Tag Archives: culture

Sharing our Stories as Asian Women


Every year we host what we call our ‘Creative Retreat’. It’s a time for us to get together and share stories, poetry, jokes, body tricks, other talents or skills that don’t often get shared. Sometimes people teach a dance move, demonstrate a magic trick, or sing a song.

This year we focused on taking 3-5 minutes to share something related to our identities. What we presented was real and deep. We shared about what it was like to be 12, about our families and grandmothers, clothing or dances we were raised with or from our cultural backgrounds, our immigration stories, what it was like to be our age, our quest to find ourselves, and what it was like to learn the ‘lies’ our families told to survive.

Participating in this process is always a challenge for me. I still struggle with deciding what part of my story is ‘valid’ or ‘worthy’ of being told. Especially as 3rd generation mixed Chinese/Japanese heritage woman, I have often been told that I was not ‘Asian’ enough. It took me years before I realized that I was perfectly Asian American — I couldn’t have a better story. My story was absolutely what ‘Asian American’ looked like. I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s with Charlie’s Angels on TV and my white step mom fed us Hamburger Helper or tuna casserole for dinner. I had chow fun when I went to visit my grandparents. That is what being Asian American was like for me.

Sharing our stories helps make visible our challenges and triumphs. It’s an opportunity to share the questions we face and the paths we take. The Genki Spark is hosting our first open mic for Asian women. Everyone is warmly welcome to attend.

What: Speak Your Genki: Asian Women’s Open Mic

When: Thursday October 9, 2014, 6:30PM-8:30PM (door open at 6PM)

Where: East Meets Words Bookstore, 934 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA

Asian Women Interested in Signing up? Don’t be shy. Contact Payal@TheGenkiSpark.org or let us know when you arrive.

Please RSVP: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/speak-your-genki-asian-womens-open-mic-oct-9-2014-tickets-13046673953





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Genki Sister — Karen


Thinking about Costumes

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    Seeing so many posts and articles about the importance of not wearing potentially offensive Halloween costumes (mainly, those that perpetuate stereotypes/myths linked to different ethnicities or cultures). Being so vigilant about the Halloween masks we wear is masking the real problem, isn’t it?I understand the good intentions behind it, but I’m wondering whether this means people shouldn’t dress as nuns any more, or as zombies or ghosts (which could offend someone who has just lost a loved one). Shouldn’t we extend this concern not to offend to cover not only certain ethnicities but to anyone who might be offended or hurt by a costume? Are witch costumes out, in deference to those who currently practice witchcraft? Nurse costumes? Is almost any costume – which often portrays something that the wearer is not usually identified with – potentially offensive to those who may identify with what is being caricaturized in the costume?

    Maybe so. Maybe we should rethink all these costumes. I’m also thinking that this frenzy of articles and posts may belie a misplaced focus on not having the *appearance* of offending or being insensitive to others, without a corresponding deep questioning or examination of our fundamental beliefs or prejudices. I don’t think the whole costume thing would be an issue if we didn’t all participate in a deep, underlying culture of prejudice and racism. That’s what we need to take a much closer, longer look at – starting with our own unconscious beliefs – and not only pointedly ask whether a particular costume that we might wear one day out of the year might be offensive or hurtful.

    Happy Halloween, everyone! : ) Just wanted to get that off my chest, wondering what other people think, realizing just now that this is just the consequence of fb and social media, and – oh, in case you hadn’t guessed – having a Mega-Fit of Procrastination…!