Frank Kitamoto: From shame to fame

A green van pulled alongside the Bainbridge Island ferry terminal and an elderly man, sporting a graying moustache and eyebrows, stepped out and greeted me in his cheery voice.

Dr. Frank Kitamoto, 65, the president of the Bainbridge Island Japanese Community (BIJAC), apologized for being late. He had been conducting a 55-minute slide presentation about the Japanese Internment during World War II to six classes in a local elementary school since 8 a.m. That, he said with a sigh of satisfied exhaustion, is his passion.

But little is known that Kitamoto used to struggle with his identity of being a Japanese when he was growing up. Sitting in a classroom mainly filled with Caucasians, he struggled with being in his own skin. The turning point came years later when a stranger reminded him “he was just like anyone else.”

“Gosh, I wished I was white then,” he said as we arrived at his dental office. He settled himself into a plush sofa in his office. The left wall in the office was filled from top to bottom with photo frames of his family, his wedding photos, and of the Japanese internment in Minidoka Internment Camp in Idaho

The Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, led to the U.S government suspicion of Japanese Americans. Two months later, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Executive Order 9066 that led to the forced relocation of tens of thousands of Japanese Americans to concentration camps in Idaho and California. Kitamoto and his family were among the 227 Bainbridge Japanese Americans, first of the 120,000, to be relocated on March 30, 1942. He was only two and the half years old then.

After World War II, Kitamoto returned to Bainbridge Island. However, the post-war atmosphere was not conducive in shaping his sense of identity. Yet, he overcame his identity crisis and sought to promote and preserve the history and culture of the Japanese Americans.

Here is the story of how a boy embraced his identity and became instrumental in shaping the American history today.

“It was hard growing up on Bainbridge, where there was nothing in school that talked about contributions of the minorities. It was hard to have a sense of identity,” said Kitamoto.

Ironically, the Japanese were pioneers on Bainbridge in the 19th century. They came to America for better prospects after the Meiji Restoration displaced the agricultural community with rapid industrialization. The Japanese became farmers on the island,

providing about seventy-five percent of western Washington’s vegetables and strawberries.

Yet, all this was never told in the history books. “All the pioneers were whites, which was not the case,” said Kitamoto. From elementary to high school, Kitamoto always hung out with the caucasians. His best friend, Tom Thatcher, was also white. Kitamoto never thought it was a good deal to be a Japanese.

“Frank never mentioned anything about going through the Japanese internment. It was like it never existed,” Thatcher said.

Thatcher described Kitamoto as being popular among students due to his multiple leadership positions and said he earned the admiration of girls. But the friendships were confined to school. “Frank would go home after school to help in his family berry- farming business. Many whites played basketball, but Frank did not as he was short.”

The turning point came when Kitamoto, then in college, attended a seminar for the Church of Christ youth group leaders. After the seminar, a Caucasian woman approached him and said: “ It’s the first time I’ve spent time with a Japanese and you are just like anyone else.”

That jolted him to the reality that no matter how hard he tried to be white, people still noticed the difference in skin color. He reached a state of epiphany: He was just as significant as anyone else despite his heritage.

“It was time I started caring about myself and finding out who I am,” said Kitamoto. When he got married and had a child, he did not want his son to go through what he did. It was this objective that brought him and his church friend, Ronald Nakata together on the oral history project in 1982.

The project aimed to collect pictures and oral accounts from Japanese Americans to preserve and promote their heritage. It was an uphill task.

After returning to Bainbridge, the Japanese Americans resumed their daily lives and swept the pains of the internment under the carpet. It was seen as being disrespectful to the government to criticize what they did, said Kitamoto. Children grew up without knowing what happened to their parents.

“People got mad at us and refused to cooperate, calling us ‘angry young men’,” recalls Kitamoto. They were afraid of being discriminated against if they brought the matter up. But he persevered and got the support of five other Japanese Americans. “We pounded our way through, and soon, more and more people were willing to open up.”

Kitamoto was instrumental in strengthening the ties of the Japanese community on Bainbridge and celebrating its ethnicity. He put together the first Teriyaki dinner and

mochi-making session to foster community pride. “If Frank was not there to passionately push for this event, it wouldn’t have continued till now,” said Clarence Moriwaki, vice-president of BIJAC. The BIJAC annual Reunion Potluck Picnic is still a well-received event among the community.

Kitamoto’s passion is not limited to Bainbridge. He traveled all over Washington and other states such as Oklahoma to conduct slide presentations to schools. The slides contained pictures and information about the history of the Japanese Americans.

Kitamoto uses the presentations to convey a deeper message about self-acceptance. “Children need to feel okay about who they are and realize they don’t have to be white to be successful.”

That mirrors his life philosophy too: “Do no harm and help people to become all they can become.” His favorite quote by Abraham Lincoln shows his peace-loving nature: “I don’t like that man, I got to know him better.”

“There is not a negative bone in him,” said his elder sister, Lily Kodama.

Kitamoto’s passion meant that his dental practice was often put on hold. “Frank could have been a wealthier man if he had not been so dedicated to his passion,” said Moriwaki. He set aside two rooms in his dental office to store the historical memorabilia for the upcoming memorial for the Japanese Americans who went through the internment. These rooms could have been rented, generating more income. Furthermore, his office is in a strategic location with high volume of traffic.

But Kitamoto considers wealth as secondary. “Though I am really tight on paying bills, I have decided that is not the most important thing. I wished I had more life to continue what I’m doing now,” he said.

Nevertheless, Kitamoto is wealthy in other ways. In 2000, he was awarded Island Treasure by Bainbridge Island Arts and Humanities Council for his commitment to preserving the Japanese community history. Congressman Jay Inslee honored him in U.S. Congress in 2003 for his dedication to his community.

Despite all his accomplishments, Kitamoto remains humble and focused on his passion. “He donates all of his time for free, taking time away from his dental practice to work with school children and other interested groups on the Japanese Americans history,” said Karen Matsumoto, a BIJAC member who worked with Kitamoto on the memorial.

