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asian avenue magazine

Connecting Cultures Linking Lives

March 2019 Volume 14 Issue 3

Marie kondo sparks joy worldwide with her tidying up techniques

Asian women flourish and thrive via The Cosmos

Tea Street takes on the flavors of Taiwanese tea

22 S. Adams St. Denver 80209 303.399.1146 800.659.2656 TTY

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Call Melanie at 720.382.7833 for more information. Kavod Senior Life is a non-profit, non-sectarian organization providing housing and services to older adults and people with disabilities that does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability or familial status.

The Confucius Institute at

Community College of Denver The Confucius Institute at Community College of Denver is a Chinese language and cultural learning center, established in 2007 with the support of the Chinese Language Council International (Hanban), to promote Chinese language training and intercultural understanding. Our programs and services include: n Noncredit Chinese language and cultural workshops n Private Chinese language tutoring n Chinese language proficiency testing n Scholarships to study in China n China summer camps n Seasonal Chinese cultural events n Seasonal professional development training for Colorado K-12 Mandarin teachers n An educational resource center For more information about the Confucius Institute, contact: Jane Lim n 303-352-6510




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

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What is Chinese Hotpot?


Chinese hotpot is a communal eating experience, in which you order different ingredients to boil inside a simmering pot of broth. Think of it as Asian fondue where everyone at the table cooks their own food!

How to eat Hotpot?

At Aki, first choose your soup base (do you dig hot and spicy? Or are you more into herbal broths?). From there, choose your meats and seafoods ranging from beef slices, pork belly and meatballs to squid, fish fillets, shrimps and clams. Throw in your veggies: mushrooms, cabbage, spinach, sprouts, or boy choy, and the list goes on with over 20 options. Lastly, add your noodles and tofus, and don’t forget the dipping sauces! And the best part is that it is ALL YOU CAN EAT!

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Revolutionary Laser Therapy Helps AsianAmericans Save Previously Hopeless Teeth Gum Disease is the leading cause for tooth loss in adults. Learn about the disease, the symptoms and implications, and how Dr. Nguyen uses a sophisticated laser to treat it! What is Gum Disease? Simply put, Gum Disease (further categorized as Gingivitis and Periodontitis) is a disease that affects the foundational tissues that hold your teeth in place. In a study conducted by the Center for Disease Control, 60 million Americans over the age of 30 suffer from some form of gum disease. In the diagram, a healthy tooth can become inflamed and then riddled with debris and infection. Left untreated, it can cause the bone to dissolve, leading to moving teeth and ultimately the loss of teeth. Why should you care? While gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults, infection of the gums affects more than just your dental health. It is strongly associated with heart disease, diabetes, premature births, respiratory infections and other diseases. Through frequent evaluations, we can catch the disease early and even reverse its affects. How do I know if I have Gum Disease? If you are experiencing red, bleeding gums, tooth movement, and bad breath, it’s very likely that you have some degree of gum disease. Listen to the first signs and seek an evaluation. Often marked as the “silent killer”, gum disease doesn’t often hurt until it has already become severe. If I do have Gum Disease, how can it be treated? Using an extremely sophisticated laser, treatment for severe gum disease has transformed from a painful, invasive procedure to a delicate, minimally invasive, “no cut, no sew “procedure. With a laser as fine as three human hairs, Dr. Nguyen is able to eradicate the bugs causing gum disease and save teeth that previously were fated to extraction. This remarkable technique and laser is the only FDA-approved procedure that has been proven to regenerate bone and heal teeth. What should I do if I have Gum Disease? Dr. Nguyen and the team at Barotz offer no-charge consultations where you can discuss all of your concerns with the doctor. You can also visit to learn more about the disease and LANAP Laser Gum Therapy through videos and free informational reports. About Dr. Nguyen: Born and raised in Denver, Colorado, Dr. Linda M. Nguyen has now 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 comprehensive, life-changing dentistry for her patients. “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.”

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MARCH 2019 in this issue EVENTS


Event calendar

Artist feature



Q&A with Akemi Tsutsui-Kunitake, a Denver-based artist who illustrates depictions of whimsicality, adventure and magic

Have you taken the step to decluttering and tidying up your home or office space? If you need some inspiration, check out Marie Kondo’s tidying up tips or hire an organization consultant!

Tea Shop Review


The recently opened Tea Street specializes in Taiwanese-inspired tea drinks



Marie Kondo sparks joy in the homes of millions and increases donations at thrift stores across the nation

Financial Advice


Prudential study finds that Asian Americans may save more but they need more planning as many take care of their family members



Asian Avenue celebrates the Year of the Pig at 11th annual banquet


Join the Cosmos: Thrive and flourish with a community of Asian women

Asian American News


News across the nation


26 27

Krista Kim-Bap by Angela Ahn Q&A interview with the author



12 6

March 2019 | Table of Contents


Inside story

Nathan Yip Foundation celebrates at 2019 Chinese New Year Party

Denver Mayor Hancock hosts morning mixer with community

Denver Travel & Adventure Show offers vacation destinations


Day of Remembrance event focused on the women of the Japanese American experience

Asian Avenue Magazine P.O. Box 221748 Denver, CO 80222-1748 Tel: 303.937.6888 E-mail:

