Where Fools Fear to Tread — A Snapshot of Taiwan (Taipei & the East Coast)

MY TRIP — INTRODUCTION In August 2010 I went on a trip to Taiwan. Like most Americans, I had little knowledge of the island in East Asia. In school, we learned that Taiwan was formerly called Formosa (although I don’t believe it was mentioned by whom). Later it became Taiwan. The Nationalists (the “good guys” … Continue reading Where Fools Fear to Tread — A Snapshot of Taiwan (Taipei & the East Coast)

No Enclave — Exploring Taiwanese Los Angeles

Diversity has long been part of the fabric of Los Angeles and Southern California. Humans first arrived here at least 13,000 years ago and more than twenty Native American nations made their home here before the Spanish Conquest. The Spanish pueblo of Los Angeles was itself founded by people of Native, African, European, and mixed ancestries and … Continue reading No Enclave — Exploring Taiwanese Los Angeles

Made in Taiwan – Taiwanese Cinema and Television

Taiwan’s official status is complicated. Some view it as a renegade region of China, others as the sole legitimate government of the mainland (the Republic of China). Still others believe it to be an island with a unique history stretching back tens of thousands of years and with a distinct culture influenced by Austronesian, Han, and Japanese history, … Continue reading Made in Taiwan – Taiwanese Cinema and Television

Pan-Asian Metropolis — Japanese Los Angeles

Los Angeles was at one time home to the largest population of Japanese outside of Japan and contributions of Japanese-Angelenos to history and culture are many. It was in Los Angeles that Hollywood created the first Asian-American film star. It was also in Los Angeles that a legal challenge in the Supreme Court re-shaped immigration … Continue reading Pan-Asian Metropolis — Japanese Los Angeles

Nobody Drives in LA — So Why Are Our Train Stations So Crap?

There’ve recently been a couple of articles in the Los Angeles Times about the various state of local mass transit that have got me thinking. Mehmet Baker‘s “Metro is hemorrhaging riders. It needs to stop studying obvious fixes and start acting” appeared on Sunday, was good but many of the complaints voiced were the sort … Continue reading Nobody Drives in LA — So Why Are Our Train Stations So Crap?

California Fools Gold — Exploring Newport Beach

INTRODUCTION I finally got around to exploring Newport Beach. I say “finally” because that particular coastal city in South Orange County has held the top spot in the California Fool’s Gold poll for more than a year. You’d be wrong if you assumed that my procrastination has anything to do with unfortunate (but typical) Angeleño bias against Orange … Continue reading California Fools Gold — Exploring Newport Beach

California Fool’s Gold — A San Diego Neighborhoods Primer

INTRODUCTION 2019 is the sestercentennial of San Diego‘s founding. It’s also the vigintennial of my moving to Southern California — and yet, in those twenty years, I’ve probably visited San Diego no more than a dozen times. Why haven’t I visited California‘s second largest city more often? Certainly not out of any of the sort … Continue reading California Fool’s Gold — A San Diego Neighborhoods Primer

Pan-Asian Metropolis — The Art of Benshi/弁士の芸術

From 1 March through 3 March, the Tadashi Yanai Initiative for Globalizing Japanese Humanities and the UCLA Film & Television Archive (with support from the National Film Archive of Japan) a three-day program titled “The Art of Benshi.” Benshi (弁士; also known as katsudō-benshi/活動弁士 or katsuben/活弁) are live performers who accompanied silent films of Japan as well as those … Continue reading Pan-Asian Metropolis — The Art of Benshi/弁士の芸術

Pan-Asian Metropolis — 素食夜市小吃園遊會 Happy Lantern Green Night Market

The other day, Una and I went to the 素食夜市小吃園遊會 Happy Lantern Green Night Market — a 100% vegetarian (and mostly vegan) Taiwanese street food festival which took place in Alhambra. If that sounds on the surface impossibly niche, consider the following. Taiwan is the cradle of the night market. Taiwan is, after India, likely the second … Continue reading Pan-Asian Metropolis — 素食夜市小吃園遊會 Happy Lantern Green Night Market