Thursday, September 30, 2021

All Around The World

 Aloha, Hip Hapa Homeez!

Your Hip Hapa
In case you didn’t know, September 21 was the ‘United Nations International Day of Peace’. In celebration of such a lovely thought, Your Hip Hapa created a music video featuring rapper One Sir Grove. Both of us used to co-host an internet show called ‘Sexy Voices of Hollywood’ and in the video, we pay homage to it.

The music video features a rap song celebrating the differences among us world citizens, from every background, from every culture, from every part of the planet. We all do live here together, after all.


Please enjoy 'All Around the World'!



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BoAIF64hP5o


And, please subscribe to our Youtube Watermelon Sushi channel if you like:


https://www.youtube.com/c/WatermelonSushi/featured


We also have our War Brides of Japan Youtube channel:


https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPemluw0stoTsx8yvz2tCrg/featured


Here at Starwheels Productions, we’re currently working on two films with a multi-cult perspective.


https://yourhiphapa.wixsite.com/starwheels


One is titled 'Native Vegan'. It’s a documentary about the Indigenous of North America who have been reportedly vegan before colonization. With thanks to VeganFlix for presenting us with a seed grant, we plan to release the film by summer of 2022. Right now, we’re creating a short, or Proof of Concept, so please stay tuned to our Youtube Watermelon Sushi channel for updates.


Our second project has been worked on for years now, but has taken a new route. This will be both a graphic novel and a documentary about a war bride who was also an artist. If you’ve had the chance to view the Vincent van Gogh immersive this year, then this is close to the style we hope to achieve in displaying her artwork.


cafe au lait avec fluer by Yuriko


bratty catty by Yuriko


For updates, please check out our Youtube War Brides of Japan channel as we will be posting shorts, or Proof of Concept videos, soon.

Meanwhile, we are back to our format of interviewing mixed-race community leaders as well as anyone who is in an interracial relationship, a transracial adoptee, or crosses cultures. If you fit any of those categories, please drop us a line:


yourhiphapa@me.com


Your Hip Hapa,


Yayoi








Wednesday, June 30, 2021

What Is Watermelon Sushi?

 Aloha, Hip Hapa Homeez!

Welcome back to Watermelon Sushi World. 

BTW, what does Watermelon Sushi mean anyway? I get asked that question a lot. 


Actually, Watermelon Sushi is the title of the film we began some 20 years ago in Los Angeles.


Watermelon, of course, is probably the most stereotyped food that's applied to black people in the U.S. And, sushi, to those of Japanese ancestry.


Over the years, many mixies began using different foods served in their households to describe their experiences of being multi-cultural. But when we first began referring to Watermelon Sushi in 1998, a lot of folks thought we were funny and strange.


In the Watermelon Sushi script, the mother is a Japanese national and the father, African American.

When we began the film in 1998, hardly anyone outside of California (and Japan) even knew what sushi was.


But in our family, it was common to have both foods on the table, especially during summers when we loved munching on ice cold watermelon after finishing a meal of norimaki and inarizushi.


In Japan, the word for watermelon is suica, which is also the name of their rail pass. Why, we're not sure.


So, yes, Watermelon Sushi is loosely based on my life as a Japanese and black female.

While we were unable to finish the film, over the years I’ve received so many messages from fans all around the world urging us to complete this important work about the mixed-race experience. Your wishes are at my command!


Finally, we are at the point in independent filmmaking where movies can be made without having to raise huge budgets through outside investors. So, watch for us in the next few months as we launch some innovative and creative ways to finance Watermelon Sushi. There will be non-donor based investment opportunities for everyone!






























Please be patient as we update our websites and revamp our line of Hapa*Teez t-shirts throughout this summer.





