ITASA, Hapa Japan, Berkeley and Me

Two conferences going on at the same time at UC Berkeley, Intercollegiate Taiwanese American Students Association (self explanatory) and Hapa Japan (about the hapa Japanese diaspora). ITASA had a lot of heart as it was completely run by students and Hapa Japan had awesome food!

This rather unassuming young man, Duncan Ryuken Williams, is a professor of East Asian languages and cultures. He also organized Hapa Japan months before the quake and tsunami. In fact, he was heading in a train to Narita airport when the quake hit. He and all the other passengers had to walk the train tracks for 90 minutes to reach safety. Also in attendance: super-cool Canadian filmmaker Jeff Chiba Stearns, whose  animated short Yellow Sticky Notes you should really check out.

Back at ITASA, I was fortunate to hang with my old pal Cynthia Lin and meet for the first time Dawen, who did his college thesis on Waylaid. Boy, does that make me feel fucking old.

From her new album.

With four iPads? What?

At ITASA, I saw this one woman sitting by herself all the time, taking pictures of the conference, so I snuck a few of her in.

This is what Hapa Ramen does and does great. They were operating a stand at the Berkeley campus for the Hapa Japan convention. It was great but I couldn’t enjoy it fully because I was eating it as I watched a slideshow presentation about how hapa kids in post-World War II Japan were bullied in school and abandoned by their families. Ultimately many of the subjects were shown triumphant (or at least at peace with themselves).

Back to ITASA. I got to see Jenton and Stephanie Lai do a live mashup of “I’m Coming Home,” “Firework,” “Viva La Vida” and “Rocketeer”

Random shots of Berkeley follow.

This would never cut it in SoCal.

Served with a glass of (Wu) Tang.

Compared with the people of Berkeley, she ain’t that strange.

This is what happens when you don’t know that BART doesn’t open until 8am on Sunday and your flight is at 9:30am at SFO.