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Embracing Failure: It’s the New Success

failure is the new success JadeLuckClub Jade Luck Club Celebrating Asian American Creativity

“The greatest barrier to success is the fear of failure.”

I’ve been thinking about failure since reading this excellent post on Embrace Failure on my favorite children’s literature blog, From the Mixed Up Files of Middle Grade Authors. As an entrepreneur, I embrace failure. It is the surest and quickest path to success. Why? It’s life’s best teacher. You never forget a failure. You learn from it, deeply and profoundly as in:  it keeps you up late a night, pondering, questioning, wondering. It provides options in the form of a nicely forking road. Do you get back in the saddle and try again, all the wiser? Or do you veer left, shimmy right, or duck down below? Failure makes you creative. If you are going to ram your head against the wall, the next time you will choose a nicely padded one.

“Obstacles are things a person sees when he takes his eyes off his goal.”

Not everyone agrees of course. Most pointedly, failure is not an option in Tiger Parenting. “The Chinese parenting approach is weakest when it comes to failure; it just doesn’t tolerate that possibility. The Chinese model turns on achieving success. That’s how the virtuous circle of confidence, hard work, and more success is generated.” Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother Suffice it to say that I don’t buy the Tiger Parenting Model and I don’t buy the idea of failure not being an option. If you eliminate options that can lead to failure, you have very few options left. Worse, your few choices become the path of least resistance.

“Would you like me to give you a formula for success? It’s quite simple, really. Double your rate of failure. You are thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn’t at all. You can be discouraged by failure or you can learn from it, So go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because remember that’s where you will find success.”

Don’t believe me? Look at Amy Chua’s career. “I went to law school, mainly because I didn’t want to go to medical school.” “After graduating [from law school], I went to a Wall Street law firm because it was the path of least resistance.” “…I decided to write an epic novel. Unfortunately, I had no talent for writing…What’s more, Maxine Hong Kingston, Amy Tan, and Jung Chang all best me to it….At first, I was bitter and resentful, but then I got over it.” In fact, by (sort of) admitting her failings, her book became an international best seller. But in the form of her book, this is the most risk she’s taken in her life.

“The person who gets the farthest is generally the one who is willing to do and dare. The sure-thing boat never gets far from shore.”

I think what is daunting about failure is the publicity around it. Knowing that people will know that you’ve failed. That they’ll whisper behind your back about what an epic failure you are. Even laugh. But here’s the trick. If you own your failure, nothing anyone can say will bother you. That’s the secret. It’s simple really.

“The only real failure in life is the failure to try.”

Of course, you will own the knowledge that comes from failure. This knowledge is hard fought and very valuable. Use each failure to build, brick by brick, your success in whatever form that may be. Because success is never one big idea, or one very talented person, or someone who is “lucky, at the right time and right place.” No. Emphatically no!  It’s like most things: lots of little things added up together such that the sum is greater than the parts. Only the brave can try this. Are you that courageous?

“Most successful men have not achieved their distinction by having some new talent or opportunity presented to them. They have developed the opportunity that was at hand.”

Know a family with kids? Give them a FamZoo gift subscription and help the parents teach their kids good money habits.


The Top 200 Universities IN THE WORLD (i.e. Other great colleges besides Harvard/Yale/Princeton/Stanford/MIT People!)

Top 200 Universities in the world harvard or bust JadeLuckClub Jade Luck ClubOK, I know that Harvard is number 1 but that doesn’t mean that everyone has to fixate on Harvard or bust. Here are some of the top universities IN THE WORLD to think about from The Times Higher Education, UK. Did you know that…

#33 University of Illinois – Urbana

#38 Washington University Saint Louis

#43 University of Wisconsin

at #53 Tufts University outranks Ivy Leaguer #55 Brown University

at #98 University of Maryland College Park outranks Ivy Leaguer #99 Dartmouth College

This is the top ranking IN THE WORLD, people! Maybe it’s time to think about applying to colleges abroad. The world is only getting smaller, you know!


