Good News Cat Lovers! Pop-Up Cat Café in Chinatown This Weekend

 

By now, you’ve probably heard of all those pop-up, themed cafés in Japan which (as the name suggests) are temporary and offer special, limited-time-only menu options. If not, then trust me when I say they can get awfully creative. We’ve seen everything from Hello Kitty cafés to Owl cafés, but most popular of all has got to be cat themed cafés. Now if you’re a cat-lover in Los Angeles, you may have been envious of Japan’s cat-friendly cafés. Well, we have good news for you.

Take your keys and drive yourself over to Chinatown for (you guessed it) a pop-up cat café. Yes, this is actually happening, but for a limited time.

31-year-old Carlos Wong was inspired to create his own cat café after living in Tokyo last year, where cat-culture and cat cafés have been gaining wide popularity for several years. In fact, Tokyo is said to have at least 39 cat cafés. So Wong decided that it was about time we have one of these for ourselves and cleverly named it Catfe.

So what exactly is this cat café? It’s a place where visitors can enjoy a nice brewed coffee and all sorts of desserts with the company of cats! And yes, you can pet them as much as you want.

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Though this pop-up cat café is only available until Sunday, October 5, from 4 to 9 p.m., Wong is planning on opening a permanent location in Little Tokyo once it raises $250,000 in funds. For now, the Catfe is free for all visitors, unless you want to make a reservation for $30 that allows you to have priority access to Catfe on the day of your reservation. For those who want more intimate alone time with cats can pay $125.

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Check out Catfe’s website for more information. Catfe is located at Far East Plaza, 727 N. Broadway, Chinatown.

 

–STORY BY MICHELLE KIM

 


Must-Read of the Week: “Without You, There Is No Us” by Suki Kim

 

Through a strange turn of events, Korean American journalist Suki Kim finds herself invited to join 30 other Westerners to teach English at North Korea’s Pyongyang University of Science and Technology, an exclusive school for 270 sons of North Korea’s elite. During the six months she is there in 2011, Kim takes meticulous notes, saving the documents only on a USB stick and keeping it on her person at all times. The result is the memoir Without You, There Is No Us: My Time with the Sons of North Korea’s Elite, chronicling her interactions with her students, the iron grip of her “minders,” and the constant fear of being watched, of being reported, of saying or doing something wrong.

At times, Kim feels love and compassion for the young men in her charge; at other times, she’s terrified that they are spying on her. She can’t decide if they really believe the things they do (that the Korean language is so superior it is spoken in every country, that their Juche Tower is the tallest in the world) or if they just say they do for fear of retribution. They know of Bill Gates, but they don’t know about the Internet. They play basketball and are familiar with the NBA, but they’ve never heard of skiing. It’s a fascinating — and sad — glimpse into the most isolated country in the world.

 

Details: Hardcover, available October 14, $24, crownpublishing.com.

 


Lea Salonga Sings “A Whole New World” 21 Years Later

 

Some know 43-year-old Lea Salonga as the first Asian actress to play Éponine and Fantine in the Broadway musical Les Misérables. Others know her as the first Filipina to be signed to an international record label. But I’m going to go ahead and bet that most of you know Salonga as the singing voice of Disney princesses Jasmine and Mulan.

It’s been over two decades since the release of  the beloved Disney animation Aladdin. This means it’s been over two decades since we first heard the unforgettable duet, “A Whole New World.”

Recently, Lea Salonga took us back in time by performing the beloved song alongside opera group Il Divo. 21 years later and she still sounds just as breathtaking as she did then!

 

 

Salonga’s work has gained her a Laurence Olivier Award, a Tony Award, a Drama Desk Award, an Outer Critics Award and Theatre World Awards. In 2010, she was named a Disney Legend for her work in Disney. Currently, Salonga is a coach on the Philippine edition of The Voice.

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2NE1’s Sandara Park Shocked by Her Passport Photo

 

Sandara Park has been a favorite of ours for years. The South Korean idol singer, actress, dancer and model began her career in the Philippines as an actress and is most known as a member of popular K-Pop group 2NE1. While it’s not unusual to see this idol make headlines, like when she met Steven Yeun and when she got a kiss on the cheek from Justin Beiber, Park is currently attracting attention for something we didn’t expect: her passport photo.

