A really good reason why Asians never wear shoes in the house

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Next Shark:

Individuals who have ever stepped foot inside an Asian household probably know that shoes are not allowed.

Shoes are typically removed before entering homes for hygienic reasons — the amount of dirt and bacteria found on them are shockingly disgusting.

Approximately 421,000 different types of bacteria can be found on shoes, according to a 2008 study by the University of Arizona. Of the shoes examined in the study, 96% of them were found to have coliforms, a bacterial indicator of the level of sanitation of foods and water that is also universally found in feces of humans and warm-blooded animals.

In addition, 27% of the shoes were found to have E. coli along with seven different kinds of bacterias. Among them are Klebsiella pneumoniae, a bacteria that causes urinary tract infections, and Serratia ficaria, a bacteria that causes respiratory infections.

Study author Charles Gerba, a microbiologist at the University of Arizona, explained:

“The common occurrence (96%) of coliform and E. coli bacteria on the outside of the shoes indicates frequent contact with fecal material, which most likely originates from floors in public restrooms or contact with animal fecal material outdoors. Our study also indicated that bacteria can be tracked by shoes over a long distance into your home or personal space after the shoes were contaminated with bacteria.”

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Bringing shoes into the house leads to a 90-99% chance of transfer of bacteria from dirty shoes to uncontaminated home floors.

If that doesn’t gross you out then this might: public restroom floors have an estimated 2 million bacteria per square inch. However, an average toilet seat has about 50 per square inch.

Kelly Reynolds, microbiologist and professor at the University of Arizona, said:

“We walk through things like bird droppings, dog waste and germs on public restroom floors, all of which are sources for E. coli.

“Think about rain water in the street. It can have gasoline in it and chemicals, and those get on your shoes and can be brought into your home.”

Though with toxins and chemicals, repeat exposure during a lifetime will lead to health related illness.

If that doesn’t convince people to take off their shoes before going inside their house then perhaps washing shoes regularly with detergent will help. The University of Arizona study found that cleaning shoes in the washing machine will kill the presence of bacteria by at least 90%. Floors and carpets should also be disinfected with carpet cleaners such as a steam cleaner.

The best way though, is to keep those shoes out of the house!

 

Fusion: ‘Fresh Off the Boat’ uses black culture to talk more candidly about Asian culture

Fusion: (by Molly Fitzpatrick)

It’s clear from the first ten seconds of Fresh Off the Boat, the new ABC sitcom about a Taiwanese family moving from Washington D.C.’s Chinatown to Orlando, Florida, that 11-year old Eddie Huang is an anomaly and he just doesn’t fit in.

In the opening scene, the camera pulls back to show his tiny figure swathed in the baggy, brightly colored clothes synonymous with the hip hop uniform of the time, and little Eddie struck a now-familiar pose: he defiantly crossed his arms high across his chest and nodded, not unlike the way Kool Moe Dee and Run D.M.C. used to do at the end of a knowingly dope rhyme. This universal symbol of defiance was now being deployed to signify a little kid’s discomfort with his recent relocation from Washington D.C.’s Chinatown to the bright, bland landscape of suburban Florida. Young Eddie fully intends to shock with his wardrobe, using it to intimidate bullies and parents alike. A massive part of Eddie’s real life and onscreen cultural assimilation rested heavily on his affection for hip-hop culture.

But if there’s a difference between cultural appropriation and cultural appreciation, which one was this?

I went to Los Angeles in November to have a warm weekend with an old friend. On our last night in town, we went to see a benefit show at comedy hotspot Nerdmelt. Towards the end of the show, a buttoned-up white guy got on stage. He was nerdy in a way that reminded me of the nerds I grew up with in the 80s—light-washed jeans hemmed a little too high, a bulky, gray sweater with a generic winter pattern printed around the shoulders, and the kind of plain white, shell toed sneakers that you buy when you care more about cost than fashion. His short brown hair was pulled to the side, the way boys used to do on picture day in junior high with one of the hundreds of black plastic combs the photographer pulled out of a box for each student. It didn’t feel like a costume, but it could have been.

The first 5 minutes of his set were entirely comprised of his telling the audience he was going to “smack dat ass.” He made his voice deep when he used that phrase, like Geoffrey Holder or Barry White, and said “smack dat ass” over and over again until I wasn’t sure if I was watching a comedy routine or if I was part of an elaborate prank. I wasn’t annoyed by the repetition; I was surprised that the entirety of this comedian’s joke so far was that he was a white man affecting a black man’s voice, and that his act was predicated on the asynchronous visual of his being a white guy talking like a black guy. It made me deeply uncomfortable; I crossed my arms and sunk lower in my chair, waiting for him to finish. As far as I could tell, I was the only black person in the audience. I was also the only person not laughing.

