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volume XXVII, issue 2

arts & entertainment issue

Volume XXVII, Issue 2

contents OUTLOOK

featured 4 | Want a Panda? Ask China First | Cyndi Chin 20 | League of Legends Player Granted U.S. Pro-Athlete Visa | Joe Park

editorials 6 | Chinese Slang | Adam Mei 7 | Priceless | Sarah Horng 8 | Taiwanese Night Markets | YingJung Lai and FuYun Fan 10 | South Korea and Plastic Surgery | Siu Lam Koo 14 | Pseudo-Homosexuality in Korean Dramas | Frank Tiu 22 | Indie Games: The Future of Survival Horror? | Diandra Hassan

food & entertainment 12 | San Diego Asian Film Festival | Paul Chen 16 | Duo Couple Come Out With Steamy Video | Cyndi Chin 18 | Ramen Hacks | Jenny Fu 24 | The Last of Us | Calvin Chan 26 | Garden of Words Review | Rudy Kuang


28 | Boys Before Friends: The American Remake of “Boys Over Flowers” | Ashley Lau



conscience 32 | John Paul Randrup 33 | Ying Xu 34 | Max Lin 36 | Dale Gao 36 | Adam Mei 37 | Angela Wu 37 | Russell Tobias 38 | Frank Tiu 38 | Tina Yu 39 | Julian Apostol

Cover image source:

letter from the editor...


t’s the end of another year! Time really does fly after October doesn’t it?

I hope you all have had a chance to really enjoy your fall semester at Bing, whether it was your first, your last, or your second, third, fourth, fifth, or whatever. It has definitely been an eventful one. That’s for sure. So, we decided to keep this issue light and fun for you to enjoy either during the last few hell days you may have or for a chill read over break. As you can see to the left, we have a bunch of articles on entertainment in addition to articles that address issues such as “Chinese Slang” and “Psuedo-homosexuality.” Our conscience section is packed to the brim with content this time around thanks to the awesome submissions from very talented fellow students, so head on over to the back for some cool poetry and amazing artwork. On a completely different note, I want to reflect shortly here on the racist article titled “Dressing as another race isn’t always offensive” which was published earlier this semester in the Pipe Dream as well as the events that followed. Needless to say, the article was distasteful and offensive, but what really surprised me was the backlash it received and how it quickly evolved into something that could possibly result in some change on our campus. We do not live in a post-racial society, and unfortunately, there are many who think we do. Those of us who experience racism in our daily lives and other types of oppressions are well aware of the hurtful ignorance and ideologies that still permeate the minds of many. Sometimes we just get so tired of fighting, so tired of being angry and so tired of getting hurt that our energies become depleted to the point where we don’t take action against things that we probably should. I’m glad that this was not the case for this incident and I’m proud that Asian Outlook was a part of the response. Students, along with staff and alumni, realized that this would be an opportunity to address the issue of representation on our campus. Despite the first meeting’s hightension atmosphere, the Pipe Dream EIC, Christina Pullano, and her staff were receptive to becoming more conscious of these issues and to make efforts to diversify and better represent Binghamton University’s student body. The promising results that came from this student organized action restored some hope in me and served as a reminder of the necessity and importance of activism. In order for long-lasting effective change to take place on our campus, everyone needs to keep the dialogue going, keep organizing, and keep at it. That event and the rediscovering of some old notes and goals I wrote before becoming EIC of Asian Outlook made me realize that I had lost focus of what I originally set out to do for this organization. After a semester of learning my own limits and gaining a better understanding of what it is like to be a leader, I think I’m much more prepared to take on some of those goals I wrote last spring. Taking this Winter break to revisit these ideas and brainstorm with Kayla and the rest of e-board to improve AO’s activity levels for next semester is definitely on my agenda. I’ll end my rambling soon, I swear. I’d like to thank our great general body members for coming to our weekly meetings, AO e-board for their work, as always, and all of our contributors for their submissions! Major thanks to Kayla too because I would not be able to all of this by myself. I’d also like to acknowledge all the time and effort ASU and the subgroups spent on putting together a successful Asian Night, and especially our very own members who put on a great spoken word performance. We also managed to snag an interview with that night’s guest performer, Joseph Vincent, so look forward to that in our next issue. Again I hope you enjoy this issue, and good luck with any finals, papers, presentations, projects, etc. you may have. Alright, see y’all next year! Happy holidays! Claire Chang Co-Editor-in-Chief, Fall 2013

ASIAN OUTLOOK EXECUTIVE BOARD FALL 2013 editors-in-chief conscience editor copy editors

layout editors secretary business manager publicity manager social chair

Claire Chang Kayla Natrella Rudy Kuang Adam Mei Joe Park Tina Yu YaeJin Oh Cyndi Chin Jimmy Zhang Calvin Chan Dale Gao Frank Tiu Her Min

EDITORIAL POLICY Asian Outlook is the art, literary and news magazine of the Asian Student Union of SUNY’s Binghamton University. Originally conceived and created to challenge, redefine, re-imagine and revolutionize images and perceptions associated with Asians and Asian Americans, Asian Outlook also serves to protect the voice of those in the minority, whether by ethnicity, gender, and/or political orientation. All matter contained within these b`eautiful pages do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial board. Asian Outlook reserves the right to edit submissions and publish work as deemed appropriate. Prospective contributors are encouraged to discuss their work with the editors prior to submissions. Articles may be submitted as an e-mail attachment to All artistic and literary pieces may be submitted to

CONTACT POLICY Uninvited contact with writers and contributors is forbidden under punishment of pain. Please direct all questions, comments and complaints to

interested in contributing?

E-mail us at:

Or come to our weekly meetings held in the Asian Student Union office (UUW-329) every Thursday at 8:00 p.m.

Vol. XXVII, Issue 2


Want a Panda? Ask China First. By Cyndi Chin

Pandas are a token of friendship from the Chinese people. —Chinese Ambassador Zhang at Toronto Zoo


t’s cute.


It’s cuddly. It’s China’s. The black and white fur balls known as pandas are big business for both China and zoos around the globe. Many people value these animals and they are some of the main attractions at the zoo. These valuable creatures belong to China, who has ownership of all giant pandas around the world. According to the World Wildlife Fund, 1600 pandas roam in the wild, 350 live in zoos and only 50 of them are outside of China. Additionally, most of the 50 pandas that are in other zoos outside of China were loaned out. China’s monopoly over pandas has allowed the nation to gain important trades and foreign investment. Each pair of giant pandas costs around one million dollars a year and the loans last for ten years. Want a panda? Then, export energy technology, supply uranium for nuclear reactors or sign a free trade agreement. By supplying China with these valuable sources, China in return will loan out a panda. This is known as “the Panda-nomics of China Trade,” which has come to attention recently. China relies on a high-context culture in which interpersonal relationship is emphasized. Most Westernized countries value facts and directness—characteristics of a low-context culture. Unlike the United States, China and other Asian countries, such as Japan, value the relationship part when conducting business. They emphasize showing friendship before


contracts are signed; meanwhile, more westernized countries go straight to the agreement without any dilly dallying. Therefore, China’s gift of loaning out pandas relates to a well-developed relationship between China and another nation. Furthermore, these fur balls are associated with the concept of guanxi—trust, reciprocity, loyalty and longevity—which symbolizes how China values deep relationships with its trade partners. Pandas are China’s number one animals, so their value is equivalent to that of gaining the trust of the Chinese people. In 2011, Scotland received a pair of pandas for the Edinburgh Zoo as it traded in supply of salmon and energy technology. Is this multibillion dollar agreement worth a couple of pandas? Apparently. Australia, Canada, and France have all signed contracts with China regarding uranium exports just to receive their first pair of pandas. In addition to uranium reserves, China has gained free trade agreements with Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia. This exchange of resources for pandas is a trend that has been growing, especially with the increased interest in pandas and the need for resources in China’s economy. As one of biggest emerging markets, China’s economy is continually expanding and the panda exchanges are contributing to this growth. Comparable to gold and diamonds, pandas are prized possessions and are considered a rare

A group of baby pandas.

commodity. China ensures and maintains the rarity of the pandas by carefully selecting which countries receive pandas. Not every zoo has a panda and this is what makes them so valuable. Since Mao Zedong was in power, pandas were gifted to other countries to represent “goodwill.” From then on, the practice of loaning out pandas has increased in business. The monopoly that China has even extends as far as the country’s ability to take two Americanborn panda cubs in 2010 from the United States. President Barack Obama had a meeting with the Dalai Lama to discuss Chinese objections, which caused China to recall the pandas despite where they were born. This example is a message that shows other nations to be careful of offending China if they value having a panda. Although pandas come at a very expensive price, it’s worth it when visitors are so fascinated by these creatures. In addition to paying fees

to China, zoos have to make efforts to take care of these pandas and breed new ones. Once cubs are born, the host country must pay China a $200,000 fee and return the cubs when they turn four years old. Not only are there loans to be made, but there are also fees involved with the caretaking of pandas. Overall, when it comes to pandas, China has the upper hand.