“My brother has always been a leader, a pioneer in every right,” said Mrs. Kodamo. This was confirmed by an analysis of his character by naturopathic Jack Schwartz. “He said I was a cosmic turtle, someone who don’t see things to completion.” Kitamoto likes to delicate work to others. “I’m not a good organizer of information, but ideas just pop into my head,” he said. He sees himself as a seed planter.

When asked how many he had handed over to others, he replied: “All the projects,” and broke into his signature hearty laughter. “Well, except for the slide presentations,” he added.

Kitamoto’s influence ripples through the Japanese community on Bainbridge. “Frank is my role model, and he constantly inspires me through his kindness, dedication to the truth, and deep understanding of the importance of working toward social justice and upholding our civil liberties,” said Ms. Matsumoto.

Even his elder sister Mrs. Kodama salutes him: “I look up to him as my mentor instead of the other way round. When we see something that is not right, we will talk about it. But Frank will act upon it.”

Faith, this is well done. I like your decision to emphasize his identity quest as the theme of the story. And you return to that idea toward the end. I’ve edited a bit, so please let me know if you have questions. 19

Manga mania is here to stay.

Whenever Michael Rodriguez goes to Barnes & Nobles to grab his favorite copy of manga, he never fails to stop by the self-help section and browse through “Techniques in Drawing Female Manga Characters” by Hikaru Hayashi.

“I am hoping that one day, I can create a manga about my life,” says Rodriguez, who has been a manga fan since 2005. Whenever he is free, he will be hiding behind a comic book, which brings him into the fantasy world of wide-eye characters with exaggerated hairstyles and body types.

Yet lately, he has been contemplating taking a step further by learning how to draw manga, thanks to the smorgasbord of books teaching amateurs how to create their own manga. And Rodriguez is not alone.

According to Publishers Weekly, instructional books on manga creation such as Christopher Hart’s book Manga Mania  were at the top of Bookscan’s art book sales list for about six months in 2004. For example, Hart’s book remained in that list for 150 weeks.

And sales of manga have been brisk too. Not only is manga dominating the total sales of graphic novels with an estimated record of $200 million in 2006, (the estimated graphic novel sales is $330 million), it has become an influential medium in how youths communicate and is taking the American comic publishing industry by storm.

Like it or not, Manga mania is here to stay.

Tokyopop, one of the largest manga publishers in the USA, sponsors an annual manga competition called Rising Stars of Manga, in which the top three winners’ work will be published in a Tokyopop book. Its marketing strategy is to promote the idea that everyone can produce manga. Every year, they received about 5,000 entries from manga fans.

Not only have Americans jumped on the bandwagon of amateur mangaka (manga-writers), some have used it to express their culture and heritage. Native American Jessica Mofett drew and published her own manga-style comic called Tobias, a story about a boy who was kidnapped by invaders to his culture. The story mirrored the natives’ experience with the European settlers in the 18th century.

“Some parts of the story resemble Native American history – genocide, burning of their crops, destruction of livestock, racism, concentration camps, separation of families and the government forcing young children to attend boarding schools,” Moffett said to the newspaper Indian Country Today.

The influence of Japanese culture does not end with the Native Americans.

The manga craze has seen an influx of Americans taking Japanese classes so that they can read the original manga, said Misako Ito of the Japanese Foundation in an interview with Ronald Kelts, the author of Japanamerica. According to the Washington Post, the number of Americans studying Japanese increased from 127,000 in 1997 to an estimated three million in 2006.

Mark Hughes, a massage therapist in Capitol Hill and an avid manga fan, said he has been learning Japanese for the past two years so that he could read Japanese manga if the English-translated ones get cancelled midway. He reads mostly political manga such as Eagle, a profile of the first American-Japanese president of the USA’s route to office.

Comics such as Eagle appeal to people like Hughes whose taste lies out of the typical American superheros genre. Manga appeals to a wide variety of audience, from teenagers to even a 65-year-old man who got hooked after reading the first issue of “Fullmetal Alchemist”, a science fantasy manga.

“That’s because manga produces a variety of genres that Marvel and DC don’t,” said Aron Tarbuck, the owner of The Dreaming, a comic bookstore in the University District. Marvel and DC comics are the two leading American comic publishers. Tarbuck said that the most popular manga genres include fantasy, comedy, science fiction, horror and romance. And they appeal to girls, especially the romance titles, which Marvel and DC have overlooked. Marvel and DC target the male market segment with their superheroes genre.

In addition, young Americans find manga refreshing. Said Fred Schodt in an interview in Japanamerica: “To many young Americans, Japanese pop culture has a feeling of being ‘fresh’, and it can therefore be perceived as an alternative to native (U.S.) pop-culture traditions”.

Hughes agrees. “The Japanese culture contained in the manga is interesting. Japanese have a different sense of humor. Some things are not shocking to them, but are to us. Some things are funny to them, but not to us. It is always fun to figure that out.”

Manga writers also dare to explore various fantasies and imaginations that may seem socially unacceptable to most Americans. Graphic depiction of sex, rape, unnatural sex with robots and aliens are part and parcel of manga. And some Americans find it more fascinating than Playboy and Penthouse comics.

“When I think about western pornography, it’s not terribly interesting,” says author Susan Napier in Japanamerica, “But I find the Japanese stuff very imaginative. Playboy and Penthouse have their comics, but they’re not well developed. Usually four panels, and that’s it.”

Kyle McDaniel, a Samurai (Japanese warrior) comic fan, said that the manga writers trust readers to understand the complexities in the plot, and have less inhibition, which the American writers are restricted to.

“I’m not afraid of seeing pubic hair, I have pubic hair everywhere!” McDaniel said, pointing to his beard.

American comics content is governed by a strict comics code approved by the Comics Code Authority in which “Illicit sex relations are neither to be hinted at nor portrayed.” and “Violent love scenes as well as sexual abnormalities are unacceptable.”

Thus, manga is fresh and bold in the eyes of the Americans, who have years been deprived of explicit and daring story plots.

Manga’s popularity has spurred American publishers to produce their own versions of manga called Original English Language (OEL) manga. The Publishers Weekly predicted in 2005 that the OEL manga was to be “a growing and potentially significant phenomenon in the U.S. comics market”, and Tokyopop had plans to “publish 50 titles in the next two years.”