Find us @AsianAveMag


Dear Asian Avenue readers, Raise your hand if you spent Super Bowl Sunday tidying your home! Yep, that’s me with my hand in the air! I am one of the millions of people that were inspired by Netflix’s Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, and began following Marie’s tips right away. Check out our cover story about the Japanese organization consultant, Marie Kondo. This issue, we’re excited to highlight the stories and talents of Asian women. In addition to world-reknown Marie Kondo, right here in Denver, we have an incredibly talented Japanese American artist—Akemi Tsutsui-Kunitake. She is an illustrator that recently launched a website and online store to share her whimsical and magical artwork, influenced by her passion for more cultural representation in art. A group for Asian women called The Cosmos has formed in Denver, answering the question: what would it look like for Asian women to flourish and thrive? The answer: a community of Asian women creators that support each other in an “effortless sisterhood.” Learn more about how to join The Cosmos. On Feb. 17, Dr. Satsuki Ina, a Berkeley, California-based therapist and activist served as the keynote speaker at the Mile High chapter of Japanese American Citizens League’s Day of Remembrance event. Ina, who was born in a concentration camp, has produced two documentary films, “Children of the Camps” and “From a Silk Cocoon.” Annie Guo VanDan, President Asian Avenue magazine | Published by Asian Avenue Magazine, Inc. P.O. Box 221748 Denver, CO 80222-1748 Tel: 303.937.6888 |


asian avenue Publisher & Founder Christina Yutai Guo

Marketing Manager Joie Ha

President Annie Guo VanDan

Staff Writer Patricia Kaowthumrong

Senior Designer C.G. Yao

Staff Writer Amy Ng

Editorial Director Mary Jeneverre Schultz


on the cover


In Netflix’s Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, Kondo assists her clients in clearing out the clutter in a series of inspiring home makeovers. The KonMari Method™ is a state of mind – and a way of life – that encourages cherishing the things that spark joy in one’s life. Photo Credit: Netflix

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contributing photographers


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President’s Note | asian avenue magazine


upcoming events MAASU 2019 Spring Conference: Be Bolder at CU Boulder March 8-9 CU Boulder Campus

The Midwest Asian American Students Union (MAASU) is a student led organization that is striving to ‘Be Bolder’ in its celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander identity. The Spring Conference is an opportunity for APIA students to network and engage in workshops dedicated towards promoting political activism and leadership. Center for Asian Pacific American Women Regional Conference Saturday, March 9 8am to 5pm Community College of Denver, Confluence Building 800 Curtis St., Denver CAPAW’s “Building Whole-Person Leaders of the Future” regional conference is built on a mission to support and develop ethical and compassionate leaders who bring passion, purpose and authenticity.


March 2019 | Upcoming Events

19th Annual Denver Aikido Summit Saturday, March 9 8:30am to 5:30pm Denver Buddhist Temple 1947 Lawrence St., Denver The lineup this year offers a unique blend of instructors, offering exceptional training. Instructors include: Mike Jones Sensei – Roaring Fork Aikikai, Steve Shaw Sensei – Aikikai Tanshinjuku, Seiji Tanaka Sensei – Hyland Hills Tomiki Aikido. Includes weapons training.

Sake Tasting IV Saturday, March 16 2pm to 4pm Uncle Joe’s Hong Kong Bistro 891 14th St. #100, Denver Ticket: $50 Find event on EventBrite

Sample over 15 different varieties of sake some available for the first time in Denver. Introducing 3 new sake cocktails prepared specifically for this event. Enjoy Hong Kong style Hors D’oeuvres carefully selected and prepared, by the chefs from Uncle Joe’s Hong Kong Bistro, to pair with different styles of sake.

Send community events to

Bollywood Dance Party Holi Bash 2019 Sat. M ​ arch 16 | 9pm to close Summit Denver 1902 Blake St., Denver Event is 18+ Tickets at:

Denver’s biggest international dance party! North America’s finest DJ MRA will be spinning the latest Bollywood, Bhangra, EDM and Top 40! Performances by Bella Diva World Dance, Desi Caliente, CU Boulder Dream Team Bhangra - DTB & Colorado Bhangra Team! Game of Games Thurday, ​March 28 7pm to 9:30pm Tea Street | 4090 E Mississippi Ave, Denver Ticket: $10 More info: Join the new and hip Tea Street for a night of friendly competition, bubble tea, and bragging rights. Bring a team of 4 or join a group when you arrive! Cover includes eligibility to play and 1 Large Drink + 1 Topping.

Colorado Budokan 21st Annual Friendship Cup Saturday, March 30 Colorado School of Mines 1500 Illinois St., Golden Register to compete or attend as a spectator More info: The Friendship Cup was established to promote karate-do and to provide a venue to make new friends, to see old friends, to share technical knowledge, and of course, to engage in spirited competition. I sincerely appreciate your support as Colorado. Budokan continues to endeavor to provide you with a safe, challenging, and rewarding competitive experience. Apex-4 Conference Journey to New Heights April 5-7 Radisson Hotel Denver-Aurora 3155 S. Vaughn Way, Aurora More info:

Apex-4 is a three-day leadership conference open to anyone 18 years+, who is looking to expand their network and wanting to connect with Southwest UVSA (Union of Vietnamese Student Associations). The conference will include performances, speakers and a gala event.

Akemi Artist


How has your Japanese roots influenced your illustrations? I include imagery that is comforting or familiar to me in my work. Because of my Japanese background I associate many things that are Japanese with familiarity and so those images appear in my illustrations. Some works feature creatures from Japanese folklore like the bake-kujira (a ghost that resembles a whale), oni (ogres or demons) and kodama (forest spirits, similar to dryads). Other works aim to evoke a general Japanese aesthetic through the use of certain postures and hand positions commonly seen in buddhas or in ukiyo-e prints. I also enjoy illustrating scenes that nod to my Japanese heritage through the activity or items my characters are engaging with. Examples include a witch eating ramen and gyoza, a woman bathing in an ofuro (a Japanese bath), and a vendor selling dreams in the form of dumplings or noodles from a food cart.

Q& A Japanese American illustrator in Denver

When did you first begin drawing?

I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember. Before I entered preschool I already had quite a collection of drawings - I think my mom still has them. My very first drawings were close in content to what I draw now - magical creatures, witches, sorcerers... As I grew up, I explored different subject matters and styles since I felt that the fantasy scenes were things of my childhood and I should move on to ‘more mature subjects’ that were edgy or had more social relevance. My work now really reflects the imagery I’ve always wanted to create, but thought wasn’t interesting enough to other people to be seen. Akemi Tsutsui-Kunitake | asian avenue magazine


Akemi Tsutsui-Kunitake is a fourth-generation Japanese American illustrator in Denver. With a Bachelor of Arts in Ethnic Studies and 21 years of Shotokan karate training at her family’s dojo, Akemi values ethnic representation and cultural recognition.


