to be repurposed. However, even with the recycling of the excess clothes, the problem originates with the consumerism of fast fashion and the excess production of fashion. If Americans were more conscious of their purchases, we could cause less harm to the ecosystem and environment while saving big bucks! Brands that thrive off of the Fast Fashion consumerism:

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


Traditional Thai Cuisine

By Joie Ha

Bua Traditional Thai Cuisine, a newly opened Thai restaurant in and an abundance of Thai herbs. All of this is stewed in a rich red Aurora, prides itself in authenticity. Every detail in the restaurant- curry that will be sure to pleasure your taste palate! Creating all from the fresh ingredients to the decor imported from Thailand- of the curry and sauces at Bua Traditional Thai Cuisine takes a contribute to creating a genuine experience. Kesara Homday- half day of prep and cooking- ensuring that each bite is infused janakul, the owner of Bua Traditional Thai Cuisine, remarks that with flavor. eating here should feel like, “taking a step into Thailand.” With an Another special dish is the Issan set which includes grilled extensive menu and chefs that all hail from Thailand, they defi- marinated Thai-style Angus steak, Som Tum, and sticky rice. nitely accomplish this goal. Hailing from Northeastern Thailand, this dish includes a side Bua in Thai is defined as lotus. The of sticky rice that the chefs make lotus in Thai culture is spiritually sigBUA TRADITIONAL THAI CUISINE in house. Different from traditional nificant as it represents the multiple white rice, sticky rice is of a chewier 950 S Abilene St, Aurora, CO 80012 consistency and sweeter taste. To stages of enlightenment that Buddha had reached. The owners chose add to the authenticity, the sticky this name as a homage to their famrice is served in a small bamboo Mon-Sun: 10:30am to 9pm ily’s resilience and journey towards container like you would find in Tel: 720-262-9923 success and fulfillment. Thailand. You can choose to eat it The menu includes common clasin the traditional method by using sics that Thai foodies would recognize like Pad Thai (fried noo- your hands to ball up perfect bite-sized portions, or you can dles), Tom Yum (hot and sour soup), and a variety of curries. It choose to use a fork or spoon. The steak is tender and sliced so also includes a multitude of foods that are more unique and rare you can easily dip it into a delicious spicy sauce that is served to the Colorado Thai food scene like the Gang Phed Ped Yang on the side. Som Tum is a green papaya salad that boasts fresh, (crispy duck in red curry), sticky rice, and a whole section dedi- spicy, and sour elements- adding more dimensions to the taste cated to Issan (Northeastern Thai) cuisine. of this dish. Overall, the combination of these flavors create a The Gang Phed Ped Yang is served in a Thai golden pot and delicious and authentic experience. includes not only crispy, succulent bone-in duck, but also carries Also noteworthy is their Tiger Prawn Tamarind which includes a variety of ingredients like pineapples, tomatoes, bell peppers, large, crunchy yet juicy tiger prawns drizzled in a sweet and sour


June 2017 | Restaurant Peek


tamarind sauce. Tamarind fruit comes from trees that are not indigenous to the United States, and as a result offers a very unique and special taste. The tamarind fruit gives off a naturally sweet and sour flavor and pairs well with the tiger prawns. For appetizers, try the starter combo which includes wontons, egg rolls, Thai wraps, and little mermaids. The little mermaids are shrimps that are wrapped with rice paper and deep fried creating the shape of a mermaid fin- a cute name to match a cute dish. For dessert, try the Bua Loi which is a special sweet soup-like dessert that includes colorful tapioca balls soaked in a creamy and sweet coconut milk. Another classic to add to your meal is their homemade Thai tea! Bua Thai is a restaurant that strives for authenticity and as a result puts care and thought into every little detail. Instead of using substitutes for rare Thai herbs, they go the extra mile to order from vendors that are able to provide them the fresh herbs that they need to create a genuine Thai flavor. They spend multiple hours to hand-make their dishes and all of their chefs have a love for cooking. Bua Thai is a must try for any foodie that loves Thai cuisine.






