How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Giant Robot, others join Japan quake relief efforts

Photo by misocrazy/Flickr (Creative Commons)

The Giant Robot store sign on Sawtelle Boulevard, September 2006

The Asian American pop culture emporium Giant Robot has added its name to a growing list of businesses and Japanese American groups in Los Angeles who are mounting efforts to raise money for earthquake relief in Japan.

The franchise, which owns galleries, a restaurant and shops in L.A. and San Francisco, has teamed up with UNICEF to raise funds via an art show at its GR2 store in West Los Angeles, which among other things sells Japanese toys, comic books, magazines and art.

The opening reception is Saturday night. The "Water Works" art show, planned prior to last Friday's devastating 9 magnitude quake in northeastern Japan, was to have promoted UNICEF’s mission to provide clean drinking water to children around the world. The event has now been re-engineered for quake and tsunami relief.

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In the news this morning: Arizona birthright bills rejected, Muslim woman kicked off flight, report on immigrant detention system, more

Arizona Senate Rejects 5 Bills On Immigration - New York Times The state senate has voted down the illegal immigration crackdown bills, among them two measures intended to force the U.S. Supreme Court to reconsider automatic citizenship for American-born children of undocumented immigrants.

Airline Apologizes To Muslim Woman Taken Off Flight - KGTV San Diego From the story: "Irum Abassi, a graduate student at San Diego State University and mother of three, was wearing an Islamic head scarf when she was told Sunday that she had to leave the plane because a flight attendant considered her 'suspicious.'"

Survey: Immigration having more negative than positive effect - Riverside Press-Enterprise A poll finds that about half of Californians don't believe immigration has had a major impact on the state's quality of life, but those whose personal finances are in bad shape tend to think so.

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Three great St. Patrick's Day tweets

Photo by st_gleam/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Whether you're wearing green today or not, you've likely been on Twitter, where people are posting St. Patrick's Day greetings, random thoughts, history tidbits, and far too many updates - which will only worsen through the night - on what they are eating or drinking.

And some funny little quips, too.

Here are two from L.A.:

Celebrate the Irish, Europe's Chicanos...
- from @ laloalcaraz

Today is like gringo Cinco de Mayo.
- from @ El_Danny_Trejo (who is "Not Danny Trejo")


And one from Chicago:
Yep. Stopped at the Mexican restaurant in my German neighborhood for St. Patrick's Day dinner.
- from @mrlwe

If the last guy had a green margarita instead of that nasty green beer, hats off to him.

Happy St. Patrick's Day.

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Multilingual Nikkei site posts quake related updates, much more

Photo by Sheep"R"Us/Flickr (Creative Commons)

A Japanese Buddhist temple in São Paolo, Brazil, December 2008

The term nikkei doesn't just refer to the Tokyo stock market index, but to Japanese immigrants and their descendants, the Japanese diaspora that has fanned out around the world as the result of migration. And there is a website in English, Japanese, Spanish and Portuguese - yes, Spanish and Portuguese - that has been keeping that diaspora abreast of post-earthquake developments in Japan, along with nikkei stories from around the world.

Discover Nikkei is a project of Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, intended to connect people of Japanese descent around the globe. In addition to its features, among them a piece on Japanese Cubans and photos of a Brazilian community in Japan, the site has been posting a regular stream of Twitter updates and retweets (in English) on its front page with news related to the quake aftermath and the response abroad, including relief efforts by Japanese American groups spanning the United States from California to Minnesota.

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St. Patrick’s Day L.A.-style: Taco specials in Bell, Irish whiskey in Koreatown

Photo by TK/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Yes, it's the Irish Nachos, that pinnacle of culinary fusion. A Guinness helps.

It's St. Patrick's Day, the religious feast day turned celebration of Irish culture that in the United States is, well, marketed to and celebrated by everybody. And in the Los Angeles area, it's celebrated in parts of town where Irish tradition isn't the first thing that comes to mind.

In Bell, the taqueria Tacos El Unico has posted green shamrock-studded coupons on its Facebook page for a "St. Patrick's Day Exclusive" special of street tacos and mini cheeseburgers.

In Boyle Heights (named for Irish immigrant and settler Andrew Boyle) the Chicano hipster bar Eastside Luv Wine Bar y QUEso is celebrating what it's calling “St. Pochi's Day,” a St. Patrick's Day party and a celebration of Eastside-bred pochismo rolled into one. “St. Pochi's is kind of tipping our hat to the Irish, and not so much being satirical but more of being a show of respect,” explained bartender Ed Castellon.

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