Sources: china-panda-business/index.html?iid=EL

Vol. XXVII, Issue 2


Chinese Slang.

What’s so Chinese About it? By Adam Mei

Photo of “Chinese Fire Drill.”

Westerners have associated Chinese culture with being incomprehensible, confusing and chaotic which led to the creation of Chinese slang phrases such as “Chinese Whispers”, “Chinese Ace” and “Chinese Fire Drill.”










classifying anything that is confusing or incomprehensible as Chinese. Since the Chinese culture is so different, it is often completely misunderstood. “What are you speaking Chinese or something?” This phrase is often used in response to anything that is baffling to the listener. The Chinese culture has a history of being misunderstood in the West. Nowadays, people have become less ignorant and have gained a better understanding of other cultures. Yet, we still use many of these slang labels. The game “Chinese whispers” is a simple game everyone has played, yet the idea behind the game only strengthens the confusing Chinese stereotype. Also known as “telephone,” the game involves a message that is whispered from person to person. At the end, the message is usually an incomprehensible version of the original due to how many times the message was passed along. The name of the game might seem harmless, but the game has nothing to do with Chinese culture at all. The name was simply derived from the confusing nature and inevitable misunderstanding at the end of the game. The use of “Chinese” does not simply end there. In the Air Force, Chinese and incompetence are almost interchangeable. A Chinese ace is a pilot who is completely inexperienced and unqualified. A Chinese landing has been bestowed upon dangerous aircraft landings because of “one wing low.” Westerners believe that the phrase “one wing low” sounds similar to the Chinese language. These “puns,” if they can even be called that, are often used to make fun of Asian people’s names. The most recent incident was the Asiana Flight crash.


The TV station KTVU-TV reported the four pilot’s names as soon as they learned them. The anchor read the names off the teleprompter, only to read off four names that were crude Asian “puns.” Someone decided it would be funny to submit these fake names to make sport of Asian names. The worst part of this incident is that these names were supposedly “confirmed” to be accurate information. These attempts to mock Asian languages are still seen today and are only encouraged through the use of Chinese slang stereotypes. Another example of this Chinese slang label is the Chinese fire drill. It is a simple prank which can be compared to a vehicular musical chair of sorts. The car stops at a red light and everyone has to get out and change seats before the light turns green. If anyone does not make it back in the car in time, they are left behind. The entire event is complete chaos and extremely confusing. However, there really is no reason for it to be referred as a “Chinese” fire drill at all. The only reason it is labeled in such a way, is due to the disarray and pandemonium of the entire thing. I believe that the reason for the use of this Chinese label is due to first impressions. Chinese people can come off as confusing and incomprehensible due to being different from Westerners. A different language and lifestyle is an easy target for mockery and judgment. It is human nature to judge a person by first impression. Everybody does it. You can’t stop it from happening. The problem is when you don’t give the person the chance to change your mind. That Asian TA standing at the front of your classroom on the first day of school might look like three months of torture. On the other hand, that TA might be the smartest and most helpful person you will ever meet in your college career.

Priceless By Sarah Horng Walking down the street, she envied her peers and their designer clothes in their mansions, but then she realizes the beauty in life comes from having a loving family along with treasured moments of maple syrup.


I lived on a street of beautiful houses with BMWs, Jaguars and Mercedes Benzes convertibles parked in their garages. But at the dead end of this street was a ratty old ranch house with a 1960’s Studebaker Wagonaire parked in its garage, which I called home. I felt like an outsider growing up. Going to school dressed in hand me downs from a generations ago, while my peers don in the latest designer clothing. I rarely had friends over because I feared the questions and judgments that would arise should my peers discover that I lived in the most beatup house in town with an old Pennsylvanian Dutch landlord named Roy Fulmer who gave board to me and my Taiwanese immigrant family. At a first glance, Roy may appear to be a stingy old man. He grew up during the Great Depression, which taught him to pinch pennies and made him infamous for hoarding things that he could recycle and reuse all over again until whatever he was using got worn down to nothing, including his house. But he has shown nothing but generosity to me and my family. When my mother, father and sister immigrated to the United States, my mother's first obstacle was learning English. At that time, Roy was coping with the loss of his wife, Dottie who had passed away from Multiple Scoliosis. He decided that he wanted to learn Mandarin Chinese to keep his mind distracted from the heartache of his loss. Through a mutual friend, my mother and Roy met. For years my mother would drive to his home, and teach him Chinese for his trips to China, while he taught her English to pass her citizenship exam. One day father announced that he had lost his job and the lease for my family’s apartment was ending. Roy threw in the lifeline, without hesitation, and offered for my family to stay in his home. A few years later, my mother was pregnant with me. My parents feared that Roy would not want a small infant in his home and were prepared to move away, but to their astonishment, Roy actually encouraged them to stay. Since my birth, “Grandpa Roy” has embraced me and loved me as his own granddaughter. We did everything together; rowing up

we gardened in the summer, cooked dinner for our family on Fridays, and read bedtimes stories at night. One evening, he read me a story about a bear who loved maple sugar. Afterward, I asked him what maple sugar tastes like. Grandpa Roy vigorously used all his resources— the local newspaper, and all of his acquaintances and friends to find a store that sold maple sugar. He finally found the, Wisner House, an educational conservancy which was holding a maple sugaring event. I was able to see the sap from the maple tree drip drop by drop into a bucket and the facility where that sap is boiled into syrup. At the end of the event they gave us samples of maple sugar and syrup. Grandpa Roy and I happily ate the samples together while I exclaimed, “I can’t believe this came from a tree!” We went to the gift shop and bought a bottle of maple syrup and ate them with our pancakes every Saturday morning. I grew up envying the mansions of my peers, it took me a long time to realize how blessed I was to have a shelter and a loving family complete with a Pennsylvanian Dutch grandfather. Grandpa Roy brandished me with a love that transcended beyond age, culture, and bloodlines. My peers may have lived in millionaire mansions, but I lived in a priceless ratty old ranch. Photo of a maple tree with sap falling.

Vol. XXVII, Issue 2


Taiwanese Night Markets By YingJung Lai and FuYun Fan


here are many movies based on or including

the attraction of night markets in Taiwan, such as “Night Market Hero,” “Rooftop,” and “MonGia.” The Taiwanese media gives an accurate portrayal of the night market because it’s such an integral part of mainstream culture. All people, young and old, but especially groups of adventurous students, single adults on dates, and visiting families, walk around night markets because of the cheap food, clothes, and games. It is a warm, safe place at night for people to gather and have fun. Each night market in its respective city also has something different that it is famous for. With a metro system connecting most cities, people travel to their local or distant night market for these star attractions. Additionally, not only people from Taiwan, but also travelers from all over the world are fascinated by Taiwanese night markets. Visiting the night markets is a must when traveling in Taiwan, but what exactly are Taiwan’s night markets? Visiting night markets is one of the things that visitors can do to experience the energy of Taiwan’s night life, from the evening to around two o’clock in the morning. They are always full of people and noise, as if it is still daytime. People can see bargaining between customers and stall holders, crowds of people waiting in line, and stall owners busily preparing for orders. Historically, night markets in Taiwan can be traced back more than 100 years. In early Taiwan, due to inconvenient transportation, lack



of commodity, and low spending power of the people, there were very little stationary stores. As a result, temporary vendors became very popular, and thus, eventually formed what are known today as Taiwanese night markets. There are many night markets that became popular because of their local street food. As people walk into the night market, their appetite to try all kinds of food grows as they smell different dishes cooking. One can find not only authentic Taiwanese cuisine, but also food from many other different cultural backgrounds with Taiwanese influenced flavors, such as Korean rice cakes, Indian milk tea, American fried Oreos and much more. In addition to authentic or international food, there are also many other things you can enjoy at the night market, such as household items, games, and even street performances. A large selection of goods or food can be found at night markets, and the greatest thing is that a lot of them are sold at very low prices. The following are some of the things you can see at night markets: •Household items: clothes, phone cases, accessories, toys, kitchen and school supplies…etc. •Street Food: Oyster Omelet, Stinky Tofu, Bubble Milk Tea, Pork over Rice with Egg, Sweet Potato Balls…etc. •Games: Arcade, Dart, Goldfish Fishing, Pinball Arcade, Claw Machine…etc. •Street Performances: music, dance, and several artists… .etc.