I had a similarly uncomfortable feeling when Eddie stepped out of the dressing room to the beat of MC Breed’s “Ain’t No Future in Yo’ Frontin’” at the start of the pilot, begging his mom to buy him the pinky ring, stacks of gold chains, and Starter jacket he was trying on at JCPenney’s. Was the only thing funny here that he was biting a cultural style that didn’t necessarily belong to him? And if so, what’s so funny about it?

I liked these first episodes of Fresh Off the Boat, and I’m not just saying that because ABC cuts my paycheck. It’s as funny as any other family-oriented sitcom and shocking in all the right ways — a fellow student lobbed the word “chink” at Eddie in a lunchroom scene in the very first episode. It’s moments like this that remind you about the different set of rules minorities are often asked to follow and how uncommon it is to see them showcased on TV; when Eddie’s parents came in to discuss the racial slur, they flipped the usually apologetic script and asked the principal how he could allow such language in his school. It was a teachable moment that preferenced the wisdom and anger of Eddie’s parents instead of bolstering the racist system they were trying to work within. They were just parents sticking up for their kid, but that’s harder to do when part of your parenting includes an extraordinary effort to assimilate to white culture. There hasn’t been a primetime sitcom starring an Asian family in 20 years (the first one was Margaret Cho’s short-lived All American Girl in 1994, also on ABC), meaning an entire generation of Asian-Americans have grown up without seeing their faces or their cultural values represented on the small screen in a big way. This scene, from the moment Eddie is called a racial slur to the second his parents are done talking to the principal, does more to evoke the multi-layered, intersectional reality of most immigrants and minorities, that constant push and pull between wanting to fit in and wanting to break out, than almost anything else on TV right now.

But the efficacy of their parenting and disconnect from American pop culture (at least generationally) comes to a head when Eddie displays a love for hip-hop, and particularly his clothes. While his parents happily sing along to Ace of Base, Eddie is a renegade in a Nas T-shirt. When his mother asks, “Why do all of your shirts have black men on them?” Eddie responds, “It’s Notorious B.I.G. Both me and him are two dudes with mad dreams, just trying to get a little respect in the game.” The joke lands (here’s a little kid talking like a streetwise adult about “the game”) but an unspoken discomfort is wedged in there, too — why are you wasting your time on black culture when whiteness is the clear pathway to respectability? Why are you rallying so hard against cultural assimilation? This is complicated by the fact that his mother, Jessica, is also having a hard time with their move to Orlando — when she first meets the mob of blonde, white, rollerblading neighborhood moms she asks if they’re all sisters, and Eddie’s insistence that he take Lunchables to school instead of noodles has her uncomfortably entering an American grocery store for the first time in an attempt to have help him fit in. Eddie’s family is a Matroyshka doll of outsiders; his dad is a wild west-loving Asian steakhouse owner who left D.C. to escape the oppressive cultural values that would have him working for his brother-in-law forever, his mother doesn’t fit in with the cookie-cutter Barbie version of the stay-at-home mom, and Eddie doesn’t fit in anywhere.

 

In this way, it’s easy to understand how hip-hop is crucial to the development of Eddie’s personality and outsider status. He’s trying to find a pathway to respectability on his own terms, which fits in completely with the hip-hop ethos. In a tense cafeteria moment, a potential fight with a loudmouthed white kid is diffused when he sees Eddie’s Notorious B.I.G. t-shirt. He perks up and says, “I bought Ready To Die the day it came out!” to which Eddie replies, “You bought it? I STOLE it.” He’s using the language and posture of hip-hop to cement his social status as a subversive badass when he needs it most. A black kid sitting nearby witnesses the exchange, and scoffs incredulously, saying, “A white dude and an Asian dude bonding over a black dude?” as if it’s the craziest thing he’s ever seen.

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But it’s not too farfetched, considering what I remember about the year I graduated high school. In 1995, hip-hop was already mainstream, and having fictional Eddie shop for his hip-hop uniform in JCPenney is indicative of how mainstream the genre had become. Snoop Dog and Dr. Dre were on the cover of Rolling Stone in 1995, and Tupac was on the first cover of 1996, following Ice T’s cover in 1992. Notorious B.I.G. had four top singles on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1995, and that was the year the Grammys added the Best Rap Album category. White suburban kids were already huge consumers of hip-hop and rap, which may have been why Eddie’s mom found it particularly troubling to see him walk around in Wu-Tang Clan t-shirts — suburban parents were terrified by the rise of hip-hop. They were similarly upset about heavy metal, but its loudness reminded them of a loose connection to rock music. Hip-hop was completely foreign to them, and brought with it a violence they couldn’t access or explain. It was also, at times, absurd and funny and just good music, but the parts that put people on edge glorified and discussed a very real kind of violence. No one wants to see their baby boy lip-synching to songs about shooting someone in the face, least of all the white parents who largely moved to the suburbs to escape that kind of urbanized violence.

