Sunday, March 31, 2019

Crossing Cultures: Meet Model Anima Kurayami



Anima Kurayami
Aloha, Hip Hapa Homeez.

It’s been awhile since we’ve actually posted any biracial, bicultural, mixed-race, multicultural and/or transracial interviews here.

While we’ve been working on the War Brides of Japan docu*memory, we've had to focus solely on that project.

But, now we’re back where we left off, and this issue features an amazing interview with an amazing lady—cross-cultural model Alexandrine Maurice aka Anima Kurayami:

Q: Where were you born and raised? 

A: I was born and raised in France, in an eastern region called Lorraine. 

Anima in Tokyo


Q: When did you first begin modeling? 

A: Four years ago, I met the Japanese designer Takafumi Tsuruta from the brand Tenbo completely by chance. He's promoting diversity through his clothes for disabled people, so they can mingle with others and allow the world to progress. He asked me if I wanted to become a model, to parade for his brand, and I accepted. 

Q: What attracted you to Japan? 

A: Japan has always been my greatest passion. When I met Takafumi Tsuruta, I already had plans to go there, because it was my life project. But it was his proposal that got me started. It was complicated for various reasons, but I was able to go to Tokyo a few months after talking with him. 





Q: What is your disability? 


A: My pathology is called spinal muscular atrophy. It is a genetic disease that causes very serious respiratory problems and muscle atrophy (which prevents me from walking, as well as limiting my movements). 







Q: Do you consider yourself a representative for models with disabilities? If so, in what ways are you proactive? 

A: I hope more generally to be able to encourage all people who feel discriminated or uncomfortable in their lives. Nowadays, unfortunately, people believe that you cannot do certain things on arbitrary criteria (the color of your skin, your disability, your sexual orientation, etc.). I wish I could be the example I would have liked to have had a few years ago. Back then, I was lost myself and, everyone around me was trying to dissuade me from doing artistic work because "you're in a wheelchair, so you can't!".

I am not the first to do what I do. I am aware of it, and I hope that many others will join us in time! 



Q: How do you feel Japanese look at disabled artists such as yourself? 

A: I have been to Japan twice. So far, nobody looked at me in a bad way, nor did anyone say anything bad on this subject. Japanese people appreciate what I do. They encourage me a lot, especially through the Internet. 

I know that the country as a whole still has some trouble with people who have disabilities, but that's why I believe it's important that more and more artists with disabilities are noticed (and not only in Japan), in order to help the world to evolve. 
Q: What do you hope to change, and how do you see the future for models like yourself? 

A: Is it too much if I say I want to change the world? Ha ha. Anyway, I hope to be able to contribute. We're in 2019. And yet, in my opinion, diversity is not well represented in the media. It does not push people into meeting each other, since they have the impression that people who are in a situation such as mine are exceptional cases, when in fact it is not. 

The world belongs to everyone, and it is important that everyone finds their place in it. Moreover, I think that going towards each other helps us to learn and not to remain frozen in what we already know. 




Arrigatou gozaimasu, Alexandrine!

Hip Hapa Homeez, our quarterly posts this year will be on 6/30, 9/30 and 12/31.

Also, the links below will keep you updated about the War Brides of Japan docu*memory.

War Brides of Japan videos:

War Brides of Japan websites:

War Brides of Japan in the news:
DIFT 
NBC 

War Brides of Japan on Facebook:

Throwing Rice Productions on Facebook:

War Brides of Japan on LinkedIn:

War Brides of Japan on Twitter:

War Brides of Japan on G+:

War Brides of Japan blogs:

A War Bride's artwork:

Until we meet again on June 30, I am…

Your Hip Hapa,

Yayoi

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

On Their Way! War Brides of Japan


Aloha, Hip Hapa Homeez.

At last! The news you’ve been waiting for in our Watermelon Sushi World.

The War Brides of Japan docu*memory we’ve been working on for several years is just about ready for release. Our first platform will be Vimeo, so please stay tuned.

meeting Okinawan war bride daughter, Sandy, in Seattle, October 2018
If you’re on Facebook, please ‘like’ our War Brides of Japan or Throwing Rice Productions fan pages and we’ll let you know when the film is ready for viewing.

