Tag Archives: Food

October 18 – April 7

Wow it’s been awhile since I blogged – it feels like both a lot and a little have happened since I last checked in.

On the job front, work has definitely ramped up. I got the option in October to switch my focus within the team and man did that change my world. The amount of impact I was able to have on the new team was leaps and bounds above what I was able to do on my first team, but with this change in scope came a pretty significant change in responsibility. Months later I am still trying to figure out how to deliver on the impact I know I can have while not sacrificing my entire life to do it. Honestly, I’m still struggling with this one – as my work performance has trended up, my writing and health have definitely trended down. I’ve spent the last few months brainstorming how to permanently fix this problem in a long-term way. I am pretty sure I’ve landed on the answer, but won’t share more until the moves have been made ๐Ÿ™‚ Stay tuned.

Travel-wise, the last few months have been packed! I headed to Cartagena in Colombia for Briggs’ 30th bday, back to Orlando for Alyssmas, Park City with the gang for New Years, and a bunch of places in Asia for work-related travel (can you figure out where based on the pics?).


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Ryan and I have also continued our adventures in cake-baking. The latest was a black forest cake for Stef’s bday (pro tip: whipped creme does NOT travel well – cake almost didn’t make the drive from San Mateo to SF)


On the writing front, I actually have an exciting update. This past week, I sold a story to Apex Magazineย ! Apex is a pro-market (meaning it is SFWA-recognized and pays at least $0.06 / word for accepted stories). Apex has also published several short stories that have won the Hugo Award in the last few years (including this past year). Making this sale is a pretty big deal for me for a couple reasons:

  1. I can now apply to be an Associate Member of SFWA (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America). I’ve wanted to be a member of SFWA since I first started writing – the networking opportunities are enormous! If I sell 2 more stories to pro-markets, I can apply for Active Member status which would be even better, but Associate Members still get a lot of great perks. If you’re interested in the nitty gritty, check out this link.
  2. Once my Associate membership application goes through, I can say I am a member of SFWA on all future story submissions and novel queries – this plus noting my sale to Apex should help boost my work in slush piles. Readers will give my stories more consideration and a better chance to woo them. I’ll have a sense shortly of how much this does or does not matter.
  3. Apex is a really hard magazine to make a sale to. This is probably the first time ever I’ve felt like a real writer. ๐Ÿ˜€

I’ll share more about the story itself when it’s closer to its actual publication date (TBD) – and of course links to the magazine and links to the story once it’s made free online.

Story Recs

I’ve continued to read a lot, but honestly, not too many stories have been standouts for me lately ๐Ÿ™ Here are the few notables since my last post:

+ The Consuming Fire (The Interdependency, #2) by John Scalzi. Scalzi continues to impress with his new trilogy about a collapsing space empire. The second book stood up well against the first (even though my favorite character from book #1 was noticeably absent in this second go-around). Book #3 is supposed to come out in the next year (man Scalzi writes fast!)

+ Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo. I picked up this book for a failed book club at work. It isn’t speculative at all and very much outside of my wheelhouse, but it was great. The stories about the different families struggling in a Mumbai slum were incredibly heart-wrenching and the twist at the end of the book bumped this one up to a 5/5 for me. Definitely recommend this one (and it’s a pretty fast read).

Again, no new video games that have really grabbed me. Though Ryan and I did buy a subscription to Nintendo Classic on his Switch and playing Super Mario Bros 3 has been nostalgically fun. Let me know if you are reading or playing anything good I should pick up ๐Ÿ™‚

May 24 – September 11

I know I know. I wasn’t good about keeping up my blog this summer. Chalk it up to living in the moment because this summer was F.A.N.T.A.S.T.I.C!

First I wrapped up my time at Kellogg. It was bittersweet (and I suck at goodbyes). Since I skipped graduation in order to kickoff the move process with Ryan (and clear the way for writing this summer), Kiki came to visit me before I left to celebrate. She dragged me to a T Swift concert – which was actually pretty good. And then we went to Alinea, one of the best restaurants in the US. We were blown away!

