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asian avenue magazine July 2019 Volume 14 Issue 7

Connecting Cultures Linking Lives

Dragon boat races return to Sloan’s Lake



Support the cookbook CHAMORU CUISINE

Meet the Denver Asian American Pacific Islander Commission




Sun - Thur: 11:30am – 9:30pm Fri - Sat: 11am – 10pm

12303 E Mississippi Ave Unit 127, Aurora, CO 80012 | Tel: 720.638.3193

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JULY 2019 in this issue






Event calendar Colorado’s largest pan-Asian event festival returns to Sloan’s Lake with a focus on the country of Vietnam The first international youth baseball tournament to be held in Broomfield, Colorado



RTD collaborates with Uber and Lyft for seamless trip planning



Travel host and filmmaker, Juliana Broste, is known for her worldwide travel videos as TravelingJules.



Did you know the city of Denver has an Asian American Pacific Islander Commission?

Meet filmmaker Juliana Broste, the one-woman team behind TravelingJules.



The Farewell starring Awkwafina captures family dynamics with a poignant, well-acted drama




Oskar Blues Brewery introduces Black Raspberry Wild Basin Boozy Sparkling Water



Book Launch: Kickstarter helps Colorado couple share their Chamoru culture through cookbook


Book Review: I Am Yours: A Shared Memoir by Reema Zaman



Avatar Fans, Walt Disney World Resort’s Pandora – The World of Avatar awaits!



Asian American News



“Always Be My Maybe” is a crazy great Asian American movie – thanks to “Fresh Off the Boat”

ASIAN AVENUE MAGAZINE P.O. Box 221748 Denver, CO 80222-1748 Tel: 303.937.6888 E-mail: info@asianavemag.com www.asianavemag.com


10 6

July 2019 | Table of Contents

25 26

The artistic insight of Barbara Takenaga Gratitude abounds from the 47th Annual Cherry Blossom Festival

Find us @AsianAveMag #AsianAveMag

Dear Asian Avenue readers, Just in time for summer travels, we are excited to share the story behind travel journalist Juliana Broste. She has explored the world creating and sharing more than 100 videos on her YouTube channel TravelingJules. Locally, she has covered travel stories highlighting towns across Colorado including Alamosa, Pagosa Springs and Lamar. Be sure to follow her @TravelingJules on social media for her unique travel tips and insights! Each summer, the Denver community anticipates the annual Colorado Dragon Boat Festival. This exciting event draws more than 100,000 attendees over the two days of dragon boat racing, cultural performances and scrumptious foods! We look forward to seeing you July 27 and 28 at Sloan’s Lake Park again this year -- come say hi at our Asian Avenue booth! July 2019 marks the 13th anniversary of Asian Avenue magazine. We began in July 2006 with our first cover story featuring the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival. Over the years, we have covered hundreds of stories bringing to light the strengths of our Asian American communities. It has been an honor and a privilege to do this work and meet so many amazing people! As we strive to improve, please help us fill out a reader survey (for a chance to win $25 to Kokoro Restaurants) at: tinyurl. com/aam-readersurvey. Thank you for your ongoing support! Annie Guo VanDan, President Asian Avenue magazine | www.asianavemag.com Published by Asian Avenue Magazine, Inc. P.O. Box 221748 Denver, CO 80222-1748 Tel: 303.937.6888 | info@asianavemag.com


asian avenue Publisher & Founder CHRISTINA YUTAI GUO

Marketing Manager JOIE HA



Senior Designer C.G. YAO

Staff Writer AMY NG



on the cover


Travel journalist Juliana Broste took this photo at sunrise in the Sahara Dessert of Morroco after an overnight glamping. She is a Korean adoptee based in Colorado and the filmmaker behind TravelingJules.

Looking to promote your business? 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 303.937.6888 or e-mail us at marketing@asianavemag.com for our media kit and ad rates.

contributing writers Gil Asakawa, Jessalyn Herreria Langevin, Tara McMurtry, Sara Moore, Stacey Shigaya

contributing photographers Glenn Asakawa, Josh Barrett, Robischon Gallery, Jessalyn Herreria Langevin, Cami Shigaya, Stacey Shigaya, Jay Tian Asian Avenue magazine (ISSN 19321449) 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.


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President’s Note | asian avenue magazine


upcoming events Zhang San Feng Cultural Festival Weekend of July 6 -7 | Begins at 4pm Englewood Elks Lodge 3690 S. Jason St, Englewood Tickets: $15 Adult | $5 Child Ages 6-17 FREE under age 5 zsffestival.com Get ready to experience a taste of China at this “Kung Fu Renaissance-style” Cultural Festival! Dress up the entire family, both kids and adults, in your most colorful Asian-inspired outfits. Join the festivities to have fun and learn about the “Five Excellences” and gain knowledge about Chinese medicine and internal health.

Filipino Faves And Brews Tuesday, July 9 | 5:30pm to 8:30pm 11660 E. Montview Blvd. Aurora Tickets: $28 for 21+ | $20 for under 21 uifoodbrew.givesmart.com

Do you love tasty food and a cold brew? Enjoy Filipino favorites such as chicken adobo, vegetarian pancit, and BBQ pork skewers, from Orange Crunch Food Truck and delicious brews from Great Divide Brewing to support Uplift Internationale and their mission to provide reparative surgical care to poor, rural children in the Philippines born with facial deformities. Tickets include four tasters and 1 pint of beer (for 21+) or bottle of soda.


July 2019 | Upcoming Events

OCA 5K Panda Walk/Run Saturday, July 13 | Begins at 8am Great Lawn Park 8581 East Lowry Blvd, Denver Registration: $35 ocacolorado.enmotive.com/events/ register/panda-run-5k

In celebration of good health, join OCA Colorado at the first 5K Panda Walk/Run. The event benefits AAPI youth in Colorado. OCA Colorado is part of OCA - Asian Pacific American Advocates, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the social, political and economic well-being of AAPIs. Asian Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours Event Wednesday, July 24 | 6pm to 7:30pm Tamai Tower | Penthouse Floor 1255 19th Street, Denver Tickets: $15 ACC members $20 non-members acccolorado.org

Send community events to info@asianavemag.com.






In collaboration with Sakura Foundation and National Association of Asian American Professionals Colorado, join the Asian Chamber of Commerce for their monthly BAH for food and networking. The management team at Sakura Square will share a bit of culture and history. Did you know there is a penthouse in the Tamai Tower with spectacular 360-degree views of downtown?