Taiwanese Top 5 Night Markets: 1. Liuhe Night Market (Kaohsiung City) Liuhe Night Market was called Dagangpu Night Market during the early 1950s because it is located near Dagangpu in Kaohsiung’s Singsing District, in the south of Taiwan. After more and more vendors and stalls began gathering, the market then changed its name to Liuhe. In Liuhe Night Market, the vendors sell more foods and snacks than games and household items. Also, because Kaohsiung is in a tropical zone, and the night market is near the sea, its food stalls’ specialties are ice cream, shaved ice with all kinds of toppings, and seafood. 2. Shilin Night Market (Taipei City) Shilin Night Market is located in an indoor building and is one of the largest night markets in Taipei. It was first started in 1899 as a normal outdoor night market, but in recent years the government moved it indoors for the customers’ convenience. There are many popular foods in Shilin, such as deep-fried chicken breasts and super large grilled Taiwanese sausages. The National Palace Museum is close to the market, which makes it convenient for visitors to go after their day of fun in the museum. 3. Luodong Night Market (Ilan) Luodong Night Market is in the northeastern side of Taiwan. Food vendors gather around Chong Shan Park to sell all kinds of food and daily commodities. Ilan is a beautiful county that is a famous travel destination. Therefore, many of its customers are from different counties. Luodong Night Market is known for its green rolls because its locally grown green onion is considered the best in Taiwan. It also invented a special tapioca bubble with red beans inside, which is served with plum

flavored ice cream. 4. Huayuan Night Market (Tainan City) Huayuan Night Market is located south of Tainan City. The area was originally not used for anything, but after planning and investing, it became the biggest night market in Tainan, and one of the best. Huayuan Night Market has the biggest space and the most vendors compared to other night markets in Tainan. The space planning of the night market is very well done with a big parking lot to prevent congestion. Also, every night there is traffic security directing the traffic so the cars and people flow smoothly. Each vendor’s location is planned in horizontal aisles so it is easy for visitors to navigate the night market. It is known for its spicy tofu with fish balls and many love its oyster omelet. 5. Fengjia Night Market (Taichung City) Fengjia Night Market is located in central Taiwan, in Taichung City near Fengjia University and the Chinese Institute of Technology, which provides a large number of the customers in the night market. It is the biggest night market in Taiwan with approximately 15,000 shops. On weekdays, there are around 30,000 to 40,000 shoppers and around 100,000 visitors on weekends or holidays. Some of the famous foods in Fengjia are the Taiwanese sausage in sticky rice and fruits on a stick with syrup. The night market is a big part of culture and has been accurately portrayed many times in Taiwanese movies and dramas. These movies and dramas not only make local Taiwanese people proud of their home but also help people all over the world know more about Taiwanese culture.

Liuhe Night Market in Kaohsiung City.

Vol. XXVII, Issue 2


South Korea and Plastic Surgery: The pressure to alter one’s appearance in order to be considered attractive is still at an all-time high.


outh Korea is widely regarded as “the plastic surgery capital of the world,” and for good reason. South Korea has the highest plastic surgery rate, with one in every five women between the ages of 19 and 49 having “gone under the knife.” This includes not only pop culture icons, but also average citizens. While standards of beauty are high here in America, it is even higher in South Korea, where some feel so pressed to feel beautiful they are willing to go long lengths to achieve it. The general consensus of facial beauty is a small, sharp face, paired with large eyes and a high nose. Many girls feel the need to alter their appearances, especially their faces, even at a young age, to adhere to this image. One example is Lee Min Kyong, a twelveyear-old ballerina who feels that she is not the picture of beauty due to her “small Asian eyes.” Therefore, with the permission of her mother, she underwent double eyelid surgery to have more “westernized eyes.” According to a CNN report, one of the biggest plastic surgery clinics in South Korea, BK Dongyang, performs over 100 surgeries per day, including double eyelid surgery, nose reshaping, and facial contouring, and rates are only going up every year. This “staple” of Korean “beauty” can be seen in Miss Korea 2013, where all of the contestants seem to share eerie similarities in their facial features. It’s easy to see there’s a certain formula Koreans have for beauty, whether it’s followed by all plastic surgeons or Photoshop techniques. The media isn’t the only thing pressuring women to alter their faces. According to Yonsei University psychologist Whang Sang-min,



“Cosmetic surgery has become a weapon in Koreans’ efforts to impress others, like buying an expensive handbag”. The societal pressure to look above normal is so great that the whole “taboo” conception of plastic surgery has slowly withered away. The amount of plastic surgeons in South Korea have drastically been increasing, preying on women who

“The general consensus of facial beauty is a small, sharp face, paired with large eyes and a high nose.”

want to detract from the traditional round face, flat eyes and have a more sharp, defined look. With the fluctuations in the economy, jobs are becoming scarce, and many Korean women believe that the secret to securing a well-paying job is through beauty; many others flaunt their beauty so that they can get married. These women’s families and peers are not being helpful either. Many parents are actually forcing their children to undergo plastic surgery so that their children aren’t “the ugly ones.” According to a VICE interview with a South Korean student (named “Sparkles” for anonymity), plastic surgery is so prevalent that she “doesn’t know anybody who hasn’t gotten some sort of procedure done,” and those who haven’t done it are often pressured to at least get “the basics,” which is a colloquial term for a double eyelid surgery and nose job. It’s scary to see just how common surgery has

The Unhealthy Obsession

with the

“PERFECT ” Face By Siu Lam Koo

gotten, to the point where there is this “basic” package that everyone is expected to get, as common as a cell phone or a laptop. And Sparkles herself was pressured to get a nose job from her mother before starting college so that she will have an “easier transition.” In an American documentary detailing the lives of high school students in South Korea, the students give their opinions on beauty, as well as the tools used to achieve it. The most typical answer given is “big eyes,”

because small Korean eyes look “traditional” and “old-fashioned.” Therefore, many students are looking for ways to change that, and those who cannot afford surgery resort to a tool called “Sang-Kuh-Pul” which is glue used to roll the eyelid up and stick it in place, a near perfect mimicry of surgery patients. It increases their confidence, the students say, and one in particular remarks, “Before, I was ugly, but now I’ve become pretty. My mom likes me. She says I’m pretty. Before, not

once since I was born. Not once did she say I was pretty but now she says I am pretty.” In South Korea, beauty is valued so highly that plastic surgery can change how people interact with the people around them. It is as one patient said, “It opened a new world for me. In the train today, a man sitting next to me talked to me. He said I looked younger than I am. My life has become much brighter.”

People have pointed out that the Miss Daegu 2013 contestants have very similar facial features, which shows what ideal beauty is in South Korea.

Vol. XXVII, Issue 2


Photo from Pacific Arts Movement’s trailer video.

By Paul Chen

An annual event of the Pacific Arts Movement, the San Diego Asian Film Festival showcases films to expand the minds of the audience and create a meaningful transformational experience through Asian American cinema.