But the reason white parents felt terrorized by hip-hop is the same reason I still get uncomfortable when I see someone outside of black culture using the language and posture of hip-hop culture, why the hairs on my arm stand up when white women describe their friendships as “ride or die,” and why Iggy Azalea incurred the wrath of Azealia Banks —hip-hop and rap were born of a specific place, and made for a specific group of people. It was music that was socially stigmatized precisely because of who was in control of the message as well as what they were saying, with lyrics portraying with brutal honesty the systemic racism that created ghettoized conditions to begin with. Hip-hop has since gone global, but in 1995 we were still on the cusp, enough so that people in my predominantly white suburban town commonly used the word “wigger” to describe any white kid in my high school wearing a Cross Colours jacket and listening to Ol’ Dirty Bastard. You weren’t just someone appreciating a style of music or a way to dress—you were a white nigger. You were racially transgressive.

There is a difference between cultural appropriation and cultural appreciation, the crux of which are the historical lessons of dominant culture and the power structures that uphold them. As Tami Winfrey Harris said in her 2008 article on the topic:

A Japanese teen wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with the logo of a big American company is not the same as Madonna sporting a bindi as part of her latest reinvention. The difference is history and power. Colonization has made Western Anglo culture supreme–powerful and coveted. It is understood in its diversity and nuance as other cultures can only hope to be. Ignorance of culture that is a burden to Asians, African and indigenous peoples, is unknown to most European descendants or at least lacks the same negative impact.

[…]

It matters who is doing the appropriating. If a dominant culture fancies some random element (a mode of dress, a manner of speaking, a style of music) of my culture interesting or exotic, but otherwise disdains my being and seeks to marginalize me, it is surely an insult.

I don’t think that 11-year old Eddie is insulting, and he’s certainly not part of the dominant culture, which is why this question of appropriation/appreciation in this context is an interesting one. From a cultural standpoint relating to power, Young Eddie has more in common with black culture even if that’s not how he understands his fondness for rap T-shirts. He’s effectively powerless. Perhaps that’s why Eddie Huang has such an affinity for black culture, both in real life and on the show. His struggle seems to be as much about race as it is about just being an outsider, and, as he explains in the pilot, “If you were an outsider hip-hop was your anthem, and I was definitely the black sheep in my family.” He was trying to find a stronghold by honoring the parts about him that he already knew were unique, and hip-hop helped him express that. Huang has (now famously) railed against the TV show for being void of anything resembling his actual experience:

I didn’t understand how network television, the one-size fits-all antithesis toFresh Off the Boat, was going to house the voice of a futuristic chinkstronaut. I began to regret ever selling the book, because Fresh Off the Boat was a very specific narrative about SPECIFIC moments in my life, such as kneeling in a driveway holding buckets of rice overhead or seeing pink nipples for the first time. The network’s approach was to tell a universal, ambiguous, cornstarch story about Asian-Americans resembling moo goo gai pan written by a Persian-American who cut her teeth on race relations writing for Seth MacFarlane. But who is that show written for?

The show is missing is the violence that shaped Eddie’s young life, and consequently, his affinity for hip-hop culture. Huang writes very candidly about being beaten by his parents as a child, and a network sitcom will never be able to accurately reflect how that shaped him. It would be an entirely different show on an entirely different network.

Huang gave a TED talk about self-identity in March 2013; he enters the stage singing along to Kanye West’s “You Can’t Tell Me Nothing” but curiously doesn’t mention how hip-hop shaped his identity for the entire 5 minutes he’s up there. It’s not until two months later when he sits down with Ta-nehisi Coates at the New York Ideas festival that he has an in-depth conversation about race, identity and hip-hop. When Coates called him a hip-hop head and asked when Huang first felt like he was a kindred spirit to black culture, Huang made an eloquent connection to his life at home and violence in the music.

“I was drawn to it, and I felt a similarity with it, because I grew up in a home where my parents beat me, right? And I talk about it a lot in the book, and no one needs to feel sad or awkward—that’s what happens in an immigrant home a lot of the time. I’m not co-signing that, I think it’s wrong, but the thing is is that when I heard [Tu]Pac talking about these things, and I heard all this music that was at many times laced with violence, I was a little desensitized towards it. It didn’t put me off. It was not, like, a barrier to my entry. So I would listen. I wasn’t listening for the violence, though, because I think hip-hop is much deeper, but when that’s what you grow up with—parents hitting you and things like that—that’s part of your DNA and fabric whether you like it or not. And a lot of people ask me would you do it different, and I said yeah, I won’t hit my kids like my father beat me, right? But also, they ask me, would you be the same person that you are, and I say absolutely not. And this is the gift and the curse, and I have to be honest about it. I do not encourage people hitting their children, but I would absolutely not be the same person.”