March 2019 | Artist Feature

Why were you interested in Ethnic Studies? Ethnic Studies empowers individuals by providing them with historical context and definitive language to speak on the issues that confront their communities. As a yonsei (fourth generation) Japanese American, I was attracted to this subject as my family was greatly impacted by the events of World War II. Along with 120,000 other Japanese Americans my family was incarcerated in concentration camps without just cause or due process. Racism and wartime hysteria were the only driving factors to warrant this severely traumatic event in our nation’s history. The Japanese American community is still working to recover from the camps, much like many other communities of color are striving to rebuild from unjust, racist oppression. My art is my way of publicly sharing my truth in a manner that gives visual representation to Asian ethnic women and girls. My education doesn’t necessarily influence themes or imagery in my art, but it affirms my desire to create my work and have it be seen by others since I understand the lack of representation that Asians have in the mainstream. With greater representation comes normalization.

Do you identify with the characters you are illustrating and/or do you find that they represent you in some way? All of my drawings have a little bit of me in them! When I think about what I want to draw, I envision images that I would have loved to have seen when I was little. My parents surrounded me with lots of picture books with really wonderful illustrations and stories that entertained me as an only child. However, I was always a bit disappointed that I never saw characters that looked like me. I, therefore, thought that the world of fantasy and imagination was not really welcome to children like me. I even felt a level of imposter syndrome when I played dress up and pretended I was a witch, sorceress, fairy, etc. since from my references, those characters were white and I was not. My illustrations are of girls/women who look a little like me, but also look a little like you or ‘her’ or ‘them.’ I may change up my subject matter in the future to reflect persons of other ethnic backgrounds, body and gender representations, but for now I’m satisfying my very personal inner creatrix.

How has the feedback been to your work? And what prompted you to start your website? The work I’m doing now was born out of participating in the Inktober challenge. Inktober is a global event in which artists attempt to draw daily for the month of October, often the results are shared on social media. For three or four years I haven’t drawn at all - not even sketches. I was in an artistic rut after doing realistic portrait commissions (work that I find very stressful) and felt that my art was void of individuality and the ‘magic’ that I once felt when I was doing art as a little girl. When Inktober 2018 came around I told myself that this was a good, low pressure opportunity to reintroduce myself to drawing and that I would only draw things that I wanted to draw. I began drawing witches and whimsical imagery again and posting them to my Instagram in a more illustrative style that I had long felt wasn’t polished enough to show other people. To my surprise, people really liked my work! From the Inktober posts I received requests for prints of my originals and have been asked to collaborate on tattoo and logo designs. With this positive feedback, I created my website/store as a way to share my art on a more professional platform.

Connect with Akemi Tsutsui-Kunitake If you have questions or would like to know more about my work, please visit me on Instagram @akemictart or on my website at

Akemi Tsutsui-Kunitake | asian avenue magazine



4090 E. Mississippi Ave | Denver, CO 80246 Tel: 720-863-8636 |

A hot or cold drink made with brewed tea, sweetened milk or other flavorings, and usually with chewy “boba� balls made from tapioca. Tea Street opened in December 2018 and welcomes you to try its Taiwanese-inspired tea drinks!

Jasmine Green Milk Tea Taro Milk Tea

Written by Tricia Wu | Photos by Nick La


March 2019 | Tea Shop Review

Tea Street Milk Tea

L to R: Tea Street Black Tea (classic tea), House Plum Punch, Tea Street Milk Tea, Jasmine Green Tea (classic tea), Taro Milk Tea, Jasmine Green Milk Tea

their good customer service, they especially welcome inquisitive newcomers to bubble tea. The dialogue around popular flavors like Taro, Mung Bean and Red Bean are intriguing to those who have never had them in drinks. And to those who have, the quality speaks for itself. The staff keep a close eye on sweetness so the flavors can really shine. They suggest trying the Wintermelon. “It tastes like molasses,” they say. The creation of new ingredient components for new drinks is part of the fun.

Tea Street’s experimentations often lead to secret menus consisting of whichever fresh fruits and flavors are available at the time. On a cold day, it may be Hot Ginger Tea with plenty of fresh ginger. Or an Iced Hawaiian Fruit Tea for a citrusy punch filled with cut fruit. On the current secret menu, they are offering a Mango Green Tea which tastes like a perfect, ripe mango. Tea Street can be found in the shopping center on the corner of Mississippi and Colorado Blvd.

Orange Green Tea

Caramelized Wintermelon. Fragrant Jasmine Green Tea. Freshly Grated Mango. These are a few of the hand-crafted components you can find at Tea Street, the newest in a sea of bubble tea shops to open in Denver. In addition to being locally owned, what sets them apart is their dedication to authenticity. The owners brew and cook everything on site, allowing complete oversight in quality and taste. Bright colors, open brick and clay tea sets set the mood for a fun and easygoing atmosphere. And smiling faces invite you to stay a while on orchid-covered tables. “Premium teas, real ingredients, no powders... We make almost everything in-house and taste-test everything,” say the owners. “We build upon the tea itself.” A small business built on re-

lationships, Tea Street is a dedication to the friends and family who helped in creating its concept, from choosing colors to helping design the logo and metal work decorations. The logo itself is a nod to traditional and modern Taiwanese elements: The emblem is a boba cup sitting on tea leaves with boba inside and the straw is a representation of Taipei 101. According to the owners, “Growing up in Colorado, where there aren’t that many Asian Americans, bubble tea can definitely be a new thing... Tea Street is really a representation of us—of Asian culture and boba culture.” Tea Street’s owners hope to further build relationships with and within their community, taking pride in providing all customers with an experience. Already well known for

Grapefruit Green Tea

Tea Street’s Upcoming Events Glendale Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony Yelp Elite Event (April 4, 2019) Asian Avenue’s Dating Event Game of Games Event For dates and more information, follow Tea Street on Instagram at @teastreetdenver. Tea Street | asian avenue magazine


The Netflix series “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” follows Kondo as she helps people organize and clean out their homes using her unique “KonMari” method.