These mangas are produced by American comic writers, and have story plots and illustrations very similar to manga. Crossing midnight, a manga about the spiritual aftermath of Hiroshima by Mike Carey, Jim Fern and Mark Pennington, is an example of OEL that tries to emulate manga. Tarbuck explains that one of the dominant themes in manga is the Japanese culture and World War II aftermath.

Manga has its roots back in post-war Japan, where the Japanese used comics to make sense of what was happening after Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Yet, on the contrary, manga is not entirely “Made in Japan”. USA has been Japan’s main source of economic and cultural influence after World War II. Hence, the transfer of culture between two nations has been rather porous.

Syracuse University pop-culture guru Robert Thompson said in an email to The Florida Times Union in 2005: “Since the occupation after the Second World War, Japan absorbed enormous quantities of American pop culture. . . Japanese Samurai movies borrowed heavily from American westerns, just as Pokemon borrowed from American comic traditions, but in both cases what they added made these forms seem excited and different.”

“It’s kind of like rock ‘n’ roll music: It starts in the U.S., heads overseas for some cultural laundering and comes back again in the form of the British invasion.”

For instance, Walt Disney influenced “God of Manga” Osamu Tezuka, the creator of Astro Boy. Otomo Katsuhiro’s Akira dealt with Western ideas and cultures such as the big bang theory that made it easy for his work to be exported to Western countries. Both types of comics deal with the superheroes theme.

The popularity of manga has awakened the two sleeping giants in the American comics publishing industry. In the recent two years, DC comics obtained licenses to publish a series of manga called CMX. Marvel has started a manga series called Mangaverse, which features superhero icons such as Spiderman as part of a Ninja clan. The illustrations in Mangaverse resembled the manga styles. These manga titles are however, not popular with the American fan base.

“I don’t know who the creators are, and no customers ordered these titles,” said Tarbuck, referring to the CMX series.

Nathan Oliver, a manga and Japanese anime fan, criticized the OEL, saying, “the creators don’t have the vision, they should just leave it alone.”

Hughes, who got a free copy of OEL at a manga convention, described it as “pretty dumb and boring.”

Even if their manga titles are still in their infancy stages, Marvel and DC have their back-up plans. Frank Miller, the creator of Batman, has injected a new twist to the story plot by making batman into a Ninja. In addition, Kia Asamiya, a Japanese manga artist, was asked to illustrate Batman in the manga fashion. Batman has also been made into an anime.

“It’s interesting to see our culture tied together in Literature,” said McDaniel.

While it seems that manga has infiltrated the American culture and comics, Leonard Rifas, the first republisher of manga in USA, doubts that the superheroes will disappear from the comics world.

Tarbuck agrees. “Superman is the icon of America and DC comics will always strive to maintain that by continuously propagating the character in movies and merchandise.”

“And that’s stopping manga from crashing totally through the door,” he added.

Rodriguez, though a manga fanatic, does not want to see Superman die. “I still want my superheroes, they are who I grew up with.”

View photos here: http://huifenh.files.wordpress.com/2008/08/361_mangaphotos.ppt

“Good reporting here, Faith. I’m impressed by the range of sources and aware that you’ve looked at the subject from several different angles. You really need what I’ve called a “nut paragraph” in the piece, about where you begin, “Like it or not”  The nut graf shows that you are going to examine the origins of the style, look at issues related to its pre-emption by U.S. comics, and other matters.  The richness of your reporting isn’t immediately obvious without the nut graf.  Come by sometime and let me show how that would work.

The art is impressive.  Thanks for doing that.

4.0-“Roger Simpson, instructor for University of Washington COM 361 Advanced reporting and newsriting Winter Qtr 2008

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

The museum curator, the multi-tasker.

He is an archaeology professor, a researcher, a fund raiser, a Public Relations Officer, an excavator of historical sites in East Timor, a Bahasa Indonesia  translator, a mentor for his graduate students, an honors advisor with the Department of Anthropology and – occasionally — a part-time nanny.

On top of all that, he is also the curator of the Burke Museum.

His typical day starts at 6 a.m. and ends at 9 p.m., with him still on his computer at home. After breakfast, he drives his daughter to her nanny’s home at Shoreline, before going to work. In his office, he responds to emails, makes phone calls, and briskly walks over to his lab in the Burke Museum.

Nearing his lunch hour, he hurries back to his office and scans a graduate student’s dissertation proposal before the student arrives for consultation.

At noon, it is still not lunch yet. He scans through the applications for a fellowship to the department before meeting the selection committee. The multi-tasker grabs lunch from the HUB and eats it at his desk. One hand shoving food into his mouth, the other typing away. He is racing against time to complete his conference paper due in three weeks.

He makes arrangements for his Indonesian co-author of the paper to fly here next week for a meeting. During that short lunch break, he also tries to work out the syllabus for his spring class on the Archaeology of War.

He finishes his last bite and heaves a sigh of relief. But is not the end. He rushes to meet a collaborator for a new project’s web site that will educate the public about how Seattle’s landscape has altered in the last 10,000 years.

The time now is 2:30 p.m. He is in the midst of an interview with an Information Science graduate student on the technical aspects of being a curator. He makes time for people who want to learn more about what he is doing.

At 4 p.m., he attends the monthly curators meeting at the Burke.

And just when you think the working hours are over at dusk, he goes for a dinner and a maritime history lecture at South Lake Union, hoping to establish connections with people involved in the future Lake Union Shipwreck survey. He drives home at 9 and continues to check his emails.

Meet Peter Lape, the 40-year-old curator of Archaeology at the Burke Museum and professor at the University of Washington Department of Anthropology whose life is so packed he hardly has time to breathe. Despite all this, he says he totally loves his job.

“I’m the boss!” he says, referring to the amount of independence he gets in his research work. Besides that, he loves teaching archaeology.

“When students are engaged, it keeps my energy alive,” says Peter.