Huang goes on to say that hip-hop made him feel “less weird,” that he could connect experientially to something larger than himself. He also noted that he felt left out of most conversations about race, which were about black people and white people exclusively, until he discovered hip-hop — small things like seeing black culture embrace martial arts in movies like The Last Dragon or the Wu-Tang Clan’s entire oeuvre showed him how someone else appreciated Asian culture. Coates brings up the important point that Wu-Tang’s Asian obsession might have been essentializing that culture, too, and that’s where we come full circle to the idea of what it means to be culturally appropriative once something becomes a global phenomenon. Is there a difference between Tom on Parks and Recreation adoring hip-hop and the rapping granny from an Adam Sandler movie using hip-hop as the punchline to a very obvious joke? The question isn’t what happens to the culture that created hip-hop, but what does it mean to the cultures that embrace it?

How does Fresh Off the Boat‘s hip-hop identity measure up to Fox’s Empire, ABC’s or Black-ish? Both of those shows, in different ways, feature black families looking for legitimacy beyond the constraints of hip-hop culture. In the pilot for Black-ish, advertising executive Dre Johnson is excited about his promotion until he learns he’s been promoted to the head of the “urban” division; in Empire, Lucious Lyon is looking for a way to leave a legacy of success far removed from the shadow of his thuggish beginnings. In both cases, Dre and Lucious still have to work within the boundaries of black culture to achieve legitimacy, like it or not. In the video for the New York Ideas festival, Huang quickly mentions in passing that he is a lawyer, and spends a little more time talking about how much he disliked the constraints of business clothing. That’s the difference between a dramatized version of race and the reality of race; Huang can choose to identify with hip-hop but still go on to be a lawyer and successful business owner. He can hang up the cultural affectations whenever he wants to, simply because it’s something he’s allowed to grow out of. He may not like or prefer code switching, but it’s possible for him. On TV, Lucious and Dre can transcend class quicker than they can transcend culture, and in real life, Eddie gets to do both.

Does hip-hop still exclusively belong to black culture anymore? And does that even matter if it offers a weird little kid some solace? That we’re even able to have this conversation is a result of finally seeing a TV show about an Asian kid having a hard time fitting in. If one of the Modern Family kids suddenly started wearing FUBU and talking with a Bronx accent, it would be an open and shut case of abject racism and posturing, and I’d be yelling about it on Twitter instead of writing about it here. Fresh Off the Boat allows us to consider the experience of being a non-white person in America from a non-white perspective. It opens a window and lets us see how American minorities lean on each other to survive. It’s a little bit like a game of Telephone, but instead of getting a twisted, filtered version of the message about what it means to be a person of color in America after it goes around the rest of the group, you’re sitting next to the originator and getting it straight from the source.

Knowing more about Huang’s background helped me realize that his connection to hip-hop is solid and very much a part of him in a way that hasn’t been made clear on the TV show yet. Unlike the comedian I saw in Los Angeles, it’s also not an affectation; hip-hop music helped Eddie Huang get a foot in the door of what it meant to be American, and what it meant to be different. Those are all still real problems, possibly more so now that America has allowed the far right to pour its poison directly into the melting pot that used to sustain us culturally. It may not be exactly the show Huang wanted, but I can’t help but feel like Fresh Off the Boat is going to help another generation of kids feel like they’re a little less alone.

Amped Asia’s Top 20 picks of Marvel’s most magnificent Asian superheroines

Amped Asia:

In the last decade we have seen an unprecedented resurgence of comic books into mainstream culture. The once niche market that many erroneously believed only appealed to the stereotypical image of the nerdy anti-social comic book fan has now become a full fledged pop culture phenomena.

Amped Asia knows a little bit of what it’s like to have what was once considered nerdy suddenly be cool. Most of what we are passionate about within Asian culture has suddenly now become cool like sushi, Asian characters for albeit terrible tattoos, K-pop, and the list goes on. And this might be hard to believe, but before we became the incredibly handsome, muscular, genius, shooting machine guns while riding dinosaurs badasses we are now, we too could be caught reading a comic book alone in our nerd hovels.

You see we were once/still are nerds. So that being said, with the comic book craze at arguably its zenith and Asian culture rapidly becoming more and more popular, we wanted to give a little love to some of the top Asian female super heroes in the Marvel Universe!

20) Lotus Shinchuko (Japanese)

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With a name like Lotus Shinchuko, one kind of expects her to be the star of a weird “exotic far east” stag film than that of a character from the Deadly Hands of Kung Fu series. Wait, scratch that, her name sounds EXACTLY like what you would expect from that exploitative 1970’s comic book. The Deadly Hands of Kung Fu piggy backed off the kung fu movie craze of the times, giving us Lotus Shinchuko; a master of the martial arts who was as deadly as she was beautiful. She might not be the most well known character on our list, but can be seen making cameo appearances in the Marvel Universe, including working as a bodyguard for Luke Cage. Although seeing her maybe a bit of a rare treat, SWEEEET CHRISTMAS are they are treat!