August 2nd - 4th 2019 Colorado Convention Center


MEET DENVER’S NEWEST SUPER DENTIST Local dentist Dr. Linda M. Nguyen has been practicing dentistry at Barotz Dental since 2017. Her impressive background and experience has afforded her an incredibly advanced dental skillset, enabling her to deliver life-changing dentistry for her patients. Dr. Nguyen says if she had to pinpoint a particular experience that motivated her to become a dentist, it would be her mission trip to Honduras. “At CU Boulder, I joined the Global Dental Brigades. We raised funds and supplies to set up mobile dental clinics in Honduras,” says Dr. Nguyen. She assisted in dental procedures as well as demonstrated flossing and brushing techniques for hundreds of people lined up waiting to receive care. “Seeing hundreds of villagers entering with a mouthful of pain and transforming those moments to pain relief and gratitude was something I couldn’t shake.” “Once I felt that calling, I couldn’t look back. The more I delved in, the more I loved it, and it’s a feeling that continues to resonate today.” Dr. Nguyen graduated magna cum laude from the University of Colorado at Boulder with a B.A. in Chemistry before earning her Doctorate of Dental Surgery from the University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine. Following dental school, Dr. Nguyen was selected to one of the nation’s

Dr. Linda Nguyen

most prestigious and intensive residency programs with the South Texas Veteran’s Healthcare System Advanced Education in General Dentistry. There, she provided superior care by marrying cutting-edge techniques with traditional evidence-based research. Born and raised in Denver, Dr. Nguyen’s wide array of skills includes dental implantology, advanced periodontics, endodontics and orthodontics. She is a constant learner and continually adds to her repertoire to better serve her patients. She acknowledges that dentistry is ever-changing, and as such it is impossible to solely use the same techniques over and over again. “It’s about narrowing down what works, what’s predictable, doing what’s right—while also being keen to what new developments are out there. In order to help my patients to the greatest extent possible, I am diligent about expanding my skillset and learning the right techniques.” As the Associate Doctor at Barotz Dental, Dr. Nguyen is excited for the opportunity to provide world-class dentistry in a unique, personal setting. She says, “At Barotz Dental, we offer Total Dental Solutions, which gives me the ability to take care of my patients from A- to-Z. You won’t be referred from one doctor to another because we can handle all aspects of your care in one convenient location.”

“We are also unique in that we take the time to know our patients on a personal and professional level, ensuring we help them achieve their dental goals by working together to achieve a lifetime of dental health.” She advises patients not to wait until they have a problem before seeing a dentist. “Don’t wait until you have pain and a problem occurs before making an appointment. Tooth problems are largely preventable, so take the time to find a trustworthy, clinically excellent dentist who gets to know you and is an advocate for your overall health.” Dr. Nguyen is passionate about giving back. She has provided dentistry abroad for the less fortunate and helped rebuild shelters for battered victims. In her free time, she enjoys trying new food, hiking, traveling, and spending time with loved ones.

303 16th St Mall, Suite 250 Denver, CO 80202 720-903-4370


Sloan’s Lake Park in Denver July 27 & 28, 2019 FREE admission $5 Parking at Auraria Campus with a FREE shuttle to and from the festival


It’s time for Colorado’s HOTTEST festival of the summer! The 19th annual Colorado Dragon Boat Festival will once again take over Sloan’s Lake Park in Denver for two days full of cultural eduTainment and participAsian. Starting in 2001, the festival has grown in size from just 16,000 to over 100,000 attendees making it the LARGEST Dragon Boat Festival in the country! This is a true testament to the people of Colorado and their thirst and desire to learn more about the multicultural pan-Asian diversity found here in our great state. With many new attractions and highlights, this year is not one to miss. We will be highlighting the great country of Vietnam with multiple performances and educational experiences. Come check out the Vietnamese Cultural Community Tent that can be found in our Gateway to Asia Village. Here you will learn about the history of Vietnam, taste the best pho broth in Colorado, try on traditional garments and participate in our spicy bun bo hue eating contest. This tent is run by individuals from our local Vietnamese community whose passion is to share their traditions and stories. This year we are also excited to have Art and Food as our festival themes. We will present Live Art Demos that can be found on the west side of the marketplace, where we will see the amazing talents of artists Ratha Sok, Thien Tai, Casey Kawaguchi, the Japanese Arts Network, and more.


July 2019 | Upcoming Event

Since this is the Year of the Pig, it is fitting that we will be bringing back our food tastings with our “Pig Out Culinary Contest.” Our judges will be deciding on the best Savory, Sweet, and Vegan/Vegetarian dishes from our festival Taste of Asia food vendors. With more than 24 Taste of Asia vendors representing over 14 different cuisines from around Asia, we are sure to have some stiff competition. Grab a plate of delicious food and a cold Coors Light or Coca-Cola product before sitting down under our shaded tents to watch the performances on the Performing Arts, Band, Martial Arts/Cultural Unity, and Explore Asia stages. We are honored to be hosting over 80 different performances from local organizations over the two days. A few of our returning organizations include Denver Taiko, MUDRA Dance Studio, and BellaDivas! We have a special highlight, the GDPT Nguyen Thieu Buddhist Youth Association, who will be performing the traditional Vietnamese dances followed by a Vietnamese fashion show. The Colorado Dragon Boat Festival is run by a non-profit organization called Dragon 5280 with two full time employees, a board of 12 and a handful of seasonal contractors. Without the dedication and passion from our volunteers and supporters, we would not be here today. To learn more about our amazing organization and to get involved as a volunteer, supporter, and/or sponsor, please contact our Executive Director, Sara Moore at Sara@cdbf.org.

Celebrate our Honorary Chair Harry Budisidharta and Honorary Patron Snell & Wilmer on the Performing Arts Stage, Sunday, July 28 at 10:30am!

Come support our Non Profit Partner Vendors who will be selling festival beverages, snow cones, and merchandise throughout the festival. The Colorado Dragon Boat Festival has given back over $50,000 to our local nonprofit partners.

Saturday 10am - 7pm | Sunday 10am - 5pm Opening Ceremony on Saturday at 10am Races start 8am each day and go until dusk!

Cheer on your favorite dragon boat team! 55 race teams will be competing on Sloan’s Lake Saturday and Sunday, morning to dusk.

The festival’s 2019 poster was designed by Christopher Dominguez.

Check out the festival website for more detailed information:

WWW.CDBF.ORG Thank you to all our amazing volunteers who have become a part of our Dragon Family. Colorado Dragon Boat Festival | asian avenue magazine


International Youth Baseball Tournament & Festival welcomes players from Japan and Hawaii

The Pacific Rim Cultural Exchange is excited to announce a youth baseball tournament for 13 to 15-yearold teams taking place in Broomfield, Colo., July 25-28. The tournament and festival will unite the spirit and energy of youth athletics promoting friendship, sportsmanship, understanding, and an awareness of belonging to something bigger than the individual. The first tournament will be held in Colorado with the second in Japan next year, the third in Hawaii in 2021, and returning to Colorado for the fourth year in 2022. Bolts Baseball, City of Broomfield, Pacific Rim Cultural Exchange, Japanese American Resource Center of Colorado (JARCC), Ikoma Chuo Boys Baseball, and the Hawaii Hurricanes will host the inaugural event. The tournament is planning for eight teams to participate this year, and in the future, to include teams from Korea and Taiwan.