We've also begun adding our numerous film festival awards from two other projects to some of our social media sites:

War Brides of Japan, a docu*memory (5-part series)


and


Chickens Playing Chicken (1-minute animated short)


Because this is a quarterly blog, you’ll likely find the latest info about Watermelon Sushi at the following links, especially once they’ve been updated:


Watermelon Sushi website


Watermelon Sushi on Facebook


Watermelon Sushi on Twitter


Hapa*Teez on Facebook


Lena Starwheels website


Until we meet again on September 30, I am happy to be




Your Hip Hapa,


Yayoi

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Mixed Messages

Aloha, Hip Hapa Homeez
 
Sarah with her son Malcolm

Lucky us, we’re back to interviewing intriguing Hip Hapa Homeez. In this blog post, we’re featuring the fabulous Sarah Doneghy who hosts her own shows discussing the plight of us multi-cultis. 

You can watch her “Mixed Messages Show” at: https://youtu.be/pbQwx_I-WX8

Sarah also has her “Mixed Nut One Person Show” at: https://youtu.be/AhZBMyMxLKo 











Q: Sarah, please discuss your parents’ backgrounds and how they met. 

A: My Dad is black, my Mom is white. My Dad is American, my Mom is English. My Dad is Muslim, my Mom is Catholic. They met when my Dad was traveling around the world on his bicycle. The people he was staying with in Germany knew a place he could stay in England. One of the people living at that place in England was my Mom. That’s how they met.   

Sarah's mum
Sarah's dad



Q: What was it like growing up in West Virginia? 

A: A few months ago I looked up, “Most racist state in America”. The answer was, “West Virginia”. Growing up, there weren’t very many black families, and we were the only mixed-race family. There was a lot of racism. 

The first time I was called the n-word I was seven. I got bullied in school a lot. I remember when I was a teenager being kicked out of people’s houses because I was black or, “colored” or, of course, the n-word. Then there were friends who would ask me to lie to their parents and tell them I was Native American or “anything but black”. 

My first One Person Show, “Mixed Nut” was a coming-of-identity story. I talked a lot about what growing up in West Virginia was like in that.   

Q: Do you think mixed-race issues are any different now, 54 years after Loving v. Virginia? 

A: That’s what I’m trying to discover. My Dad grew up in segregation in West Virginia. He was the first black student to attend a desegregated school there. The stories he’s told me about the racism he’s received are absolutely horrible and heartbreaking. I don’t know how he survived it. 

The racism I experienced growing up is definitely different than what he did. I think one of the issues that has changed is that people have more freedom in how they choose to identify. There’s more language now for people who are more than one race. They don’t have to choose one race and they also can.   

It’s hard to know what is meant by “mixed-race issues”. There are so many mixes of so many different races. I’m not sure if there are mixed-race issues as a whole. I think racism, at least in America, is a big commonality when it comes to what we’ve experienced. But again, that’s what I want to find out.   

I don’t know how this issue has changed, but I think every mixed-race person has a coming-of-identity story. They see that their families look different from them and different from each other depending on the situation. There’s always the “Where do I fit in” journey. I think we all have had to ask, “What are you?” of ourselves.   

Q: Since you’re both black and white, but ethnically ambiguous, what are the most shocking things you’ve heard either race group say about the opposite? 

A: I dealt with so much racism early in life that I’ve never really been shocked by what people have said not knowing that I’m mixed-race. I’ve been more shocked by what people have said around me even though they do know I’m black mixed. 

Something happened a few years ago that I am still angry about and hurt over. It was the day of the eclipse and I was hanging out with two white friends—a guy and a girl. These are people I had known for a while. The girl was complaining about a kid she worked with and then called him a “n*gger”. “What?!” I was stunned. I really couldn’t believe what I had heard and then she doubled down. Yeah. That was indeed what she said. I went off on her. “How could you say that? What is wrong with you? You know I’m black!” 

Meanwhile, the guy didn’t say anything. He stayed completely silent. When I confronted him about his silence he said, “She made a mistake. That’s all.” That right there shocked the hell out of me. He got mad at me when I called her a racist. I was the one that was overreacting. I had offended him. And these are people saying, “Black Lives Matter” and “F*ck Trump”. They don’t even see their hypocrisy—their racism—and don’t want to. I haven’t spoken to either of them since.   

Q: Why did you create your show, Mixed Messages, and what do you hope to accomplish with it?   

