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tv   Asian Pacific America with Robert Handa  NBC  September 8, 2019 5:30am-6:01am PDT

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robert handa: hello, and welcome to "asian pacific america." i'm robert handa, your host for our show here on nbc bay area and cozi tv. we start with sari-sari storybooks, beautifully-illustrated books for youngsters. written to the diverse cultures of the philippines, these multi-language books celebrate the quirky magic of filipino storytelling, or so says the publisher who'll join us today. then one of the magic spots of the bay area, the hakone foundation, is having its annual gala celebration next sunday, a celebration of the spectacular yet intimate hakone gardens in saratoga, which offers scenic beauty and a fascinating history. after that, one of my favorite events and certainly for those who love japanese food, it is time for tabemasho 2019,
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the largest fundraiser of the year for the jcccnc, the japanese cultural community center of northern california. the event this saturday will feature culinary creations from the bay area, hawaii, and japan and will help the center continue to serve its 185,000 visitors every year. and we will end with a unique mission as a former child interned at the manzanar camp searches for his classmates. we'll show you how he hopes to track them down. all that on our show today. well, we're big fans of books and the written word here; and that's not always an easy thing to promote in this digital age, but it is a crucial foundation in education and understanding your own culture and community. joining me now is christina newhard, the publisher of sari-sari storybooks. she was born in the philippines and moved to the us when she was 10, but has held onto her roots and is helping to pass it along to others. sari-sari storybooks are geared to english and many of the other languages associated with the philippines and to connect young
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filipinos to their own heritage through illustrated storytelling. welcome to the show. christina newhard: thank you, robert. robert: give us an idea, first of all, how this got started and where we are right now with it. christina: back in 2012, i was just thinking about things that were important to me and my background as--i'm a graphic designer, and i think was just feeling some life stagnation and feeling a pull to go back to the philippines as more than just being a tourist. so kind of out of that mishmash was this idea to do a press and create books in these different languages that i didn't even know about. and i'm half filipino. my mom never mentioned all these other languages. so it was sort of a way for me to spend time in the philippines and really connect with a lot of the creatives and language activists and kind of dig deep into culture. robert: yeah, certainly. personally as well as what turns out to be professionally, you saw a void there, right? in terms of like something there that wasn't there for filipino youngsters, right? christina: these type of books--the publishing industry there's very robust, but these particular languages weren't
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very present in the kids' books there and then definitely in the us or--i think there was just two books on amazon so, yeah. robert: yeah, two is not a lot. gearing to what kind of age, what age range and why? christina: ages 5 to 8, and i think because that's where you can have the most fun with visual storytelling. those have--that age you can tell a real story, but it's really still very picture-based so. robert: and of course like my own children, you know, they got more distracted by phones and computers and things that later--they were much heavier readers when they were younger, but it laid a foundation for them. is the--are the stories original? are they retelling of old filipino stories or what? christina: they are original stories that's intentional because i want these stories to be modern. i want them to reflect filipino culture, but also we're a global audience now. so sometimes old folk tales don't translate well, and there's also laws in the philippines about appropriating
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certain kinds of stories. so i just didn't want to do the wrong thing that way so. robert: are there a lot of authors out there with their stories that they were coming to you with or did you kind of seek out people to try to write these kind of stories? christina: when i started, i really was just kind of making it up as i went along really, honestly. so ideally that's what i wanted, was to find authors and work with them, but i mean i had no background in publishing, i had no real network to start with. so i did some networking. i wasn't able to connect to writers for these first three. i collaborated with a friend, alyssa sarmiento-co, on the ivatan story, "melo," and she worked with the community in batangas and then we collaboratively wrote that story. and then the next two i wrote, but the next--the fourth book that just came out is by voltaire oyzon. so he's a author and waray language activist and a poet in the central philippines, and the next two books will be by philippine authors. robert: it will be hard to kind of cover all of them, but give us a couple of examples in terms of the books that were
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written, the ones you collaborated on, and sort of what the idea was behind putting these books together. christina: this is a--i'll hold up for the camera. this is "melo." so this is a language from the far north. it's a small language group and a small community. so this book was done in collaboration and it was very much sourcing themes from that community-- robert: go ahead and hold it up so that people can see it as you're talk about it, okay. christina: and this was the one co-written with my friend, allyssa. these two books, "amina" and "kalipay" were--i wrote them, but did quite a lot of research. and this book, "amina," i worked closely with a translator, floraime, who's from the city that the book is based in, and she interviewed a lot of people from zamboanga. and then the fourth book that just came out, this is by voltaire. so this is the waray story that released here in the us in june and released little earlier in philippines. so he's writing to his own community, and that's sort of the ideal model, yeah.