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After I left Chicago, Ryan and I immediately started apartment hunting. Unfortunately, very early on, we got attached to the idea of a townhome (having a front door, big kitchen, etc.) – this blew up our budget a bit as well as limited our options. BUT we were lucky and found the perfect place in San Mateo pretty early in the summer. We’ll do a housewarming at some point, and I may share pics.

I’ve also been pushing pretty hard on the writing front. I worked on a near-future new adult novel for most of the summer (pitched as Friends meets Black Mirror in Silicon Valley). I got 30,000 words into it and realized it wasn’t quite where I wanted it to be. Too serious, too message-y, too disjointed … the writing isn’t bad, but I’ve decided to put it aside for now and work on a few shorts as well as a new, more entertaining and more fun novel (outlining in process). After spending a lot of time with writers this summer (including at some great conferences – Readercon, Worldcon), I’ve realized that being so focused on publishing / external validation is just a setup for disappointment. In general, I’m trying to take it easier and make sure writing remains a stress-reliever not -inducer for me.

Of course, the biggest summer highlight was my wedding to Ryan! The weekend was beautiful and perfect. I’ve never been so filled with love for so much time. It was the best experience of my life, and I’m still riding the high. I love Ryan, his family, my family, our friends, and I can’t wait to one day be in a position to spend more constant time with the people I care most about. I’ve posted most of the wedding photos on my facebook page, but here are a few of my favs:

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Next up is officially starting work at Facebook. I am excited/nervous and eager to learn what product I’ll be working on.

Writing Update

Official update: I’ve had two more final round bumps at Stupefying Stories and IGMS (the latter of which was eventually rejected – boo!). Three new short stories written (two on sub, one still in beta). Novel worked on (~30k words) and benched. New novel outline 90% done. I slush-read for Cosmic Roots (another slush round starts in 1.5 weeks). And I’ve beta’d a few shorts from friends.

Story Recs

I did a TON of reading this summer. I crushed the Hugo nom list and then some. The highlights from my summer reading are:

+ The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated Americaย by Richard Rothstein. This is non-fiction and a must read for every American. I knew that African-Americans didn’t have the same opportunities in this country as others since the end of slavery, but I had no idea it was this bad. Could not recommend this one more.

+ Down Among the Sticks and Stones by Seanan McGuire. This is a prequel to her Hugo-winning Every Heart a Doorway, and I enjoyed this one more. It tells the origin story of two of the original book’s most interesting characters, Jack and Jill. It is a novella (so quick read).

+ The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi. This was my first Scalzi book, the first in a new trilogy. This one is just entertaining space opera fun. I want to write more in this vein.

On the video game front, I’d also recommend Last of Us if you haven’t played it. I picked up the remastered version and was blown away. Sequel should be out sometime in the next few years (also looks great).

August 1 – September 10

What an incredibly busy last month in the Bay!

First, my family came to visit, and we went to Lazy Bear. I’ve been to this award-winning restaurant three times now, but my last visit was 2 years ago. This may be a controversial statement, but I was actually pretty disappointed this time around. I remember feeling wowed by both the service and the dishes my last two visits – each bite feeling like some new explosive flavor I just had to have more of. This time, it felt like many dishes leaned into a more polarizing flavor (e.g., let’s really bring out the fishiness) and overall was less ‘umami’. The service was also a bit lackluster – my mom ordered a drink she never got and it took way longer than usual to actually get seated downstairs. I don’t think I will be back.

Here are the photos anyway (the best dishes for me were the corn grits and the peach-shaped ice cream dessert):

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I also finished my internship with Facebook. My entire internship was great, but my last month was exceptional – I got to be the PMM for a new product and work in a truly cross-functional team. I loved our product, our team, and how much we accomplished in the month I was there. I am sad to have left but am eager to see where the product goes (likely to be launched in the first half of next year :D).