The World University Rankings – 201o

1 Harvard University United States
2 California Institute of Technology United States
3 Massachusetts Institute of Technology United States
4 Stanford University United States
5 Princeton University United States
6 University of Cambridge United Kingdom
6 University of Oxford United Kingdom
8 University of California Berkeley United States
9 Imperial College London United Kingdom
10 Yale University United States
11 University of California Los Angeles United States
12 University of Chicago United States
13 Johns Hopkins University United States
14 Cornell University United States
15 Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich Switzerland
15 University of Michigan United States
17 University of Toronto Canada
18 Columbia University United States
19 University of Pennsylvania United States
20 Carnegie Mellon University United States
21 University of Hong Kong Hong Kong
22 University College London United Kingdom
23 University of Washington United States
24 Duke University United States
25 Northwestern University United States
26 University of Tokyo Japan
27 Georgia Institute of Technology United States
28 Pohang University of Science and Technology Republic of Korea
29 University of California Santa Barbara United States
30 University of British Columbia Canada
30 University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill United States
32 University of California San Diego United States
33 University of Illinois – Urbana United States
34 National University of Singapore Singapore
35 McGill University Canada
36 University of Melbourne Australia
37 Peking University China
38 Washington University Saint Louis United States
39 Ecole Polytechnique France
40 University of Edinburgh United Kingdom
41 Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Hong Kong
42 Ecole Normale Superieure, Paris France
43 Australian National University Australia
43 University of Göttingen Germany
43 Karolinska Institute Sweden
43 University of Wisconsin United States
47 Rice University United States
48 École Polytechnique Federale of Lausanne Switzerland
49 University of Science and Technology of China China
49 University of California Irvine United States
51 Vanderbilt University United States
52 University of Minnesota United States
53 Tufts University United States
54 University of California Davis United States
55 Brown University United States
56 University of Massachusetts United States
57 Kyoto University Japan
58 Tsinghua University China
59 Boston University United States
60 New York University United States
61 University of Munich Germany
61 Emory University United States
63 University of Notre Dame United States
64 University of Pittsburgh United States
65 Case Western Reserve University United States
66 Ohio State University United States
67 University of Colorado United States
68 University of Bristol United Kingdom
68 University of California Santa Cruz United States
68 Yeshiva University United States
71 University of Sydney Australia
72 University of Virginia United States
73 University of Adelaide Australia
73 University of Southern California United States
75 William & Mary United States
76 Trinity College Dublin Ireland
77 King’s College London United Kingdom
78 Stony Brook University United States
79 Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology Republic of Korea
79 University of Sussex United Kingdom
81 University of Queensland Australia Australia
81 University of York United Kingdom
83 Ruprecht Karl University of Heidelberg Germany
83 University of Utah United States
85 Durham University United Kingdom
86 London School of Economics and Political Science United Kingdom
87 University of Manchester United Kingdom
88 Royal Holloway, University of London United Kingdom
89 Lund University Sweden
90 University of Zurich Switzerland
90 University of Southampton United Kingdom
90 Wake Forest University United States
93 McMaster University Canada
94 University College Dublin Ireland
95 University of Basel Switzerland
95 George Washington University United States
95 University of Arizona United States
98 University of Maryland College Park United States
99 Dartmouth College United States
100 ENS de Lyon France
101 Technical University of Munich Germany
102 University of Helsinki Finland
103 University of St. Andrews United Kingdom
104 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute United States
105 Rutgers the State University of New Jersey United States
106 Purdue University United States
107 University of Cape Town South Africa
107 National Tsing Hua University Taiwan
109 Seoul National University Republic of Korea
109 Pennsylvania State University United States
111 Hong Kong Baptist University Hong Kong
112 Tokyo Institute of Technology Japan
112 Bilkent University Turkey
114 Eindhoven University of Technology Netherlands
115 National Taiwan University Taiwan
115 University of Hawaii United States
117 University of California Riverside United States
118 University of Geneva Switzerland
119 Catholic University of Leuven Belgium
120 Nanjing University China
120 Queen Mary, University of London United Kingdom
122 Technical University of Denmark Denmark
122 Michigan State University United States
124 Ghent University Belgium
124 Leiden University Netherlands
124 Lancaster University United Kingdom
127 University of Alberta Canada
128 University of Glasgow United Kingdom
129 Stockholm University Sweden
130 University of Victoria Canada
130 Osaka University Japan
132 University of Freiburg Germany
132 Tohoku University Japan
132 University of Iowa United States
135 University of Bergen Norway
136 University of Lausanne Switzerland
137 University of Sheffield United Kingdom
138 University of Montreal Canada
139 VU University Amsterdam Netherlands
140 Pierre and Marie Curie University France
140 University of Dundee United Kingdom
142 University of Barcelona Spain
143 Utrecht University Netherlands
144 Wageningen University and Research Center Netherlands
145 University of Auckland New Zealand
145 University of Birmingham United Kingdom
147 Alexandria University Egypt
147 Uppsala University Sweden
149 Hong Kong Polytechnic University Hong Kong
149 University of Aberdeen United Kingdom
151 Delft University of Technology Netherlands
152 University of New South Wales Australia
152 Birkbeck, University of London United Kingdom
152 Newcastle University United Kingdom
155 Pompeu Fabra University Spain
156 Indiana University United States
156 Iowa State University United States
158 Medical College of Georgia United States
159 Erasmus University Rotterdam Netherlands
159 University of Delaware United States
161 Arizona State University United States
161 Boston College United States
163 National Sun Yat-Sen University Taiwan
164 Georgetown University United States
165 University of Amsterdam Netherlands
165 University of Liverpool United Kingdom
167 Aarhus University Denmark
168 University of Würzburg Germany
168 University of Leeds United Kingdom
170 University of Groningen Netherlands
171 Sun Yat-sen University China
172 Johann Wolfgang Goethe University Frankfurt am Main Germany
173 Bielefeld University Germany
174 Nanyang Technological University Singapore
174 University of East Anglia United Kingdom
174 University of Nottingham United Kingdom
177 University of Copenhagen Denmark
178 Monash University Australia
178 Humboldt University of Berlin Germany
178 University of Bonn Germany
181 National Chiao Tung University Taiwan
182 RWTH Aachen University Germany
183 Middle East Technical University Turkey
184 University of Exeter United Kingdom
185 University of Twente Netherlands
186 University of Konstanz Germany
187 University of Innsbruck Austria
187 Karlsruhe Institute of Technology Germany
189 Eberhard Karls University, Tübingen Germany
190 Yonsei University Republic of Korea
190 Drexel University United States
190 University of Cincinnati United States
193 Dalhousie University Canada
193 Royal Institute of Technology Sweden
195 University of Vienna Austria
196 Kent State University United States
197 Zhejiang University China
197 University of Illinois – Chicago United States
199 Simon Fraser University Canada
199 Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences Sweden



Best Truly Effective Beauty Products for Asian Women

best beauty and skin care products for Asian Women JadeLuckClub Jade Luck ClubJust because we are Asian doesn’t mean we have the same skin. I know that! But are you ever overwhelmed with the plethora of skin care products and feel barraged by claims of effectiveness? It’s not like beauty editors have no incentive to tout specific companies or products. Ditto for actresses who may or may not be paid to promote.