19) Nancy Lu (Chinese)

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Nancy Lu first started off as a member of a rival basketball team against Peter Parker’s own daughter, May “Mayday” Parker in Spider-Girl#23. After May Parker discovered that Nancy Lu had been using her mutant powers of telekinesis to win games, Lu would be convinced by Parker to use her powers for good. Soon she would establish herself as a hero, adopting the name Push, and offered an invitation to join a group called the X-People. Fortunately for Lu, it was a future incarnation of the X-Men and not a group of people really into going to raves.

18) Dust (Afghani)

As long as not EVERYTHING is sandy we aren't going to have a problem...am I right fellas?

Sometimes a little less is more, and although most of her is covered up, Dust is still one sultry super hero. A member of the X-Men and possibly the most modestly dressed comic book hero of all time, we respect Dust, AKA Sooraya Qadir’s decision to wear her niqab as a an X-Men, although we might not fully agree with it. You know, not at all because she is quite the looker underneath it all, but because.. freedoms, and Americas.. and women’s rights… yes..

17) Nico Minorou (Japanese)

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Next up is our favorite gothic character from the Runaways, and no we don’t mean Joan Jett. We are talking about Marvel’s own Nico Minorou. To say this Goth sorceress has some unusual character traits, especially in a comic book universe, would still be an understatement. You see, Nico like many Goths we know loitering outside our local mall’s Hot Topic, has a bit of an emotional, clingy, and anti-social personality. However unlike most Goths we know, she has the ability to ACTUALLY control magic, cast spells, and even has a powerful magic staff appear out of her chest whenever she bleeds! Yup EVERYTIME SHE BLEEDS.

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16) Omega Sentinel (India)

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Unlike a lot of the other X-Women on our list, Omega Sentinel, AKA Karima Shapandar  is one of the few members of the X-Men and later Excalibur, who is more or less human and not mutant at all. And we do mean more or less. You see Omega Sentinel, as her name would imply, actually started off as a human police detective in her native India, until she became a sleeper cell Sentinel agent thanks to Bastion of the Operation: Zero Tolerance program. This program, intended to hunt down all mutants across the United States, used nanite technology to augment her strength, speed, and reflexes to superhuman levels. It also equipped her with a bevy of powers including flight, regenerative abilities against damage, and built in cybernetic weapons which allow her to shoot energy blasts of radiation and electricity. She basically became a living human Sentinel however she chose to use her powers to help the X-Men rather than harm them. With all her doohickeys and power upgrades, it begs the question what other “enhancements” does she have? If she would like to test them, we will be waiting in the bedroom.

15) Honey Lemon (Japanese)

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It’s fitting to have our #15 and #14 on this list following the release of Big Hero 6. Who better embody the rise of Asian culture with the rise of comic book nerd culture than two of the characters from this great animated collaboration from Disney and Marvel? A lesser known but still very popular Marvel comic book, this is one of the few series in the Marvel Universe with a mainly Asian roster. Little is known about Aiko Miyazaki, the secret agent/genius scientist known as Honey Lemon. But we do know she has a Power Purse, or Nano Purse, that contains miniature artificial inter-universe wormholes that can be used at her discretion. She is like a hot Felix the Cat, although we would be afraid to tell her that.

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14) Gogo Tomago (Japanese)

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Another member of Big Hero 6, Leiko Tanaka, better known as Gogo Tomago, was a tough as nails youth from the streets before she joined up with Big Hero 6. It was with this team that she channeled her aggression into mastering her voice activated battle suit which allows her to absorb and amplify kinetic energy into thermochemical energy. She can even transform her body into a spherical “powerball” during which she has near invulnerability and can hurl herself at enemies, clocking in at speeds of 185 miles per hour. And as long as Gogo doesn’t hurl herself at our balls at that speed or give us blue ones, we will continue our admiration for her.

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13) Silk (Korean)

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Basically the female Korean version of Peter Parker, this web slinging heroine shares much of the same origin story as her male counterpart, even the radioactive spider that gave them their powers. However unlike Peter Parker, she creates organic web from her finger tips and in our humble opinion has a much more appealing costume. Hey maybe we are biased, but we at Amped Asia would much rather be caught in her web. Sorry Pete.

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12) Surge (Japanese)

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This electrifying member of the New Mutants is quite the survivor. Hailing from the Land of the Rising Sun, she fled to America in her teens, living on the streets until the X-Men found her and brought her back to the X-Mansion. A former drug addict, she beat her addiction to become a promising member of the New Mutants, former leader of the New X-Men, and one of only 27 mutants that retained their powers after the events of House of M story arc.

11) Karma (Vietnamese)

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Vietnamese mutant X’ian Coy Manh, better known as Karma, has the ability to take possession of the minds of other people and even animals. With this power she has the ability to change a victims’ perception of memories, command them, and basically take over their whole body to do her bidding. And as a member of the New Mutants and agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., I am sure there are many fanboys out there who wouldn’t mind seeing her using those powers on say Maria Hill or one of the other hotties on our list. You know for national security and such.

