Big-Budget Movie Looks at Vancouver’s Legendary Japanese Baseball Team

VancouverAsahiTheYou’ve heard of “moneyball,” but what about “brain ball”?

That’s the strategy used by the Vancouver Asahi – the city’s storied baseball team from the 1930s – to dominate the competition.  Instead of relying on home runs, they used bunts and great defence to foil their opponents.

The team and the Japanese-Canadian experience during that era is the subject of the new feature film The Vancouver Asahi, in local theatres now as part of the Vancouver International Film Festival.  The big budget movie recreates the Asahi’s epic 1937 season while offering a glimpse into life in Vancouver’s historic Japantown neighbourhood in the days before World War II.

And there’s a unique twist: The film was made in Japan, offering a Japanese take on Vancouver life and racial politics at the time. Continue reading:
Big-Budget Movie Looks at Vancouver’s Legendary Japanese Baseball Team

Featured Attraction of the Week: Nitobe Memorial Garden (Free Ticket Giveaway!)

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Back by popular demand, Inside Vancouver has relaunched the “Featured Attraction of the Week” series. Each Monday we’ll be featuring a different Vancouver attraction and will be giving away free tickets to our readers. To be eligible, all you have to do is post a comment.

Looking for a tranquil oasis to get away from life’s hustle and bustle? Nitobe Memorial Garden is a traditional Japanese Tea and Stroll garden located at the University of British Columbia. Considered to be the one of the most authentic Japanese gardens in North America, the garden includes a rare authentic Tea Garden with a ceremonial Tea House.
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Featured Attraction of the Week: Nitobe Memorial Garden (Free Ticket Giveaway!)

Vancouver’s Best Yakiniku Japanese BBQ Restaurant? You make the call

Photo credit: Rickchung.com | Flickr

Vancouver is justly famous for its sushi, with hundreds (if not thousands) of restaurants around the city.  We’ve also got plenty of izakayas, the Japanese-style pubs that became popular in the late 1990s.  And we’re no slouch when it comes to ramen restaurants, which serve exclusively the popular Japanese noodle soup.

But I was surprised to discover another Japanese import in the city last week: a yakiniku barbecue. In yakiniku-style restaurants, diners cook up raw, bite-sized chunks of marinated meats and veggies over a grill built right into their tables.  It’s an interactive, hands-on form of dining, quite similar in many respects to Korean barbecue (a controversy rages to this day about whether the practice originated in Korea or Japan).

Considering how fun the experience is (and how tasty the results are), I was surprised I hadn’t tried a yakiniku restaurant in Vancouver before.  I know there must be a bunch out there, but they don’t get much attention.

Do you enjoy Japanese yakiniku barbecue?  Do you have a favourite yakiniku restaurant in Vancouver?  Let us know below.

I’ll start things off be describing my first yakiniku adventure in downtown Vancouver.  Continue reading:
Vancouver’s Best Yakiniku Japanese BBQ Restaurant? You make the call

Vancouver’s Forgotten Japanese Baseball Club

Although it may not look like it now, Oppenheimer Park in the Downtown Eastside was once a baseball diamond – home field for the Vancouver Asahi, an all-Japanese baseball club formed in 1914.  Earlier this month, a ceremony honored the nearly forgotten team, 70 years to the day the club was disbanded and its players sent to internment camps.

The story of the Asahi is among the most fascinating, and little-known, chapters of Vancouver’s early history (as related in this great Vancouver Sun article). The team was started in 1914 when businessman Harry Miyasaki brought together the best amateur players from British Columbia’s fast-growing Japanese population.  The club, known as the Asahi Tigers,  competed against the city’s white ball clubs during the early days of baseball.

And they kicked some butt.

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Vancouver’s Forgotten Japanese Baseball Club