Yet to try out products to see if they actually work is a costly and time consuming endeavor that requires the mind of a scientist and the pocketbook of a trust fund kid. My cheat? I tallyed the product mentions in my favorite beauty blog Into the Gloss. Ok, did I actually tally them? I am almost that anal-retentive but no, I did not physically make a tally sheet. I just did it in my head.

Amazingly, if you read all the posts, there are certain products that come up again and again by her featured guests which include fashion insiders, models, and beauty editorial writers. I paid especially close attention to the Asians and what they liked. Any product that came up often AND wasn’t mind-blowingly expensive is also listed below. We like those!

What are your favorite products? Have you tried any of these products and what’s your verdict?  Leave a comment and I’ll add your feedback or product faves to the list. Thank you!


Aesop, all natural skin care, came up again and again and these are two most frequently mentioned products.

Camellia Nut Facial Hydrating Cream – Aesop – Night Care – 60ml/2.01oz  by Aesop, $55.49

Fabulous Face Oil – Aesop – Night Care – 25ml/0.8oz, $54.48

Another face oil that gets rave reviews but is very pricey is Rodin. One small bottle is supposed to last a year. The ingredients are mostly expensive essential oils of the very highest quality. This is a product in which you get what you pay for.

RODIN olio lusso – Luxury Face Oil – 1 oz, $140.

Another splurge that insiders swear is worth it is SK II with the essence that comes from brewing sake.

SK II Facial Treatment Essence 215ml / 7.2oz, $132.

And the mask

SK II by SK II Signs Dual Treatment Mask–6pairs, $100

Tata Harper comes up too many times to ignore. An organic line with very high quality ingredients, it is used by Gwyneth and other A Listers. The serum is seriously pricey and NY socialites like to give this as a gift to BFFs. The starter kit is more my speed at $45.

Tata Harper All-Natural Rejuvenating Serum 50ml/1.7oz, $150.

Tata Harper All-Natural Starter Beauty Set, $45


Daily sun protection is universally awarded to La Roche Posay, Antheosis.

La Roche-Posay Anthelios 60 Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid for Face, 1.7-Ounce Bottle, $23.

Concealer goes to YSL Touche Eclat for both effectiveness and innovation in combining a brush with product. Cle de Peau is also popular. Some of these fashionistas swear by just concealer if it’s the only you do before heading out of the house.

Yves Saint Laurent TOUCHE ECLATRadiant Touch, $45

Another concealer is Cle de Peau

Cle De Peau Beaute Concealer, $70

Laura Mercier Secret Concealer came up too many times to ignore.

Laura Mercier Secret Concealer, $22.

It’s funny how Ruby Woo by MAC and Tom Ford lipsticks come up frequently.

MAC Lip Care – Lipstick – Ruby Woo; 3g/0.1oz, $23. 


If you weren’t blessed with naturally curly eye lashes, everyone swears by Shu Uemura

shu uemura Eyelash Curler, $23

Mascara is another place to save.

CoverGirl Lash Blast Length Mascara, $8.

Laura Mercier Tinted Moisterizer is another product with a huge fan base.

Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20 Oil Free, $42.

For an inexpensive drug store face cleaner that won’t strip skin, Cetaphil came up many times. Here’s the thing about face cleanser: it goes on and comes right off. Save on face cleanser and put that money instead on creams and serums that stay on.

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser, For all skin types, 16-Ounce Bottles (Pack of 2), $18


Another under-the-radar discovery is Gunilla of Sweden for aloe vera based skin care products. They do no marketing!

Normal/Dry Facial Wash, $28

Purifying Acne Facial Wash, $28

Toner for Normal/Dry, $28.

Toner for Combination/Oily, $28.

Lerosett Moisture Matte Oil Free Hydrator By Gunilla of Sweden For All Skin Types, $35.



Essie comes up again and again nail lacquer. As for color, anything goes.

essie NEW Spring 2011 Collection Mini 4 bottle, $12.75.


To examine any product more closely at Amazon, please click on image of product.


Korean BBQ Family Recipe for Kalbi plus Momofuku’s Recipe

Celebrity Chef Bad Boy David Chang Momofuku Korean American Famous JadeLuckClub David Chang, America’s Favorite Bad Boy Celebrity Asian American Chef

Give this man his own cooking show! I love this guy even though he’s arrogant and bad ass! Actually, that is what I love about him. My husband bought me his cookbook and I read it like a novel but didn’t actually cook out of it. His story about how pig headed he is and was is part of his charm. You have to give the man credit for getting up again and again to make his restaurants succeed. Now, he’s the toast of the New York restaurant scene. Not bad!

My husband (just giving credit where it is due) suggested that I post on Asian restaurants. I love home cooking and my favorite magazine for that is Saveur which also has a great website if you don’t want to subscribe. I actually have years of this magazine carefully saved just because I love reading it and even, on occasion, cook from it. So this is my first recipe post. It’s my Korean mother-in-law’s recipe for Kalbi/Bulgogi marinade (and she’s an excellent cook) coupled with Momofuku’s version. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love this and it’s perfect for a summer BBQ.

