|Tabling with WOC Zine and Eileen Chavez at IntersectFest II|
Got invited to do the artwork for YOUTHHOOD:
presented by Holding Space and YGB (Young, Gifted and Black)
at Holocene, Nov 2, 2016.
I'm excited to present some new comics.
it's been a while, say 2 years, since i've blogged regularly. in fact, I've convinced myself that I can't even write anymore. It's not so much that I can't write, it's that I'm out of practice of carving out the time to do so. This past year, I've become a mother of a busy, curious, happy child of 16 mon ths. Between housework, my part time job as a research assistant, cooking, caring for Mazzy 24/7, joining a local church community (Imago Dei Eastside), staying active in the underground comics and zine communities, trying to garden daily, and maybe even exercise, I'm pretty pooped by the end of the day. If i'm lucky I can grab a cup of tea, and step outside for a minute to enjoy the cool late night air, and maybe watch a stupid movie and read some. Writing for me is on the back burner right now, but lately I've been missing expressing my thoughts to the "world."
This week is Ash Wednesday, and in the past I've dedicated to giving up something for the season of Lent. This year I would like to add to my life, instead of taking away. I would like to write a paragraph everyday, for 40 days, on my thoughts about faith, race, home, and creativity.
I would also like to start compiling a new zine about the history of API zinesters.
As well as continue my watercolor paintings of my old family photos.
|Nakaoka women making Japanese New Years mochi, watercolor, 2016|
|Family Tree (on gardening), pen and ink, 2015.|
Published in Women of Color Zine #11, 2016
|Made Alex a eyeball birthday cake in October. Super proud of my amateur icing skills.|
This is my 3rd year living in Portland, and my 5th year gardening rather seriously. For the first two years, I had a community garden plot that I would visit a few times a week, but since I had our daughter Mazzy, I've been gardening as much at home as possible. This is my backyard garden in its first year.
Before: Earlier this year, my husband Alex built two cedar beds. One for strawberries, carrots and onions. And the bigger one for tomatoes and perennial asparagus.
I also got three cubic yards of aged cow mature dumped onto our driveway. It was a lot of dirt! Tons of red wiggler worms in it. Such good quality *shit*
Strawberry box. First time growing berries!
You can't even compare homegrown strawberries to store bought ones.
My mom-in-law visiting this summer.
Sauce tomato planter. I think I squeezed about 15 tomato bushes in there!
All different types: Green Tiger, Roma, Early Girl, Black Cherry, Cherry.
The Elecampane is getting huge. I planted this to make lung medicine in the fall.
Curry plant. The smell of this flower is amazing.
My neighbor and church friend, Asha helped me pick a big harvest of tomatoes.
This was only the first bucket!
This spring I planted a ton of perennial herbs, plants and flowers, and three fruit trees (persimmon, cherry and fig). I spent WAY over my annual gardening budget, but I justified it in my mind by telling myself that I was investing for the future. This was the year to plant the long-term plants, and this coming year would only be planting annual vegetables and flowers. I planted about 3 packets of nasturtiums, but it still wasn't enough for me. I want our tiny front and backyard to be BURSTING with greenery, especially because our home is on a hill with not a lot of trees.
So this fall I'm digging in allium and ranunculus bulbs in our sad looking front yard grass. I might plant one or two more fruit trees, and add about 10 more blueberry bushes sprinkled around the property. I want to seed a million poppies (especially the big tall purple ones). We also signed up for "Friends of Trees" spring planting, so we might be adopting an incense cedar tree or a mimosa tree for the side yard. Also I want to try my hand at planting a few hardy kiwi vines! Excited!
An Advocate for Diversity and Justice
(Written for a Theological Librarianship course)
Theological libraries are spaces where people’s cultural differences can be starting points to learn how different ethnicities, cultures, and countries worship and express their theological thoughts. As the theological tides shift from monocultural to multicultural, and as knowledge becomes more globalized in our high tech and digital world, local, regional, and ethnic culture play a vital role in our individualized and communal theologies. It embeds itself in the way we practice religion, how we pray, how we eat, how we commune with one another, and in how we communicate our thoughts and feelings. All of my goals from this course harmonize with my own personal life goals to “act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with [our] Lord (Micah 6:8).” Within each goal, I feel called to advocate for diversity and justice as a librarian of color.
A fellow librarian friend of mine told me that she found her political work within her librarianship. This is the way it is for me as well, and now I also find my spiritual calling enacted within my profession. One of my goals, if I were to work within a theological library, would be to serve as a mentor for students of color, particularly women and queer theologians. I would support these students in their research, encouraging them to publish and present as much as possible. For in order to turn the tide of who is creating theological materials, students with identities outside of the white, male, and heterosexual norms need to participate in scholarship. I would host weekly informal office-hours/tea-time in order to both engage students, as well as to get to know them. Perhaps these relationship building will lead to more students with interests in working for the library and eventually becoming theological librarians themselves.
While I cannot say that I am on a specific path to becoming a theological librarian (though I would not be opposed to becoming one if the opportunity arose), I do however see the importance of leveraging my role as a librarian and archivist within my home church community. I grew up in a historic Japanese American Baptist church in Southern California with a specific history tied in with World War II, resulting in the displacement and forced relocation of its congregation. To assist in formulating a proper history of Gardena Valley Baptist Church (it just had its 100th anniversary), interviews of past ministers, staff, and church members would be conducted to add insight to archival photographs. Gardena, California is one of the largest home to Japanese Americans in the United States, so this church history would document a specific ethnic and cultural enclave’s theological growth.
In my current situation, I am more a full-time mother and housewife than a professional librarian (though I am hoping that fulfilling my MLIS changes this situation), so I am not currently working in a place that provides library services. Though I do find myself being called upon my friends and family to provide them with informal reference and information services. I am an alumnus of a missions organization, Mission Year, in which young people live and work in urban communities for a year, while living communally and taking temporary vows of poverty. Supporting current team members commonly means finding them theological resources that speak to their ethnic and cultural needs. For instance, a team member just inquired about seeking materials of Native Hawaiian Christian theologians doing justice work. I was able to find a few articles and ministers who fit this profile. This is my ongoing informal library practice, and it is my goal to continue using my skills as a librarian, and now as a theological librarian, to support these young missionaries.
As I venture down the road of becoming an academic librarian, I know full well that I will have to overcome my fear of “publish, or perish.” I hope that in a year’s time, I can revise one of my strongest papers from library school to submit for peer-review. While this is my most dreaded goal, it is one of my realistic goals to succeed and stay relevant in the profession. While I may hold a rather unique perspective of being an Asian American artist, mother, zine-maker, and librarian, I am held back by fear of being rejected, as well as a fear that people won’t care for the issues I hold dear. To accomplish this goal, I will have find a fellow peer librarian to read through my essay work to give me constructive criticism on my flow of thoughts and theories. I also wish to build and strengthen a few professional relationships, in the hopes of someday presenting alongside them in a conference panel. Because one of the biggest hurdles in this goal are my own fears and insecurities, I hope that by gathering a few colleagues that I trust with my work, I can build confidence while refining my scholarship.
Whether I work with theologians of color, write local church histories, provide reference to young urban missionaries, or publish my own scholarship, I hope to be used to broaden and diversified the Kingdom of God. The more variety and diversity within the walls of the library, the more diversity there is in scholarship, and in our expressions and worship of God.