Asian Heritage Month 2021 Newsletter: issue two

Asian Heritage Month Newsletter

For much of the 20th century, North American and Western European culture dominated the global arts and culture landscape. Increasingly, the entertainment industries that thrive in Asia are becoming more prominent and mainstream with audiences of all languages and cultures: Bollywood is by far the world’s biggest film industry, Netflix has gotten into the game of producing anime and K-dramas, and YouTube is filled with videos of people from around the world dancing along to their favourite K-pop songs. Learn a little bit more about Asian arts and culture in today’s newsletter, and then dive a little deeper with our suggested library resources!

Learn more about Asian Heritage Month activities at University of Waterloo.

If you or someone you know is experiencing the impacts of anti-Asian hate and racism, you can get support from Waterloo’s Counselling Services, or visit Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion’s Anti-racism resources.

Arts and culture


Fun fact

The verb ‘katsu’ means to win or be victorious, so katsudon is considered a good luck meal to eat the night before an exam, performance or interview. This has become such a popular trend in Japan that katsudon often appears as a minor character in many anime series, including Food Wars, My Hero Academia and, of course, Yuri!!! on Ice.



Katsudon Yui on Ice ad

Learn how to make the deliciously simple and heart-warming katsudon dish (sometimes referred to as pork cutlet bowls) from the Anime Kitchen on YouTube.



Vancouver Chinatown postcardThis week’s puzzle is a postcard from 1960 of Vancouver’s Chinatown. Until the 1930s, Chinese residents were not able to purchase property outside of Chinatown. Instead of becoming overcrowded and poor, the community began to thrive, and it is a travel destination for many today.

"Postcard: Vancouver's Chinatown, 1960" by blizzy63 is marked with CC PDM 1.0


Recommended reads

A Tale for the Time Being bookcoverA Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki is a brilliantly inventive novel that brings together two stories from across the world. In Tokyo, Nao, a sixteen-year-old girl has decided that there is only one way to escape her classmates’ bullying and her aching loneliness. But before she ends it all she documents her great-grandmother’s life, a Buddhist nun whose lived for more than a century. Across the Pacific, Ruth, a novelist living on a remote island discovers a Hello Kitty lunchbox that has washed ashore. This lunchbox is filled with pages of handwritten letters and artifacts. Ruth is pulled into Nao’s life and is impacted in ways she can scarcely imagine.


Film fun

Kung Fu Hustle film coverKung Fu Hustle (2004). Set in 1940s Shanghai, this satirical martial-arts gangster film tells the story of poor village with some gifted locals, gangsters, and a wannabe gangster’s hero journey. A gem of a film that balances comedy, action, fantasy, and nostalgia from old-school martial arts films. Watch it now by logging into Criterion on demand using your library account!


A lesson in wellness

This past year has taught us, more than ever, the importance of self-care and maintaining our mental health. Mindfulness techniques are a great way to reduce stress and build resiliency. Number six on our list of mindfulness exercises (PDF) is spending time in nature. The Japanese have a word for this: shinrin-yoku, roughly translated as ‘forest bathing’. Learn more about the evidence-based health benefits of shinrin-yoku in this review published in the Journal of Environmental Research and Public HealthShinrin-Yoku (Forest Bathing) and Nature Therapy: A State-of-the-Art Review.


Support local Asian-owned businesses

Take advantage of the nice spring weather and get in your weekly shinrin-yoku by taking a stroll over to support an Asian-owned business. See our map of local Asian-owned business in the Kitchener-Waterloo area.