Sandy with her family koseki
Actually, there will be 5 films, or film satellites. Check out this pdf to learn more:


There has been one change, however. The two historians will now have their own satellite and won't appear in the other four.



Below are all the links to everything you need to know about War Brides of Japan.

War Brides of Japan videos:

War Brides of Japan websites:

War Brides of Japan in the news:
DIFT 
NBC 

War Brides of Japan on Facebook:

Throwing Rice Productions on Facebook:

War Brides of Japan on LinkedIn:

War Brides of Japan on Twitter:

War Brides of Japan on G+:

War Brides of Japan blogs:

A War Bride's artwork:

Arrigatou Gozaimashita for your donations and support. See you in March!

Your Hip Hapa,

Yayoi

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

War Brides of Japan in Post-Post


Aloha, Hip Hapa Homeez!

We have good news and we have bad news. 

First, the bad. We still haven’t released our docu*MEMORY, “War Brides of Japan”, because we’re still tweaking it. 

But we’re very, very close. 









production still by Diana Portugal





Besides making the film available to you at online platforms, we’re also planning to screen at several upcoming film festivals.


The best places to stay updated about our activities are on the website and social media pages listed below. 









If you’re connected to a Japanese war bride, please join our Facebook page, “Japanese War Brides & Families & Friends”.


dir. Yayoi with war bride daughter Diana Portugal &
her husband Ed in Clovis CA
production still by Sean H
dir. Yayoi with war bride daughter Roleta Fowler Vasquez &
her husband Joe in Moorpark CA
production still by Sean H
























Meanwhile, the good news is that we've created a new trailer. Called “The Chase”, it features several Japanese war brides recalling how they met their GI husbands as well as several adult children talking about their parents.

Check it out!




And, here are all the usual links including a new podcast at Stubborn Hearts on iTunes. See item #11 dated June 8:



War Brides of Japan websites:

War Brides of Japan in the news:
DIFT 
NBC 

War Brides of Japan on Facebook:

Throwing Rice Productions on Facebook:

War Brides of Japan on LinkedIn:

War Brides of Japan on Twitter:

War Brides of Japan on G+:

War Brides of Japan blogs:

A War Bride's artwork:
heARTworkByYuri

A big fat MWAHH to all our donors for their generous contributions. Without them, this film would have not been possible. Please see a list of their names at our website.

Until December, i am…

Your Hip Hapa,
Yayoi

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Beautiful Brides Of The Rising Sun


Aloha, Hip Hapa Homeez!

At last, we’re nearly at the end of our long journey in producing the documentary War Brides of Japan. 

Our new website has been launched (but still needs some tweaking), and we’re almost done editing the movie.

We plan to make the film available online this summer, and hope to screen it at several film festivals, too. 

Later this week, we’ll be the guests on the premiere show of The Stubborn Heart podcast for filmmakers.

Stay tuned at this blog, or join one of our many Facebook groups and pages at the links below this latest post to keep up with our schedule.

author Kristine Ohkubo outside of Tokyo Station
And, finally, we’re back to our old format of posting interviews of people who are multiracial, interracially involved, or cross cultures.

Recently we had the pleasure of meeting Kristine Ohkubo, author of “The Sun Will Rise Again”. Your Hip Hapa has been reading this historical account of Japan and WWII, and was blown away by Ms. Ohkubo’s detailed reporting. So, we asked her…

Q: What inspired you to write this book?

A: My inspiration for "The Sun Will Rise Again" came from my travels in Japan and conducting research for my first book, "A Blogger's Guide To Japan".  During my travels, I realized that there were facts that were previously unknown to me having grown up in the U.S.—facts which were omitted from our history books. Further, when I began publishing my travel blog (which is defunct now) and sharing stories about places like Manzanar, for instance, I received comments/messages from my readers thanking me for the information and telling me that they were unaware of the facts included in my blog posts. Some encouraged me to write a book, which seemed daunting at first, but I followed through with it anyway.

kamikaze pilot memorial, Yasukuni war shrine Tokyo
Q: Your book is brimming with amazing facts. How long did it take you to do so much research? 

