Japan and Asia News
The Board of Directors of the Oakland Asian Cultural Center has named Tamiko Wong as its Executive Director effective May 20, 2013. “Our board and staff are excited to begin this new chapter in OACC’s history, where we will continue to be a home for our communities to express their cultural traditions and enrich each other with the arts,” says Lillian Galedo, OACC Board President. “We welcome Tamiko, a charismatic, dynamic leader and connector who is well-known in the Asian and Pacific Islander American community for her service, fundraising, event planning, and program building.”
Tamiko Wong has worked on projects for the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM), the Korematsu Institute, the National Association of Asian MBAs (NAAMBA), and many other non-profit organizations. As the former Program Director of AsianWeek Foundation, she worked on the Asian Heritage Street Celebration and the San Francisco Hep B Free initiative. She participated in the Leadership Education for Asian Professionals (LEAP) Executive Directors Leadership Program (EDLP) and has also recently completed the Asian Pacific American Women’s Leadership Institute (APAWLI) fellowship program.
She has served on a number of boards for non-profit organizations including the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California, Asian Business League, OCA – San Francisco, and Cherry Blossom Alumnae. Wong has also been actively involved with API Circle, an alliance of Asian and Pacific Islander American leaders and organizations, which seeks to bring together community on an intergenerational, multidisciplinary, and multicultural basis.
“I hope OACC can become a beacon for Asian and Pacific Islander American artists, performers, and community members,” Wong says. “I see it as a place we can come together, build community, and grow personally, professionally, and artistically. I’m looking forward to partnering with emerging and established creators, leaders, organizations, and more to realize the mission of OACC.”
“I’ve always appreciated OACC for its beauty and comfort,” Wong adds. “The Center provides a terrific space for celebrations, performances, exhibits, and classes of all sizes.”
Wong is a Chinese and Japanese American who was born and raised in San Francisco. As a child, she attended Nihonmachi Little Friends Preschool in Japantown and the Japanese Bilingual Bicultural Program. She earned her B.A. from UC Berkeley, majoring in American Studies focusing on law, politics, and public policy, and minoring in Asian American Studies and Education. When she is not networking, organizing, or attending community functions, Wong loves singing, collecting Pez candy dispensers, travelling, enjoying delicious food with friends, and sipping tea alone and with company.
Wong will be transitioning into her leadership position with the support of Interim Executive Director Roy Chan who will remain with OACC as Project Director for the Oakland Chinatown Oral History Project. OACC is grateful for Chan’s leadership and unwavering commitment to the mission and values of OACC.
EXCITEMENT ON THE ROAD
As soon as we turned our car into the long driveway past the gate to enter the grounds of the famed Fairmont Miramar Hotel, we spied the magnificent Moreton Bay Fig Tree, which is surely a symbol the hotel’s history of more than a century of local history in Santa Monica. With its lofty height of 80 feet and breathtaking 120-foot network of branches, it has the distinction of being the second largest tree of its kind in California. A smiling welcome by Doorman Renati Argueta leads us into the beautiful Miramar lobby, once a private mansion built in 1889 by Senator John Jones, the founder of Santa Monica. Here one can sense a private setting getaway from the bustle of southern California traffic and congestion, and yet only blocks away from the Pacific ocean and Santa Monica’s famous pier and historic carousel, famed shopping centers popular with tourists and celebrities alike. Although not wanting to tear ourselves away from our comfortable, attractively decorated bungalow, one of 32 interspersed around the lovely semi-tropical gardens overlooking the popular Koi fish pond and waterfall, we had the unique experience of meeting Chef Ray Garcia at his bistro, the hotel’s Fig Restaurant, for a feast featuring only the freshest local and organically grown ingredients. As Jacquelyn Kerns introduced us, she proudly said that Chef Ray has won many awards for his unique cuisine featuring fresh California produce.
With the kindly Concierge’s assistance and the savvy freeway knowledge of my companion, Carole Yamaguchi, who grew up in Southern California’s Gardena, we quickly found our way to Los Angeles’ famed Grove shopping center and nearby CBS Center to join the excited crowd ready to view the live Dancing With the Stars competition show. If you’ve watched it on TV, you’ve seen the lavish DWTS sets and costumes, and all I can say, they are even more spectacular in person. I felt like a starstruck teenager, tongue-tied meeting comedian Andy Dick, one of the former celebrity dancers in the show who sat right in front of us, and sat close to stars of past shows Florence Henderson and Chaz Bono. This is obviously a high energy show with high style dancing and tight competition among all the participants and seeing it live was a great experience for this loyal fan.
Speaking of fans , there is no more ardent one than my son, Mike Wong, who stood in for me as my reporting assistant at the Warriors Game 4 in Oracle Stadium in Oakland. You can sense his excitement being there to cover for Asian Week. His account as follows: “From the moment of arrival, I could tell this was a special event as there were blue carpets lining the typically bare cement steps and huge banners of the players all around the building. There seemed to be many more Asians in the crowd than at other sports venues, and upon entering the arena, one was greeted by a yellow spectacle from yellow t shirts draped over every seat in the arena with strict instructions to put it on when seated. Before announcing the home team, all of the lights go out and video on the big screen showed highlights and sights of the city to a very loud soundtrack. As the Warrior players were introduced, fireworks and 20 ft high flames come shooting off each backboard with the fans screaming at the top of their lungs. It is amazing to see the amount of fans’ emotion during the game’s ebb and flow – from despair and outrage about a bad play or disputed referee’s call to elation over a fantastically athletic moment. When a long 3 point attempt is made, time seems to stop while the ball is in flight and everyone in the arena collectively holds their breath so that when the ball finally sails through the hoop and snaps the net, the whole “yellow gang” erupts in a volcanic explosion of sound that would seem to shatter all the glass windows in the building. A great emotional roller coaster ride for the fans in spite of Game 4’s loss, “explains Warrior Die hard Fan Dr. Mike Wong.