The purpose of this tournament is to promote cultur-


al exchange through athletics. The goals are to create an


exchange of ideas, strategies and training methods while promoting friendship and understanding between the youth from distinct parts of the world. The festival will bring to Broomfield an exciting funfilled weekend and a plethora of Pacific Rim culture in the heart of Broomfield. Tournament activities will include a welcome reception hosted by the Rotary Club of Broomfield, Bolts Baseball, City of Broomfield, Japanese American Community Graduation Program committee members, and JET Pro-

Baseball Tournament: July 25th - July 28th Festival: July 27th 11:00AM - 5:00PM

gramme Alumni Association for teams from Hawaii and

Legacy High School Baseball Field & Broomfield Park 2701 W 136th Ave. Broomfield, CO 80023

seum in Denver, attend a Rockies game with their host





For more information, please contact: Dean Tsutsui (JARCC) at dtsutsui@msn.com or 303-457-1810 or Lawton Shinsato (Pacific Rim Cultural Exchange) at ishinsato@msn.com.


July 2019 | Upcoming Event

Japan. The teams will also visit the National Baseball Mufamilies, and get a tour of Coors Field. For one weekend, experience different countries and cultures without using your passport. For participants in the festival, this is a great opportunity to promote and provide information to the general public, to raise funds for your organization for future cultural exchange trips to Japan, Hawaii, Korea, Taiwan, or just to have a great time.

RTD collaborates with Uber and Lyft for seamless trip planning By Tara McMurtry, Regional Transportation District Communications Intern For those who use public transportation, the question of how to complete a trip using transit requires thinking about how to bridge the first and final portions of that journey, with bus and rail services at the center. Like its peers throughout the transit industry, the Regional Transportation District (RTD) is studying this issue in a First and Last Mile Strategic Plan. “The plan considers rapid changes in technology that can affect transportation – and one of its main goals is to develop recommendations to improve access to and from RTD facilities,” said RTD General Manager and CEO Dave Genova. Recognizing that the future of transit delivery will happen in collaboration with others, RTD actively pursues collaborations that integrate new mobility services with traditional public transportation. As it looks toward the future, RTD understands that relationships with other mobility providers enable the transit agency to best meet the needs, demands and expectations of a growing population, at a time when the industry is in a state of change. To that end, RTD offers a notable answer to the first- and last-mile question, through collaborations announced this

year with Uber and Lyft. In January, the launch of Uber Transit journey planning allowed Denver riders to be the first worldwide to use Uber to plan their transit trips with real-time information and end-to-end directions. In March, Lyft debuted a feature in Denver called Nearby Transit, showing available Lyft cars and scooters, as well as nearby public transit routes and schedules. In May, Uber Transit ticketing launched, enabling Denver riders to be the first in the world to seamlessly buy RTD tickets and ride transit – all from the Uber app. “Each of these innovations takes some of the challenges out of planning a trip involving multiple modes of transportation,” Genova said. “They allow riders to choose the mode that best fits their timing and budget. And by covering those first- and last-mile gaps, they make public transit a more reliable, accessible option for Denver-area residents who either choose not to or are unable to drive.” RTD’s collaborations with Uber and Lyft also reflect an awareness of the evolving ways people get around. According to Lyft’s 2019 Economic Impact Report, 46 percent of riders nationwide take public transit at least once a week, and 53

percent of vehicle owners in Colorado reported using their cars less because of Lyft. Meanwhile, 23 percent of riders in Denver use Lyft to get around where public transit does not operate, such as when their starting point or destination isn’t directly along the transit route. Today’s commuters expect more flexibility in their travel options. As RTD celebrates its 50th anniversary, the agency is looking toward the next half century of transit delivery while also honoring its past. RTD is proud to lead the dialogue about mobility for the Denver metro region. More details about the transit agency’s initiatives and projects are available at rtd-denver.com.

Community Info | asian avenue magazine




The one-person production team brings her travel jaunts to life through social media

By Mary Jeneverre Schultz Follow her on Instagram @Jeneverre

Photo Credit: Josh Barrett 14

July 2019 | Cover Story

Juliana Broste ice skating and storytelling with her GoPro at Denver International Airport.

denver-based vlogger, snowboarder, camera enthusiast,

and Heartland Emmy award winning travel journalist Juliana Broste, also known as TravelingJules, found her passion in telling stories through her camera. While in college, Broste never considered study abroad as an option or a priority, but her friends inspired her to give it a try. Then after an exchange program in Australia, the travel bug bit hard, and she was hooked. “It changed my life in a lot of ways,” admitted Broste, 36, who grew up in Colorado. “I gained a new kind of confidence in myself and confidence in the world.”

Who is TravelingJules? This one-person television crew does everything. If you don’t see her snowboarding down one of Colorado’s mountains, she’s working behind the scenes, producing, filming content and planning for her next travels. Her vivacious personality keeps your attention during her short, quick video spots on traveling all over Colorado and the world. Her talents have led her to teach others how to tell stories and gain technical camera skills, using equipment from Manfrotto and Canon. “I teach fellow creators how to use the tools and provide video tips,” Broste said. In fact, she speaks at the annual Denver Travel & Adven-

ture Shows (travelshows.com/shows/denver/seminars) and throughout the United States. Other speaking engagements have taken place in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Boston, New York City, New Orleans and Las Vegas. She was also a guest speaker last year at Korean Heritage Camp in Colorado, as her way of giving back to the community. Camera hobby Her interest in photography originated from her brother, Mark, an app developer. “I begged him for camera lessons,” she admitted. After years of making movies and skits with friends through middle school and high school, Broste got her first video camera at 17. She once pretended to work for CNN, and has now appeared on CNN Airport Network sharing travel tips in airports across the country. Plus, a high school and college internship through Emma Bowen Foundation (emmabowenfoundation.com) guided Broste in honing her skills in journalism. This organization, which promotes diversity in the media, places promising students of color in multi-year paid internships. Broste’s five-year internship at KCNC CBS4 involved work experience in every department at the TV station, which later helped her evolve into a small business. As an alumna of CU Boulder, she studied journalism with an TravelingJules | asian avenue magazine


Colorado Field Guides

When Broste was nine years old, she starred in a local television commercial -- and that's when she knew she wanted to work in Tv. emphasis on advertising. “I did not love the news or current events, but found a natural affinity for advertising,” Broste said. Street Level Locally, fans of public television will find her contagious, bubbly personality on specific episodes of Colorado Public Television (CPT12) PBS’ Street Level, featuring Glenwood Springs and Leadville. Street Level showcases individual streets throughout Colorado with a narrative that celebrates the communities we all live in at the street level. In her Leadville episodes, Broste shared historical stories of the highest incorporated city in the US, discussed the history of skiing, and showed off her love for snowboarding at Ski Cooper. Other highlights include Tabor Opera House, 10th Mountain Division, World War II connections, heart of downtown Leadville on Harrison Avenue, historic Delaware Hotel, Chicago Ridge Snowcat tour exploring the backcountry. Episode 2 showed the history of mining, profile of Baby Doe, Unsinkable Molly Brown, discovery of gold, Silver Dollar Saloon (longest operating bar in Colorado), fat biking, and glamping during winter. Hosting, filming and editing all field segments, Broste takes on many roles during the two-part episode of Street Level. Denver In fact, the tourism office of Den-