SAMPLE MENU FOR 2 Starter Combo $9.95 Chicken Pad Thai $10.95 Issan Set $13.95 Bua Loi $5.95 LUNCH SPECIALS Monday-Friday from 11am- 3:30pm Includes selected entrees, egg roll, house coconut soup

Chicken Pad Thai

Owner Kesara Homdayjanakul (middle) with Bua Thai chefs (left to right): Phuvipha Yoosiri, Patcharee Sutthithawin, Wanna Homdechanakun and Siriporn Boontham. Bua Thai Restaurant | asian avenue magazine


The Colorado-Cambodia Consortium is Changing By Jaime Marston Cook Lives Angkor Wat, the temple complex center of the ancient capitol city of Angkor. Cambodia was once known as the kingdom of Khmer. Angkor Wat is the largest religious monument in the world. Source: Go Live Go Travel

What is the Colorado-Cambodia Consortium? The Colorado-Cambodia Consortium is a group of locally-based organizations operating in Cambodia with a focus on empowering Cambodians through education, leadership development, social services, and other means. The Consortium is represented by Children’s Future International, Sustainable Schools International, Empowering Youth in Cambodia, Trailblazer Foundation, Asian Hope, Cambodian Education Fund, and the CMEH Foundation. The Colorado-Cambodia Consortium is supported by the Posner Center for International Development and its continued effort of enhancing educational opportunities and the community welfare of Cambodians. These five organizations make up the consortium: Children’s Future International - As Posner Center members, Children’s Future International is focused on protection and education at their learning center in Cambodia. They have 40 staff in Cambodia (including a full-time Country Director, part-time guard, and various internships for students) and one paid staff member here in Colorado, supported by interns, volunteers and a very engaged Board. “Children’s Future provides 251 marginalized children in Battambang, Cambodia, with cutting edge social work and educational services, so that they can grow to be the country’s next generation of leaders.” Sustainable Schools International (SSI)  invests in sustainable education for rural economic development in Cambodia.


June 2017 | Feature

“We partner with government schools and build social entrepreneurs and leaders. Micro-finance, in the communities we serve, develops the local economy and sustains our schools. Our goal is to stop child exploitation before it starts.” Empowering Youth in Cambodia is a grassroots organization based in Phnom Penh, Cambodia working to improve the lives of young people and their families. The organization’s vision is to see youth empowered with skills and confidence to be leaders who actively develop themselves, their families and the community for positive change. Trailblazer Foundation works with the poorest communities in Cambodia’s Siem Reap province, location of the world-renowned Angkor Wat. Without technical and financial support, these village communities cannot develop beyond a level of subsistence, and remain in a state of poverty where survival is a struggle.  Trailblazer is most well-known for helping our partner villages secure clean and abundant water. “For each of more than 50 villages, we start by helping  the community to dig wells and construct water filters. In addition to pure and plentiful water, these villages also need ample food to feed their families, good education facilities for their children, and opportunities to make a living.  Our four program areas— health, food security, education, and economic development— represent a well-rounded strategy for not just giving our partner communities a proverbial fish, but helping them learn how to live in ways that are self-sustaining.”

“The goal now is to provide young people with basic safety and the opportunity for an education to build their optimism for the future.” Asian Hope is changing the lives of vulnerable, overlooked children in Cambodia by overcoming the system of exploitation that traps them in extreme poverty and hopelessness. Asian Hope’s programs are designed to protect, educate, and empower children in Cambodia. “Our education programs are child-centered, family-supporting, community-based, and infused with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Established in 1999, Asian Hope operates two prestigious private schools – Logos International School and Asian Hope International School – as well as a college scholarship program called the Higher Education leadership and Preparation Program (HELP), and four village schools that provide free education to impoverished children.” Cambodia Education Fund provides scholarships to promising students entering the medical and dental fields. They are linked with the secular arm of the Church of Latter Day Saints. History of Cambodia and the impact of the Khmer Rouge on Cambodian life today Awareness Acceptance Action Cambodian people under the age of 50 are not as aware of their dark history as their elders. Knowledge of Cambodia’s past is the essential place to start, so that people are able to move from acceptance to action. The Khmer Rouge, a revolutionary guerrilla organization, seized power from the government of Lon Nol in 1975 and proceeded to mandate a Communist peasant farming society virtually overnight. Their design was based on the Communist Chinese agricultural model, and the ensuing social and political turmoil led to the genocide of over 25 percent of the country’s population in just three years. Anyone opposed to their system was killed, and among those included as “potential opposition” were students and professors, intellectuals and journalists. All told, research estimates that more than three million people died as a result of the Khmer Rouge regime’s practices of mass executions, forced labor, malnutrition and torture. The impact to this day is haunting. People throughout Cambodia are still working to rebuild social infrastructure in the wake of such cultural devastation. The Khmer Rouge targeted the educated class and systematically killed off anyone who contributed to fostering education or culture in Cambodia, as well as anyone who provided inspiration. How is the Colorado-Cambodia Consortium Changing Lives? Youth and Education The Consortium is a mixture of faith-based and secular organizations. Two key issues common to all are youth empow-