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On October 1, Park posted the picture on her Instagram with a caption that translates to “Can’t Nobody Can’t Nobody ~ suddenly got photographed while on stage … the feeling when I later found this photo on my passport … jjangmae [referring to her manager].” Not one to let the shock get to her, she adds that the photo still looks cute.

We definitely agree! The photo brings smiles because it is unusual for someone to have such an abnormal hairstyle in a passport photo, especially since that photo is typically expected to be taken seriously. However, we’re allowing Park to be an exception since she has always been recognized for her bold and extraordinary hairstyles, which she proudly displays in her concerts and daily life.

Let’s take a look at some of Park’s other crazy hairstyles that only she can pull off. Tell us which is your favorite!

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Photo courtesy of http://kpopselca.com

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Photo courtesy of http://k-trendz.tumblr.com


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Photo courtesy of http://k-trendz.tumblr.com

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Photo courtesy of http://www.ttwigo.com

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Photo courtesy of http://blog.ningin.com

 

–STORY BY MICHELLE KIM

 

 

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Japanese Artist Crystal Kay Is Ready For Her International Debut

 

Born and raised in Yokohama, Japan, to an African American military father and a third-generation ethnically Korean singer mother, Crystal Kay was constantly surrounded by music. She started singing commercial jingles at the tender age of 4 (“My mom’s friend who owned an advertisement production company would borrow me when they needed a child’s voice,” says Kay) and released her first single, “Eternal Memories,” at 13. Fifteen years and 11 albums later, Kay, 28, is looking forward to branching outside of her Japanese fanbase and introducing her unique sound to American audiences.


 

Audrey Magazine: What kind of music did your parents introduce you to when you were growing up?

Crystal Kay: My parents listened to all of the great music of the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s, from Earth, Wind & Fire, Maze and Luther [Vandross] to Celine Dion and Bon Jovi. My favorites were Michael and Janet Jackson. Watching their videos and shows really inspired me to become an entertainer. My parents’ eclectic taste in music definitely influenced mine in a great way because I love to incorporate different styles to make borderless music of my own.

 

AM: You started in the industry so young. What do you think of when you revisit songs, like “Eternal Memories,” that you performed when you were barely a teenager?

CK: I think, “Damn! I was such a baby!” [Laughs] But I love that song, and I think it captured my innocence and pureness, visually and musically, in a perfect way. It’s also fun to reflect on how much I’ve changed and grown both as an artist and a woman. I’m very proud of my earlier albums and videos.

 

AM: You are a cool and unique mix of cultures. Can you talk about what you’ve taken from growing up in Japan, in addition to the influences of an African American father and a Korean mother?

CK: Thanks! Growing up in Japan has helped me understand unique Japanese traditions and culture. It’s a culture that’s very polite and courteous — sometimes a little too courteous [laughs] — but it’s a nice trait to have, and it makes me different when I’m in a foreign country.

My African American influence is definitely in my sense of music and rhythm. I love to dance, and people always tell me my soulfulness and the way I feel the beat is definitely my black side. I never lived in Korea, but one thing I’ve learned is that Koreans are passionate people. They love to sing and dance, and I love how they are proud of their musical history. I feel I have the best of both worlds musically, and I’m very thankful for that.

 

AM: As a trailblazing mixed-race artist in Japan, has it ever been difficult to express or explain your identity in the public eye?

CK: Moving to New York, I’m finally starting to become more comfortable defining and explaining who I am. In Japan, I never had to really explain myself often, because it was rarely asked. I think that was probably because many people in Japan were just not used to multiracial people like they are in the U.S. And also, I was the first black and Korean singer in Japan, so I was a rare breed. [Laughs]

 

AM: How has the music landscape changed in the last 15 years since you first started?

CK: It’s definitely changing for the better. You can see the growth in number and popularity of mixed-raced artists in the entertainment industry throughout the years. It’s nice to see this change because it helps the youth to be open-minded and see people for who they are, whether they are mixed or not.

 

 

AM: What prompted your desire to debut in the U.S., and what can we look forward to?

CK: I’ve always wanted to share my music with the world. When I first debuted at 13, I thought, “Oh yay, I have a single out, so I’m automatically worldwide!” I always thought, naturally, that music is universal. When I realized I was a “Japanese singer,” my drive to become an international star became stronger, and it was always just a matter of when.

