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Blog Posts by Subject: Asian Studies

May in the Reader's Den: "The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet" week three

Welcome to week three of May in the Reader's Den! This week, we continue our discussion of The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell, focusing on Part II — chapters fourteen through twenty-six.

The second section of The Thousand Autumns is a complete departure from the first. Gone is the narrative voice of Jacob de Zoet, and the chronicling of life on Dejima. In part two, Mitchell shifts 

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Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month: History and Resources

May is Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month. This month celebrates the contributions of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States.

In 1978, Congress passed a joint congressional resolution to observe and honor Asian American Heritage week during the first week of May. Historically, Asians have played an important role in American history. The week celebrates two anniversaries: the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants on May 7th, 

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Linsanity at NYPL: Resources

For the past several weeks, the world has been eyeing a young rising athlete named Jeremy Lin. Lin plays as a point guard for the New York Knicks. At age 23, he has been captivating the globe with his personality, skills, and victories.

Over the course of one evening, Lin became an international superstar in the field of basketball. 

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Bollywood and Africa: A Love Story

Few people in the West have heard international superstar Akon's new hit. But tens of millions throughout the rest of the world have been dancing to Chammak Challo for weeks. Why? Because the catchy tune is the musical centerpiece of the latest Bollywood sci-fi blockbuster Ra. One, whose (super) hero is no other than Shahrukh Khan, the most popular actor in the (rest of) the world. That Akon, a Senegalese,

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Being Spirited Away on Halloween: A Review

In the spirit of Halloween, I decided to avoid the typical horror films of vampires, zombies, ghosts,

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Comics at NYPL: A Research Guide

Please note: As of January 2017, Microforms Reading Room materials are located in room 119 of the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building.

This week the New York Comic Con is in town! From October 13 through 16, the New York Comic Con will be held in the Javits Center in Midtown Manhattan. This annual convention is dedicated to comics, 

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Indian Cooking: My Favorite Resources

Radha at night. Mughal painting ca. 1650., from Wikimedia commons

Are you looking for a healthy, flavorful, whole foods approach to cooking? Wherever you are on the vegan to meat-eating spectrum, Indian food offers a wide variety of tastes, colors, and textures guaranteed to appeal to every palate.

The most popular Indian cuisines 

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Origami Cranes: The Simple Yet Elegant Art of Folding a Piece of Paper

The most graceful way to come to terms with the memory of tragedy and destruction is often through the act of creation. In remembrance of the tenth anniversary of 9/11, staff and volunteers at the Battery Park City Library have been folding paper cranes for the past four months for a "Peace Crane Project." The culmination is a special origami exhibition displayed in the library throughout the month of September.

Japanese legend holds that if you fold a thousand origami cranes your wish will be granted.

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WOW in Celebration of Asian-Pacific American Heritage

WOW @ The Library presents a selection of recent fiction and nonfiction titles for adults and young adults portraying the incredible life stories, struggles, and strengths of remarkable women in celebration of Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month in May.


The Breadwinner Trilogy By Deborah Ellis

After her father’s unjust arrest, young Parvana did 

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The Year of the Rabbit

According to the Chinese Lunar Calendar, 2011 is the year of the rabbit, a zodiac symbol that is equivalent to Pisces in the Western tradition. This year the festival begins on February 3rd and ends sometime on the 17th but the celebrations may continue beyond that date in some households.  Some people may host special dinners on the eve of February 2nd to mark a new year of 

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Life After English Class: Yoko's Story

Yoko and Jacqueline reading at a Learning CelebrationYoko, a former student from Japan, stopped by the Tompkins Square Library's Center for Reading and Writing to say hello.  I took the opportunity to ask her a few questions.    

How did you find the Center for Reading and Writing?