Peter’s interest in archaeology, in particularly settlements and migration, manifested when he was young. He grew up in a rural area in New Hampshire. As a kid, he and his friends would play in the woods and imagined themselves as pioneers setting up villages with trade systems. His interest in Indonesia and East Timor, countries made up of many islands, developed from his childhood boating days.

Despite his childhood interests, Peter did not pursue a degree in archaeology, but a physics degree from the University of New Hampshire.

“I like solving puzzles, using visual elements to answer questions, but it lacked the human touch,” says Peter.

His first career was as an engineer. ”I hated being an engineer,” he says, his eyebrows buckling into a frown.

After a year, he quit and worked in a science museum where he designed educational programs for the public. It was during his museum stint that he developed his interest in archaeology and teaching too. He tested the water by taking an elective in archaeology while he was pursuing his masters. On the first day of class, he knew he had hit the bull’s eye.

“Archaeology combined what I like, physics, people, traveling, outdoors and teaching,” said Peter, his eyes glistening with excitement as he recalled the moment. He graduated from San Francisco State University with a Master’s in Museum Studies in 1995 and went on to pursue his doctorate in Anthropology at Brown University.

Despite coming from a physics background, Peter loves writing and that helped him ace his graduate education and win his wife’s heart. In college, he started a literary magazine called Cake with two friends. They published anything they liked and sold it for six dollars. His wife, of Native American and Filipino heritage, came across his magazine in Boston and was impressed by it. One day, by sheer coincidence, they took a class together in college and she recognized him.

“Aren’t you the guy behind Cake?” she asked. And they hit it off well. The couple married and have a 3 1/2-year-old daughter named Isabel. Cake, however, died after two issues.

Peter’s research for his Ph.D on Islam and migration brought him to Banda, Indonesia, where he lived for two years. However, when a conflict between the Christians and the Muslims broke out in 1998, Peter was forced to leave. An opportunity to continue research at East Timor came and he grabbed it.

“East Timor is untouched by any archaeologists as it has been ravaged by years of war against Indonesia for independence. Since I am always interested to explore different places, I went for it.” says Peter.

He made the effort to learn Bahasa Indonesia, the language spoken in East Timor and Indonesia, at the Arizona State University in 1996 for two months and acted as a translator between the villagers and the American excavation teams.

His connection to East Timor and Indonesia is deeply rooted. He goes there once a year and has conducted two field schools, in which American students work alongside Indonesian students from the Gadjah Mandd University of Yokjakarta on excavation sites.

The experiences in the field schools have always been eventful. Once the team was excavating a site in East Timor and needed to exhume some human remains. It was a huge debate among the villagers. The village chief gave the green light but Peter was still uncertain.

“I was nervous, I knew some people were upset.”

After the project, the team drove out of the village but was stopped by the chief.

“I want everyone to come out,” the chief said in Bahasa Indonesia. Peter started to get worried. The team followed the chief and discovered a big feast awaiting them. They were the guests of honor.

“All tensions were resolved, and this indicated that the people trusted us,” Peter says.

Communication is the key. “Even though I am an archaeologist, I must ask the people what their concerns are and tell them what we are doing all the time.”

And communication skills are also essential for Peter’s fund-raising efforts for the Burke. Peter is also the Public Relations Officer for Burke’s projects. He often meets wealthy businesspeople for dinner to coax them into donating.

“It’s something I don’t like to do because I’m shy. But funding for research and securing exhibits come from them,” Peter laments.

“That is something people do not know about museum curators. They associate our job with dinosaurs fossils.” Blame it on the movie “Jurassic Park”.

Besides entertaining wealthy businesspeople, there are other aspects of his job that irks him.

He hates writing journal articles on his research findings. “It’s so painful! I have to force myself to sit down and write it and the worse thing is, I am a procrastinator.”

Laura Phillips, an archaeology collections manager who works under Peter, agrees. “We had a small and stupid museum budget task due the next day, and he was annoyed about having to do it. He decided to go sailing that afternoon! He ended up burning the midnight oil.”
Because of the multiple jobs he juggles, Peter admits that his family time suffered. He used to work till late at night, but all this changed when his daughter came.

“I don’t work on weekends anymore, but it is hard because my job demands 50-60 hours per week. And I love all my projects and work so much I don’t want to give up any, well, except for the meetings,” he quips.

But Peter injects humor into his meetings to make the mundane come alive. Describes Laura: “We have group meetings once a week during which he listens to our activity reports, then develops a summary that is humorous and concise. These summaries make us seem like we are working as a tight, happy team even though we mostly work on projects individually.”

Of all the tasks under his belt, Peter finds teaching one of the most challenging. “I can’t blow it,” he said. “I have to be 100 percent prepared and fully engaged as students depend on me for information and pay for me to do a good job.” His efforts at teaching pay off when students get an average of 3.0 for his classes.

And that’s because Peter is a demanding instructor. Emily Peterson, a graduate student who took several classes under him, says Peter is “not an easy grader and always gave plenty of readings. But he is not unreasonable.”

Peter encourages his students to be independent thinkers too, says Peterson. “He is focused on helping students develop their own ideas and opinions through discussions instead of lectures.”

And Peter has been an inspiring role model to his students too. Peterson, who describes herself as shy, had doubts about succeeding as many outstanding professors and researchers are extroverts.  But when she observes how a shy Peter, who seems a little uncomfortable being in front of the class, has succeeded in academia, “It gives me hope,” she says.

Peter is very established and recognized in his industry, with 19 publications in his name, 13 research grants and fellowships and won three awards for his teaching programs.

But the most challenging task comes from being a father. His work and hobbies have to be secondary to his daughter’s needs.

“Ring!” the antique phone in the kitchen rang on a cloudy Monday morning. It was Isabel’s nanny. Her voice sounded raspy and hoarse.

“I’m sorry but I can’t baby-sit Isabel today–I’m down with a flu,” she said.

Peter rushed to make phone calls and shoot emails to cancel appointments made that day. He was going to be a part-time nanny.

His weekends are devoted to his “precious princess”. Last Saturday, he took her sledding in the mountains. His daughter tags along when he has dinner with his friends in the evening. On Sunday, he cleans the house and goes to the beach. Only when his “princess” takes a nap does he have time to work on restoring his 1972 BMW car and maintain his wood sailboat.