Map of Cambodia – in the heart of Southeast Asia erment and education. The following specific information was compiled from an interview with Austin Klemmer, Executive Director of Children’s Future International. Americans tend to treat education as a given: children are all expected to go to school. We also view continuing education as a cultural and family value, giving everyone an equal chance to succeed. In comparison, poverty forces Cambodians to see education as a luxury. According to Klemmer, “The goal now is to provide young people with basic safety and the opportunity for an education to build their optimism for the future.” Children’s Future International (CFI) focuses first on ensuring a child’s long-term health, safety and well-being, and then supports that child’s education. CFI also pays heed to child rights and child empowerment, as well as training and qualifying social workers. Sustainable Schools International (SSI) focuses on training public school teachers and building schools. The organizations that make up the Colorado-Cambodia Consortium have different areas of expertise, and are each aiming to get their work out in the open. CFI practices confidentiality to protect the youth they serve from further exploitation. Youth who are passionate about their education are encouraged to go as far as possible with their studies, but finishing a 12th-grade education or pursuing a college degree are not necessary or practical goals for all young people. Some Cambodian youth, just like American youth, are not as fervent in their educational endeavors and instead show an aptitude for pursuing vocational training, stable employment, and a reliable, healthy way to support their families. At last count, 18 CFI students are enrolled in University now. CFI’s after school program helps kids stay in their public school classes and succeed. Currently, 97% of youth pass their public school exam that go through CFI’s after school programs. CFI is currently collecting data to determine how these youth compare to their peers who are not accessing CFI’s programs. Colorado-Cambodia Consortium | asian avenue magazine


The Cost $10 per month is enough to provide hot, nutritious meals for one child at school every day for a month. $400 helps one student stay in school for a whole year. This cost is actually going down as the Consortium works to streamline their programs. $1,500 pays for tuition, living expenses, and an internship stipend. The living expenses are important because they provide a stable living environment, which is an essential part of a focused, safe, and successful learning experience. $5,000 provides essential child-protective services to 150 students and their families. What the Colorado-Cambodia Consortium is doing now Maureen DeCoursey, Director of Operations with Sustainable Schools International Cambodia (SSI) and founder of the Colorado-Cambodia Consortium (CCC). Based out of Fort Collins, Maureen has been involved with international development for more than 25 years. The following interview with Maureen was compiled with the help of Lena Brennan, Philanthropy Director at Asian Hope. AAm: What is happening currently in the different organizations that make up the CCC that readers of AAm should know? MDC: All of the organizations involved with the CCC host a variety of fundraising and awareness events in Colorado and elsewhere throughout the year to give US supporters an opportunity to learn about their program and contribute to their mission - check their individual websites for events. The Consortium itself started out to leverage information, resources and expertise to deepen our impact in Cambodia, learn from each other’s mistakes and avoid duplication of effort. We recently organized a meeting among each organization’s staff in Cambodia to do the same, and create the kind of collaboration we in the US are trying to achieve. AAm: Is there one organization that takes the lead for the Consortium? MDC: Not officially. One of the many benefits of the CCC is it provides members with opportunities to respond to specific fundraising opportunities and programming goals. It’s common for members to join together on a specific topic that is relevant to their organization’s needs.  While SSI and CFI took the lead on initial organization, EYC led the development of the workshop with our staff members in Cambodia.