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10) Kabuki (Japanese)

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Whenever we attempt to compile a list of pop culture icons, we understand a certain amount of our readers, will shall we say, “Voice their discerning opinions” on our entries. And by that I mean whine and bitch that we included/didn’t include their favorite character because of XYZ reason. Add in the fact that comics are especially rife with cannon/non-cannon and publication semantics our next entry may stir up some hullabaloo. The tragic yet beautiful tale of the young woman named Kabuki is a good example of this. Although she is not associated with the Marvel Universe per se, and was once an Image Comics property, she is now currently being published under Icon Comics, an imprint of Marvel. So now that that is cleared up we just wanted to include the masked mysterious heroine on our list because it is a pretty great read. So quit your bitching.

9) Black Widow (Chinese)

Hate to say we told you so Nick, but should have had her sign that prenup. Also when did you become 50 Cent??

The original Black Widow is a classic, no question about that. So to be the follow up act to the widely popular Natasha Romanoff was no easy task, especially since her character has been so fully fleshed out so to speak, with the recent live action portrayal by Scarlet Johansson. But we here at Amped Asia think that the Monica Chang version of the Black Widow has done pretty well for herself. First off, she is the ex-wife of Nick Fury and that alone deserves entry onto this list. Think about what the “irreconcilable differences” must have been for that divorce. What is the alimony like? Who gets the Helicarrier nights, weekends, and every other Thursday? Anyway she even helped capture both the Punisher AND Captain America at one point. And she was the Director of S.H.I.E.L.D before Norman Osborn burned her face off. We haven’t seen an Asian do such a bang up replacement job since the Arnel Pineda era of Journey. Well done Chang, well done.

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8) Colleen Wing (Japanese)

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Although Colleen Wing possesses no super powers of her own, except incredible athleticism and detective skills, she still holds her own among Marvels’ top heroes. Armed with a 1,000 year old katana and her wits, Colleen has appeared mainly in the Iron Fist series as well as aiding the X-Men in battle. This Hero for Hire makes reading Iron Fist a little more tolerable, and looks just as sharp as her sword in her skin tight white cat suit. How she keeps it clean when so many of her readers want to see her get dirty is beyond us.

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7) Yukio (Japanese)

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This being a list of Asian female comic book characters, you knew we would eventually have a ninja on our list. And boy what a ninja do we have for you! Yukio is equal parts badass as sexy. Her character is associated mostly with the X-Men series, specifically her encounters with Wolverine. Once tasked by Shingen Yoshida to assassinate Wolverine, Yukio instead developed a crush on the Canadian Casanova. Although her appearances were sporadic her influence never was. Her short hair, sense of style, and “madness” and lust for life even inspired Storm to rock her Mohawk punk look for awhile. She was even chosen by Wolverine to raise his adoptive child, Amiko Kobayashi. So to recap, badass sexy ninja, who even Weapon X himself thinks can raise his family. That is some BAMF status.

6) Jolt (Japanese)

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Before becoming the living embodiment of electricity known as Jolt, Hallie Takahama was just your ordinary girl who happened to be a super hero buff. Not only was she a huge fan of the superhuman heroes she aspired to be, but also memorized the details of the superhuman battles that took place. Although once only a spectator, Hallie would become no stranger to the often tragic origins of becoming a hero. After her parents were killed by Sentinels, Hallie would go into hiding until she would be captured by the villainous mercenary group the Rat Pack. Their leader, the not Frank Sinatra Arnim Zola, would experiment on her along with their other victims, leaving most of them either mutated or dead. That is except for Hallie, who due to the experiments, would gain superhuman abilities, such as hyperkinetic agility, transform any type of energy into physical strength and speed, and turn her body into living electricity, allowing her to fly and shoot electrical force blasts. With all these amazing powers, you would think that she could have stopped her costume from looking like she ripped off the design from a can of Jolt Cola. But hey nobody’s perfect.

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5) Mantis (Vietnamese)

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Mantis grew up in Vietnam at the Kree alien temple of the Priests of Pama, the latter which believe she would one day become the Celestial Madonna and mate with the eldest Cotati on earth, becoming the Celestial Mother. In other words, one day become the most important being in the universe. While prepping for this role she even found time to master martial arts, become a member of the Avengers, and even act as a counselor for the Guardians of the Galaxy. With all this life experience, her next role in the Marvel Universe may not be the Celestial Mother, but Marvels’ toughest Asian tiger mom.

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4) Armor (Japanese)

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Look, we hate stereotypes just as much as the next person, and well aware that a good amount of our list is comprised of characters that are either ninjas, wield katanas, or are throwbacks to Chopsocky Kung Fu exploitation flicks of the 1970’s. So naturally adding a Japanese female character whose mutant powers allow her to create a psionic mecha exoskeleton kind of puts us in an awkward position.