Photo provided by Netflix

For most of us, 2019 started with New Year’s resolutions to get organized in the house. Others wanted to figure out their home office or work space. It also helped that the popularity of Marie Kondo’s Netflix series, Tidying Up released in January. Through the series, viewers learned how to fold different apparel, garnered life-changing organizational tips, and received inspiration from before and after images of everyday homes. Perhaps the popularity of de-cluttering is bigger than most of us realized in today’s times. A recent survey,


March 2019 | Cover Story

conducted by home improvement platform, Porch, asked more than 1,000 individuals why they have accumulated clutter in their homes. Respondents answered, “They might need it someday.” For this reason alone, it’s difficult to declutter unnecessary items out of the house. Organizer Guru The televised series comes years after Kondo’s #1 New York Times bestselling book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, published in

October 2014. Kondo takes tidying to a whole new level, promising that if you properly simplify and organize your home once, you’ll never have to do it again. So it is no doubt that Kondo, the Japanese organizer guru, could help any hoarder organize his or her home or whip an office into shape. Word of mouth is spreading quickly after viewers watch her show, and a nationwide trend of tidying has begun. Thrift stores across the nation have seen an uptick in donations since the series released in January.

Tidy Up, Declutter, and Get Organized Everybody’s doing it, And we mean everybody— with the help of

marie kondo. By Mary Jeneverre Schultz In fact, millennial children are even encouraging their Baby Boomer parents to start “tidying up” their space. Read the book or watch the television series? Filipino American Lourdes Dugquem credits her daughter, Adriana, who owns one of Kondo’s books. “When she came home over the holidays, she realized her room still had a lot of ‘junk’ she no longer cared about,” Dugquem said. “It bothered her so she started cleaning out her bookshelf, her closet and whatever was under the bed.”

Her daughter advised her mom to follow her lead so she could transform her life. So Dugquem started the “tidying up” earlier this year. “I had already started ‘purging’ some of my clutter, junk drawers, papers, etc, so I didn’t really have the interest in reading the book or watching the series thinking that I’ve already started my own method,” she said. However, surfing online, Dugquem ran across an interesting photograph of Marie Kondo. Intrigued, she clicked on the link that led her to the Netflix series. She started watching the first epi-

sode. Halfway through the show, her husband, Angelo joined her and the couple binged watched through four episodes. The television show motivated them to begin “tidying up” their apparel, business suits and clothing in their bedroom together. Denver resident Patrick Walton, 31, could not get past the first episode before finding himself going through his closet. But Walton finds himself “losing steam” with the entire process. “I currently have less items but displayed in the same, easy and familiar way,” he said. Tidying Up | asian avenue magazine


Does it spark joy? Kondo’s unique “KonMari” method to getting rid of possessions is elegant in its simplicity: Hold each item in your hands. If it “sparks joy,” keep it. If not, get rid of it. While Dugquem admits the corniness of asking oneself, “Does it spark joy?,” she found it helpful and looked forward to decluttering her house each day after work. “Every object has to have a purpose of either a ‘need’, ‘want’ or have a sentimental value,” she said. “This made it easy for me to decide what to keep and what to get rid of.” Even rethinking or reframing words help Dugquem get to the task quickly. “Organizing seems overwhelming and very systematic, whereas, tidying up is trying to make your life organized but manageable,” she said. the konmari method works What sets Marie Kondo apart from other declutterers and professional organizers is that she’s dedicated the majority of her life to it from a young age. She started thinking about storage systems when she was 5 years old, and discovered her passion for discarding when she was a teenager. Kondo acknowledges other decluttering and organizing methods, and says she’s tried them all. Methods that don’t work: getting rid of one item a day, decluttering one room at a time, doing a little at a time, listening to music or the TV while you declutter, trying to get your possessions down to a certain number, getting rid of something you haven’t used in a set period of time, getting rid of one thing every time you buy something new, and most storage solutions. In her book, she writes, “Does it still sound too good to be true? If your idea of tidying is getting rid of one unnecessary

To start, gather all of your clothing in one place. This helps you see how much apparel you own, so that you may be more willing to let some go.


March 2019 | Cover Story

item a day or cleaning up your room a little at a time, then you are right. It won’t have much effect on your life.” The KonMari Method is not a mere set of rules on how to sort, organize, and put things away. It is a guide to acquiring the right mindset for creating order and becoming a tidy person. And, her client track record speaks for itself. The people who use the KonMari Method never revert to clutter again. She once had a long waitlist in Japan, but now individuals can hire one of her KonMari consultants. personal Transformation In the marketing world, “word of mouth,” is the best type of advertisement. And that’s what Dugquem does. She shares her transformation with everyone. “I have been so excited about this, I’ve been telling others about it.” Dugquem’s success includes better habits. She doesn’t have any trouble with mismatched socks, her closet has more space, and she can see all her clothes. While Walton, added his gratitude in decluttering his closet. “I think it might be difficult to truly understand the spirit of the KonMari method from a Netflix episode, but I’m grateful for that episode in creating more closet space.” the Netflix Show & its critics In the eight-episode series, Kondo guides people who are at a crossroads and resolved to finally tackle the clutter blocking their joy, transforming lives in emotional and surprising ways. Viewers have found that some episodes and situations are very relatable to their personal situations. The real people she works with on the show include: • A loving family of four who have relocated from a four-bedroom home in Michigan to a Los Angeles apartment;

In a drawer, Kondo suggests to fold your shirts in thirds and place them upright so you can see them. Photo Credit: Jeannette Herreria

Marie Kondo’s #1 New York Times best-selling book

• A recently widowed woman grappling with how to let go of her beloved late husband’s possessions – but not his memory; • A young couple living in West Hollywood who are ready to leave their college-style lifestyle behind; • Soon-to-be parents who realize it’s time to let go of the past to pave way for their future family. If one of Kondo’s ideas doesn’t suit you, just walk away. For example, she suggests keeping 30 books in one’s household. Many unhappy critics came out of the woodwork to complain about this tip with numerous articles and tweets written about the unreasonableness of this concept. Even racist comments set in, when a huge contender complained about Kondo’s knowledge of English. But supporters insist her mannerism is appealing and shows a quiet, but sensible demeanor instead of lecture and demeaning style. If you haven’t already embarked on your home makeover and personal transformation, enjoy watching the Netflix series or grab a copy of the best-selling book. Mary Jeneverre Schultz completed “tidying up” her walk-in closet, bedroom, kitchen and son’s room in one month. Up next is her office. Follow her on Instagram @Jeneverre.