AAm: How is the relationship structured among the different organizations involved? Who benefits most from the Consortium? MDC: The structure depends on the nature of the collaboration. For example, SSI and Trailblazer Foundation partnered with Colorado State University to apply for a food security grant through US AID. Meanwhile, Asian Hope worked with SSI to provide pro bono assistance for the development of a computer lab needed at their Leadership Academy in Phnom Penh. SSI also partnered with the Cambodian Education Fund on the development of a water, sanitation, and hygiene project at SSI’s Community Impact Hub in rural Kampong Speu Province. And through connections from the Posner Center, CFI and SSI are in discussions with Plan International, a large global NGO based in Washington, DC, on joint initiatives focused on child trafficking and water, sanitation and hygiene in rural schools. AAm: What are some of the most pressing current challenges that Cambodia is facing that Americans should know about? MDC: While Cambodia has made a lot of progress over the past few decades, corruption and collusion remain facts of life. According to Transparency International’s 2016 Corruption Perception Index, Cambodia was ranked as the most corrupt country in Southeast Asia for two years in a row. Political uncertainty and security issues are on everyone’s minds. AAm: Does the CCC have a wish list of items or services that the community can contribute to make a difference? MDC: Lots of information is available on the individual websites for our organizations. We welcome all volunteers, especially any “Khmericans” (Cambodian-Americans) who would like to serve in any capacity, especially as Board members. How Can I Get Involved? All of the organizations mentioned need financial support, and everyone is encouraged to give. Please visit their websites for more information, volunteer opportunities, and event details. You can also follow them on Facebook. Children’s Future International - Sustainable Schools International - www.sustainableschools Empowering Youth in Cambodia - Trailblazer Foundation - Asian Hope -

Left: Colorado-Cambodia Consortium (CCC) group Above: CCC organizations at the Posner Center


June 2017 | Feature

Taiwan’s Participation is Vital to Global Influenza Pandemic Preparedness and Response Disease knows no borders. Only by working together, leaving no one out, can we adequately address the challenges of emerging infectious diseases. Outbreaks of avian influenza and novel influenza have repeatedly threatened global health security in the past few years. As a result, the World Health Organization (WHO) has continuously urged nations to invest more in the development and implementation of various pharmacological and nonpharmacological interventions against pandemic influenza. Taiwan was devastated by the 2003 SARS outbreak. Many of our frontline healthcare workers became infected while caring for patients, and unfortunately, some perished, including a nurse, then in her third trimester of pregnancy. Several hospitals were closed, more than 151,000 people were quarantined at home, a travel advisory was issued, and schools closed. We paid a heavy price to learn that disease indeed respects no national. At that time, Taiwan not being a WHO member, we did not receive timely information on the SARS virus and related disease control information. We were dependent on the expertise generously shared by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on how to control the outbreak. It was not until the SARS outbreak spread to Heping Hospital that the WHO finally dispatched experts to Taiwan. This was the first such assistance the organization had provided us in 31 years. SARS was a reminder to the WHO and the international community that they could not afford to leave Taiwan out in the cold, and led them to ponder ways of bridging this gap in the global health network. Since 2005, we have been invited to attend certain WHO technical meetings on influenza, where we are able to exchange experiences with experts from around the world. Also, Taiwan was included in the framework of the WHO’s International Health Regulations in 2009, establishing a direct liaison with WHO headquarters so we could

report major public health events directly to the WHO. Thanks to having these direct communication channels, Taiwan was able to effectively implement various control measures during the H1N1 influenza pandemic of 2009. Taiwan confirmed the world’s first human case of H6N1 avian influenza in 2013 and promptly shared genetic information on the virus with the international community. Earlier this year, we identified a human H7N9 case imported from China and reported the case information and test results to the WHO within a month. As a responsible member of the international community, Taiwan was glad to be able to share its experience, provide recommendations on the clinical management of H7N9, and offer other information that can serve as important reference for WHO antiviral stockpile guidelines. It is regrettable that political obstruction has resulted in Taiwan’s often being refused attendance at technical meetings of the WHO. This situation has created grave difficulties in Taiwan’s efforts to collaborate with the international community on disease prevention. We are profoundly disappointed that the WHO has failed to abide by its Constitution and has ignored widespread support in the international community for Taiwan’s participation in the WHA, instead bowing to political pressure from a certain member by excluding Taiwan from that body. We urge the WHO and related parties to acknowledge Taiwan’s longstanding contributions to the international community in the areas of public health, disease prevention, and the human right to health, as well as the healthcare partnerships it has forged with WHO member states. Taiwan is capable of and willing to fulfill its responsibilities and to collaborate with the WHO to deal with the challenges of disease control. The WHO should recognize the legitimacy and importance of Taiwan’s participation in the WHO and its Assembly. To bridge the gap in the global disease prevention network, Taiwan needs the WHO, but the WHO also needs Taiwan.