July 2019 | Cover Story

ver (VISIT DENVER), has featured her taking the A train from Denver International Airport to Union Station in downtown Denver. You’ll never see storyteller Broste without her camera. In fact, she confesses to carrying several cameras to ensure she grabs the right shot. Colorado Her vivacious personality makes viewers want to binge watch more videos. Traveling all over Colorado, recent film clips show far places such as Flat Top Wilderness, Meeker, Rangely, Lamar, La Junta, Alamosa, Pagosa Springs, San Luis Valley, and beyond. And it’s not just Broste in front of the camera. She includes historians, rangers, artisans, and train conductors in her interviews. She just completed filming for the Colorado Tourism Board, exploring five remote regions of the state in one of her newest projects called Colorado Field Guides (bit.ly/CO FieldGuides). South Korea From traditional to modern-day Korea, Broste shares the sights and sounds of her homeland. She even traveled out of Seoul for a country experience in snowboarding in YongPyeong Resort, also known as Dragon Valley, on a bullet train. Raised in Colorado, she has returned to her ancestral land of South Korea several times during summers to teach English in Seoul. Born in Korea and adopted at three

Broste enjoying snuba, a cross between snorkeling and scuba diving, off Aruba in the southern Caribbean Sea.

months old, Broste returns again and again to her native country. She lived and taught in Gangnam. In her video blog, she confessed, “Korea is not my home but it could have been, because it uniquely calls out to me.” 15 hours away from Korea, Broste returned four consecutive summers to teach English. She enjoyed being introduced to the Korean language, visiting all the landmark, historical sites of the country and immersing herself in the culture. Through her eyes, viewers learn about Korean culture, traditions, and culinary delights.

Broste visiting Moscow, the capital of Russia.

“It was a wonderful time learning what it meant to be Korean,” said Broste. Collaborating with Viator, she featured street food in Seoul. She filmed herself trying all the classic Korean Cuisine, sampling Korean BBQ, rice cake (two versions: spicy and sweet), soju, rice wine, plum wine, patbingsu (shaved ice with read beans), and other sweet treats. Broste confessed not liking Korean food initially, “But it grew on me,” she said, and now looks forward to every meal. Viator, the TripAdvisor Company, makes it simple for travelers to find ex-

actly what they want to do. With direct access to more than 200,000 bookable activities, travelers can easily discover and book incredible experiences. Optimized for mobile booking, Viator lets travelers plan in advance or book on-thego to skip long lines and sold-out signs. The slogan, “Travel with an Insider,” allows Broste a deep culture dive of Korea and traditional Korean life. Her video clips motivate tourists interested and curious about this Asian country. “When I visit Korea, I visit with eyes wide open,” she shared through her YouTube channel, offering viewers small,

people ask me all the time where I'm from. They are often confused when I say Colorado. The answer they want to hear is somewhere in Asia. Photo Credit: Josh Barrett TravelingJules | asian avenue magazine


t r av e l i n g j u le s . c o m digestible bites of Korea. She visits popular tourism sites throughout Seoul. The sites included Insadong (Arts and Crafts District), Gyeongbokgun Palace, Jogyesa Temple, Blue House, North Seoul Tower, plus the DMZ.

highlight, witnessing pro snowboarder Chloe Kim stomp her winning run in the halfpipe, taking home the gold medal for Team USA. “You could just feel the energy of the crowd, it was so cool to be there for that moment,” she said.

Winter Olympics Last February 2018, South Korea hosted the Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang. Broste, having been a fully certified snowboard instructor at Vail Mountain for 15 years, felt particularly motivated to attend. Her special connection to Korea and her love for travel sealed the deal. She secured an assignment with Matador Network. Although she wasn’t able to film at the Winter Games, she captured a more personal side of the experience, which turned out to be one of her favorite stories to date. And the Olympic experience? “It was incredible,” she said. She recounts the

Rest of the World Broste has filmed more than 100 videos that include cooking, rafting, castle climbing, mountain biking, gorge walking, zip lining, canyon hiking, automobile tours. Her international visits have been to Italy, Wales, Morocco, Vancouver, Austria, Thailand, Japan, and beyond. Her storytelling motivates travelers to visit the places she’s captured in her videos. She advises travel lovers to “be flexible and ready for anything.” Enjoy traveling through the eyes of TravelingJules by visiting travel ingjules.com or connect with her on social media @travelingjules.

Broste snowboards at YongPyeong Resort in South Korea

Broste indulges in her favorite meal: Korean BBQ. Wrap galbi (marinated beef short ribs) in a sesame leaf and add ssamjang soybean paste.

Broste has returned to Korea several times, teaching English and filming stories about traveling in Korea.


July 2019 | Cover Story

Meet your Asian American Pacific Islander Commission By Gil Asakawa, Denver Asian American Pacific Islander Commisioner Did you know that the City of Denver has a commission that’s dedicated to supporting and celebrating the area’s Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities? The Denver Asian American Pacific Islander Commission (DAAPIC) was officially created by ordinance in 2007 as part of Denver’s Agency on Human Rights and Community Partnerships (HRCP), but the Mayor’s office for years before that relied on an advisory council of community leaders to connect with Denver’s Asians. Fran Campbell and Jerico Javier were the first chairs, and the first appointees to the newly-formed DAAPIC included Ron Abo, Paul Cha, Mary Lee Chin, Rodger Hara, Khoa Nguyen, Brent Tongo, and Whei Wong. HRCP also added an American Indian Commission, African American Commission, Latino Commission, and LGBTQ Commission, all of which had been advisory councils like the DAAPIC. One of the first actions by the combined HRCP commissions was to speak out as a group against an article published by a student newspaper at CU Boulder that was a racist commentary aimed at Asians. Our group over the years since has also been involved in efforts to help businesses along the South Federal Blvd. Asian district, hosted AAPI job and resource fairs, and published a Resource Guide for the pan-Asian community. DAAPIC also held listening sessions with AAPI organizations to learn what issues they face and published a report that compiled those concerns to submit with recommendations to Mayor Hancock. That report, “Finding Common Ground,” is available as a PDF to download at: tinyurl.com/daapic-report. We’ve recently awarded grants to AAPI organizations to help fund projects as diverse as a one-woman play about being mixed-race African American and Vietnamese (it’s set in a nail salon), to a conference of area AAPI

Download at: tinyurl.com/daapic-report high school students to meet others like themselves and learn about the history of Asians in American pop culture, the roots of Chinese Americans, mental health and leadership and tips for their future careers. Our four main goals are: • Enhance the infrastructure of DAAPIC – so we can do the best job working with our constituents. • Increase the visibility of DAAPIC – so that we are familiar to the public and best reach people. • Connect AAPIs to opportunities, resources, and tools – including events such as job and resource fairs and publishing reports and guides for our AAPI audience. • Identify and advocate for AAPI needs – and serve as a bridge between AAPIs and the city government. We currently have 15 commissioners who meet monthly, and we’re interviewing candidates to add more commissioners. We always seek to represent the diversity of the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities that enrich Denver and the metro area, so we are proud to currently include Chinese, Japanese, South Asian, Pacific Islander, Korean, Vietnamese and more. Our monthly meetings are open to the public. They’re held from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on the third Wednesday of every month at Carla Madison Recreation Center, which is located at 2401 E. Colfax Ave. and Josephine St. in Capitol Hill. DAAPIC wants to thank Asian Avenue Magazine for allowing us to provide a regular column! Find more information about the Commission and learn about the commissioners on the DAAPIC website: www.denvergov.org/content/denvergov/en/ human-rights-and-community-partnerships/our-commissions/asian-pacific-american-commission.html.