A: I made this show first and foremost for us. I wanted to create a space for us to have these discussions. These are conversations that need to be had and stories that need to be told. I think it’s important for people to know about mixed-race experiences. People need to hear from us and we need to hear from each other. There are so many similarities as well as so many differences. I am really interested in people’s stories. I’ve learned so much already. 

Sarah with her sister
Sarah with her brother




















In the first episode, Marcus talks about how his mom is racist. I didn’t know how common that was in mixed-race families until people wrote me saying how much they related to that. I’m privileged in that I never had to deal with that in my family. Marcus facing racism in his home was one of the things a lot of viewers couldn’t believe and, sadly, so many could. 

Sarah with her brother
I’m really excited to meet new people and hear different narratives. There’s something about getting together with someone and knowing that you don’t have to explain things. We already know. We’ve all been on a racial identity journey. And it’s often one we continue to travel. That’s unique to us. Every mixed-race person has the racial identity discovery story. I think it’s fascinating and fantastic. I want to hear as many of these as possible.   

If you are interested in being a guest on Mixed Messages, or have a topic you’d like to see discussed, please email Sarah at: mixedmessagestheshow@gmail.com 

And, don’t forget to watch: 

Mixed Messages Show: https://youtu.be/pbQwx_I-WX8 

Mixed Nut One Person Show: https://youtu.be/AhZBMyMxLKo 

Meanwhile, Hip Hapa Homeez, we’ve been struggling to keep our websites updated. As you may know, our “War Brides of Japan, a docu*memory” 5-part series is currently on hiatus. But there are numerous trailers and interviews you can watch on Vimeo and Youtube. 

Here are our top performing websites: 

Until June 30, I am very much 



Your Hip Hapa, 

Yayoi

Thursday, December 31, 2020

New World Vibes: Mixies Everywhere!

Aloha, Hip Hapa Homeez!

watermelon
It seems like mixed-race people are much more prominent these days with so many from our community thrust into the spotlight.

Besides tennis player Naomi Osaka, who is Japanese Haitian American, there are new mixed-race families being created—like (another) tennis player Serena Williams and her husband German Armenian American Alexis Ohanian producing their daughter, Olympia.


There’s even a mixed-race marriage within England’s royal family—Meghan Markle and Prince Harry.


And, so on. Maybe, just maybe, we’ll get to the point where no one will care who anyone else marries and/or has children with.


watermelon sushi

Hopefully, this new world vibe will lead us towards getting our film “Watermelon Sushi” onto the movie screen. In any case, we’re planning to fundraise for it in 2021.


Meanwhile, we’re also working on an (as yet) untitled "docu*memory" about Japanese war bride and artist Yuriko, as well as a graphic novel about her life. Here’s Yuriko’s website along with her quarterly blog.


iam aristyuriko


heartwork by yuriko


For more about “Watermelon Sushi”, check us out at:


www.watermelonsushi.com


https://www.facebook.com/watermelonsushi/


https://twitter.com/watermelonsushi


https://vimeo.com/watermelonsushi/videos


https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSuiAGml-IAM5lQjaEmk-lQ


https://www.pinterest.


And, please send us cards and letters to let us know how you’re doing in 2021!


Akemashite Omedettou Gozaimasu and Hau’okli Makahiki Hou!

















See you on March 31.


Your Hip Hapa,


Yayoi


Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Now Serving: Watermelon Sushi

Aloha, Hip Hapa Homeez!

What could be more delectable than a serving of tart sushi rice topped with sweet flavorful watermelon? Yes, we know! You’ve been waiting decades to view this film full of family drama, art, hip hop, Japanese culture, rap music, and more.



And, it’s coming!










Now that we’ve completed our 5-part “War Brides of Japan, a docu*memory” series, we’re ready to move forward (actually backward for retrieving) this tale that everyone can relate to. After all, who doesn’t have a dysfunctional family?


Please check us out at these links:


www.watermelonsushi.com


https://www.facebook.com/watermelonsushi/


https://twitter.com/watermelonsushi


https://vimeo.com/watermelonsushi/videos


https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSuiAGml-IAM5lQjaEmk-lQ


https://www.pinterest.