Isabel is always on his mind. When he misses her while at work, he gazed at her photos pasted on the wall above his computer. Isabel has dark skin–inherited from her mother–black hair, and a bright smile.

And beside Isabel’s photos are photos from Peter’s time in Indonesia. His office is decorated with rugs from Indonesia. One of them is a gift from his wife and is a traditional cloth that symbolizes love. His bookshelf is loaded with books on the archaeology of Indonesia. On the wall near the entrance hang two portraits of early humans, with big noses, dark skin, and long black hair.

“I am interested in how early humans looked, and how westerners have depicted foreigners in the past,” he explains as he gives me a tour around his office.

His appreciation for archaeology extends to natural history. “When I drive down the Viaduct, I am always amazed at the changes that happened and try to imagine the earthquake that dropped Seattle 35 feet and a tsunami that ate Whidbey Island,” he says. “ I will be praying, please, don’t let that happen now,” he said with a chuckle.

Peter does not abide by the term, “Once a curator, always a curator”. He intends to be a curator for only 10 years, and is in his eighth year. He was a curator at the Burke since 2000 after obtaining his doctorate.

“I want to become a boat builder, a journalist, or open a restaurant,” Peter says, “I need change in my life to stay interested and engaged.”

But right now, Peter remains passionate about his job.

As the first rays from the sun peek through the horizon, Peter is up on his feet once again, ready to conquer the tsunami of tasks before him. But he braves through it with a smile. His work attitude could perhaps be best described by this phrase: “Atasan saya. Saya cinta pekerjaanmu.”(Bahasa Indonesia: I am the boss. I totally love my job!)

COM 467 – FEATURE WRITING–GRADE SHEET

Student Name:    ______Faith____________ Date: __March 10, 2008__Grade: __99__

Grade:     Each of the following is worth 10 points for your total grade of 100.

1.Peer review: Did the article receive a peer review prior to its being turning in?    10

2. Deadline: Was the article turned in the day it was due?   10

3. Appropriate length: Is the article the required word count?   10

4. Format: Are the lead paragraphs sufficiently interesting to draw in readers? Are body paragraphs well organized around a central idea? Do the concluding paragraph(s) end with a provocative idea or other special treatment?     See notes in text regarding lede.  8   10

5. Logic and support: Are all assertions and claims presented in the article supported with facts? Are all sources of information cited? Is the information credible? 10

6. Type of story: Is the article written in feature style, as opposed to straight news style? Does the content conform to the definition of a feature story? Is there a strong human-interest element present?   10

7. Sufficient details: Are there enough details to cover the questions of Who? What? When? Where? Why? How? (5 Ws and 1 H) Do you answer all the basic questions that a reader might have?  You’ve done a good job detailing his life, his work and his passions. What about his accomplishments – has he won any awards, been noted anywhere special? A google search might be able to answer this – or perhaps the Burke has his biography posted somewhere.  Also, how long has he been curator of the Burke; did he have another curator job before this one? 7  9

8. Original and specific information: Does the writer use evocative details and facts to share a full (“virtual reality”) experience with readers? Is this information widely available, or is the information unique and interesting?   10

9. Social value, tone and reader interest: Do you provide readers with timely, interesting, valuable and well-focused information?     Good topic.   10

10. Editing: Grammar mechanics and sentence syntax    (see notes in text for specifics)   6   10

SENTENCE SYNTAX & WORD ORDER:          GRAMMAR RULES:                  PUNCTUATION USE:
______ Sentence Variety                 __x__Verb Tenses                   ______  comma (,)
______ Subjunctive Mood              ______ Subject-Verb Agreement             ______ colon (:)
______ Coordinate (Compound)             ______ Possessives                      _____semicolon (;)
______ Subordinate (Complex)             ______ Singular/Plural                   __x___ period (.)
______ Use of Lists                 ______ Capitalization                   ______ quotations
______ Imperative                 ______ Lower Case                              (” “)
______ Question Form                 ______ Modifiers (misplaced/dangling) _____ampersand (&)
______ Parallelism in Construction             ______ Number Use                _____ quote within a
______ Fragments                  __x___ Article Use                   quotation
__x___ Run-Ons / Comma Splice              ______ Pronoun:                                (” ‘ ‘ “)
__x___ Wordiness                   ______ Object Pronoun             ______ percentage (%)
______ Double Negative                  ______ Participle Form             ______ asterisk use (*)
______ Shifts in Point of View             __x__ Preposition Use             ______ degree/temp.
______ Descriptive Clause             _____ Pronoun Reference          ______ apostrophe (‘)
______ Use of Cliché                 ______ Gender-Biased Language        ______ (parenthesis)

WORD USE:                     ______ Verbs: Active/PassiveUse       ______ a.m./p.m.
______ Underlining/Italicizing             ______ Missing Object             ______dash (–)
__x___ Diction Level/Word Choice         ______ Comparative             ______ hyphen (-)
__x___ Spelling                     ______ Superlative             ______ exclamation (!)
______ Adjective Use             ______ question mark
______ Conjunctions             ______ $ sign
______ Adverb Use             ______ Abbreviation

Do not eat that carrot

Before you bite into that carrot, STOP. It has traveled 1,838 miles from California to your plate. This means that tons of harmful carbon was had been emitted from the trucks and airplanes that brought the innocent carrot to your plate.

A simple carrot is contributing to global warming in significant, but unseen ways. The United States is the biggest emitter of harmful greenhouse gases that contribute to the gradual destruction of the Earth. While the U.S. makes up only 4 percent of the world’s population, it is responsible for 25 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emission. It was criticized for protecting its economic interest when it refused to join the Kyoto Protocol in 2006, an international agreement to reduce carbon emissions. While the federal government is slow in working towards an agreement, the people in America are responding to Mother Nature’s fury.

In recent years, there has had been a push to consume local produce, or food that is harvested in environmentally -friendly ways. A carrot produced in Washington State requires only 27 food miles to reach its consumer. Food miles are calculated by the distance from the point of production to the point of use over the weight of the food. Supermarkets that sell solely local or organic food such as Whole Foods Market and Puget Consumer Coop (PCC) are becoming more mainstream. Farmers’ markets, where local farmers peddle their fresh goods, are sprouting all over the states.

