Alike (short film)

Thanks to The Wish Factor for sharing this.

Running in China

It’s been a couple months since I returned from my trip to China, but I wanted to write a post about running while I was over there. I’ve written about running while on vacation before, but I’d like to expand a little more on the subject about why I love to bring my running shoes with me when I travel.

First of all, I heard that exercise helps get over jet lag, and since China is 13 hours ahead of Texas (during daylight savings) any opportunity to beat the tiredness is one worth trying. And speaking of tiredness, whenever I run in the morning, I find that I have a ton of energy throughout the day, all the way up until bedtime. This proved to be the case on the China trip as well – I had so much energy that I didn’t need to nap at all, and was even up at the lounge dancing until 11 pm. Which is kind of crazy for an introvert like myself. 😌

Another fun thing about running while on vacation, and running first thing in the morning in particular, is that there’s the anticipation and excitement of exploring new neighborhoods. I’d kind of check out what’s nearby in Google Maps, then just head out. On the other hand, on my run in Beijing, I just started running towards a park, not knowing what was there, and stumbled upon the Temple of the Sun, which apparently is a popular spot for runners. It was so fun to see this park, and stop to take photos, then run a bit more, then stop for photos again. It’s discoveries like these that just fuel the excitement for the next run in a new city.

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And a little bonus discovery – I found the nearby shopping center which had two of my favorite stores, Muji and Uniqlo, and made a note to return later when we had free time. Score!

When I was in Stockholm, I went for runs after work, around 5 pm, but for the China trip, I’d head out at around 6 am, with plans on being back at the hotel for breakfast at around 7 am or so. Running early in the morning has a couple bonuses. Firstly, there was pretty much no traffic on the streets. And I mean this literally. Even in the Beijing business district, I could run down the center of the boulevard if I wanted to! It was surreal. But by 6:45, the traffic had picked up and it was a completely different city.

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Secondly, the early morning running gave me a chance to see the sunrise. The Giant Wild Goose Pagoda in Xi’an is pretty spectacular, but seeing the sun rise over it was epic. Something I’ll never forget!

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And speaking of epicness, my morning run along The Bund in Shanghai was amazing. The sunrise over the skyscrapers, the kites taking off, and the taichi was so perfect, it was like living in a dream.

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I think that even an early morning walk would be good, but elevating that walk into a run (or even a jog) will allow you to cover a lot more distance. It’s kind of surprising how far you’ll be able to get in a short amount of time and how much you’ll be able to see, especially in the city. Another thing I that I thought was really cool and convenient is that as a runner, you have an excuse to be pretty much anywhere, and no one will question your presence. If you are just walking along down some back alley at 6 am, it could look a little weird. But as a runner, you become kind of invisible. Plus, you stop standing out as a tourist, even if it’s only for an hour.

Another huge bonus, at least to me, is that the morning run means you’ll be hungry a lot. I actually enjoy feeling hungry… it makes me feel alive.* But what is nice is that you’ll have a good appetite for tasting all the new and interesting foods that come with vacation. On the China trip, I tried to avoid food that I could easily eat at home. So, instead of eating a breakfast of eggs, sausage, bacon, and toast, I’d have rice porridge, pickled vegetables, kimchee, and dumplings. And my mindset shifted from eating to get full, to eating to taste everything. (Spicy frog, anyone?) That meant not needing to go back for seconds of the same item, but try to eat new things with each plate. Of course, if I found something that was particularly delicious, I’d have extra! But that was the exception, not the rule. And eating less has the benefit of being less tired since your body doesn’t have to expend as much energy digesting enormous amounts of food.

I truly believe running on vacation is something everyone should do. But before you think that running on vacation is only for hardcore exercise nuts, I can tell you that I am far from being super-fit. I am carrying a few extra pounds and my pace is more of a jog than a run. But for vacation, this is enough. Being able to jog for an hour is sufficient to reap the benefits of seeing new cities in a completely new way, and separate yourself from the tourist crowds. So, if you have a vacation coming up, it’s time to start running! Just get your cardio in shape, muscles in condition, and have your shoes/running kit ready to go. I know that you’ll take your vacation to the next level just by getting off the beaten path with your running shoes.