I have over 50 [songs] as of now, and I hope to release an EP very soon. Then I want to start performing so I can finally start spreading my music and create a following.

 

AM: One of your goals is to bring Japanese youth culture to an American audience. Can you elaborate on what Americans are missing out on that you want to share?

CK: Because I’m a multicultural Japanese girl, I want to show a side of Japanese girls that hasn’t really been shown to the world. Let’s reset that stereotype that is often misunderstood as bubblegum cute. There are a lot of sexy, powerful and real women and girls that take charge of their lives. They have their own powerful expression.

 

AM: What do you think about international artists like Gwen Stefani, Katy Perry and Avril Lavigne who incorporate Japanese culture into their music? Is there a way to do it well versus a way that is questionable?

CK: I think it’s really cool how Gwen Stefani played with the Harajuku girl concept, because she really made it her own by creating her version of the Harajuku culture and paying tribute to it in her own way. I also think it’s cute that Katy wears a lot of Japan-themed costumes. You can see that they both adore the culture and appreciate its uniqueness and are not mocking it. Because of them, I’m sure a lot more people became interested in Japan and its pop culture.

It really bothers me when people overuse the neon signs, wrong kanji and geisha girls in white faces and incorrectly worn kimonos in their videos just to be “different.” I remember seeing something similar to that in this R&B singer’s video — I won’t mention any names. [Laughs]

But I want to introduce a cooler and more authentic side of Japan that, at the moment, only I can. I want to show a really unique Japanese subculture that the world doesn’t really know about.

 

AM: And lastly, since we’re talking about crossing cultures, which other international stars would you love to work with?

CK: I would love to work with Calvin Harris. I love his style of dance music, and he has great melodies. I think we can be a killer combo

 

 

To get a taste of Crystal Kay’s new music, click here

 

 

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All photos courtesy of Alli Nakamura
This story was originally published in our Fall 2014 issue. Get your copy here

Why Asians NEED To Care About Breast Cancer (Updated)

 

Exactly one year ago, we posted “Why Asians NEED To Care About Breast Cancer.” The information in that story still holds relevance and is is still extremely important to the Asian/ Asian American community. In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we bring you a very special #tbt by giving you an updated list of important reasons Asians need to care about breast cancer. 


 

Since October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we decided to look into how Asian Americans handle breast cancer. We were shocked by what we discovered.

For years now, Asians have been comforted by the fact that we have the lowest rate of breast cancer in the United States. Unfortunately, this assurance may be the very thing that hinders us from taking the necessary precautions.

Studies from both the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) have confirmed that Asian/Pacific Islanders have the lowest breast cancer rates.

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Although this is true, a number of things are not taken into consideration:

There are various types of Asians.
It is not a good idea to assume you’re safe from breast cancer simply because you’re Asian. In fact, the statistics greatly differ once we take a step closer. According to womenshealth.gov, Japanese American women have the highest rate of breast cancer among Asian Americans. Furthermore, breast cancer is the leading cause of death for Filipino women. Clearly, there are technicalities within the broad term “Asian” which should be paid attention to.

Our numbers are increasing.
Sure, we have the lowest rate of breast cancer and breast cancer deaths now, but that may be changing. Our rates are increasing faster than any other ethnic group. From 1988-2005, we’ve increased approximately 1.2% every year.

Some of us are not as safe as our parents and grandparents. 
According to sampan.org, “Immigrant Asian women who have been living in the United States for 10 years have an 80 percent higher risk of developing breast cancer than their newly arrived A&PI immigrant counterparts.”

We develop breast cancer at a younger age.
Compared to the other ethnic groups, we develop cancer at an earlier age, but we don’t know to address it earlier. In fact, many of us don’t address it at all.

Asian Americans are the least likely to ever get a mammogram.
Although Asian Americans need to take just as much precaution, we have the lowest rate of screenings. Is it because it’s taboo in our culture to discuss this issue? Is it because of the misconception that we’re relatively safe from breast cancer? Either way, there is clearly a lack of breast health/breast cancer education, screening and treatment among Asian American women.

Studies confirm that only 62% of Asian American women 40 and older have had a mammogram in the past two years. This is still the lowest percentage compared to every other ethnic community in America.