November. The 14th annual San Diego Asian Film Festival is ongoing from November 7 to the 16th. The festival showcases films that were made at home or abroad in Asian countries. Some films that were showcased are “ Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani”, “Finding Mr. Right”, “ILO ILO”, and “How to Use Guys with Secret Tips.” Ayan Mukerji's “Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani” tells the story of Naina and Kabir. The film details their relationship and how it grows into love. Naina is a medical student that will soon be a doctor, while Kabir wants to be a journalist because he likes to travel. Because he likes to travel so much, Kabir opposes the idea of being tied down by marriage. This may sound cliché to people who have seen romantic comedies, but the comedy here is used effectively. Comedy is an important element in films that cross cultural barriers because everyone enjoys a good laugh. Its universal qualities make this film's selection to be shown in San Diego an important step for Americans to better understand the East. Xiao Lu Xue's “Finding Mr. Right” is another comedy film about love, but the film takes place in both Beijing and the United States. The film stars Tang Wei as Jiajia, a mistress



of a rich businessman. Jiajia's personality is spoiled where she gets whatever has a price tag on it, but she is still lonely since she doesn't have anyone that loves her in China. When she is discovered to be pregnant, she is forced abroad to the US by the businessman to avoid a scandal. In the US, she meets her true love. This film may sound like a typical movie where someone is bad, then an event happens that changes them, and they become good in the end. However, this film is a social commentary whose significance is one of the main reasons why it was chosen to be shown. The film mocks life in China as one that is materialistic, where there seems to be no morals, especially in the upper classes. This is in contrast to America, where opportunity awaits, but you have to work for it. The Chinese immigrants are portrayed as more wholesome as opposed to the shallow elite in China. Although Jiajia is growing as a character and becoming strong, she still needs love in the end. The takeaway message from this film is that people need each other's support to survive. No one should be alone in this world. Another feature shown in San Diego is Anothony Chen's “ILO ILO”. The film explores the bond of a family through hard times. The film shows the relationship between a

“Comedy is an important element in films that cross cultural barriers because everyone enjoys a good laugh.”

Promotion Poster for the film “How To Use Guys With Secret Tips.”

Chinese family and a Filipino maid in Singapore. Jiale is a spoiled boy of a middle class family that can be seen as a trouble maker, especially for his teachers, but more for Teresa. Teresa is a Filipino maid that is employed in this family's service and Jiale likes to bully her. However, Teresa is strong enough to overcome the boy's attitude and gain the respect of Jiale, as well as his father. This film depicts the closeness of people in a difficult time, especially the relationship between employer and employee which becomes more like a friendship. The film's message can be interpreted as

one that promotes the importance of relationships because they will last a long time. This story is based off of the director's own experiences. The struggle to understand parents is another message in this film. Teresa knows what is going on inside the father and son's heads and so she can help bridge any differences between the two. Lee Won-Suk's “How to Use Guys with Secret Tips” is another comedy film being shown in San Diego. The film tells the story of a typical hardworking woman in South Korea whose job is a dead end. She eventually

buys a video that instructs women on how to use men, which causes her to move forward as a career woman. Men start taking an interest in her and even the top K-pop singer who had previously looked down on her falls in love with her. The film is all about comedy in the beginning, where the drama comes in at the end to bring the two lovers together. The story sounds quite similar to Cinderella, but with a more manipulative character that doesn't have any bad intentions. The selling point is that this story can happen anywhere, except with the manipulation coming from the person instead of a video. In short, this story’s draw is that it is able to bring people together. The San Diego Asian Film Festival offers more films than those described here; the films it offers are diverse and from many different Asian countries. Therefore, the San Diego Asian Film Festival is an important medium which can bring people of different backgrounds together. Sources Iyer, Meena. “Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani”. Times of India. 31 May, 2013. Web. Marsh, James. “Finding Mr. Right Sees Tang Wei Back in Favor”. TwitchFilm. 18 April 2013. Web. Dalton, Stephen. “IloIlo Cannes Review”. TheHollywoodReporter. 19 May 2013. Web. Saathoff, Evan. Fantasia Fest Review: How to Use Guys with Secret Tips Offends and Charms In Equal Measure. BadassDigest. 26 July 2013. Web

Vol. XXVII, Issue 2


Pseudohomosexuality IN KOREAN DRAMAS

By Frank Tiu

Due to the influence that media has on societies, it makes sense for topics that are deemed controversial to be addressed in a television series. In South Korea, depicting “homosexual” relationships became popular, but can it ultimately lead to a positive shift in the public’s opinion on the matter?




Korean entertainment industry is, undeniably, gaining popularity around the world. With the help of the Hallyu Wave, many youths around the world are starting to take interest in Korean pop music and culture. Inevitably, they will also develop a strong interest in Korean language and Korean dramas. Under this spotlight, the conservative Korean industry has been slowly but progressively transitioning its position on accepting the idea of homosexuality in films. It is clear that many Korean dramas have touched upon pseudohomosexuality, using it as a middle ground to further the plot, but they have yet to fully embrace and celebrate the concept. Examples of pseudo-homosexuality are present in “The 1st Shop of the Coffee Prince,” “You’re Beautiful,” and “Sungkyungkwan Scandal.” he

“The 1st Shop of the Coffee Prince” One of the older dramas, MBC’s “The 1st Shop of the Coffee Prince” is about Choi Han Gyul (played by Gong Yoo), the son of the owner of a large business conglomerate, who falls in love with a poor tomboy, Go Eun Chan (played by Yoon Eun Hye). Since Han Gyul is the only son, it is not surprising that his family wishes him to continue the family line, so they try to set him up with arranged dates. Being the stereotypical chaebol, heir to a conglomerate corporation, he seeks freedom and tries to ruin these date meetings. Along the way, he meets Go Eun Chan, an unemployed Taekwondo instructor and mistakes her for a guy. Han Gyul offers Go Eun Chan to play as his boyfriend in order to cut off all potential dates. Without many financial options, Eun Chan accepts his offer and acts as Han Gyul’s boyfriend. Eventually Han Gyul falls in love with Eun Chan but, unfortunately, he tries to deny it. Han Gyul tries to avoid

Eun Chan and goes to check out other girls, but since he is in love, his heart returns to Eun Chan. Eventually, just when Han Gyul is about to risk his family, heritage, and inheritance by announcing that he is gay, he finds out that Eun Chan is a girl and lets out a sigh of relief. That breath of relief signifies the conservative Korean social pressure against homosexuality. In a way it works out for Han Gyul but it clearly does not for gays in Korea. Admittance of one’s homosexuality can lead to financial instability, family conflicts, and social rejection. On the bright side, “The 1st Shop of the Coffee Prince” is one of the first modern Korean dramas that Screenshot of an intimate moment between Lee Sung Joon and Yoon Hee touches upon homosexuality. Awareness is the first step learns that “Mi Nam” is actually Mi Nyu thought, he decides to confess his towards acceptance. and his behavior changes completely: he feelings for Yoon Hee and abandon falls head over heels and tries his hardest family and school. Just when he is about “You’re Beautiful” to get close to her. It is understandable to confess, however, he learns that Yoon Similar to the popular to see Jeremy relieved and happy, but on Hee is a girl and thus feels relieved. He Japanese manga “Hana-Kimi,” the contrary, it is depressing to not see too, would be risking what he holds dear “You’re Beautiful” plays on Jeremy fighting against the social norm by his admittance: his education and the “girl dresses up as a boy” for love. As with many idols and role family ties. trope. The protagonist, Go Mi models today, he would be jeopardizing While Korean dramas are largely Nyu, is a fraternal twin who his career and fame if he were to admit unrealistic, they have a profound takes the place of her brother his feelings for a man. impact on Korean society, given that Go Mi Nam in his idol band a large percentage of the population ANJELL while he is recovering “Sungkyungkwan Scandal” watches television. Although pseudofrom a surgery in the U.S. . At “Sungkyungkwan Scandal” exhibits homosexuality is present, it is somewhat the very beginning, two of the pseudo-homosexuality with its love disappointing that these dramas only members, Kang Shin Woo and story between the upper-class scholar hint at homosexuality but never accept Hwang Tae Kyung, find out Lee Sung Joon (played by Park Yoochun) it. In fact, it is considered irrelevant — or that Mi Nyu is a girl. However, and the poor peasant girl Yoon Hee a minor plot point at best — as long the Jeremy, the third and more (played by Park Min Young). This drama characters still “end up” heterosexual. innocent member, remains is set in the late Joseon era during the Nevertheless, pseudo-homosexuality oblivious. After spending lots reign of King Jeongjo (late 19th century) is a step towards acceptance in Korean of time together, Jeremy falls when women could not receive education media. After all, awareness is the first step in love with “Mi Nam” without like men. With her undying passion for towards acceptance. By planting these knowing it and scolds himself academia, Yoon Hee pretends to be a seeds of pseudo-homosexuality, the to stop thinking about “him.” male scholar and passes the placement media can expose the newer generations Like Han Gyul, Jeremy exam to attend Sungkyungkwan College, to this idea, spreading awareness. decides to defy social norms, where she meets her roommate Sung after much contemplation Joon. Eventually Sung Joon falls in love Photo source: with his Golden Labrador with Yoon Hee, yet, similar to the other Jolie, to confess to dramas, he tries to deny his feelings. He AgYonQrQ/UKPxoEbbqkI/ “Mi Nam” but never gets the tries to distract himself with studying, AAAAAAAAHxE/4ZYgfspO8gU/s1600/sungchance. Eventually, Jeremy his strong suit, but fails. After much kyunkwan_scandal_ .jpg