We hope that this year’s end will bring the best news yet for our long-time fans.


Until December 31, I will always be…


Your Hip Hapa,




Yayoi

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Watermelon Sushi: In The Mix

Aloha, Hip Hapa Homeez!

Your Hip Hapa
Here’s wishing you and your loved ones the best in health and circumstances during these turbulent times.

If you’d like to participate in discussions about today’s world's state of race, please join us on Facebook at Hip Hapa Homeez. We began this group in 2008 as a way of sharing our thoughts about being multiracial, multicultural, interracially adopted, culture crossing, and more.

These days we’re more focused on the subject of racism as it grows more pervasive.

The good news is that the 5-part award-winning ‘War Brides of Japan, a docu*memory’ can still be viewed on Vimeo.

Here are the 5 links:


A shout-out to our donors can be viewed on our website: (Scroll down to ‘our Donors’)


'Flamingo Eats Sushi' by b.r. Winfrey
Our trailer titled, ‘The Chase’, is a winner at several film festivals:


Soon, we’ll update our winning film festival laurels on our Screenings page:


'Flamingos Fiend for Sushi' by b.r. Winfrey
Please follow our Facebook pages for the latest:


And, check out our interview with host Janice Malone of Film Festival Radio:


 a watermelon shopping bag becomes 'Watermelon Sushi, The Movie'
by b.r. Winfrey
Now, we’re finally circling back to Watermelon Sushi, the narrative. We’ll soon be announcing our fundraising campaign to get this movie made.

Meanwhile, artist b.r. Winfrey has been busy creating items to accompany the film. There are several scattered across this blog.

When we meet again on September 30, I hope you’ll be happily multi-culti. Stay safe!

Your Hip Hapa,



Yayoi


Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Alexa Kang: What’s Write in the World

Aloha, Hip Hapa Homeez.


A lot of crazy things have been happening in our topsy-turvy world lately. But one thing that remains constant is this blog and the amazing folks we interview here. 

amazing author Alexa Kang
Meet author Alexa Kang and see for yourself:

Q: Alexa, what is your background? Where were you born, raised, and how did you grow up?

A: I am a WWII historical writer from Boston. I’m Chinese-American, born in Hong Kong and grew up mainly on the East Coast. Before I repatriated back to the USA three years ago, I lived and worked for ten years in Asia, and traveled to many parts of the world. My travel experience, and experience living overseas, has helped me greatly in writing stories set in countries where the war took place.

Q: When did you realize you wanted to write?

A: I never aspired to write. This all started because of the Japanese manga “Candy Candy”. I grew up reading the “Candy Candy” manga and watching the “Candy Candy” anime, which was shown around the world in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s (except in English-speaking countries) and was super popular. The story “Candy Candy” was written by Japanese writer/poet Keiko Nagita (a/k/a Kyoko Mizuki). The manga and anime had ceased publication and broadcast in the 1980’s. But due to its popularity, “Candy Candy” gained a very dedicated global following of fans, especially in Latin American countries, but also in France, Italy, Spain, some European countries, and many East Asian countries. Many fans who are now adults have connected together since the emergence of the internet. I’m one of them. 

The problem with “Candy Candy” is that the main protagonist, Candy White, was separated from what many fans believed to be her one true love, Terry. Their separation traumatized many of us for thirty years. A lot of fans kept writing fanfics to try to fanfix this problem.

Then came the good news in 2010, when Keiko Nagita published “Candy Candy Final Story” (“CCFS”), an updated version of the story “Candy Candy” in a two-volume novel format with a lot of new information not previously told in the manga, anime, and earlier novels. In “CCFS”, Nagita wrote that Candy White was now a woman in her thirties, living with her husband, whom she referred to as “Anohito”, without naming the identity of Anohito. After analyzing all the new details in “CCFS”, many fans concluded Anohito is Terry, and Candy finally reunited with him. I believe the same. But because “CCFS” did not tell how Candy united with her Anohito (i.e., Terry), I wrote a fanfic that told the story how she and Terry got back together. The story was just bursting in my head and I had to write it down. I shared it with other “Candy Candy” fans online. My fanfic was very well received, and it was subsequently fan-translated into French, Italian, and Spanish. 