Momofuku Kalbi Marinated Hanger Steak

David Chang Momofuku Kalbi Marinated Hanger Steak JadeLuckClub Jade Luck Club Bad Boy Chefs Celebrating Asian American Creativity
Hanger Steak:
2 c apple juice
1/2 c light soy sauce
1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced
5-6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp fresly ground black pepper
Four 8 oz hanger steaks1. Make the marinade: combine all of the ingredients in al arge freezer back and mix to combine. Add the steaks and marinate for 24 hours.
2. Grill for 6-10 minutes total for medium rare, let them rest for at least 5 minutes.
3. Cut against the grain.

For ssam: serve with rice on bibb lettuce with Maldon and sauces

Ginger Scallion Sauce:
2.5 c thinly sliced scallions (1-2 large bunches)
1/2 c finely mined peeled fresh ginger
1/4 c neutral oil
1.5 tsp light soy sauce
3/4 tsp sherry vinegar
3/4 tsp kosher salt or more to taste.

Momofuku David Chang best Korean Kalbi BBQ recipe for marinade JadeLuckClub Jade Luck Club Celebrating Asian American Creativity

My  Korean Mother-in-Law’s Kalbi Marinade

1/2 cup soy sauce (we use Kikoman’s and the brand of soy sauce does make a difference!)

2 tablespoons of finely minced garlic (use fresh and not from a jar please! Mash garlic with flat of a knife and then mince finely)

1/4 cup finely minced green onions (also called scallions). My mother-in-law julienne’s each green onion (after washing carefully to remove dirt) into about 4 long lengths, then minces this finely.

1-2 tablespoons sesame seed oil (the Asian variety. It should be nut brown and smell fragrant)

2 tablespoons sugar (white granulated is fine)

3 pounds of beef

Kalbi BBQ recipe Momofuku JadeLuckClub Jade Luck Club

1) Wash beef strips, trim fat and dry.

2) Sprinkle sugar on beef — an additional 6 tablespoons and mix thoroughly.

3) Combine rest of marinade ingredients in a large bowl. Add the liquid from the beef in sugar.

4) Dip beef into marinade one at a time and lay in a pan.

5) Leave to marinade for an hour or more refrigerated.

6) Cook on a grill until done. Serve with rice.

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The Sartorialist: Best Dressed Asian Men (and one adorable Asian Gal)

Black Hat Older Asian Eurasian Gentleman Style Old Man Style Stylist Asian Men The Sartorialist JadeLuckClub JadeLuckClub most stylist Asian Americans American MenI am a little obsessed with the street fashion blog, The Sartorialist. I love it! When I saw this image that Scott Schuman posted on April 11 for a Wayfarer post, I found myself mesmerized by this couple. Who are they? The story I made up in my mind is this: they are famous actors in Japan and are visiting NYC where Scott shot them. They get annonymity here but they are like KPatz in their home country…

Am I right or totally off base? But isn’t she ADORABLE? with her cute bob and there is something kinda cool going on with her man … the cig, the Wayfarers and the baggy pants are working for me. Plus they match!

The Sartorialist Wayfarers Well Dressed Cute Asian couple JadeLuckClub Jade Luck Club Celebrating Asian Americans

But this Old Man Style shot is a keeper.

Old Man Style Asian Older Gentleman Man JadeLuckClub well dressed Asian men Jade Luck Club

Especially contrasted with this Chinatown Old Man Style. The Sartorialist says, “Straw hat, Playboy belt buckle, Dior women’s sunglasses, gold teeth -Priceless”

Sartorialist Old Man Style Chinatown JadeLuckClub

“Old Man Style is hard to beat. Gentlemen of a certain generation learned how to wear their clothes not let their clothes wear them.”

Old Man Style Chinatown Older Stylist Asian Men The Sartorialist JadeLuckClub Jade Luck Club Celebrating Asian American Creativity Diversity Street Fashion Style Success Best

“A Gentleman’s Style”

Gentleman's Style Older Stylist Gentleman Asian The Sartorialist JadeLuckClub Well Dressed Older Asian Men

To me, this older stylist gentleman looks Asian. What do you think? The Sartorialist just called this “Black Hat” and “Old Man Style…4th Avenue, Brooklyn.”

Black Hat Older Asian Eurasian Gentleman Style Old Man Style Stylist Asian Men The Sartorialist JadeLuckClub JadeLuckClub most stylist Asian Americans American Men

He notices all the details! Do you follow The Sartorialist? If you start, it’s easy to become obsessed! I should know!

Are you stylish and Asian (even partially)? Send me your photo and I’ll do a posting of Stylish Asians. JadeLuckClub (at) gmail (dot) com. (You actors out there, please submit!)


Take This Funny Quiz: How Asian Are You? You Don’t Have To Be Asian!

du juan asian image of beauty and plastic surgery jadeluckclub jade luck clubHow Asian Are You?

Many people look one nationality on the outside but are a different one on the inside. Do think Asian culture is way more cool that your own? Do you look in the mirror and wonder if you’re actually Asian on the inside?

Do you have what it takes to be an Asian? Do you want to awaken your Inner Asian? Take this quiz and find out how Asian you are. You will also get tips on how to improve your Asian-ness.


I took this quiz and this is how I fared:

You are 76% Asian!

Your Inner Asian is alive and awake! You have a good understanding of the culture and cuisine but you’d still stick out like a Tourist in their country. Try hanging out with Asian people. Just remember that they probably think that acting American is as cool as you think acting Asian is!

