Kimono aren’t cosplay

Don’t do it y’all, just don’t do it.

In about two weeks it’s Anime Boston, one of my favorite things ever in the city. Anime fans from all over are spotted across the city in different styles of cosplay, earning weird (almost scared) looks from normal people everywhere. I love cosplay, both wearing it and photographing it. But there’s one trend, specifically in the anime community, that needs to stop: wearing a kimono as a costume. AKA: cultural appropriation. Continue reading

I love “Mulan” more as an adult than I ever did as a kid

A while back I was browsing through the YA section at Barnes and Noble and a bright red cover featuring Disney’s Mulan caught my eye. The book was Reflection, one of the special Disney-official fan fiction series Twisted Tale that includes spins on Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and my girl Mulan. I didn’t end up buying it that day, but I checked it out from the library recently and it was as much fun as I could have hoped Mulan fan fiction––written by a Chinese American, Elizabeth Lim––to be. Continue reading

All my social media thoughts after seeing “Crazy Rich Asians”

I saw an early screening and it totally convinced me the hype is valid.

So hardly a week or so ago, I wrote a big think-piece essay blog type thing about how skeptical I am about my expectations for the upcoming Crazy Rich Asians movie. Looking back, I’ve written a lot about this movie: a satirical dream cast, a presentation about the pressure it’s under, and that last post about hyping it on blind faith. Continue reading

Hyping “Crazy Rich Asians” on blind faith

I’m looking forward to this movie, right?

Every time I see the movie poster for the upcoming Crazy Rich Asians movie, I have to stop and take a photo of it for the ‘gram. I’ve seen the trailer so many times I know when all the claps happen. While waiting for a flight, I wandered around LAX looking for the special Entertainment Weekly cover with Constance Wu and Henry Golding. I bought the book a second time just for the paperback copy with the movie cover on it.

And I didn’t even like the book. Continue reading

The most empowering Olympics

The Asian American Athletes at Pyeongchang give me life.

(This was originally posted on the editorial blog of the East Coast Asian American Student Union, read it here.)

I live for the Olympic games every two to four years, ever since the 2008 Beijing opening ceremony changed my life. The pomp and circumstance of the ceremonies, athlete profiles, and feats of human strength always draw me in and rule my life for the next two and a half weeks. This year’s winter games in PyeongChang are no different. In fact my obsession has only been heightened by the amazing Asian American athletes competing this year. Continue reading

“Crazy Rich Asians” y’all

A presentation on the upcoming movie, and the intense pressure around it.

A while back, my friend asked me to give a presentation on anything, as long as it had something to do with books. I had 0 ideas, but got inspired by the special Entertainment Weekly edition of Crazy Rich Asians, so I decided to talk about every reader’s favorite topic: book to movie adaptations.

It went pretty well, and I ended up having a lot of fun making my slides. So for fun, and because I have a lot of thoughts about the upcoming movie, I’ll share them and my speaking notes here.
(I should note that the event was hosted by one of my school’s publishing clubs, hence the literary event references.)

Continue reading

2017: The whiplash year for K-pop

What does it mean to go from one of the most validating years to its most heartbreaking.

2017 was the year that put Korean pop (K-pop) on the map. And not in a mocking, other-ing way, like how “Gangnam Style” swept pop culture in 2013. No, this year K-pop, specifically boy bands, hit mainstream America and made an impression. As a fan since 2012 (I came late to the game, I know) watching K-pop’s rise was both one of the most amazing things to see… and eventually one of the most heartbreaking. Continue reading

Overlooking Japanese anime film “Your Name” discredits an animated hit

Leaving the movie of the 2016 Academy Awards shows its inherent bias.

Out of the 89 years of the Academy Awards, only one Japanese anime film won Best Animated Feature Film: Hayao Miyazaki’s classic Spirited Away in 2003. In the almost fifteen years since then, very few anime films and shorts show up in the list. The snobbery for anime showed up again last year when the Academy did not nominate the internationally successful film Your Name (Kimi no Na Wa) from director Makoto Shinkai. After its release, multiple awards worldwide, and critical acclaim, the Academy missed recognizing Your Name as an example of a work that goes beyond the standard anime genre to tell the story of fate, missed connections, and first love. Continue reading

The Woman: The femme fatale in modern Sherlock Holmes

Irene Adler in Elementary is the perfect femme fatale.

In the vast canon of Sherlock Holmes, only one woman stands out: Irene Adler. Introduced in the short story, “A Scandal in Bohemia,” Adler receives the dubious introduction as “the woman.” She’s an object of affection or desire, because the great detective Sherlock Holmes could never feel something so base as love; instead Dr. Watson recalls that to Holmes Irene Adler “eclipses and predominates the whole of her sex.” Now over a hundred years and two successful TV shows later, Irene Adler evolved from a mildly scandalous New Jersey opera singer to the classic femme fatale. Continue reading

This is journalism goals with Lisa Ling

Exploring America with one of my favorite journalists.

I’d heard about the Taiwanese American journalist Lisa Ling, and in high school I read the book she co-wrote with her sister Laura — Somewhere Inside — about Laura’s captivity in North Korea. Both the sisters became huge inspirations and role models to me as journalists, women, and Asian Americans. So when I saw CNN put all of Lisa Ling’s series This is Life on Hulu, I knew how I was spending my weekend. Continue reading