angry reader of the week: tak toyoshima

Well, look here. It's time for another Angry Reader of the Week, spotlighting you, the very special readers of this website. Over the years, I've been able to connect with a lot of cool folks, and this is a way of showing some appreciation and attention to the people who help make this blog what it is. This week's Angry Reader is none other than Tak Toyoshima, the guy behind Secret Asian Man.

Who are you?
Tak Toyoshima, creative director for Dig Publishing, husband, father and creator/illustrator of Secret Asian Man comics.

What are you?
A workaholic who shares a simple philosophy with the wizard from Conan the Barbarian played by Mako, "Time enough for sleep in the grave." I'm also a second generation Japanese American with artistic parents and a brother in finance. One guess who makes the most money...

Where are you?
Boston, MA. Dorchester, actually, just south of Boston. Kind of like Brooklyn is to Manhattan except not as hipstery. It actually reminds me of growing up in New York on the borders of Chinatown and Little Italy. But instead of Chinese and Italians it's Vietnamese and Irish.

Where are you from?
Born and raised in New York City near the intersection of Canal St. and Broadway, you know, where busloads of housewives from New Jersey go to get their knock-off Prada bags. Maybe the only place where you can get a designer watch, major motion pictures on DVD weeks before they're released in theaters and live pet turtles...all in the ame store.

What do you do?
I like to provoke people. At Dig Publishing (publishers of Boston's Weekly Dig newspaper) I have the pleasure of being able to produce a paper every week that challenges what can be a pretty traditional and stuffy city. Just today Sarah Palin came to town on the Teaparty Express so weeks before we decided to run a "design your own Palin protest poster" design contest. The winning poster got the cover and featured an iconic elephant humping another elephant from behind and "Palin" written under it. We let the readers decifer it's meaning.

I've also been creating a comic strip called Secret Asian Man for over 11 years now. It started as a 2-page monthly comic that morphed into a weekly strip appearing in alternative newsweekly papers in a few different states. Then I got picked up for daily syndication by United Features and proceeded to pump out SAM for papers in a lot more states. But with crazy deadlines, especially with a full time job and a second child on the way, syndication ceased and I am now very happily back to a weekly schedule that allows me to focus SAM on new and exciting projects free from the constraints of corporate syndication.

What are you all about?
I'm all about open and honest dialog. I want people to think about their own beliefs and constantly challenge what they know. I love learning new things and being proved wrong. I'm all about supporting a community that I'm proud to be a part of and try my best to act as a bridge to other cultures to help further strengthen understanding and mutual respect. I love bacon too.

What makes you angry?
People who think they can get away with mocking Asians because they think we are quiet and well-behaved. Old, tired stereotypes anger me. There's a perfectly good reason for stereotypes but when they get old it gets annoying. I want new stereotypes like: Asians are good dancers, Asians have the best child talents on YouTube, Asians are the world's best fighters (hello BJ, Pacquiao, Lyoto Machida, this lady...).

It hasn't happend yet but what would also make me angry is if I sat in a book store to do a book signing and no one showed up! Don't let it happen! Come down to Giant Robot in NYC on Friday 4/23 from 6-8pm for my book signing and debut of my new SAM/GR benefit shirt by Blacklava. If you don't come I'm going to have to change my comic's name to something like...Angry Asian Man! Hmm, I like the sound of that.

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