Saturday, December 13, 2014

Don't Allow Rape of These Women Again

Yumiko Yamamoto is President of a group calling itself, “Japanese Women for Peace and Justice." It is anything but that. This group is more interested in denying past history, specifically the 200,000 plus Asian and European women who the Japanese conscripted as sex slaves. They—as well as the current Abe government-- say this sex slavery never happened, and Yamamoto is travelling to the Bay area and Los Angeles as a part of a larger effort to “put an end to the lie.”
As co-author of Blossoms and Bayonets—the story of the Japanese occupation of Korea during WWII—I spent several years researching this topic. These women don’t’ deserve to be raped yet again by having Yamamoto and the Abe Government revise history.
Yamamoto will hold a press conference. A protest will follow. If you are able please show up:
Saturday Dec 13, 2014
Press Conference 5:00 PM
Protest 5:30-7pm
Redwood City Community Center
1400 Roosevelt Ave. Redwood City, CA 94061

Friday, October 31, 2014

Some November Events

Mark your calendars. Dr. George Koo will join us on November 23rd at St. Jude's in Cupertino, 6:15 to discuss how President Obama can leave a lasting legacy by engaging with China. On either side of his fascinating talk, here are some other interesting events around town:

The Him Mark Lai Learning Center is proud to host the book launch of the second edition of "ISLAND: Poetry and History of Chinese Immigrants on Angel Island" at the Chinese Culture Center, 750 Kearny Street on November 22 from 1PM to 4PM. 
Historian and professor emerita Judy Yung and poet and playwright Genny Lim will introduce poems that written by Chinese detainees on the walls of the Angel Island Immigration Station. 
Him Mark Lai, also known as "The People's Historian," was a contributor to this important book! 
You will get a 20% discount on the book at this event!

Event Co-Sponsor: Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation and the Chinese Historical Society of America. 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Friendship Gathering in Vancouver Nov 14-17

Our Western Region of USCPFA (specifically, the Honolulu chapter) are for the first time collaborating with Canadian China Friendship Association to hold a conference in Vancouver.  The theme of the gathering is called, “getting to know you” and will not only include experts from UBC as well as authors and artisans, but will give you a glimpse of the city—Sun Yat Sen Garden, Stanley Park, Olympic Village, as well as some of the best Chinese food outside of China. So don’t miss this chance. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Magical Evening with Master Mak Ming Chan

On October 19, members, friends, neighbors and colleagues gathered to welcome artist and calligrapher, Master Mak Ming Chan. Master Chan was born into a scholar's family in Guangdong province, and studied calligraphy from a young age under Grand Master Mai Hua San. He moved to Hong Kong in the 70s, where he won many prizes for his art work and became renowned in his own right. Today, his art is appreciated all over the world, from the home of Taiwan President Jeou to the Museum of Art in Hong Kong to the new Chinatown campus in San Francisco. Each of us may have unknowingly had his art in our home, as he designed the stamp for the US Postal Service for the Year of the Snake in 2001.

Master Chan, along with member Michelle Wong as his capable translator, showed us the evolution of Chinese characters through the ages—from the curvy pictorial designs 3000 years ago to the more box shaped words created in the Han and Tang dynasties to the simplified characters marched in with the People’s Liberation Army in 1949.

He wrote examples of each style, demonstrating the importance of holding the brush (three fingers, vertical), the importance of the first stroke (the dot from which the stroke emerges), the necessity of moving with the writing. The fluidity with which he worked was like art in motion. As resident retired architect Billy Lee pointed out, “He doesn't seem to watch, yet the spacing between the characters is perfect.”