It was in 2003, November maybe.  I actually visited other libraries and I was looking for a conversation class.  I think I 

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Students at Seward Park Adult Literacy Program Discuss Three Faiths Exhibit

Last week, a group of adult students and volunteer tutors at the Seward Park Library's Center for Reading and Writing, the library's free adult literacy program, gathered for an introduction to the Three Faiths: Judaism, Christianity, Islam exhibit at Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, and to gauge interest in a field trip. 

"Who has been to the 42nd Street Library—the 

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The Reader's Den Questions for Week 4: "The Rooster Coop"

In his novel, Adiga highlights the dichotomy between the rich and the poor. He discusses the poorer Indian peoples' subservient relationship with their rich masters and their reluctance to rebel against the establishment because of ingrained and learned beliefs passed down from generation to generation. The rooster coop reflects the desperate existence of the poor in India and the perpetual power of the rich to manipulate the system to suit their needs. "Hundreds of pale hens and brightly colored roosters, stuffed tightly into wire-mesh cages, packed as tightly as worms in a belly, 

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Reader's Den: Questions for Week Three of "The White Tiger"

Early on in the novel, we learn that Balram is a successful businessman in Bangalore and an extremely complex character. In his first letter to the Chinese premier, he writes "my country is the kind where it pays to play it both ways: the Indian entrepreneur has to be straight and crooked, mocking and believing, sly and sincere, at the same time." What are your thoughts about Balram? Is he a psychopath?

Sudheer Apte, a reviewer for Mostly Fiction Book Reviews, wrote, "the most enjoyable part of this novel is 

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Reader's Den: "The White Tiger," Week Two

Hopefully, you were able to get yourself a copy of The White Tiger and are enjoying the novel as much as I did. Here are a few questions to think about:

Why is Balram addressing his letters to the Chinese Premier, Wen Jiabo? What is his intention in writing these letters?

In the first chapter, Balram describes himself as "a thinking man" and "a man of action." Do you 

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Reader's Den: "The White Tiger"

Welcome to the Reader's Den! This month's online book discussion will be The White Tiger, by Aravind Adiga. Feel free to participate and make comments.

Aravind Adiga was born in Madras, India in 1974. In high school, he and his family 

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Book Discussion of "The Namesake" by Jhumpa Lahiri

Tottenville Branch had a book discussion last night on The Namesake. It went very well, but wasn’t quite as lively as last month’s discussion of Running With Scissors! The group liked The Namesake, and were sympathetic to the characters, by and large, and their difficulties in adapting to American culture, and being caught between India and the U.S., especially for the second generation character, Gogol, who is the main character of 

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Chrysanthemum, Queen of Autumn.

← A Rich Display of Chrysanthemums (Image from NYPL Digital Gallery)

The chrysanthemum, which "occupies the sovereign position in autumn," has particular pride of place in Japanese culture. The blossoms can be spotted on the Japanese royal crest, in elaborate floral arrangements, at mealtimes as an edible accompaniment, and as an element in Japanese design. And for the next few weeks, chrysanthemums take 

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Japanese Textiles.

A kimono from 1910.

A few months ago I spent some holiday time among the rows of lovely and unusual fabrics at H. Kimura, an unassuming little fabric shop with an overwhelming selection in Kealakekua, Hawaii (my thanks to my sister for taking me there!). This shop was well stocked with Japanese cotton prints like the chrysanthemum cotton print in the detail below, which I made into a Walkaway Dress (Butterick 6015).

I've been fond of Japanese patterns for many years, and I am grateful that there are sources closer to home than H. Kimura where I can 

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WaFoo will be performing at the Tottenville Branch Library, 7430 Amboy Road, Staten Island, NY 10307, phone number 718-984-0945 this coming Saturday, July 12 at 2:30PM.

WaFoo, literally meaning "wind of Japan" or simply "Japanese style," is a group of talented musicians who have performed in many different countries across the world. WaFoo blends Japanese philosophy into a variety of music styles to create a lyrical, aesthetic and delightful sound to help regain energy for body and soul.

"WaFoo's amalgam of 

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