Some barriers to breast cancer screening include:
-Low income
-Lack of access to care (such as lack of a local (or easy to get to) mammography center or -Lack of transportation to a mammography center)
-Lack of a usual health care provider
-Lack of a recommendation from a provider to get mammography screening
-Lack of awareness of breast cancer risks and screening methods
-Cultural and language differences

 

 

(source 1,2,3)

Style Tips For Petite Women With Tracy Qiu

 

For those of us that aren’t statuesque, Tracy Qiu of T-curate.com shares with us her stylish and versatile height lengthening tips. You wouldn’t be able to tell from her street style portraits, but Qiu stands at 5’3’’ and with blog tagline of Dress To Look Taller, she has mastered navigating any trend whether or not they are easily wearable by petite women. “If I like a trend that’s not quite suitable for a petite girl, I will look for trendy items with specific cuts and shapes that will work on a petite girl like me,” Qiu explained as she expressed her attention to the details and clothing proportions. Qiu said, “I want to write from a problem solving angle. As much as I love fashion, I think it’s subject to change all the time, but style stays. To me, knowing your body type well, and knowing how to dress to your advantage helps to build individual, unique styles and confidence. So, my goal is to share tips to petite girls and hopefully they can apply these tricks and become more confident.” With a strong blog that goes beyond timeless looks, it’s refreshing to see someone who promotes ways to dress for women and girls in a world where fashion is dictated by a standard height of 5’9’’. Keep reading for Qiu’s worthy tips on outfits, shoes and what garments she feels petite women should consider avoiding.

 


1) What are your favorite three go-to looks to accentuate long lines/height?

Qiu: My favorite 3 go-to looks are: High-waist, wide leg pants with a cropped top or tucked in shirt and platform high heels for a long line look.

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A Maxi dress. The shape of a maxi dress makes it simple, and the natural long line of the dress extends heights for sure.

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A Midi Skirt or Midi dress gives a very feminine and sophisticated length, and it creates the illusion of having longer legs.

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2) Favorite shoe styles to accentuate long lines/height?

Qiu: We ladies are lucky that there are high heels. I recommend nude color pumps that match your skin tone for natural extension, and cool platform wedge heels for dramatic height extension. I use this trick a lot especially when pairing with high waisted, wide leg pants. I also prefer pointy heels because I found it adds more height than a round toe.

 

 


3) What would you consider a styling faux pas for petite women?
Qiu: Styling faux pas for petite women in my opinion is overly baggy or loose fitting outfits. Every petite woman has a different body shape, so understand your body type and pick pieces that work to your advantage.

 


 

Below are a few more lovely looks from Qiu, and be sure to take a peek at her blog for more outfit inspiration along with informative posts and “how to wear” suggestions for trends that aren’t necessarily easy for petite body types.

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– STORY BY MIN A LEE. 
All photos courtesy of T-curate.com

 

 

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Pharrell Williams Begs Filipina American Katriz Trinidad To Join His Team On “The Voice” (Video)

 

Just a few weeks ago, we showed you the incredibly talented Clara Hong who blew everyone away during her blind audition for The Voice.

Well it looks like we have yet another Asian contestant to root for. Filipino American Katriz Trinidad took the stage to sing the classic Etta James song, At Last. Needless to say, she impressed the judges and had three of them turn their chair around in less than 20 seconds of performing (gaining the applause of her many, many family members back stage). The most incredible part of all this? Trinidad is only 15-years-old.

During her performance, celebrity judge Pharrell Williams was so taken that he got on his feet and remained there for the rest of the performance. Blake Shelton also let out an enthusiastic “Yeah!” before clapping his hands mid-performance and grew even more enthusiastic as she hit her final note with ease.

Celeb judge Gwen Stefani also turned her chair to try and get the young singer to join her team, making Adam Levine the only to leave his chair unturned. Despite this, Levine acknowledged that the other judges would have quite the fight for Trinidad. “Congratulations, they’re gonna lose their minds.” he laughed.

 

 

Pharrell wasted no time. “I never thought that I would find something that I usually look for for my own label,” he gushed. “I’ve been dreaming for an artist like you all my career.”

“Just remember these words,” he continued before kneeling down. “I want you on my team so bad. And I’ve never done this.”