Master Chan with Happy Winner George Chadwick
(all photos courtesy of Billy Lee)

Master Chan graciously donated a piece of art to one lucky winner—member George Chadwick. People also asked to have special pieces done for them. If you missed the chance to do so—and would like a wonderful art piece for your home—you can find Master Chan at 3028 Taraval Street, San Francisco. Tel: 415-682-7637. (

Friday, September 26, 2014

Chinese Calligraphy Demonstration & Workshop, Talk by Mak Ming Chan

October Events

October 19th, 3:30PM, Bluelight Cinema, Cupertino:
Member Shirley Kinoshita informed us of the upcoming showing of TONGUES OF HEAVEN (60mins) which focuses on the questions, desires and challenges of young indigenous people to learn their mother tongue. Using digital video, four young indigenous women collaborate and exchange ideas about the impact of language on identity and culture. With 96% of the world speaking only % of the world's languages, what does it mean to speak your mother tongue? What do you lose when you lose your native language? These are just some of the questions these women explore.

Also on the 19th, join us for our monthly potluck! (Details to follow)

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Zheng Brings Us Art and Inspiration

photos courtesy of Dia Zheng
Artist Michael Zheng spoke with our group at our September gathering. Originally from a small village in Fujian Province, he studied computer science at Tsinghua University and came to the U.S. for his masters degree at Marquette University. Before he’d even graduated, he was hired by Cisco. By his family and the village’s standards, he had made it. But he felt unfulfilled. When he was accepted to San Francisco Art Institute, he up and quit Cisco. He said it took him three months to tell his family—well, his older brother—and the reaction was as expected. “You idiot. What are you thinking?” He, however, continued to move forward (going back was not even an option.) His first attempt at painting in class—he was a novice never having received any kind of formal instruction—was met by an outsider wanting to pay 100 dollars for his piece. His professors mentored him, pushing him to where they believed he needed to be—a new genre of art called Performance Art.  Some of Zheng’s initial performances were linked to the clash of east versus west.  He did a piece on Personal Space, where he intentionally invaded people’s space to witness their reactions (from inclusion to anger). He did a piece on Public Display of Affection where he kissed and groped a woman in the lobby of MOMA for six hours. He did a piece on smiling—“only westerners smile so much”—coloring his teeth like a rainbow. “There is so much power in art,” Zheng said.  Zheng’s courage to follow his heart—wherever that takes him—was inspirational. (And the family not only eventually understood, but have become his greatest advocates.)

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Long Overdue Dedication to Fishing Village

On September 20, one of our past speakers, Activist and Historian Gerry Low-Sabado saw a  dream come true when the city of Pacific Grove unveiled  a stone commemorating the area as a former fishing village. Low-Sabado is a fifth generation descendant of the village, her great great grandparents having lived and fished the area from 1853 These villagers launched commercial fishing in the area and began the tradition of squid fishing. They helped grow the area into what it is today. But in 1906 the Chinese town was mysteriously burned, and the history forgotten until Gerry Low-Sabado came on the scene. Through her tireless efforts and persistence, as well as help from the local museums,  the village will now be fully recognized.  .  Dozens gathered, including Congressman Sam Farr, Mayor Bill Kamp,  and Assemblyman Mark Stone . Said Congressman Farr, “The Monterey Peninsula celebrates so much about how California began. It’s long overdue that we celebrate the richness that the Chinese brought to the area.” 

Friday, August 29, 2014

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Share Your Encounters--Deadline September 15

The Editor of US-China Review is putting together a fun winter issue and asks for your input.
See below:

Dear fellow USCPFA Members:
The theme for the Winter issue of US-China Review will be: Close Encounters of All Kinds. I am seeking brief stories from Americans about their encounters in China, and from Chinese on their encounters in the U.S. I also accept articles from non-members.
The stories can be humorous, poignant, informative, etc. They can show the joys or frustrations of learning about the other country. I would like to receive stories of various lengths. In some cases, just a few paragraphs would be enough. Ideally, the stories will also involve various time periods (some from when China first opened up, some from recent years), various parts of
China and various situations (teaching English, taking a bike trip, making funny mistakes while trying to speak Chinese, etc.).
If possible, please email photos to go with the stories. If you are pressed for time, I can fine-tune any submissions, but please send them as soon as possible – and no later than Sept. 15.

