My name is Jason Nguyen and I am a graduating senior receiving my degree in field of environmental studies. In terms of Asian American popular culture, one example that I believe to be outstanding is the fashion of getting tapioca drinks. The era of what I call “Boba frenzy” is here. Five years ago I could hardly remember of any beverage shops that served tapioca drinks as the main attraction. But now… it’s spreading like wildfire! Growing up in Los Angeles. I the making the routine to get boba drinks was definitely not a thing. Instead, the places to go were Starbucks or Coffee Bean. As I moved the Orange County area in Westminster after high school I saw a new trend, a new experience in the beverage-consumer world. Five years later, a boba shop can be found at the local level. A new competitive industry rose, bringing with it new ways to experience tapioca. Boba in tea, boba in milk-tea, miniature boba, pink-colored boba, heck – miniature pink boba in milk tea, they have it all. Okay, maybe Santa Barbara is not subject to “Boba Frenzy”, yet. But I firmly believe that one day in the near future, urbanizing places like Isla Vista will too join the frenzy in the boba movement.
What is “popular culture” to me is the idea of mass interaction on a particular common interest. To put into terms of “Asian American popular culture”, I think it relates to my concept of the “Boba Frenzy” experience. It pertains to people of Asian ethic background in America that share a common interest, like boba! The act of getting boba drinks is not confined to only Chinese culture, or Korean culture rather, it appeals to Asian Americans of all kinds. The relevance of Asian American popular culture as well as its importance in studying it in my opinion roots to the fact that the field of Asian American study is new. It’s only within the past half decade or so that this subject has emerged as a field of interest. To study Asian American popular culture I believe is to understand the functionalities between Asian Americans and their environment.