Minister of Health and Welfare Republic of China (Taiwan)

Taiwan Update | asian avenue magazine


TAIWAN DANCE GROUP PERFORMED IN DENVER IN CELEBRATION OF THE TAIWANESE HERITAGE WEEK By Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) Denver Da-Guan Dance of the National Taiwan University of Arts performed at the Lakewood Cultural Center on May 10 to showcase Taiwan’s dancing art and rich culture. The show attracted many local dignitaries and Taiwanese community members throughout Colorado. The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in Denver cooperated with the Taiwanese-American Association-Colorado Chapter (TAACC) to hold the event in celebration of the “2017 Taiwanese Heritage Week”. Director General Jerry Chang thanked Da-Guan Dance for bringing a great performance of traditional folk songs and dances featuring the rich cultural heritages of Taiwan. He also expressed his heartfelt appreciation to President Rachel Chiu of the TAACC and her team for their hard work. Da-Guan Dance is touring 12 cities in the United States. The “Splendor of Taiwan” was performed by 15 dancers and its programs include Earth Mother, Affection, In Love with Tung Flower, Breeze, Temple Festival, Dancing of Catkins and Flowers, and The Impression of the Hills, etc. The performances contained multiple Taiwanese elements, such as martial arts, Taiwanese opera and puppetry, which impressed the audience with a 5-minute standing ovation after the show ended. The 2017 Taiwanese Heritage Week activities also include Taiwanese photo exhibitions at the Lakewood City Hall. TECO in Denver and the TAACC hope to promote Taiwanese culture in Colorado and to enhance cultural identity among overseas Taiwanese as well.

OPENING DOORS, AN EXHIBIT WELCOMING ALL Article and photos by Children’s Museum of Denver at Marisco Campus

“It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength.” - Maya Angelou On April 26, The Children’s Museum of Denver cut the ribbon on a new public art exhibition, Opening Doors. Featuring all local artists, Opening Doors is a series of 11 doors that form a welcome ribbon at the Museum entrance.  Each door is truly unique in size, shape and content; from pink fringe and peacock feathers to glitter bubbles and faces made of clay. But all offer the same message: Regardless of immigration status, race, disability, religion or sexual orientation, ALL are welcome at the Children’s Museum. Mayor Michael B. Hancock attended the ribbon cutting as the special guest and said to the crowd of nearly 100, “This exhibit, with its emphasis on diversity and inclusion, I really think it says a lot about Denver. And, as importantly, it is so timely for this type of exhibit. Not just for those here in Denver, but those of us in our society.” Museum President Mike Yankovich added, “The whole idea here is to celebrate the diversity in our community. We brought together local artists to welcome everybody, to welcome all families and children within our community.” The exhibit will live on the Museum plaza through fall of 2017, free for all to experience.


June 2017 | On Scene

Mayor Michael B. Hancock and Children’s Museum of Denver Mike Yankovich speak at the Opening Doors ribbon cutting ceremony.

Local artists designed the series of 11 doors that formed a welcome ribbon to the museum.

Asian American Heroes Awards ceremony honors community leaders By Samantha Quee Colorado Asian Culture and Education Network (CACEN) recog- tionally recognized company of professional stature, garnering nized the 2017 Asian American Heroes of Colorado on May 20 at critical accolades with 11 productions presented. She thanked Kings Land Chinese Seafood Restaurant in Denver. The event was her friends and family for their support over the years, and urged sponsored by FirstBank, Nelnet, Asian Pacific Development Center everyone to support the theatre scene in Colorado. (APDC), Asian Chamber of Commerce, Society of Asian Scientists Donna Lavigne, the founding board member of Mending Facand Engineers (SASE), Theatre Esprit Asia (TEA), Japan-American es - a medical mission organization, was introduced by Giselle Society of Southern Colorado, DreamTrips, and with donations Rushford, a colleague in community service. Giselle says: “Donna from Lily Shen, Giselle Rushmade remarkable contribuford and friends, and the Shition to the Asian community mamoto family. in Colorado, and we are so Elected officials congratproud to have her here.” ulated and awarded the reKhanh Vu, the executive cipients including: Mayor of director of SASE gave an City of Aurora Steve Hogan, emotional speech during Mayor of City of Englewood the event, thanking his parJoe Jefferson and Colorado ents for the hardship they House District 6 Representaendured as immigrants tive Chris Hansen. when they first moved from The Young Hero Award was Vietnam to Colorado. He presented to Karen Shimaalso thanked his wife for her moto, the Multicultural Proeverlasting support, and engrams Coordinator at the Culcouraged his young children tural Unity And Engagement to contribute back to society Back: State Representative Chris Hansen, Khanh Vu, Mani Dahal, when they grow up. Center at CU-Boulder. Karen Shimamoto, Mayor of City of Englewood Joe Jefferson; Ben Nguyen, a mentee The lifetime achieveFront: Donna LaVigne, Paul K. Maruyama and Maria Cheng. who nominated Karen for the ment award went to Paul K. award gave an emotional speech at the event. “I would not be Maruyama, who is a founding member and former president of who I am today if not for Karen. Thank you for always encourag- the Japan-American Society of Southern Colorado. Not only was ing me, and never giving up on me,” Ben says. Paul the member of the first U.S Olympic Judo team, he was also Sustainability Program Manager at the ECDC African Commu- a retired U.S Air Force intelligence officer. Despite his extraordinity Center, Mani Dahal was introduced by Melissa Theesen, who nary accolades, he remained humble and modest, always conserves as the Center’s Managing Director. tributing to his community in Colorado. Melissa says: “Mani is always looking out for the new refugees The Ally award went to Kate Tauer, the founding member of in the community. He always believe in empowering the young- the Aurora Asian/Pacific Community Partnership. Lily Shen, the er generation, to liberate them from the mindset of refugee life.” Vice Chair of APDC received the award on Kate’s behalf, who unMaria Cheng, Founder and Artistic Director of TEA created a na- fortunately could not attend.