I suppose the time when I felt an unstoppable need to provide an answer to Candy and Terry’s reunion was when I realized I wanted to write. But at that time, I only wanted to write their story. I still didn’t mean to ever become a writer.


Q: How did you segue into writing novels about WWII?

A: Initially, I had no aspirations to write books about WWII at all. After my “Candy Candy” fanfic, I was besieged with an urge to write a love story between the children of some of the “Candy Candy” characters. These children are entirely my own imaginary construct, and did not appear in any way in the canon. 

The problem here was that “CCFS” ended in the mid-1920’s. That meant the story of these next-generation characters landed smack in the middle of the war! So if I were to write this next generation story, I would have to write a full-on WWII historical fiction. It was a very daunting goal at the time, as I didn’t really know much about WWII except what I learned from history classes in high school and college.

But these characters came alive in my head, and they wouldn’t let me rest in peace until I told their stories and put their stories into words. So I had no choice but to go ahead. Their story became the “Rose of Anzio”, an epic four-book series. When I began, I wrote it as a fanfic. Each week, I would write a new chapter and share it online with “Candy Candy” fans. They loved this new story and gave me a lot of support. We had a lot of fun like that for more than a year. When I came to the end of this long series, I realized I could share it with a wider audience. From that point forward, I began working with publishing professionals to turn the series into a polished set that would appeal to readers beyond the “Candy Candy” fandom.

A welcomed surprise from this experience was that I learned so much about WWII from doing research for “Rose of Anzio”. Thereafter, I continued writing WWII novels, and I try to bring something different to the genre through my books.

Q: Your stories often feature cross-cultural characters. Is that an important element of your writing, or in your own personal life?

A: I think writing cross-cultural characters is inevitable when writing WWII historical fiction, because WWII was a global war. Back then, most people never traveled far from their homes either. The war created a situation where massive numbers of men were transported to countries and continents where they otherwise would never have been. So I would say it is an important element of my writing as a matter of fact.

What is my personal choice though, is my recent venture into writing WWII novels set in Asia. WWII novels about the Pacific front is rare. I think my Asian language skills and personal experience of Asian cultures give me a unique ability to bring to readers stories that can offer them a more authentic experience of WWII Asia.

Also, from my observations, multicultural characters are now much more accepted and even welcomed in entertainment media. In my last series “Shanghai Story”, I wanted to see how an interracial romance between an Asian man and a Caucasian (Jewish) woman would strike my readers. I was very wary when this series debuted, but it turned out to be a great success. There seems to be a hunger on the readers’ part to want to read more about what happened in Asia during WWII, and the interracial romance was well-received, too.

Q: As a novelist, where do you see yourself in the next few years?

A: It’s hard to say. For me, writing is a creative process that happens only when characters come alive in my head. I do have ideas of subject matters that I want to write about, but I can’t force it. It’ll all depend on whether the new characters wish their stories to be told. I hope they’ll come and find me.

My website page for "Candy Candy" fans: https://alexakang.com/home/candy-candy-fans/
My author page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/roseofanzio/

Wow, Hip Hapa Homez. You have to admit Alexa Kang is pretty amazing!

Hey, don’t forget our 5-part film series, ‘War Brides of Japan, a docu*memory’ is available for rent on Vimeo.


Here are the links to each one of the five films:


And a MWAH! to all our donors listed at our website:
(Scroll down to ‘our Donors’)


Please note that our trailer titled, ‘The Chase’, has won several film festival awards:


And, as soon as we can, we’ll add the latest winning film festival laurels to our Screenings page:


To stay updated, follow our Facebook pages:


Until June 30 and our next post, we wish you lots of lovely reading and film viewing while you’re inside sheltering from this crazy, topsy-turvy world.

Your Hip Hapa,


Yayoi