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robert: explain for people, because i was even a little bit thrown by it, the number of languages and kind of the multi-language approach 'cause i don't think people really realize that you have to deal with that. what is that kind of situation? how did you kind of address it? christina: well, it was something i didn't know about the philippines and--i mean, i'm half filipino and my mom's a tagalog speaker and she never mentioned 181 other languages, and it's just delightful like people who love--it's very special. i think it makes the philippines a very culturally-rich place and-- robert: and a challenge for you, huh? christina: a bit of a challenge, but also people, i think, along the way that i met in the philippines when they learn i was working on this we're really generous and welcoming and there's just a lot of enthusiasm, and also here in the us-- robert: real quickly, what's the future? what's in the future here? christina: so book number five is a maranaw
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story from mindanao. so that is by hannah ossman, maranaw writer. so that book will be comin out the end of next year. it's in production. and "sandangaw" has a launch in portland on september 29th with filipino community there, and the informations on the website,, and there's also merchandise launch. a line of merchandise will be coming out featuring the art, which is so beautiful. robert: you'll have to come back and keep us updated on this, right? okay, thank you very much for being here. christina: thank you, robert. robert: all right, well, to purchase books, it's through arkipelago books at 1010 mission street in san francisco or go to now, stay with us. one of the most beautiful sites in the bay area, the hakone gardens in saratoga, is getting ready for its annual gala celebration. see the beauty, hear the stories next.
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robert: my family has been going to the hakone gardens in saratoga for many years. it was literally my grandmother's favorite place to visit. it reminded her so much of the beautiful gardens in japan. i have the honor of once again emceeing theakone foundation's annual gala celebration next sunday. here with me now is the executive director of the hakone foundation, our old friend, shozo kagoshima, who has been the executive director since 2015 and was born and raised in the santa clara valley. welcome back. shozo kagoshima: well, thank you for having me. robert: for people who don't know, give us a brief history of not only the hakone gardens, but also how it sort of evolved to where we are now. shozo: certainly. so hakone estate and gardens was actually started in 1915 when oliver and isabel stine visited the 1915 panama pacific exposition in san francisco. they visited the japanese pavilion, fell in love with japan, and decided they wanted to build their own japanese garden here in the bay area. so they being residents of san francisco came down to saratoga,
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purchased 8 acres of garden and they designed their own garden by going back to japan, touring all the various gardens, coming back, hiring a japanese landscape architect and building architect, and created their own japanese estate and garden. and it's a traditional hill-and-pond style garden, and they named it hakone because mrs. stine visited fuji-hakone national park and loved that garden so much that she wanted to have her own hakone here in saratoga. robert: right, and the landscapers are as much of a hero as some of the other people here too in terms of authenticity, huh? shozo: it is. you know, it's a very skilled job to have. and so that's one of the reasons why the city of saratoga when they purchase it in 1966, they were managing it for a period of time and decided that they really didn't have the resources to maintain the park. so in 1981, they created a foundation--a nonprofit foundation, the hakone foundation,
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and made the foundation in charge of managing and operating the park on their behalf. and so the foundation has been out there, they--we've had gardeners who've been maintaining the gardens on behalf of this city and they've done a great job because it takes a very special skill to maintain a japanese garden. robert: it was a little bit ahead of its time, too. i mean, not a lot of places were being kept that way, and a lot of the ones that were taken over by a foundation tended to evolve into something maybe more commercial or something different. hakone has kind of stayed the same and kept that, you know, authenticity throughout the years. shozo: right. and, you know, you have to remember this was built as a private estate. and so that's how it was tried to be maintained. the first 50 years it was privately owned as a residence, the owners used it as a retreat. and so that's really the focus of how we try to maintain it as well, as if somebody is still living there. and so the--as far as the maintenance is concerned, trying to maintain the integrity,
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the historical integrity is really key for us. robert: yeah, like i said, it was--as i've said before when i was at the event, my grandmother's favorite place, and it wasn't just because it was beautiful. it had to have that feeling of being back home. shozo: it is. you go up there and--you know, we're in the middle of silicon valley and it's all hustle and bustle, but you take a 15-minute little drive up the hill and it's just serenity, it's peaceful and that's where the meditation comes in and it's--it really is. when i get there first thing in the morning, you get there you can hear the birds chirping and it is really just a different part of the world. robert: yeah. okay, now aside from having to settle on your mc, what are some of the things that you plan to do at the gala? what's to celebrate this year? what do you want to focus on? shozo: well, this is our fifth year, and the previous four years it was more of a formal sit-down dinner with honorees. this year we wanted to do a little bit different so we decided to focus on the entertainment. and so this year, we were able to get june kuramoto of
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hiroshima to perform for us. so she'll be doing a little concert in the evening. robert: yeah, she was one of our first guests too when we launched the show and she really is sort of a pioneer when it comes to not only just like current culture, but contemporary culture too, huh? shozo: right. it's bridging traditional japanese culture with current culture. robert: so for the people who are going to go there, what is it that you sort of want them to sort of experience? shozo: well, we want them to experience--we want to bring them as if they're in japan. so what they would experience in japan, we want them to experience at hakone. robert: a lot of things going on. is it hard to maintain? are you facing any kind of like obstacles? do you see anything on the horizon you're concerned about? shozo: well, you know, the garden is 100 years old--over 100 years old. so there's a lot of maintenance that needs to be done, and one of the main things--one of the first things that we're going to work on is actually the renovation of the pond. we started that last year with a new filtration system, and its capacity is 60,000 gallons.