Friends attend the awards ceremony in support of 2017 Asian American Hero of Colorado Award recipient Donna LaVigne. Photos by Anastasia Yagolnik

Paul K. Maruyama receives Lifetime Achievement award.

Left to right: Joie Ha, Mayor Joe Jefferson, State Rep. Chris Hansen, Hero Award recipient Khanh Vu, Jessica Moy and Triet Hoang.

Mile-High Happenings | asian avenue magazine


Reviewed by Mary Jeneverre Schultz Reviewed by Amy Ng

The Borrowed has all the action of a detective tale like Sherlock Holmes, but is set in Hong Kong. The novel keeps the suspense high while maintaining the nuances and customs of the setting. Freshly translated into English in January 2017, Chan Ho-Kei’s fast-paced crime tale will keep readers on the edge the whole way through. The Borrowed follows senior inspector Kwan Chun-dok, nicknamed “The Eye of Heaven,” from learning to master his detective skills in the 1960s, to the changes he experiences in the Hong Kong police force in 2013. The novel begins in the modern day, with a wealthy business man found murdered in his own home. Inspector ‘Sonny’ Lok—legendary Kwan Chun-dok’s disciple—leads the investigation. We find that the famous inspector is on his deathbed. Even in his poor condition, “The Eye of Heaven” lives up to his name.

The Borrowed is split up into several stories presented in reverse chronologic order. Similar to cracking a criminal case, the reader learns more and more about the mysterious inspector by discovering one snippet of detail at a time. Kwan Chun-dok faces murders, kidnapping, and botched special operations. The quick witted inspector, who seems to always be a few steps ahead of everyone, takes the reader through five decades of Hong Kong’s history. The historical and cultural nuance in this novel gives a unique twist on a classic detective story. Chan Ho-kei’s attention to detail not only brings grisly crimes to life, but also emphasizes the subtle interactions of each character. The Borrowed carefully constructs each scene in the novel, and nothing is ever as it seems. Inspector Kwan Chun-dok demonstrates why he is nicknamed “The Eye of Heaven,” seeing all things that may remain hidden to the untrained eye. No details are spared as the story moves from one case to the next, their twists and turns keeping the reader on edge. The smallest detail might be the next big lead.

June 2017 | Book Reviews


ders about her origins, just as Li-yan longs for her lost daughter. They both search for and find answers in the tea that has shaped their family’s destiny for generations. Author Lisa See, who grew up in a large Chinese-American family in Los Angeles, incorporates impressive research on international adoptions, the history of the Akha people in China, and Pu’er tea farming methods and customs to tell a powerful story about a family separated by circumstances, culture, and distance. Recipient of both the National Woman of the Year by the Organization of Chinese American Women and the Chinese American Museum’s History Makers Award, See set off on her book tour with confidence. She started in Tucson, Arizona in March of 2017. Her tour will include stops in Dallas, Boston, New York City, Washington, D.C., and several California cities. The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane paints an unforgettable portrait of a little known region and its people, and celebrates the eternal bond that connects mothers and daughters. See’s previous books include China Dolls, Dreams of Joy, and Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. Her books are known for celebrating authentic, deeply researched, lyrical stories about Chinese characters and cultures. Follow Mary @Jeneverre on Instagram.