How Asian Are You?
Take More Quizzes


Top 10: From Harvard to Prison; Crooks, Embezzlers, Murderers and More! UPDATED

Harvard murder suicide student coed co-ed students from harvard to murder jail indicted prison JadeLuckClub Jade Luck ClubThere is this story that I love that dates back the philosophy of ancient Chinese philosopher Chuang-Zhu that is retold in one of my favorite picture books, Zen Shorts by Jon Muth. It goes roughly like this, a farmer’s horse escapes and his neighbors say, “Bad luck!” But then the horse returns with a wild horse. “Good luck!”, the neighbors cry out. The farmer’s son tries to tame the horse and breaks his leg. “Bad luck, the neighbors say. But then the army comes through recruiting and skips the boy because of his broken leg. “Good luck!,” they say. And so it goes.

Your child gets into Harvard and it’s a dream come true. Well… not for these parents, particularly of the Vietnamese American girl who was murdered by her psychotic Harvard room mate who went on to kill herself. These folks all distinguish themselves by getting themselves into Harvard and then into jail. This list was harder to pull together than one would think. It’s not like Harvard goes around bragging about its distinguished prison inmate alums!

Honorable Mention

Oded Aboodi, Insider Trading

He didn’t go to jail but “Oded Aboodi agrees to $931,000 penalty in insider trading case. He was an architect of the firm’s 1990 merger.”

Thank you to Karen Bergreen for this one. We are all the same class of ’87.

10. Ester Reed, fraud and identity theft

Ester Reed Harvard student alum convict jail JadeLuckClub Jade Luck Club slammer infamous

9. Eugene N. Plotkin, Insider Trading

Insider Trading convict Eugene Plotkin Harvard alum JadeLuckClub Jade Luck Club

8. Andre Shliefer, International Insider Trading

andrei shleifer harvard educated affiliated criminals jail indicted jadeluckclub jade luckclub

7. Jeffrey K. Skilling, former President of Enron convicted of multiple federal felony charges relating to Enron’s financial collapse

Jeffrey Skilling Harvard Crooks Infamous Jail Time Criminals JadeLuckClub Jade Luck Club from Harvard to Jail Indicted Prison

6. Adam Wheeler, faked way into Harvard including winning $45,000 in grants, scholarships, financial aid and other funds that he didn’t deserve

Adam Wheeler From Harvard to Jail Prison Faked Way into Harvard Criminal JadeLuckClub Jade Luck Club Celebrating Asian Americans Diversity Creativity

5. Britney Smith, accessory to murder at Kirkland House ( Harvard Dorm)

Britney Smith accessory to Harvard Kirkland House Murder from Harvard to Jail Prison JadeLuckClub Jade Luck Club

4. Alexander Pring-Wilson, involuntary manslaughter for stabbing to death a teenager who made fun of him

Alex Pring Wilson Alexander Pring-Wilson From Harvard to Prison Jail murder JadeLuckClub Jade Luck Club Asian American culture blog

3. Jose Luis Razo, multi-tasked baseball team away games with robbing convenience stores

* I actually met Jose when I was at Harvard. My roommate  set up our other roommate with his roommate for a formal dance (confused?) and he came over with two of his friends to meet our roommate. He seemed like a nice guy and he had attended Servite (a Catholic school that was the brother school to the roommate we were setting up). His family later said they gave him spending money. It turns out that being a dark skinned Latino made him uncomfortable at Harvard … it was as if everyone expected him to be a criminal. It was never about the money. Tragic story!

harvard baseball team player bank robber jade luck club Jose Luis Razo

2. Sinedu Tadesse, murdered her Harvard roommate then killed herself

Harvard murder suicide student coed co-ed students from harvard to murder jail indicted prison JadeLuckClub Jade Luck Club

1. Theodore Kaczynski, Unabomber

Ted Theodore Kacynski Unabomber Unibomber Harvard Graduate Alum Alumni Criminal Killer Murderer JadeLuckClub Jade Luck Club from harvard to jail prison indicted

Honorable Mention

Richard Whitney, Embezzler from Great Depression Era

Richard Whitney Harvard to Jail Great Depression Crash JadeLuckClub

And, if they are lucky, they can spend time with fellow Harvard alum, Avi Steinberg,  who is a prison librarian.

Avi Steinberg: From Harvard to Prison Librarian

Avi Steinberg from Harvard to Prison Librarian Jail JadeLuckClub Indicted Criminal Murderer

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Did You Make a Difference? $1.5 million worth of clothing to the children of Japan…

OshKosh B'Gosh Cranes for Clothes JadeLuckClub Jade Luck ClubMany thanks to those of you who folded Cranes for Clothes for the Children of Japan. You really did make a difference! I received this email from OshKosh B’gosh:

“I know you covered the Cranes for Kids program when it first launched last month and we’re excited to let you know that OshKosh B’gosh and its parent company, Carter’s Inc., announced that it has received more than 2 million origami cranes in response to the program. They will be donating $1.5 million worth of clothing to the children of Japan.”

Osh Kosh b'gosh cranes for clothes for children of japan jadeluckclub jade luck club

OshKosh B'Gosh Cranes for Clothes JadeLuckClub Jade Luck Club




Top 10: Best Chinese American Children’s Books (ages 2-14)

best top 10 chinese american children's book literature jadeluckclub jade luck club kids china summer reading for early childhood education preschool kindergarten The Chinese immigrant experience is one with a long history in America resulting in becoming the largest Asian population in America today.  There is a great one-page overview on Chinese immigration that details this history.  Interestingly, this article says that the earliest Chinese immigrants during the 1700’s were well received and became wealthy but attitudes changes negatively during the mid-1800’s when less skilled Chinese “Coolies” came during the gold rush.