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currently, it's only running at half that capacity because the pond is only 30,000 gallons. so our next phase will be actually the renovation of the pond and the surrounding pathways for accessibility. and so we just hired a designer to design the renovation. and so once we get all the design work done, then we can start into the construction. but before we do that, we'll have to get into a fundraising. robert: that's 's a whole other ballgame there, too. but people are enthusiastic about the place, and it still looks beautiful no matter what stage you guys are in. so congratulations on that. shozo: well, thank you. robert: all right, looking forward to see you next week. shozo: we'll see you. robert: all right. robert: well, the hakone foundation annual gala will be sunday, september 15th from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 at the hakone gardens at 21000 big basin way in saratoga. i'll be the mc along with, as you heard, the musical guest june kuramoto of hiroshima. for more d, goto nbcbayar.
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stay with us. it's time for a feast. tabemasho 2019 is coming to san francisco this saturday. get a peek at some of the great dishes that will be served up and how it all benefits the community. that's next.
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jcccnc in san francisco for many years. the japanese cultural and community center of northern california serves about 185,000 visitors a year with dynamic cultural, educational, social, and outreach programs. so i'm always honored to help, but some volunteer efforts are not really much of a sacrifice such as being at tabemasho, the culinary feast and fundraiser. with me now is the co-chair of tabemasho 2019, diane matsuda, who has been a volunteer for the jcccnc for 30 years, but this year is her first as the co-chair of the event. welcome to the show. diane matsuda: thank you. robert: all right. robert: so you excited and nervous about being in charge of everything? diane: yeah, this is the first time an official co-chair and i'm co-chairing it with donna kimura who has
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co-chaired it in the past. so i'm very happy to work with her and utilize her experience to do this. robert: yeah, i've emceed the event before, so--but give people an idea, who haven't been there before, what the sort of the event is about? diane: sure, so the event starts with the silent auction that will start at 3 o'clock, and then at 4 the doors will open and it's like a--style, a festival style--japanese festival style atmosphere where all the guests can go around to the different food booths and the different craft booths that we will have set up around the room and freely roam and chat with all of our vendors and get to know what they do and be appreciative of what they're serving. robert: yeah, you have chefs from everywhere too, right? bay area, hawaii, japan and everything. and so people get to actually interact as well as eat, right? diane: they do and that's what they enjoy the most. robert: yeah. really? more than the eating? diane: well, i would say-- robert: it's kind of a tie. robert: now of course, again, it's not all about food. what are some of the things that are going on there?