Photo provided by Netflix

Connect with Kondo 1. Visit her website and sign up for the newsletter: 2. Hire one of her consultants through her website. Currently, two consultants are designated in the Denver area. 3. View her YouTube videos to obtain ideas on “tidying up.” YouTube: MarieKondo 4. Gather a small group of friends, colleagues and co-workers to share tips and challenge each other. Already, friends are posting on Facebook and Twitter about their efforts to “tidy up.” 5. Borrow, check it out in the library or buy any one of her books to inspire you. • The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing • Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up • The Life-Changing Manga of Tidying Up: A Magical Story

follow her on social! Instagram & Twitter: @MarieKondo Facebook: @KonMariMethod Tidying Up | asian avenue magazine


1147 S Federal Blvd, Denver, CO 80219 Tel: 303.993.7444



HOURS: Sun - Thur: 10am to 10pm Fri - Sat: 10am to 11pm



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




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Nominate 2019 Asian American Heroes of Colorado! Now in our 11th year, we need your help to nominate deserving members of the Asian American community - the unsung heroes, the shining stars and the selfless leaders! Heroes will be featured in Asian Avenue and recognized at the 2019 Awards Ceremony in May in honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.

Nominate at: Nomin Deadline: Monday, April 1, 2019

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Asian Americans save more but may need more planning to protect dependents By Hurong Lou, Prudential Financial When it comes to saving and investing, Asian Americans actually do it quite well, or at least, better than the U.S. general population. Even so, strong cultural traditions of caregiving and providing for family often present us with financial challenges. That’s according to a recent study by Prudential, The Cut: Exploring Financial Wellness Within Diverse Populations, which takes a deep look at the objective and subjective financial health of Asian Americans, women, black Americans, Hispanics, LGBTQ individuals, and caregivers. A comprehensive survey of more than 3,000 Americans revealed that, as a community, Asian Americans invest early and invest smart, while being notably more focused than the general population on providing financial and physical support to their parents or other family members. The findings are part of Prudential’s broader Financial Wellness Census released last year. While Americans as a whole save only 10 percent of their income on average— the same isn’t true for Asian Americans. U.S.-born Asians in Prudential’s study saved 36 percent of their income on average, while foreign-born Asians re-

ported saving or investing almost half of their monthly income (47 percent). From my experience as a first-generation Chinese American and a manager of financial services with Prudential in Marlton, New Jersey, I know that having more savings doesn’t mean Asian Americans are more confident in their finances. In fact, the numbers from Prudential’s study shows the opposite: Only 31 percent of U.S.-born Asians said they were optimistic about their financial future, versus 41 percent of the population at large. One possible explanation for the disconnect? Those extra savings are going to someone else—68 percent of foreign-born Asian Americans and half of U.S. born Asian Americans in the study are providing financial support to family members. I’m among those Asian Americans sandwiched between caring for kids and caring for parents. My in-laws, now in their 80s, immigrated from China to live with my family in Philadelphia five years ago after a health scare. They took care of us, now it’s our turn to take care of them. How can we avoid trading off our financial security for theirs? You may want to consider three key things to help grow your financial confidence and a portfolio built to last.

Tip 1

Educate yourself. My in-laws never heard of private insurance in China; they didn’t know how to protect themselves and their family in old age. Be willing to listen and learn—a financial advisor can inform you about options to avoid paying dollar for dollar for long-term care and protect your savings in the event of a job loss or illness. That way more of your assets can be passed on to the next generation.

Tip 2

Plan ahead. If you or your spouse gets sick, or loses a job, who is going to provide for those who depend on you? Don’t wait until it happens to find the answer. Make a plan—and write it down— so everyone in the family knows what it is. Sharing the plan is as important as having one.

Tip 3

Stay active. Your plan may have been perfect 15 years ago, but it might not be good enough anymore. Tax laws have changed, your family may have changed. Keeping the discussion open serves as a constant reminder that things could happen, and if they do happen, you’re still covered. Tweaking your plans could save you a significant amount of money. It’s great that many Asian Americans are saving smart. But when you’re supporting family and other dependents, you also need to make sure your income can be replaced. If you make the right plans, there’s no reason you can’t achieve financial wellness and improve your overall well-being.

Financial Advice | asian avenue magazine


Year of the Pig

celebrating with Asian Avenue magazine On Feb. 2, Asian Avenue hosted its 11th annual Lunar New Year Dinner Celebration. More than 300 guests came together at Empress Seafood Restaurant to welcome the Year of the Pig with great company, cultural entertainment and Chinese banquet food.

Colorado Asian Cultural Heritage Center started off the evening with an energizing performed the lion and dragon dance.

Cherry Creek High School Chamber Orchestra String Octet played Chinese folk songs including the popular Longing for the Spring Breeze.