However, just how much do we know about eating local produce? How much are we willing to alter our lifestyle to save the Earth?

“It’s too much a hassle to try to eat in such a goody-two-shoe fashion. I just grabbed whatever that is convenient and cheap,” said Evan Thomas, a finance senior at UW.

Like Thomas, many have the misconception that eating local food requires extra effort. However, there are simple steps that can make it easier to do.

But firstly, one needs to understand the term “local produce”, which can be rather vague, says Goldie Caughlan, PCC Nutrition Education Manager. “It does not necessarily mean grown sustainably without pesticides or grown to high organic standards,” she adds. It can be grown using synthetic fertilizers or be genetically modified.

The chemicals from the fertilizers are absorbed into the soil and mixed with underground water.  When the water flows into the rivers, it is hazardous for marine creatures and contaminates our drinking water.

Also, does local mean food produced in the United States? Or does it mean food produced in Washington State? Whole Foods Market’s definition of “local” refers to places that are within seven hours drive away from Washington. This includes Oregon, Idaho and some parts of Canada.

But where can we start? It seemed that gone are the days when the conventional grocery stores were lined with local produce. When was the last time you ate something with the proud label: “Made in USA”

Grapes? From Chile. Bananas? From Columbia. It seems that the convenient Safeway is not a good place to start. Do we have to travel a few miles just to get local produce? “I’m too busy! I don’t have a car!”, some will complain. However, with just a little knowledge and observation, shopping for local and organic produce in a conventional supermarket is as easy as ABC.

“Check the labels of the food to see where it comes from,” says Lynne Varner, a recent convert to local and organic food. The Seattle Times journalist was determined to reduce pollution by eating only food that is produced within a 100-mile radius from where she lives east of Seattle after reading Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetables, Miracle: A Year of Food Life. Kingsolver documented how her family ate whatever they produced in their own garden for a year.

Varner points out that fruits have labels on them indicating the country of origin production. For example, a packet of grapes from Safeway will have a small print at the bottom, “Product of Chile” If there is no information given, knowledge of the region and season’s produce will help you identify if the food is imported. A kiwi is best grown in New Zealand and a banana, in Mexico or Venezuela. This will help you estimate the food miles and carbon “foodprint” in your food. Websites such as http://www.foodnetwork.com give a comprehensive list of fruits and vegetables of different seasons.

But are we going to eat just the winter season produce? Fret not. There are various homemade recipes to enjoy non-seasonal food but they take planning.

“Put your berries in a zip-lock bag and leave it into the freezer in summer,” says Brad Flannery, Whole Foods Market Produce Department team leader. That way, you can still enjoy your berries in winter. Dehydration and canning are two other options, but are more expensive and laborious, he adds.

However, it is ultimately the choice of the consumers, says Flannery. Varner makes an exception for food that is beyond her 100-mile boundary if “what I eat helps poorer countries.”

For those who find searching for local produce in Safeway akin to finding a needle in the haystack, a grocery store dedicated to local produce and organic food would be a better alternative.

Whole Foods Market, which has five stores in Washington, has a wide selection of local produce from 2,000 different small-scale regional farms. Since the harvest travels a shorter distance to the market, it requires fewer food miles and emits fewer greenhouse gases. Whole Foods tries to model after the conventional supermarkets by selling the local and organic versions of snacks such as Pop Tart’s. Shoppers are spoiled with for choices for local beers, cereals, chocolates, condiments, etc.

But shopping at these niche grocery stores may cost more, says Milton Artis, the marketing specialist at Whole Foods Market. “The price differs from a few cents to a dollar more than non-local produce or non-organic food, depending on the type of food,” he said. In addition, small-scale local farms lack the economies of scale to lower costs of production.

Similarly for the farmers’ markets, a pound of broccoli costs a dollar more than what is offered at in Safeway.

Abigail Huang, a Singapore exchange student to UW, says although she loves visiting the Farmers’ Market, which operates in the University District every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., she gets her groceries from Safeway instead. “Cost is a huge barrier,” she said.

Artis, however, looks at the long-term value of eating local and organic food. “Eating local helps sustain the local economy and reduce global warming. Organic food has a higher content of nutrients,” he said.

Safeway, Whole Foods or Farmers’ Market? How about “My Backyard Farm”? There is a wealth of information in magazines, books and the Internet on gardening. Varner picked up her gardening skills by reading Sunset Magazine, which provides tips on what grows best in the Puget Sound and how to grow them. She has successfully grown peas and tomatoes in her garden, and is planning to have her own greenhouse in the  future.

As for all neophytes, persuading our family to join us in eating local is tough.
Varner talks to her seven-year-old son about the benefits of eating local produce and she suggests getting connected to other families who think likewise.

“Kids succumb to peer pressure easily. When our friends’ kids eat local produce, my son will follow suit,” says Varner.

Eating local produce may mean a palate adjustment. Varner advises us to think simple. “When you were a child, you had a limited palate. The food we ate was simple stuff like cheese and tomatoes. But as you grow up, you eat a greater variety of food, but this will increase the area where your food comes from.”

If all things fail, there are always organizations that help us get connected to a like-minded community to share recipes, tips and great food together. Slow Food USA promotes buying food from local farming communities and taking time to enjoy life and savor food.

Though not a member of Slow Food USA, Varner recognizes the joy of cooking and preparing food from scratch. “The more I make my own food, the more I like what I’m eating. I will just have my son sit in the kitchen with me, put on some music, and smell the aroma of my hard work. It’s a great anticipation to see the final result, from earth to plate.”

Grade: 99/100

The Journey to Maine

EXCELLENT!!!! You worked hard on this!

As she entered Mars Hill, Maine, Vandora Paul’s stomach did a nervous dance. Her heart pounded at break-neck speed. After 23 years, she had to revisit her painful past. She looked at the streets, where she recalled being stared at for her skin color. The memories are still so vivid.

