Mottainai

Issue
12

Hidden Ecologists: The Rise and Fall of Sustainable Agriculture in Japanese American Farming

Land and micromanagement and precision agriculture techniques are perceived as innovations by environmentalists in the late 20th century. Actually, Japanese American farmers implemented these techniques in the 1900s with remarkable success...until racism intervened. 

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Mottainai: Culturally Embedded Sustainability

More than just a word, mottainai holds deep cultural and historical meaning. Let's explore how this word can be a critical rallying call for this generation.

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For the People! Sustainability and Face Masks

One person's journey toward utilizing their passion for sustainability and activism through making face masks.

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Caring for Our Island Earth

We are all islanders. Let's learn about the habitual adjustments that are small for us, but make a big impact on the environmental sustainability for this island we call Earth.

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Pruning the Bonsai: How the History of Japanese American Gardeners Lives on Through Their Descendants

Though gardening was a common profession for Japanese American immigrants pre and post-war, their era is now over. How do their descendants perceive and preserve their family's history today?

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Bonsai Tree Roundup

Pandemic babies, pandemic dogs...how about a pandemic bonsai? Take a look through our Bonsai roundup.

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Chasing the Japanese Whaling Fleet as a Japanese American

My experience chasing the Japanese whaling fleet as a Japanese American ocean activist led me to realize that we can't approach conservation issues without also considering the historical, racial, and geopolitical context that comes along with them.

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Japanese Gardens in the States and Around the World

Whether it be a space for cultural exchange or to find a moment of peace, Japanese gardens (and elements of it) can be enjoyed around the world.

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Reversing the Cycle, and Then Some: From Buy Amazon to Bye Amazon

One writer reflects on her relationship with Amazon and why she made a conscious decision to not renew her account after learning about the company's abusive and exploitative practices.

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Our Latest Articles

Christopher Sean, Tamlyn Tomita and Gedde Watanabe bring Ultraman to new generation in Netflix’s “Ultraman: Rising”

By
Nicole Oshima
I
June 13, 2024

Yo! sat down with the cast of "Ultraman: Rising" cast members to talk about the film, what it means to bring the franchise to a new generation, and some of their favorite Japanese American community spots.

JUNE BLOOM | June 2024 radiYO! Playlists

By
Nicole Oshima
I
June 13, 2024

Celebrate Pride Month 2024 with playlists made by some of our favorite tastemakers.

9 Anime Characters Who Hit the Mark on LGBTQ+ Representation

By
Alicia Tan
I
June 4, 2024

Anime doesn’t often tread is in the direction of queer characters, but several anime and manga creators have managed to slip queer and queer coded characters into their media anyways. Here are some of my personal favorites!

hair down, headphones on | May 2024 radiYO! Playlists - APAHM

By
Nicole Oshima
I
May 28, 2024

Celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month 2024 with playlists made by some of our favorite tastemakers.

Meet Cristina Moon, Author of "Three Years on the Great Mountain: A Memoir of Zen and Fearlessness"

By
Nicole Oshima
I
May 24, 2024

Rev. Cristina Moon (she/her) is a Zen priest living and training at Daihonzan Chozen-ji, a Rinzai Zen temple and martial arts dojo in Honolulu. Her new book, "Three Years on the Great Mountain: A Memoir of Zen and Fearlessness," details her early days as a human rights activist and her journey to Chozen-ji. She spoke with Yo! about her story and the book, which is available for pre-order now and will be in bookstores beginning June 18.

KOTONK | Excerpt From "Three Years on the Great Mountain: A Memoir of Zen and Fearlessness" by Cristina Moon

By
Cristina Moon
I
May 24, 2024

Available June 18, 2024, author Cristina Moon shares an excerpt of "Kotonk" from "Three Years on the Great Mountain: A Memoir of Zen and Fearlessness" with Yo! Magazine, reprinted in arrangement with Shambhala Publications, Inc.

Your matcha tastes like grass because it’s poorly made

By
Alexa Toguri-Laurin
I
May 24, 2024

Contributor Alexa Toguri-Laurin shares how the recent saying “matcha tastes like grass” divides tea and coffee lovers and critiques poor matcha production.

Dear 5844

By
Alicia Tan
I
May 9, 2024

Sometimes I wonder, if I was able to do it all for you, if some magic twist of fate gave me the power to take your place in that camp all those years ago, would I do it? To live in a barn infested with termites, to shed my Japanese name and tongue, to live a life of uncertainty, would I be able to do it all if it meant I could meet you and call you Grandpa?

May 2024 Issue: Japantowns Cover Art

By
Kyle Okazaki
I
May 6, 2024

To celebrate AANHPI Heritage Month, we wanted to highlight our Japantowns by dedicating our May issue to these spaces. Cover art by Kyle Okazaki, read more about his piece now.

Hula Practices in Little Osaka

By
Kayla Tanaka
I
May 6, 2024

Most SoCal Japanese Americans look at Sawtelle as a place of gathering to eat, shop for J-pop influenced items, enjoy West L.A. obon, and visit the local nursery. To me, Sawtelle symbolizes HOURS of hula competition practices and bonding with hula sisters over a sweet treat from Pinkberry.