Shi Qi Chen performed 24 styles of Tai Chi


March 2019 | Event Recap

L to R: Jennifer Chen, Director General of Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Denver Jerry S. Chang, Asian Avenue Publisher Christina Yutai Guo, Asian American Heroes of Colorado Awardee Lily Shen, State Senator Julie Gonzales, ConsulGeneral of Japan Midori Takeuchi, Asian Avenue President Annie Guo VanDan

Chinese Calligraphy by Fande Li Traditional Chinese Fan Dance by Yan Fen Song

Master of Ceremonies Triet Hoang invited children to the stage to receive a red envelope

Honorable Guests: Jerry S. Chang, Jennifer Chen, Lucy Guo and Dr. James Guo

Members of Outdoor Asian Colorado

More photos at: Photos by Tateng Yang Lunar New Year 2019 | asian avenue magazine


Crazy Rich Asians Movie Night


S O M S O c E H T

e? h and thriv is r u o fl to n ome for Asian w e k li k o lo it By Joanne Liu What does

What does it look like for Asian women to flourish and thrive? This single, powerful question is what Karen Mok and Cassandra Lam asked each other in November 2018 in a café on the Lower East Side of New York City. They imagined a community where naming their fears, uncertainties, anxiety, and doubts were not only supported, but normalized. They realized the need for a new vocabulary—one that empowers them to celebrate their livelihood and encourages their right to flourish and thrive on their own terms. The Cosmos was born The Cosmos is a community for Asian women creators and rule breakers to flourish and thrive. Through content and experiences, they empower Asian women to create the representation and culture change they deserve. Their events offer a supportive space to not only talk, but also amplify their voices on topics that affect them and their communities. The Cosmos produces custom experiences by Asian women, for Asian women and is inclusive of self-identifying women, femmes, gender nonconforming, queer,


March 2019 | Inside Story

and transgender individuals of Asian, Pacific Islander, South Asian, and mixed descent. I first saw an article about The Cosmos on Twitter. I immediately reached out to them and asked, “How can I bring The Cosmos to Denver?” Join The Cosmos in Denver Asian American and Pacific Islanders make up only 4.5% of the Denver population. I knew that The Cosmos was missing in my life—a community of Asian women supporting each other and helping each other grow. If this was something I needed, I thought that I cannot possibly be alone. I connected with the founders and hosted the first event in May 2018. I gathered a group of Asian women to do an initial exploration of all aspects of our lives including health and wellbeing, family and relationships, sex and intimacy, finance, creativity, career, culture, and politics. We discussed where we currently stand with these aspects and where we want to grow. Following that event, we hosted a Crazy Rich Asians Movie and Trivia Night, a Friendsgiving Potluck, and a

The Cosmos’ first event in Denver

The Cosmos Denver logo

Galentine’s Day event that included cocktails, crafts, and conversations about self-love. Our next event is to check out the Colorado Dragon Film Festival’s opening night film, Lipstick Under My Burkha, on March 1 at the Alamo Drafthouse Sloans Lake. I hope this year we continue to host events that help Asian women come together and nurture all the aspects of our lives. Since March 2018, The Cosmos has nationally held over 60 workshops, sold out retreats, started a book club, launched a bi-weekly newsletter, and grew and engaged an online community where Asian women can promote their work, connect with future collaborators, and learn from peers and experts. This summer, The Cosmos is taking things to the next level by producing The Cosmos Summit: a histori-

The Cosmos Denver celebrates Galentine’s

Co-founders of The Cosmos Karen Mok (left) and Cassandra Lam (right) cal gathering of 500 Asian women creators and rule breakers in New York. This oneday experience will bring Asian women together to imagine a world where we can all flourish and thrive. The Cosmos Denver hopes to gather a group of Colorado Asian women to attend the summit and represent! If you have been searching for belonging and space and to feel celebrated for who you are like I was, you are not alone. The Cosmos Denver takes a holistic approach to identity. We cannot operate to our fullest potential if any part is unwell, neglected, or ignored. When our individual selves are empowered to flourish and thrive, so can our community. For more information about The Cosmos and upcoming events, go to The Cosmos | asian avenue magazine


AsAm Three AAPI Lawmakers Re-Introduce Bill In Hopes Of Never Repeating The History Of Japanese Concentration Camps


S Senators Tammy Duckworth and Mazie Hirono, along with U.S. Representative Mark Takano, have reintroduced a bill to prohibit imprisonment of American citizens based on race, religion, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, or disability. According to a statement on Sen. Duckworth’s website, the Korematsu-Takai Civil Liberties Protection Act of 2019 “would

be a first step toward safeguarding vital freedoms that protect Americans from arbitrary detention with no due process.” Named in honor of the late U.S. Rep Mark Takai and Fred Korematsu, a civil rights activist convicted for denying relocation orders, the act works against the historic case that justified the forced relocation and incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II.

The bill — H.R.4680 —was initially proposed in December 2017, but failed to pass committee. Senators Duckworth and Hirono, and Rep. Takano, re-introduced this 2019 legislation a week before the Day of Remembrance, Feb. 19, which marks the day in 1942 when Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 that sent over 120,000 Japanese Americans to U.S. concentration camps.

Claiming Our Place in History: Celebrating the Passage of the Congressional Gold Medal Act For AAPI WWII Veterans


he White House of Initiative for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders held a Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony at the US Department of Veterans Affairs to celebrate the passage of this bill and to recognize the advocacy efforts of volunteers. Invited guests included veterans, civilian advocates like myself, dignitaries and World War II veterans. The event began with opening remarks from five Chinese American WWII veterans. Each of them spoke of their proud service with no regrets and their life after the military. The AAPI WWII Veterans Recognition Project, is a project of CACA, the Chinese American Citizens Alliance. The project is still accepting registration of veterans to be entered into the database, according to Samantha Cheng, the Project Director.


campaign has been launched for a new stamp to honor the 12,000 Chinese American immigrant laborers who helped build America’s Transcontinental Railroad from 1865-1869. Led by Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY) , a group of Congressional members of the House and Senate, sent a letter to the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee to urge the issuance of a commemorative postage stamp ahead of the upcoming 150th anniversary of the railroad’s completion on May 10. “Almost 150 years ago, thousands of Chinese railroad workers, through their sweat, blood, and labor, made enormous contributions to our country by bridging together the east and west coasts of our nation,” said Meng. “It is important for us to commemorate their efforts, and recognize their stories, so that their role in America’s history is not forgotten.”