Mike Revzin

Monday, August 25, 2014

Photos from Chinese Cuisine Night

Jackson, Michelle and Jacqueline Wong Prepared A Feast

Author William Poy Lee Shared Insights on China

Fun Places to Eat

Last night we had our first Chinese Cuisine Night, thanks to members Jackson, Michelle and Jacqueline Wong who cooked dishes from east, west, north and south and served it up at member Teresa O'Neil's home. As we all sat around discussing delicious food, we made a group list of some of our favorites. Enjoy the list:
Fun Places to Eat Suggested by USCPFA Members

Shangri-La (fast food): Blossom Hill Rd, Los Gatos`
Tao Tao: 175 S. Murphy, Sunnyvale
Little Shanghai (Dim Sum): 17 E 25th Ave, San Mateo
China Stix: 2110 El Camino Road, Santa Clara
Hung Fu: 20588 Steven’s Creek Blvd., Cupertino
Chief Chu’s: 1067 N. San Antonio Road, Los Altos
Jing Jing Szechwan and Hunan: 443 Emerson Street, Palo Alto
Dynasty: 1001 Story Street, San Jose
Union Chinese Restaurant: 2615 Union Avenue, San Jose
Mimi’s Kitchen: 5278 Monterey Highway, San Jose
Yank Sing: 101 Spear Street, San Francisco
Tsing’s: 361 W. Portal, San Francisco

Do you have a favorite? Please share.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

A Kung Fu Night

On May 4th 20 young performers from Fremont’s Legend Kung Fu Academy demonstrated traditional Wushu, from the Longfist to the Southern Broadsword to the Drunken Fist to the Eagle. The performers, ranging in age from six to twenty jumped, twirled, flipped and split, making us feel as though we were on the set of Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Member John Marienthal Writes From Shanghai

John Marienthal writes from Shanghai:
Hello from the second biggest city in world--now 24 million people—where I am doing some volunteer lecturing.  The weather has just broken 70 degrees here. 
I recently went to Zhejiang, to visit a family I know in Wuyi county.  It is something I’ve done almost every year for the past ten years, and is a real joy. I have watched their children grow up. I sit down with them at a meal and become "invisible" no fretting or fawning over the wai guo ren (foreigner).  I am treated as just part of the family.  
Wuyi Xian (county) is located halfway between Hangzhou and Wenzhou (the shoe capital of China).  The town's claim to fame is a 700-year-old wooden bridge that crosses a river in the middle of the town.  The landscape is like Guilin only prettier because they get rain year round.  There are karst-like hills, volcanic lava flows, mountains to 2000 to 3000 feet.  In some ways many of the things that you can see in Wuyi mirror positive things for China's future. 
When I first went to Wuyi County in 2002 it had about 35000 people and six taxis.  Now it has 50,000 people and they are even building  a Walmart. They still have the KFC there from ten years ago,  but still no McDonald's or Starbucks. In 2002 it was a farming center. Now, like many other small Chinese cities, it is a specialized industrial center. The town is the hub for the steel door, safety door and security door capital of China.  High growth has forced up housing prices. In 2002 prices were about 1000 rmb per square meter. Now they are reaching 12000 rmb per sq. meter. 
I sat in on a ninth-grade English class. As part of their lesson they read a passage about credit cards, ATM's, and a cashless future via virtual money online.  In 2002 all those things would have seemed like science fiction. Yet today ALL three are now available in Wuyi. 
It used to take seven hours on the slow train to reach this town. Now it takes 1 1/2 hours to get to nearby Jinhua by fast train. The high speed train to Jinhua can travel at 175 miles per hour, but because of the 2011 accident on this same track it is restricted to 130 mph.
There are high speed rail connections to most of the highly-populated cities in eastern China . There is even a new connection that runs between Hong Kong/Canton  to Beijing. Here in Shanghai the trains are formidable competition to airplane travel to Beijing. You can get on the fastest train and go from the subway in  Shanghai  to downtown Beijing in five hours. No long airport security lines, waiting for baggage, trying to find transport at the other end.
I hope to do more traveling while I am here.   
Good health to you all,


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Upcoming Brush Painting Demonstration

Shirley Lin Kinoshita will be demonstrating sumi-e (Japanese ink painting) Sat. April 26th ,10 am-4 pm at the Annual Cupertino Cherry Blossom Festival at Quinlan Community Center. The Festival is free and open to the public. Parking is available at Quinlan lot or DeAnza college.