Photo: DAAPIC commissioners, Farman Pirzada and Jayne Miyahara at a recent “Cabinet in the Community” event hosted by Denver Mayor Hancock every quarter. Inside Story | asian avenue magazine



1147 S Federal Blvd, Denver, CO 80219 Tel: 303.993.7444 www.drinkbambu.com HOURS: Sun - Thur: 10am to 10pm Fri - Sat: 10am to 11pm


In theaters July 12 | Rated PG a24films.com/films/the-farewell facebook.com/TheFarewell Written and directed by: Lulu Wang In this funny, uplifting tale based on an actual lie, Chinese-born, U.S.-raised Billi (Awkwafina) reluctantly returns to Changchun to find that, although the whole family knows their beloved matriarch, Nai-Nai (grandma), has been given mere weeks to live, everyone has decided not to tell Nai Nai herself. To assure her happiness, they gather under the joyful guise of an expedited wedding, uniting family members scattered among new homes abroad. As Billi navigates a minefield of family expectations and proprieties, she finds there’s a lot to celebrate: a chance to rediscover the country she left as a child, her grandmother’s wondrous spirit, and the ties that keep on binding even when so much goes unspoken. With The Farewell, writer/director Lulu Wang has created a heartfelt celebration of both the way we perform family and the way we live it, masterfully interweaving a gently humorous depiction of the good lie in action with a richly moving story of how family can unite and strengthen us, often in spite of ourselves.

L to R: Jiang Yongbo, Aoi Mizuhara, Chen Han, Tzi Ma, Awkwafina, Li Xiang, Lu Hong, Zhao Shuzhen. Courtesy of Sundance Film Festival


July 2019 | Movie Release

Unmatched Chè, Incredible Tea Selection, Bold Coffee Drinks and Exotic Fruit Smoothies & Juice

Pandan Waffle

Taiyaki Fish Cake

Oskar Blues Brewery is adding Black Raspberry to their lineup of Wild Basin Boozy Sparkling Water flavors. The new release follows a very successful launch of Wild Basin Mix Pack flavors across 43 states and nearly 7,000 points of distribution. The line of hard seltzers was the 4th largest brand year-to-date. “It’s a great complement to what we are already doing,” said Aaron Baker, senior marketing manager of Oskar Blues Brewery in Asheville, North Carolina. “We’re expanding the footprint.” Baker indicated he did not want the seltzer styles to be “pigeonholed” into a specific demographic but admitted the beverage is designed to attract younger drinkers with active, outdoor lifestyles. “We’ve seen all sorts of demographics

picking up this drink,” he said. “The seltzers are taking off.” With locations in Longmont and downtown Denver, the brewery is a familiar brand in Colorado. Founded by Dale Katechis in 1997 in Lyons, Colorado, Oskar Blues Brewery launched the craft-beer-in-a-can apocalypse with their hand-canned flagship brew, Dale’s Pale Ale. Black Raspberry brings some serious razzle dazzle to the palate, with a sun-kissed berry flavor that’s juicy, fruity, slightly tart and perfect for summertime. The new flavor joins Cucumber Peach, Melon Basil, Lemon Agave Hibiscus and Classic Lime. “We have brewers that play with flavors all the time between hops and yeast and how they interact with one anoth-

er,” Baker added. Additionally, Classic Lime is now available in 19.2 oz. stovepipe cans, ideal for concerts and sporting events. All Wild Basin Boozy Sparkling Water offerings are gluten-free and have 0 grams sugar, 1 gram carb and 100 calories per serving. Future plans include experimenting draft for the seltzer beverage. Already, the classic lime is available in Colorado. “We’ve seen some success in Colorado with the classic lime,” Baker said. Other developments include the creation of developing hoppy tart beer such as lemon. “It’s in the tank,” shared Baker, adding that it is brewed in Ashville. Mary Jeneverre Schultz covers the Great American Beer Fest each year in early October. Follow her on Twitter @Jeneverre.

By Mary Jeneverre Schultz


Oskar Blues named their hard seltzer for a beautiful, pristine spot in the mountains of Colorado and the brewery encourage Wild Basin drinkers to get outside with a refreshing beverage, recycle those cans and Keep Running Wild. Photo Credit: CANarchy Craft Brewery Collective

Summer Drink | asian avenue magazine


Kickstarter helps Colorado couple share their Chamoru culture through cookbook A Highlands Ranch couple wants to share their culture with the world—in a cookbook project. But the creation of a cultural cookbook of Guam and the Marianas will require money. So Gerard and Mary Aflague turned to Kickstarter, a website designed to raise funds. “We’re making progress,” said Gerard Aflague, Chamoru author and owner of the GerardAflagueCollection.com, a Chamoru-themed, online, micro business based in Colorado. www.KickStarter.com - The New York-based, technology company, Kickstarter, serves as a funding platform for creative projects that include everything from films, games, music, art, design and technology. Publishing a book falls under these categories. Since its inception in 2009, Kickstarter has raised $4.4 million for more than 165,000 projects. With an ambitious goal of $30,000, the Aflagues hope to raise the total amount by August 4, 2019. They started the kickstarter project last June 4. As of June 26, 2019, the Aflagues received 93 backers for a total of $8,306, reaching 21 percent of its goal. Gerard Aflague confessed, “We don’t know if we’re going to hit our goal.” Project - The funding will go towards publishing a beautiful, artistic, hardcover book, showcasing more than 350 pages about the Chamoru culture. Measuring about 7.5 X 9.5 inches, the cookbook includes a variety of features including recipes, vivid photographs of the food and the history of culinary delights from the island. To be more specific, funding will pay for associated material Gerard and Mary Aflague included more than 100 recipes in their book, Chamoru Cuisine.