Oh – I also got a return offer for full-time ๐Ÿ™‚ AND, while I am still ironing out the details of the offer with my recruiter, I am fairly certain I will accept. This summer really exceeded my expectations and I genuinely enjoyed working with everyone on my teams.

Right after I finished, I went on a week-long vacation to Hawaii (Kona) with Ryan and his parents. The trip was fine, but it became clear to me very quickly that Ry’s parents had a very different “ideal Hawaii vacation” than me. They wanted to go to every national park on the island and all the major museums – I just wanted to read on the beach (where we spent a cumulative 45 mins in the whole time we were on the island). Different strokes for different folks I guess – I think for future vacations, I need to be a little more in control of my own itinerary than I was for this one. Group vacationing while introverted is generally challenging anyway.

Speaking of vacations, we’ve officially decided our annual New Years trip location for this year: Seoul! I’ll send a message out to the group shortly, but please ping me directly if you’re excited to join us ๐Ÿ™‚

Now I’m back in Evanston (doing homework ๐Ÿ™ ) – tomorrow is my last first day of class ever!

July 5 – July 31

What a busy month!

First: the good news. I got into Viable Paradise!!! This is my first writing-related acceptance ever, and it is a BIG one. VP (for short) is a SFWA-recognized writing workshop. Only 20 students are selecting each year and apparently this year was very competitive (I know a few folks that sadly didn’t get in). Forgive my lack of humility, but I am really proud of myself. I found out about VP at the Nebulas, ~2 weeks before the deadline to apply. I would need to submit 2 short stories that I hadn’t already submitted to a professional market (which I usually do right after finishing a story). This meant 2 weeks for 2 brand new stories. AND those 2 weeks overlapped with my final exams.

In an exercise in aggressive prioritization, I hunkered down and wrote two short stories I am actually pretty proud of in what was a very quick turnaround for me (at my best, I’m usually churning out two submittable stories each month).

The workshop is in October (1 week in Martha’s Vineyard :)). I CANNOT wait.

After this great news early in the month, Ryan and I went to LA to visit his family and ring shop. This trip was fine (we picked out the design for the ring), but this month is shaping up to be travel / family heavy and I am going a little crazy.

The second big trip was two weekends ago. I flew back to Orlando last minute when my mom took Keno to the vet and they found a pretty malignant tumor in her left armpit. I won’t say much about Keno here because it’s still pretty raw, but we ended up putting her down on my visit. She was the sweetest dog and I’ll miss her a lot.


I don’t really know if there is an afterlife (Ryan says I’m silly for even questioning – he says there obviously is not), but I like to think that Keno is with Nuni somewhere playing.

Other news: Nancy + Fam are visiting me this upcoming week. The Keno trip was unexpected, so I’ve just seen everyone, but it will still be nice to spend time with them (even though it’s getting down to the wire at work – AH!). Ryan’s family is visiting next week so lots of family / social time overall (ugh.) – I’ve also given up on veganism. I’m just trying to eat more green veggies and less red meat.

This vegan “hot dog” was served at the office a few weeks ago. It is literally a carrot on a piece of lettuce:


We’re doing Lazy Bear Friday, so look for those amazing pictures next blog post ๐Ÿ˜‰

June 19 – July 4

Happy Independence Day!

The last few weeks have flown by. Work is going great! My summer project is very high impact and very visible. So far I’m loving it (and Facebook). My team works pretty hard, but it is because our work really matters. Also, the walking path on the roof of my building is A+


Healthy, meatless eating is going just as well as was expected. I don’t get to eat any of the foods I like and, because I am not a fan of vegetables without cheese or meat (even as a garnish on a salad), I’ve been mostly carb-loading which also sucks for my waistline. Still, I know it’s the right decision in the long-run.