Re-Cap of April Meeting with Artist Shirley Lin Kinoshita

According to artist Shirley Lin Kinoshita, Chinese Ink Painting is not only the oldest art form in the world, dating back 2-4,000 years, but is one of the highest art forms in China. Despite this, she joked, no Asian parent wants his/her child to be an artist. “Study to be a doctor. Or lawyer!”
Kinoshita studied library science on full scholarship at UC Berkeley. For years she was a full-time Medical Library Manager at Santa Clara Valley Health and Hospital. It was only when she cut back on her hours as she neared retirement that she decided to explore something different. A Chinese brush painting class was on offer, so she gave that a try. She was immediately hooked, not only painting for profit but also teaching others the form.
Ink Painting consists of Four Treasures:
Ink (pine soot mixed with glue molded into sticks),
Brush (made with animal hair and invented around 250B.C),
and paper (invented by Chinese court official Ts’ai Lun around 105AD).
There are also Six Canons of Chinese painting that every student learns, rules that were created in 500AD by the painter Hsieh Ho.
1.      Chi’I sheng-tung: Create spirit/life/vitality in art
2.      Ku-fa Yung-Pi: Use the brush to create structure
3.      Ying-wu hsiang-hsing: Draw its likeness
4.      Sui-lei fu-ts’ai: Apply color in accordance with nature ( purple sunflowers)
5.      Ching-ying wei-chi: Plan the design with each element in its proper place
6.      Ch’uan-I mo-hseih: Study by copying the old masters
Of these six rules, Kinoshita said, the first—qi/spirit-- is the most important. In fact, “Asian brush painting is more spiritual than physical. It is believed that the best painters are pure of spirit.” Underlying the philosophy of ink painting is the unifying pattern of life in all its natural forms. She pointed out, “Man is a humble, insignificant part in this scheme.”

Kinoshita held up paintings she had done of bunnies representing life, and a rooster, hen and chicks representing family, and three goldfish representing abundant wealth. She explained that there were four plants most typically depicted, also known as “the four gentlemen.” 

She drew each one of the Four Gentlemen for us:
Bamboo (representing strength and resilience.),
Chrysanthemum (representing fidelity and friendship),
Plum Blossoms (representing endurance)
and the Orchid (representing humility.).  
As she said, “Chinese painting is much more than meets the eye. The composition can easily be read, but unless its inner and symbolic meanings are recognized, the whole painting will only be partially enjoyed.”
While Kinoshita still paints, it is mostly for herself and to teach her grandchildren. These days her days are filled as President of the Silicon Valley United Nations Association. However, for those interested in pursuing their artistic side, Kinoshita recommended two artists in the area. Ming Lee at the Cupertino Senior Center and Judy Chu at the Sunnyvale Community Center.

(Photos courtesy of Billy Lee)

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Acupuncturists Needled By Language Issues in British Columbia

An old buddy of mine from Japan days is a doctor of Chinese Medicine in British Columbia. In fact, Dr. Louise Demorest helped pave the way for the profession to be recognized. Back when she started 15 years ago, she said that the therapy was viewed about on par with Voodoo. Today, apparently over one in ten residents seek out acupuncture therapy for a range of needs--from curing a sore knee to help with fertility issues. One would think that all is smooth sailing.
"Not so," said Dr. Demorest in a recent interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Company.
Up until now doctors have been able to study and take licensing exams in Chinese. Now the argument is that since the official languages of the country are English/French, the tests should be taken in English. The downside is that there are some amazing practitioners who do not speak English well enough to pass a test. The upside is, well, is there really one? What do you think?