July 2019 | Book Launch

By Mary Jeneverre Schultz

to develop content, copyediting work, fees for licensing of images, cost for printing plus freight handling. If the project runs smoothly, the estimated release date is January 2020. Roadblocks - Aflague shared the confusion of understanding the pledge package, how people are charged, what it means to be a sponsor. “Too much text is pushing people away, even orienting newcomers,” he said. The charges won’t occur until the end of the campaign but that point is confusing for anyone visiting the website for the first time. Pledges - Pledges are coming in daily. Aflague shared only one or two days showed no activities. Packages are available for anyone who wants to participate in this project funding with these options: Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, Marianas, Family, Fundraiser, and Educational. Interested in seeing your name as a supporter of this book? Then purchasing the bronze option is the way to go. Or if you want an autographed cookbook, check out the silver and gold options. You can donate even $1 just to have bragging rights about this project. You can support this project by visiting www.kickstarter. com/projects/1857857055/help-publish-a-legacy-of-chamoru-culture-and-cuisine. Follow Mary Jeneverre Schultz on Instagram @Jeneverre.



angladeshi author and actress Reema Zaman enters a creative world by exploring how she ended up in this place and time. This book allows her to explore her beginnings and her nows. While labeled as a memoir, the book begins from her birth to the decision in writing the said self-biography. It’s curious to learn her upbringings and how she ended up in the U.S. “Through each incident, I recorded my truth only to have my truth, my story, my value denied in this midst by the people around me,” Zaman shared with open honesty in a video posted on her website, reemazaman.com. “It’s a way to provide a way of healing and love.” She explored each relationship throughout her life, including her father and one between her mother and father. Some parts of the book are hard to read, especially the sections of violence and rape. Writing the book allowed her to explore inner parts of her. It was a way to release some emotional tensions, pent-up concerns and irreconcilable problems. The writing is described as poetic, sing song and lyrical. It’s soothing and feels like a gentle wind blowing on timbre reeds. Once you watch Zaman on video or listen to her podcasts, you’ll understand how the vivid descriptions used throughout the memoir. It’s like being the “fly on the wall.” Other interesting parts of the book is telling the South Asian patriarchal system, one of her father’s lay of the land in the family life. Readers will cheer for Zaman’s mother as she escapes this life and begins one of her own. Readers will follow Zaman from childhood to teenager to young adulthood. While subtle, the voices in each age are distinctive. It’s not just “someone’s life.” This book brings up bold themes of life, love, family, dreams, heartbreak, and healing. Anyone can relate to some, if not all the themes, covered in the memoir. Zaman is on the watch list of up and coming authors. Pick up her

Title: I Am Yours Author: Reema Zaman ISBN: 978-1-948-70511-0 Pages: 336 | Price: $24.99 Publisher: Amberjack Publishing Website: reemazaman.com

Connect with Reema

Instagram & Twitter: @reemazaman facebook.com/reema.zaman Reviewed by Mary Jeneverre Schultz

book if want to be enchanted and bewitched during a rainytype of reading day. To speak is a revolution. All throughout the human story, through the most intimate acts of erasure, women have been silenced. Now, women everywhere are breaking through the limits placed on us by family, society, and tradition. Beginning in Bangladesh and moving to Thailand, New York, and finally, Oregon, I Am Yours, is about Reema’s fight to protect and free her voice from those who have sought to silence her, for the sake of creating a world where all voices are welcome and respected. Because the voice, without intimacy, will atophy. We’re in this together. You are mine, and I am yours. I Am Yours is the first English-language memoir written by a woman from Bangladesh that explores the intersection of personal and political with such clarity and power. Now more than ever, Reema’s story of resilence and radical self-love is a spiritual guide to hearing from trauma and a vital call to action for all of us to free our own voices. Reema Zaman is an award-winning writer, speaker, actress, and author of the critically acclaimed memoir I Am Yours. I Am Yours has been adopted into the curriculum of several high schools through an Innovation Grant from the Oregon Board of Education. Reema’s work has appeared in Vogue, Ms., The Guardian, Salon, Guernica, Longreads, and Shape. She is currently partnering with the International Rescue Committee and Girls Inc. to serve crucial causes and empower the next generation of leaders. Born in Bangladesh and raised in Thailand, she currently lives in Oregon. As the only Reema Zaman in the world, she is easy to find on social media. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter and learn more at reemazaman.com. Book Review | asian avenue magazine


Summertime Destination:

The Alien Moon of Pandora

Article and Photos By Jessalyn Herreria Langevin

Animal Kingdom - Walt Disney World in Florida In 2009, James Cameron blew audiences away with his blockbuster hit Avatar. The film broke several box office records and became the highest grossing film of all time. As of today, Avatar still holds the title of highest grossing film with fans eagerly awaiting a sequel scheduled for release in December of 2020. While fans may be disappointed with the long wait, Walt Disney World Resort has provided an experience to both alleviate the wait time and build on the anticipation for the sequel. Last summer, Disney World’s Animal Kingdom became a gateway to Pandora - The World of Avatar. Disney Imagineers recreated the gravity defying floating mountains and the bioluminescent alien flora which looks drastically different at night. This visually stunning world has few attractions, but is definitely worth spending time wandering the paths, riding the attractions, and sampling Na’vi cuisine. Perhaps the largest attraction of Pandora is the Avatar Flight of Passage. This 3-D ride is one of the most immersive experiences out there. Riders fly high above on the backs of mountain banshees, the flying beasts seen in the movie. While flying on the banshees you can smell the fragrant air and feel the splash of water. Disney Imagineers have even simulated the feel of riding on top of a banshee - you can feel the seat and leg holders vibrate beneath you, similar to riding a horse. The Na’vi River Journey provides a calmer experience into Pandora’s nightlife and bioluminescent rainforest. While waiting to board, guests can inspect the intricate weaving which serves as a map for the rainforest of the Valley of Mo’ara or read different facts and tidbits about Pandora’s plant and animal life. This gentle boat ride on the Kasvapan River utilizes a variety of effects to portray the various flora and fauna of this alien world. The dark river ride allows just enough light to see some of Pandora’s amazing wildlife and glimpse the Na’vi, the 10-foot tall, blue humanoid people of Avatar. At the end of the ride, guests come face to face with the Na’vi Shaman of Songs - an audio-animatronic which both sings and moves.


July 2019 | Travel

Disney has certainly worked it’s magic in recreating the Valley of Mo’ara with its floating mountain range and exotic landscaping. The outstanding attention to detail is breathtaking. During the day, Pandora appears to be an alien jungle filled with oversized plants and impossibly large floating mountains. With its lack of typical theme park marquees, it’s quite easy to get lost among the winding paths within Pandora. When the sun goes down, the landscape changes entirely. The lush greenery disappears into darker tones of blues, purples, and occasionally yellow. When hunger hits, guests can grab a bite to eat at the Satu’li Canteen, a quick service restaurant, or Pongu Pongu, a snack stand. Guests may be shocked at the somewhat exotic twist to foods such as rice bowls with boba toppings or cheeseburger pods or baos found at the Satu’li Canteen. Connoisseurs of Asian cuisine may smile at the unusual inclusion of pineapple popping boba as a topping for both food and drink. Desserts include chocolate cake, blueberry cream cheese mousse, and pongu lumpia—a spring roll filled with pineapple cream cheese. Try the beautifully colored Night Blossom drink that tastes like apple and pear limeade with a pineapple boba topping. Wait times for attractions can be lengthy due to the novelty and popularity of Pandora, especially during summer and holiday hours. Wait times for Flight of Passage have been reported to be 2 to 5 hours and 90 minutes to a few hours for the Na’vi River Journey. The Disney FastPass allows guests to select up to three attractions that they wish to skip the line. All things considered, Pandora is an amazing experience and an indescribable sight to behold. Plus, how else can you tell people that you visited an alien moon?