On a personal note, Ry and I are doing well. He is dragging me to LA next weekend to speak with his jeweler about my engagement ring. I say ‘dragging’ because I explicitly asked to NOT be involved in any part of the ring (I want Ryan to pick it out and surprise me). But he really didn’t feel comfortable with that :/

I am also a little worried about what moving out to the Bay will mean for my social life (if that’s what I decide to do – still don’t know yet). Ryan will of course want me to be in San Jose (and I DO want to be with him), but I really don’t like his house and it really is too far from everything and everyone else I care about.

That’s pretty much it for now. By next post, I should have heard back from VP (the writing workshop I applied to). Wish me luck ๐Ÿ™‚

March 20 – March 27

First week of Dev Bootcamp onsite = DONE

We spent much of this first week reviewing a lot of what we’d learned in Phase 0 (the remote program before arriving onsite). In some ways this was good and in other ways it left me eagerย for the pace to pick up. At least now, I feel really competent at Ruby.

I do hope that next week and the following 2 months are filled with greater challenges (I suspect they will be given what I see the cohorts ahead of us working on). I also hope our lectures become more focused on the ecosystem around coding (great: I can write up some good code and save it in a ruby file, but then how do I turn this into a gem or an app or a program with some sort of user interface). I want to learnย the practical parts of programming.


Otherwise the week was good. I didn’t realize how challenging it would be for me to be around so many people all the time (#introvertlife), but the Caltrain is actually super manageable so I was able to recharge at home with Ryan more nights than I had anticipated.

I also got to celebrate my best friend’s (Chris from WashU!) engagement. He and his wonderful fiancee, Lisa, had a small engagement party at R&G Lounge in SF (an amazing Chinese restaurant). The food and company were stellar. I cannot wait for bachelorette party / wedding fun! Who knew I would be a grooms[wo]men before ever being a bridesmaid?

I hope as my time in DBC progresses I am still able to see friends and family, get back to some writing, and really push my knowledge on the practical CS front. Will keep y’all posted!


October 21 – October 27: New City, New Rules

Well, I’ve left Japan, BUT not without a little drama.

Turns out Osaka has more than one airport (take note!). So, waking up at 5 am (four hours before your flight) and following the subway signs to “Osaka Airport” is NOT a sure-fire way to end up at the right place. Which, is what happened to me.

At 7am (2 hours before my 9am flight), I discover that Osaka has two airports and I am at the wrong one. Oops. Also, I learn that, while there is a bus that drives between the airports, the ride takes about an hour. Double Oops. Oh! And guess who has just run out of all her yen and if she goes to exchange for more will miss the bus that has just pulled out in front of wrong-airport and will have to wait 30 minutes for the next one? Yeah ….

And this is where my faith in humanity is restored! Not only did a very nice attendant at ITM make sure I found the right bus, but, upon learning I had no money to pay for my ticket, a very nice couple comped me the few dollars I needed.

I arrive at the right airport this time one hour before my flight takes off. I find the Air China counter and, guess what? My flight has been MOVED UP 15 minutes. Great. Oh, and it is final boarding call.

And once more, humanity rocks! The woman at the Air China counter grabs me, takes me through the crew security line, runs me to the right tram, and I board the flight just before the gate closes!

Whew — what a way to leave Japan!

So now I am in Shanghai. After one week here, my thoughts are as follows:

The Good

  • OMG the food! Street food all day, everywhere! And it is awesome (and SO cheap — like <$1). See this guide that roughly describes what I am eating every day: LINK HERE
  • The history is incredible. There are tons of museums here, but so far the Shanghai Museum in People’s Square is my favorite. The museum is filled with different forms of Chinese art (pottery, porcelain, jade, statues, seals, calligraphy, etc.). Many of the items on display are literally thousands of years old. The museum is massive and incredible. A must-see!
  • Mass transit is awesome here. The subway systems are vast and inexpensive (albeit a bit crowded). Shanghai is huge, but the city is very accessible
  • Fitness is actually really huge in the city (not something I experienced while in Japan). I am doing Crossfit on an outdoor track (see next list for why on a track) and there are constantly people around playing soccer or ultimate frisbee, dancing to traditional Chinese songs (in impressive unison), performing tai-chi, ballroom dancing, etc. There are so many parks and places to exercise that it is pretty much a constant no matter where I’ve been. I love seeing so much activity!

