Showing posts from November, 2008

Can You Eat Bitterness?

I love watching reality game shows. There are some really crazy shows with some crazy premises ("Hole in the Wall" comes to mind), but most have one thing in common: how much punishment can you endure for a prolonged period of time?

As a whole, Asian Americans have done very well in reality game shows. The most famous is Survivor winner Yul Kwon, but there are other prominent Asian American Survivors, such as Yau-Man Chan from Survivor Fiji, the most beloved competitor from the series:

"An atypical Survivor contestant, he achieved much success through his knowledge and utilization of basic physics. This was evident from the first episode. After the repeated efforts of much more muscular contestants, he was the only one able to open a box of supplies the tribe received.

"While others had used various brute force methods to open the box, Chan simply dropped it on its corner onto a rock, opening it immediately. In this way he was also able to beat younger, fitter and th…

Working Out the Flat Asian Butt

Q: I scoured through your strength blog, and I noticed there is no mention about how to work out the butt. In particular, if you are an ectomorph and have a flat Asian butt. I know everyone suggests, 'Squats, Squats, Squats!'

Do you have any thoughts about how to get a rounder bulky butt? How many times a week should we do squats? Should I do low reps with heavy weight? I have been working out for 20 years now. 

I tested various methods, but this part of the body has stumped me. Anyways, I ordered your 2 books after hearing you on Maybe the answer lies in those books?

Flat-butted Asian

My Answer: Ah, the dreaded no-junk-in-the-trunk Asian butt. There are programs in the Strength and Physique books that will develop your ass, although they were not specifically intended for badonka-donk building.

Don't you like how this conversation is going?

Anyway, to build a bootylicious butt, you do have to squat. The question is: are you squatting all t…

Offensive vs Defensive Mindset

It's interesting how the martial arts of a culture reflects it's philosophy and values. Although there are notable exceptions (Muay Thai), Western martial arts tend to have an offensive mindset while Eastern martial arts tend to have a defensive mindset.

The offensive mindset is this: The best defense is a good offense.

In the Western mindset, it is about meeting force with force. You cannot predict what others do, nor should you care. You only know what you can do, and you do it. You exert your force and will to dominate others. Action is always better than inaction. The offensive mindset operates on constant forward drive.

The defensive mindset is this: The best offense is a good defense.

In the Eastern mindset, it's about going with the flow. You cannot always meet force with force and expect to win. You choose your battles wisely. Every attack on you provides you with an opportunity to launch a counterattack. The defensive mindset operates on patience, skill and quickl…

The Angry Asian Man Syndrome

So here's an article from The Dong-A Ilbo site:

"The Dong-A Ilbo commissioned the world’s leading search engine Google to conduct surveys on keywords that best represent 30 member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and China, as well as their people.

"The Korean people were mainly described as 'quick-tempered and workaholics,' followed by 'hardworking and ambitious' and 'friendly and kind.' Another interesting keyword was 'early morning prayers.'

"For the survey, Google Korea ran an automatic search Sunday evening on hundreds of billions of Web pages after typing in a series of questions in English on what a country or its people is known for.

"Japan was most known for kimono; Mount Fuji; ninjas; manga (comic books); sushi; and electronic goods. The Japanese were best known for their high life expectancy and materialistic pursuits and low risk of heart disease.

"The most common words associated…

Why "A. Magazine" Went the Way of the Dodo

I was looking around for images to stick on this blog, so I went through a pile of "A. Magazine" back issues. All I could up with was this screwball playing around with a lighter.

A. Magazine is now defunct, as are "Yolk," "Transpacific," "Rice" and the short-lived "SAM." So the only real Asian American magazines we have (that I can think of) are "Hyphen" and "Audrey." I'm sure there are others floating around, some specific to Asian ethnic groups.

So why aren't there more Asian American magazines? Let's explore a possible answer by "randomly" selecting an issue of A. Magazine, shall we? How about the February/March 2001 issue with Chef Ming Tsai on the cover?

oHH Kay. First off the cover offends my heterosexual Asian American male sensibilities, because Ming's holding a flower with chopsticks. I hope the guy or gal who approved this cover was fired.

Now let's go over the tabl…

The 3-5 Method

I love the board game "Risk." Risk is a classic board game about world domination. You teach yourself a lot about strategy and managing your resources. If I were to pick 4 classic board games to teach your child to develop a mindset that can deal with the real world, it'd be:

Risk (for strategy and tactics)Monopoly (for resource and financial management)Scrabble (for vocabulary)Chess (for mental calculations)
Anyway, there's an episode of Seinfeld where Newman and Kramer are playing a days long game of Risk, and Jerry comments, "It's Risk. It's a game of world domination being played by two guys who can barely run their own lives."

Some people are like Kramer: a lot of crazy ideas that border on genius, but they got A.D.D. You know the ones I'm talking about. They'll go into a diatribe about the history of Chinese oppression in Tibet or preach against whale fishing by the Japanese, but they can't manage a checkbook or lay off the boo…

Attraction is Not a Choice

I recently had lunch with a friend, and she related how she had broken up with her boyfriend. She's a very intelligent girl and like anybody fresh from a break-up, she feels confused and somewhat betrayed. The reasons for the break-up didn't seem logical to her.

The thing is that intelligence, logic and rationality have NOTHING to do with attraction and maintaining relationships. Both men and women do stupid things when they are possessed by emotions such as passion, sexual tension and longing. There is a widely quoted phrase among PUA circles and that is this:

"Attraction is not a choice."

