By most standards, David Tran is an American success story. A major in the South Vietnamese Army, he escaped to the United States in the late 1970s and went on to become a billionaire from his world-famous Sriracha hot sauce. Tran’s success is also a Hong Kong story.
Cats have a storied pedigree in Japanese literature. One of modern Japanese literature’s first classics, I Am a Cat by Natsume Soseki, is a parody of Meiji-era Japanese society from a cat’s point of view. (2021 saw the English-language release of a faithful manga adaptation by Chiroru Kobato, translated by Zach Davisson.) Thirty years later, the highly influential author Junichiro Tanizaki published the novella A Cat, a Man, and Two Women.
With the demand for books describing the rise of China and regional dynamics in Asia, more and more translations of works from Asian thinkers have been making it into English. Back in 2015, Shiraishi Takashi, professor and prominent foreign policy commentator in the daily newspapers of Japan, gave a series of influential lectures that were collected and edited into a book. Maritime Asia vs Continental Asia: National Strategies in a Region of Change presents a framework for examining the changing political environment in Asia.
The mass aerial bombing that so characterized World War II and the wars that followed didn’t start with the blitz, Dresden or Tokyo, but was instead prefigured by the lethal bombing of Shanghai on 14 August 1937, preceded only by the bombing of Guernica in the Spanish Civil War earlier that year.
Chifa. The word may not immediately register with visitors, but once said out loud, the origins of the term for the ubiquitous Chinese restaurants in Peru are obvious to anyone with even a smattering of Cantonese. Arroz chaufa soon becomes recognizable (if somewhat redundant) as fried rice. Once the surprise wears off, it is of course entirely natural. There is a large Chinese diaspora in Latin America for much same reason as there is in the US, UK and Australia.
“Kashmir” carries the burden of being known as one of the world’s biggest flashpoints. If a novel, TV show, or video game wants an easy international crisis, there’s a good chance Kashmir will be the crisis of choice. But while Kashmir is globally known, few understand the roots of the conflict—or what the people that live in Kashmir actually think.
Green Tea with Milk and Sugar is, at least at first, a perplexing title: the green teas I grew up with and came to know from China and Japan were taken hot and without any additives. Then again, I consume a fair amount of matcha latte, and if the menus of the local bubble tea shops are anything to go by, adding milk and sugar is quite commonplace, and not restricted to the black teas of British traditions imagined from novels. Historian and author Robert Hellyer has a personal connection to this history of green tea drinking in the US, as both his grandmothers kept green tea for nicer occasions, and a grandfather was actually involved in importing teas from Japan.