The Banana Guide to Asian Entertainment

I am a Banana [1], or I was for about 17 years of my life. For those of you not “in the know” about what a Banana is, the Urban Dictionary puts it best:

An Asian person who acts like they are white. Yellow on the outside, white on the inside.

There’s also the term Twinkie [1].

I had attended Peruvian-Chinese school, and grew up in a mostly traditional Chinese house with my parents and my grandfather, but I had always labeled myself Latin American. I don’t speak a lick of Cantonese or Mandarin — okay, maybe a tiny lick of Mandarin now — but I had always “resisted” learning any dialect for some reason. My grandfather never spoke to me in either Hakka or Cantonese, but I speak fluid Chinese-accented Spanish.

My father is mixed race, and although his last name is Wong he always used to hang out with the Japanese crowd. He had, at one point in his life, a very cool Karaoke bar when very few knew what a Karaoke bar was. I learned to sing Sukiyaki [1] when I was a kid, but outside Chinese food, and watching Bruce Lee on Enter the Dragon — that was all the connection I had with any type of Asian culture. Okay, maybe there was a tiny part of me that liked Asia, when I worshipped Karate Kid… but who didn’t?

Of course, I grew up watching some of the Super Sentai series like Liveman (超獣戦隊ライブマン) and Flashman (超新星フラッシュマン), as well as The Mobile Cop Jiban (機動刑事ジバン) — just known as Jiban in Latin America — and some very popular NHK education programs like Dekirukana (できるかな) — known as ¿Puedo hacerlo yo? — with Noppo and Gonta-kun! But I watched all of them because those were the shows on television back then, and there was no such thing as cable, let alone YouTube or download links.

All this Asian exposure was towards Japan, so I grew up thinking Japan might be one of the coolest places — after the United States, of course! But as far as considering myself Asian, let alone Chinese was something else.

I had third or fourth generation Chinese friends whom I went to school with, and we were all Bananas in different levels. Almost none of us spoke any Chinese dialect, and all of them were into Anime or Jpop… but that’s distribution, I guess. We all grew up watching Sailor Moon or Dragon Ball, some took up manga classes or Japanese, but I never really got into the “Asian thing.

My mother, as any caring Asian mother would do, probably wanted me to learn to speak Cantonese or Mandarin. Because of our resources, she prioritized me learning English instead, but I always thought she regretted me never taking an interest in Chinese culture. I even recall myself telling her that I was most likely to learn Japanese than Mandarin… Little did I know that I would end up being a fan of all Asian entertainment by lurking on a website, one jdrama download , one movie and one actress later — I’m a goner.

Stay tune for more about Asian entertainment from the point of view of a Banana that is a Banana no longer.

The Banana Guide to Asian Entertainment:

  1. The Introduction
  2. It’s All About Japan: Part I
  3. It’s All About Japan: Part II
  4. It’s All About Japan: Part III
  5. It’s All About Japan: Part IV
  6. Ten Chinese Albums to Brag About
  7. 100 Songs of Chinese Music


YAM Magazine editor, photographer, blogger, translator and part-time web designer. Film junkie, music junkie… and lately series (a.k.a. TV) junkie.