You can't help who you're attracted to and when you're attracted to someone, no matter how intelligently and rationally you behave and live your life. This is the reason why some women are attracted to bad boys or make bad choices with regards to their love life. This is why a man risks everything he's earned, including his marriage and his financial assets,…

The Rules of the Game are Always the Same

My 73 year old father-in-law is a widower who's recently gotten back into the dating game. Yes, that's right: old Asian men and women still date. Who knew?!

Anyway, I've written about my father-in-law before about how he's kept himself in good health. He drinks gallons of green tea and eats a grapefruit everyday. Whatever it is he's doing, it's working cuz he's got a full head of jet black hair. And because he's kept up with his appearances, he's a hit with the ladies at the senior center. My father-in-law was a professor back in Shanghai, and the Cantonese women at the center are enamored with his intellectual background as well.

The funny thing is that these seniors do a lot of dancing. They're addicted to dancing, so much so that they will hop around different senior centers. I guess senior centers have different hours. "Hey, a bunch of us are going to the Chinatown center. They're open till midnight."

Sounds like a bunch…

Reader Mail: The Aussie Asian Speaks Again

Q: G'day James,

It's the resident Asian-Australian saying hi. First thing, I've had a look at the AA T-shirt designs and my favourite is the design scheme used in the "bumper sticker". It's where the five elements are positioned horizontally above the alphabetic logo. As a suggestion, the popular designs would also look good on a coffee mug. Let me know if the coffee mug idea will proceed, since I'm quite far away. I would prefer to buy multiple items in one parcel.

Regarding the 10 Op Orders for the Alpha Asian: That's a pretty good guide, and I've printed out a copy for my desk at home and one in my drawer at work. I like to have stuff like this in my room to keep me on track and make sure I don't deviate from my goals.

It's also one of the reasons why I read your Strength and Physique and Alpha Asian blogs on a regular basis. Like you said in one of your posts, it's good to associate yourself with positive thinking people who ar…

What the Future Holds

My wife works for a high school in Millbrae, a "suburban-city" south of San Francisco. The City of Millbrae is a somewhat affluent area where although Caucasians make up the majority (approximately 63%), Asians make up a significant 29% of the population.

One day my wife was talking to a senior student, a Caucasian girl bound for an Ivy League college on the East Coast. The girl related how she felt strange going away to a place where people would not understand what a "cha siu bao" was.

My wife and I live in Daly City, another burb-city just south of San Francisco. Asians make up the majority in Daly City and constitute 52% of the population. If you walk into the Trader Joe's here in Daly City, you'll find a diverse clientele, Asian and non-Asian. Yet if you walk into Ranch 99 or any of the other popular Asian supermarkets here in Daly City, you will find non-Asians shop at these markets as well.

What the future holds for the U.S. is "transcultu…

The Difference Between Cats and Dogs

So here's a 6 month old kitten that my wife and I are fostering. We named him Micah, and even though is he small, Micah is fearless. Micah always wants to wrestle with our much bigger cat, Newbie. My wife and I have taken care of both cats and dogs, but we consider ourselves cat people. Not that we don't like dogs, but we identify more with the feline nature.

Do you know what the difference is between cats and dogs? While both animals behave in accordance with their instincts, a dog accommodates to its master, whereas an owner accommodates to its cat. A cat carries herself as if she were descended from a great heritage: lions and tigers. A cat knows his proud and regal lineage, and let's you know it too.

A dog is also descended from a great and noble ancestry: wolves. But whereas a cat remembers her heritage, a dog does not. Hence because of this cultural amnesia, he's vulnerable to having his behavior molded to fit the needs and wants of people.

So what are y…

10 Op Orders for the Alpha Asian

These are some of the life lessons I try to live by. It took me years to figure some of this stuff out:

1) Be honest with yourself. It's one thing to be dishonest with others, but nobody respects a person who is dishonest with himself. Know what it is you ultimately want. Don't bullshit yourself and say you want one thing, when you really want another. Be very objective in your self-analysis.

2) Learn to focus, and focus on the right things. You may have a lot of lofty and grandiose dreams and ideas, but if you can't focus on doing the daily tasks that help accomplish those dreams, then you are of no use. Learn to focus on a few activities, and do those activities well. Just make sure that whatever activities you are engaging in are meaningful and will result in measureable and desireable outcomes.

3) No regrets, no guilt. I don't ever feel guilty. You know why? Because I don't act stupid in the first place. If you feel guilty, then it means you were too…

Four Exercise Personality Types

How you react to a stress, whether it be physical or mental, chronic or acute, reveals a lot about a person. As a trainer, I've come across 4 distinct personalities with regards to workout ethic. The funny thing is these 4 distinct workout personalities are found outside of the gym as well and permeate all aspects of society.

1) The Yeah-But: This is the person who looks for every excuse not to do whatever it is you recommend that he or she do. Trainer says, "To lean down, you'll need to diet."

Yeah-But says, "Yeah... but... I don't want to diet. I just want to exercise the weight off."

I purposely avoid training these people, because they rationalize a way to lose before every battle in their life.

2) The Intellectual Masturbator: This person suffers from analysis paralysis. He would rather learn and yak about the theory of exercise and diet, instead of hitting the gym and pushing his body to its highest potential. Although I always encourage quest…