What better way for a grandmother to spend Mothers Day than to start the day off going with son Mike and grandson Garrett Wong home from summer break at Arizona State.
Garrett is equally a sports jock like his dad, so I asked him to give me his impression of the game.
Here’s reminiscing from Garrett Wong: “From the moment we walked into“Roaracle Arena”, we got the feeling of something big with the intensity, the passion, and excitement radiating off of every single Warriors fan in the building. Ranging from 2 year olds with “Curry 30” emblazoned on their backs to seniors with 2007 shirts and Chris Mullen jerseys, everyone had a common interest, unafraid to express their passion for the game.. Down in the first half, the never failing fans started yelling Let’s go Warriors” and “De-fense” which surely could be heard miles away to the freeway. The intensity everyone felt when points went one way or the other ran shivers down my spine but our lungs went into double decibels when the Warriors went into overtime and managed to pull out a huge 10 point deficit victory over the San Antonio Spurs. What a perfect Mother’s Day present they much have gave to all the cheering mothers in the arena, “added sports fan Garrett.
For fans of golf, some of us had the rare opportunity to meet world famed champion Rodeo horse rider Jack Roddy at his Roddy Ranch Golf Course. Not only owning the golf club but thousands of acres close by for his grazing herd of cattle,Roddy still comes to his golf course daily either for a game of golf or to oversee the operation of the course. Just capping 7 days on the road from southern California with 300 other horseback riders was Roddy and his friend Jeff Severnsen, who proudly showed us his Super Bowl ring from athletic championships of long ago. Meeting two renowned champions of their own specific sports was indeed a special privilege for us golfers that dayCONGRATULATIONS TO WOW LADIES – “WOMEN OF THE WORLD”
…Nora Lee, who celebrated her 94th birthday with a room full of friends and family at the All Seasons Restaurant in San Francisco. Always a lady with a gleaming smile and energetic mind, she said what better way to see your friends of past and present than at a party. Bedecked with a floral lei from Hawaii from the Ed Lees and Clifford Changs, and a colorful ribbon lei from myself and daughterKelly Matsuura, Nora happily spoke of the many memories she had with various persons at her 100 person party. Among her celebrants were the Nellie Go, Ryan Yees, Hampson Lums, Eileen Tong, Ed Chan, Edna Fong, Bette Lum, and Diamond Heights neighbors Stella and Dick Wong, Bob Lums, Anna Kwok and Sam Louies.
….Michele Lew, Director of Asian Americans for Community Involvement, and Larry Chang of ASCEND who will be honored at the 16th Anniversary dinner of the Asian Pacific American Leadership Institute at the Hilton Santa Clara June 28. APALI presents a summer leadership class for high school and college students to teach them leadership skills and Asian American history, as founded by DeAnza professor Michael Chang.
For info: 408 255 0625
….Brenda Wong Aoki who won San Francisco’s “Inspirational Leadership Award” from Mayor Ed Lee at a ceremony at the new SF Jazz Center before some 600 member audience in an evening hosted by TV personality Yul Kwon. Wong Aoki who has Chinese, Japanese, Spanish and Scots ancestry draws on Kabuki plays, family history, Chinese legends and everyday people she meets to create plays and stories she has presented all over the world.
…Tamiko Wong who will take over as Oakland Asian Cultural Center’s new Executive Director. She has worked with Center for Asian American Media, the Koretmatsu Institute, and as the former Program Director of AsianWeek Foundation, she was active on the Asian Heritage Street Celebration and the SF Hep B Free.
….Pacific Asian American Women Bay Area Coalition who brought US Senator Maizie Hirono and a panel of distinguished trailblazers to their recent dinner at the Intercontinental Mark Hopkins Hotel. Panel participants includedZeroDivide CEO Tessie Guillermo, CEO Love with Food Aihui Ong and Moving Brands Creative Director Aki Shelton.
….Helen Kwan together with daughter Kathy Kwan Eustace, challenged Chi Am members and their children with a $15K matching grant for the immigrant voices program. The Chi Am Circle members came through and at the club’s annual scholarship dinner, $66,000 was awarded to 36 honorees, half on merit and half on need.
EVENTS NOT TO MISS
On Lok’s 15 Annual Golf Classic at the Crystal Springs Golf Course June 13 will be s great day to benefit the many services On Lok provides for seniors. Board Chair Dr. Wellman Tsang and Exec. Director Robert Edmondson will be out there to welcome you as will Special Guest former SF 49er Eric Wright. Info:Events@onlok.org.
Asian Americans for Community Involvement’s 5K Run for Wellness and One-Mile Kids’ Fun Run June 8th at Stevens Creek Trail, near Shoreline Park in Mountain View, CA. Help support this fun activity for good health for AACI which gives medical and mental health support to the Asian American needy and youth through difficult times in many of their lives in Santa Clara County. Registration: $40 per person and FREE/Kids’ Mile. www.aaci.org.
Hot Summer at Little Sheep Hot Pot in San Mateo, presented July 18 by the Association of Chinese Cooking Teachers will celebrate the organization’s 30thanniversary. Info: firstname.lastname@example.org.