By DJ Ida

The Artistic Insight


L to R: Joni Sakaguchi and DJ Ida (Sakura Foundation board members), Barbara Takenaga, Gary Yamashita (Sakura Foundation Executive Director), Stacey Shigaya (Sakura Foundation Program Director) and Jennifer Doran (Owner and Director, Robischon Gallery). Photo Credit: Robischon Gallery. In celebration of May as Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, Sakura Foundation was proud to host a reception and gallery talk for New York artist Barbara Takenaga. The event was held on May 17 at the Robischon Gallery in downtown Denver. The Foundation is grateful for the assistance and support of gallery co-owner Jennifer Doran and her team who were instrumental in making the event a great success. More than 50 guests came to view the exhibit and hear Takenaga talk. Some have followed Takenaga’s work for years, stretching back to her days of living in Colorado where she received her BFA and MFA at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Others had never seen her work but

Photos by Stacey Shigaya

were interested in hearing what Takenaga had to say about her journey as an artist. Takenaga has always pushed herself to explore new and exciting territory and began what she called her cosmic paintings in early 2000. Over the years her art has shifted from mesmerizing swirls and dots that draw the viewer in, to more expansive work of geometric patterns that undulate as she incorporates paint which subtly changes color as one views the painting from different angles. At the gallery event, Takenaga spoke about her life as an artist and admitted that growing up in North Platte, Nebraska did not afford her many opportunities to interact with other Japanese Americans. She never considered herself a JA

artist per se, but chuckled when she admitted that the Japanese sense of design somehow manages to find a place in her art, no matter how subtle, and has been evident in her artwork for years. In spite of her success as an artist, she remains very down-to-earth and approachable. People left the gallery happy with a newfound appreciation for a talented artist who is influenced by Japanese graphic design yet is clearly someone who is her own person. Barbara Takenaga’s exhibit is on display in the Robischon Gallery through July 6, 2019. The gallery is located at 1740 Wazee Street, Denver 80202. A book of Takenaga’s masterful art is available online at https://bit.ly/2QzAamj.

Mile High Happenings | asian avenue magazine


Gratitude Abounds from the 47th Annual Cherry Blossom Festival

Taiko with Toni

Photo Credit: Cami Shigaya Coloradans are a hearty bunch: They did not let a rain-filled forecast prevent them from enjoying a weekend filled with Japanese and Japanese American (JA) culture at the 47th Annual Cherry Blossom Festival in downtown Denver! On June 22 and 23, festival-goers of all ages and backgrounds came out in full force to see colorful entertainment on the Live Stage, visit the 50+ marketplace vendors and nonprofit information booths, make a craft in the free indoor Kids’ Area, chat with artists inspired by the Japanese culture and, of course, taste the amazing food prepared with care by sangha members of Tri-State/Denver Buddhist Temple (TS/DBT). Consul-General of Japan Midori Takeuchi opened the festival with a kind greeting to festival attendees. The supportive sponsors, in-kind donors and community and festival partners also made valuable contributions to the event. For the past four years, Sakura Foundation and TS/DBT have collaborated to bring the Cherry Blossom Festival (“Sakura Matsuri” in Japanese) to life in Sakura Square. “The festival is near and dear

Obon Dance Photo Credit: Jay Tian

to the hearts of all the members the TS/ DBT sangha,” says TS/DBT Board President Chad Nitta. “We have as many as four generations of families volunteering side-by-side. Some volunteers have been helping for five decades! Not only is the festival a critical fundraiser for the Temple, it is an amazing opportunity to share our JA culture and Buddhist teachings with our surrounding community. The Temple’s partnership with Sakura Foundation and its leadership in attracting vendors and stage entertainment has brought the festival to new heights in terms of attendance. We could not be more excited to continue to expand our offerings and to ensure that the JA culture will continue to be vibrant throughout Colorado!” Sakura Foundation Executive Director Gary Yamashita added, “Our mission, to sustain the Tri-State/Denver Buddhist Temple and celebrate Japanese American heritage, culture and community, provides the guidance and motivation to partner with the Temple each year to host the festival. It is truly a team effort be-

“All the hard work is well worth the effort to celebrate and share our Japanese American heritage. The festival highlights the significant role the temple and Sakura Foundation play in celebrating the cultural diversity of Denver and the broader region.”


July 2019 | On Scene

By Stacey Shigaya

Young Volunteers Photo Credit: Jay Tian

tween Sakura Foundation and the Temple in honoring our Japanese heritage and cultural past, but striving to keep our traditions fresh and relevant for current and future generations.” The continued success of the festival is credited to the many faithful and new festival attendees and, most importantly, the vital volunteers who work countless hours to make the festival happen. Plans for the 48th Annual Cherry Blossom Festival are already in the works! Stay informed by liking the Cherry Blossom Festival Facebook page and by visiting CherryBlossomDenver.org. See you in June 2020!

Joe Ozaki and his grandson Kohei Photo Credit: Glenn Asakawa

Quotes are written by Cherry Blossom Festival volunteers

“The festival is an integral link for the Japanese American (JA) community members of Colorado. I proudly support and volunteer at the annual event to see and feel the cohesiveness of the JA community and take pride in the fact that we all come together to work hard to continue sharing and participating in the heritage that was handed down to us from past generations.”

Opening Ceremony with Consul-General Midori Takeuchi, Sakura Foundation Program Director Stacey Shigaya, TriState/Denver Buddhist Temple President Chad Nitta, and Sakura Foundation Executive Director Gary Yamashita. Photo Credit: Cami Shigaya

“It’s hard to express how much the Cherry Blossom Festival means to me. I can’t remember a summer without the festival and I can’t imagine my life without the many fond memories and experiences I’ve collected over the years. I volunteer in order to give this same opportunity to my kids and the greater Denver community.”

Sakura Foundation board members Drew Domoto and Kelly Yamasaki. Photo Credit: Cami Shigaya

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 Mile High Happenings | asian avenue magazine


AsAm Navy to name Destroyer after the late Senator Daniel Inouye


he Navy will name a guided missile destroyer after Daniel Inouye, who served as a U.S. senator for Hawaii. .Inouye was a U.S. senator for 49 years until his death in 2012. During his tenure, he served as chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. He also aided in the congressional investigations of the Watergate scandal and the Iran-Contra affair. In 2017, Hawaii renamed Honolulu International Airport after Inouye in honor of his service to the state of Hawaii. Inouye has also served in the military. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for bravery fighting in World War II, where he fought with the Japanese American 442nd Regional Combat Team.

10-year-old — without hands – wins handwriting contest


ith the popularity of smartphones and computers, handwriting is an ancient form of communication for millennials, but not for 10-year-old Sara Henesley, who was born in China without hands and adopted four years ago by an American couple. She recently entered the Nicholas Maxim Award in the 2019 Zaner-Bloser National Handwriting Contest. The judges were so impressed with her perfect penmanship that she was given the award dedicated to contestants with an intellectual, physical or developmental disability. Sara, who writes by holding her pencil between the ends of her arms, was trained in the fine art of penmanship by her teacher and quickly learned to love writing. “She can do just about anything — often times better than me or my husband,” her mother, Cathryn Hinesley said. She is a third-grader at St. John Regional Catholic School in Frederick, Maryland, who told Good Morning America “I felt excited and proud,” about the award.