Vol. XXVII, Issue 2


Duo Couple Trouble Maker Come Out With a Steamy Video

By Cyndi Chin

Hyunseung and HyunA as the Trouble Maker duo.



The duo can be compared to the modern-day Bonnie and Clyde storyline. The couple is living a dangerous and independent life away from society. With this video, they have opened the doors into the Western entertainment scene.


orean pop is becoming more viral with the

release of every new video. The flashy colors, the fashionable clothes, the storylines and the fusion of these many characteristics in their music attract many people around the world. The broader trend known as the Korean Wave, or “hallyu” in Korean, has been going on for a while. It is becoming more popular and even branching into Western markets and the United States. Earlier in 2012, PSY came out with the song, “Gangnam Style”, which reached more than 1.8 billion views to this day. From this video, HyunA, member of 4minute, has gained access into the Western mainstream and attempts to rise even further with her new video called “Now (There is No Tomorrow)”. “Now,” which was released in the album Chemistry, had became number one during the song’s second week on the Billboard K-pop chart. This song was her comeback song with Hyunseung, vocalist in Beast, created for the duo project known as Trouble Maker. The concept of the duo project was developed two years ago by Cube Entertainment. Their first debut song for this project was also called “Trouble Maker”. There was no doubt that there was sexual tension between the duo in “Trouble Maker,” but their comeback song takes it even further. In the video, the duo can be compared to the modernday Bonnie and Clyde storyline. The couple is living a dangerous and independent life away from society. “Now” has attracted many views from all over the world, similar to other Korean Pop videos. However, this new video has been given a rating of “19+” in South Korea, which is equivalent to being Rated R in America. In the video, the duo are mischievous, badass characters that are kissing passionately one moment, then fighting passionately the next moment. After its release on October 27, 2013, the video has reached more than 9.5 million views. This dynamic duo has been catching the attention of its audience in a different way than other Korean Pop videos. HyunA and Hyunseung act unlike traditional idols by associating with negative behaviors like consuming alcohol, getting drunk and smoking cigarettes. There are sexual connotations in every scene, and implications of threesomes and other explicit sexual themes. Throughout the song, the couple lives a

life of drinking, partying, and having fun in a fast and trashy way. Although these images are normal in pop videos that are viral in America, this is one of the first for South Korean idols. Because of the content in the video, it seems that the duo project is aiming towards appealing to the Westernized countries. Other Korean idols are more innocent and may only hint at sexual images, but the Trouble Maker duo outright show the graphic scenes. The scenes also hint at images similar to Americans such as the brand of beer bottles such as Budweiser and Heineken. Also there were scenes of Hyunseung portraying the Joker played by Heath Ledger in “The Dark Knight.” These little snippets of Westernized culture emphasize how the Korean idols are attempting to attract and obtain a new fan base. Most of the reactions to the video were feelings of shock and becoming riled up due to all the sex appeal the duo give off. While some are offended and worried about HyunA being too sexual in the video, others are content with the way she portrays her character in “Now.” They argue that she is just playing a role of a realistic, trashy person who is disloyal in her relationship. In my opinion, this video can relate to what we see in Miley Cyrus’ “We Can’t Stop” video. Therefore, we can see how the line is blurring between American and Korean Pop Music Videos. Both idols, HyunA and Hyunseung, have created new images for themselves compared to their previous videos. Sex appeal for both has definitely been taken to a whole new level. “Now” will be hitting the K-Pop Hot 100 and this promotion will help gain attention for both HyunA, as well as her partner, allowing them both to be able to enter the Western entertainment scene. More attention for Hyunseung not only helps himself, but also his group, Beast. After the successful release of this video, we can expect that there will be a lot more to come from the Trouble Makers in the future. Sources: trouble-maker-becomes-k-pops-bonnie-clyde-in-lana-del-reyesque-now

Vol. XXVII, Issue 2




Easy Ways to Upgrade Your Instant Noodles By Jenny Fu

The first thing most college students learn how to cook is ramen. The taste of yummy noodles provides instant gratification on those cold Binghamton nights, when one does not want to step out of one’s dorm to grab food from the dining hall. Aside from the plain noodles and the soup base, what can you do to spice it up and make it a deluxe bowl of ramen? Well, here are some of the best suggestions I have found: 1. Condiments – rather than just using the soup base provided with your noodles, you add other sauces or replace it with other sauces like: a. Miso paste – make your own miso ramen! b. Japanese curry powder – this is how you make curry noodles c. Fish sauce – give it a Vietnamese spin d. Vinegar – rinse the noodles with cold water and add vinegar to make cold stir noodles e. Ponzu – pre-mixed soy sauce with lemon juice f. Spices – pepper, chili flakes g. Sesame oil – the key to making any noodles or fried rice taste better. Just a little goes a long way h. Chili oil – like sesame oil but spicy 2. Vegetables: a. Quick cooking veggies – baby spinach, romaine lettuce, bean sprouts, watercress, and scallions – add before serving b. Longer cooking veggies – broccoli, snow peas, and shredded carrots – add to noodles as they’re cooking c. Frozen veggies – corn and peas – thaw and add to hot soup before serving 3. Eggs – they are always good to make your ramen more filling: a. Hard boiled eggs b. Soft boiled eggs c. Egg-drop d. Poached eggs e. Fried eggs 4. Very thinly sliced meat – if thin enough, these cook extremely quickly so just add them when your broth is simmering (be careful not to consume raw meat!): a. Chicken breast b. Pork tenderloin c. Flank steak d. Deli meat (ham, bologna), bacon, left over hot dog, or beef jerky are good alternatives for meat lovers on a budget! 5. Cheese! (Just one slice) – perfect for a bowl of Shin ramen! Beware – don’t add too much. This gives your ramen a very peculiar taste that only some people like.



Vol. XXVII, Issue 2


League of Legends Player Granted U.S. Pro-Athlete Visa By Joseph Park


or years now, the

US government has been granting the P-1A visa (pro athlete’s visa) to international professional athletes, including David Beckham (the now retired midfielder of the Los Angeles Galaxy) and Hyun Jin Ryu (a pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers). Because the government approves these visas in a case by case basis, not all international sports athletes are eligible to receive the P-1A visa. But who would’ve thought that a professional video gamer or an “e-sports player” would be granted the same athlete’s visa that baseball players and soccer players receive? This past summer, Danny Le, a professional “League of Legends” player from Canada, was one of the first professional video gamers to be approved of the P1-A visa. To those who aren’t familiar with what “League of Legends” is, it is an online multiplayer battle arena game that consists of over 110 characters to choose from and can be played in a series of 5 versus 5 matchups. According to the LA Times, a stunning number of more than 32 million people worldwide play the game and about half of those people play in the US. As a result, “League of Legends” is arguably one of the most, if not the most, played online pc games today. Danny “Shiptur” Le of Team Coast Gaming is one of the highest ranked players in the world. One might ask, “Why does a professional video game player need a visa to play in the United States if “League of Legends” is an online



game?” Well for one, like most professional sports such as basketball and baseball, the five players on a professional “League of Legends” team need to be physically together practicing and having scrimmages in order to prepare for large cash prize tournaments and professional league matchups. The fact that they are playing together and practicing is critical to their performance because the tournaments are broadcasted live with hundreds of thousands of viewers worldwide (sometimes in the millions). In Le’s case, though Canadian visitors are allowed to enter the US without a visa, reside in the country for up to 6 months, and even accept money from any cash prizes they win, they cannot receive a salary from the “League of Legends” company, Riot Games. As a result, in order to be eligible to receive a salary and continuously compete in the League of Legends Championship Series (the equivalent of Major League Baseball or National Hockey League for League of Legends), the players need US visas. Initially, US immigration officials rejected Le’s attempt to obtain the P-1A visa because they did not consider being a full time professional League of Legends player to be a legitimate case. However, the lawyers of Riot Games intervened in Le’s case and were able to get his P-1A visa approved. A Vice president of Riot Games commented, “We had to show that this game was a profession. We had to make a case that this is just like Major League Baseball or the

Team Coast members playing League of Legends. Danny Le is the third person from the left.