A Sho-Time Capsule: Stories about the Dodgers, Street Art & The Japanese Renaissance

By
Kevin Charles Keizuchi
I
May 4, 2024

Every time I go down to Little Tokyo I can't help but smile at the larger-than-life portrait towering over the Yagura. Shohei has become a fixture of the street. Kevin asks community members for their reactions to the new Shohei Ohtani mural.

The Death Deck Aims to Normalize Conversations About Death

By
Nicole Oshima
I
May 3, 2024

How comfortable are you with talking about death? Would you feel more comfortable talking about it over some beers and pizza with friends?

From Intern to C-suite: Embracing the Career Journey

By
Kenyon Mayeda
I
May 3, 2024

Initially, it wasn’t apparent how my connection to the community would help me advance my career, especially in the for-profit world. However, your unique mix of experiences and community connections may generate the most distinct and valuable ideas that anyone around you has seen.

Unsolicited Opinions on Ramen, from a Ramen Hater

By
Dani Yang
I
May 3, 2024

Perhaps the one that most often sparks conversation amongst friends and strangers alike (and is thus impulsively dropped into random moments of stalled conversation on my most annoying and devious of whims), is my dislike of ramen.

Between Queens: Reflections on Court Experiences from LA to SF to HI

By
Justin Kawaguchi
I
May 2, 2024

Reflections from this past year's three festival queens in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Honolulu!

Love in a Grocery Store Aisle

By
Alicia Tan
I
April 25, 2024

I know that for many, Little Tokyo is more than just a tourist spot. It’s a safe space for Japanese people to gather and participate in community activities and building. If a Japantown is supposed to be a safe space for Japanese people, then Japanese markets are my Japantown.

In Defense of Natto

By
Sean Macdonald
I
April 17, 2024

I contend, try natto. It may seem disgusting, but really dive deep and see for yourself.

dancing in the starshine | April 2024 radiYO! Playlists

By
Nicole Oshima
I
April 16, 2024

Celebrate the end of spring with playlists made by some of our favorite tastemakers.

laying under sakura trees | March 2024 radiYO! Playlists

By
Nicole Oshima
I
March 20, 2024

Celebrate cherry blossom szn with playlists made by some of our favorite tastemakers.

Traveling for "Free"

By
Kent Marume
I
March 16, 2024

Learn how I only spent around $1,250 this year on two roundtrip international flights, 10 nights in Japan, and three nights in Amsterdam. 

A Student's Guide to Organizing a Day of Remembrance

By
Alicia Tan
I
March 6, 2024

If you’ve ever been interested in organizing a Day of Remembrance ceremony for your community, here is a beginner-friendly guide from newbie Alicia Tan who successfully participated in the organization of two this year.

Studio Ghibli’s Mundane Masterpiece

By
Alicia Tan
I
January 18, 2024

If there’s one thing Studio Ghibli is known for, it’s their ability to create amazing fantasy worlds. So why is it that my favorite Studio Ghibli film takes place in our own mundane world?

“The Boy and the Heron” Prepares Studio Ghibli Fans to Say Goodbye

By
Alicia Tan
I
January 18, 2024

Although “The Boy and the Heron” encapsulates a profound message about physical loss, it also feels like a love letter to Studio Ghibli fans.

To my younger self: A semester into college, here’s what I know!

By
Alicia Tan
I
January 18, 2024

I just finished my first semester of college, and since college was always the one big milestone you were looking forward to, I’m here to let you know that things aren’t exactly how we expected them to be. Fear not, though, I’m here to quell all your worries and let you know how our first semester went.

Yo! This is Who I Am: Kevin Charles Keizuchi of The Shinsei Movement

By
Kevin Charles Keizuchi
I
January 18, 2024

If information is power, then shouldn’t we all strive for all the people in our community to feel powerful? 

Finding Home Everywhere

By
Meili Britton
I
January 12, 2024

As the daughter of a U.S. diplomat, I’ve never lived in any country longer than four years, my entire family packing up our lives and transplanting ourselves into a new culture any time my father’s job called for it. After years of trying to find home, I now balance many cultures and practices into a unique and ever-changing identity in search of peace and community.

Survive This Winter The Japanese Way!

By
Nicole Sato
I
December 19, 2023

How to survive winter, Japanese style

Okaeri 2023: A Beautiful and Transformative Conference

By
Jasmine Kono-Song
I
December 18, 2023

I was honored to be part of such a large gathering of queer and trans Nikkei. My feelings of shame were replaced with pride, as I heard Japanese Americans of different sexualities, genders, and generations share their stories.

Meet Lisa Aihara, Illustrator of “One Musubi For Me: Counting Things Japanese”

By
Nicole Oshima
I
December 10, 2023

We sat down with Lisa and her daughter Millie to let you in on who Lisa Aihara really is, and talk about her new book, "One Musubi For Me: Counting Things Japanese."

Nikkei Community Activities Directory

By
Kyle Okazaki
I
December 7, 2023

Looking for activities to do in Nikkei Communities? Check out our directory now!

Introducing the Latest Major Initiative from Yo! - the Yo! Accelerator

By
Craig Ishii
I
November 29, 2023

Introducing Yo! Accelerator - uniting and empowering builders and creators, driving innovation and lasting community impact.

Japanese Nonfluency

By
Kyle Okazaki
I
November 15, 2023

Coming to terms with knowing Spanish better than Japanese was embarrassing yet indicative of the uniqueness of Japanese American culture.