And the final bonus to running is that you’ll generally be in good enough shape to be able to participate in the more strenuous excursions and activities without feeling exhausted later. Climbing the 99 steps of the pagoda in Shibaozhai was cake, and I was able to recover from the steep portions of the Great Wall quickly. It felt so good! 😄

I hope you give running a try on your next vacation!



Beijing Run at Strava:

Xi’an Run 1 at Strava:

Xi’an Run 2 at Strava:

Shanghai Run at Strava:

*I think the mindset of thinking that hunger should be avoided at all costs is terrible and something pushed by the food industry. And the fact that hunger is different than starvation is an important point.

Oceanside Run

I LOVE to go running while on vacation, even a short weekender like this one. This morning it was a beautiful beachside jog up the Pacific coast. 🌞🌴🏖

If you are also on Strava, why don’t we connect?

"Oceanside Run" Oceanside, 2018
Photo info: Motorola Moto G (4), 3.64mm, f/2, 1/1200 sec, ISO50
“Oceanside Run” Oceanside, 2018
"Cool Down" Oceanside, 2018
Photo info: Motorola Moto G (4), 3.64mm, f/2, 1/530 sec, ISO50
“Cool Down” Oceanside, 2018

Appreciating Things That Can’t Be Seen

"Anko" Cedar Park, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.5, 1/125 sec, ISO500
“Anko” Cedar Park, 2018

こんばんは。How’s it going?

So today I was thinking that I turn off a lot of lights that are left on here at home. Turning off lights is just natural… we should conserve energy! When we leave a room, we should turn off the light, right? But sometimes I feel like I am the only one in the house that does it since I am constantly doing it. 😡

But then I thought that there are probably many times that everyone else turns off the lights, and I wouldn’t ever notice this since there is nothing to see. 🤔

So now I wonder about other things that I cannot see, for instance when others tidy up or put things away, I wouldn’t really notice it. I should try to recognize and appreciate when the house is clean because someone must have cleaned it… the house doesn’t clean itself, does it?

Sometimes when I’m on the other side of the equation, tidying up the house, closing cabinets, etc. and no one notices or says anything, I feel a little unappreciated. But you know, I shouldn’t mind not receiving recognition since it might be difficult for others to notice the things that cannot be seen. It’s enough to be satisfied with contributing to a healthy living space even without receiving praise. 😌

Anyways, that’s my “deep thought” for the day.


"Fajita Taco" Cedar Park, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.5, 1/125 sec, ISO3200
“Fajita Taco” Cedar Park, 2018

In other news, it’s National Taco Day today! 🌮 And as you can see from the photo above, we did partake. 😀

By coincidence, Mariko decided to make fajitas for dinner (she didn’t know about the occasion). Well, since it is taco day, we had to put the fajitas in tortillas. Respect the taco!

I hope you had a good Thursday. 😊


Sense of Place

"Cloud" Cedar Park, 2018
Photo info: SONY NEX-6, 37mm, f/9, 1/1250 sec, ISO100
“Cloud” Cedar Park, 2018

こんばんは。How’s it going? Today’s blog post will be a bit of a ramble, but hey, it’s my blog, so here goes.

I’ve been lucky so far that I have been able to travel for vacation, and also on rare occasion for work, and I now recognize certain distinct affinities I have for different places. For instance, when I traveled to Japan for the first time, I immediately felt like Japan was somewhere I wanted to live. So much so that I gave myself a deadline of 6 months before I moved there.