As I think about the Chinese immigrant experience — my father immigrated from China to pursue a Ph.d program at U.C.L.A. a few years before the Communist Revolution — my own experience is probably similar to most second generation immigrants in the quest to balance American culture while honoring an Asian past.  Of course, my background is dissimilar to most Chinese immigrant stories as my mother is of Japanese descent and 2nd generation at that.  And did I mention that I married a Korean?

And so each of us carries an immigrant story that is unique.  I chose these books because there was something special about each of them that helps me to connect to my Chinese roots and I hope that you enjoy them to, even if your ancestry isn’t Asian.

For my own children, a “mixed-plate” to quote a Hawaiian term,  they are 2nd, 3rd and 4th generation Asian.  And at 1/4 Chinese, 1/4 Japanese and 1/2 Korean, they are an unusual mix in that these three countries have traditionally hated each other for centuries.  And so in reading these stories, they may or may not relate to any of these stories, but I hope that it will help them to honor and take pride in their ancestry even if it’s as varied as a patchwork quilt.

Honorable Mention

The Great Wall of Lucy Wu by Wendy Shang [chapter book, ages 9-12]

If there is one chapter book that I would single out as THE seminal Asian American coming of age story, it would be The Great Wall of Lucy Wu. What is unique about this story compared to all others is that the Chinese American family is an assimilated 3rd generation family without the usual Asian stereotyping. It’s not about characters that are super smart geniuses or that play the violin/piano like a child prodigy … these are characters that Asian kids living in suburban communities across the United States can actually relate to. Fitting in while retaining your Asian culture. Living up to high family expectations and standards. Being your own person versus who your parents want  you to be. Good stuff! And it’s so well written that I think it will be up for many, many children’s lit awards. Wendy Shang is the Amy Tan of children’s literature. Try her for yourself!

Historical Tales (A Story of Ancient China) series by Jessica Gunderson

I found these great beginning chapter books at the library.  They are a very interesting and accurate historical fiction series that brings Ancient China to life.  Great if you are also combining any museums of, say, Terracotta Warriors.  The Terracotta Girl would be a perfect fit!  The Jade Dragon is a more general story combining ancient sports (horned helmet wrestling jiao di, rowing and archery) with dragon symbolism.

Fa Mulan by Robert D. San Souci
I always find it interesting to read the picture book a movie is based on.  San Souci retells this legend that comes from a ballad composed around 420-589 A.D.   about the battles found between the Chinese and Tatars (what is now Mongolia and Manchuria).  This retelling shows that the Disney movie is faithful to the ballad with one big exception, Mulan did have permission from her parents to join the army.  Filial piety is pretty important in Asian culture!  [picture book, ages 6-10)

Nim and the War Effort by Milly Lee

Nim wants to win the paper drive but her grandfather won’t let her miss Chinese school.  She has to venture out of Chinatown in order to prove to a Caucasian kid that she’s an American.  [picture book, ages 7-12]

Ruby’s Wish by Shirin Yim Bridges

Thank you to reader Kristen Marie for this suggestion!

Ruby is unlike most little girls in old China. Instead of aspiring to get married, Ruby is determined to attend university when she grows up, just like the boys in her family. Based upon the inspirational story of the author’s grandmother and accompanied by richly detailed illustrations, Ruby’s Wish is an engaging portrait of a young girl who strives for more and a family who rewards her hard work and courage. [picture book, ages 4-8]


10. The Magic Horse of Han Gan by Chen Jiang Hong

I chose this picture book as much for gorgeous traditional Chinese paintings as for the story which is about the life of painter Han Gan, who lived in China 1,200 ears ago.  The myth is that he is a such a great painter of horses that one of his paintings comes to life.   [picture book, ages 5-8]

9. Beautiful Warrior:  The Legend of the Nun’s Kung Fu by Emily Arnold McCully

This is a Great Books for Girls by Kathleen Odean selection about a nun who is a master of Kung Fu and helps a village girl avoid a unwanted marriage.  A great book about girl empowerment through the martial art of Kung Fu.  Think The Karate Kid for girls!  [picture book, ages 5-9]

8. In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson by Bette Bao Lord

This is the story of Shirley Temple Wong as she immigrates to America at age 8 and discovers that American is the land of opportunity by learning about baseball, the Brooklyn Dodgers and the great Jackie Robinson.  [chapter book, ages 8-12]

7. Coolies by Yin

When one thinks of Chinese immigrants, the image of “Coolies” comes to mind and this period marks the period of when new Chinese immigrants were viewed negatively.  The Coolie story is an important story about the Chinese immigrants during the 1800’s and underscores why “Coolies” were an important part of building the great railroads across the Western United States. [picture book, ages 5-8]

6. The Year of the Dog by Grace Lin

It’s the Year of the Dog, and Pacy learns that this is the year to “find herself” which means trying to find her special talents and how she fits in with family, friends and classmates.  There is a little bonus gift in that Pacy enters a book writing contest and that book is The Ugly Vegetables!  Grace Lin is the “Amy Tan” of children’s literature and this is a gentle story for anyone who struggles with finding themselves.  In real life, Grace Lin said that she actually won the science fair and you can check her website to find out more about what really happened in real life versus Year of the Dog.    [chapter book, ages 8-12]

