Millions of Americans celebrate Lunar New Year, but this episode of ‘Fresh Off the Boat’ will be a network TV first

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Originally published on PRI’s Global Nation

At a preview of “Fresh Off the Boat’s” Chinese New Year episode, the show’s creator, Nahnatchka Khan, was asked if this is the first time the holiday would be portrayed on American TV shows.

Khan thought about it. “Maybe. Like, [unless there was] a murder during Chinese New Year,” she joked. There have been odd mentions here and there, but tonight’s episode (on ABC) certainly will be a milestone.

Though there have been movements to establish the new year as a national holiday — New York City added it to the public school calendar last year — it’s still rare to see it portrayed in Hollywood.

Which is surprising, considering there are more than 4 million Chinese, some 1.7 million Korean and 2.5 million Southeast Asian Americans in the US. And it’s a safe bet that many of them grew up hoping for generous cash gifts inside red envelopes every year during some version of the Lunar New Year.

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‘The Birth of Saké’: Documentary Lifts Curtain of 2,000-Year-Old Tradition

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Originally posted on NBC Asian America.

At a 2012 New York fundraiser for his short film series “I Am What I Eat,” director Erik Shirai met a young man named Yasuyuki Yoshida, who had been hired to pour saké at the event. There, Yoshida invited Shirai to his family’s brewery in the Ishikawa prefecture of northern Japan to see how world-class saké is made, not knowing that he’d eventually become one of the subjects of Shirai’s award-winning documentary“The Birth of Saké.”

“Japanese people always say, ‘Next time you’re in Japan, come out and we’ll take care of you,'” Shirai told NBC News. “It’s a formality, and no one usually takes them up on their offers, so he was pleasantly surprised when we actually came knocking on his door.”

Saké is a Japanese alcoholic beverage that is made by fermenting rice. There are many different types of saké, determined by brewing methods and the percentage of rice milling, but the Tedorigawa Yoshida Sake Brewery, run by Yoshida’s family, specializes in daiginjo, which is the highest grade of saké.

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