Blake then took over and added that Katriz was born to be a star. Gwen Stefani followed this up by detailing the way Trinidad sang.

“You started out so soft and controlled and you just ramped, and ramped, and ramped ‘til the end where you hit a note that was so beautiful.” Stefani said.

She added some constructive criticism by saying the performance was almost too perfect and too rehearsed. In the future, Gwen suggests Trinidad strip down the perfection.

In the end Trinidad went with her gut and chose Pharrell.

 


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Are You an Asian Female? Then Chances Are, You Have Dense Breasts: Why It Matters

 

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and this fact bears repeating: Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among Asian American women, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

But did you know this:

* Asian women historically have denser breasts than other demographic populations.


* Dense breast tissue makes it more difficult to detect cancer on a mammogram.


* Having dense breast tissue is considered a “moderate” risk for getting breast cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. Some studies show that dense breast tissue increases breast cancer risk four to six times.

 

So what are dense breasts and how do you know if you have them? Read on.

 

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What are dense breasts?

Breasts consist of varying proportions of fat and glandular tissue. When there is more than 50 percent glandular tissue, a mammogram looks white and is considered dense. You cannot tell whether your breast is dense by feel or appearance or size. (In fact, more than 40 percent of all women in the U.S. have dense breasts, and women with large breasts are less likely to have dense breasts.) It can only be evaluated by mammogram.

Why are masses more difficult to detect in dense breasts?

Since masses or lumps also appear white on a mammogram, they are difficult to detect in dense breasts. However, that doesn’t mean you should stop getting mammograms if you have dense breasts. Experts emphasize that mammograms regularly find cancers in dense breasts.

What detection method works for dense breasts?

Mammogram remains the gold standard for breast screening for all women, according to Dr. June Chen, medical director of breast radiology at Breastlink at the Breast Care and Imaging Center of Orange County. Two additional screening options for women with dense breasts include a screening breast MRI for women at high risk (family history, etc.), or an automated screening breast ultrasound (ABUS) for average risk women.

Though studies have shown that an ultrasound or MRI scanning, in addition to a mammogram, is a better detection method for those with dense breast tissue, such MRIs and ultrasounds may also show more findings that are not cancer, which can result in more tests and unnecessary biopsies, according to the American Cancer Society.

 

 

So why won’t my doctor give me an ultrasound or MRI instead?

You should talk to your doctor. According to Chen, health insurance covers the cost of a screening MRI for patients with a high risk for breast cancer, but may not cover ultrasounds and MRIs for women not at high risk. Additionally, experts do not agree what other tests, if any, should be done for women with dense breasts.

A recent federal bill, called the Breast Density Mammography and Reporting Act, was introduced this summer in the Senate, which would require physicians to notify patients if they have dense breasts and discuss their risk and additional screening options. It would also support research for improved screening options for women with dense tissue. The bill was assigned to a congressional committee, which will consider it before possibly sending it on to the House or Senate as a whole, and is supported by nonprofit and advocacy organizations, including the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, Breast Cancer Fund, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and Are You Dense Advocacy.

In the meantime, what should I do?

Talk to your doctor about your risk factors and a plan for screening. While new federal guidelines now recommend screening to begin at age 50, most doctors still recommend annual mammograms starting at age 40. Continue to do a monthly breast self-exam, get regular exercise, quit smoking (or never start) and cut down on alcohol.

 

 

This story was originally published in our Fall 2014 issue. Get your copy here. 

 

 


Top Stories of The Week: The World’s Most Popular Twitter Accounts, A Must-See Child Prodigy & A $30 Wedding Dress

 

1)  World’s 10 Most Followed Asian Female Celebrities on Twitter (September 2014) (CLICK HERE TO READ

 

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2) 7-Year-Old Cellist Justin Yu Meets Ellen, Charms His Way Into Our Hearts (CLICK HERE TO READ)

 


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3) Talented DIY Bride Makes Her Own Wedding Dress For Only $30 (CLICK HERE TO READ)

 

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4) Words Can Be Weapons: Powerful Chinese Campaign Links Teenage Crime to Emotional Abuse (CLICK HERE TO READ

 


5
5)
 Get To Know Korean Model Jang Yoon-Ju (CLICK HERE TO READ

 

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