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The “Could-Be-Better”

  • As you’ve probably heard, much of the internet is blocked here. I am talking Google (and Google products such as Gmail and Google Maps), Facebook, most blogging websites, etc. Bring your VPN (/ more than one VPN option). The Chinese government is not relenting on blocking these sites and is constantly updating its firewall. My normal VPN could not break through. As of today, ExpressVPN works — go crazy!
  • The Chinese government really is king here. My crossfit gym found a notice on its front door 2 weeks ago saying that the government wanted their land for a new construction project and they had one week to move. Ouch. Par for the course I hear. BUT, before you start raging on how totally unfair this is, I do hear the government generously compensates owners when land is seized (hey! have you ever heard of eminent domain in the US?). It just sucks if you are a renter and don’t get a ton of notice (the government moves FAST on these projects).
  • Drivers are INSANE here. I have never seen such poor adherence to traffic lights, signals, signs, etc. Oh, and I include pedestrians in that. Everyone pretty much just does what they want. The green lights even have countdowns to yellow on them and I’ve still yet to see a red light actually stop traffic. Be careful out there!
  • You really stick out as a white foreigner here. I actually think I saw fewer white people in my time in Japan, but I think the Japanese are more exposed to Western culture and english than the Chinese are (or at least it is painted more favorably). Those I have met here in Shanghai who are expats or have spent any time outside of China are totally friendly to me, but from those who appear never to have left the country, I don’t feel as welcomed. Now I have only been here a week and haven’t wandered into every non-touristy / less-commercial neighborhood in this very large city, but the places I have wandered, I will say that the stares weren’t exceptionally friendly.

And that’s it for my first week! Will check in soon with more adventures!


Shoot muffins! I had thought I had published the above a while back, but looks like I merely saved the draft and moved on with my life. Whoops. So this will be a bit of a double post!


October 28 – November 10: China Rage

China continues to prove itself a wild and challenging place. Fortunately I have a friend who lives here in Shanghai who I’ve had a chance to hang out with. Ganesh and his girlfriend, Gabby, have invited me to join them for a bit more upscale Shanghai dining. Spending time with them has given me a chance to see more of Shanghai at night, explore the Bund, and eat some amazing food. They’ve also explained to me that my frustrations (what they dub “China Rage”) are normal feelings foreigners have when they spend any significant time living in places throughout China. Apparently discomfort with the chaotic lifestyle of the locals is normal, whew!

I’ve also been able to take a few day trips outside the city. Not as easy as day trips around Japan, but possible. Hangzhou and Suzhou are great (water towns! — think: Chinese Venice).

And I have found a new box in the city that has really tough (read: awesome) crossfit classes.

Maybe my most exciting update is re: my book (tentative title: Sandwatcher). I will probably finish my first draft THIS WEEK (I’ve said “tomorrow” for the last few days, so I’ll refrain from saying that again here, but I do really think tomorrow is the day!). I have a ton of revisions I’ll need to make to get a second draft ready for review by others. But, I’m feeling good about the core of the work and am excited to keep plowing ahead!

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Now I am off to Singapore (!!!) for a few days for a b-school interview. Looking forward to warm weather, western-ish food, and more english speakers ๐Ÿ˜‰ Ramen at Bugis anyone?

September 22 – October 1 – Osaka & Kyoto

My adventures in Japan continue! I spent much of this last week exploring Osaka and Kyoto (~$10 train ride from Osaka).