“Kids would spit at me, pull my hair, throw books on my head and call me names,” said Vandora, a North American Indian from the tribe of Micmac. Raised until age 6 in New York City, a “United Nations,” she describes, she never knew racial discrimination existed. In 1975, her family relocated to an old, run-down school building in Mars Hill to escape from her father.

“My dad would beat up my mum and I. She left him to protect us,” said Vandora. It was difficult for him to trace them in Mars Hill, where there were only three Indian families and no reservations for the Micmacs.

It was studying in Aroostook County Elementary School that jolted her to the reality of racial prejudice. “I would hide near the book shelf at the back of the classroom during recess to prevent the white kids from bullying me,” said Vandora, “but the teachers would pull me out to join the rest. They didn’t understand.” One did.

Mrs. Hickey, a white lady, encouraged Vandora to verbalize her feelings and stand up for herself: “Don’t back down or show them you are scared!” she would tell Vandora.

Vandora tried, but the discrimination continued. One night, while her whole family was in the dining room, Vandora spotted a shadow outside. She smelled smoke. The house was in flames! The vandal was never caught, and soon they moved into an apartment downtown.

The situation did not improve. “People would drive by and throw beer bottles at us,” she said.
“When I walked down the street, people would give a mean stare and restaurants would reject us. I felt unwanted.”

“I kept asking why did people hate me, is it just because I’m brown?” Because of her father’s past, her mother never told her about her heritage.

It was her grandmother who told her the truth when she was nine. “She sat me down one day,” Vandora recalled, “and told me to be proud of who I am. A Native American.”

“They called you names because they are jealous that our ancestors were the first to step on the soil of America, and because we have our own land,” her grandmother said.

Tensions had always existed between the Caucasians and the Natives, but it aggravated by the 1970’s legal tussle over some 12.5 million acres of land that the Natives thought they rightfully deserved. Yet it was the Indians like Vandora who lived off reservations that bore the brunt of the antagonism.

The Maine Advisory Committee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights meeting on October 1979 described: “The non-reservation Indians have been subjected to the wrath of a confused non-Indian population which believes that all Maine Indians will be ‘on easy street’ as the result of the suit.”

The Central Maine Indian Association estimates about 2,600 Indians lived off reservation, while 1,300 lived on reservation in 1970.

Vandora’s struggle with racial prejudice ended when Vandora’s mother married a man-also a Micmac- and her whole family relocated to the Indian Brook Reservation in Nova Scotia, Canada, in 1982.

“I was so relieved to leave. I hated the place,” Vandora said grimly. “I wouldn’t want to return to a place where I felt unwelcomed.”

But in 2005, she promised her grandmother to return with her. The Micmac tribe was allocated the Presque Isle Indian Reservation in the 1980’s. There are now about 10,572 Natives in Maine, compared to only 4000 in 1970.

Vandora got out of her car. She could not believe she was back. The place had a new lease of life. The air of tension and hatred had vanished.

“Good morning!” said a young man carrying a bag of groceries. Vandora gave him a weird stare.

“You are a pretty Indian woman,” the man said. Vandora was shocked. She had expected the usual nasty look. There was a 180-degree change. As she walked along the streets, people greeted her. She was served warmly in restaurants.

“They were basically saying, come join us, you are one of us too!” said Vandora.

She visited her high school and observed a class playing on the field. Indians, Whites, Asians and Blacks were free to walk around without being harassed for their skin colors.

“The new generation of Americans has become more accepting of different races,” said Vandora.

“Being welcomed back was the best experience in my life,” she said, her voice quivering. “Their actions were like a way of apologizing for what they have done to my community 23 years ago.”

COM 467 – FEATURE WRITING–GRADE SHEET

Student Name:    _____FAITH__________________ Date: __Jan. 30, 2008___Grade: _100___

Grade:     Each of the following is worth 10 points for your total grade of 100.

1.Peer review: Did the article receive a peer review prior to its being turning in?    10

2. Deadline: Was the article turned in the day it was due?   10

3. Appropriate length: Is the article the required word count? This is a wonderful story but it is way too long! The assignment was “about 750”; 800 would be tops. This is over 1,200. You worked too hard!           5      10

4. Format: Are the lead paragraphs sufficiently interesting to draw in readers? Are body paragraphs well organized around a central idea? Do the concluding paragraph(s) end with a provocative idea or other special treatment?     I like the lede but the time element is a little confusing (see my suggestions in text). The ending quote is terrific.    7     10

5. Logic and support: Are all assertions and claims presented in the article supported with facts? Are all sources of information cited? Is the information credible? It is very clear that you interviewed Vandora for most of your information, and you have cited the sources of other information.   10

6. Type of story: Is the article written in feature style, as opposed to straight news style? Does the content conform to the definition of a feature story? Is there a strong human-interest element present?  Yes, definitely.   10

7. Sufficient details: Are there enough details to cover the questions of Who? What? When? Where? Why? How? (5 Ws and 1 H) Do you answer all the basic questions that a reader might have? 9 (see my note about the lede)   10

8. Original and specific information: Does the writer use evocative details and facts to share a full (“virtual reality”) experience with readers? Is this information widely available, or is the information unique and interesting? A very interesting story! How amazing that you met this woman in a shopping center (is that right?)    10

9. Social value, tone and reader interest: Do you provide readers with timely, interesting, valuable and well-focused information?   Very timely; you did a good job of helping the reader feel this young woman’s experience of racism very personally.   10