Although there is still much debate on what is considered a sport, by granting “League of Legends” players the same visas as professional athletes, the US government has validated the e-sport as a sport. These players are playing for their lives just as any other professional sports athlete would for his or her sport. National Hockey League.” This victory which allowed international pro “League of Legends” players to obtain P-1A visas has opened up a wide array of new possibilities. Teams can now sign the best players from South Korea, Russia, China, etc. to win world tournaments. Although there is still much debate on what is considered a sport, by granting “League of Legends” players the same visas as professional athletes, the US government has validated the e-sport as a sport. In an article, VP of e-sports, Dustin Beck called this validation a “watershed moment.” The fact that 1.7 million unique

viewers watch the competitive games that are broadcasted weekly is proof that “League of Legends” is not just a video game for fan viewers or the players. These players are playing for their lives just as any other professional sports athlete would for his or her sport. Sources:

Vol. XXVII, Issue 2


Indie Games: The Future of Survival Horror?

By Diandra Hassan

Survival horror games are heading back to their roots with unsettling imagery, haunting audio, and gameplay that will make you wish you left the lights on and the volume low.


urvival horror games have diminished into mere


action games rather than true survival horror. But the future of the genre belongs to the indie horror games that are being released through the Internet. After “Resident Evil” was launched in 1996, survival horror games such as “Fatal Frame” and “Silent Hill” began to thrive and the genre became more popular during the 1990s and early 2000s. Most horror games in the previous generations offer


complete packages of elements of fright. The darkness of the games causes feelings of paranoia, isolation, and the “unknown” that haunts the player until the very end. Nonetheless, that golden era ended when the survival horror games, which were launched in the mid-2000s, shifted focus to precision aiming and reflexes. Now we are in a transition period in which many mainstream survival horror games use reflexes, shooting, or occasionally melee combat. Even though there are some good survival horror games these days, such as “Alan

Screenshot of the gameplay found in Frictional Game’s creepy hit, Amnesia: The Dark Descent

Wake,” there is this loss of the horror feeling coming from survival horror games. Survival horror games have too many actions or focus too much on audio and graphic. These can take away the attention from other elements that truly scare us, such as the twisting plot and the eerie atmosphere. One example is “Resident Evil 5.” While it wasn’t that bad, critics argue that it wasn’t as frightening as the previous versions of “Resident Evil.” The graphics and the action scenes in the game were fine, but, still, the game doesn’t live up to its name. It has lost the gripping scariness that was prominent in the past generations of survival horror games. However, survival horror games did not stop growing, as there has been a rise of indie horror gaming that has

attracted a lot of attention. PC games such as “Slender” and “Amnesia: The Dark Descent” claimed their fame through word-of-mouth and reviews from trusted fellow gamers across the net. The games share similarities of overflowing darkness and the feeling of helplessness. For example, in “Amnesia: The Dark Descent,” the character has little equipment which makes him almost defenseless. The only thing he can do when he encounters a monster is to hide or run. The setting of “Amnesia: The Dark Descent is horrifying; imagine being trapped in a very dark castle alone and knowing that you cannot defend yourself against the monsters you encounter. These elements actually add the feeling of uncertainty and the long-lost excitement of survival horror games.

It should be noted that the graphic quality in the indie game isn’t as good as other survival horror games on the market. Glitches often occur and occasionally affect the game play. Nevertheless, the experience from the game could leave you astounded and the “jumps” don’t leave you disappointed. It seems that survival horror games have been revived through indie games. Will there be another golden era of survival horror games? Not necessarily, but considering the success of indie horror games, the genre could certainly make a comeback. photo sources: amnesiathedarkdescent3.jpg

Vol. XXVII, Issue 2



THE LAST OF US By Calvin Chan


Naughty Dog first “The Last of Us” on the Spike TV Video Game Awards in late 2011, I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical. Naughty Dog is one of my favorite developers in the industry. In fact, some of my favorite childhood gaming memories were with games developed by them. Passing the dualshock controller back and forth between my brother and I, while collecting every gem in the Crash Bandicoot series was what got me hooked to gaming in the first place. Although they have a stellar track record of games, I was skeptical about “The Last of Us” because it presented many firsts for the Santa Monica developer. It was the first time they were doing a dark survival horror game, the first time they were releasing a second IP (intellectual property) during the same console generation, and the first time they had to work on two games simultaneously–they were also working on Uncharted 3 at hen




The Last of Us Box Cover.

the time. However, all my doubts about the game were quashed after an hour with it. “The Last of Us” is Naughty Dog’s swan song on the Playstation 3. It is the best game I’ve played this generation and Naughty Dog has cemented itself in my heart as the best developer in gaming. Gameplay Humanity is obliterated by a fungus that turns humans into zombielike creatures called the Infected. “The Last of Us” is the story of two unlikely companions, Joel and Ellie, traveling across a bleak, post-apocalyptic United States. Along the way you’ll encounter the aforementioned Infected and other survivors, all of whom are trying to kill you. The human enemies are smart and will work together, react to your actions, and flank you if they get a chance. The Infected, on the other hand, charge at you with reckless abandon, but are even scarier as some of them can kill your character instantly if you let them get too close. To combat these

foes, Naughty Dog has equipped Joel with various weapons and makeshift items, such as Molotov cocktails and shivs to aid you on your journey. You’ll have to adapt your strategy based on the enemy you’re up against, the amount of ammunition you have, and the various makeshift items at your disposal. You could take a guns-blazing approach, a stealthy one, or a combination of the two, which means that every encounter will be different. This unpredictability is what makes the gameplay in “The Last of Us” fun and varied. Presentation At the end of every console generation, there are some games that just look incredible graphically because developers have finally mastered working with those consoles. “The Last of Us” is one of those games. Naughty Dog, having worked exclusively on the PS3 for the console’s entire lifespan, squeezes every last drop of processing power from the PS3 for their masterpiece. There

Naughty Dog, having worked exclusively on the PS3 for the console’s entire lifespan, squeezes every last drop of processing power from the PS3 for their masterpiece. are some videogame moments that make me think to myself, “Graphics can’t possibly get any better than this,” such as watching Yuna’s dance in “Final Fantasy X,” finally getting a computer that could run “Crysis,” and playing the train level in “Uncharted 2.” The same thought went through my head multiple times as I was playing “The Last of Us.” The game also boasts an impressive soundtrack. Although the magnificent score by Oscarwinning composer Gustavo Santaolalla is sparse and delicate, it complements the emotional reactions of the player perfectly. Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson do an amazing job of playing the voices of Joel and Ellie. The voice acting is consistently superb. When combined with the game’s graphical beauty and remarkable soundtrack, the events of “The Last of Us” overflow with realism.