The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane

Author: Lisa See 364 pages Spiegel & GrauScribner books-new/the-tea-girlof-hummingbird-lane Twitter: @Lisa_See Facebook: @LisaSeebooks




Released in March 2017, the newest book by New York Times bestselling author Lisa See is breathtaking, mesmerizing, and complex. In The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane, See explores the bonds between a Chinese woman from the Akha ethnic minority and the daughter she gives up for adoption. Li-yan and her family build their lives around the seasons as tea farmers in their remote Yunnan village, ruled by the ritual and routine of many generations. When Li-Yan has a baby out of wedlock, rather than stand by tradition and end her daughter’s life according to Akha custom, she wraps the baby girl in a blanket, hides a tea cake in her swaddling, and takes a perilous journey to the nearest city. Devastated, she abandons the infant, hoping someone else will care for her. Li-yan’s palpable heartache and sorrow dominate the book. Still, she moves forward through her life. Li-yan slowly emerges from her grief and begins to look beyond the security and insularity of her village. Fortuitous moments are clearly meaningful and not viewed as mere coincidences. Far away from China, Li-yan’s daughter, Haley, grows up in a privileged and loving California home. Despite Haley’s happy life, she won-


The Borrowed

Author: Chan Ho-kei Translated by: Jeremy Tiang 496 pages Grove Press, Black Cat; Reprint edition

Chan’s first novel The Man Who Sold the World won several prestigious awards.


Ethereal World: Ghost in the Shell brings a future to life By Caroline Field

Ghost in the Shell beautifully illustrates a technology-wrapped nightmare in its visual style. From the buzzing city with gigantic holographic advertisements to the people who are more like cyborgs, the film screams of a dangerous future where business and manipulation thrives and internet crime is a real threat. A film is supposed to draw the audience into its world and this movie makes viewers feel like a part of this glitchy, high-tech future. Information is presented visually and not forced upon the viewer too quickly. While Major, a female cyborg played by Scarlett Johansson, tries to figure out her past in the middle of cracking a high-profile case, viewers are drawn into the setting much more than the inner dynamic of the character. That is the inherent flaw of the movie. The world is immersive and the actions scenes are quick, but the actor’s lines are stilted. The actors are, indeed, playing characters that can be debated are actually humans, but that doesn’t excuse the artificiality of the story. There is also an issue of casting a white actress to play a Japanese cyborg in the United States. Hollywood is infamous for casting actors who do not match their character’s ethnicity. There have been controversies in the past about such performances as Mickey Rooney’s portrayal of a Japa-

nese man in Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1971) and Al Jolson’s blackface in The Jazz Singer (1927). Both films are critically acclaimed today and were selected to be preserved in the National Film Registry. Yet it is hard to say if this was an appropriate choice or not for Ghost in the Shell. The debate is left up to the viewer, as the original Japanese manga version was illustrated and therefore open to interpretation. There is also a lack of intelligence in the inherent message of Ghost in the Shell. Are cyborgs humans or robots? Are they weapons with no emotions or are they people with choices? In the modern world with technological advancements impacting society all the time, this film fails to bring new insight to questions like these. The music also adds a sense of otherworldliness and uneasiness to the dystopian future of Ghost in the Shell. Like the visuals, the music jumps around and makes viewers wonder if Major is really all that stable. While lacking in story, the film makes technology feel ethereal. While the film acknowledges that the future is often uncertain, it is still easy to follow what is going on throughout the movie. Never boring, Ghost in the Shell demonstrates that the world of the future is beautiful. Viewers should see this film on the biggest screen possible.

Rating: 7/10

Director - Rupert Sanders (above) Main Cast - Scarlett Johansson, Pilou Asbæk,Takeshi Kitano, Juliette Binoche, Michael Pitt Release Date - March 31, 2017 Run Time - 107 minutes Country - USA Language - English, Japanese IMBD Ratings - 6.9/10 Film Review | asian avenue magazine





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Asian Avenue magazine - June 2017  

Cover Story: Japantowns are packed with culture

Asian Avenue magazine - June 2017  

Cover Story: Japantowns are packed with culture