Sikh American airman wins petition to wear turban and beard on active duty


he U.S. Air Force has granted a religious accommodation allowing an active-duty Sikh airman to wear a turban, beard, and unshorn hair in accordance with his faith. “I’m overjoyed that the Air Force has granted my religious accommodation,” said Airman 1st Class Harpreetinder Singh Bajwa. “Today, I feel that my country has embraced my Sikh heritage, and I will be forever grateful for this opportunity.” “The Air Force places a high value on the rights of its members to observe the tenets of their respective religions or to observe no religion at all,” said Air Force


July 2019 | National News

spokesman Major Nicholas J. Mercurio. Born to an immigrant family, Bajwa enlisted in the Air Force in 2017. He is currently a crew chief at McChord Air Force base in Washington. He had to cut his hair and remain cleanshaven, contrary to Sikh practices, due to the military’s grooming and dress guidelines. Bajwa learned of prior exemptions granted to Sikhs in the Army, leading him to contact the Sikh American Veterans Alliance (SAVA) for help, with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) becoming involved later on. The ACLU called the Air Force’s decision a “historic” first.

NEWS National Spelling Bee crowns eight co-champions


n an unprecedented finish, the 92nd Scripps National Spelling Bee was one for the ages, ending in an eight-way tie. South Asians continued their domination of the annual bee as seven of the eight co-champions were Indian Americans. After three days of winnowing the 550 contestants in Washington DC, by the time they reached 17 rounds, only eight spellers remained. The eight spelled all the words correctly through the next two rounds. Never before had so many re-

mained this late into the contest. “Champion spellers, we are now in uncharted territory,” bee pronouncer Jacques Bailly told them in announcing the decision to allow up to eight winners. “We do have plenty of words remaining on our list. But we will soon run out of words that will possibly challenge you, the most phenomenal collection of super spellers in the history of this competition.” Organizers felt the final eight were so well prepared that winnowing them

down even further would be fruitless and declared the remaining eight co-champions. By winning the bee, each of the winners receive a $50,000 cash prize; an engraved Scripps National Spelling Bee trophy; a reference library from Merriam-Webster; and $400 of reference works from Encyclopedia Britannica. Dating back to 2008, spanning 12 bees, a total of 21 Indian Americans have been champions or co-champions.

Jeremy Lin becomes the first Asian American to win NBA Championship


eremy Lin is all aglow from the shine of the Larry O’Brien trophy, the award given annually to the NBA champions. Lin’s Toronto Raptors defeated the defending champs, the Golden State Warriors to win the title. He is the first Asian American player to be able to hoist the O’Brien trophy as a champion. Since his 2011-2012 Linsanity season with the New York Knicks, Lin has played for six different teams. He spent most of his time on the bench with the Raptors and logged just more than 50 seconds on the court during the NBA finals. However, during the regular season in 2019, he played 19 minutes per game and scored seven points per game for the Raptors after joining them mid-season. Source: asamnews.com

AsAm News | asian avenue magazine


“Always Be My Maybe” is a crazy great Asian American movie – thanks to “Fresh Off the Boat” Ali Wong and Randall Park play in the Netflix movie Always Be My Maybe as friends who reunite 15 years later.

“Crazy Rich Asians” was such a surprising success to Hollywood’s power brokers last year that its ripple effects have included some other film and TV projects featuring Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. But it would be a mistake to say that “CRA” broke the dam and allowed the flood of AAPI projects to come to our big, small and tiny handheld screens. Other AAPI-focused movies opened last year too, including John Cho’s excellent cyber-thriller “Searching” and the sweet teen love story, “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” starring Lana Condor, which is on Netflix. “Always Be My Maybe,” a new movie also on Netflix that dropped this month, is a wonderful, entertaining rom-com that’s easier for us to identify with (who can really identify with the fabulously wealthy society of Singapore?), and it wasn’t sparked by “CRA.” “Always Be My Maybe,” as co-star and co-writer Randall Park pointed out in a NPR interview, has finished filming and was starting post-production when “Crazy Rich Asians” was released last summer. If anything, “Always Be My Maybe” and the plethora of other AAPI Hollywood treasures and pleasures that are coming soon to a theater, television or mobile screen near you can trace their roots back to 2015, when ABC debuted “Fresh Off the Boat.” That’s the sit-com starring a Chi-


July 2019 | Movie Review

nese American family in 1990s suburban Florida, where the dad runs an all-American steakhouse and mom writes murder mysteries. It was originally loosely based on the memoir of celebrity chef Eddie Huang, who almost immediately declared the show was phony and not edgy enough. Duh – this is network television, dude, what did you expect? Huang is still credited as producer, but the show’s creator and producer, Nahnatchka Khan, has kept it going for now five seasons, thanks to a stellar cast that stars Constance Wu as Jessica Huang, Randall Park as Louis Huang and Hudson Yang as the oldest son, the chef-to-be Eddie. The show balances Asian cultural touches (the grump, blunt grandmother, the overachieving younger sons – Eddie is the slacker of the bunch) with storylines that keep non-Asians watching. Without “Fresh Off the Boat,”“Crazy Rich Asians” may not have been made into a movie, even though the novel it was based on was a bestseller. Constance Wu was cast fresh off “Fresh off the Boat” for “Crazy Rich Asians, and let’s face it, she – and the rom-com chemistry she had with co-star Henry Golding – made the movie really shine. Also spinning off “Fresh,” Randall Park wrote the romantic comedy “Always Be My Maybe” with co-star Ali Wong and Mike

Golamco. “Fresh” creator and show runner Nahnatchka Khan directed “Always Be My Maybe.” Park plays Marcus Kim, a Korean American guy in San Francisco who’s been a little adrift all his life, working with his dad in an air conditioning/heating business and playing in a rappy rock band circa mid-1990s. Wong is Sasha Tran, a driven Vietnamese American celebrity chef who’s back in SF to open a new hip restaurant. The film is about their off, then almost on, then on-again romance, told with great humor and cultural insights. The highlights include cameos by two stars who appear as Sasha’s boyfriends. Daniel Dae Kim is her beau at the beginning, a more famous restaurateur who is full of himself. But the one getting all the press is Keanu Reeves, who plays himself in a hilarious series of scenes as Sasha’s newest boyfriend. The scene with Reeves showing up at a ridiculously posh restaurant for a double date with Sasha, Marcus and his girlfriend is priceless, and worth the price of a Netflix subscription just so you can watch it over and over again. It’s an endlessly satisfying film, and the result of a tipping point that may have been symbolized by “Crazy Rich Asians” but really started five years ago, with “Fresh Off the Boat.”

Written by: Gil Asakawa Original and full article on nikkeiview.com


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Profile for Asian Avenue magazine

Asian Avenue magazine - July 2019  

Cover: TravelingJules - Heartland Emmy Award Winning Travel Journalist

Asian Avenue magazine - July 2019  

Cover: TravelingJules - Heartland Emmy Award Winning Travel Journalist