Everything that happens is more memorable because your surroundings are so believable. Story Although the gameplay and presentation of “The Last of Us” are great, they both take a backseat to the main attraction, which is the story. The character development and narrative are impressive, and not just for a video game. Joel is a grizzled and gruff smuggler who has experienced a “normal” life before the outbreak. The real star of the show, however, is Ellie: a vibrant, optimistic teen who has no idea how life was like before the outbreak. The dichotomy between these two characters is what drives the story. Their characters are fleshed out even more if you choose to listen to the optional dialogues throughout the game. The writers at Naughty Dog created an emotional rollercoaster of a story around

these two characters that will tug at your heartstrings. The ending especially will stick around with you for a while. Verdict “The Last of Us” is one of those games that you wish would never end. The only complaint I have with the game is the artificial intelligence of the clumsy allies. Occasionally they will walk in plain sight of enemies or make a racket without being detected, which disrupts your immersion in the game a bit. Although I’ve never experienced this, other players have reported many graphical glitches that further disrupt immersion in the game. However, even with these slight flaws, “The Last of Us” is still one of the best games on Sony’s console and I would recommend it to anyone who owns a PS3.

Joel fighting against an Infected.

Vol. XXVII, Issue 2


Garden of Words ANIME REVIEW/

By Rudy Kuang

“A faint clap of thunder Even if the rain comes not I will stay here, together with you”


akoto Shinkai has done it again with “Garden

of Words,” creating another beautifully crafted romantic story. Shinkai has written and directed several award winning films, including “5 Centimeters per Second” and “Voices of a Distant Star.” Shinkai makes you connect with the characters and gets you emotionally attached to them. I am not usually one to get easily affected by shows or films, but when I watched some of his other films, I felt like I was actually in the world with the characters and did not want the movie to end. I had high expectations of “Garden of Words” before I watched it, as it had a lot to live up to given its predecessors, and it did not disappoint. I want to start off with the visual and audio presentation of “Garden of Words”. The animation is absolutely stunning. The scenes are the most realistic



visuals I’ve seen from any animation, and you can tell that Shinkai meticulously planned out every single scene of the film. He paid careful attention to even the smallest of details – the wet floors beautifully reflect the people or objects passing by, the trees sway peacefully with the wind, and dew lines the blades of grass majestically. I found that the color scheme of the entire film was very fitting to the emotions that the movie tries to convey, and it really helps the viewer get pulled into the world of the characters. The soundtrack of this film was made by Daisuke Kashiwa, and I found it to be amazing as well. Each piece of music perfectly matched the emotions of the scene at hand, and I feel that this is what really helps the viewer connect and feel what the characters are feeling at the time. There is also an almost continuous sound of rain that is pretty soothing. That compounded with the

A promotional image for Garden of Words

visuals of nature and the light rain really puts the audience in a relaxed state, and makes the film that much more comfortable to watch. The story itself is relatively simple, yet still effective in evoking emotion from the audience. “Garden of Words” is about two people who continuously have unplanned rendezvous on rainy days at a park gazebo. One of them is a 15 year old boy named Takao who aspires to be a shoemaker, and on rainy days he decides to skip school to work on his shoe designs. The other is a mysterious 27 year old woman who turns out to be skipping out on work on rainy days – you do not learn much else about her until later on in the film. That is the basic setup of “Garden of Words”. On the surface, the story may not seem like anything special, just a simple love story between two people. However,

the film is much more than that. In just 46 minutes, you learn the characters fight through their own personal struggles and become improved persons. The character development of Takao is truly fantastic; throughout the movie, Shinkai places you into the mind of Takao and really makes you feel like you are with him in his world. You live through the year with him, and you begin to know and understand what he is feeling, and, in that way, connect with him. You begin to understand what he struggles with, and eventually sympathize with him. The same goes for the mysterious woman, although I feel as though Shinkai does not give her nearly as much attention as he gives Takao. Even so, Shinkai creates a strong enough connections to evoke strong emotions from the audience throughout the film. There are also

some surprises that Shinkai has thrown in, but they fit in nicely to make it that much more emotionally satisfying for the viewer. Overall, “Garden of Words” is definitely a movie that everyone should watch. Just the visuals alone make this short film worth the time, but they are compounded with a great story that is spotted with pleasant surprises for the audience to enjoy. It was released in May 2013, and has received many positive reviews from viewers. I hope Shinkai continues to keep up the good work; I look forward to watching more of his films.

Vol. XXVII, Issue 2


Boys Before Friends The American Remake of “Boys Over Flowers” By Ashley Lau

One of the most well-known and widely adapted Japanese manga series is finally making its American debut in the form of a web series.


ver the past decade, a popular trend for

Asian television dramas is to make adaptions of Japanese manga series. Since the anime books had become a huge success, television producers decided to make their own remakes of the manga to air on the small screen. Some widely-loved hits include “Death Note,” “Goong,” and “Hana Kimi.” However, when Asian dramas come to mind, one television drama people can’t forget is “Boys Before Flowers” or “Hana Yori Dango.” This popular manga series, written and illustrated by Yoko Kamio, shows the lifestyle of high school students from upper class families in Japan. In the prestigious school of Eitoku Academy, the “Flower Four” (F4) is a group of four pretty or “flower” boys in the school who are sons of

However, when Asian dramas come to mind, one television drama people can’t forget is “Boys Before Flowers” or “Hana Yori Dango.”



the wealthiest and most powerful families in Japan. The famous F4 are Tsukasa Domyouji, Rui Hanazawa, Sojirou Nishikado, and Akira Mimasaka. Each member of F4 has distinctive characteristics. Tsukasa is the hot-headed leader of F4 and Rui is his best friend. Rui is unsocial and distant, but has a soft spot. Sojirou is the Casanova in the group, while Akira is an affluent figure in the underground world. The F4 rule the school and are highly respected by all of Japanese society. All of that changes when Tsukushi Makino, a middle-class girl enrolls into the school. Tsukushi stands out from the rest of the student body because of her middle-class status and is called a “weed” in the community of rich kids. At first, Tsukasa bullies Tsukushi, but throughout the series he develops an interest for her since she is the only girl that is unfazed by his popularity and good looks. Tsukasa’s feelings are unrequited since Tsukushi has already developed an interest in the quiet, but complex, Rui Hanazawa. Over time, Tsukushi’s feelings for Rui shift to Tsukasa and the two finally become a couple. Readers of the manga will be able to see the physical and emotional hardships the high school couple face as Tsukushi attempts to fit into the community of Eitoku Academy and predominantly the lifestyle of the upper class. “Boys Before Flowers” became one of the best-selling mangas of all time, having sold more than 50 million copies over the past 15 years. After the manga series became a huge sensation in Japan, an anime series (with a total of 51 episodes) along with an anime film was produced in Japan. The roles of the characters were altered to fit the plot. Following the release of the anime series came the Taiwanese (“Meteor Garden”) and Japanese (“Hana Yori Dango”) television adaptions in 2001 and 2005. Since the television series also became well-known in each country, they produced sequels, such as “Meteor

The cast of Boys Before Friends (top left to right) Riley Rae Baker, Joseph Almani, Napoleon Tavale (bottom left to right) Trenton Culkin, Chase Carlton, and Jason S. Mordeno

Garden II” and “Hana Yori Dango Returns.” Finally, the “Hana Yori Dango” series reached its peak in fame with the Korean version of “Boys Over Flowers” in 2009. Viewers fell in love with the acting of Lee Min Ho, Kim Hyun Joong, and Ku Hye Sun as they played the main characters of Gu Jun Pyo (Tsukasa) and Yoon Ji Ho (Rui) fighting to win the heart of Geum Jan Di (Tsukushi). Recently, news has erupted that an American remake is in the works as WillKinn Media released a statement revealing the plot. The setting will take place at Ellison University where students are recruited annually for their special talents and are given an opportunity under a scholarship to attend the university. The female protagonist is a dancer named Zoey (played by Riley Rae Baker) who confronts F4 about the group’s hostile tactics of bullying other students in the school. The cast for F4 has already been decided. Joseph Almani will play the leader of F4 as Liam Montgomery (the character of Tsukasa), Trenton Culkin will play Oliver Young (Rui), Napoleon Tavale as the playboy (Sojirou) Chase Carlton (Sojirou), and finally Jason S. Mordeno as tough boy Noah McCallster (Akira).

So far, there have been split responses to the new television project. On one hand, viewers are intrigued by this American take on a Japanese manga; on the other hand, some are hesitant about the American cast. One common complaint is that the people chosen for the cast look older than high school students. The Japanese audience also agrees about changing to a younger cast. I do give the producers a lot of credit for making this television series. We will just have to wait and see when the show airs on November 21st to determine if this American spin on “Boys Before Friends” is a success or disappointment. Edit: Due to scheduling conflicts the role of Zoey has been recast and will be played by Claude Racine.

