All Posts Filed in ‘Babble


An expat or an immigrant? A scholar or a maid?

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So that blog series about London didn’t happen, just like that blog series about Japan and Korea didn’t happen. Oh well, no one is more eager to disappoint me than myself 🙂

In any case, I’ve moved to Hong Kong, and became…how to say this briefly…a Vietnamese who became American, but is now confused because people don’t think she’s Vietnamese, or American.


When you wish hard enough, tteokbokki will come


I feel hateful towards everyone who’s healthy right now.
I have been battling a nasty cold since…NEW YEAR’S EVE! That’s right, on my way to a new year eve’s party, I started coughing, and by the time the new year came, was completely bed-ridden. I was on what was supposed to be my dream vacation, in which I stay inside an apartment in NYC to work (don’t judge; it’s very nice to write and think when you’re away) and only occasionally come out to try the best food NYC has to offer. I stayed inside alright, but couldn’t even muster any energy to work. So much for a happy new year! (my mouth started twitching from smirking too much at all the “happy new year”s people were posting on fb. Guys, wish harder. It’s not working!)

We just got back to Boston today, and the first thing I did was order soondubu jigae (Korean spicy tofu soup) from our favorite Korean restaurant. I was hoping the spiciness would help clear out the evil mucus, and it did. In fact, normally I wouldn’t order anything spicy from this restaurant, except bibimbap since the sauce is separated. I really thought I’d starve when we went to Korea last summer, if everything there was really as spicy, or spicier!, than Korean food in the US. Surprisingly, there were still a lot of non-spicy options, although the spicy options are as spicy as you’d fear them to be. The spiciness is strangely refreshing when paired with hwe, the Korean-style raw fish. Hwe most often includes different types of fish than Japanese sashimi, and is cut in such a way that the texture is more on the chewy side, with all the sinew of the fish still intact.
hwe korean raw fish sashimi

For other dishes, the spiciness really impaired my ability to enjoy the food. I ordered hwe nangmyun (cold noodle with raw fish), hoping they’d be nice like Korean restaurants in the States and put the sauce aside, but no:


And so I met the Emperor and Empress of Japan

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It was a surprise, really. No one knew anything about it before. They discreetly slipped a notice in our info package of the day, saying the Emperor and the Empress are visiting since they’re vacationing nearby. In the notice and every announcement that happened every 15 minutes afterwards, they kept emphasizing “Please wear your casual summer wear” and “the Emperor and Empress want to have a casual chat” with us. And if you’re wearing a suit jacket, you should take it off. I swear the word “casual” was repeated at least 15 times. It’s like the dentist telling you, “no, it’s not gonna hurt”, and it always fucking hurts. If it was so “casual”, you wouldn’t say it so damn much!


Japan, 5 years 1 month later

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View from my room - the school is on top of a mountain

View from my room – the school is on top of a mountain

I’m in Japan, and will be for the next 3 months or so. This blog will be temporarily co-opted to be used as a travel blog, even though I’m really here for work, not travel. Obviously there will still be many many food posts. I also have to write up about my Korea trip still. I don’t have a particular coherent plan for this, but it’s my blog, so I’ll do whatever I want damn it!


Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter…and Spring or kake/kitsune/chikara/everything udon

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It’s a beautiful Sunday morning, the first 70F +, sunny day of spring, and the 5th or 6th day of assured warmth that makes people finally feel sane to put away their winter clothes. This is the best part of New England summer: just the right temperature, sun, and humidity. It’s the kind of day that makes me question even my decision to spend the next 3 months in Japan, because there are really so many wonderful things to do outside in New England during the summer.

And of course, on a day likes this, it only makes sense for me to stay in and blog about it.

…before you judge me: yes, I am going outside. In a little bit. What’s the point of being an atheist if you can’t stay in on a Sunday morning?