Friday, April 4, 2014

Early USCPFA Member--John Marienthal--Looks Back

A young woman reporter at a recent National Convention asked how I became interested in China. Two things about China captured my interest. I had recently finished a degree in geography during which. China, being the biggest developing country in the world, was a major topic. How developing countries were to solve their problems was of interest to me.

Additionally, after spending a year and a half in the Air Force in the Philippines (’64-’66), I became interested in the Vietnam anti-war movement. While in the Philippines, I had observed SEA Countries and China first hand, and I knew none of these countries was strong enough to storm the beaches of Santa Monica and Los Angeles Calif. I knew we were wrong to be in Vietnam.

I did some reading, and visited China Books and Periodicals. (Later, in 1975 I worked for China Books) I was intrigued that while China was a Socialist country, some of their ideas might benefit the U.S. So, when in Sept of 1971, a friend approached me about forming a China Peoples Friendship Assn, I was only too willing.

In December of 1971, we had a small meeting of local activists. (We were lucky to have Grace and Manny Granich who had just returned from a visit to China in 1970. They had also been involved in running an anti-Japanese newspaper in Shanghai from 1935-1937. They left just before the Japanese occupied the International Settlement. Just before the Japanese warrant for their arrest.) We discussed reasons we should form a group to build friendship with China. We decided we wanted to have a public program before Nixon went to China. Thus began the Southbay Chapter, one of the first five in the country.

The SF chapter, which was the first chapter in America, started about the same time. In 1972 a chapter was started in Palo Alto. Within a year, Jack Edelman and others started a chapter in Marin County (North Bay).In 1974 we formed a chapter in Santa Cruz.

Chapters began popping up all over California and the west. There was a professor and some interested students in Fresno—a chapter was born. There were some people who had been involved in United Nations Assn. work in Sacramento—a chapter was born. Groups formed in Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles, Orange County, West Los Angeles, Long Beach, and San Diego.In 1972 Frank Pestana and others formed a regional network. From the west coast, USCPFA blossomed all over. Yoji Ariyoshi and family helped form a Hawaiian chapter. Chapters were formed in the Midwest and the East coast.

In those days, chapters showed Chinese films and foreign documentaries (i.e. Dr. Joshua Horn film) to add to the small number of speakers we could find. The number of people who had been to China was still very small. In 1973 that changed. Youxie offered each of the three areas of our national organization a six person leadership tour to China. That not only helped organize our group into three areas (west, east, Midwest) but was the beginning of many trips to China.

In 1974 Youxie offered a limited number of visas to tour groups. Potential travelers underwent interviews and had to promise to do outreach programs upon their return. As the visas were limited, couples were not allowed. As part of the newly-formed Western region, I went with this first commercial group of 30 from Hong Kong to Beijing and back.

As part of my outreach, In 1975 I moved to Chicago and worked for China Books, I became the Vice President of the Chicago chapter, and served on the Midwest region steering committee. In 1981 I returned to S.F., and returned to S.J. in 1984. I married Dianne Schloeder who became the San Jose chapter president. Dianne, Ann and Andie Sermersheim, and I did the newsletter together for many years. I also was on the Western Region board.

In 1986 I went to teach in Shihezi, Xinjiang for a year. After a year’s hiatus, I returned to live and work in Shanghai for six years. In 2004 I returned to America and again became active in the Western region board. Still, China tugged for me to return. I continued to visit almost every year, teaching English wherever I found myself.  In 2012 I worked as a volunteer in Yunnan.

Now I’m back in Shanghai volunteering to do teacher training in the Putuo district in Shanghai. Since the mid-60’s, when I became curious about this giant country, I’ve been lucky enough to visit every province except Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region. Maybe I’ll get there this year.

5/17, Saturday, The Walk of Remembrance: Celebrating Pacific Grove's Chinese Village & Pioneering Fishing Community