5. Millicent Min, Girl Genius by Lisa Yee

Millicent Min is an 11-year-old girl genius with no social skills or friends except for her Grandmother Maddie.  While Millicent can rationalize her solitude, her parents and grandmother co-conspire to socialize her.  They force her to play volleyball and to tutor an annoying Chinese American kid, Stanford Wong, who is the polar opposite of her.  Things look up for Millicent when she makes her first friend, Emily, at volleyball.  But things come to a head when Emily finds out that Millicent and Stanford are lying to her as they both try to hide their tutoring arrangement from her.  And to make matters worse, Maddie decides to move to England.  Millicent is a genius, but can she figure out how to repair her friendship?  [chapter book, ages 9-14)

4. The Ugly Vegetables by Grace Lin

One of my favorite picture books about a little Chinese girl who objects to the “ugly vegetables” her family grows compared to her non-Asian neighbors who grow beautiful flowers.  But when her mother makes a delicious soup from the Chinese vegetables, all the neighbors want to trade flowers for soup. What I like about this story is that “fitting in” is something internal that the little girl feels; not as  result of overt prejudice.  And in the end, her differences enrich the entire neighborhood. [picture book, ages 4-7]

3. Apple Pie on 4th of July by Janet S. Wong

When her parents cook Chinese food to sell at their store on the 4th of July, the little 2nd generation Chinese American girl thinks that her parents “don’t get it.”  No one wants Chinese food on the 4th of July, right?  A simple story that depicts perfectly the straddling of two worlds that 2nd generation children feel.  [picture book, ages 2-6]

2. Zen Shorts by Jon Muth

Jon Muth manages to take Chinese philosopher Chuang Tzu anddistill it into three stories that both children and adults can relate to.  A wonderful book for everyone’s bookshelf.   The artwork is gorgeous too! [picture book, ages 4 – adult]

1. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin

My oldest has always loved Asian folk tales.  In this NewberyAward winning book, Grace Lin’s finest work to date weaves Chinese Folk tales into a story that is greater than the sum of it’s parts.  With Asian themes of filial respect and sacrifice, she writes a novel that is the “Asian Percy Jackson.”   [chapter book, ages 8-12]


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Top 10: Best Japanese American Children’s Books (ages 2-16)

best japanese american children's books kidlit pragmaticmom jadeluckclub jade luck club japanese american picture books best summer reading lists The story of Japanese immigration is also true for my own family history.  Changes in Japan during the Meiji Restoration from 1868 to 1912 wrought great changes in Japan as the country tried to modernize.  The old feudal system of titled landowners was abruptly stripped away, and the daimyo domains of titled landowners were turned into prefectures.   For those families including my own, they were forced to buy back their own lands as some of their lost lands included sacred family burial grounds.  To earn the money, large numbers of Japanese men found work in Hawaii in the pineapple and sugar cane plantations and from there, migrated to the mainland.

Following in the wake of the Chinese immigrants marked the Japanese immigrants as a part of that group, and resulted in a negative attitude towards the Japanese immigrants almost immediately and this negative attitude lasted for more than 50 years.  At war with Japan during WWII brought prejudice and fear of Japanese Americans to new heights and resulted in forced internment camps, a low point for American history.

Throughout it all, Japanese Americans perserved, pushing their children into lucrative careers in the sciences and trying to assimilate post WWII so that they would encounter less prejudice.  I think this is the reason for a relative dearth of well known Japanese-American children’s authors, which the  one exception being Cynthia Kadohata.  It was strange to me that many important Japanese stories were not told by Japanese Americans.  I tried, therefore, to focus my list on lesser known authors telling important stories.  I hope this list will inspire more authors in this genre!

For a brief history of Japanese immigration, please see this link:

Honorable Mentions

Umbrella by Taro Yashima

With Japanese words throughout, this is a sweet and gentle story of a little girl, Momo (peach in Japanese),  who is excited to use her new present of an umbrella and new rain boots. [picture book, ages 4-8]

The Inn-Keepers Apprentice by Allen Say

I tire a little of all the WWII internment story lines.  I do think it’s important, but there is more to the Japanese American experience that just that period of time. When I found this book at the library, I was surprised that Allen Say wrote middle grade fiction. I always thought of him as a picture book illustrator and author. I read the book, expecting not to like it and was pleasantly surprised to find that it kept my interest. First of all, though the book is set in post WWII Japan, the book focuses on a coming-of-age story of a middle grade boy who is unusual for many reasons.  His mother comes from a Samurai aristocratic background but married a Korean.  Then got divorced! That is very unusual for this time. And the boy is determined to apprentice with a famous cartoonist. I wondered if the story rang so true because it was Say’s own story. I finished the book, satisfied by a good read and then researched it.  Yes, it is his own story and what a fascinating person he is! [chapter book, ages 9-14]

The Bracelet by Yoshiko Uchida

I read this story a long time ago and remembered that it was a particularly sad story of internment that I couldn’t bring myself to read to my girls. The little Japanese girl is given a bracelet by her American friend that she brings to internment camp that gets lost.   [picture book, ages 8-12]

Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerr

A story about post bombing Hiroshima where Sadako, who loves to run, becomes ill due to the radiation from the bomb.  It is believed in Japan that folding a thousand paper cranes brings girls good luckand good health.  [chapter book, ages 8-12]