However the fact that this character was created by Joss Whedon, who as we all know would never use Asian culture for his own gain *coughFIREFLYcough*definitely makes up for it. Indicative of Whedon’s work, her character is as well written as it is interesting. We got to admit, her psionic mecha exoskeleton is pretty badass, and even though old man Logan gives her guff for her choice of codename, that Armor is one tough costumer. While surrounded by her exoskeleton she is nearly impervious, and has veteran X-Men such as Wolverine and Cyclops taking her under their wings. So all joking aside, ya did good again Mr. Whedon. P.S. Don’t mind that Firefly crack; we actually really enjoy that show here at Amped Asia.

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3) Jubilee (Chinese-American)

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With her giant yellow trench coat, oversized neon pink sunglasses, and mall brat attitude there seems to be no better representative on our list of the 1990’s era comic book industry than Jubilee. Hell she was even a member of GENERATION X, all she was missing was some superfluous Jim Lee inspired pouches, a can of Surge, and a copy of Nirvana’s Nevermind and she might as well be a Smithsonian time capsule of the 1990’s. But despite all that, and possessing mutant powers that fellow X-Men Dazzler would even find lame, Jubilee was one fiiiiiiine member of the X-Men. No on looked better in a pair of roller blades and walkman better than her back in the day.

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2) Ms. Marvel (Pakistani)

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Kamala Khan is not only the first Asian Ms. Marvel, but also the first Muslim character to star in her own series in the Marvel Universe. Debuting in Captain Marvel #14 in 2013, the new Ms. Marvel has helped shatter stereotypes of what Asian American heroes can be as well as Muslim characters. No small feat considering the post 9/11 political climate she debuted in, as well as high expectations set by the previous Ms. Marvels when she took over the mantle. Nothing has held this character’s raising popularity back. Kamala Khan has overcome ethnic and religious stereotypes and bigotry, and most impressive of all, proved that even someone from Jersey City, New Jersey could do great things. Seriously, NEW JERSEY. And that is a super power within itself my friend.

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1) Psylocke (Japanese-British)

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As with most popular comic book characters, Psylocke’s origins and story have been retconned and rebooted so many times it’s hard to keep up with what is cannon and what is not. What we do know is at some point the British born Elizabeth “Betsy” Braddock became the Japanese Psylocke, becoming one of the most popular female X-Men as well as fan favorite of cosplayers world wide. And I think we can all agree that an Asian looking girl with a British accent parading around in a leotard is something we can all enjoy.

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Korean girls react to American snacks

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 Audrey Magazine:

While there are many videos of Americans reacting to Asian food and pop culture, the reversal is less common. Now a new YouTube series called “Korean Girls React” flips the Americans-react-to-Asian-culture video trend on its head.

In this video, Korean girls taste American snacks for the very first time and give their honest opinion of it. The snacks include Goldfish, Poptarts, Rice Krispies, salt and vinegar chips, Twizzlers, Cheez-Itz and Warheads.

While there were obviously many different opinions, a couple of interesting trends emerged. Most of the girls agreed that the poptarts tasted too artificial. One girl even complained that “it tastes like a candle.”

Rice Krispies seemed to be a favorite amongst most of the girls whereas the twizzlers and warheads were very, very unpopular.

One thing that viewers all over the world should be able to relate to are the complaints that the snacks were too unhealthy or fattening, followed by later admissions that the snacks are too addicting to be left uneaten. Ah, the power of junk food!

ABC’s ‘Fresh off the Boat’ panel gets rather awkward

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The first question from a TV reporter is a jaw-dropper. The cast and producers of ABC’s new Asian-American comedy series Fresh off the Boat are gathered on a Pasadena hotel stage to take questions from roughly 200 members of the press. And the first comment to the panel is: “I love the Asian culture. And I was just talking about the chopsticks. And I just love all that. Will I get to see that? Or will it be more Americanized?

The rest of the assembled reporters — judging by the flurry of chopsticks-related “did that really just happen?” tweets flying out of the ballroom — are rather horrified. The panel tries to have fun with it.

Wait till Episode 5, it’s all about chopsticks,” showrunner Nahnatchka Khan quips. “The original title was Chopsticks,” adds actor Randall Park.

Another critic in the room follows up with a knowing hey-not-all-of-us-are-like-that joke by asking, “Will we be seeing fortune cookies?” which draws laughs and deflated some of the tensionat least briefly.

A boneheaded question or two tends to happen when a large group of reporters are sequestered in a hotel for nearly two weeks thinking of questions for panels of TV talent all day. Yet the reporter’s post-racial-America myth-busting comment suggests why a series like Fresh Off the Boat is long overduethis is the first Asian-American sitcom on a major broadcast network in more than 20 years, and is part of a new wave of refreshingly racially diverse (and ratings boosting) programming in primetime that includes ABC’s How to Get Away With Murder, Black-ish and Fox’sEmpire.