10. Editing: Grammar mechanics and sentence syntax    (see notes in text for specifics)   8    10

SENTENCE SYNTAX & WORD ORDER:          GRAMMAR RULES:                  PUNCTUATION USE:
______ Sentence Variety             ______Verb Tenses                ___x__  comma (,)
______ Subjunctive Mood              ______ Subject-Verb Agreement                  ______ colon (:)
______ Coordinate (Compound)         ______ Possessives                     _____  semicolon (;)
______ Subordinate (Complex)         ______ Singular/Plural                   ______ period (.)
______ Use of Lists             ______ Capitalization                   __x___ quotations
______ Imperative                 ______ Lower Case                              (” “)
______ Question Form             ______ Modifiers (misplaced/dangling)          _____ampersand (&)
______ Parallelism in Construction         ______ Number Use                   __x__ quote within a
______ Fragments                  ______ Article Use                   quotation
______ Run-Ons / Comma Splice          ______ Pronoun:                                (” ‘ ‘ “)
__x___ Wordiness                   ______ Object Pronoun                ______ percentage (%)
______ Double Negative              ______ Participle Form                ______ asterisk use (*)
______ Shifts in Point of View         _____ Preposition Use                ______ degree/temp.
______ Descriptive Clause             _____ Pronoun Reference                      ______ apostrophe (‘)
______ Use of Cliché            ______ Gender-Biased Language                   ______ (parenthesis)

WORD USE:                 ______ Verbs: Active/PassiveUse                  ______ a.m./p.m.
______ Underlining/Italicizing         ______ Missing Object                ______dash (–)
___x__ Diction Level/Word Choice         ______ Comparative                ______ hyphen (-)
______ Spelling                 ______ Superlative             ______ exclamation (!)
______ Adjective Use             ______ question mark
______ Conjunctions             ______ $ sign
______ Adverb Use             ______ Abbreviation

Dunkin Donut pull off ad due to critcism by the blogosphere

Dunkin’ Donuts pulled off an add featuring celebrity chef Rachael Ray wearing a black-and-white fringed scarf on its website after criticisms by bloggers. The black-and-white scarf was said by blogger of Little Green Footballs to be typically worn by Muslim extremists. Conservative blogger Michelle Malkin fanned the flames by calling the scarf “jihadi chic”. The “fire” spread and soon, hundred of people posted comments condemning Dunkin’ Donuts.

This incident highlights the nature of the blogosphere. Firstly, it shows that companies are gradually responding to the bloggers and the big influence of the blogosphere on business models. Secondly, it shows the immediacy of the Internet makes response to public outcry faster. Definitely a good medium for social change, well, if used appropriately.

“Mr. Hirshberg said that the immediacy of the Internet made it seem like
an immediate response was necessary, no matter how far-fetched the
accusations. “The alternative is to assume that people will simply see
through it, draw their own conclusions, and chuckle it off,” he said.”

Top 3 reasons why bloggers should follow a code of ethics

How many times have you asked yourself if what you are reading on a blog is trustworthy? And what makes the blog trustworthy? The number of people who linked to this blogger? The number of votes the blog gets on Techmeme? Would it make things better if the blogger is transparent about his methods of getting news and state that he follows a code of ethics?

In the world of the Internet where anyone can assume any identity and anyone can manipulate digital information, it is increasingly harder to tell if a blogger is telling the truth. This all boils down to trust in the integrity of the blogger, which first and for most, must be build by adopting a code of ethics similar to that the SPJ code of ethics or the PRSA code of ethics.

1) Firstly, the blogosphere is gaining a strong presence in the field of mainstream journalism and shaping how journalism functions. Hence bloggers should also associate themselves with the way journalism work by adopting the code of ethics. The blogosphere’s sphere of influence can be seen in how almost every major newspaper such as The New York Times, The Seattle-PI, and the Washington Post have a blog section, and many people are turning to the blogosphere for news and political updates. The blogosphere also helped in breaking news and exposing unscrupulous methods of organizations to the public. In the light of wiki-journalism, and collaborative investigative journalism, bloggers have gained importance in how news are created. If reporters are going to use the information provided by the bloggers, these information must be credible and methods of acquiring them be transparent for all to see. Hence, it is necessary for the bloggers to adopt a similar code of ethics to ensure that the final output (published article) is pieced together with reliable information.

2) If blogs are shown in the public domain, it is necessary for the information to be true. When a piece of information goes public, there is a unspoken assumption that it is true. For example, when a poster advertising an event is posted in public places, the readers will trust that the information is true. Similarly, when a blog is in the public domain, it is under the same assumption that it is true. Although the Internet makes it easy to fake information and identity, people often have the assumption that a news and political blog is true because of the nature of its content. And the assumption that it has to be true is further accentuated by the fact that it is a political blog put on public. Furthermore, to put content for all to see shows that the blogger is confident that his content is accurate and able to withstand public scrutiny. Therefore, the assumption that all things on the public domain is true will mean that the blogger has to be accurate and ethical in his reporting. It would be easier for the blogger to remain accurate and ethical if he adopts a code of ethics that help guide his reporting.

3) Contrary to arguments that adopting a code of ethics may restrict what bloggers want to say via the blogosphere and going against the idea of free expression, having a code of ethics will give the blogger the liberty to express within a workable boundary. Often times, bloggers aren’t aware of what their rights are, what they can do or not do. They end up self-censoring themselves, and as a result, create a boundary within a boundary. With knowledge of the guidelines, they can exercise informed freedom.

Also, one must note that the extent of the freedom of expression varies from a personal blog to a political/news blog. The nature of the content carries different weight and influence and consequences. Like it or not, there is a limit on the amount of freedom of expression we can have on our political blog. For instance, you can rant about how much you hate your day and everyone around you without giving solid evidence. However, if you rant about how the government is inefficient and are corrupted, you need to prove it with evidence before you can freely express this statement. Hence, by virtue of the nature of the content on a political/news blog, there are restrictions on the bloggers’ freedom of expression.

With bloggers becoming more influential in the journalism field, the public will need to know if the bloggers are trustworthy. Thus, it is necessary for bloggers to adopt a code of ethics that increases their credibility and public trust. Furthermore, whatever is in the public domain is assumed to be true. Bloggers can also be informed about the framework in which they can operate within, thus reducing self-censorship. Public trust is often hard to build and maintain, but easy to tear down. Hence, adopting a code of ethics help draw the public closer to the blogosphere, and also serves as a reminder to the blogger to have integrity in his work. No one needs to be taught how to be ethical, but they need to be reminded of it.

Hence, go ahead, and start selecting certain codes that you want to operate by, and post them on your blog for all to see. Not only will you gain trust from your readers, soon, you may be getting a faithful group of followers who are hungry for truth, which you have promised to provide them in your code of ethics.