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diane: right, so this year we're inviting some guests frooita prefecture, which is in kyushu, japan, and one of the guests is a geta maker from a town called hita and he's going to be actually showing the guests how to make hita-style getas, and i have one right here and have one on my feet. hita geta are made out of cedar wood, and cedar is indigenous to oita prefecture, and what he's going to do is he's going to show the guests how to actually make a geta by putting on the hanao, which is the strap here, and then how he wraps it up on the other side like this. robert: oh, yeah. you know, when you turn it around everything, you can really see how more complex it is than it looks so simple on top. diane: you're right, every single geta that he makes is handmade, from cutting the tree down to making every pair of geta. so i think it'll be a treat for all of our guests. robert: you know, a lot of japanese things are that way, right? they look so simple and yet it's the complexity that makes
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the simplicity work. what other things besides that? diane: we're also inviting a guest from kobe and she's a modern calligraphy artist, and she designed our invitation this year. robert: you have that in fact. diane: i do. i have it right here. and this is the japanese kanji of shoko, which means eat. and traditionally it's done with just with black sumi ink on white paper, but what she does is she takes acrylic paints and she really tries to jazz it up and show a modern way of looking at calligraphy and appreciating the art. robert: yeah, yeah. so really is literally arts, crafts, and foods, right? diane: right. robert: yeah, okay, so i know you don't want to go through all of them, but what are some of the kind of the foods that people will be able to maybe experience or see that maybe they don't see normally? diane: right, so through co-chair donna kimura's connections, we were able to secure a lot of new vendors this year. i think one of the highlights is featuring b. patisserie belinda leong's cookies,
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which will be at the tables. we are also going to have nintarose sylvan mishima bracket make some food, and then we have a guest from hawaii, chris manabe, who has started his own food truck and he is also the fourth generation owner of diamond bakery, which is a common household name in hawaii, traditionally making soda crackers, but now venturing into a bunch of different things as all kinds of different kinds of cookies from hawaii. robert: yeah, now how do people get to this event? how can they go? or is it sold out or? diane: we have the capacity to seat 400 people and i think we're almost at capacity right now. robert: so people have to hurry if they want to try to be a part of this. you know, lance lou, one of the--when we--he's one of the producers here and we kind of created this show, and we had talked about the fact that, you know, arts and culture need to be a part of this show because they tend to be ignored and things like that, and the other aspect that we always say we have to not ignore was food. food really is a big part of, like,
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a culture and it's also a big part of the why people tap into a culture. isn't that right? diane: yeah and we're the jccc, so the japanese cultural and community center. so within japanese culture is definitely food as well as, i think, the arts--the traditional as the modern arts that artists do in japan. robert: yeah, now the artistry, the calligraphy, the--all the crafts that are going to go on, is that sort of maybe indicative of how you want to maybe broaden the tabemasho in the future? diane: i think we always want to focus in on traditions because we do want to preserve and promote japanese tradition and japanese culture, and one way is to actually invite specific artists from japan. another person that--a company that we're inviting from japan is a company called momotaro nori, and they're going to be featuring three different kinds of seaweed and one is a type of seaweed that they have created called kabotsu seaweed, which is made with a fruit of lime and
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mandarin, and i think it'll be a great treat for our guests. robert: nor is it something that a lot of people know about, huh? diane: right. robert: all right, thank you. robert: looking forward to it. all right. tabemasho 2019, saturday, september 21st from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the center, nisei community hall at 1840 sutter street in san francisco. our colleague, mike inouye, the traffic reporter for "today in the bay" will be the mc. for more information, go to coming up, a former child of an internment camp is looking for his classmates. how? that's next.
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my grandparents were interned at the heart mountain camp during world war ii, and for the young people in the family, they went to school there, or at least classes; and even though it was not a pleasant experience overall, like many youngsters being classmates is a bond and that was the case at all of the camps, including manzanar, but the circumstances, of course, made it hard to stay in touch. a member of a first grade class at manzanar is looking
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for his classmates. manzanar was one of ten internment camps, a 500-acre housing section surrounded by barbed wire, guard towers, and patrolled by military police. more than 10,000 japanese americans lived at manzanar by september, 1942. it was located in the owens valley of california between the sierra nevada on the west and the inyo mountains on the east. the first grade photo is from the 1944/'45 school year. one of the kids pictured is konishamura and he is searching for his classmates and wants to have a reunion. he asked for help. so if you happen to know someone from that camp or if you were there and know someone from this class, please email ranger patricia at and you can find out more on konishamura's search as well as about the other guests and their events on our website,, and of course we're also on social media: facebook and twitter, and you can follow me on twitter @rhandanbc. and that's it for our show today.
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we want to thank all of our guests for coming here and accommodating us as we did this show on the new set instead of our familiar-looking studio. "asian pacific america" will be on our usual set and on our usual times next week. so hope to see you then. hope to see you at the hakone gardens gala, or say hi to mike inouye at tabemasho. thanks for watching. ♪ cc by aberdeen captioning 1-800-688-6621
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♪ we have nothing left >> alabama was in the original forecast. >> there are some things you can't unsee. >> he was in a car accident earlier tonight. >> i'm so happy to be back. >> good morning. welcome to "sunday today" on this september 8th, i'm willy geist. we approach the 18th anniversar of the attacks of the september 11 president trump announcing he has called off a secret meeting with taliban leader at camp david this w


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