Campaign Launched To Honor Chinese Railroad Workers With Stamp

AsAm 24

March 2019 | National News


m NEWS Sleight-of-hand artist Shin Lim wins America’s Got Talent Champions


agician Shin Lim tricked his way to victory on America’s Got Talent Champions. “For me, the whole thing was kind of like a dream. When Tyra announced my name, I went into a state of shock,” Lim said, “I couldn’t really hear anything because the cannons went off behind me. It was quite memorable. Definitely going to remember that feeling for the rest of my life.” Actually, he hesitates to call himself a magician. He’s an incredibly skillful slight-of-hand artist. He performs carefully intricate routines rather than pretending to defy the laws of Physics. Combining dexterity, precision, and grace, his mind-boggling finger moves are so masterful, that the audience is left flabbergasted, asking themselves, “How did he do that?”

H.E.R. wins Two Grammys


fro-Filipino American H.E.R. took home two Grammys for Best R&B performance and Best R&B Album at the 61st Annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. “I’m speechless right now. I’m holding back tears,” H.E.R. said shortly after going on stage to accept the Best R&B Album Award from BTSand inviting her entire team up with her to share in the moment. “I want to thank first and foremost God, and my parents who are in the building and my wonderful sister. Mom, Dad, this is for all the wonderful sacrifices that you made for me. Thank you for embracing my talents and who I am,” said the 21 year old. H.E.R. was born Gabriella Wilson and is from Vallejo, CA. SF Gate reports her E.P. I Used to Know Her: The Prelude reached number 1 on the R&B charts and number 20 overall.

Jeremy Lin Receives Standing Ovation In Toronto


eremy Lin’s first game as a Toronto Raptor got off to a heart warming start. The Toronto crowd gave their newest point guard a standing ovation as he entered the game with 4:05 left in the first quarter. Raptors is second in the Eastern Conference and is expected to compete for a spot in the NBA finals. Lin told reporters he’s tired of watching the playoffs from home and said “he almost feels like I’m cheating” joining a good team. Lin scored eight points, five rebounds, five assists, a steal and a block in 25 minutes of play. The Raptors beat the Washington Wizards 129-120. This is his ninth season the in the NBA.

m NEWS AsAm News | asian avenue magazine


Book Review

Author: Angela Ahn ISBN: 9781772600636 Pages: 160 | Price: $11.95 Publisher: Second Story Press Age Range: 9 - 12 years Grade Level: 4 - 7 Connect with Angela: Twitter: @angelaahnbooks Instagram: @writeahn

Krista Kim Bap A fun middle grade novel about a Korean-Canadian fifth grader living in Vancouver. Written for middle school children, this book helps Korean-Canadian children understand their dual identities as Korean at home and Canadian at school. The main character, Krista is trying to figure out the three F’s: food, family and friends. Krista and Jason have been best friends since preschool. It never mattered that he was a boy with reddish-brown hair and she was the “Korean girl” at school. Now in fifth grade, everyone in their class is preparing their Heritage Month projects. Jason has always loved Krista’s Korean family, and particularly her mom’s cooking, but Krista is conflicted about being her school’s “Korean Ambassador.” She’s also worried about asking her intimidating grandma to teach the class how to make their traditional kim-bap. Combine that with her new friends pulling her away from Jason, and Krista has a lot to deal with this year. This book serves as one of many stories Asian Americans and Asian Canadians can relate to growing up between a traditional family environment and facing the world through school and/or work. It’s becoming a growing theme as more companies and organizations insist they are evolving into a diverse and inclusive workforce.

Perhaps starting at a young age might help give confidence to children growing up with double heritages or hyphenated cultures. It serves as a building block of how one can learn from cultural identities and become an educator to those wanting or trying to understand the diverse Asian cultures settling into North America. As an avid reader, I wish I had a book like this growing up. It would have helped me and others understand the internal conflicts of navigating between two cultures and trying to become a confident person between home and school. It is a quick read. Middle school readers will enjoy learning the struggles of a Korean Canadian. It’s also great to see more Asian books for all ages coming into the mainstream. Angela Ahn is a former high school English and social studies teacher. She worked in the Canadian public system as well as for two years in Hong Kong teaching English as a second language. She later went back to school to earn a Masters of Library and Information Studies from the University of British Columbia. Ahn worked in all types of libraries, but only discovered the joy of children’s literature when she had her own children. She has been at home with her family for the last 10 years in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Reviewed by: Mary Jeneverre Schultz Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @Jeneverre 26

March 2019 | Book Review

the Vancouver Public Library had preordered my book. He gave me a 5/5 review. I melted. So I know they are proud of me and they probably don’t know it yet, but they are proud to have a book about a Korean-Canadian kid, just like them.

What inspired you to write the book? My kids (10 and 8 years old) are avid readers. We go the library all time. I disliked the book options: talking mice, dragons, pink princesses. I was frustrated by the lack of diversity on the shelves. Living in Vancouver, which is a such a multicultural city, it was hard to reconcile what was on the shelves to what the people of this city actually are. There are just a handful of books with the face of an Asian child on the cover. I found one book about a Korean-American girl (Clara Lee and the Apple Pie Dream by Jenny Han), my son read it in about 30 minutes. That was it -- one book about a family like ours. When my youngest was in grade 1, I finally found out the rhythm of what it is to be a stay at home mom with kids in school from 9-3. I o􀅌en had an hour or two before picking my kids up and I couldn’t really do anything with that time. I decided, you know what? I’m going to write a book about a Korean-Canadian girl who loves kimchi! And she’s going to live in Vancouver! So I did. My kids are still weirded out by the fact that I have a book coming out. But my son recently found that

What do you want readers to walk away after reading the book? I want readers to see that Krista Kim is a Korean-Canadian girl, but she is also every girl. She struggles with her friendships, she struggles with her family dynamic, and she struggles to understand herself. I want readers (especially readers who aren’t ethnically Korean) to see that they have more in common with her than they realized. I want readers who are Korean to finally see themselves represented in an honest, modern way. She’s not the stereotypical smart Asian sidekick. She is the main character. She is not perfect or totally loveable, but she is real. What are some of your future projects? I currently have finished another middle grade novel about a Korean-Canadian brother and sister, and I just found a publisher for it. No word yet about release date. I am also working on a third book. The feel of this third book is quite different, as I’m trying to use omniscient narrator instead of first-person narration. But it’s very early for that one, so I’m not ready to share details yet! I have decided that middle-grade

