Saturday, September 11, 2021

Thoughts on the 20th Anniversary of 9/11

I visited the dentist for the first time since the pandemic began yesterday, and as I stared at the x-ray screen, especially the date stamp, I said, “Tomorrow’s 9/11”. And we both exchanged our stories from that day. She was a 7th grader then. I was in my sophomore year of high school.

My morning routine during high school years was: wash up, head down to the kitchen for a bite, and watch a few minutes of GMA/ABC News before walking to the school bus stop. When I turned on the TV, the special report was already underway, and started with the replay of the North Tower first. Ignoring the voice over from Peter Jennings (to this day, my favorite news anchor of all time) I reached the same conclusion as most others: what a horrific accident. That conclusion was short-lived, as it cut straight to the South Tower crash. On the bus, our driver who usually had the dial set to KISS Country, had the news feed on. We listened in horror and astonishment as one of the towers collapsed.

Sunday, June 7, 2020

A Long Overdue Post

Hello, dear reader. It has now been nearly two years since my last post, so please accept my now standard apology for the very long lapse. Since I last posted, a few big things have happened in my life, not least of which is that I'm now married. But as much as I'd love to write all about my lovely wife in this overdue post, I'd like to write about something that's even more overdue.

For 11 days now, this country has been rocked from coast to coast, on account of the latest wrongful death of a Black American, George Floyd. I hesitate to use "death" in the singular, because there is some regular cadence to news like this in America. In fact, this country had not even finished processing the deaths of Amaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor before the profoundly disturbing video footage of George Floyd's arrest, choking, and death flooded the airwaves. What a horrific scene.

While my wife and I are both immigrants in America, we differ in that she didn't grow up in this country, while I (largely) did. Even before the latest news, I've frequently found myself talking to her and frankly struggling to gather some semblance of an answer to questions like:
  • Why are so many encounters with law enforcement in America lethal?
  • Why is there such a quick escalation to the use of (lethal) force?
  • Why are Black Americans disproportionately affected?
Throughout all these questions, a terrifying thought emerged. As the more recent immigrant, my wife was viewing the issues of racial injustice taken to the extreme through a "fresher" lens, but what about me? In my adult life in this country, I witness racial tension in one form or another every day. But did I see injustice? Or did I just assume that it's a part of life, and carry on about my business? Had I become numb? Did I turn a blind eye? Am I a part of the problem?

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Throwback Sunday: That Time I Went on an Apartment Hunt and Caught an Earthquake

So by now, most of you know that I used to live in Japan. One of the pains-slash-joys of the moving process is of course house hunting. Back in the summer of 2008, I was having fun, touring this decked-out new construction apartment, when a (non) disaster struck. See it for yourself (Warning - explicit language):

Sunday, December 25, 2016

The Chinese Phood Trilogy

Yes, after all this time, I finally wrote something new. And the new stuff I wrote... is about a year old. Last year, I headed to Beijing, for no reason in particular, aside from having a good time. And that usually means having some good food. Just like China itself, Chinese food is always changing. And here, I document some of my culinary adventure, a mix of old and new. Read it in three parts, starting with Part 1 of my food channel.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

St. Patrick's Day, Green Hats, and a Weird TIL

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

This morning, I noticed some people walking around with green hats. Which I think is perfectly fine, but the Chinese in me always thinks of our good-natured taboo of wearing green hats.

A lot of green hats. I sure hope that it's got nothing to do with marital strains. Credit
You see, the phrase "wearing a green hat" is a euphemism for "cuckold", or the deceived husband in an extramarital affair. So when we say in Chinese that Mr. Wang is wearing a green hat, what we really mean is that Mrs. Wang's been a bit naughty. As you might imagine, the association has made it increasingly difficult for modern Chinese to literally wear green hats. Hence, the presence of any green hats is made all the more noticeable in daily life.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Is This How LV Cornered the Chinese Market?

I found myself on the homepage of eBay when this item caught my eye.

Yup. That's a Louis Vuitton Thermos. Now, before you wonder, I own absolutely no Vuitton items of any sort. Unless you count a very obviously imitation wallet that I purchased in China many years back. It was a piece of crap and didn't last very long.

If this isn't how the luxury goods giant conquered the hearts (and wallets) of Chinese consumers, then this is surely how they'll do it going forward.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

A Bit About Me and Japan

You might have noticed quite a bit of stuff on my blog relating to Japan. I wanted to give an explanation of why.
Me in Tokyo for the first time 1997. Yes, I was a fat kid.
For those of you who don't know me personally, I'm Chinese but also speak Japanese. I started taking classes during freshman year of college, and continued to study it for all four years. After spending part of every college summer in Japan, I also lived and worked in Tokyo for my first job out of school (eerily, I worked in one of the buildings you see in the background of the photo above). Thanks to the country's outrageously generous subsidy for foreigners via the national rail pass, I have now have visited more places in Japan than most Japanese people.

This is a short story of how I got started, and what it means to me today.