Vol. XXVII, Issue 2



l Randrup

John Pau Photo of CASU Asian Night Practice by

“A Hint of Pink” by Soyeon Lee




Vol. XXVII, Issue 2


Photos of CASU Asian Night Practice by John Paul Randrup



“Afternoon Corridor” By Ying Xu

Vol. XXVII, Issue 2


Spilled Wine By Max Lin “Hmm,” said a man in a black turtleneck. “Ah, wow,” said his friend. They were looking at either an angry flamingo or a charred pair of testicles. A small card next to the painting said, “Oil and graphite on canvas. 2011.” The man in the black turtleneck turned to the blonde woman on his left for her thoughts but she had already trailed off. Paige had mastered the art of appearing preoccupied. While Miller was being whisked away by his boss, she was making a slow orbit around a table of tiny cucumber sandwiches. She had, in her repertoire, an arsenal of tricks designed to stave off such conversation topics as oligarchic structures in Russia and the pros and cons of composting and nearby Michelin-starred restaurants. Whenever a mouth in the corner of her vision broadened, poised to speak with her, she would employ any of these methods. One of these tricks involved examining a particularly cumbersome ball of lint on her sleeveless black dress, picking it off, and hurrying to the nearest trash receptacle to dispose of it as if it were about to detonate otherwise. Paige resorted to this method four times this evening. The sleeveless black dress was a loan from her older sister and later, a gift. “Keep it,” Nora had said. “It’ll slip right off my shoulders anyway. All the weight I’ll be losing.” Paige’s latest trick involved slamming her thumbs against her phone screen in rapid-fire succession with a worried look on her face, creating a personal shield of dire emergency. There was no dire emergency. She was in fact sending data through wireless signals which would reach her husband’s back pocket in the form of a small vibration, a nudge in the rear that might read, “I’m ready to leave now” or “This is the last time you drag me to one of these.” “These” referred to exhibitions held for Miller’s boss’s wife to display her latest artwork. The company e-mail Miller’s boss sent out ended with, “I’d appreciate it if all of you could come,” which roughly translated to “I will consider your attendance at this event the next time we lay off employees.” Paige understood why Miller had to go but not why he insisted on bringing her with him every time. The exhibition this evening was held in a contemporary art space labeled “De Factory” on its painted black exterior. Prior to being a contemporary art space, “De Factory” had been a warehouse where Paige’s father had worked loading large boxes of tube socks and men’s undergarments. The warehouse was situated in an area of the Bronx once known for violent crimes and various instances of moral decay. Now much safer, the crumbled brick, graffiti-blasted walls and exposed pipes of the warehouse contributed to a trendy aesthetic known as urban decay.



Prior to being a contemporary art space, “De Factory” had also been a secret hideout for Paige and Nora. They once sneaked into the warehouse after it closed, smuggling a bottle of wine from home. Paige had asked Nora to chug the last of it, like they’d seen in countless college parties in the movies. “Alright,” her sister said. “But don’t make me laugh.” It was an impossible request. A minor crease in Paige’s eyes was all it took. Nora’s cheeks swelled up like a water balloon and her lips began to sputter, unleashing a torrent of burgundy onto the concrete floor. Paige had snot all over her mouth and giggled through her sister’s groans. Now Paige was beginning her seventh orbit around the planet Tiny Cucumber Sandwiches. She wondered how these people could stand around staring at blobs of ink and simple smears of paint for what seemed like hours. They made sounds at the smears and talked about French expressionists and other things Paige didn’t know about. She remembered how much easier it was with her sister. Nora had an answer to everything. She told Paige about hickeys. She told her how to handle those three frightening words Dave Ramos had said at the end of their second date. She told her which colleges had the best labs and research facilities when it was application season. Then the diagnosis came and Nora didn’t have the answer to the simplest question: “Will you be okay?” Now Paige stood in the same warehouse emptied of its boxes and pallets and forklifts, a naked space surrounded by people she couldn’t talk to and nowhere she could hide. She crammed a cucumber sandwich in her mouth. Miller was still trapped in the buzz of “how-do-you-do’s” and feigned exclamation. He would be fine by himself. He was always comfortable in these settings. Paige looked down at her phone, finger hovering over the number for a taxi. Then she looked past her phone and saw something she hadn’t seen before. She saw a burnt sienna colored stain splashed across the concrete, a fossilized remnant of being 15. The stain resembled a damaged windmill or a goose with its wings outstretched. Paige saw Nora. She wanted to communicate something to the stain as if it might respond. A cry for help. What do I do now? Where do I go? All she could muster was “Hm.” In the distance, she heard a woman say “Oh, wow” in regards to something unrelated.

Vol. XXVII, Issue 2


Procrastination By Dale Gao In a place where paths always lead astray, Wait a minute. Nah, wait a few more minutes, a few more hours, a few more days. Maybe next week. No more waiting! This should really be done now. Wait, when was this supposed to be done? It can’t be helped. Can it? Why? It’s addicting. Because choosing to do that is much better than choosing to do this And if I don’t do that now, I probably won’t do that later. I’ll do that later too. I’m just too… tired, hungry, bored, sleepy or I just don’t feel like doing this at the moment. Not in the mood. Besides, I can do this later. It’s a bad habit. It’s just so hard to give up, A place where now is done later. Where you don’t reach the end until the end. As long as it’s done right…?

Workout of the Day By Adam Mei It is that time of day again My body moves like clockwork My focus shifts to the task at hand I shut out the world around me As my mind slips into the zone I plant my feet firmly for a solid stance Muscles tighten and squeeze Chills travel across my body Sweat trickles down the side of my face Like a snake slithering toward my chin Veins are bulging, heart is throbbing The pounding heartbeat feels like a tiger Thrashing to escape my ribcage I shift my feet and dig my heels in All at once it is all over I breathe a sigh of relief and flush the toilet



Swings By Angela Wu When I was eight Eager for you to push me Like a dog waiting to be walked For you to unlock the door to freedom Wanted you to push me higher It wasn’t enough to see wisps of delicate cotton I wanted to reach for the sun and the stars Every time I achieved a new high I would clasp the chains tighter Until they left indentations into my young fragile hands The cool of the metal chains Turning warm and sticky from my force The leap in my stomach every time my feet flew off the ground As I was shot out from a cannon Hair strands would fly away My uncontrollable smile melted into the surroundings Fear of the backwards motion washed away Just as my feet were about to slam into the ground You were always there to push me further So all I could see was the beam of light ready to caress my face

Sonnet CXVII By Russell Tobias Who cares about the fate of a leaf? “It’s just one among billions,” someone might say. “Must we express sorrow and grief, For something no one uses anyway?” Leaves are trampled, leaves are blown, Come autumn they’re disposed of. Like almighty Icarus they come raining down, And are eaten by our fellow heterotrophs. But, leaves also have a practical use: For plants, sunlight makes them thrive. Via photosynthesis, leaves do produce, The food plants need to stay alive. So the next time a leaf falls off a tree, Just remember its role, and leave it be. Vol. XXVII, Issue 2


Black Coffee By Frank Tiu like loneliness, burningly bitter feeling a cold slice of the winter air but it is only these that draw out the sharp edge of sweetness that you will never taste my black coffee, my beans. I am not your cup of black coffee.

Night By Tina Yu When the leaves are falling, scratching the pavement with their bone dry voices, wisdom of the ancients whispering in my ear. I look up at the waxen moon and wonder with whom I am sharing the night. A forgotten ache, for human company; for conversation, for soul, for warmth; for you, for him, for her, for them, to plug in the emptiness, to fill an internal cavity, to staunch nameless pains slippery, elusive. Unwilling to let go, breathing in the scent of a final era; dusk of hope. I yearn to yearn.

J 38



By Julian Apostol Vol. XXVII, Issue 2




Asian Outlook Fall 2013 Issue #2  

Asian Outlook Magazine's second Fall 2013 publication. Asian Outlook is the literary, creative and news magazine of the Asian Student Union...

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