[chapter book, ages 10-14]

An Illustrated History of Japan by Shigeo Nishimura

A gorgeously illustrated history of Japan.  It would be a great reference book, particularly to look through for the artwork.  Each period of history is briefly detailed.   [picture book, ages 8-12]

10. Suki’s Kimonoby Chieri Uegaki

Even though Suki’s sisters teaser her, she wears her beloved kimono (yukata) to the first day of school.  It was a gift from her obachan, grandmother, and she has especially fond memories of spending time at a (obon) street festival dancing with her.  But is it a good idea to look so different?  [picture book, ages 4-7]


9. Yoko’s Paper Cranes by Rosemary Wells

Rosemary Well’s has incorporated traditional Japanese art themes into her luscious illustrations about Yoko communicating with her grandparents back in Japan.  A sweet and endearing story.  [picture book, ages 2-6]

8. A Place Where Sunflowers Grow by Amy Lee-Tai

A bi-lingual (Japanese/English) story about the author’s grandmother who was interned at Topaz and really did grow 8 foot sunflowers in the desert.  A stoic story about coping with internment.  This is the author’s first book.  [picture book, ages 7-11]


7. A Jar of Dreams by Yoshiko Uchida

11-year-old Rinko lives in Berkeley, California during the Great Depression and life isn’t easy, especially when you are Japanese American because she encounters prejudice almost daily. When her family opens a small laundry, their local competitor, a well known bigot and bully, threatens them.  Things change when her Aunt Waka comes to visit from Japan,  and she helps to convince them to chase their dreams, even if it seems improbable that they will be given the same opportunities as non-Asians.  Despite the prejudice that her family faces, Rinko learns to take pride in her Japanese self.

A Jar of Dreams is an accurate protrait of what life was like for Japanese immigrants pre- WWII, but it also details the determination, hard-work, and strong familial bonds that propelled them to succeed.  [chapter book, ages 10-14]


6. Tokyo Friends by Betty Reynolds

Katie is a young American girl living in modern-day Tokyo.  Spend time with Katie and her Japanese friends learning about Japanese culture, holidays and the Japanese language. And the story rhymes! [picture book, ages 2-12]

5. Tea With Milk by Alan Say

May’s parents return to Japan and it’s a tough adjustment for her to make.  She prefers her tea with milk and sugar but in Japan, she must drink green tea, go to high school all over again to learn to be a proper Japanese lady, and assume her Japanese name, Masako.  Finally, she rebels and  moves to Osaka where she gets a job and meets a man that prefers his tea with milk and sugar.  This is the love story of Alan Say’s parents. [picture book, ages 6-9]

4. Kira-Kiraby Cynthia Kadohata

This Newbery Award winning novel is a Japanese Grapes of Wrath story about the Takashima family as they move  from Iowa to Georgia in the 1950’s and work menial, grueling jobs at a non-unionized poultry farm.  The three kids, Lynn, Katie and Sammy,  manage to have fun and dream of better times ahead despite their difficult conditions until Lynn comes down with a fatal illness.  The book manages to portray life for post-WWII Japanese Americans  in an insightful and realistic way.  [chapter book, ages 10-14]

3. Weedflowerby Cynthia Kadohata

From Starred Review, School Library Journal. Grade 5-8–When Pearl Harbor is attacked, the lives of a Japanese-American girl and her family are thrown into chaos. Sumiko, 12, and her younger brother, Tak-Tak, live with their aunt and uncle, grandfather Jiichan, and adult cousins on a flower farm in Southern California. Though often busy with chores, Sumiko enjoys working with the blossoms, particularly stock, or weedflowers (fragrant plants grown in a field). In the difficult days that follow the bombing, the family members fear for their safety and destroy many of their belongings. Then Uncle and Jiichan are taken to a prison camp, and the others are eventually sent to an assembly center at a racetrack, where they live in a horse stable. When they’re moved to the Arizona desert, Sumiko misses the routine of her old life and struggles with despair. New friends help; she grows a garden with her neighbor and develops a tender relationship with a Mohave boy. She learns from him that the camp is on land taken from the Mohave reservation and finds that the tribe’s plight parallels that of the incarcerated Japanese Americans. Kadohata brings into play some complex issues, but they realistically dovetail with Sumiko’s growth from child to young woman. She is a sympathetic heroine, surrounded by well-crafted, fascinating people. The concise yet lyrical prose conveys her story in a compelling narrative that will resonate with a wide audience.–Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA .  [chapter book, ages 12-16]

2. So Far From the Sea by Eve Bunting

Laura Iwaski and her family visit her grandfather’s grave at the Manzanar War Relocation center where he died during internment.  Both her parents were relocated though at different camps.  Her father was a little boy when this happened and this marks the last time they will visit before moving to Boston.  Their final visit sums up the attitude of most Japanese-Americans who were forced to relocate:  a terrible thing that happened to them.   But , as the Dad says, “Sometimes in the end thre is no right or wrong.  It is just a thing that happened long years ago.  A thing that cannot be changed.”  [picture book, ages 8-12]

1. Baseball Saved Us by Ken Mochizuki

Ken Mochizuki’s were interned at Minidoka Internment camp in Idaho, and this is the story based on true events, of how they used baseball to cope.  The little boy in the story is small for his age, but perserves to become an excellent player.  The story continues post-internment and things are not better.  Luckily, the boy’s skill in baseball helps to bring everyone together.  This is the author’s first picture book. [picture book, ages 8-12]

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