On the other hand, when I returned from trips to Morocco and Spain, I didn’t have that feeling at all. It was really fun to visit those places and experience a bit of the culture, but I never felt a deep connection. I’m sure it has to do with being Asian in a non-Asian country, although I haven’t thought too deeply about it yet. 🤔

The same can be said of my trips to Stockholm. I’ve visited twice and although I loved it there, felt safe and free, I was simply just a visitor. The thought of having a life there never crossed my mind. Nevermind the complications of having kids and a family… but even if I were single, I don’t think Europe would be on my list of places to live.

And how about my hometown of Torrance? I love visiting family there and am happy I grew up in Southern California, but I have no desire to live there. It’s just not interesting to me… and speaking about the USA, I’ve lived in Texas for almost 20 years now. Honestly, living in Austin never even occurred to me as a possibility before we moved here. It’s a wonderful place, and the people are so friendly and warm. But no, I have no real affection for, nor interest in, Texas and the moment we have the freedom to leave, I’ll be the first one on the plane. 😆

But back to places that I feel a real affinity for. Obviously, there’s Japan. Whenever I visit, I feel right at home, even though I can only understand maybe 25% of conversations. But I love it there. When I lived there I never considered leaving. It’s somewhere I want to live again. (My dream hasn’t died, haha)

Interestingly, I felt a similar feeling towards China when I visited there last month. After returning home, I felt that same blue feeling (could it be like homesickness?) that I felt after returning from Japan after my first visit there. That’s how I know I feel a real connection to a place – after returning, I have that melancholy feeling. It’s like I am living in a dream. 😌

Anyways, that’s pretty much what’s on my mind these past few days. Thinking about a connection to a sense of place I suppose. Although I live in Texas, I feel like it’s a temporary situation… just waiting to move on really. Someday. 🛫

I hope you had a nice day, and thanks for reading!



"Food Drive" Cedar Park, 2018
Photo info: SONY NEX-6, 16mm, f/9, 1/200 sec, ISO100
“Food Drive” Cedar Park, 2018

こんばんは。How’s it going?

As you can see from the photo above, dinner was provided by In-n-Out. But even though I was the one who picked up the food, I skipped buying anything for myself. I had lunch at work and kind of felt like that was enough for the day. It’s funny, but on our China trip, we had so much food available, that it made me realize (or reinforce my realization) that I don’t really need to eat as much as I am accustomed to.

A few years back, I fasted for 3 or 4 days which changed my perception about food, and how much we really need. And that feeling of being hungry is not a bad feeling. I actually like having that hunger! Anyways, on the China trip I decided to eat mostly new-to-me and local foods, but not have too much, and generally try to skip or limit the foods that I’m familiar with, for instance, eggs, sausages, and bread. Instead, I had noodles, dim sum, rice porridge, pickled veggies, etc. It felt great!

So tonight I skipped the Double-double and just had my multi-vitamin. 😀


Run to Temple of the Sun

"Temple of the Sun" Beijing, 2018
Photo info: Motorola Moto G (4), 3.64mm, f/2, 1/105 sec, ISO50
“Temple of the Sun” Beijing, 2018

This morning I woke up extra-early due to jetlag and decided to go for a run. At 6 am, the streets of central Beijing were surprisingly empty. In fact, I could pretty much run in the middle of the streets if I wanted to! I guess most of the people were beginning their commutes outside of the city, so it wouldn’t get busy until they arrived.

Since I don’t know the city at all, I just ran with Google Maps on and I looked for interesting places and parks, which led me to the Temple of the Sun. It’s a cool little park which has a beautiful pond and other points of interest and is also very popular with runners and walkers. So I was totally at home running (more like jogging), walking, and stopping to take photos.

You know, I try to run in new places, like when I visited Stockholm for business. Running can get you to places really quickly, and since you can stop at any time to take in the sights, it’s a great way to get familiar with a new city. Especially if you can do it early in the morning. 😀

"Sunrise Over the City" Beijing, 2018
Photo info: Motorola Moto G (4), 3.64mm, f/2, 1/50 sec, ISO64
“Sunrise Over the City” Beijing, 2018