In Osaka I have enjoyed just hopping on the train and seeing where I end up while also trying to hit the highlights. Osaka Castle is definitely one of them:

Osaka Castle

In the heart of the city, Osaka Castle is a national landmark that played a huge role in Japan’s unification in the 16th century. It was surreal walking around this castle in the middle of a city. I was amazed at how well the structure was preserved (Osaka Castle is older than the United States!).

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The day I visited there was even a wedding (sorry I am a creeper, but at least I was not the only one):


It was also funny to see Japanese tourists acting as kooky as American tourists often do (I grew up in Orlando so I have seen some wacky tourist behavior). For example, this booth where you could dress up in traditional Japanese attire and pose with weapons in front of the castle:


There was also a booth handing out free drinks. Lesson: ALWAYS ask what it is before you take a swig …. unfortunately I learned the hard way that the samples weren’t water or Pocari Sweat (the clear Japanese gatorade) … they were shots of sake (OOF!):


Oh and hey … if you were worried about where you were going to buy your Japanese shurikens, Osaka Castle has also got you covered on that front:


Other fun things I’ve learned and seen in Osaka:

  • There are brothels in Osaka, but these aren’t very popular. What ARE popular are ‘hosts’ – young men and women who you can pay to hang out with you for a night (you buy their drinks, food, etc. and pay for their time by the hour). At first this concept was confusing to me, but it has been explained to me as being similar to paying for the perfect boyfriend or girlfriend for however long you pay them (minus anything physical). The hosts will treat you how you want and in return you get to live your perfect relationship fantasy. Awesome?
  • Over a third of Japan’s population is above the age of 60. This is a problem that the government is very concerned with as salaried work is often so demanding on the mostly male workforce that dating is difficult and seen as a drain on income and precious free time. You don’t see too many kids on the street or in parks walking around. TOO though, you don’t see that many elderly men and women. Interestingly enough, how convenient much of Japan is (there are at least 2 drink vending machines on every block in Osaka) also makes it easy for the older members of the population to stay indoors. Kind of bursts the “Japanese people are so healthy” stereotype I had certainly imagined before coming here.
  • Speaking of health — fitness is not a huge concern for many Japanese. If you are a salaried employee you probably don’t have a ton of time to work out and fitness in general is just not embraced in the same way it is elsewhere. As Sean, my crossfit coach says, “most of the Japanese in Osaka are skinny-fat; they have no muscle!” — while it is difficult to verify this, I will say my crossfit gym is the only gym I have seen in my wanderings across Osaka so far ….
  • Really, why isn’t Japanese fried chicken served in America? It is truly amazing. Below though are takoyaki (Japanese octopus balls!)


BUT, the highlight of this past week was definitely my trip to Kyoto.

I took an express train (which again, round trip was about $10) that got me from Osaka to Kyoto in ~30 minutes. I barely cracked open my book (*side note: is that still an expression if you read from a kindle?).


First stop was Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine:


This shrine was gorgeous and my favorite sight in Japan so far. I cannot recommend it more! I would suggest getting there early / before 9am (being able to explore the shrine alone and in silence was fantastic) and be prepared for a hike (up steps) of about 1-2 hours. You will walk under literally (LITERALLY) thousands of toriis as you venture through the shrine.

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That last picture is of the final torii near one of the shrine exits. Apparently it is purposely unfinished as it is believed that the path (along with the torii gates) continue through the sky to heaven.

Really this shrine is so special — a must-see!

I also explored Gion, the Shoren-in Temple, and the beautiful park and shrines in between. Gion is a shopping area / street in a more traditional part of Kyoto.


I have to say, I was surprised by how different Kyoto felt from Osaka. Even the food was different! Crab on stick? Grilled fish? Tofu flavored icecream?

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Well, my next stop is Hiroshima (excited to see the peace memorial). Will report back soon!

September 15 โ€“ September 21 โ€“ First week in Osaka

I have arrived in Japan!