Q&A with Angela Ahn

novels are exactly the type of thing I want to continue doing. What do you want to tell your new fan base? Wait, I have fans? I want to thank them for taking time to read the story—whether they thought it was just okay, or whether they feel something deeper from it. The publication of this story gives me a lot of hope: I hope the story encourages people to look beyond the stereotypes we all have; I hope this story helps build empathy in young readers who don’t know a lot of children from other ethnic backgrounds or cultures; and finally, I hope that young readers then continue to seek out more stories with diverse characters. Advice to aspiring readers? To any aspiring writer out there, especially people of color -- it’s important to tell your story. It’s important to your children and their children. I know that there is a growing movement to tell these stories and I want to encourage anybody who has thought about it, to find the time and just write it. It’s hard, often lonely and incredibly daunting. But when I wrote Krista Kim-Bap, I was a 43 year old stay at home mom. I have a double-major in English and History, but no creative writing experience. I did it because I thought that somebody had to, why not me?

Q&A with the Author | asian avenue magazine


morning mixer with Denver mayor hancock

Nathan Yip Foundation celebrates at 2019 Chinese New Year Party The Nathan Yip Foundation’s 2019 Chinese New Year Party filled the Grand Hyatt Denver Downtown with colorful culture and celebratory sounds on Feb. 9. They raised $63,750 for Byers Elementary School, which means that even more Colorado schools in need will benefit from such support! The Chinese New Year party is an annual fundraiser for the nonprofit organization. Thanks to the support of guests, the foundation was just shy of hitting their fundraising goal of $300,000. The Nathan Yip Foundation, inspired by the life of Nathan Yip, transforms the lives of children through long-term, direct educational support, with an emphasis in rural areas of China and Colorado. For more information, visit

Denver travel & adventure Show shares worldwide destinations Written by Mary Jeneverre Schultz Photos by Daniel Langevin


March 2019 | On Scene

Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock and Christina Yutai Guo, Publisher of Asian Avenue Magazine and Rocky Mountain Chinese Weekly On Feb. 22, Mayor Michael B. Hancock met with community leaders and local media for a morning mixer at the Denver City & County Building. The Denver mayor is working on housing affordability in the city and recently celebrated the opening of Sienna Sloans Lake, 49 new affordable housing units in the West Colfax neighborhood.

The Denver Travel & Adventure Show at the Colorado Convention Center offered vacation destinations in its third year. It showcased hundreds of captivating worldwide destinations from India to the Caribbean to Colorado staycations. The experiential event on Feb. 23 and 24 featured travel celebrities such as Andrew McCartney and Josh Gates. The convention center was packed with those planning their next vacation destination, whether a cruise, safari or escorted tours.

During its peak time, people were packed into the area like sardines in a can. Lines circled around popular booths for Asia, Caribbean and Mexican destinations. Attendees left the show with pictures of themselves from some of China’s most famous travel icons taken on the interactive Green Screen Photo Booth. Next year, the event is scheduled for Feb. 22 to 23, 2020 at the Colorado Convention Center. For more information, visit

Almost 400 people attended the Day of Remembrance event and participated in a lively Q&A session with Dr. Ina and the event’s emcee, Derek Okubo.

Day of Remembrance event focused on the women of the Japanese American experience Article and Photos by Gil Asakawa

Keynote speaker Dr. Satsuki Ina, a California-based therapist, filmmaker and activist, was born in a concentration camp.

Each February, the Mile High chapter of JACL (Japanese American Citizens League, the oldest Asian American civil rights organization in the country) sponsors a Day of Remembrance event. The Day of Remembrance (DoR) marks the anniversary of the signing on Feb. 19, 1942 of Executive Order 9066 by President Franklin Roosevelt, which led to the imprisonment of more than 110,000 Japanese immigrants and Japanese Americans in US concentration camps during World War II. This year, the DoR program held on Sunday, Feb. 17 at History Colorado spotlighted the contributions of three women to the history of the Japanese American community. Most histories focus on men, and yet these mostly forgotten women contributed to the Japanese American experience. Mile High JACL was honored to have Dr. Satsuki Ina, a Berkeley, California-based therapist, filmmaker and activist, as keynote speaker to remember these women’s contributions. Ina, who was herself born in a concentration camp, has produced two documentary films, “Children of the Camps” and “From a Silk Cocoon,” and she’s been active in both efforts to preserve Tule Lake, the camp where she was born, and also active along the Texas border protesting the treatment of Latin Americans imprisoned in modern concentration camps. Almost 400 people attended the DoR event on Sunday, and participated in a lively Q&A session with Dr. Ina and the event’s emcee, Derek Okubo, the director of Denver’s Agency for Human Rights and Community Partnerships. Okubo’s par-

For more information about Mile High JACL, visit

ents were both incarcerated during the war. After the event, the audience was treated to sushi and Japanese snacks. Ina also participated Saturday night, Feb. 16, at a screening of her first film, “Children of the Camps,” at History Colorado. The documentary followed a weekend-long workshop during which Ina assembled camp survivors who were children during the war, and helped them uncover the trauma they still suffered from the experience. She was joined by young Japanese American filmmaker Daryn Wakasa from Los Angeles, who screened his short feature film, “Seppuku.” “Seppuku” is the Japanese term for ritual suicide, and the short film shows the inter-generational transmission of trauma, which Dr. Ina specializes in. In Wakasa’s film, a young fourth generation woman who is filled with anger goes through a surreal episode with ghostly guides showing her family history and uncovers the source of her seething rage. The two films paired well with each other, and both filmmakers took many questions from the audience afterwards during a talkback. As a final complement to the weekend’s DoR programming, the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles held a popup exhibit in the atrium of History Colorado from Friday-Sunday titled “Contested Histories.” The traveling exhibit displayed artifacts and artwork created by prisoners from the concentration camps, including from Amache, the camp in southeast Colorado. Visitors to the film screening and Sunday DoR event were able to learn from the exhibit free of charge. On Scene | asian avenue magazine






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Profile for Asian Avenue magazine

Asian Avenue magazine - March 2019