It was a great year for Asian-American women on television

 

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We’re finally getting past all those geisha and ninja stereotypes.

Asian-American women, and women in general, have long faced the woes of horrible storylines or just plain missing from shows. This messy writing or lack of diversity on the small screen stems from the absence of minorities and women in the writers’ room.

But in 2014, we’ve seen some inspiring portrayals of Asian-American women on television that have brought dimension to ladies who are often turned into flat tropes. We still need more of these types of characters, but thankfully we’re inching toward better representation.

Headliners: 

Lucy Liu proves that Asian-American women can be leading ladies without being a stereotype. Liu is one of the most recognizable Asian-American actresses in Hollywood, known for her roles on Charlie’s Angels and Kill Bill: Vol. 1, two movies that tokenized her race. But Liu currently co-stars as Dr. Joan Watson in Elementary, a modern take on Sherlock Holmes, alongside Jonny Lee Miller.

Watson is incredibly intelligent and capable, but not without flaws. She was once a surgeon, but accidentally killed a patient. Unable to trust herself, she let her medical license expire, and eventually becomes Holmes’ detective apprentice. She’s sexy, she’s smart, she makes mistakes — in short, she’s a human being.

She has her demons, but she doesn’t let anyone make her decisions for her. She’s an interesting main character who just so happens to be Asian.

More than just casting:

Television is also making progress with writing storylines centering around Asian culture. MTV’s Teen Wolf, a teenage-supernatural drama with a dark side, may be the best example. This year, the series introduced Kira Yukimura and her family.

Portrayed by Arden Cho, Kira shows that there are many ways to be Asian — in her case, Korean-Japanese. She’s also a kitsune, a mythical fox spirit with the ability to absorb electricity, plus some deadly skills with a katana.

Furthermore, Kira’s powers and one main storyline of Teen Wolf‘s third season are deeply rooted in the Japanese internment camps of the 1940s, a smear on America’s history that’s often overlooked. The mistreatment of Japanese people during World War II is a part of many Asian-Americans’ identity and experience in the United States. Integrating this part of the past into the show is an effort to bring underrepresented history to wider audiences.

Funny and flirty:

Asian-American women can be sexual and go on tons of dates. The Mindy Project features Mindy Kaling as Dr. Mindy Lahiri, a spunky OB-GYN who makes her way through a cavalcade of flings before settling down with fellow doctor Danny Castellano in the show’s latest season. While Kaling is Indian-American and might not have the same experiences as a Korean-American, she still falls under the Asian-American umbrella.

The Fox comedy is filled with sex and intimacy, showing that Asian-American women can be vocal when it comes to the bedroom. Mindy knows what she wants, when she wants it and if she doesn’t want it (as in the episode about anal sex).

The Mindy Project also flips the script on the typical dating storyline. Usually it’s a white protagonist who goes on dates with a pretty homogeneously white lineup, until bam, there’s one diverse hottie who “makes up” for being the only one (ahem, Girls). In Kaling’s show, we see her dating a crop of primarily white dudes, showing that she’s as much in control of her dating destiny as anyone else.

Room to grow: 

The one-dimensional Asian-American character on television shows still exists — take a look at Awkward‘s Ming (Jessica Lu) or Scorpion‘s Happy Quinn (Jadyn Wong). Visibility is essential, but stereotyped writing can be dangerous. Fortunately, the Dr. Joan Watsons and Kira Yukimuras are making important progress toward more diverse actors getting multifaceted characters to play.

Other disenfranchised communities are also making their way to the small screen. For these minorities, including Asian-American women, increased visibility might seem slow. But while more, and more accurate, depictions should be a given, we can celebrate what we do have — and continue to fight for diverse inclusion in the shows we love.

adidas Unveils Real Madrid’s 2014/15 Third Kit by Yohji Yamamoto

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In a departure from their collaborative Y-3 endeavor, adidas has tapped award-winning Japanese designer Yohji Yamamoto to create Real Madrid‘s third kit for the 2014/15 campaign. Set to make its debut during UEFA Champions League action, the striking all-black kit takes cues from the Madridismo‘s values of greatness and determination, as well as Yamamoto’s own aesthetic, and incorporates two mythical beasts that originate in Eastern culture: the dragon king and dragon bird. Interlaced across the front of the shirt, the king symbolizes the greatness, glory, and power of the club while the bird represents resistance, determination, and agility on the way to victory.

Finished with a mao-type collar, two-color crest, and the designer’s signature, Real Madrid’s black kit is now available in limited quantities from adidas.com.

 

Image of adidas Unveils Real Madrid's 2014/15 Third Kit by Yohji Yamamoto

Image of adidas Unveils Real Madrid's 2014/15 Third Kit by Yohji Yamamoto

Image of adidas Unveils Real Madrid's 2014/15 Third Kit by Yohji Yamamoto