A: A majority of the information I had already uncovered while researching my first book. It is a travel book, but it includes quite a bit of historical background information. It was just a matter of digging further to substantiate the claims. It took me a little over a year to research and write "The Sun Will Rise Again". I worked on it every single day, and couldn't put it down. The work drove me in a sense.

Q: A lot of historical literature tends to be academic, but your writing style is contemporary—making it an easy read yet still focused on important details. How did you develop this writing style? 

A: I have always loved writing and considered it one of my strong points. One of the things which turned me off about a majority of the historical material out there was that it was very academic. I wanted to write to appeal to everyone, not just the researchers and historians. I felt it was my duty to share this information with everyone so that it would serve as a lesson for present and future generations. Effective communication is not about how educated one sounds, but rather how clearly one conveys his or her thoughts and, through the process, educates others. That has always been my focus when I write. I suppose it came naturally and through lots of practice. Further, in the process of writing, I always ask others to read through sections of my manuscript to determine if it makes sense, etc.

haiden or hall of worship, Yasukuni war shrine Tokyo
Q: You’re a self-proclaimed Japanophile. How did that happen? 

A: I have always had a love for Asian culture (Japanese in particular). When I was small, I would always draw pictures of women wearing kimono. (My current artwork is still influenced by my love of Asian culture.) Later, I learned through genetic testing that I was 25% Asian, so I believe it was natural for me to be attracted to the culture. I have been traveling to Japan almost every year since 2007 and have approached each journey with wide-eyed enthusiasm. I look forward to exploring and learning from each visit. It is a natural hunger inside of me to discover all there is to discover and perhaps learn a little about myself in the process.

Q: What’s your next book about? 

A: Asia once again! This time I cast my net out beyond Japan and include China as well. The third book is also historical in nature and will explore the Western influence on Asian culture and its contribution to Asia's subsequent modernization. So, please stay tuned!

Arrigatou gozaimashita to Kristine. Check out her book by clicking here.

Meanwhile, here are the usual links to the War Brides of Japan documentary.


War Brides of Japan websites:

War Brides of Japan in the news:
DIFT 
NBC 

War Brides of Japan on Facebook:

War Brides of Japan on LinkedIn:

War Brides of Japan on Twitter:

War Brides of Japan on G+:

War Brides of Japan blogs:

A War Bride's artwork:
heARTworkByYuri

Until we meet again in September,  I remain…

Your Hip Hapa,
Yayoi


Wednesday, March 07, 2018

War Brides of Japan HEARTS Our Donors!

Aloha, Hip Hapa Homeez!

Although it seems that this Watermelon Sushi World blog has been hijacked by the War Brides of Japan documentary, neither one could happen without the other.

Before we could tell the story of two mixed-race sisters in our narrative film Watermelon Sushi, we first needed to explain how they came to be. So we reached back to tell their mother’s story in War Brides of Japan and, in our telling, discovered many other women like her—Japanese women who married American servicemen during the Occupation of post-WWII Japan.

To keep the momentum going until we complete post production of the documentary, we’d like to show off some of our donors. If you’re a donor and would like to see yourself here, please email us a photo.

Meanwhile, we offer our readers a peek at the beautiful people below without whom we could not be making this film.

By the way, we're still accepting donations at our Network for Good page.


And please check out our War Brides of Japan links following these photos.

Barbara Speares, right
Tess Gerould

Vera Zambonelli, Hawaiian Women in Filmmaking in Honolulu

Dale Head, left, in Wai'anae

writer Gil Asakawa, right, with his wife in Honolulu
realtor Paz Cateil in Kapolei
Ray Tabata, left, in Shinagawa
Naito family at T's vegan restaurant in Tokyo
artivist Lenore Chinn in her San Francisco studio
jewelry designer Janet Sorrentino in Kirkland

tekkie Eric Gould, right, in Pioneer Square Seattle

tekkie Kareem Hadee in Pike Place Market Seattle

Silvia Benton, left, at Peanut Sauce in Tacoma


War Brides of Japan websites:

War Brides of Japan in the news:
DIFT 
NBC 

War Brides of Japan on Facebook:

War Brides of Japan on LinkedIn:

War Brides of Japan on Twitter:

War Brides of Japan on G+:

War Brides of Japan blogs:

A War Bride's artwork:

Until June,  I will always be...

Your Hip Hapa,
Yayoi