Wow! What a culture shock. I cannot speak for the rest of the country, but Osaka has very few non-Japanese residents (I’ve literally seen two white people since arriving). AND there is very VERY little English on signs, in stores, in the subway, etc. Be prepared.

I highly recommend taking a screenshot of a subway map with English translations and having the picture on your phone. The subway is highly useful and pretty cheap, but you don’t want to get trapped in a station with no English on the maps.

Subway Map Subway

I am really doing Japan on the cheap, which means hostel living. Most of the folks staying in our hostel are also Japanese (working short-term in Osaka). I have to say at first I was a little worried about the lack of locks / protection of your things, but people here appear to be highly trustworthy. And my hostel has free and unlimited bananas so …. I’m good ๐Ÿ™‚


After getting setup at a local co-working space, Common Room Nakatsu ….


… I also signed up for the only Crossfit box in all of Osaka, Crossfit Minami.

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I have also done a fair bit of exploring in two of the major Osaka shopping districts Dotonbori and Shinsaibashi (literally right next to each other). Shinsaibashi appears to go on for the length of the entire prefecture. Okay okay, I am probably exaggerating, but the point is you could spend a full day walking around this indoor / outdoor shopping area.


Look a Sega store! And with traditional Japanese drum guitar hero and very specifically prized crane games:

Sega Corgi

Of course if you come to Japan wanting to read manga, the opportunities are endless (except you need to know Japanese). Even most restaurants I’ve walked into had thick books of serialized manga on their shelves!


And what about an Anime themed casino? No problem!


BUT … of course the best part about Osaka so far has been the food. Osaka actually is known for the best food in Japan. It has exceeded expectation so far. The only hiccup being in most restaurants I am playing a bit of Russian Roulette with the menus since most have no English on / in them and the restaurant staff only speak Japanese.

Menu Dish

PS that dish above was from a restaurant Joel recommended called ใŸใ“็ซน. It was raw seafood on top of noodles on top of the best rice I have ever had + soup + tea. And before you say, “Sydney: ใŸใ“็ซน is not helpful — how am I supposed to find this place?” my advice would be copy-paste and plug into google maps. ใŸใ“็ซน does not have an English name like most restaurants I have seen in Osaka ๐Ÿ™

Today is a holiday in Japan, ๆ•ฌ่€ใฎๆ—ฅ Keirล no Hi, which roughly translates to “Respect for the Aged Day.” Basically this weekend is like a Japanese labor day weekend all about celebrating your elders. As my mom says, “that should be an American holiday too!”

Well, back to writing. Tomorrow I visit Kyoto!

August 2 – August 9 – Kuala Lumpur

Let me start by saying Kuala Lumpur is amazing.

A few caveats:

  • We began our stay with my friend Ravi who has a pretty amazing apartment in the heart of KL and a driver (Razmi!) who offered to take us around
  • I have not seen one mosquito or ant. I worry my newfound love of spiders and lizards (the pests that actually eat the mosquitos and ants) may quickly disappear

Still … what. a. place. A few of the KL highlights:

Petronas Towers

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Crazy foods (how big is that watermelon?? and that cinnamon!)

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Nearby historical colonial town of Malacca / Melaka

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Batu Caves

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Islamic Art Museum


August 10 – August 14 – Shah Alam

I left Ravi’s very wonderful company to visit the family of my friend Arif!

Aside from dealing with the onset of a cold (I think all this travel is finally catching up with me!), my stay was immensely wonderful. Arif’s family is incredibly kind and generous! They took me around to see more of Malaysia (Shah Alam, Putrajaya, One City). A few highlights in pictures below (sorry I forgot to take as many this time!):

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Raz3 Mosque1
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Mosque5 Mosque6
Mosque7 Prime Minister
Me in Mosque!

Tonight I will be heading back to Orlando for my cousins’ B’nai Mitzvah! After I will be off to Japan, then Shanghai (officially booked!), then Ko Lanta in Thailand (also officially booked!!!!).